Youth Commissioners Speak Up on Critical Youth Issues.


The San Francisco Youth Commission plays an important role often standing up for those values and projects that affect the youth all over the City and County of San Francisco. Recently I saw members of the youth commission testify before the City Services Commission on the use of Rental Computers in neighborhoods and restrictions that Supervisor Fiona Ma proposed - enforced on youth in San Francisco.

The youth from the Youth Commission testified and the agenda item was continued. This is one glaring example when the youth are not consulted all over the City. One small area with unique problems linked to computer rental stores would have been enforced all over the City. Fiona Ma tried to do this with some other issues like parking on the streets that seems to be brought forth before the public with ill thought legislation from time to time.

At the San Francisco Police Commission in Room 400 at City Hall on December 15, 2004 some members of the Youth Commission shown in the photograph articulated about General Order 7.01 under the title "Juvenile Policies and Procedures". They did us proud.

The Youth Commissioners felt they were not consulted and the various aspects of the proposed changes linked to General Order 7.01 were done without their input. The youth felt strongly that in future they should be consulted and that many of the proposed changes adversely impacted the youth. One glaring example being taken to Police Stations without proper procedures in place - such as having some one present who specializes in youth issues and youth guidance.

We pride ourselves when many of us adults open our mouth and say our youth are our future leaders. I never ever like to say that - I always say you are our leaders - today, tomorrow, and yesterday. Our youth need our unconditional love and understanding. It is because we do not give our youth this unconditional love that often times we think we are smart and they are not. We fail to consult them on important issues that they fully understand and feel strong about. Hence the saying " you feel me ". In my life I have never had any issues talking to youth and learning a lot from them.

In the Bayview Hunters Point we have many youth that do not get an opportunity to speak up at the various Public Forums. It was nice to see the Youth Commissioner from District 10 articulate herself on behalf of the youth and General Order 7.01. at the Police Commission meeting.

As the Director of Environmental Justice Advocacy I always view most issues as Quality of Life Issues. Health and Safety form an important aspect of this view. The youth are often compromised when it comes to health and safety.

In the Bayview Hunters Point we see a rash of shootings, killings, poor health, suicide attempts by various youth. We know for a fact that the toxins from the Power Plants and the tons of toxins emitted from the millions of diesel vehicles, the Raw Sewage Treatment Plant operated by San Francisco Public Utilities, the Darlin Tallow Plant at 3rd and Cargo, the over 450 toxic hot spots, the pollution coming from the Hunters Point Shipyard - all adversely affect our youth.

Added to this the prevalence of Junk Food with all the harmful effects further acerbates the health of our youth. It is very difficult for our youth in the poorer neighborhood to eat nourishing and fresh cooked meals. Junk Food or Fast Food is the norm for most youth and young as they are - often times they do not fully comprehend the harmful long lasting effects of preservatives.

The recent rise diabetes, asthma, heart problems, general obesity, and suicidal tenancies - all point to some critical deficiencies. The youth should be consulted and the youth should bring about concrete solutions to the few issues I have pointed out and more.

Crime just does not happen. Crime is linked to our environment. We all know this but from time to time we fail to understand the Attention Deficiency Disorder, Temper Tantrums, Violence and other such issues that we often see in our youth and do not pause for the moment to find out the source of the problem. Our Youth Guidance Centers have much to be desired. Jeff Adachi and a host of others are doing their best to address this situation. I cannot focus on the issue of incarceration of youth but I know our Police Chief Heather Fong and Deputy Chief Greg Suhr are sensitive to the issues - other too. Once again our SF Youth Commission have done us proud.

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