Someone already working for city good candidate for outreach job
Appeal Staff Writer
City officials expect they won’t have to look very far for someone to fill the newly created Hispanic liaison position.
“Someone already working for the city understands how the city operates,” said City Manager Linda Ritter. “This person will be educating the public about city services.”
Supervisors gave Ritter their approval to create the position during their meeting Thursday.
She and others at city hall are busy compiling a to-do list for this yet-to-be-named person.
Although the details have not yet been entirely decided, the idea has been received well.
“It sounds like it would be helpful,” said Alejandro Vega, owner of Alex Upholstery.
A Carson City resident who was born in Mexico, Vega said he knows people around the city who speak only Spanish and who have said they find it difficult when they need to go to the city to apply for licenses or conduct other activities.
He said that, like most people, he reads the newspaper or watches news whenever he can find the time. He is running a business and trying to spend time with his family, so there is only a limited amount of time for him to devote to current events. And because he’s bilingual, sometimes the information he receives is in English and at other times it’s in Spanish.
Regional Spanish-language news sources are primarily based in Reno and only rarely present information about Carson City.
The person hired to do the job would have to be bilingual and would work with people in the Latino community – at least to start – to get information about the city to them, Ritter said.
Ritter also said that the person hired should expect to be “very busy.”
Father James Setelik, of Corpus Christi Catholic Church, said churchgoers can learn about community news and happenings at church, but secular sources are also crucial.
Roughly half of the church’s parishioners are Hispanic.
He said he is concerned about how to get the word out.
There is no physical Latino “community,” he emphasized. “They live all over the city.”
“It’s almost like shaking the bushes. A blanket mailing? Who’s to say that everybody reads everything in the mail. I don’t,” Setelik said. “The main problem will be to get access to people who would benefit from the services. And the people who might need these services. There are cultural, language and ‘attitudinal’ differences. You have to bridge those cultural gaps, too.”
Setelik said the new employee will have to initially “celebrate small progress” because it’s going to be “a long struggle to work toward 100 percent access.”
n Contact reporter Terri Harber at 882-2111, ext. 215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.