Last Saturday Banning Mayor Colleen Wallace held a Town Hall meeting at Roosevelt Williams Park, with a host of speakers that would provide updates on their respective fields.

Speakers included Gayle White-Biggers, a marriage and family therapist; Matt Valdivia, the principal at Banning High School; Mickey Valdivia, from the San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency and the ASB director at Banning High School; Lily Quiroa, a director at Banning Waste Management; and Art Vela, the city of Banning’s director of Public Works; Doug Shulze, Banning’s city manager; and Banning Police Lieutenant Vince Avila.

Wallace shared her passion for the city of Banning.

“I love this city,” Wallace said. “I am a fourth generation Banning resident, and we need to get together so I can tell you what is going on in this city.”

Following the theme for having passion for Banning, Valdivia shared that he is a lifetime resident of Banning.

Banning town hall meeting

Banning City Manager Doug Schulze and Banning Mayor Colleen Wallace spoke during Wallace’s Town Hall on Saturday, May 22.

Valdivia talked about loving the community, also announcing that Banning High School would be having a Drive-Thru Senior Ball at the school later that evening.

Valdivia also talked about the water rate increase that will be coming.

“The farther away from the source of water, the more expensive it is going to be,” he said.

Matt Valdivia, the principal at Banning High School — and Mickey Valdivia’s cousin — said “There is a light, and things are looking up,” regarding the current situation with distance learning and the pandemic.

He expressed that he was happy that sports had returned.

“In Spring, sports became competitive, like baseball, basketball and track and field,” Valdivia said.

Matt Valdivia also talked about the drive-thru senior ball to be held later that day. He noted that the theme was going to be a red carpet affair, like the Oscars award show.

According to Valdivia, on June 19 there will be the first ever-graduate parade through the city.

The students will get to wear their caps and gowns.

Valdivia answered questions about the new performing arts center.

“The whole community is welcomed to enjoy the facility,” Valdivia said. “We will be having automotive and carpentry classes, too. These are two industries that have a demand for workers in those fields.”

Lt. Vince Avila read a crime report and shared how more officers are in training.

“Our patrol officers went from three to four,” reported Avila. “We need to get people involved. If you see something, say something. Call us.”

Resident Meosha Washington shared her thoughts on homeless individuals in the area. “We should identify the homeless,” said Washington. “I am a single mom with two kids. I don’t want to go home at night. It’s ridiculous.”

Avila acknowledged her concern and said “The people that are being released from jail are making it hard for us.”

He talked about a habitual car thief that is constantly being arrested, only to be released in four to six hours.

The other speakers provided details about their occupations and Banning.

Banning town hall meeting

Banning Police Lt. Vince Avila talked about crime in the city and the officers that are in training. “If you see something, say something,” said Avila to the small group that attended.

Local business owner and artist Gloria “Toti” Bell had words of praise for the mayor.

“She (Wallace) has given the Latin community a voice in this city”, said Bell.

“The mayor has shown her appreciation of the contributions of the Latin community by handing out Certificates of Recognition at City Council meetings to Latinos. I appreciate that.”

Bell continued, “She brings the people together from all walks of Banning. Sometimes there are few folks at the meeting, and sometimes there are many. Either way, I appreciate her updates.”

The mayor will hold her next Town Hall meeting at Roosevelt Williams Park on June 26 at 4 p.m.

“Our patrol officers went from three to four,” said Avila.

“We need to get people involved. If you see something, say something. Call us.”

Avila heard questions about the homeless encampment in Banning.

Resident Meosha Washington shared her thoughts on homeless individuals in the area. “We should identify the homeless,” said Washington. “I am a single mom with two kids. I don’t want to go home at night. It’s ridiculous.”

Avila acknowledged her concern and said, “The people that are being released from jail are making it hard for us.”

He talked about a habitual car thief that is constantly being arrested, only to be released in four to six hours.

The other speakers provided details about their occupations and Banning.

Local business owner and artist Gloria “Toti” Bell had words of praise for the mayor.

“She (Wallace) has given the Latin community a voice in this city”, said Bell.

“The mayor has shown her appreciation of the contributions of the Latin community by handing out Certificates of Recognition at City Council meetings to Latinos. I appreciate that.”

Bell continued, “She brings the people together from all walks of Banning. Sometimes there are few folks at the meeting, and sometimes there are many. Either way, I appreciate her updates.”

The mayor will hold her next Town Hall meeting at Roosevelt Park on June 26, at 4 p.m.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

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Last Saturday Banning Mayor Colleen Wallace held a Town Hall meeting at Roosevelt Williams Park, with a host of speakers that would provide updates on their respective fields.