Public Participation Committee


Bianca Maldonado and Cynthia Spielman

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In response to public frustrations, in February 2018 District 7 Councilwoman Ana Sandoval filed a Council Consideration Request (CCR), “Advancing City Public Participation” to “develop principles and standards for each City campaign to follow to create consistency, clear expectations, and ample opportunity for the public to provide input prior to Council action.”  In January 16, 2019 The CCR “Advancing Public Participation” that provides policy directives to City Manager and City staff by City Council is adopted.

These principles are guidelines only and their effectiveness is entirely determined by how they are implemented. This Committee seeks to make recommendations and push for meaningful implementation.

Current Goals

The PPP Committee makes recommendations for the meaningful implementation of the Public Participation Principles by

  • pushing for meaningful resident input in the roll-out of the new Resident Platform (SA Speak Up)
  • pushing for neighborhood/resident input in the newly released Public Participation and Engagement Plan by the Government and Public Affairs Office.




posted September 28

  • Committee members, along with the Steering Committee and the Affordable Housing & Displacement Committee members sent a letter to each council member regarding the lack of meaningful public participation in the adoption of the SHIP on November 1.
  • The Resident Platform, which was chosen by a task force and adopted by City Council in 2020 creates a constituent/government platform of calendar management, meeting management, boards and commission, and constituent services to replace what is currently in place. The platform, which is described as "Outside/In" is resident-centered, yet, as of August 2021 there has been no resident input other than the input in the task force that chose this particular platform. Our goal is that the resident platform will be presented to residents before the last stage of implementation for suggestions and input.  On August 26th,  Cynthia Spielman, Velma Pena, Bonnie Connor and Bianca Maldonado tried to sign up for Community, Health,  Environment, & Culture (CHECC) meeting to speak on resident platform presentation but were unable. Cynthia Spielman, Velma Pena, Bonnie Connor, and Bianca Maldonado, as speakers through D1 office, presented to the CHECC.  CW Sandoval  recommended that an ad hoc group of citizen task force, nominated by each committee member and the mayor, be created to work on making the platform more accessible. There will be a report back in October. The ad hoc task force was ill be Velma Pena, Bianca Maldonado (chair), Jordan Ghawi, Terry Ybanez, and Thea Setterbo. The committee is gathering information from T1 neighborhoods and has met twice.
  • The City of San Antonio Public Participation & Engagement Plan was presented by the Government and Public Affairs Department (GPA) to the Community Health, Environment, & Culture Committee on September 23, 2021. The Committee will make recommendations on the meaningful implementation of the plan including the establishment of a Neighborhood and Public Participation Commission.






Public Participation Principles

The Principles of Public Participation Principles that have been adopted
Councilwoman Sandoval’s CCR presented specific guiding principles to public participation and now these recommendations have been formally adopted by City Council:
TRANSPARENT – Be open and clear by communicating the decision-making process to the public including the role of public in the process, what type of input is sought and how the input will be used; provide a public record of the input received and the range of views and ideas expressed.
INCLUSIVE – Engage a broad range of stakeholders, with particular emphasis on those who do not normally take part in City public participation process; make every effort to ensure that stakeholder groups do not feel left out of the process.
TIMELY – Seek public input well ahead of key decisions; engage the public proactively.
ACCESSIBLE – Ensure that anyone who wants to participate in the process can provide input; overcome barriers to participation, whether they are geographical, physical, socioeconomic or language barriers.
CONVENIENT – Make it as easy as possible to engage with the City; provide multiple opportunities for the public to provide input; when possible, meet people where they are instead of only requiring them to show up at a public meeting; utilize the power of digital communications while being mindful of technology gaps.
INFORMATIVE – Educate through public participation; use the opportunity to help people understand how the City organization works and to enhance both the public’s and the City’s understanding of issues, policies and challenges; strive to ensure that opinions are informed with facts.
RESPECTFUL – Consider all input received, including differing viewpoints, while balancing the interests of all stakeholders.
CONTINUOUS – Treat every input provided by the public as another step toward a more engaged community by developing the infra structure to foster sustained participation; residents who make the effort to participate should be continually engaged in future efforts; residents who want to share an opinion with their City organization should be able to do so at any time.
MEANINGFUL – Ensure that public input is appropriately considered in the decision-making process; use public participation to improve City programs, policies, and ordinances.
RESPONSIVE – Communicate outcomes to all who participated and provided input.