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Shutting down comments via Zoom is a great disservice

Editor, Ceres Courier,

With the Ceres City Council’s move to shut down Zoom-based public comments, the city council’s dismal track record in fostering official public involvement has hit a new low. Their decision to end live public Zoom comments because of one incident of racist remarks will likely cause public participation to sink to a nauseating new low.

Anyone regularly attending or watching City Council meetings online will tell you that you can count – on one hand – the number of people who regularly officially participate in Ceres’ government. Zoom gave many people, myself included, the opportunity to join and participate in government when I was too busy caring for a newborn at home or when out of town commuting for work.

Former councilman Mike Kline once wrote to me, “With technology as it is today, businesses are always looking for ways to reach new customers, and yes, government as a whole should do the same.” Yes, we may still submit our comments for consideration – and this may be the way we have always done things – but at a time when public participation is abysmal, shutting down comments will curtail the little participation we have now and deprive us of the opportunity to elaborate on concerns or ask important questions about concerning issues the moment they arise.

As a regular public opinion contributor, I hope the council reconsiders this terrible decision that does a disservice to people’s ability to participate in democracy.

Alvaro Franco,


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