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