About Our Meetings

Board and standing committee agendas are posted at least 72 hours in advance (although special meetings may be called under certain conditions with 24 hour notice). You can recieve our agendas via email (with a slight delay) by signing up for the City's Early Notification System

By law, we can't discuss anything not on the agenda. In fact, all our standing meetings are held in accordance with the Brown Act, which tries to make California government more transparent and accessible. That means:
  • All SORO NC business is handled openly in public meetings (i.e., we can't discuss issues as a group or reach consensus in private)
  • We always allow time for the public to speak (see below)
  • You have the right to record meetings (as long as it's not disruptive)
  • Any meeting materials reviewed by the Board must be made available to the public 72 hours in advance or at the same time the Boardmembers see them (e.g. distributed at the meeting). It's not in the Brown Act, but we try to post everything we can to the website.
  • Our meeting locations are ADA-compliant

Note that there are some exceptions to this under the Brown Act for small, short-term advisory committees and working groups. If you're interested in reading the whole of the Brown Act, you can do so here.

If you need translation services, contact the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment AT LEAST three days before the meeting. You can contact them by phone at 213-978-1551 or by email at ncsupport@lacity.org.

Speaking before the Board or a committee

We start our meetings by asking for general public comment on anything NOT on the meeting agenda. If we don't respond, it's not because we're rude or don't care: again, we can't discuss anything not on our published agenda. However, public comments often become the subject of future committee meetings. We want to hear from you.

Before any vote, we'll ask for public comment on that item and the chair will call on speakers. Please try to keep your comments short and on topic. (In the interest of hearing from as many people as possible on bigger issues, we may limit the time for each person to speak, set an overall time limit for comments, and/or ask you to fill out a speaker card.)

If you are formally presenting before the Board or committee (as a scheduled speaker or project developer, for example), please contact the Board President or relevant committee chair in advance for guidance.

The SORO NC Board abides by a system-wide Code of Conduct and our own Code of Civility. We insist on civil discourse: we respect all opinions and ask that you do the same. If you're disruptive or interrupt a speaker, we'll ask you to leave the meeting.

Although it's always better to be there in person to make your case, if you can't make a meeting you can still weigh in on an issue by using our online Comment Form. We automatically distribute your comments to the entire Board, and read them aloud in the meeting.

How we consider a motion

Our meetings are run using a less-formal version of Robert's Rules of Order called Rosenberg's Rules. (It's so straightforward, we have it all summarized on a single sheet.) We occasionally use Robert's Rules as a backup for more complex situations.

We take action via motions. For each one, it starts like this:

  • The chair announces the item
  • The sponsoring Boardmember introduces the motion and provides background
  • The Boardmembers ask questions of the sponsor for clarification 
  • The chair calls for public comment. This is your chance to speak. Boardmembers may also ask you follow-up questions for clarification.

At that point, the chair asks for Boardmembers to move the proposed motion and second it. If no one moves or seconds, the motion dies for lack of support. Assuming there's a second, from there:

  • The Boardmembers debate the motion amongst themselves
  • Debate may include suggestions to amend the motion or substitute all-new language, refer it to committee for additional review, postpone it to a future date, kill it altogether, etc. We vote on each of these separately. 
  • Once changes to the motion (if any) are approved, we take a final vote

By the way, if a Boardmember has a conflict of interest (as defined by the City), they must declare it and physically leave the room until the next item comes up. All Boardmembers are required to take ethics training every two years.

Questions?

You can always contact the Board President, Vice-President, or committee chair if you have questions or concerns. And we hope to see you at one of our meetings soon.