Many local candidates espouse transparency, public decision making, public deliberations, but your meeting spaces belie that goal, rather than fostering it.

Look at the council chambers. The council members sit, in a row, next to each other, behind a rather formidable appearing desk, talking, literally, down to the populous. By sitting in a row you demonstrate that you've already reached any decision, well out of the public eye, that needed to be made--you're not in a position to deliberate amongst yourselves, you can't even really see each other, and you present a "united front" when making your decrees. Perhaps that's what you want, but you say differently.

During the public input portions of the meetings, the high and mighty council members sit above the public presenters, daring the public to express their views, and make their supplications.

An alternative...
During public input, the council members sit in "the audience" allowing presenters to present to you, their supporters, and their detractors. You are members of the citizenry. After public input, the Councilors sit around a more or less circular table, where you can see each other, react to each other. Microphones and video cameras display your interactions to the assembled citizens. When you reach a decision the facilitator or recorder announces that decision to the assembled citizens.

That's transparency.