Around Town | September 10, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 10, 2021

Around Town

DIALED IN ... When the City Council retired in June for a summer break, it fully expected that by the time September rolled around, its meetings would revert in some part to their pre-pandemic form. In late May, with the end of the health crisis seemingly in sight, members endorsed a "hybrid" approach in which most council members would go to City Hall for the meetings but would still give the public a chance to participate remotely. Now, with the prevalence of the delta variant, the council is still holding meetings via Zoom and the future of its meetings remains hazy. A new staff report notes that despite the city's plans for hybrid meetings, "safety concerns prompted the decision to continue the virtual-only meeting format for City Council and City board and commissions, at least through the month of September." The city, like many others, is legally allowed to conduct remote meetings through Sept. 30 under a June executive order by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Several state bills are trying to extend that authority beyond September, chief among them AB 361, which was authored by Assembly member Robert Rivas, D-Salinas, and which would allow local governments to hold remote meetings when they declare a state of emergency. The bill has passed the Assembly and is winding through the Senate's committee process (the Judiciary Committee was scheduled to discuss it on Sept. 9).

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