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Mayor Smyth talks local government with Imago Dei students

Imago Dei junior Ethan McMath puts his feet up -- at Mayor Cameron Smyth's suggestion -- while sitting in the mayor's chair at City Hall on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. Students from Trinity's Imago Dei school visited with the mayor as part of their local government studies. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Four high school government students got a glimpse into the responsibilities of the city mayor and the inner workings of the Santa Clarita City Council Monday.

The upper school students from Trinity Classical Academy’s Imago Dei School, a program for students with developmental disabilities, had a unique chance to sit down with Mayor Cameron Smyth and tour the city’s offices.

“This is the first time the mayor will be meeting with [our] students at City Hall,” Director of the Imago Dei School Megan Howell said.

The meeting aligned with the students’ school lessons on the United States government, as they are currently studying what the federal government looks like at the local level.

“So far we have studied the federal government, the branches of the government, and we have one student who voted this year,” Imago Dei Government Teacher Michelle Hanson said.  “Now we are transitioning to local government.”

Juniors Ethan McMath and Joshua Wilson and seniors Beau Howell and Katy Tennesen spoke with Mayor Smyth about the responsibilities of city council, the powers of the mayor, the process of creating laws and the role of city government.

“Our job, as the mayor and the city council, is to set the vision for the city and imagine what kind of city we want to have and to represent the views of the public,” Smyth said.  “We want to represent the views of the people… but also provide some leadership of how the city should be in the next 10, 15, 20 years.”

Smyth discussed the council’s role in managing the city’s budget and his personal goals to bring more jobs to the city and build more parks in the area.

“We make sure decisions are thought out and done with the best information possible,” Smyth said.  “And we see the results of those decisions very quickly; right away they make an impact.”

Smyth noted that the same is true for the local lawmaking process, where ideas are discussed and brought the council’s attention faster than they would be at a federal level.

“It happens a lot quicker,” he said.  “That’s one thing I like about local government.”

During their visit, the students toured the mayor’s office, visited the council chambers and learned about the city’s seal.

“I have to say we have a very good city,” junior Joshua Wilson said.

Hanson hopes the discussion with the mayor will inspire her students to be involved community members.

“Just like anyone else, it’s important for everyone to understand their community and what rules and regulations are and about what it means to be a good citizen,” Hanson said.

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On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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