I’ve had readers express to me frustration that dialogue on city issues can be a one-way street, with residents feeling unable to reach the ears of city officials.
I’ll begin by saying that the mayor and each member of Glendale City Council, along with many members of city staff, regularly say that they welcome and want resident input and try to make decisions based on the needs and desires of the residents they represent and serve.
Here are a few ways to contact your city officials to make your opinions known, to speak on issues during city meetings and to stay up-to-date on city issues.
Calling and emailing government officials
You can find out information on how to contact your city government officials by visiting glendaleaz.com/cityofficials/index.cfm.
Below is a list of contacts for our coverage area (the 85308 and 85310 ZIP codes in north Glendale). We will soon begin publishing this list in the Opinion section of our monthly print editions and our only e-editions (found at glendaletoday.az.newsmemory.com.)
City council members host regular meetings where they invite residents to come voice opinions.
One way to find out about these meetings is to sign up for your council member’s email newsletter.
We will also publish each upcoming meeting’s details for the Cholla and Sahuaro Districts in our Community section on Page 4.
You can stay up-to-date on Glendale news by subscribing to our Daily News-Sun newletter at YourValley.net.
Public city meetings
Not everyone knows that they are welcome to attend city meetings.
City Council meetings down to meetings of city committees and commissions are open to the public. Click here for a list of upcoming meetings. Be sure to switch the drop-down list to “all.”
If you don’t feel like making the trip down to City Hall, 5850 W. Glendale Ave., City Council meetings and Planning Commissions meetings are aired live on Channel 11 and streamed live online.
To view live streams or go back and watch a meeting later, visit glendaleaz.com/video.
While other meetings are not video taped, an audio recording is supposed to be added online for each meeting. Occasionally, a meeting will not have a recording posted, and it can often take a few days for the recording to be put online.
The above link will also show you what’s on the agenda for each meeting, so you can see if there’s a topic that interests you before deciding whether to watch. These documents can often be tough to interpret. So, check yourvalley.net to see if we’ve published a preview of the meeting you’re looking for, with context information about what will be discussed or voted on.
Speaking at meetings
While City Council meetings are full of decorum and rules, you are able to speak on issues — you just have to go through the proper channels.
Their are two types of City Council meetings: workshops and regular meetings. Citizens are not able to speak at workshops, which are meant for Council to become informed on and talk through topics before taking a vote in a regular meeting.
Citizen comments are welcome in regular meetings. You only have to fill out a speaker card stating that you wish to speak and hand it to the appropriate city employee, who is usually sitting at the far right of the dais.
If you are speaking on an issue that will be voted on that night, they will ask you to wait until it’s time to discuss that issue to make your comment. If you’re speaking on an issue that isn’t on the agenda that night, you will make your comments at the beginning of the meeting. You will be given up to five minutes to speak.
Meetings of city commissions and committees also allow for public comments. These meetings use the same speaker card system and five-minute limit.
Public records request
This is a common tool for journalists, but anyone can submit a request.
These are requests for information that is legally available to the public. Requests can be submitted at: glendaleaz.com/clerk/publicrecordsform.cfm.
These requests can take some time, but should not take staff any longer than a couple of weeks to collect the information. The more specific you are with the information you’re looking for, the quicker the request will process. If you’re asking for a wide range of information, it will take longer.
You may select to receive the documents by email, mail or pickup. However, hard copies cost 20 cents per page. For large documents with page counts ranging into the hundreds, this can really add up. If email is not an option for you, you can also view the documents at city hall and take a photo of each page rather than paying for printing.
Write in our pages
If you’re passionate about an issue and want your view to be heard, not just be city leaders, but by your fellow residents, I invite you to write in our pages.
Our Opinion section gives you a platform to voice your stance on issues that affect your life and the lives of other Glendale residents. You can email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, to have your comments published.
We also welcome public comment on our Website, YourValley.net. Click on the story important to you, and let your community know what you think on a particular issue.