DOWNEY - Forty students from East Middle School and Gauldin Elementary also took part in youth government day at City Hall last month.Councilman Fernando Vasquez welcomed the group and answered questions about local government functions and spoke about the importance of youth participation. Students assumed the roles of council members, city manager, assistant city manager, city attorney, department heads and police and fire representatives during a mock city council meeting. Parents and other students played the role of concerned citizens by expressing their opinions on whether Downey should have a city-mandated curfew. After hearing testimony from residents, the mock city council cast a unanimous 5-0 vote to approve a 10 p.m. curfew. Following the meeting, students toured City Hall, learning what each city department is responsible for, and the police department, learning about public safety and the importance of community policing. The trip ended in the Downey City Library, where students were quizzed on city government. "I didn't know what to expect (because) City Hall isn't usually a place our parents take us to visit," said Jasmine Mijangos, a member of Gauldin's K-kids Club. "It was a great learning experience for me." Alex Gaytan, the students' teacher and club advisor, said the main lesson he wanted students to learn from the mock meeting was "they can take an active role in their government and what they say is important because the government works for the people." "This event provides Downey's future leaders with opportunities to policy areas that directly impact our youth," said Vasquez. "Downey's future looks promising."
********** Published: May 5, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 3