Merced City Council task force wants to hear from teens

The youth task force is calling all Merced’s young people to a forum on Saturday, according to a city news release.

The Merced City Council established a youth task force, made up of five adults and seven high school-age locals, in October. A forum to hear from young people is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday in the Sam Pipes Room of the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St., according to the release.

“The forum is open to anyone, but the council really wants to hear from teens in the city,” city spokesman Mike Conway said in an email. “(The city) wants their help, their ideas, their vision (and) their voices at the youth forum.”

The task force is supposed to decide what a proposed youth council would look like and what it would do.

At a budget meeting in June, the Merced City Council set aside $25,000 for a council made up of young people. If and how that money will be spent remains to be seen.

The task force is also supposed to decide if the best way to hear from young people should be through a youth council, or a Facebook page or Twitter account, the release stated. Other possibilities include a website, holding periodic youth forums, high school campus outreach or some other method.

The task force is made up of Parks and Recreation Commissioners David Burke, Flip Hassett and Napoleon Washington. The seven youths have also been appointed by the City Council, according to the release.

Councilman Josh Pedrozo will also serve on the commission, as will a yet-to-be-named representative from the Merced Union High School District.