Participating in City Council Meetings
Anyone can participate in a City Council meeting by following the process for public comment or written communication. Learn how and when you can give written or verbal input to the city council on agenda items or on general issues.
Berkeley’s City Council meets regularly to discuss and make decisions on local laws and policies. Berkeley residents, business owners, and other stakeholders can give input on these decisions by commenting at a City Council meeting or submitting written comments in advance of the meeting. You can also contact the Mayor and Councilmembers directly.
Make a plan to participate
City Council generally meets on two Tuesdays of the month at 6:00 pm, and often organizes additional special meetings. View the City Council meetings page to see upcoming dates and times.
Review agendas for upcoming meetings to decide if there are any decisions you would like to comment on. You can access regular meeting agendas 12 days before the meeting online or in person at the City Clerk Department.
If you would like to show a presentation as part of your comment on an agenda item, send a PowerPoint file (in .ppt or .pptx format) to email@example.com at least seven days before the meeting, or five days before for agenda items that were carried over from the previous week’s meeting.
You can watch meetings in formats that don't allow for public comment, such as:
- Watch from Cable B-TV (Channel 33)
- Watch live streaming online
Closed captioning is provided on live and recorded videos. If you need special assistance to participate in meetings, please contact the City Clerk Department at (510) 981-6900 or firstname.lastname@example.org with 48 hours notice.
Join in or comment at a meeting
To participate in a City Council meeting virtually, you can choose to join by phone or online using Zoom.
Dial 1-669-900-9128 or 1-877-853-5257 (Toll Free) and enter the Meeting ID. The meeting ID will be posted at the top of each meeting agenda.
To speak, press *9 when your item is called and wait for your turn.
The meeting Chair will announce when it is your turn to speak by reading the last four digits of your phone number.
Follow the link posted on the first page of the meeting agenda.
To speak, use the "raise hand" icon near the bottom of the screen and wait.
The meeting Chair will call your name when it is your turn.
To use this option, you will need to use the Zoom platform. Zoom provides instructions that you can review in advance, including joining a test meeting.
You are not required to provide your name to participate. Your name will appear on the screen however you enter it into the app.
If you miss the live meeting, you can watch a recording online or on B-TV on Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m. and the following Sunday at 9:00 a.m. You can also visit the City Council meeting video and audio archive.
Closed captioning will be provided on the live and recorded videos. If you need special assistance to participate in meetings, please contact the City Clerk Department at (510) 981-6900 or email@example.com with 48 hours notice.
When to comment
There are different times during the City Council meeting when you may comment, depending on whether you wish to comment on Consent Calendar agenda items, Action Calendar agenda items, or general topics not on the agenda. For more details on how City Council meetings work, read the Council Rules of Procedure and Order.
Comment on Consent or Information Calendar agenda items
Public comment for items on the Consent or Information Calendars happens all at once, rather than after each individual item. During the period for public comment on Consent or Information items, you can comment on any item from those sections of the agenda. You will have up to two minutes and may only speak once.
Note that the Council may choose to move items from the Consent and Information calendar to the Action Calendar. If the agenda item moves to the Action Calendar, you will be able to comment on it during that portion of the meeting.
Comment on Action Calendar agenda items
You can comment on agenda items on the Action Calendar as the item is taken up for discussion. Up to ten speakers may speak for two minutes each. If more than ten speakers want to speak, the time to speak may be reduced to one minute each.
Comment on general topics
There will be one opportunity for public comment on non-agenda matters at the beginning of the meeting, and another at the end. If five or fewer people who want to speak, each speaker has two minutes. If more than five people want to speak, up to ten speakers will be randomly selected and given a one-minute time limit.
Comment in writing
You can provide your comments for City Council in writing by sending it to the City Clerk Department in advance.
In order to be included in the agenda packet, send your comment by 5:00 pm 15 days before the Council meeting. Your written comment will be distributed to Council along with the agenda packet under the “Communications” section.
After the agenda has been distributed, you can provide written comment on a specific agenda item. Include the agenda item topic, number, and date of the meeting.
Your written comments will be included in a supplemental packet to the agenda, which will be distributed before or after the meeting, depending on when you submit:
- Submit by 5 pm seven days before the meeting to be included in Supplemental Packet 1, distributed five days before the meeting
- Submit by 12 pm on the day before the meeting to be included in Supplemental Packet 2, distributed by 5 pm the day before the meeting
- Submissions received after 12 pm on the day before the meeting will be included in Supplemental Packet 3, distributed by 5 pm two days after the meeting
Written comments to the City Council may be submitted by email or mail:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail: 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
Communications to the City Council are public record and will become part of the City’s electronic records, which are accessible through the City’s website. Please note: e-mail addresses, names, addresses, and other contact information are not required, but if included in any communication to the City Council, will become part of the public record.
Note that you may not bring objects and signs that have sticks or poles attached into the Council Chamber during Council meetings.