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Redondo Teen-Agers Become Leaders for a Day : Students Master City Government: Issue Studied, Debated, Held Over

February 09, 1986|VITA REED | Times Staff Writer

REDONDO BEACH — Most days, Joanna Bruduik would be an ordinary 12th grader at Redondo Union High School, but on Tuesday, she was the councilwoman for Redondo Beach's 2nd District.

Bruduik and 27 other local high school students participated in the third annual Student Leader for a Day program, sponsored by the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Students from Redondo Union, Mira Costa and Bishop Montgomery high schools spent the day with city officials, including Mayor Barbara Doerr, City Manager Timothy Casey and Councilman Archie Snow. They also participated in a mock city council meeting, where they debated whether a teen center should be opened in the city.

The teen-agers were enthusiastic about participating.

Boyd Latimore of Redondo Union, city manager for the day, said he was particularly interested in his temporary job.

Granddad a City Manager

"My granddad was city manager for Twin Falls, Ida., and Reno, Nev., for approximately 21 years," he said.

Latimore's assignment was to prepare a recommendation on the fictional teen center issue for the mock council meeting.

Another Redondo Union student, Ursula Wijanen, substituted for Mayor Doerr. Wijanen is the news editor of the High Tide, the school's newspaper, and serves on the student council.

"I'm really excited," Wijanen said as she signed proclamations commending organizers of the event. "Students like me don't really get to talk to elected officials and learn what's happening. I've never really been in a structured, formal situation that the mayor needs to be in.

Presiding Officer

"As mayor, I'll be presiding officer at the (council) meeting. I'm expected to give my opinion, but my main duty will be recognizing other people," Wijanen said.

Tyler McCarty and Susan Stockwell from Redondo Union replaced council members Snow and Marcia Martin, respectively.

McCarty, Redondo's student body president, said he might be interested in a government career. Stockwell, who said she is more interested in biological science, said she was intrigued by the program because her brother participated in it last year. "I was curious about how the city really works," Stockwell said. "It's basically people-to-people."

The officials replaced by the youngsters all expressed their pleasure with the program.

"I think it's a great program," Casey said. "I love working with students; they are the promise of tomorrow. If we can interest even a few of them in a public service career, (we will) leave the cities, counties and states in very good hands."

Gaining Insights

Doerr said she thought the students were gaining "a few more insights into how government really functions. Too often, people are on the outside and are only being affected by what government is doing."

Snow agreed. "I love it. I think it gives the youngsters the idea to look at government as a functioning entity, a municipal corporation."

He added that he feels an obligation to help youngsters interested in political careers, because "someone smoothed the road for me."

At the mock council meeting, students argued the pros and cons of establishing a teen center.

Matt Hale, acting director of parks and recreation, took a position against the center. "As of right now, we have many programs for teens and we are not convinced of the necessity of a teen center," he said.

On the other hand, Mira Costa student Carlos Villalobos said a teen center would provide "a chance for teens to make up programs that they want. Programs are always set up for negatives, and I think it's time for a turnaround from this." Villalobos was acting as director of community resources.

Relieve Library Crowding

Walter Stockwell of Redondo, acting library director, argued that a teen center would be beneficial to the city because it would reduce the number of teens using the library as a social gathering place.

After the student department directors made their presentations and council members questioned them, the hearing was opened to public debate.

Shannon Quigley, a senior at Redondo, injected levity into the public hearing when she marched up to the podium and introduced herself as "Carol Brady," the mother on the 1969-74 TV series "The Brady Bunch."

As "Mrs. Brady," Quigley expressed her outrage over the teen center. "Are you prepared to offer protection from the filth and slime that would flock to the teen center?" she asked student-Police Chief Hans-Christian Kasper. Kasper replied that he would if it was necessary.

"Last year, I participated in this," Quigley said of her stunt, "and (Councilman) Archie Snow played an irate citizen. That was his name--I. Rate Citizen--and it really broke it up."

The mock city council voted 5 to 0 to further study the teen center, closing the program for the day.

Torre Chisholm, a Redondo Union junior and fire marshal for the day, said he did not know if he wanted a government career, but added, "If someone offered me an ambassador's job, I'd take it."

Hale, who wants to be a senator, said: "I thought it was a lot of fun. I think that I'd like to come back again."

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