Persistence pays off. The confusing Signal Hill city council agenda was changed to make it clear when the official time of city council meetings start and when the public is entitled to speak. Signal Hill Community First went to bat for this change because it’s the way an open and honest government does business.
Also made clear is the public’s right to voluntarily give or withhold stating or writing their name on an information card in order to speak at the meeting. State law prohibits the city from requiring anyone to give that information as a condition of speaking on an agenda item.
For the public record, however, the city requests that speakers voluntarily announce their name at the podium or fill-out a card.
The revised city council agenda starts with the official Call to Order at 6 p.m. The public must be given 72-hour advance notice of the start time with a list and brief description of items on the agenda. With this information, the community knows when to show-up at meetings to voice opinions on city policies and programs.
These public rights are provided by the Ralph M. Brown Act adopted by the California Legislature in 1953. Recent media reports on local government corruption and suppression of public participation has renewed interest in the Brown Act and the state’s Open Meeting Act. Both provide the legal framework for public participation to achieve transparency in government processes and official actions.