(KRON) — The City of Burlingame will no longer allow remote public comment at city council and commission meetings, according to a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday. The San Mateo County city said the ban was in response to recent “Zoom-bombing” at city council and commission meetings.
Individuals espousing anti-Semitic rhetoric have disrupted meetings around the Bay Area, according to the city. “This is unacceptable, hurtful, and goes against the City Council’s commitment to remain ‘United Against Hate,'” the posted statement said.
Burlingame’s announcement cited a recent Monterey City Council meeting in which white supremacists used fake names, including those of infamous Nazis. Callers in that meeting espoused “hateful and ignorant speech,” the City of Burlingame said.
Similar incidents have occurred with remote commentators at recent city council meetings in Walnut Creek, San Mateo, San Carlos, Pacifica, Atherton and Sacramento. Several Bay Area cities have taken similar steps to ban remote comment, including Walnut Creek, which did so earlier this week.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the City has made the decision to no longer allow remote comment during Council and Commission meetings,” Burlingame stated. “It is important that we not only stand with the community against hate-mongering and anti-Semitism, but that we also stay focused on City business.”
Burlingame said it still encourages public comment and discourse on matters in public meetings. However, the city is asking that for the foreseeable future, people attend meetings in person to comment or email comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last week, the Santa Rosa School Board made a similar move to ban virtual comments at meetings.