VENICE — Council Member Nick Pachota said he’s gotten support from a lot of people about his idea to give local youths a voice in city government following a story in Saturday’s Gondolier Sun.
Now he just needs to figure out how to channel it.
He served on the city’s Youth Advisory Board 2000-01 but that board doesn’t exist anymore. Neither do some youth activities he participated in, such as the Police Explorers, he said.
Six city boards have student members but none focuses on youth activities, as the Youth Advisory Board did. City Council liaisons “left it up to us to decide what we wanted to pursue,” he said.
One project the board was instrumental in bringing to fruition when Pachota served was a skate park on the circus property, though it was later relocated outside the city, to the YMCA.
His colleagues agreed Tuesday on the value of youth participation but had varying opinions on whether anything new needs to be done to solicit it.
Council Member Helen Moore said she thinks students already have several ways to be heard and wondered how active the student members of advisory boards are.
Council Member Rich Cautero said the city has had trouble finding candidates for those positions, though he acknowledged that might not be the case for a youth board.
He also mentioned the cost in staff time of creating a new board that will need to have a clerk taking minutes.
If the Council does move toward creating a youth board, it should have a clear mission and goal, he said. Several advisory boards have been disbanded in the last few years, he said, because their members felt they weren’t being effective.
The consensus was to bring the topic up at next week’s strategic planning session.
Also on Tuesday the Council:
• accepted City Attorney Kelly Fernandez’s opinion that the city has no ownership interest in an alleyway near the post office that apparently was intended to be vacated 50 years ago. She’ll notify the county property appraiser.
• received the quarterly financial update from Controller Joe Welch.
• approved an agreement with the county for the use of park impact fees to purchase a mobility mat for Venice Beach. It will be a pilot program, to test the level of volunteer involvement in upkeep and the need for staff time for more-involved tasks, such as removing the mat ahead of severe weather.
• approved a mutual aid agreement related to law enforcement coverage of special events.
• approved the placement of two sculptures on the Venice Art Center grounds.
• proclaimed the week of Feb.16-22, 2020, as “Engineers Week.”
You can watch the video of the meeting at VeniceGov.com under the “Meetings” header.