Latino Commission hailed as necessary |

Latino Commission hailed as necessary

City Council’s decision to approve the Latino Affairs Commission was met with applause by both the council and audience, which had significant representation from the Latino Community.

City Council unanimously voted to approve the commission, pending approval of an official plan at the Jan. 2 meeting.

“It would be a benefit to the Latino community and the community of South Lake Tahoe,” Manual Jimenez told City Council last night.

The commission would be an outgrowth of the Latino Affairs Task Force formed in 1998 and would continue with the same goals, which include dealing with issues specific to the Latino population such as health, housing, education, leadership and public safety.

It would be an officially recognized city organization with a liaison from the city. City Manager David Childs has volunteered for the position. In addition, a representative from the Latino Affairs Commission would attend City Council meetings.

“It’s really important that there is two-way communication,” said Police and Fire Chief Brad Bennett.

The outlined plan suggests a seven-member commission. Bennett and City Attorney Catherine DiCamillo will finalize details to be approved at the next council meeting.

Bennett expressed a desire to expand influences of the commission in El Dorado County government and within the South Lake Tahoe School District.

Councilwoman Brooke Laine suggested that the Commission could be assigned to investigate specific needs of the Latino community, such as affordable housing, and report back to the City Council.

Many organizations within the city have been instrumental in working with the Latino Task Force including the El Dorado County Public Health Department, which has sponsored the Latino Health Fair for the last several years and Lake Tahoe Community College, which has provided English classes for Latinos.

Staffing resources for the commission would be provided by the police department and would fit within the confines of the established budget.

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