The exterior of the town council chamber in Los Gatos
The Los Gatos Civic Center is pictured in this file photo.

Watching your city’s public government meetings is a simple way to stay informed.

In a 2022 reader survey, San José Spotlight readers told us they wanted to be more civically engaged and involved in local policymaking. Earlier this year, we compiled a guide on how to engage with public meetings in San Jose. As we expand further into the West Valley, we wanted to compile a guide for Los Gatos residents interested in participating in public meetings.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to view and engage with Los Gatos Town Council meetings.

Watching council meetings

The Los Gatos Town Council meets twice a month, on the first and third Tuesday at 7 p.m. You can find the town council meeting and other commission meeting agendas on the town’s legislative calendar.

Los Gatos must comply with the Brown Act, which governs how public meetings are run and aims to make them more accessible and transparent. The town is required to post its agenda at least three days before every meeting. A draft of the council agenda will typically be public the Thursday before the meeting and will be continuously updated until the meeting occurs.

Here are ways you can tune into the meeting:

  • In-person: You can attend at Los Gatos Town Hall, located at 110 E. Main St., and sit in the public audience area.
  • Zoom: You can find a Zoom link on the meeting’s agenda.
  • YouTube: The meeting will be live streamed on the town’s Youtube channel.
  • Municode: You can watch meeting broadcasts live or find audio and video recordings of past meetings on the town’s Municode page, which also houses all public meeting agendas.
  • Television: Council meetings are broadcast and replayed on KCAT TV channel 15.
  • Phone: Dial (877) 336-1839 (toll-free) during the meeting. Be sure to enter the webinar ID and password found on the meeting’s agenda.

If you require accommodations to engage in a council meeting, such as a translator or visual or audio accommodations, contact Los Gatos’ town clerk’s office at (408) 354- 6834 at least two business days before a meeting.

Participating in council meetings

Los Gatos Town Council meetings have a public comment period called verbal communications for people to voice their concerns about items not on the meeting’s agenda. Topics on the agenda are open for public comment when the items come up during the meeting. Members of the public get a maximum of three minutes to speak.

Remember: Public comment during verbal communications is only for items not on the council’s agenda that day. If you have a comment for an item on the agenda, save it until the item is heard and the mayor asks for comments on that item.

You can submit comments in the following ways:

  • In-person: You can fill out a speaker card at the beginning of the meeting and hand it to the town clerk.
  • In writing: You can submit written comments to the council via email at [email protected] with the subject line “Public Comment Item #__” with the associated item number. Written comments must be received by 11 a.m. on the Thursday before the meeting to be included in the agenda. Comments on items included in an addendum or a desk item must be submitted by 11 a.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. on the day of the meeting, respectively. Written comments will be attached to the appropriate council meeting and item under Supplemental Materials, but will not be read at the meeting.
  • While using Zoom: Use the Raise Hand feature during verbal communication or public comment on an item.
  • While on the phone: Press 2 to raise your hand and request to speak for verbal communications or public comment on an item.

Navigating council meetings

Los Gatos Town Council meetings follow a particular order governed in part by state law, town charter, convention and “Robert’s Rules of Order.”

Regular meetings will start as close to 7 p.m. as possible, depending on closed sessions held before the meeting. Closed session is held when the council discusses topics that aren’t open to the public, such as contract negotiations or litigation. Closed sessions are typically held between 5-6 p.m.

The meeting opens with a call to order, roll call and the Pledge of Alliegance. After the pledge, ceremonial presentations are made.

Next comes the “consent calendar,” or “consent” for short. This is a list of usually non-controversial items that are approved with a single vote of the council. Any councilmember or resident can comment on any consent item. Councilmembers can pull items off the consent calendar for a broader discussion. The public is otherwise invited to speak about all consent calendar items when the mayor invites public comment.

Any items after the consent calendar are items of broad public interest. Items fall under a general “public hearing” or “other business” category. Often, each item opens with a presentation from town officials who researched the specific item.

Once the presentation is complete, the mayor sometimes calls for questions from the council and then opens the floor to public comment, where residents can voice their concerns about the planned item. These items can be proposed ordinances, which change town law, or resolutions stating a proposed council policy. Often agendas include reports from staff that don’t require an action, but the council will vote anyway to accept the report.

After the mayor closes comments from the public, councilmembers discuss the item. They can also ask questions of town staff from various town departments, the town attorney for clarification or other stakeholders in the process. As councilmembers discuss the item, one can call for a “motion” which outlines what action the council will approve. The motion requires a “second” to show there’s support for the idea.

Items usually require a simple majority of three votes to pass.

Then the town council typically goes over reports from the councilmembers, detailing work they’ve done since the last meeting and town reports from the town manager.

Last, the town council hears a report from closed session. The mayor adjourns and ends the meeting.

Meet your councilmembers

The Los Gatos Town Council consists of five members, all elected by voters. The four councilmembers and mayor are all elected townwide. As of 2024, the mayor is Mary Badame, who took office in December 2023 after serving as a councilmember since 2020. The mayor is one of five votes and cannot veto policies. Badame’s term will end in 2026 and she is eligible for reelection.

Mayors serve one-year terms and councilmembers serve four-year terms. All elected officials who fill a partial term of two years or less are eligible to serve two consecutive four-year terms.

After two consecutive four-year terms, officials must wait four years before being eligible to run for office again. Elections are held on the first Tuesday of November in even-numbered years, during the statewide general elections.

Any councilmember who resigns or leaves office during a term will be deemed as having served a full term regardless of the length of time remaining.

The mayor and vice mayor are appointed by the council every year. The vice mayor chairs council meetings when the mayor is absent. The current vice mayor is Matthew Hudes.

Here are the four councilmembers and how long they’ve been in office:

  • Matthew Hudes: 2020-present. Term ends in 2024. Up for reelection.
  • Maria Ristow: 2020-present. Served as mayor in 2023. Term ends in 2024. Up for reelection.
  • Rob Rennie: 2014-present. Term ends in 2026. Served as vice mayor in 2021. Not immediately eligible for reelection.
  • Rob Moore: 2022-present. First term ends in 2026. Up for reelection.

Click here for contact information for the council and email addresses for each councilmember.

Other personnel

Los Gatos operates on a council-manager system of government. All administrative decisions go through the town manager, who is appointed by the council. To put it simply: The council votes on and approves policy, which the town manager implements. The current town manager is Laurel Prevetti, who was appointed in 2015. Prevetti will leave the position in June.

The town attorney and the town clerk, who keeps the meeting’s minutes, are also present at meetings. The town attorney provides legal advice to ensure the council is following the Brown Act, answers legal questions and explains town, county, state and federal laws. The current town clerk is Wendy Wood, who took the job in 2022. The town attorney is Gabrielle Whelan, who was appointed in 2022.

Contact Annalise Freimarck at [email protected] or follow @annalise_ellen on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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