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To Zoom or not to Zoom? Berkeley City Council is being sued

City of Berkeley logo
City of Berkeley
City of Berkeley
City of Berkeley logo

The Berkeley City Council continued three public meetings in a conference room over Zoom after Council sessions in November and January were disrupted by protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

TheBerkeley People’s Alliance is claiming that the Berkeley City Council is in violation of California’s public meeting law -- known as the Brown Act.

At the heart of the dispute is whether the council was in breach of the Brown Act, when they decided to continue a public meeting in a conference room on Zoom. According to Nathan Mizell of the Alliance, there should be:

“ A clear indication on the agenda that the council member is seeking to participate via teleconference, and if it does not include that type of notice, they can invoke, either a just cause or emergency circumstance provision, and the council has not done so at any of these meetings."

As reported by Berkeleyside, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín said “We have taken extra steps to enable transparency and participation,... The alternative, is that we would have to arrest everyone and drag them out of the room — how is that a good outcome?”

Berkeley City Council has seen two of its members resign already this year and the city has a race for Mayor to be decided in November.

Sandra Halladey is a member of the 2024 KALW Audio Academy.
Passionate about speaking up for and building a constituency of support for public institutions — especially public education and the arts.