Liset Márquez, Staff Writer
Created: 09/30/2010 10:03:33 PM PDT

ONTARIO – Councilwoman Debra Dorst-Porada wanted to make herself available to residents.

With the help of other council members, she came up with the idea of periodically holding so-called meet-and-greets throughout the city.

“The goal is to network with the local residents in a relaxed informal atmosphere,” Dorst-Porada said. “It’s a way for them to connect with us without the podium in the way. That’s usually intimidating for people.”

The gatherings continue with a second session planned for Sunday in the south side of town.

For two hours, residents can meet all five members of the council and discuss any issues in the city that concern them, Dorst-Porada said.

Another reason for organizing the gatherings is so that residents,who typically can’t make the meetings have a chance to voice their concerns, Dorst-Porada said.

As Dorst-Porada began organizing the second gathering, she contacted the homeowners association in the Creekside community to find out if any resident was willing to open up their front yard. When a resident came forward, Dorst-Porada said she started organizing Sunday’s event.

The first one was held in the front yard of Dorst-Porada, who is the newest member on the council.

Councilman Jim Bowman saw the initial gathering as success.

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