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City of Lakewood

This page covers public comments at meetings of the City of Lakewood Council. We will also be creating a page for Tacoma.

Lakewood City council usually meets for regular sessions on the first and third Mondays of the month, at 7 pm. If the week has a holiday, then it would meet on Tuesday.

These are the days when you can make comments in April and May 2023:

Monday, April 3, 2023
Monday, April 17, 2023
Monday, May 1, 2023
Monday, May 15, 2023

There are a number of ways you can make comments.

  1. You can send a written comment, which needs to arrive an hour before the meeting. You can also back up your comment, or make a different comment, in ways mentioned below. Written comments should be sent to Briana Schumacher, at bschumacher@cityoflakewood.us. They can also be sent by post or dropped off in person.
  2. You can attend in-person. Just turn up to the City Hall, at 6000 Main Street SW, Lakewood, WA 98499. As you go into the council chamber, you sign the book at the door, and indicate that you want to speak by checking the appropriate box.
  3. You can attend and make a comment via Zoom, at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86872632373. Note, the meeting ID is 86872632373. If you want to make a comment, you raise your virtual hand.
  4. You can attend and make comments by phone. This method is not ideal, but here are the City’s verbatim instructions:

For those participating by calling in by telephone (+1(253) 215- 8782 and enter meeting ID: 868 7263 2373), to use the “Raise Hand” feature press *9 on your phone, to be called upon by the Mayor during the Public Comments portion of the agenda. Your name or the last three digits of your phone number will be called out when it is your turn to speak. When using your phone to call in you may need to press *6 to unmute yourself. When you are unmuted please provide your name and city of residence.

You are allowed to speak for three minutes, and these three minutes will be strictly timed. If you are speaking via Zoom, you will see a counter on your screen. If you are in person, there is a digital clock, with red numbers, on the lectern. In-person speakers will hear a beep when they have 30 seconds left.

When you make a public comment, you should start by giving your name, and your City of residence. You don’t have to live in Lakewood to comment. Indeed you can live anywhere in the world.

Your public comment should ideally be about something that the City Council can act on. Be sure to tell them what you are requesting/demanding of them.

However, just because they might not be able to act on something doesn’t mean you can’t comment. After all, one role of a public comment is to raise public awareness. So if you want to discuss the fact that the JBLM base is a nuclear target, feel free.

Also, you are not allowed to address individual council members. But probably you can get away with it if you say something nice! For example, it might be OK to say

Council member Smith, it was so nice to see you at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and I want to tell you how interesting and amusing your speech was.

But you can’t say

Council member Smith, I want to tell you that you are doing a terrible job and you are a disgrace to the City.

Don’t say anything defamatory. Your comments are a matter of public record, and if you make defamatory statements you could, in a worst case scenario, be sued. If you do make defamatory comments, you can expect to be cut off very quickly.

Support yourself with evidence. In my opinion you can also criticize individuals, whether they be council members or City employees. However, you can’t be defamatory, and you must support what you say with good evidence.

If you’re angry about something, tell them. You don’t have to be polite or civil. If you believe the Council or the City are making mistakes, or ignoring important issues, you need to tell them.

Don’t be afraid of making public comments. The worst thing that will happen is that you’ll embarrass yourself and the embarrassment will last for all of five minutes.

Write out what you want to say, if the security of a written texts helps reassure you. It may not have the impact of a passionate, off the cuff speech, but you’ll have greater control. A script will also help you stick to the three minutes – generally, if it is 350 words or less you’ll be OK.

Go with friends and family. If you make comments in person, it makes for a fun evening out.

Let the children speak. A child’s voice can often be more effective than that of an adult – provided the child is speaking for themselves, and isn’t being manipulated by their parents. Also, speaking in front of an audience, in a safe environment, is a great way for young people to gain confidence.