Our Upcoming Events
Existing Protocols & Rules of Conduct at an Oakland City Council Meeting
Welcome to the Oakland City Council meeting. We recognize that citizen engagement is an important element of the democratic process, and that an open, transparent public process delivers better policies and higher quality decisions made by elected leaders.
Tonight we anticipate an unusually large crowd. To ensure an orderly legislative process where all voices may be heard, we remind you of the following existing protocols and rules of conduct, which are founded on State and local law (Ralph M. Brown Act and Oakland municipal code—Sunshine Ordinance, City Council Rules & Procedures), and which most public agencies use to conduct effective public meetings.
Rules of Conduct
- In order to ensure ADA access, there will be no standing in the Council Chambers except for TV cameras and/or radio reporters using the press pool.
- Under the City’s Sunshine Ordinance, if the City anticipates that the number of people attending the meeting may exceed the legal capacity of the room, an overflow room will be provided to allow the audience to listen to the meeting.
- If all of the seats in the Council Chambers are full, you may watch the meeting from the overflow room on the first floor.1
- Anyone attending the meeting has the right to record, photograph or broadcast the proceedings unless these activities persistently disrupt the meeting.1
- Please exercise common courtesy and respect during public meetings. The use of profanity, verbal or physical threats or any behavior that may be dangerous, create a health or safety problem, create a hostile environment or otherwise disrupt the meeting proceedings are not permitted and will be cause for removal from the meeting.
- Under State law, in the event that the meeting is willfully interrupted by a group or groups of people to the extent that the meeting cannot continue in an orderly fashion, the individuals interrupting the meeting will be removed.
- If removing those individuals does not restore order, the presiding Councilmember may order the room cleared and continue the meeting.2
- Representatives of the news media, unless participating in the disturbance, shall be allowed to attend the meeting.2
- At the beginning of each City Council meeting, there will be a 15-minute Open Forum for the public to address the City Council on any topic of public interest that is not on the meeting agenda.
- If you wish to speak during Open Forum, please fill out a speaker card.3
- You will be given one to three minutes to speak, at the discretion of the Councilmember presiding over the meeting.3
- If everyone who submitted a speaker card is not heard within the 15-minute period, Open Forum will be continued at the end of the meeting prior to adjournment.3
- Please be advised that, by law, the City Council is unable to discuss or take action on issues presented during Open Forum. According to State Law (Brown Act) and the City’s Sunshine Ordinance, items must first be noticed on the Council Agenda before any Council discussion or action can occur.1,2
- You may speak to the City Council about any item that is on the agenda.1
- If you wish to speak to the City Council regarding items on the Consent Calendar scheduled from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., please fill out and submit a speaker card prior to Council action on Modifications to the Agenda and Procedural items.3
- If you wish to speak to the City Council regarding items on the Non-Consent Calendar scheduled after 6:30 p.m., please fill out and submit a speaker card prior to the item being called for discussion.3
- When the Council reaches your item on the agenda, the City Clerk will call your name. Please address the Council from the public microphone at the podium.3
- Generally each speaker is given two minutes to speak.3
- The amount of time allotted to speakers may vary based on the presiding Councilmember’s discretion, depending on the number of speakers and/or the length of the agenda.3
- Each person wishing to speak on an item is permitted to speak once, based on time limits established by the presiding Councilmember.3
- Only people who are part of a specific group addressing the City Council may congregate at the Speaker’s Podium.
- The public has the right to criticize policies, procedures, programs or services of the City or of the actions or omissions of the City Council or staff.1,2
- Under local law, the presiding Councilmember will maintain order in the Council chambers and has the authority to refuse the floor to any person. He or she may rule a public speaker out of order if:
o The speaker is speaking beyond the allocated time limit;
o If the speaker’s remarks are not relevant to the agenda; or
o If the manner, tone and content of the speaker’s remarks are disruptive (disturb the peace and good order of the meeting), maliciously attack the character of individuals or are abusive (e.g., vulgar or obscene language).3
The above protocols will ensure that the City conducts its business and enable public participation.
1 Oakland Sunshine Ordinance
2 State of California Ralph M. Brown Act
3 City Council Rules & Procedures