OWN VOICE. As we move out of our Covid world, public agencies have an opportunity to continue to use Zoom. So far the State of California has given no clear direction. Specifically, the Brown Act must be amended for these new times.
Whilst some may want to go back to public meetings, in person, many will not. There are some evenings where people can now attend the Coastside Fire Protection District at 6:00pm and then join the Midcoast Community Council (MCC) at 7:00pm, on the same night.
The MCC does not want to back in person. You can listen to their discussion below and the draft letter, based on that discussion, addressed to the Governor of California. The letter will be discussed at their next meeting on Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 at 7:00pm, by Zoom.
The San Mateo County Agricultural Advisory Committee wants to go back in person. Internet bandwidth has been a problem for some farmers on the committee. But there are some that would like to continue Zooming, for its convenience.
Most importantly, many citizens who used to go to meetings in person, now prefer Zooming. In terms of equity, access and transparency, Zoom must continue, and with participants and chat on.
Remote vs In-Person
Many more people can attend from home. Proof: MCC had 100% board attendance (which never happened in the past) and a massive increase in attendance. MWSD, GCSD, SAM, City of HMB…the same thing.
By Zoom, you can see the front of people’s faces and most people have their name printed on the screen so that you can see who they are. The Board faces are also forward facing as they speak, which is a much more meaningful way to listen to a human being, than seeing the side profile of their face.
Zoom will reduce PCTV time and costs by recording remotely.
Webinar/Raise Hand Only
The public needs to know who is Zooming, as well as who is in person.
When public agency meetings Zoom in webinar format, the audience can not see participants, but staff and council can. Further, chat is then off which cuts off communication between the participants and staff.
Chat creates a virtual Town Hall effect which is even better than in person, where talking to one’s neighbor is actually pretty rude when others are talking during an in-person meeting. Chat is better.
MCC’s Claire Toutant, at the last City HMB Council meeting, asked why participants were not on during the Council meeting, because at the MCC, there is no way anyone on the board would permit webinar format. There is no board on the Coast that lives for transparency more than the MCC. It is the only influence they have, interestingly, as they have no real power.
Even Mayor Brownstone was surprised, in 2021, that the audience could not see participants, because he can.
By NOT having participants on, the feeling of the town hall where you can see and chat with others at the meeting, is gone.
Chat is for the staff and participants, not the board (avoid Brown Act issues). When chat is on people can ask questions in the chat, rather than turning their audio on. People ramble less in chat. I drop Coastside Buzz posts into the chat, when it is available, as I have often done a clarifying story on the topic at hand.
Staff can also clarify things in the chat. Supervisor Horsley’s legislative aide, Lena Silberman, drops tons of stuff into the chat during MCC. That way when someone comes to the meeting late they can see her links and comments. Dave Olsen makes sure these go into the MCC minutes.
Coastside Buzz posts YouTube videos which allows cueing to a particular agenda item, or general comment, which is further aligned with the agenda and staff report included within the post. Sample.
This is pleasant for Coastside Buzz followers.
AAC now posts up on YouTube. Prior to Covid, the video was offered to me as a very large mp4 file, which is hard to manage and time consuming, as it has to be uploaded to iMovie to be shared to YouTube.
The County Supervisor video are up on a City platform called Granicus. Their videos are linked to agenda items, which is useful, but the video share is clumsy. All the other County meetings are on YouTube.
Timers should be used consistently by everyone. They give structure, maintain meeting schedule. Forces people to be concise. Meeting need to end on time. Email comment should also be encouraged at all meetings, as they go into the record, too.
Who Is Doing What by Zoom?
~ Michelle Dragony, Chief Buzz Officer of Coastside Buzz
Continuation of Brown Act Modifications in Order to Continue Web-Assisted Meetings
July 14, 2021 (DRAFT LETTER FOR 7/14/2021 MCC meeting)
The Midcoast Community Council is an elected Municipal Advisory Committee in a semi-rural area of San Mateo County. During the pandemic, we have learned to conduct productive meetings remotely through zoom and other platforms. Our ability to continue this is scheduled to end on September 30 when the Governor’s orders expire.
We urge you to continue current modifications to Brown Act requirements so that we can continue remote and/or hybrid meetings effectively.
We ask this for two reasons.
First, the level of participation and attendance at the meetings has risen remarkably while they have been held remotely. The community is more engaged and finds meetings and materials more accessible online than in person. Officials from the County and other entities are also more available to participate than they might be if they had to travel at night to our relatively remote location.
Secondly, a number of the MCC members have people in their lives who remain at risk of COVID infection. The only in-person meeting area available to us is poorly ventilated and cannot safely accommodate the number of people who are currently participating in on-line meetings. There is no way to ensure that attendees at meetings are vaccinated and a number of people who currently attend remote meetings would feel less comfortable attending an in-person meeting. Given the rapid evolution of new COVID variants, even vaccinated people are at some risk and we note that preventative measures have been reinstated at the State Capitol. Public health considerations should dictate that web-based meetings continue to be an option.
We ask that you extend the current Brown Act modifications to allow us to continue to meet in the way that works best for our community.
MIDCOAST COMMUNITY COUNCIL s/Michelle Weil, Chair
Full Letter to the State of California from the MCC2021-07-14-Brown-Act-Letter
VIDEO. From the Midcoast Community Council meeting Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021 at 7:00pm by Zoom.
Covid emergency orders expire September 30th, 2021.
There is no direction from the State other than to go back to In Person meetings to satisfy the Brown Act. MCC is asking how can that be wise due to the Delta variant and with kids not getting vaccinated.
Midcoast Community Council (MCC) Meetings ~ 2nd & 4th Wednesdays @ 7:00pm
Watch remotely. Comments and questions by email.
Thanks to exMCC’s Lisa Ketcham for an incredibly well curated website archive on local planning issues.
Midcoast Community Council (MCC) is an elected Municipal Advisory Council to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, representing Montara, Moss Beach, El Granada, Princeton, and Miramar.
Regular MCC meetings are on the 2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month at 7:00 PM at Granada Community Services District (GCSD) meeting room, 504 Ave Alhambra, third floor, El Granada. All MCC meetings are open to the public, and are agendized and posted according to the requirements of the Brown Act.
Agenda item supporting documents are available 72 hours in advance of meetings on http://www.MidcoastCommunityCouncil.org.
Minutes from previous meetings on http://www.midcoastcommunitycouncil.org/2017-2018/
To subscribe to MCC agendas via email, send email to MCC-Agendasfirstname.lastname@example.org
2021 Midcoast Community Council Members
P.O. Box 248, Moss Beach, CA 94038
For agendas via email, subscribe to Google Group-MCC-Agendas.
Michelle Weil, Chair – Term Ends: Dec. 2022
Claire Toutant, Vice Chair – Term Ends: Dec. 2022
Len Erickson, Secretary – Term Ends: Dec. 2022
Dave Olson, Treasurer – Term Ends: Dec. 2022
Gregg Dieguez, Member – Term Ends: Dec. 2024
Jill Grant, Member – Term Ends: Dec. 2024
Dan Haggerty, Member – Term Ends: Dec. 2024
Email : email@example.com