As you know, COVID-19 sent many City employees to telecommuting... but what about all of the City's public meetings? This ITA Spotlight shines on LA CityView CH 35, Council Support, Council Audio, and the Google Team staff that stepped in to assist and support the CLA, City Attorney, and City Clerk’s teams in transitioning City Council, committee and commission meetings to virtual public meetings and quickly implemented new solutions and trained staff in supporting virtual meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With ongoing weekly LA City Council meetings, more than 40 commissions and committees and dozens of weekly Neighborhood Councils holding regular public meetings, the transition from in-person to virtual and digital meetings in wake of COVID was nothing short of a technology miracle for the ITA’s Council Support team and LA CityView Channel 35. By law, these meetings are required to be open and transparent and allow for the public to call in and comment. The meetings also needed to be broadcast quality while originating via a combination of Zoom, Google Meet, physically in chambers and remotely for the public. The meetings, particularly City Council, had to have quality audio, the ability for security from Zoom bombers and to be able to add graphics, charts and video playbacks for important adjourning motions. As these meetings are subject to the Brown Act, adapting to a platform which allowed Council, committees and the commissions to conduct business while also securely providing and managing public comment was key. If COVID taught us nothing else, it was to persevere, find work-arounds and adapt quickly to the ever changing landscape of public service and public meetings, all this while much of the ITA workforce was instructed to work remotely at home to limit employee interactions during COVID.
To ensure that the public had added visibility of these meetings, CH35 began streaming each and every single City Council meeting on social media platforms, something that quickly gained viewership and demand for those who were not able to tune in on Spectrum or other local networks. With thousands of views on social platforms, these zoom public meetings, town halls, health commission special meetings and most recently the Mayor’s proposed budget hearings for 2021 brought more attention to public government meetings than ever before. Councilmember Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, thanked ITA by name for their incredible work over the last year. Check it out here!
Supporting virtual public meetings requires a tremendous amount of coordination and effort to operate successfully. Special thanks go to staff from LA CityView CH35, Council Support team, Council Audio Group, and Google / Office Hours Teams who are a shining example of dedication to service and adaptability during a period of extraordinary uncertainty.
Council Support team (Binh Vuong, Aaron Lee, Andrew Wand, Valentino Perez, Calvin Chan, Daniel Parks, Helen Cheong, Adan Reyes, Samuel Mendoza, Harout Avesyan and Arielle Ancheta), Council Audio group (Manuel Giron, Ed SantaCruz, Franco viteri and Joel Laxmeter) and the managers Tuan Ngo and Roger Fernandez.
LA CityView CH35: Ted Lin, Mariana Ferraro, Blake Bradford, Francisco Montano, Souheil Helou, Steve Creger, Darren Doerschel, Gary Lord, Marlene Crump, Madeleine Gallagher, Yana Kay, Umaymah Rashid, Angela Heatherwick, Dawn Poomee and Chelsey Dennis.
Google / Office Hours: Charlene Dennis, Karen Dienhart (retired), Bryan Blackford, Lori Foskey, Rolando Murillo, Amber Claro, and Olivia Alvarez;