Next time you think about skipping the Alhambra City Council meeting, think again. Researchers from USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism have shown that participation in community events and local organizations increases residents' levels of civic engagement and belonging.
"Belonging, a key element of civic engagement, motivates residents to engage in neighborly acts and collective problem-solving, which in turn improve the well-being of everyone living in the neighborhood," said USC Annenberg researcher Nancy Chen in a 2011 article about Alhambra's sense of belonging. "Residents of the Western San Gabriel Valley, including Alhambra, have the lowest sense of neighborhood belonging compared to six other areas in the Los Angeles area."
We asked readers in February if they had ever attended an Alhambra City Council meeting. More than 30 percent of the 77 voters said they had not attended a meeting and were not interested, nearly 25 percent had not attended because they were satisfied with the way the city was run, and almost 20 percent had not attended because they did not know where and when the meetings were held.
There are a variety of ways to increase civic engagement — Alhambra Source is one of them — but another is to get involved with your community by attending city events. Want to know about city policies or speak to your neighborhood's elected representative? Sit in on a City Council meeting. Interested in a specific issue, like transportation or housing? Check out one of the city's 11 committees. Alhambra is also sponsoring a variety of business, community, and entertainment events in August. Find out more information in the agenda below.
"We hope people come out to enjoy all the activities we try to provide for them," said Alhambra Councilman Gary Yamauchi. "We're doing this for the people."