Online Public eComments
The City Council can receive your testimony on current agenda items via this website. The public eComment period opens at noon on the Friday before the City Council regular meeting and closes at 12:00 p.m. the day of the regular meeting. EComment closing times for special meetings vary; please view the Council meeting webpage for special meeting eComment closing times. During the eComment period, click on the Current Council Agenda to find the links within the online agenda.
The Public eComments system helps new voices to be heard in the democratic process. Citizens fill out a web comment form which is embedded into the online Council agendas. The data from the form is organized into a report for the City Council. The system is maintained by the City Clerk’s Office.
PUBLIC eCOMMENTS SYSTEM BENEFITS:
- Helps focus citizen comments to items currently on the agenda;
- Provides a convenient means for citizen input for those who find it difficult to attend meetings;
- Encourages more informed comments by providing a one-stop shop for viewing background information on agenda items such as staff reports and maps or photographs;
- Is a convenient online system for citizens to reach all five Council members simultaneously;
- Provides a method for increased civic engagement in the democratic process through electronic media;
- Allows electronic citizen comments to be part of the public record in accordance with California open government laws;
- Enables the City Clerk’s Office to track, maintain and archive electronic comments;
- Provides the City Council with an easy-to-read, organized report of Public eComments prior to each meeting.
HOW IT WORKS:
When the agenda is posted online (at least 72 hours prior to the regular meeting or at least 24 hours prior to a special meeting) a Public eComments link is placed in the agenda under the staff report for a specific item. Before the Council meeting citizens not only have the opportunity to read the staff reports and supporting materials, they can click on the Online Public eComments link, complete the form online, and submit their testimony on the item.
LIKE VERBAL PUBLIC TESTIMONY, PUBLIC eCOMMENTS ARE:
- Limited to a set number of characters in the text box, much as in-person testimony is limited to three minutes;
- Directed to the Council body, as all five Council members receive the same information in the Public eComment report;
- Considered to be testimony and become part of the public record subject to the Ralph M. Brown Act and Public Records Act disclosure.
THE eCOMMENT PERIOD runs from the time the agenda is posted and made available to the City Council at noon on Friday until noon on the day of the regular meeting (closing times vary for special meetings), at which time the eComment link is removed from the agenda. By closing the comment period six hours before the meeting begins, staff has adequate time to compile the data and distribute the comments to the Council and staff for review prior to the meeting. Staff also makes copies available to the public.
THE DATA from the form is imported into a database that can be sorted and compiled into an easy-to-read final report or analyzed in a graph format.