Santa Paula Times

City Council receives update on Spanish-language outreach efforts

November 26, 2004
Santa Paula City Council

The City Council was updated on staff efforts to outreach to the Spanish-speaking community and heard that more programs are being utilized.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe City Council was updated on staff efforts to outreach to the Spanish-speaking community and heard that more programs are being utilized.The council heard the report at the Nov. 15 meeting.Community Services Director Brian Yanez said that staff has been working since July 2003 to improve outreach to the Spanish-speaking community, which led to the creation of an internal plan of steps to take to broaden communications.“I’m pretty proud to say not only for my own department but others in the city that we have completed all of them,” Yanez noted.Offering translation for council meetings – which includes attendees as well as for televised broadcasts – failed to attract qualified volunteers but a professional translator now handles the duty.Spanish is increasingly being used in the Community Services Program Guide, a bilingual recycling calendar will be distributed to customers, pertinent information is noted in Spanish on utility bills and job and special advertisements appear in Spanish-language newspapers and on cable Channel 10.Next on the list is a council-requested Open House targeting Spanish-speakers, noted Yanez.Mayor Gabino Aguirre noted that the Open House should include all city departments to “share information; we should think about the Community Center or a school on the eastside,” as the venue.
Yanez is thinking of several locations, “it can be anywhere if we provide the proper marketing,” to draw city residents, “and what we’re trying to do, there isn’t a bad location.”“I wonder if an event,” highlighting only city services, “has much potential, not to downsize the importance of it,” noted Councilman John Procter.“My question would be what would really bring the community out considering the excitement of the program,” joked Aguirre, who suggested that an event could include food, raffle or musical entertainment.Earth Day and the Easter Egg Hunt, coupled on the same day and held at Glen City School, could be expanded to include an open house, said City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz.“I think it’s a good idea to piggyback it on an existing event rather,” than as a standalone, noted Vice Mayor Mary Ann Krause.“There used to be a public safety fair,” at Las Piedras Park that was well attended said Procter. “There was a lot of excitement there about the helicopter and all the shiny equipment; that is service provided to the community all tied-in,” to highlighting city departments and their functions.Staff will continue to study Open House alternatives.