What can the city offer you? This man can explain
Appeal Staff Writer
Ramiro Ramirez has been on the job for three weeks and already had six meetings scheduled Monday and eight more today. He also has handed out most of his first batch of business cards, which come 500 to a box.
Ramirez, 35, seems to enjoy the fast pace and wide interests that come with the job as the city’s first citizen outreach coordinator.
“It’s amazing,” Ramirez said. “There’s a lot to be done.”
Duties will include making contacts with residents, helping to organize volunteers who could assist with outreach efforts – such as non-English-language interpreters – and helping to foster a good relationship between the city and various ethnic groups.
“He’s going to have a lot of work to do,” said Linda Ritter, city manager.
Figuring out which other groups need more attention and information, and how best to help them obtain access to city government, also will be a significant part of the job.
He’s no stranger to the city. Ramirez, better known as “Javier,” worked at the Carson City Library for eight years. He compiled Spanish-language materials as the library’s Hispanic services coordinator, organized myriad events that provided information about Hispanic culture, and offered U.S. citizenship classes.
The next citizenship class is slated to begin in March, he said.
The idea of having an outreach coordinator came from another city employee who thought residents could benefit from an all-encompassing city government service, Ritter said.
Though Ramirez has abundant enthusiasm and has gained the basic skills to do the city job during his tenure at the library, he also received a week of training in Washington, D.C.
One area uppermost on Ramirez’s mind is helping the city’s teens.
He would like to set up a forum bringing together local Latino teens and members of the Sheriff’s Department so each could better understand the other.
The teens believe deputies think they are always up to something wrong. The deputies, in turn, wonder why the teens act suspicious and believe they are up to something. And this is just the beginning of a culture of misunderstanding between these two groups, he said.
He also would like to help ease tensions between local Hispanics and Washoe Tribe members by getting them together to “break the ice.”
It has been seven years since the fatal beating of Sammy Resendez, a reputed gang member, by several young members of the Washoe Tribe.
Tensions are still significant among many of the community’s young Latinos and American Indians as a result of the incident. Allowing members of the two groups to meet and chat might ease the tension, Ramirez said.
He and a group of young Latino males seek out homeless people around the city to tell them about services available through Friends In Service Helping and persuade them to use the assistance available.
Roughly 20 percent of Carson City’s population is Hispanic. That’s more than 10,000 people, according to the city’s latest version of its master plan. It’s the largest under-served group in the city and the initial target for Ramirez.
Another group he is interested in reaching are deaf and hearing-impaired residents.
Ramirez also is planning a community source guide and a booklet detailing who’s who in Carson City. And during his off-hours, he is pursuing a master’s degree in economics at the University of Nevada, Reno. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business while working at the library full time.
Ramirez, a native of Nicaragua, is married and has three children ages 16, 8 and 5.
The outreach position, budgeted at $49,400 a year plus benefits, will be reviewed by the Board of Supervisors, which will decide whether to make it permanent after six months.
— Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.