Juneau City Hall was a little busier than usual on Friday as second graders from Harborview Elementary made their way in from the snow, following instructions from their teacher, Diane Antaya.
Antaya said the kids made the trek because they’ve been learning a lot about cities.
“Coming to City Hall is very empowering, even for young children,” Antaya said. “They get the sense of the importance of working together to make something great like Juneau.”
The class filed into the Juneau Assembly chambers where Mayor Beth Weldon started showing them around.
“You can see all of the names of our Assembly members,” Weldon said. “That’s one of the things I like to ask the adults if they can name all the Assembly members and most of the time they can’t.”
She told the second graders a little bit about what Assembly members do and explained her role as their executive officer.
“My job is to try to keep them in line, probably like your teacher in your classroom,” Weldon said. “Sometimes she does a good job keeping you guys in line and sometimes it’s a little hard for you wiggle worms to hold still and do what you’re told, so very similar to the Assembly.”
She went on to tell the class about some of the things that make Juneau a unique city, like the fact that it owns an airport and a ski resort.
A few students had the chance to ask Weldon a question. One student asked if Weldon liked being the Mayor.
“Most of the time,” Weldon said. “Not all the time. COVID has been a bit of a challenge for all of us, but it’s really fun getting to meet lots of new people and to try and find laws that help people.”
Other students had more complex questions, like how the city keeps Juneau’s landfill from filling up.
“This is going to be an interesting question,” Weldon answered. “We’re not. The landfill will just keep getting more giant … By regulation, it can only go so high. We’re trying to figure out ways to make that smaller or else we’re going to have to ship it out of town.”
To end their visit, the second graders had an opportunity to sit in Assembly member chairs and take part in a mock vote. They were asked to decide whether roosters should be allowed in neighborhoods.
Willym Koester sat in Assembly member Carole Triem’s chair and gave his opinion on the rooster issue.
“I think no,” he said. “Because they can nip at you and that sometimes hurts.”
The rooster ordinance failed 7-2.