Sacramento’s mayoral candidates to face the youth

South Sacramento youth leadership team quizzes Darrell Steinberg about after-school programs, jobs and favorite songs

They may not all be old enough to vote, but a group of young people is hoping to impact Sacramento’s upcoming mayoral election.

With former state Sen. Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg in their sights, members of the Sacramento Building Healthy Communities Youth Leadership Team hosted the first in a series of candidate Q&As intended to address the concerns of young people at the Fruit Ridge Community Collaborative Center on Sunday afternoon.

One of the participants was second-year Sacramento City College student Shaniqua Lyman, who started things off on a light note by quizzing Steinberg about the top three songs in his playlist and the person he would most like to spend the day with, dead or alive.

(For the record, Steinberg listed “Drive all Night” by Bruce Springsteen, “Come on in” by Lyle Lovett and the music of Tom Waits, and said he would like to spend a day with late South African President Nelson Mandela.)

The candidate series is aimed at engaging South Sacramento youth in the political process. Its motive—to teach youth that their voices matter even if they are not of voting age.

The youth “need to be heard and listened to especially by our mayor and adult allies,” said Keya Bell, the youth coordinator for People Reaching Out and organizer of BHC’s Youth Leadership Team. “The mayor needs to know what they need and what the challenges are in the communities that they live in and also about the triumphs.”

Before Sunday’s Q&A, Rebbecca Garcia, a 15-year-old Hiram Johnson High School student, said she was eager to ask Steinberg what he could do to increase the number of after-school activities for South Sacramento youth. Youths also expressed desires for a more efficient and cost-effective Regional Transit system, more community policing in South Sacramento and the need for entry-level jobs for young people in the area.

“When you actually listen to these young people, they have such creative and great ideas,” Bell said.

Steinberg will be followed by three other mayoral candidates, including two last-minute entries. Aside from Councilwoman Angelique Ashby, Aaron Carranza and Charles Frazier, both of whom filed nomination documents just last month, will participate in the youth-run series.