Jersey City Council meetings should be live-streamed and hybrid!

To the City Clerk, the Jersey City Council, and the Mayor:
We are writing to respectfully request two basic changes to how the Jersey City Council conducts its meetings:
  1. That all City Council meetings be live-streamed online, effective immediately , so that members of the public can listen to and view to public meetings remotely. We would like to see this in place as soon as the next council meeting in September;
  2. That within 6 months of today (by Feb 2023) the Council begin fully hybrid meetings, where members of the public may not only view and listen, but also call in to give public comment remotely. We believe that giving you six months is ample time to get the proper technology in order.

We see compelling reasons to live-stream meetings ASAP:

  • It will offer greater participation from the community at large, including people who may not be able to travel to regularly scheduled meetings in person;
  • It will offer greater government transparency;
Reasons to have hybrid meetings (with remote public speaking as an option):
  • greater community participation, including people who may not be able to attend meetings due to work commitments, health issues, lack of childcare, or any of a number of reasons;
  • opens up meetings to a more diverse population who may have been excluded until now
More reasons:
  • We know it works. As this Jersey Journal op-ed notes from February 2022, "since the technology exists to allow participation through hybrid meetings with both those able to attend in-person and those more comfortable dialing in from home, why not do it?" ("Hybrid Meetings Best Serve the Public Interest", February 2022)
  • The Jersey City Board of Education is able to provide meetings that are live-streamed as well as allow for remote public comment -- if they can do it, why can't the City Council?
  • The "Civic Web Portal" for Jersey City states: "Meetings are streamed live through our CivicWeb Portal, allowing you to watch a meeting as it occurs." And yet, this isn't the case for the City Council meetings. If the City has the technology to enable live streaming, why are we not using it to its highest and best use for public engagement?
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