Citizen’s Learning Academy of the City of Chula Vista
The City of Chula Vista graduated two “Citizen’s Leadership Academy” classes in 2007 and 2008, and has invited all graduates to two reunion events at city hall. In addition to giving these involved residents a chance to reconnect with each other and with city officials and staff, these events were planned to get feedback from graduates on important issues facing the city. One event held in July of 2008 engaged graduates to ask how they envisioned the future of urban development in Chula Vista. A second event held in February of 2009 educated residents about the City’s current fiscal situation and sought their feedback about a proposed 1 cent sales tax increase and future reunion topics.
Before the first reunion, an email was sent to these graduates asking them what their favorite urban place is and why. A noted architect and landscape architect were invited to give a presentation based on the responses to this email. Graduates’ input was collected through facilitated small and large group discussions.
The graduates appreciated that local leaders valued their input. Many proudly displayed their golden “CLA” pins and stopped to speak individually with the mayor or other city staff who attended the reunion. “I didn’t communicate with any city staff or officials before I took this class, but now I feel comfortable doing so,” said Al Hernandez, a 2007 CLA graduate who immigrated to the area from the Philippines in 1977 and who works as a senior plant technician supervisor for the city of San Diego. “It was an eye opener for me to see how the city works and how vulnerable the city is to budget cutbacks… since I took this course I’ve been more vigilant about how my neighborhood looks and I let city officials know about things that need to be repaired… I know now that the city needs help from residents.” Hernandez feels that the more input city officials receive from residents, the more knowledge they have about how to improve the community.
For more information, contact Jennifer Quijano, Constituent Services Manager in the Chula Vista Mayor’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (619) 691-5044.