Lacey to update public comment policy on meetings following zoombombing incident


In response to a race-related incident during a Commission on Equity meeting, Lacey now plans to revise its public comment policy.

The incident, which occurred on March 25, involved remote participants making discriminatory and hateful remarks during the public comment period of the commission’s regular meeting.

The incident prompted condemnation from the City Council, who issued a statement denouncing discrimination and hate speech.

City staff started a review of Lacey’s public comment policies to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Following research and attendance on training sessions on the subject, the staff has outlined options for updating the public comment policy.

Assistant City Manager Shannon Kelley-Fong said the options aim to enhance accountability and ensure a respectful environment during public meetings, while also safeguarding individuals' First Amendment rights.

“I think it's really important to situate this with our federal law as well as state law,” said Kelley-Fong

Regulating meetings

One proposed option involves taking steps to verify the identity of remote speakers, particularly those participating via platforms like Zoom.

This would involve pre-registration and the collection of certain information, such as name, city of residence, and the topic of comments. Additionally, updated Zoom protocols would be implemented to control speaking permissions and prevent disruptive behavior.

Another option under consideration is the establishment of a universal time allotment for public comments across all City Council and Advisory Board meetings. This would be coupled with the use of timers to ensure that comments remain within the allotted time frame, promoting efficiency and fairness in the public comment process.

A third option proposes the creation of standardized rules for public comment across all City Council and Advisory Board meetings. This would help reduce uncertainty and provide clear guidelines for individuals wishing to participate in public discussions.

The Commission on Equity and the City Council weighed in on their opinions and recommendations on the options during the May 6 and May 7 meetings, respectively. City staff will update the recommendations and present them to the council again in a meeting.

“With freedom of speech, we also have to regulate what's the worst possible thing that can happen,” shared Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder. “And unfortunately, I think in these circumstances, if we're going to try to put some limitations, we have to be uniformed in it.

Otherwise, we're, we're treating people differently,” Ryder continued. “And that's one thing we shouldn't do here,”


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  • AugieH

    I don't see how any of the three options would prevent a commentor from saying something sure to be found objectionable by the Lacey city snowflakes. A fourth option would be to accept written comments only that could be crumpled up and trashed as appropriate. And when do public comments affect what city officials are going to do anyway? In my experience, the Lacey City Council routinely ignores the wishes of those they ostensibly serve.

    Thursday, May 9 Report this

  • MaKane

    Generally I desire DEI nonsense, but I believe the Lacey city council are taking appropriate steps in this case, good job councilors.

    Thursday, May 9 Report this

  • MaKane

    *Despise not desire, auto correct lol

    Thursday, May 9 Report this