No Comment? Council Seeks to End Virtual Participation at Meetings

When there is a crucial change being considered, and it’s at the very tail end of the agenda, it’s a red flag that the mayor does not want you to see this. Its the mayoral privilege to organize what goes on the agenda and when it is considered; tonight’s item to remove the ability for people to make public comments at city council meetings without being physically present is scheduled to draw as little notice and participation as possible. 

Who is getting removed from participation? 

Parents, mostly. 

While being able to comment virtually is important for people with physical disabilities, or limited mobility, the virtual access here is what makes it possible for the huge number of voters who have families. 

This revolutionary shift that I have seen as a pandemic-silver-lining needs to be continued as a part of our municipal system, not curtailed. 

I saw it most clearly at the CCUSD School Board meetings. Prior to the shutdown, I’d attend a school board meeting and find that I was one of maybe a dozen people in the audience. When we were ‘safer at home,’ the Zoom call for the school board meeting was often 500 people – and there might have been more, but that was the capacity. Why had these hundreds of people never showed up in person? They need to be home with their children; meetings happen during dinnertime, homework time, bathtime, bedtime… If you have a virtual connection in the other room, you can still be part of the meeting.

They are planning to end that availability, tonight. 

Democracy requires participation, and this agenda item seems to be the same flavor of Republican strategy that seeks to make it harder for people to vote all over the country. 

It’s a strange and specific insult to the biggest block of voters in Culver City. 

And those whose physical issues limit their mobility; is the city inviting a lawsuit for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act? 

The fact that it’s the last item of the evening is the hope that it will happen not just after your children’s bedtime, but after your bedtime, and you’ll hear about it after it’s too late to add your voice. Because after that, your voice is not going to be able to be heard.

Want to comment on this agenda item virtually? Go to, and click on City Meetings. It will take you through to where you can sign in to watch or to participate. You can ask to comment on Agenda Item A-6. 

Might be the last chance. 

Judith Martin-Straw


The Actors' Gang