The City of El Cerrito announced it be suspending remote public comment via zoom beginning October 3 after a group made antisemitic, racist, and vulgar comments.
Here is the statement:
“In recent weeks, over 35 California agencies have had their public meetings overcome with antisemitic, racist, and vulgar comments by a group of public speakers participating via Zoom. This occurred at El Cerrito’s City Council meeting on September 19. It appears that this is a coordinated effort to attack local meetings that offer remote public comments, and the majority of these speakers are not local and often not even located in California.
Beginning with the City Council meeting on October 3, the City has made the decision to suspend remote public comment via Zoom. Participants will still be able to view the meeting on Zoom, or via live stream on the City’s website and local cable channels. However, public comment will only be accepted either in person or in writing prior to the City Council meeting.
You will see this reflected on the upcoming City Council agenda. We understand that this may be an inconvenience for many people. However, our intent is to take this action in an effort to protect our residents and our staff from being subject to this vile hate speech.
We want you to know that we value your input and participation and hope that you will attend City Council meetings in person and continue to engage with the City Council. Thank you for your understanding.
On Tuesday, the Brentwood City Council became the latest city to have their meeting targeted by hate speech during public comments after several speakers made a coordinated attack. Mayor Joel Bryant offered a response to the public commenter who was no longer on the call.
“In regards to what this person just said, I think his comments speak to exactly what level of individual he is and I apologize we had to hear it and I am confident that he will get to enjoy the fruits of his speaking at some point, I’ll just wait for that to happen,” said Bryant. “I am sorry that was not very professional but I got zero tolerance for racism.”
Also on Tuesday, the Antioch City Council voted to move forward with council meetings in person and opted not to bring back Zoom or teleconference participation back.
On Sept. 20, the City of Sacramento issued a statement that council meetings are now done in person and have phased out virtual meetings and will hold in-person meetings for all its boards, commissions and committees.
Over the past year, the City of Walnut Creek has been the target of several people calling in spewing “hate”
It is unclear if the City of Brentwood will follow Antioch, El Cerrito or the City of Oakley who did away with zoom very early in the unwind from remote meetings.