Story by Melanie Urquizo, Girl Scout
The meeting, held on April 26 in San Bernardino City Hall, was a big success! This once in a lifetime opportunity, provided Girl Scouts from San Gorgonio Council the opportunity to learn about city government and the impact it has on the community, through the knowledge and experience of elected officials and the immersive experience of holding their own city council meeting.
Elected officials told their stories and offered some great advice that the girls can take with them through their careers as high school students and beyond. The Mayor of San Bernardino, R. Carey Davis, told the girls, “be sure to use the internet very cautiously,” because it can be used both positively and negatively. “I always learn something from listening to others,” says Colton Mayor, Sarah Zamora, and encouraged the girls to do the same.
There were other Girl Scouts among the elected officials, including Colton City Clerk, Eileen Gomez, who is a Girl Scout board member, County of San Bernardino Supervisor, Janice Rutherford, and SBCUSD School Board Member, Abigail Medina. In addition, Assembly Member Cheryl R. Brown, who spoke at the first meeting, has also been a part of the San Gorgonio Girl Scout Council. The fact that these successful women were also Girl Scouts, was very inspiring.
Mayor Cassie Whiteman along with City Clerk Kai M. Sewell began the proceedings by calling the meeting to order and taking attendance. To give the meeting a realistic feel, a pre-planned mistake was made in the treasurer’s report, and Councilwoman Rebecca Sieruga had to address the situation by bringing it to the attention of City Treasurer Kailyn Lasalle. This gave them a chance to problem- solve using a real world situation.
During the official Mock City Council Meeting, the newly elected Girl Scout City Officials voted on action items: consideration and possible adoption of a city mural policy, consideration and possible adoption of a city policy on e-cigarettes, consideration and possible adoption of a 7-11 store at 123 Main Street. The action items were addressed to the council members, including San Gorgonio’s own Rebecca Sieruga.
Voting on the e-cigarettes policy was postponed for two weeks until more information can be gathered on the effects it has on its users and the people in close proximity to them. They also came to the conclusion that they should be in contact with the school district regarding concerns with the approximated 10% of high school students that have used e-cigarettes.
The adoption of the city mural policy was approved, but the building of a 7-11 store on Main Street was rejected.
Speaking as a Girl Scout who participated in this event myself, I can say that I really learned a lot about how important getting involved in your city government is, and now I am going to make sure that when I turn 18 I will register to vote. I am also very excited to participate in any further Step-Up events the Council might have.
Special thanks to all the elected officials who came out and spoke at this event: Colton City Clerk, Eileen Gomez; County of San Bernardino Supervisor, Janice Rutherford; SBCUSD School Board Member, Margaret Hill; Colton Mayor, Sarah Zamora; and San Bernardino Mayor, R. Carey Davis; Assembly Member Cheryl R. Brown; and SBCUSD School Board Member, Abigail Medina
Another special thanks to San Bernardino City Clerk, Gigi Hanna; San Bernardino City Councilwoman, Virginia Marquez; Columnist for The Press-Enterprise, Cassie MacDuff; Director of Fund Development and Alumnae Engagement for the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio, Knea Hawley; and Vice President of Training & Development for the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council, Mary Moore, for making this event possible.