Latino Affairs Commission agrees to assist city with housing issues |

Latino Affairs Commission agrees to assist city with housing issues

Juan Carlos Lopez

At its first official meeting Wednesday, the South Lake Tahoe Latino Affairs Commission agreed to assist the city in addressing its affordable housing problems.

Councilwoman Brooke Laine told the commission of the city’s plan to improve conditions at 18 or more known low cost and dilapidated facilities. In order for the city to coerce the owners to improve the facilities, it is necessary to have inspectors go to the sites and if warranted, officially declare them uninhabitable, Laine said.

She suggested the commission could assist by finding temporary housing while repairs are made. Moreover, the commision could play a key role assigning translators to help non-English speakers understand that the process is intended to be beneficial, albeit inconvenient.

“We do not want the people to think of this as a hassle or to be frightened by the process itself,” said Commissioner Delicia Spees. “That’s the last thing we want as we are helping them.”

When it was mentioned that an action similar to that being contemplated ended up with the tenants’ being evicted, City Manager David Childs – liaison between the Latino Affairs Commission and City Council – pointed out the need to get tenants’ rights information and have it translated and distributed.

Earlier, the group showed growing pains as it struggled with issues like permanent settings for upcoming meetings, Brown Act training and accords on what is the main function of the commission and its relation to all agencies or sub-commissions. A particular impasse was a reluctance to let the “Tahoe Latino Task Force” terminology go. The general consensus that this body evolved into the commission was finalized when commissioner Sal Lpez announced “The Task force is officially dead. On with the commission.”

Other issues and announcements were:

n A joint health fair slated for June 16 at Harrah’s Convention Center. Previously done separately for the last 14 years, a joint health fair is intended to facilitate the assimilation of the Latino community into the greater community of the city.

n On Tuesday, at the Black Box Theater of the Lake Tahoe Community College, the City Council and the School Board will meet to discuss the theme of racial diversity in the schools. It was recommended that members of the commission take part in this meeting.

n Also at the college, Cesar Chvez day will be celebrated by AmeriCorps from 6 -7:30 p.m. March 29 .

n The Latino Affairs Commission meets every third Wednesday of the month from 12-1:30 p.m. either at the City Council Chamber or at the El Dorado Public Library. Meetings are open to the public. The next scheduled meeting is April 18.

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