Ventura County Youth Coalition interviews elected officials

There are numerous upcoming elections, including the presidential election in November and the CVUSD Board elections. The Ventura County Youth Coalition is a newly established organization whose goal is to increase the amount of youth involvement and civic engagement in Ventura County. They plan to make a change by introducing candidate forums and voter registration events to encourage youth to vote for their future. 

The coalition is led by Catherine Xu and Keira Pender, both juniors at Westlake High School. “[Keira and I] were involved in Diversify Our Narrative, so after talking to a lot of community members and…learning more about Thousand Oaks history and youth involvement, we realized that this is something that needs to happen because there has never been a youth candidate forum before,” Xu said.

The Sept. 10 forum featured City Council and School Board Candidates and was co-sponsored by CVUSD Diversify Our Narrative, Justice in the Classroom and Westlake High School Junior State of America. At the forum, Xu and Pender questioned each of the school board and city council candidates about current issues in the district and gave them two minutes each to respond to the question. 

One such question was: “Some people in our community say that we do have traffic problems, so what do you think about this and how would you mitigate these concerns or change the situation?” Danny Chulack, a candidate for city council, responded by saying, “Thousand Oaks is not built to be a walkable city. In order to mitigate current and future traffic concerns, we need to create a community that doesn’t rely solely on cars to get around.” He goes on to explain that not only will public transportation decrease traffic once it is reopened and back in use, it will also lessen our carbon footprint. 

Riley Goodnight, one of the people in the audience, asked about the high prices with regards to housing in the area and what the candidates plan to do to lower them. Frank Enderle, a city council candidate, responded, “There’s an economic wall that’s been built up over the city over the years; I want to bring that wall down so housing is more accessible for people.” Enderle went on to explain that he is working on “the Kmart Project” to create a place for young people to congregate and live. Some other issues touched upon at the forum include minority representation and racial discrimination, as well as how the city council plans to attack these issues.

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