The Milpitas City Council has joined an increasing list of jurisdictions requiring public comments to be delivered in person or in writing through the end of the year. In recent weeks, hate speech has spread through the hijacking of government public meetings such as Sacramento, Monterey, El Cerrito, Walnut Creek, Berkeley, South San Francisco, Livermore and others. A virtual tool that allowed residents to participate, influence decisions and hold elected officials accountable has quickly become a platform for hate and harassment.
“We stand firmly against any form of bigotry, racism, or prejudice. Such views have no place in Milpitas, and we are committed to fostering an environment where all our residents feel safe, valued and included,” said Mayor Carmen Montano.
According to Vice Mayor Evelyn Chua, “We encourage open and respectful dialogue, where differing opinions can be shared and discussed constructively. However, we draw the line at speech that seeks to divide, demean, or harm Milpitas community members.”
The determination to temporarily discontinue virtual public comments was made in light of recent reports of Zoom-bombing attacks in other communities. Members of the public will be required to attend meetings in-person if they want to comment on an agenda item. They will also continue to have the option to share comments through email and/or regular mail, but these will not be verbalized during the City Council meeting. However, every comment submitted will be provided to the City Council and will be considered a public record.
About the City of Milpitas
Located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, Milpitas is a progressive community that is an integral part of Silicon Valley. A full-service city with water utility, sewer utility, police and fire services, Milpitas is a flourishing community with a very diverse and inclusive resident population of over 80,000. Often referred to as the Crossroads of Silicon Valley, the City is situated between major thoroughfares in the Bay Area and considered a highly desirable location for world-class technology companies seeking to build a central base of operations. With the addition of the new Milpitas Transit Center offering BART, light rail and bus service, and multiple new mixed-use development projects, along with a host of new City Plans and Programs in support of an inspiring and sustainable future, the City is at the forefront of building the next generation economy. For more information, visit: www.milpitas.gov.