Anaheim City Council Forms Youth and Senior Commissions

JEFF ANTENORE, Voice of OC Contributing Photographer

Anaheim City Council Members Kris Murray, Lucille Kring, Dr. Jose F. Moreno, Mayor Tom Tait, Denise Barnes and Stephen J. Faessel, from left, (Councilmember James Vanderbilt wasn't present but attended by telephone) conduct a City Council meeting in their chambers at City Hall on Tuesday, June 20, 2017.

The Anaheim City Council Tuesday voted 6-1 to form youth and senior commissions with Councilman James Vanderbilt voting against the proposal.

According to a staff report, the Anaheim Youth Commission (AYC) will consist of 21 appointed members age 14 to 26, representing each of the six districts in Anaheim.

A Senior Citizen Commission will also be reinstated, with seven members age 60 and over. The commissions will be taking applicants in the coming months. Candidates for the Youth Commission under 18 must have permission from a parent or guardian, as well as a 2.0 GPA.

Both members of the Senior Citizen Commission and those for the Youth Commission will be appointed by city council members.

A senior commission for the city of Anaheim was established in 1980, but the council dissolved it in 2010 due to low participation, according to a staff report.

In March, a request was submitted for the commission to be reestablished by seniors who said they felt underrepresented in city politics.

While discussing the proposal, Councilwoman Lucille Kring raised concerns about whether the commissions would attract participants, saying that “it is foolhardy to put something in place if there aren’t any applicants showing up.”

However, Councilman Jose Moreno said there is a need for representation in these age groups in local government, particularly in the 14 to 26 age bracket.

Councilman Stephen Faessel also questioned the purpose of the commissions, and what authority they would have in government.

Mayor Tom Tait said several mayors in other cities have benefited from youth and senior commissions acting in an advisory capacity, as they bring fresh perspectives to the table.

“The final decision is ours,” said Tait, “but [these commissions] give us a point of view from both the youth and senior positions that’s helpful for making decisions. I agree with him (Moreno).”

Caroline Zhu is a Voice of OC intern.