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County Administrator's Office

For Immediate Release

Sonoma County to limit verbal public comments to those attending in person at September 19 Board of Supervisors meeting

SANTA ROSA, CA | September 15, 2023

The County of Sonoma will not be allowing public comments to be made via Zoom for the next regular board meeting on Sept. 19. The change is due to the escalating challenges of maintaining civility among those who participate in the Public Comment portion of the Board meeting via Zoom. These challenges include a series of disruptive racist and hate-filled comments at the Sept. 12 board meeting that prevented the Board from completing its business. The changes are necessary to enforce the Board’s adopted rules of order and decorum and ensure that the Board meeting is reserved for its intended purpose — for the Board to complete County business.

Members of the public who wish to address the board during the Sept. 19 regular meeting must attend the meeting in person in the Board Chambers at 575 Administration Drive, Room 100A in Santa Rosa. Members of the public may watch or listen to the meeting on Legistar, Zoom or phone, but will not be able to comment virtually. The public is also invited to submit comments to

“We are making this change because of the hateful, hurtful verbal attacks from a few bad actors on Zoom at our last meeting,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Board of Supervisors. “I and my board colleagues are committed to free speech and open public dialogue, but that does not include racist, anti-semitic and personal attacks that only spread harm. We stand against such behavior, and will not allow our public meetings to be hijacked with the clear intent to disseminate hateful, racist or blatantly offensive speech.”

Members of the public may watch or listen to the meeting using one of the three following methods:

  1. Watch the livestream: 

Once the meeting has started, click the “In Progress” hyperlink to begin viewing.

  1. Watch in Zoom:
  1. Listen through Zoom by phone:
    • Dial +1 (669) 900 9128
    • Enter meeting ID: 939 4261 3044
    • Enter password: 919371

Spanish translation will be available through Zoom.

Public comment will be allowed on Zoom at the Sept. 19 special meeting of the Board of Supervisors that begins at 4 p.m. Only comments directly addressing items on the agenda will be allowed at the special meeting.

The Board of Supervisors has adopted rules of procedures which include a commitment to civility. To assure civility in its public meetings, the public is encouraged to engage in respectful dialog that supports freedom of speech and values diversity of opinion. Board members, staff and members of the public are expected to establish and maintain a cordial and respectful atmosphere during discussions and foster meaningful dialogue free of personal attacks. Members of the public must also adhere to the speaking time limit.

The agenda for the Sept. 19 regular board meeting is available here.

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Media Contact: 
Matt Brown, Communications Specialist
(707) 565-3040
575 Administration Drive, Suite 104A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403