VENICE — A heavy debate broke out about returning the Intracoastal Waterway to its natural state in the city of Venice chambers on Monday.

However, it wasn’t an actual proposal for the city, but an idea made by students acting as city staff for the day.

Venice High School students stepped into the shoes of council members and city staff during the city’s Student Government Day on Monday.

Student Council Member Anthony Tanaka mentioned how the students learned the “important roles they (the city) play.”

Members of the school’s Student Government toured City Hall and ran a mock council meeting.

City Manager Ed Lavallee said in Tuesday’s council meeting that students had the opportunity to try the Fire Station 1 slide and go up in the bucket of the 100-foot extension truck.

“It was a success because no one got hurt ... so I guess we will continue to do that,” Lavallee said jokingly on Tuesday.

Apart from touring the city, students were able to run their own council meeting on Monday.

Along with help from city staff, the students voted on resolutions and proposals including a special event to break the Guinness World Record for the largest picnic event and building a Formula One Circuit at the fairgrounds, which passed with flying colors.

“It was fun working together,” student Vice Mayor Claire Timmerman said about the day alongside student Mayor Kyleigh Gordon.

The two said it was interesting to learn “how our city actually runs.”

Like a normal council meeting, the students asked serious questions about each proposal from the mock city staff to determine if it was something the city should approve.

For a proposal on making the Venice Avenue bridge a tunnel, the mock council asked questions about construction, traffic flow and boat safety before voting against it.

In an actual City Council meeting on Tuesday, Lavallee said the idea was to get students involved with the city in hopes the students will bring their talents back to Venice after graduating college.

Throughout the mock meeting, the students were eager to participate and learn more about how the city functions.

“We all had a great time,” Tanaka said.


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