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Mayor Gordo Wants to Open Council Meetings For In-Person Public Attendance Next Month

Published on Tuesday, September 27, 2022 | 5:52 am
 

Mayor Victor Gordo told Pasadena Now on Monday that he would like the City Council to open its door to the public for in-person meetings some time next month.

“I’d like to see us back in front of the public by the middle of October,” Gordo said.

The City Council has been meeting virtually — after closing down entirely for a short time — since a local emergency was declared at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to continue meeting online, the Council must pass a resolution roughly every 30-days under the terms of Assembly Bill 361.

Beyond that initial 30-day period, it must confirm the circumstances of the state of emergency and make required findings at least 30 days after adoption of the resolution and every 30 days thereafter.

The current extension of the resolution allows the City Council to continue meeting online until Oct. 12.

Because the City Council will not meet on Oct. 12, the City Council will vote on the resolution on Oct. 3, since the City Council will not meet on Oct. 10.

At that time, the City Council will vote on approving the resolution again. Gordo stopped short of saying he would vote against the resolution reiterating his intent.

“I will listen to any Councilmembers who may object,” Gordo said. “But my intent is for us to be back in front of the public by the middle of October. That said, of course I have to listen and be respectful of any requests by my colleagues.”

Gordo told Councilmembers in May to get ready to attend meetings before the public soon.

“All members of the City Council should begin contemplating returning to the Council chambers,” Gordo said. “I think there is a lot lost when we don’t have members of the public in the Council chamber.”

At that time, Gordo said he thought the Council could meet in front of a live crowd in June or July.

But the City Council later voted to continue virtual meetings.

An executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom allowing virtual meetings and suspending parts of the Brown Act, which governs open meetings of legislative bodies, ended on Sept. 30.

Under state law, real-time public comments must be allowed by phone or the internet. If the system fails allowing for public comment the meeting must be ended.

Ironically, it was Gordo who led the charge for the City Council and City government to return to meetings during the pandemic.
After COVID struck, local government shut down entirely and then returned with virtual meetings.

Although many other bodies have returned to live meetings, including the Pasadena Unified School District, the City Council continues to meet virtually.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors’ meetings will reopen for in-person public attendance Tuesday for the first time since the early days of the pandemic.

The decision to resume in-person meetings was prompted by the county’s recent move from the “medium” to “low” COVID-19 community activity level, as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Attendance at the County Board’s 9:30 a.m. meeting at the Hall of Administration will be limited to 100 people, and all attendees will be asked to wear face masks.

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