Eight Minutes with the Mayor
By Dominic J Larsen, Clarion Staff
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, the newest citizen to hold the title, just passed over two months in office. On February 7, he hosted a press conference at City Hall with some of the area’s finest student journalists including a half-dozen from John F. Kennedy High School. Some of the other 12 area high schools participating in the event included Rio Americano, Florin, River City, Gerber, and Laguna Creek.
Upon arriving, Steve O’Donoghue, Director of the California Scholastic Journalism Initiative, and Sharon Ito, former newscaster and mentor to student journalists in the network, greeted the student journalists. After a brief mingling session, everyone gathered in a conference room set up for the press conference. A short wait later, many young reporters learned the harsh reality of the press pool, as the mayor was not able to appear as scheduled and one of his council members spoke in his place.
Eric Guerra, the councilmember representing District 6 (the area nearby Hiram Johnson High School), spoke first. Councilman Guerra answered questions for over fifteen minutes, speaking about the city’s plan to improve the situation of homelessness, education, and immigration. Guerra centered his speech on the importance and power of education.
As a young child, Guerra immigrated undocumented to the United States and worked in agriculture. He worked throughout his school career, and eventually graduated from college with a degree in engineering. He used this anecdote to illustrate the idea that anyone can accomplish his or her goals and dream through education.
While Guerra was speaking, Mayor Steinberg arrived, later than expected, due to the Budget Committee running late. Steinberg took control of the press conference eating a bag of kettle corn. Though he was very friendly, he indicated he had only a short amount of time to answer questions. The Mayor reiterated many of his campaign promises to students and then offered students the opportunity to ask questions. Unfortunately, JFK’s students did not have the chance to ask any questions regarding issues affecting students or the city, but The Clarion was able to receive valuable experience in covering a political press conference.
All photos by Jazmin Flemmer, Katie Albert