Latino commission ready for action |

Latino commission ready for action

Robert Stern

The Latino Affairs Commission had its first official meeting Wednesday and all seven members were sworn in. Manuel Jimenez was elected chairman of the commission and Josefina Solano, vice-chairwoman.

“This is a historic day for the Latino community,” Jimenez said

The first meeting provided a chance for the commission to evaluate what key issues to target; among them health, employment, law and affordable housing.

But what echoed throughout the meeting was a desire to make people in the Latino community, many of whom do not speak English, aware of public services and other available opportunities. There was also a desire to provide services specifically to assist Latinos.

“The Latino community has grown, but there are not a lot of services for them,” said commissioner Delicia Spees. She cited affordable housing as a major concern of the commission.

About one-third of the South Shore population is Latino, according to a census report provided to El Dorado County.

The commission will need to decide whether it will keep the Latino Task Force intact. The task force is the predecessor to the Latino commission. Jimenez said the task force is a grass-roots organization, which is more likely to attract the attention of Latinos in the community than the commission, which has the opportunity to report to the South Lake Tahoe City Council.

About 25 people attended the meeting including De-Anne Hooper, executive director for the boys and girls club; Brad Bennett, chief of police and fire; El Dorado County Supervisor Dave Solaro and Councilwoman Brooke Laine.

The commission discussed holding the Latino Health Fair in conjunction with the Barton Memorial Hospital Health Fair. The two events have previously been separate, but commissioners hope to make it an all-inclusive event.

The next meeting will be noon, March 21 at City Council Chambers. All meetings will be the third Wednesday of each month.

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