Starting next week, Jersey City Council meetings will be livestreamed after residents began pushing for a virtual and hybrid option to be involved.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Without any formal announcement, the city added livestream links to Tuesday’s caucus meeting and Thursday’s regular session on the city council portion of their website.
Jersey City livestreamed their council sessions for the majority of 2020 and all of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but reverted back to in person only meetings at the beginning of this year.
Amy Wilson and Brigid D’Souza started an Action Network letter writing campaign to the city clerk, mayor, and council that appears to have found its mark after facilitating 1,177 letters.
“I’m thrilled — it’s a great step forward. We still need hybrid meetings where people can make statements from home, but I’m grateful and appreciative that the city has taken this first step,” Wilson told HCV this morning.
“Basically — I think they needed a kick in the butt to do it, but I’m really glad they did it in the end. It’s the right thing to do. And caucus meetings, too! I never even thought that was a possibility. It’s great.”
Neighborhood groups such as the Journal Square Community Association, spearheaded by Sumit Galhotra, also pushed for the change.
The format is the same one that both the Jersey City Board of Education and the Hoboken City Council has used for years: where anyone with an internet connection is able to follow along at home but public comment must still be delivered in person.
The decision comes after the August 17th council meeting went over five hours, a rarity in recent memory due to dozens weighing in on Councilwoman-at-Large Amy DeGise’s July 19th hit-and-run, with many asking her to step down though some supporters spoke up as well.
The meeting had a heavy police presence and limited the number of people in council chambers to 190, with 300 being the maximum capacity for City Hall as a whole.