Pixel Tracker

Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 11:14 am | Fair 63º

 
 
 
 

Mayor’s Task Force Strategic Plan To Include Youths’ Ideas

Draft document to be reviewed by City Council in late November

We’re excited we’re at this point, Assistant Santa Maria City Manager Jason Stilwell said Monday about the strategic plan created by the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety. Click to view larger
We’re excited we’re at this point, Assistant Santa Maria City Manager Jason Stilwell said Monday about the strategic plan created by the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A strategic plan created by the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety to serve as a “framework for action” will include ideas from a youth town hall meeting before landing in front of the Santa Maria City Council for consideration.

The task force met Monday to review the draft “Together For Youth and Families Strategic Plan” and consider adopting the 39-page document before referring it to the City Council next month.

The document spells out nine goals aimed at preventing young people from getting involved in gangs and violence, with a focus on high-risk neighborhoods, intervening as youth veer toward a troubled life, enforcing laws regarding gangs and violence, and assisting those re-entering the community to keep them from returning their bad lifestyle.

“We’re excited we’re at this point,” Assistant City Manager Jason Stilwell said. 

The group began meeting in April in response to a spike in violence from December 2014 to January 2016, with 21 homicides or 80 percent above the national average.

One goal aimed at prevention focuses on increasing opportunities for youths to participate in the community through jobs, recreation, civic engagement and transportation.

Another targets identifying youths at risk of ending up in a gang as early as possible through schools and other groups dealing with youths. 

Under enforcement, police would create a specialized team to suppress gang activity, and create internet processes to accurately catalog and track gang-related offenses. 

Another goal calls for expanding the number of trauma informed stakeholders through education and training.

Edwin Weaver, from Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley, said he initially worried the goals lacked specifics.

“This is a framework. The hope is we’re going to address these goals, but they’re not addressed in this plan in detail,”  Weaver said, adding that smaller groups will work to implement smaller, specific goals.

Consultant Ernesto Olivares from the Califoria Cities Violence Prevention Network and Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino listen during the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety meeting Monday afternoon. Click to view larger
Consultant Ernesto Olivares from the Califoria Cities Violence Prevention Network and Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino listen during the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety meeting Monday afternoon. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Discussion during Monday’s meeting centered on how to handle ideas generated at a youth town meeting organized by the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy.

That report won’t be prepared for another week, leading to debate about how to include their ideas in the strategic plan.

Fifth District County Supervisor Steve Lavagnino said youths feel their voices have not been heard during the Mayor’s Task Force process. 

“I would feel more comfortable … to get a report from them and see how it matches up to our action items,” he said. “I think it would plug right in.”

But the question of whether to wait for the youths’ report and not delay the strategic plan’s presentations to the City Council in November prompted discussion. 

To avoid trying to squeeze in another task force meeting before the council considers the plan, the task force agreed that a smaller group could review the youths’ suggestions and incorporate the ideas as appropriate. 

Mayor Alice Patino pushed for moving the plan to the City Council for adoption to avoid further delays. She also noted the difficulty trying to schedule another task force meeting during the busy holidays. 

“It’s not set in cement when we adopt this (plan),” Patino added.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.