Thursday Jan 07 2010
A youthful perspective on city government.
By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
City appoints teens to join commissions and boards
There are four new faces at Roseville’s City Hall this year. Jacob Priley, Josephine Kao, Alexander Kludjian and Micky DeFiebre are the newest members of some of the city’s boards and commissions. These youth commissioners join the city board and commission members to provide a younger point of view on the issues that come before the members, said Megan Macpherson, Roseville communications manager. The high school aged youth members were announced in December and begin fulfilling their roles as commissioners this month attending meetings, analyzing agendas and packets and for some, partaking in the decision-making process. Here, The Press Tribune introduces you to the four newest members to walk the halls at 311 Vernon St. Jacob Priley Age: 16 Sophomore at Roseville High School Youth Commissioner for the Parks and Recreation Commission Quote to live by: Carpe Diem Following in the footsteps of his father, Jacob Priley is the newest member of the Parks and Recreation Commission. Priley, who said his family has been involved with the city of Roseville for as long as he can remember said he feels like becoming a youth commissioner is a way for him to carry on the legacy that his father, John Priley, began in the Parks and Recreation department. “Roseville has one of the greatest parks and recreation systems,” Priley said. “I felt I could make a difference on the board.” Priley’s personal goal for the next 12 months is to reach out to his fellow high school-aged peers to seek out their opinions on Roseville’s Parks and Recreation programs and find ways for all residents to feel a sense of ownership of their local parks. Priley is active with student government and acts as sophomore class president and parent club liaison at Roseville High School. Bob Smith, former chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission said that as a voting member Priley would take part in naming new parks and would be a part of various subcommittees like working for the Maidu Interpretive Center. “We were thrilled with Jacob, his involvement with the community, resume and outstanding skills really set him apart,” Smith said. “The feedback from the selection committee was stellar.” Josephine Kao Age: 14 Freshman at Mira Loma High School Youth Commissioner for the Library Board Where you have seen her: Frequent contestant in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, teaching classes at the Martha Riley Library and winner of the 2007 UNICEF greeting card design contest Josephine Kao is no stranger to civil service, especially when it comes to Roseville libraries. For the past several years she has devoted every spare minute to various library projects like the Spelling Club, which she now teaches, Teen Library Council and even raising money to donate to the opening of the Martha Riley Library in 2008. “Working for the Library Commission was my first choice, they’ve been the main thing I’ve been focused on since sixth grade,” Kao said. Her extensive knowledge and experience volunteering for the Roseville libraries made applying that board alone a no-brainer Kao said. Now that Kao will be a full voting member of the Library Board, Kao said she hopes to outreach to her peers who aren’t aware of the services the libraries provide while balancing her own opinions and ideas. “I know that the way I see the libraries and the way my peers view them are completely different,” Kao said. “It’s definitely going to be a balancing act to take the different sides from the board, my peers and then my own opinions.” David Uribe, vice chair of the Library Board said that of the 12 applicants looking to join as youth commissioners, it was Kao’s experience and involvement with the libraries that really stood out to him. Uribe’s goal for Kao is to not only bring a youth perspective, but to also reach out to her peers and educate teens about the facilities. “A lot of my friends only use the library if they have to. They aren’t aware of what else they offer,” Kao said. “But the libraries these days aren’t just for adults anymore.” Alexander Kludjian Age: 17 Junior at Roseville High School Youth Comissioner for the Grants Advisory Commission Future Aspirations: Hopes to run for president in 2032. Alexander Kludjian is getting a head start on his college studies beginning with a crash course in local government. Kludijan joins the Grants Advisory Commission saying he needed a change of scenery after being active in numerous student government groups and clubs. “I wanted to get involved and learn from this experience. I’m used to being around my peers in student government at school,” Kludjian said. “This is a way for me to have a voice and really make a difference.” Kludjian had his heart set on joining the Roseville Grants Advisory Commission because of his interest in the city’s funding process. “I think sometimes teens get lost in the shuffle and being on the board, I want to change the reputation that the youth in our community has placed on them,” Kludjian said. “Even though I’m not a voting member, I think I can make convincing arguments and be a part of discussions to fund projects that are in the interest of teens.” Stanford Hirata, chairman of the Grants Advisory Commission said Kludjian’s enthusiasm and drive to make a contribution to the city was exactly what was needed in a youth commissioner. “We were looking for someone that understood what it means to be involved in the community and showed an ability to make good decisions,” Hirata said. “Alex really fit all of our requirements and then some.” Micky DeFiebre Age: 16 Junior at Valley Christian Academy Hobbies: basketball, football, baseball and working on computers Micky DeFiebre can utilize his recent experience of relying on Roseville’s public transportation system when he begins serving the Transportation Commission this month. For the better part of last year, Roseville’s public transit was DeFiebre’s only mode of transportation from his home in Lincoln to Roseville. “I have a really good understanding of the public transportation system in Roseville from where bus stops are and bus routes,” DeFiebre said. “It also taught me a lot about time management and money, which I think more kids my age need to be learning.” That’s precisely DeFiebre’s goal for the coming year, to encourage more teens his age to learn the public transit system as a way to gain independence and reduce the impact on the environment. “I think that’s the main thing with teens, they want to be more independent and the ‘green’ movement is a big trend,” DeFiebre said. “I think it will just take a little bit of education to get my peers behind using public transit.” Despite having only lived in Roseville for a few months, Robert Lyss of the Transportation Commission said DeFiebre’s extensive knowledge of public transit as well as his interest in urban planning made him the right man for the job. “It was also the intangibles that made him right. He’s very articulated and has an interest in city government,” Lyss said. “We were very lucky to have several qualified applicants but Micky came with the intangibles and a little bit of everything that we were looking for.”