Political Conference

Tips for Public Comments at City Council Meetings

Making a public comment is an excellent way for your local leaders to hear the concerns of the people they serve! 

You can make a positive impact by voicing your viewpoints on important issues. Use this quick guide as a way to be even more effective with your message!

Step 1: Stay in the loop!

  • You can keep up with agenda items and upcoming council meetings by registering for alerts at the city website.
     

Step 2: Prepare your statement

  • Read up on the agenda items you wish to make a statement about. 

    • You want to come from an informed place that aids in problem-solving. 

  • Your statement should include:

    • Some information about yourself: Your name, if you live or work in the city, and any other information that may convey how the specific agenda item affects you. 

    • A Clear statement of your position. 

      • Speak from your own experience, expanding on how a specific agenda item can affect you that emphasizes your position. 

      • Stick to the facts. You already stated your anecdotal evidence, now showcase that you are not the only constituent affected. 

      • Request action and offer solutions. If possible or appropriate, back up any suggestions you have with examples of it working in a similar city. This helps the decision-makers wrap their heads around any new ideas they have not yet explored or thought of as ineffective. 

      • Keep your statement respectful and courteous. This helps to keep minds open to needed changes! It helps to thank the decision makers for their time and consideration. 
         

Step 3: Communicate your Concern

  • For Simi Valley City Council Meetings, you have two avenues to communicate:

    • Via written comment, by emailing the City Clerk’s Office at PublicStatements@simivalley.org 

      • We recommend emailing your statement in, even if you plan to speak as well. Sometimes there can be  time restrictions and this is a good back-up for having your concerns documented. 

    • Via speaking at the City Council Meeting, by submitting a Speaker Card to secure your turn

      • Speaker Cards are only distributed at the City Council meeting and cannot be submitted once the Public Statements begin.

        • We recommend that you arrive early to secure your speaking spot. Speakers are called in the order their cards were received. 

      • Typically, you will have three (3) minutes to address the City Council. 

        • Your time begins when the light on the lectern turns GREEN

        • When it is a YELLOW light, you have thirty (30) seconds remaining. 

        • The RED light indicates that your time is complete. 

        • If there are a significant number of speakers, the time allotted to speak can be reduced at the discretion of the Mayor or meeting Chair as they must 

      • Accomodations: Call the City Clerk’s Office (805) 583-6748

        • If you need an interpreter for a language other than English, the City can provide one with a 48 hour advance notice. 

          • If a 48 hour notice is not provided, you are welcome to bring your own interpreter.  

          • If you utilize an interpreter, your allotted time will double to six (6) minutes to ensure that non-English speakers have the same opportunity to directly address the Council.
             

  • Here are some additional tips for speaking at a City Council meeting:

    • Practice your statement out loud!  This gives you added confidence while speaking in the meeting and an idea of how long it is for time limit considerations. 

    • Listen to the speakers before you. Sometimes they will make a point that you agree with or wish to address when it is your time to speak. 

    • You may have a question to ask. Council members will sometimes not have an answer right away. Be sure to get a follow-up avenue from them while you still have the floor.