Public Comment and City Council Meeting Guide
How to Participate in Public Meetings
The City of Alameda encourages public participation in person, remotely or in writing
In Person Participation:
- Meeting locations are listed at the top of the agenda
- A speaker slip must be submitted to speak on an agenda item
- Separate slips must be submitted for each item you wish to address
Remote Participation via Zoom on a Computer/Smart Phone/Device:
- Register using the link at the top of the agenda
- Ensure you are using the most current version of the Zoom app or an updated web browser
- Certain functionality may be disabled if the app or browser are not updated
- Click "raise hand" when the item you wish to speak on is called
- Click "unmute" once your have been called to speak
Remote Participation via Standard Telephone Call:
- Call 669-900-9128 and enter the Meeting ID listed at the top of the agenda
- Dial *9 to raise your hand when you wish to speak on an item
- Dial *6 to unmute once you have been called to speak
- In addition to speaking in person or remotely, letters or emails submitted will be included in the meeting record
- For City Council meetings, click here to email the Council and staff
Meetings can be viewed on Zoom and the City Facebook page
Some meetings are also broadcast on the City's website livestream, Comcast Channel 15 and AT&T Channel 99
If you experience an issue while watching a meeting, please email the City Clerk at email@example.com
Any requests for reasonable accommodations should be made by contacting the City Clerk’s office firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-747-4800
City Council Meetings
The City Charter establishes that the City operates under the Council/Manager form of government. The Council, as the legislative body, represents the entire community and formulates citywide policy at public City Council meetings. While all Councilmembers enjoy the same powers and privileges, the Mayor has the additional responsibility of presiding over City Council meetings, signing official documents, officiating at ceremonies and events, and nominating board/commission members.
Agendas: Council Meeting agendas include current legislative and policy issues to be reviewed by the Council. By law, the Council cannot take action on items or issues that are not listed on the agenda. Agendas are posted 12 days prior to meetings, except for closed sessions and City-sponsored functions that Council is invited to or may attend, which are posted 7 days prior to the meeting.
Types of Meetings: Regular City Council meetings are held the first and third Tuesday of the month at 7 pm in the Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall (2263 Santa Clara Avenue); all other City Council meetings are special meetings. Closed Sessions allow Council to address personnel, real estate or litigation matters; for reasons of confidentiality specified by law, closed session discussions are not open to the public; members of the public are permitted to comment on closed session items; following closed sessions, actions and votes are reported out publicly. Work Sessions are held to provide the City Council with an opportunity to review a special issue or project in depth and no formal action is taken during the meeting.
City Council Meeting Actions: A quorum of three members of Council is needed to convene a meeting and act on agenda items, although four affirmative votes are required for some actions; the City Council can act in three different ways:
- Ordinances are laws or legislative City Council actions that appear on two consecutive City Council agendas and become effective 30 days after adoption, except if adopted on an urgency basis; ordinances are introduced at the first meeting and finally passed at the second meeting.
- Resolutions are formalized actions of the City Council which usually become effective upon adoption.
- Motions are the least formal and most common City Council action which are captured in the meeting minutes.
Public Speaking Times: Less than five speakers can comment for 3 minutes and five or more speakers can comment for 2 minutes; speakers cannot cede time
Regular Meeting Agenda Sections, set by resolution, are:
1. Roll Call: The City Clerk performs the roll call
2. Agenda Changes: Council can vote to change the order in which agenda items will be heard; an announcement is made if any items have been removed from the agenda
3. Proclamations, Special Orders of the Day and Announcements: The Sunshine Ordinance limits this section to 15 minutes; the Mayor issues proclamations to acknowledge events or individuals
4. Oral Communications, Non Agenda Public Comment: Speakers may address the Council in regard to any matter over which the Council has jurisdiction or of which it may take cognizance that is not on the agenda. Comments shall be limited to 3 minutes if there are less than five speakers or 2 minutes if there are five or more speakers. As required by the Sunshine Ordinance, the section is limited to 15 minutes. Any speakers not called, may speak under Section 9. Speakers may comment only once on the same topic even where multiple meetings are held on the same day. No speaker may cede time to another. Speakers must be in person to comment under this agenda section.
5. Consent Calendar: Agenda items listed under the Consent Calendar are considered routine and will be enacted, approved, or adopted by one motion, unless Councilmembers request an item to be removed for a full discussion. Members of the public may comment once on the entire Consent Calendar. Speaker’s comments shall be limited to 3 minutes if there are less than five speakers or 2 minutes if there are five or more speakers. No speaker may cede time to another. Without removing/”pulling” an item from the Consent Calendar, any Councilmember may speak for 3 minutes to ask clarifying questions, make brief comments or record a vote other than aye. If any Councilmember requests to have a presentation and discussion of a Consent Calendar item, it will be heard after Regular Agenda Items and prior to the vote on the item, each Councilmember may ask questions and deliberate for up to 5 minutes on the item. Routine items may include, but are not limited to, annual reports and hearings, budget adjustments, contracts, grants, final passage of ordinances, legislative positions, Police policies and items returning to Council.
6. Continued Agenda Items: This section is for items that have been continued from a prior City Council meeting; public comment and speaking times are determined based on the prior meeting.
7. Regular Agenda Items: Public comment will be allowed on all agenda items at the time each item is called. All speakers, regardless of elected or appointed status, shall limit comments to 3 minutes if there are less than five speakers or 2 minutes for items with five or more speakers. No speaker may cede time to another. Public comment is not permitted on motions. Presentations and Council questions precede public comment. Public comment shall not be used to elicit a debate and speakers shall avoid personal attacks of members of the Council, staff or public.
8. City Manager Communications: The City Manager briefs the Council and public on items of interest
9. Oral Communications, Non Agenda Public Comment: Speakers not called under Section 4 may address the Council in regard to any matter over which the Council has jurisdiction or of which it may take cognizance that is not on the agenda. Comments are limited to 3 minutes if there are less than 5 speakers or 2 minutes is there are five or more speakers. Speakers must be in person to comment under this agenda section.
10. Council Referrals: Matters placed on the agenda by Councilmembers may be scheduled as future agenda items or dispositive action may be taken on sufficiently noticed time sensitive legislative matters; presentations are limited to 5 minutes. Speakers shall limit comments to three (3) minutes if there are less than five (5) speakers or limited to two (2) minutes for items with five (5) or more speakers. No speaker may cede time to another. Public comment is not permitted on motions. Presentations and Council questions precede public comment. Public comment shall not be used to elicit a debate and speakers shall avoid personal attacks of members of the Council, staff or public.
11. Council Communications: Councilmembers have an opportunity to speak for 9 minutes to make brief announcements about activities or matters not on the agenda, including reporting on meetings or conferences, attending events or the Mayor’s Board/Commission nominations