Due to recent “hateful and hostile” comments delivered at city council meetings in Morgan Hill and throughout the nation, the city on Oct. 20 announced that public comment will no longer be allowed via Zoom at future meetings.
The new rule applies to meetings of the Morgan Hill City Council and Planning Commission.
Those who want to address the council or commission can still deliver their remarks or questions in person at the meetings, by email or in writing. To submit comments by email, send to the city council at [email protected] or the planning commission at [email protected]. To deliver written comments by mail, send to Morgan Hill City Clerk, 17575 Peak Ave., Morgan Hill, CA 95037.
“We understand that this change is not ideal, and we take our responsibility to protect our community, City staff and the democratic process very seriously,” says the city’s announcement of the new rule.
On Oct. 4, three people who called in by Zoom for public comment for the city council meeting delivered antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ+ remarks. City officials resoundingly condemned the remarks, but acknowledged that they couldn’t deny the callers the chance to speak due to protections in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The state’s Brown Act, which governs public access to government meetings, only requires cities to offer the public a chance to comment at public sessions in person. Since the pandemic, many cities have continued to allow the public to comment by Zoom or phone. However, a growing number of cities in the Bay Area have moved to prohibit remote or telephone comments because of the increasing incidents of antisemitic callers.