CONCORD, CA (Oct. 18, 2023) — Public engagement is one of the foundations of democracy. My City Council colleagues and I are elected by the people to serve the people, and we have the public’s interest at heart.
We welcome public participation and encourage it. Some of you send emails or call, and some attend council meetings. However, this is often reactionary to something of interest to you specifically.
Some topics, such as the Base Reuse Project, garner more interest and attention. However, our community is better served by really knowing where residents stand on a variety of issues.
To better understand our residents’ views, we conduct a statistically valid “community satisfaction” survey every two years. It is rich with data, but too infrequent to give us a good check on residents’ thoughts.
We want to hear from you more often, and we want to make sure the data we collect is truly representative of our entire community. To help us do this, we are piloting an online polling tool called FlashVote. Residents can provide anonymous input on a variety of topics, and you can complete the surveys in just one minute.
Make your voice heard
Residents age 13+ can register to participate. You simply sign up for free online at www.FlashVote.com/ConcordCA. When the city wants your input on a particular topic, those who are registered will receive an alert (email, text or phone call) with a request to take a one-minute survey.
You decide if or how often to participate, but the more input you give, the more you make your voice heard and help make your community better.
When the survey closes, the city will receive a report with statistically valid community input in 48 hours. Participants will receive the same information so you can see how the rest of the community feels about a particular issue.
Take a look and register if you’re interested. You can expect to see our first FlashVote survey distributed this fall.
Public engagement can definitely make a difference. One example of a topic we received a lot of input on is tobacco sales. We heard from parents, educators and high school students in recent years about their desire to limit access to flavored tobacco and electronic smoking devices, such as vape pens and e-cigarettes.
My council colleagues and I took this issue seriously. Earlier this summer, we passed a resolution updating the city’s ordinance regulating the Tobacco Retailers License Program. The updates have prohibitions on selling tobacco products, including prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products and electronic smoking devices and products.
The ordinance, which went into effect Oct. 11, also says that tobacco retailers may no longer accept coupons or provide free or discounted tobacco products, and they may no longer sell cigarettes in packages less than 20 or cigars in packages of less than 10 (unless cigars cost more than $5 each).
The Concord Police Department will actively enforce the new regulations. Retailers applying for a license to sell tobacco products are advised to use Concord’s updated business license application. More information is available at www.cityofconcord.org/tobacco.
Direct your questions and comments to the mayor at 925-671-3158 or Laura.Hoffmeister@cityofconcord.org.