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.
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: The Sunshine Ordinance limits this section to 15 minutes; members of the public can speak for up to two minutes regarding any matter not on the agenda that is under the jurisdiction of the City Council; if there are any, remaining speakers may comment under Section 9; the Council cannot take action on issues raised under Oral Communications; for items appearing on the agenda, public comment is heard when the Council addresses the item
5. Consent Calendar: Items are routine and will be approved by one motion; members of the public may speak once for up to 2 minutes on the entire Consent Calendar; following public comment, the Council can remove items and speak for up to 5 minutes on each item; recording a non-affirmative vote should be done without removal; routine items include, but are not limited to, annual reports and hearings, budget adjustments, contracts, grants, final passage of ordinances, 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: Items of significance and introduction of ordinances are heard under this section; six members of the public may speak for up to 3 minutes; seven or more may speak for up to 3 minutes; Councilmembers may speak for up to 9 minutes
8. City Manager Communications: The City Manager briefs the Council and public on items of interest
9. Oral Communications, Non Agenda Public Comment: Any speakers not called under the Section 4 of Oral Communications will be called; members of the public can speak for up to two minutes regarding any matter not on the agenda that is under the jurisdiction of the City Council
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; Councilmembers can speak for up to 3 minutes; six members of the public may speak for up to 3 minutes; seven or more may speak for up to 2 minutes
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