Saturday, August 30, 2008

Youth Groups Need Members

In answer to a resident's community forum question on getting youth involved in civic activities, Assemblyman Jerry Green named it "one of the top priorities."

Seeing Councilwoman Linda Carter in the audience Tuesday, Plaintalker inquired about the status of two youth commissions established by ordinance in March 2006. The first one, established by ordinance MC 2006-10, calls for youth liaisons to city boards and commissions. The young people who serve would receive community volunteer credits. A second Youth Commission, covered by MC 2006-13, would provide input to the governing body, suggest youth activities and serve as a link between city government and young people.

Four of a possible 11 appointments were made to the second one and none to the other one.

Carter said the second one was currently being reorganized.

These commissions were established soon after the mayor took office and at the time were no doubt a priority. Carter advocated for both commissions. Maybe a review of these exisiting means of involving youth is in order.

At some point, the entire portion of the Municipal Code dealing with boards and commissions deserves a review. The two youth commissions aren't the only ones lacking members. Other boards and commissions are defunct. Anyone interested in taking a look can do it online at Councilman Rashid Burney's web site. The Civic Responsibility Act was supposed to lead to compilation of a list of all the openings on boards and commissions, but that is another piece of legislation honored in the breach.

The current revitalization of the school district offers a partnering opportunity for the city to find young people who would enjoy knowing more about how municipal government works and what the responsibilities of a citizen are. Teenagers will soon join the electorate and in the future will produce our new lawmakers and public servants. The opportunity to join these youth commissions could be advertised on city and district web sites. Schools Superintendent Steve Gallon III has already mentioned service learning as a component of education.

The online code does not seem to include the two youth commission ordinances, but in the near future Plaintalker will look them up and list the requirements to join.

--Bernice Paglia


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