The City of Greensboro has announced the next meeting of the Greensboro City Council will begin at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5 in cyberspace, instead of the scheduled time of 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber.
This will also be a virtual meeting and will serve as the public forum meeting for the month of May. Comments must be received by May 4, 2020 at 5 p.m. at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 336-373-3732 to be included at the meeting.
At the first virtual City Council public forum meeting on April 14, Mayor Nancy Vaughan stated the general topics of the comments, but did not state how many comments were received on any topic. Vaughan also did not state the names of the people who had commented or even in general terms what their comment was.
Vaughan said, “We received a number of comments on the two rezonings that we should hear next week and they would be summarized at next week’s meeting.”
At an actual public forum, the speakers stand at the podium before the City Council, give their name and address and are allowed to speak for three minutes about the topic of their choice. Since the meetings are broadcast live on the Greensboro Television Network (GTN) and available for viewing on the city’s website, a speaker can reach quite a few people with their message.
Because of the statewide stay-at-home order and the virtual nature of the meeting, that is not possible. The comments are said to be available on the city website, and they might be. But what is available on the “Meeting Calendar” page are the names of the people who commented and the general topic. For the rezoning issues it includes whether they were for or against. It also includes questions people asked.
Why anyone would go to the “Meeting Calendar” page to look for comments is a mystery. But you can see what the city considers a summary of the comments here: https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/home/showdocument?id=45457
The comments could also be somewhere else on the city’s webpage at https://www.greensboro-nc.gov/home. But they aren’t in any of the places where someone who is familiar with the website would look, even if that person spent a considerable amount of time searching.