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Speaking at a City Council Session
You MUST sign up to speak by filling out THIS FORM at least 2 hours
before the start of the meeting.
Read the Speaker Protocol HERE.
Important Information and Tips:
- You can speak at one of two times:
     1) At Hear Visitors at the beginning of the meeting. Use this time only if the subject of
         your remarks is not on the agenda. If it is, you will be moved to that later time.
     2) When your agenda item comes up before Council later in the evening.
- You can speak on multiple agenda items, but must submit separate forms for each.
- You have three minutes! Then they cut off your microphone ... which is embarrassing and
      lessens your impact. That's not very long! It helps to write out your remarks and rehearse
      them for timing. Better to be brief than long-winded.
- You can get up to 10 minutes by having 5 or more people sign up to speak and cede their
      time to a single speaker.
- Slide and video presentations are very effective, but you don't get extra time.
     Submit them according to the instructions and check with the A/V staff before the
     meeting to make sure they have your file and know who will be speaking.
- Keep your remarks concise and to the point.
- Respect Council's Time. If your points have already been made, either just take a pass or
     quickly state that you agree and support what previous speakers have said.
- If you complain about a specific Staff member or department, Council may allow the
     appropriate person to respond to you directly. Make sure you have your facts straight!
Does it Really Matter? YES
Speaking before Council can have real effects on outcomes.
- You may have information that Council Members don't have. City Staff is not
    all-knowing and they do have their own agendas. No one knows your
    neighborhood better than you and your neighbors.
- The public can actually provide guidance to both Staff and Council. Early
    engagement, in particular, by the public can often alter the course of a project.
- Council members are reluctant (sometimes) to vote against a large group of
    irate residents. If no one shows up to speak on an issue, they assume no
    one really objects.
- Public turnout provides Council members with justification and "cover" for
    their votes. They are politicians that want your vote in the next election and
    they want to be able to say that they followed the will of their constituents.
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