For an hour last Thursday, the City Council chambers were abuzz with the hot topics of the day: daytime curfew for minors, a possible service animals ordinance and new guidelines to crack down on graffiti.


Like other meetings in the chambers, contrasting opinions were expressed while meeting rules were followed.


But this time, the mayor and council members weren't those elected by Hesperia voters. Rather, all the city officials were actually local high school students participating in the annual mock city council proceedings. Earlier, the participating students, which came from Hesperia High, Oak Hills High, Sultana High, Hesperia Christian, Mojave High and Canyon Ridge High, shadowed city staff department heads.


"They get to come and learn about what local government is about," said public information officer Kelly Malloy. "They learn what they need to do to become a city manager or other city staff member. Then they can go from there."


This year's mock City Council meeting featured spirited dialogue from the council and those speaking during the public hearing periods.


"These people suffer from a disability," "resident" Vanessa Franco said about the proposed service animal ordinance. "Turning them away would be just cruel."


But Myra Ontiveras, another resident against such an ordinance, had a contrary view.


"I personally would not want to eat dinner where there's a rat or a monkey."


"Mayor Pro Tem" Lucas Brawner agreed.


"Personally I don't like rodents. If I eat out and there's a rodent I'm not going there again."


Joining Brawner on the dais was Theodora Turner as mayor, Brittney Aguilar as council member 1, Yolanda Finch as council member 2 and Cameron McKinney as council member 3. Darcy Mahoney portrayed the city manager and Nadya Chavies was city manager.


This is the fifth year Hesperia has hosted a Youth in Government program for local students, according to Malloy.