Gen Zer made a series of videos to demystify the SLO government


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San Luis Obispo City Council member Andy Pease, left, and student intern Erin Chae.

San Luis Obispo City Council member Andy Pease, left, and student intern Erin Chae.

Courtesy picture

My name is Erin Chae and I am a senior at San Luis Obispo High School.

A common problem I observed in people my age was a disconnect with government and the role of the city council was a big mystery.

This spring, I reached out to San Luis Obispo City Councilman Andy Pease, hoping to help bridge the gap between youth and local government. Together with Council Member Pease, I have developed a video series titled “By Youth, For Youth: A Bridge to Local Government”.

Working with her throughout the summer, my goal was to create something engaging that covers and educates people on multiple topics. Over the past few months, I have collaborated with several city departments that have challenged my preconceptions and exposed me to new aspects of the city. Since the list of things I learned could fill the whole page, here is a condensed version:

  • Many SLO City officials have more than one occupation. Andy is not only a board member, he is also an architect and founder of a green building consultancy. Other board members also have full-time and part-time jobs.
  • When considering city projects, both visitors and residents are important; if a project works well for residents, it also helps make SLO attractive to visitors.
  • What we put in our curbside bins actually goes somewhere! While touring the anaerobic digestion facility, I saw firsthand the composting process and where our food waste and grass clippings go after being transported by the mysterious big truck. When finished, the compost goes to farms and landscaping.
  • Municipal services are highly interconnected. Economic development and tourism officials work closely together to help SLO businesses thrive, as evidenced by events such as business tours. Utilities and Public Works work together on managing garbage collection and recycling.
  • Cities across the country are working together. While talking with the Office of Sustainable Development, I discovered that we share our knowledge with other cities and strive to lead by example. At the same time, we learn from successful environmental models from other cities.
  • Advertising and social media about the city don’t just happen; tourism outreach is proactive and strategic to get good media coverage.
  • You don’t have to be a certain age to work for the city. High schoolers, college students, and people in their twenties hold a variety of jobs in parks and recreation and other departments.

Through By Youth, For Youth, I hope to pass on the information I have learned to my peers. You can stay up to date and find my project on the city Instagram, @cityofslo.

Postscript from Council Member Andy Pease: Erin approached me in the spring about a volunteer internship and it was a pleasure to meet her. After discussing a wide range of topics about the city, she selected several areas of interest, which led to this series of short videos.

Of course, I also learned from her and was reminded that our youth provide essential feedback not only on youth-specific projects like parks and bike paths, but also on public art, recycling , business development, housing, DEI, climate action and our city. overall priorities. As a council, we are exploring ideas for increasing engagement with young people, and we look forward to more opportunities to share and listen.

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