SANTA MARIA, Calif. - City leaders ditched the podium and council chambers and went directly to Santa Maria's northeast neighborhood to tackle concerns.
No single issue triggered Monday's community meeting, the City of Santa Maria just wanted to do more outreach.
Like the old saying goes, ‘Build it, and they will come.' Close to 50 people came to Christian Family Church of God with questions and concerns.
"It's more productive. I see faces out there tonight that I've never seen at a city council meeting. There are quite a few people, I think it's encouraging," said Alice Patino, Santa Maria Mayor.
To get a pulse on specific concerns in Santa Maria's northeast neighborhood, staff from each city department were on hand, bringing officials directly to the community.
"I can actually address an issue and get an answer as opposed to sitting in a city council meeting and having all the council people just say ok your three minutes is up," said Stacy Rumens, a northeast resident at the meeting.
With documentation in hand, Stacy Russom said time is ticking when it comes to traffic issues.
"Like speeding up and down Main Street, the donuts that these kids are doing in the streets in front of Panther," said Russom.
Russom isn't alone. Santa Maria Police Chief Phil Hansen heard the community's concerns loud and clear.
"Traffic enforcement, not stopping for pedestrians that sort of thing," said Hansen, when asked about the main issues he was hearing. "We'll take it very seriously. I'll go back and speak with my personnel about it and see if we can't be beef up traffic enforcement and specific ways to make it better in this part of town," adds Hansen.
It's that one on one time that Hansen says is a proactive approach to find out what people need.
"I was excited that [Chief Hansen] was there," said Russom.
Community programs, downtown revitalization, park maintenance, and business development were other hot topics.
Officials say Monday night was a test run but due to the turnout of over 50 people, Mayor Patino hopes to hold similar meetings in the other quadrants in the city soon.