VTA Seeks To Suppress Riders’ Voices

People wait to speak at a VTA Board meeting in San Jose.
People wait to speak at a VTA Board meeting in San Jose.

VTA and consultants are proposing to further limit public comments from citizens like YOU. If approved, the proposal would apply to all future VTA Board Of Directors’ meetings, Committee meetings, and workshops. The draft proposal is attached here for your review.

Public comment on the above staff recommendation (limited to ONE minute or less) will be heard at VTA’s “Governance and Audit” Committee” on Thursday, October 7th at 4:00PM (item #5) time permitting. This will allow the VTA Board Meeting to start promptly at 5:30PM.

More on what YOU can do to stop this proposal is below.

The Worst Of VTA’s Proposal

Two items we found were the worst of what VTA proposes:

B.7 Individual public speakers will be given no less than (1) minute each at Board meetings and up to two (2) minutes each at committee meetings. The speaker time limits will be indicated on the agenda.

B.8 Community groups or multiple individuals who intend to speak on the same topic with the similar viewpoints may be asked to select a spokesperson to represent the group. The Chairperson may grant additional time to the spokesperson, if requested. Other members of the group may come forward, state their name or affiliation, if they wish, and briefly note that they support the spokesperson’s comments.

https://www.svtransitusers.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Attachment-10620.pdf

The most concerning change is B.8 which would allow the chair to request that, “community groups or multiple individuals who intend to speak on the same topic with the similar viewpoints may be asked to select a spokesperson to represent the group.” This would essentially mean that if we all identified ourselves as “Silicon Valley Transit Users,”, only one person would be able to speak for the group. Our group feels that this is undemocratic, impractical and lastly, ineffective in improving meeting quality. Worse, it sends a message to the public that VTA does not want to hear from you.

How YOU Can Get Involved

If at all possible, speak up on Agenda Item #5 at the VTA “Governance and Audit Committee” meeting this Thursday at 4pm. Meeting details are below:

Zoom meeting link – click here to join.

You may also call into the meeting as follows:
Zoom one-tap via smartphone:
US: +12133388477,,85781925072#
or
+16692192599,,85781925072#

Via telephone dial: US: +1 669 900 9128 +1 669 219 2599

Webinar ID: 857 8192 5072

What If I Can’t Attend the Meeting?

Contact the VTA’s Governance & Audit Committee members. Let them know your feelings on what is being proposed to help limit your voice at their meetings.

  • Glenn Hendricks, Vice Mayor of Sunnyvale and VTA Board Of Directors’ Chair, is the Chair of the Governance & Audit Committee. Email him at ghendricks@sunnyvale.ca.gov or call his office at (408)242-8384.
  • Charles “Chappie” Jones, San Jose City Council member, is the Vice Chair of this committee. Email him at district1@sanjoseca.gov or call his office at (408)535-4901

When contacting these officials, please be polite and courteous.

Conclusion

Let’s work together to ensure YOU can be heard the right way at VTA Board, Committee, and Workshop meetings. See you all tomorrow at 4pm.

Eugene Bradley
Founder & CEO, Silicon Valley Transit Users

Group members Roland Lebrun and Monica Mallon contributed to this report.

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