Starting on February 6, 2024, the City of San José has limited verbal public comments to in-person only for all meetings of City legislative bodies, which include the City Council, Council Committees, City Decision-Making Bodies, City Boards, City Committees, City Commissions, Task Forces, City Other Advisory Entities subject to the Brown Act, and Joint Power Authority legislative bodies.
The City has decided to take this action in light of the frequent Zoom interruptions from public commenters, including frequent disruptions from people using hate speech. However, rather than coming up with solutions to swiftly cut off these Zoom interruptions, the City is now creating additional barriers to meeting participation, which impacts the entire community.
Allowing public comment over Zoom has vastly expanded who can participate in city government. San José City Council is a full-time body with meetings that run all day. Zoom access has allowed members of the public to give comments without spending hours at city hall.
The threshold for community participation is already so high that in-person-only comments only increase the barriers, especially for low-income residents, working people, disabled people, students, and parents with children.
Please join the Housing Action Coalition, Greenbelt Alliance, South Bay Yimby, Catalyze SV, and sign this petition to ask the San José City Clerk to continue virtual public comment. SIGN THE PETITION HERE