Published November 8th, 2023
'Zoombombing' temporarily halts Council's remote public comments
By Sora O'Doherty
Remote public comments at Orinda City Council meetings conducted on the Zoom video conferencing application have been temporarily suspended starting with the meeting on Nov. 7. According to an announcement by Orinda City Clerk Sheri Smith, this is due to an increase in "Zoombombing" at public agency meetings; Zoombombing includes offensive and derogatory statements. City staff asked the City Council to ratify this decision by City Manager David Biggs at the Nov. 7 meeting and to plan to revisit the discontinuance prior to March, 2024. (That meeting occurred after press time, so we were unable to include the results here.)
The public is invited to present comments to the council in person at their meetings or in writing prior to a meeting. Written communications received prior to 3 p.m. on the day of the meeting are forwarded to the city council and posted on the city's website prior to the meeting. Emails can be sent to or
Although there have been no such incidents in Orinda, Biggs was concerned that other cities in the Bay Area and Contra Costa County have been subject to remote comments that contained offensive and derogatory statements targeting persons of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and various religious faiths. According to Bigg's staff report, "These comments are made by people appearing remotely and anonymously using fictitious names," and "have often been expletive laden or obscene in nature."
City Council meetings can still be viewed online as listed on the agenda either via Zoom Webinar and on YouTube.

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