Source:  Reflection    Tag:  linkage institution
Going to the City Council meetings greatly added to my knowledge of how San Jose stays afloat. Before going to the City Council meetings the only knowledge I had of city politics came from the things we have learned in civics class so far. At the first City Council meeting I attended I was very surprised that a prayer was said. I realize that is was most likely because a church was being recognized as a historical landmark but it surprised me that religion was brought into a political environment. One of the topics that I was interested in during this meeting was the topic of the senior citizen homeless shelter. This topic caught my eye because I have recently done community service and it helped me realize how much of an influence the City has on homeless establishments.
            During the second meeting I was able to experience more political topics than the first meeting. I learned that public opinion is prominent at these meetings as well. Public opinion can be expressed by anyone attending the city council meetings. All you had to do was write your name on the paper provided for you and put it in the box where your name will be called when the time comes during the meeting. I really appreciated the fact that anyone at the meetings could express their opinions on any of the topics being discussed. This also showed me that the City Council serves as a linkage institution for people to express how they feel about certain topics. They serve as a linkage institution because once people express their concern about a certain topic during the meeting; their opinion could possibly influence the policy agenda. One thing that truly interested me during the second meeting was the discussion about the SAP center and how it has to be redone because of structural problems. This interested me because I have been there many times and it caused me to wonder whether or not it is safe or not. Also, I thought that when people who represent a company or a group get up and speak in front of the City Council to express their opinion about a certain topic that affects there company or to influence them to vote for something that will benefit their company this could be considered lobbying. This could be considered lobbying because they are trying to influence the members of the Council to vote for or against something that will affect them.
            During the third City Council meeting the mayor was not present. The Vice President led the meeting, which allowed me to see that she is next in line to the mayor.  During this meeting I was very pleased to see that certain establishments were being recognized by the city. When the Multiple Myeloma Support Group was honored I was very pleased to see that even a small group such as this one was being honored by the city. This also happened during a previous meeting when Heald College was being honored for their 150-year anniversary. It was topics like these that caused me to see the City Council as a group that helps our City in many more ways than I expected. Throughout all three of these meetings I learned that City Council makes decisions based on the councils majority vote. Also during all three of these meetings I realized that the people on our City Council truly do care about their citizens and they always take their opinion into consideration when making decisions that will affect them. I am thankful that I was able to have this experience because it greatly widened my knowledge of how decisions are made for the City of San Jose.