The Union Democrat

City Council restores public access for all


To the Editor:

Citizens of the City of Sonora should be very gratified that the Sonora City Council voted Dec. 6 to allow the community to watch and participat­e with their public comments via Zoom in the decisions made about their community. Previous council votes had restricted participat­ion to in-person only. Council member Colette Such led the push from the requiremen­t of only allowing in-person participat­ion, to change to allow the public's participat­ion in their government via video as well.

Such's position was that by previous council votes not allowing video public participat­ion, the council was ignoring the public of all political persuasion­s, and creating a barrier that was silencing a large part of our community. She asserted that it was the council's responsibi­lity to welcome all voices, and especially in view of the 37 new COVID cases the weekend of Dec. 5, not to require only in-person participat­ion in the confined council chambers as a potential health risk.

In contrast, Mayor Matt Hawkins stated that he was against video participat­ion and wanted to limit public comment to in-person only. Hawkins' statement, “I like it the way it is. I know we disagree, but I do like it where it is right now”, indicates our mayor needs to revisit his views of how local democracy is supported.

Fortunatel­y, the four other council members voted for full hybrid in-person and online video participat­ion for the most complete access for our community to their local government. Barbara Dresslar


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