How to Deliver Your Opinion at City Council

Members of Fairview’s NetZero club have spoken several times at Boulder, Colorado City Council’s Open Comment to push forward a ban on plastic bags and a fee on paper bags. Through the process, we have gained insight on how to create a concise and specific speech and deliver it successfully to the city council members.

Each person has a time limit of how long he/she can speak, so the speech should not repeat itself. It is best to arrive at the session early (unless you already know the order of speakers) and having practiced a few times. Dress appropriately for the session (no jeans or T-shirts), address the council members as “Mr./Ms. Councilmember,” and speak with a cooperative tone rather than accusatory.

Be specific with what it is you want them to change, for example, “We want Boulder City Council to address the bag issue in the 5 Year Update for the Master Plan of Waste Reduction” rather than “We want you to ban bags.” The more detailed your proposal is, the easier it is for them to make changes.

If you’re pooling in a group of people, again, make sure that the points in the argument don’t repeat. Assign specific topics to each person so that the group can be concise with time.

Speaking at City Council is a great way to let the city know about problems you wish to change. If done correctly, the city council members will be glad to help if possible.

Vivian Chen is a junior at Fairview High School in the IB Diploma program.  She is an active member of the Fairview Net Zero Club.  Her hobby is drawing and painting.

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