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?