The Madera City Council has voted to encourage Maderans to attend the next session of the Citizen Academy, which is set to begin March 11. It would meet eight successive Monday evenings.
City Administrator David Tooley, in his report to the council on the academy, urged council members to use their contacts in the community “to help identify the next generation of potential community leaders for participation in a session.”
The academy starts out as a boot camp for citizenship. It teaches people how city government works, which is something many, if not most Maderans don’t know much about.
For example, people are vaguely aware of the City Council, but have little idea of what it does. They often confuse it with the Madera County Board of Supervisors, which meets across the street.
The Citizen Academy clears the air as far as who does what, and addresses questions such as:
- Who is on the City Council.
- How to run for the City Council.
- Ways to contact the City Council member who represents me.
- Ways to bring subjects before the City Council.
- Ways to participate in city government by being a volunteer.
- How to find out about the rules and regulations citizens must follow when building a house or adding to a house, starting a business or posting signs.
- How to favor or oppose a change in zoning proposed for one’s neighborhood.
- What to expect from law enforcement and how to contribute to neighborhood safety.
Those who have participated in Citizen Academies report positive outcomes for themselves and fellow students. They report making friends and becoming more aware of the city around them.
Most of us have taken civics classes, so we know a little about government works. What you learn in the Citizen Academy is that the government that works best is the government closest to the people.
If you are interested, apply at the City Clerk’s office at City Hall.