Glendale continues to follow state and federal guidelines by limiting the number of people attending meetings.
The public is temporarily banned from attending Glendale City Council meetings, which are shown online; citizens may email comments to email email@example.com or leave a voicemail at 623-930-4530.
Most city board and commission meetings have been canceled, although the Glendale Planning Commission continues to meet.
A sampling of comments sent to The Glendale Star on the new policies:
“The actual presence of a speaker is important. It shows an effort has been made to prepare comments, to attend, and to speak on an issue. The presence of residents at meetings is important, whether or not they speak or not. They are sending a message by being there that they either support or are opposed to an issue. They may be carrying signs or wearing a color that indicates their preference,” Jane Bachmann said.
According to Jack Martino, “Virtual (video) and teleconferencing meetings seem to have become the new norm and can provide public input if managed and communicated to the public appropriately. ...
“No doubt,” he added, “public input/participation should be a priority, and that message is paramount if Glendale desires to be successful.”
Jay McKim noted Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued an opinion that “virtual meetings” do not violate Arizona’s open meeting laws.
“Glendale seems to be meeting the stated criteria with its notices and multiple methods of accepting public comments,” McKim said.
“That said, our council has been up to dirty tricks again. They would do the same if the public was still allowed to attend, but now they can avoid looking us in the eyes.”
Kelly Carbello noted, “Just showing up to a meeting is an expression of free speech. A group of people showing up to a meeting is an expression of free speech and free assembly. Nobody has to actually speak to make a statement.
“...Any matter that may have a significant effect on people’s lives should be postponed until the situation has been resolved.”
Stella Greazzo agreed: “Why the urgency to carry on the meetings without residents in attendance? The meetings should be on hold until residents can attend. Why the rush? Sad to say but I just don’t trust City Council.”
Jennifer Bloomberg of Waddell, who opposes the planned Love’s Travel Center near Loop 303, was looking forward to making her protest in person.
“I think it’s unfair to remove the human element, because some of their planning sessions really affect our lives in the communities they are rezoning and building in. They’ve already proven they don’t care much about our opinion and it seems like it’s more of an inconvenience to allow us to speak in person. This would make it easier for them to pass their agenda without concern for the public,” Bloomberg said.
The next Glendale City Council meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 28. To watch live, visit facebook.com/GlendaleAZ.
The city sent a press release April 21 outlining a way for “live” participation: “For those agenda items which require a public hearing, you can receive a call back on the phone during the time that specific item is being reviewed so that you can speak live to the council.
“For the April 28 meeting: If you would like to comment during the land development public hearing section or resolutions and ordinances public hearing section on the agenda, please call 623-930-4530 and follow the prompts. The deadline for leaving your message is 4 p.m. on April 28.”