Youth voices heard as commission
by Kelly Feser Eells
Attending to their agenda with an efficiency bordering on exuberance,
the Ojai Youth Commission brought an element to council chambers
that only it could: youth.
Gridley Road resident Cindy Cantle addressed the commission during
the Unscheduled Items from the Public portion of the Feb. 25
meeting. "First of all I want to congratulate all of you,
and on behalf of Supervisor Steve Bennett" - whose office
Cantle works for - "and his staff, say that we wish you
well and think this is just a wonderful opportunity for you to
contribute to government and represent youth in our valley."
Cantle added that, as the official liaison of Bennett's office,
she was there "to help in any way that I can," including
assistance with any city and/or Ojai Valley Municipal Advisory
Commission chair Brianna Frank asked Cantle to explain, "for
those who might not know," what exactly the MAC was.
"The MAC is a group of elected officials," Cantle replied,
"from all different areas of the valley's unincorporated
areas -representing seven areas. They're advisory to the Board
of Supervisors, in an advisory role much like your own."
Cantle then offered to forward future MAC agendas to the commission.
Frank introduced the first discussion item, adoption of the commission's
mission statement. Following commissioners Erin Deneen and Skyler
Chapin's suggested revisions, former Ojai police chief Jim Barrett,
serving as the Police Activities League representative, made
a motion to adopt the following statement - "The Ojai Youth
Commission is dedicated to acting as a liaison between the youth
of Ojai and their government ... it stands to represent the role
of youth in the Ojai Valley and the overall well being of the
community and its citizens. Its members are committed to exemplifying
the qualities of leadership while assisting in the implementation
of the Youth Master Plan" - which was passed and carried.
Also discussed was the adoption of the commission's by-laws;
Deneen wondered about the feasibility of adopting the City Council's
by-laws and appending them with commission-specific issues. Frank
noted that, in talks with P.A.L., she discovered that "a
lot of similar organizations' by-laws include monetary items
and other issues that don't specifically pertain to us, and a
lot of organizations don't include issues that do. I think, before
we actually make them, we need to decide what they should refer
to and what is important to us to have by-laws regarding."
Ojai Valley Youth Foundation representative Troy Barner agreed,
pointing out that, "When we discussed this earlier, it was
decided that the two main things (to include) would be the role
of the commission's officers and how to deal with the removal
Barrett smiled, "I hate to propose this (again), but maybe
we need to establish a subcommittee on this."
Commissioner Tyler Buckingham, Frank, Chapin and Barrett volunteered
to be on the subcommittee.
Though Police Chief Gary Pentis, scheduled to give a presentation
on traffic safety, was unable to attend, Frank offered highlights
of his presentation, which was rescheduled for the March 25 meeting.
"The general consensus I got from students," said Frank,
"regarding Capt. Pentis' suggestion concerning 'stickering'
cars (at Nordhoff High School, a prime high traffic area) and
driving every other day was not good. Definitely not a good response.
I also got a bad response from students about closing the campus,
driving only to and from school." She continued, "I
just thought I'd give you some background on what we discussed.
But the main consensus of the youth, and especially the youth
at Nordhoff is, they want to drive and they want to drive when
they want to."
Councilman Joe DeVito introduced himself as the commission's
City Council liaison. "You may not remember me," he
joked, "but I was one of those people sitting at the table
when you all interviewed."
He added, "and that was one of the most delightful experiences
I ever had, by the way."
Referring to the commission's discussion about its by-laws, DeVito
noted, "It's a good idea, when you do adopt by-laws, to
refer them to our City Attorney." He also offered suggestions
regarding coordinating certain agenda items with the City Council.
"I just wanted you to know," Barrett quipped, "that
it gives me a great deal of pleasure to see you standing there"
- at the podium where Barrett, as police chief, used to deliver
his presentations before council.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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