A common theme in my discussions with folks is their frustration with feeling like they are not aware of opportunities to be involved and provide input when decisions are made in the City of Martinez. Usually, there is a post on social media or a comment from a friend about “a public meeting last week” that elicits several comments like “Why do I never find out about these things?!?!”. From my perspective from the dais, there are many opportunities for citizens to be involved. And from my perspective, there are also many opportunities missed.
Year by year, the landscape of public communication has changed. In a small town that previously had multiple print newspapers that reported on Council meetings and other important City actions, we now only receive our information electronically and intermittently. This citizen disconnect from City leadership has not gone unnoticed at City Hall. Over the past year, members of staff and Council have advocated for improved communication. In early 2022, the City of Martinez website was relaunched with additional features including upcoming events and informative news updates. In addition, more proactive posts on social media have seen an increase in communicating city events and opportunities for involvement. In August 2022, City staff rolled out an email newsletter to keep citizens informed.
Over the next several months, there are some high-profile, high-stakes actions that need to be taken. We will be hiring a new police chief and we will be finalizing our antiquated General Plan. These actions must be accessible to the public, the decisions must be transparent, and the citizens of Martinez need to participate. I will support the continued use of multiple methods of communication to ensure citizens will be engaged in the process.