Attention, would-be city council candidates: When it comes to a law-and-order platform, Councilwoman Bianca Duarte will be a tough act to follow.

"I'd like to suggest that when we find someone doing graffiti, their fingers be removed," Duarte said Thursday, discussing a proposed graffiti control ordinance. "Once their fingers are removed, they can't hold a spray can and there will be no more graffiti."

The good news for vandals is that Duarte was just playing the role of a councilwoman. The Hesperia High School student was taking part in the City of Hesperia's fourth annual Youth in Government Day. Twenty-six students from four Hesperia high schools shadowed senior city staff throughout the day, which concluded in a mock city council meeting, which featured a variety of real agenda items from previous city council meetings.

In some ways, the mock city council was extremely accurate.

"Are they struggling electronically? Yeah, that's never happened before," Councilman Paul Bosacki, who was in the audience during the mock meeting, called out when students ran into trouble with city's electronic vote-recording system. "See, it's not just us."

In other cases, the teenaged council, staff and representatives of the public acted their age.

"Solid," Mayor Matthew Garcia, a Hesperia High School student, responded to fellow council member's comment.

"My puppy Fluffy and I are scared for our lives," Hesperia High School student Kristine Maenpaa told the council, supporting a proposed animal control ordinance. "I think this ordinance will protect all the Fluffies of America."

The council voted against the proposed animal control ordinance and in favor of the graffiti control ordinance -- although not Duarte's finger-chopping version. But they broke from previous student city councils when it came to the matter of a proposed 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. curfew for minors.

"Children are our future, so we have to protect them in the present so that the past doesn't repeat itself," Director of Development Services James Tomberlin, a Sultana High School student, told the council.

"Kids are very weird. They're freaks," Hesperia student Cecilia Flores told the council. "There is no way to protect our city the way you want to with this ordinance."

"I don't think you need an ordinance to see someone's ditching school," said Hesperia student Alejandro Osorio.

"It's the grades that count, not the attendance," said Councilwoman Duarte.

"I have late arrival," said Sultana student Talisa Almodovar. "I don't want to get stopped by the cops."

The student city council unanimously voted down the curfew, breaking with their predecessors.

"Politically correct or incorrect, the kids did a great job today," Mayor Thurston "Smitty" Smith said afterward.

Students participating in the 2010 Youth in Government Day included:
* Guillermo Hernandez from Canyon Ridge High School
* Jesus Aguilar, Bianca Duarte, Cristal Enriquez, Matthew Estrada, Cecilia Flores, Matthew Garcia, Christopher Lu, Kristine Maenpaa, Kristine McGowan, Cody McMillain, Alejandro Osorio, Araceli Patiņo, and Marielena Zelaya from Hesperia High School
* Jasmine Lopez, Shynette Moore, Maricruz Picaso and Rebecca Sharp from Mojave High School
* Talisa Almodovar, Rebecca Combs, Israel Cuervas, Vanessa Estudillo, Bridgette Forbes, Cody Huson, Kimberly Pesavento and James Tomberlin from Sultana High School

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/HesperiaStar.