Zoombombers bombard city council

Daily Post Staff Writer

Zoombombers, people who call into public meetings via Zoom and bombard officials with offensive comments, attacked the San Carlos City Council on Monday night (Sept. 25).

Calls from the Zoombombers, who were anonymous, were mixed in with some of the residents and business owners attempting to participate in the meeting virtually, so the council had to give the commenters a chance to talk before cutting off anybody who started spewing offensive comments. The comments came as council was trying to hear from residents about plans to re-zone the northeast area of the town, between Belmont and the PAMF clinic.

One zoombomber claimed to be the owner of a birdseed store in the “upper upper Northeast side” and he had traffic concerns before his remarks dissolved into insults and slurs. Six other zoombombers called in too.

Council took at 10-minute break at one point due to the comments.

The Zoombombers’ comments were racist, antisemitic and Islamaphobic.

“I want to apologize for what we had to go through,” Mayor Adam Rak told those participating in the meeting. “That was inappropriate and no one here condones that. Hopefully, we will never have to deal with that again.”

San Carlos isn’t the only city that’s had to suffer with zoombombers. Last week, Atherton City Council heard from similar callers. For a few months, officials in Sacramento, Contra Costa County, Walnut Creek and Sonoma have dealt with similar callers, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Zoombombings were more common when the pandemic began and cities switched to virtual meetings. But lately, it had seemed as if the trend had faded away.

“That was hard to deal with. It’s 2023 and we are still dealing with it,” Councilwoman Pranita Venkatesh said before giving city employees her thoughts on the rezoning plan.