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Milpitas
Thursday, April 15, 2021
City Council City of Milpitas transitioning to live audio for public comments

City of Milpitas transitioning to live audio for public comments

Starting with the October 6 City Council meeting, the City of Milpitas will finally transition to audio-only live comments.

A recent memo from the Office of the City Manager, dated October 3, stated:

“Although members of the public have been able to watch the meetings live through a variety of channels and have been able to comment in writing in real time, their comments are read by the City Clerk and they are unable to speak to the Council in their own voice. We have received input from the community and Council about this and starting Tuesday, October 6 the public will have an opportunity to provide live audio-only public comments via the Zoom conferencing platform during its City Council meeting.”

This change comes just a week and a half after The Milpitas Beat published an article about how comments were being submitted by fake names and being read at public meetings to spread rumors about a City Council candidate. The Beat was unable to verify any of the names of the commenters as real.

Of late, public comments have been read aloud by the City Clerk. Anyone wishing to leave a comment was able to do so by submitting it through a form on the City’s website, and it wasn’t necessary for submitters to leave their email addresses or any other information to verify their identities.

In the past week, other complaints have circulated in the community regarding the City’s public comments procedure.

“Transitioning to audio-only, live comments at public meetings has always been in the works. It wasn’t really a question of whether or not we were going to do it, it was more about when,” wrote the City’s Public Information Officer Charmaine Angelo in an email to The Beat. “We also realized that we needed to increase the number of City staff assigned to effectively manage and execute the new process, test equipment and do several tests to mitigate errors while addressing security concerns.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, the City of Milpitas had to switch to conducting public meetings virtually. In the memo cited above, the City notes that it was the first city in Santa Clara County to do so.

Future commission and sub-committee meetings will also be transitioning to live audio public comments.

To register to make a public comment at the Tuesday, October 6, Council meeting, go to:

Click to access agenda.pdf

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Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works with nonprofit organizations and educational entities to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also the author of Fierce Woman: Wake up your Badass Self. Her YouTube channel, which features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment, has amassed thousands of subscribers. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s founder.

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