Annual Report 1999-2000

1999/2000 Youth Commissioners
Francisco J. Castillo, Chair
Appointed by Supervisor Sue Bierman
Jessica Devine, Government Affairs Officer
Appointed by Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.
Jesse Arreguìn-Ferñandez, Operations Officer
Appointed by Supervisor Alicia Becerril
Jewnbug, Community Affairs Officer
Appointed by Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.
Benjamin Matranga, Media and Public Relations Officer
Appointed by Supervisor Barbara Kaufman
Jasmin D. Barker
Appointed by Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.
Bill Barnes
Appointed by Supervisor Mark Leno
Joseph Richard Baxter
Appointed by Supervisor Leland Yee
Rachel Bolden-Kramer
Appointed by Supervisor Leslie Katz
Rolando A. Bonilla
Appointed by Supervisor Gavin Newsom
Chaz Cottonham
Appointed by Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.
Kareem Ervin
Appointed by Supervisor Amos Brown
Michael Geodzhayev
Appointed by Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.
Michel Lau
Appointed by Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr.
Eric Pang
Appointed by Supervisor Michael Yaki
Catherine Talton-Alunan
Appointed by Supervisor Tom Ammiano
Karissa Yee
Appointed by Supervisor Mabel Teng

Letter from the Chair of the 1999/2000 Youth Commission

The San Francisco Youth Commission has become a stronger voice for youth in the city since its inception four years ago. Experience has taught us to constantly anticipate the needs of young people by creating new opportunities to learn and develop leadership skills. It has been an honor to serve as Commission Chair for the past two years and to continue the tradition of advocating for youth and community change. My fellow Commissioners, our dedicated staff, and I are excited and proud of the achievements during our 1999-2000 term.

In this Annual Report you will learn about the many accomplishments of the Youth Commission this past year. During this term, the Commission organized a number of exciting events and passed important resolutions supporting the efforts of organizations that encourage youth empowerment. In addition, we held numerous community meetings that allowed children and youth to be involved in decisions that affect their everyday lives. It is through the rapidly growing youth movement that young people are uniting in an effort to bridge the gap between youth and government and to continue to show our city officials that young people have a valuable contribution to make.

As a part of the San Francisco City and County Charter, the Youth Commission has made and will continue to make a positive impact on the lives of our city's children and youth. The San Francisco Youth Commission will remain dedicated to youth leadership, decision making, and empowerment.

On behalf of the Youth Commission, I would like to thank its many extraordinary supporters, and to recognize the wisdom and vision of the many individuals who were involved in creating the Youth Commission in 1995.

Francisco J. Castillo
Chair, San Francisco Youth Commission

Youth Commission Committees
Jessica Devine
Government Affairs Officer

Youth Commission 1999/2000

In the Fall of 1999, the Youth Commission voted to create committees specific to issues important to San Francisco youth. In their first year the committees proved to be a positive addition to the Commission structure, allowing for issue focused work. Below are highlights from the committees' first year.

The Juvenile Justice & Public Safety Committee serves to educate youth about their rights as young people and to advocate for youth in the areas of juvenile justice and public safety. The 99/00 Committee worked with a number of San Francisco community-based organizations, such as Third Eye and HOMEY, to educate San Francisco youth about California's Juvenile Justice Initiative, Proposition 21, and its true meaning and impact. The Juvenile Justice & Public Safety Committee continues to work closely with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to respond to the passage of Proposition 21 and to decide upon an appropriate course of action for the City and County of San Francisco. Additionally, in February, the Committee organized "Hear Us, Don't Fear Us: A Rap Session on Juvenile Crime Prevention, Intervention, and Rehabilitation".

The Public Health, Environment, and Social Services Committee was created to address the overall health and environment concerns of San Francisco's youth. In its first year, the Committee worked to lay a foundation for future committee projects. Through collaboration with the San Francisco Department of the Environment and various community-based organizations, the Committee worked to ensure a youth voice and presence in the city's public health and environmental efforts.

Our Culture and Urban Environment Committee is charged with helping San Francisco's youth by advocating for recreation and urban opportunities within the city. The Committee worked with the Board of Supervisors to increase the number of art and music programs within San Francisco schools. Additionally, the Committee joined with YMAC (Youth Making A Change) in an effort to open YouthSpace, a youth-designed recreation space for youth-run businesses--for youth, by youth.

The Housing, Transportation, and Land Use Committee tackled the housing crisis this year by organizing a successful Youth Lobby Day. Thirty-five youth from throughout San Francisco traveled to Sacramento to speak with state legislators about the growing housing problem in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

In its first term, the Education and Workforce Committee chose as its main focus before and after school child care for elementary school age students. With the help of Wu Yee Children's Services, the Committee researched what and where services are currently available. Committee members met with Norman Yee, Director of Wu Yee, and Frank Chong, School Board Commissioner, as well as with a representative from the Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families to begin working towards a plan of action.

Community Outreach
by Jewnbug
Community Affairs Officer
Youth Commission 1999/2000

One of the San Francisco Youth Commission's most important roles is to reach out to various communities of youth. One way this is accomplished is through monthly community meetings. In January, the first community meeting of the Millennium was held at the Bayview Opera House. Throughout the year we held meetings in many of San Francisco's neighborhoods, including Excelsior, Western Addition, Visitation Valley, and the Richmond District.

Early in the 1999/2000 term, the Youth Commission approved an outreach plan through which Commissioners reached out to their schools, neighborhoods, and communities and participated in a number of community-based events, including the following:

· HOMEY (Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth) community celebrations at La Raza park
· The Youth Expo at Youth Guidance Center
· James Denman Beacon Center Community Festival
· Francisco Middle School's Family Day
· Youth Leadership Institute's "Revolution", a celebration of youth activism

Youth Commission Events
By Jesse Arreguin-Fernandez
Operations Officer
Youth Commission, 1999/2000
District Attorney Candidates Forum

With the approaching 1999 Municipal Elections, and with a large media focus on the Mayoral election, the San Francisco Youth Commission convened several meetings to find an effective way to educate young voters (ages 18-23) about the candidates for office. The Commission created a candidates forum for the candidates for District Attorney, an office that handles issues of Juvenile Justice and the prosecution of juveniles for crimes. In late October of 1999, the commission held the forum at City College of San Francisco with the five major candidates for District Attorney: Terence Hallinan, Bill Fazio, Mike Shaffer, Steve Castleman and Matt Gonzalez.

The candidates discussed such issues as Proposition 21, Juvenile Hall, the age limit for adult sentencing, and youth violence. The forum was a complete success and allowed all young voters in San Francisco an opportunity to learn more about the candidates for District Attorney. The forum also provided the media with a fair representation of youth and an opportunity to learn about the candidates' commitments to San Francisco's youth.

Bay Area Youth Commission Holiday Party
In mid-December of 1999, the San Francisco Youth Commission and
several other youth commissions throughout the Bay Area (including the
Pleasanton Youth Commission, Marin Youth Commission, San Jose Youth

Commission and Hayward Youth Commission) gathered at San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The purpose of the event was to get to know all the young people throughout the Bay Area who serve on youth commissions or youth organizations and to share ideas. At the party, Youth Commissioners introduced themselves and talked in small groups about what they can do as a united force to advocate for young people in Northern California. Following the group discussions, the Commissioners regrouped to describe what steps they could take to fulfill the goal of representing youth in Northern California, whether through education about upcoming elections or improvement of their community services. The party provided commissioners with the opportunity to share their ideas about young people throughout the region.

" Hear Us-Don't Fear Us: A Rap Session on Juvenile Crime Prevention, Intervention, and Rehabilitation"

In February of this year, the San Francisco Youth Commission's Juvenile
Justice and Public Safety Committee hosted the " Hear Us- Don't Fear Us"
juvenile justice educational forum at San Francisco's Bill Graham Civic
Auditorium. The forum was an organized effort by the San Francisco Youth

Commission and other local Youth Commissions during the beginning of the youth led "No on 21" campaign. The purpose of the event was to educate young people about the juvenile justice system in San Francisco and also about efforts to reform the system, including Proposition 21.

Emcee Commissioner Kareem Ervin kicked off the event by inviting a number of youth to perform at the start of the program, including Jewnbug, a San Francisco Youth Commissioner. Then many eloquent speakers spoke on their impressions of the Juvenile Justice system, including Commissioner Jennifer Posadas of the Juvenile Delinquency Commission, representatives from the SF Youth Commission, the Omega Boys Club and Community United Against Violence (CUAV). After the presentations the audience broke into groups and discussed many different issues within the juvenile justice system and how to address them. The event closed with musicians from the San Francisco Conservation Corps.

Recommendations from the event were gathered by Bay Area Youth Commissions and included in a report discussing methods for reforming the juvenile justice system, other than political measures like Proposition 21. The report was presented at a press conference in early March.

San Francisco Youth Commission Housing Lobby Day
On May 25, 2000, the San Francisco Youth Commission's Housing and
Transportation Committee hosted a visit to the State Capitol to lobby

State Legislators to support legislation for affordable housing and housing development in California. Along with 30 other concerned youth activists, the Committee pleaded with legislators about the housing crisis facing San Francisco and how such issues like gentrification and a rapid economy are contributing to the displacement of youth and their families. A number of legislators promised to support such legislation and seemed very interested in working with the Youth Commission and the City and County of San Francisco to address these important issues.

Joint Hearing on Proposition 21
On June 29, 2000, the Youth Commission's Juvenile Justice and Public Safety
Committee and the Board of Supervisor's Public Health and Environment

Committee held a joint hearing that included participation from the San Francisco Police Department, District Attorney's Office, Mayor's Office, Juvenile Probation Department, and San Francisco Unified School District. The Hearing was held at the Board of Supervisor's Legislative Chambers and was chaired by Commissioner Jewnbug and Supervisor Michael Yaki. The various speakers addressed how and why Proposition 21, passed in March by California voters, should and should not be implemented in San Francisco. The hearing was attended by nearly 100 young people from throughout San Francisco, many of whom took the opportunity to publicly testify about their experiences with the juvenile justice system.

Future Direction

As the Youth Commission completes its fourth year, there is much to be proud of and much to which we look forward. San Francisco is one of the few cities in the country that demonstrates its commitment to children and youth by giving them a role in the decision making process. The Youth Commission is an unique opportunity for young people to develop their leadership skills and to advocate for San Francisco's youth. However, just as important as the experience of the 17 Commissioners, is the Youth Commission's responsibility to reach out and engage the thousands of other youth who live in San Francisco and who care about our city's future. As a youth voice in City Hall, the Youth Commission looks forward to strengthening our established relationships and to building new ones. Through community meetings and increased outreach efforts, the Commission is committed to effectively representing the diversity of experiences and needs of San Francisco's youth. We hope you will join us in our effort to make the City and County of San Francisco a place where young people are valued, respected, and inspired.

Colleen Montoya