Tuesday, November 13 , 2018, 8:12 am | Fair 43º

 
 
 
 

Santa Maria Youth Safety Task Force Will See Draft Strategic Plan Next Month

Panel working to set out steps to stem youth violence in the city

Mayor Alice Patino, sits between consultant Ernesto Olivares and Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino during the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety meeting Monday. Click to view larger
Mayor Alice Patino, sits between consultant Ernesto Olivares and Fifth District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino during the Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety meeting Monday. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Months of meetings involving the Santa Maria Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety will culminate in a strategic plan spelling out ways to quell violence, and the group will review a draft next month.  

The 36 task force members sitting at the large table in the Minami Community Center Tuesday, and two dozen people in the audience, heard the schedule for crafting the strategic plan. 

“The timeline is tight but I think it's feasible,” Assistant City Manager Jason Stilwell said.

The Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety has met since April to identify the programs offered already and those needed. 

“That’s really what this has been for the past few months — the planning process,” Stilwell said. “We’ve been gathering data, gathering community input, outreaching to the schools, outreaching to the youth. 

“All that is going to tie into a plan that we’ll bring you in October that will have implementation steps,” Stilwell added. 

The document will include data assembled from various school, law enforcement and other organizations to help illustrate factors contributing to youth violence in the city.  

Stilwell pointed out the group previously identified the key pillars — prevention, intervention, enforcement and re-entry — toward ending violence.

Deputy City Manager Jason Stilwell talks about subcommittees to start pulling together the strategic plan for the Santa Maria Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety. Click to view larger
Deputy City Manager Jason Stilwell talks about subcommittees to start pulling together the strategic plan for the Santa Maria Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

The plan will also include an implementation plan and methods to evaluate whether the work meets the goals of the task force, he said.

“This is really the devil in the details kind of thing,” Stilwell said. “We talked a lot about youth safety over the summer. We’ve heard a lot of things about how to enhance youth safety — more transportation, better soccer fields, a trauma-based approach to addressing youth safety. 

“This will be the effort to get into what does that mean and how can we work together on it,” Stilwell said. 

Consultant Ernesto Olivares said when task force members see the draft plan it may look overwhelming.

“We want to end up with a plan that’s actionable," Olivares said, adding that the document can't sit on a shelf to collect dust.

Olivares said ideas should not be limited due to costs. 

Educators attend the task force meeting in Santa Maria Monday including Luke Ontiveros, Santa Maria-Bonita School District superintendent, Mark Richardson, Santa Maria Joint Union School District superintendent, and Edwin Weaver, Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley. Click to view larger
Educators attend the task force meeting in Santa Maria Monday including Luke Ontiveros, Santa Maria-Bonita School District superintendent, Mark Richardson, Santa Maria Joint Union School District superintendent, and Edwin Weaver, Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

"If we don't include them we're not going to think about it, talk about it," he said. "Part of the plan too is how to sustain the effort."

Opportunities for grant funding will be coming up in the next few months, which could help pay for items in the strategic plan, he added.

The task force plans to meet Oct. 23 to review the draft plan and ultimately will forward the document to the City Council for adoption.

Mayor Alice Patino suggested adding an evening meeting to get input from youth who are unable to attend the task force review meeting.

Task force members heard about plans for the Mayor’s Youth Safety & Health Care Fair from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at Santa Maria Foursquare Church, 709 N. Currier St.

The event is being organized by Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, R-San Luis Obispo, who will attend the fair for the first hour.

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.

Appromimately three dozen people sit at the table to discuss the strategic plan during the Santa Maria Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety Monday afternoon. Click to view larger
Appromimately three dozen people sit at the table to discuss the strategic plan during the Santa Maria Mayor’s Task Force on Youth Safety Monday afternoon. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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