Is your city doing enough to reach out to you?

A way to promote more attendance at council meetings by means of bringing the meetings to the community hasn’t always worked in the past, Alison Hewitt reports.

West Covina council meetings stay put
Majority rejects rotating sites throughout city
By Alison Hewitt, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 03/22/2008 11:02:22 PM PDT

WEST COVINA – The city has rejected roving City Council meetings.

Three council members said holding four meetings a year in different neighborhoods to encourage more people to attend would actually reduce participation. It would also present logistical problems, they added.

Councilwoman Shelley Sanderson worried that resuming the program, which the council first tried in 2003, would just bring back old problems.

“When we were doing this (in 2003), while the intent was to engage more public participation in City Council meetings, the result was there were fewer residents in attendance,” she said at the March 18 council meeting.

Other cities, such as Azusa, also hold community meetings, he said.

However, unlike [Councilman Roger] Hernandez’s suggestion to hold four regular, Tuesday-night council meetings throughout the city, Azusa’s quarterly roving meetings are untelevised Saturday-morning affairs with agendas tailored to the specific community.

“At our council meetings, it’s the same people that come all the time,” said Azusa Mayor Joe Rocha. “There are people who would like to speak with us but who don’t come because they work or maybe they’re tired from work, so this helps them.”

As we wrap up the end of Sunshine Week, this story brings up a good point: Do your elected representatives do enough to reach out to you and your community? If the answer is no, what else could they be doing?

  • I am a West Covina resident. I think the city does a fair job in trying to keep us informed. I get mailers every month or so that let me know of new developments and the happenings in and out of City Hall. I can watch the council and planning commission meetings on TV. There are signs posted around the city informing me about projects. And even though its website is confusing with all the different links to hit, it has all the information I need. And if I really wanted to, I could go to the council meetings.

  • I think rotating meetings is a neat idea, but I have to concur with Ms. McLain– once you learn how to navigate the website, there’s a ton of stuff to find. It’s like going on a high-tech, more-boring Easter Egg hunt. I think it would be neat, though, if the council’s campaign forms and stuff was online. It’ll probably make life easier for residents AND the folks at the city clerk’s office.

  • TC Resident

    Temple City:

    – Update City website with links to old City Council meeting agendas/approved minutes (in an archive)

    – Air taped City Council meetings on the City’s designated cable channel

    – Podcast City Council meetings

  • South El Monte SEM City Council Meetings

    The city of South El Monte has two council meetings a month. One is with the Temple Station Sheriffs Department, Captain, Lutienent, Sargeant and two dedicated Deputies,STAR Deputy and Fire Department #90 usually a Catain and Assistant Fire Chief, (pretty cool). The second and fourth tuesday of the month. The agenda is posted outside of city hall in a glass case, the SEM Senior and Community Centers, the city library and the Fire Station #90 on Rush. The City Clerk Mrs. Socorro Carrette also has copies for us residents, as does the receptionist st the front desk. It is also sent to Congressional, State and Federal Elected Officials offices. There are also full agendas for the news media and copies for the public at the front door entrance door box to the current meetings, Planning, Community Servces, and Special and city budget meetings. The current and past agendas can be found on the web page for the city. It has all the information for community services, city services, states and federal and fire and sheriff as well as much more impotant necessary phone numbers, addresses and contacts. The council meetings are video taped and on cassett. They also avaliable for the community to check out from the city clerk and the South El Monte County Library. The outcome of the meetings are then reported and printed in the South El Monte City Newspaper (which also has city and Community information, programs,and
    local city schools information, and other news)that is delivered to all households and businesses and the entire city with the 91733 zip code. The city does a great job in getting out the information to the community. You can also get information from a live person who answers the city phone and connects you to a particular department. (I don’t care for those cities that have a recorded voice mail. That is so impersonal and totally bugs me.It has improved within the last ten years. We look forward to it. SEM Resident (ps I had to re-check some of this information.) Thanks for asking. I think God gets one too.