Progress starts with open ears in Oak Park

Courtny ThomasSacramento Voices had the privilege to meet and interview Jay Schenirer, city councilman for some of the South Sacramento neighborhoods represented by Voices.

Schenirer discussed improvements and plans being made for Oak Park, which include a $2.8 million renovation of McClatchy Park – a project that has brought a skate park and new playground.

“There’s a new soccer field for kids along with adults to enjoy,” Schenirer says.

One renovation that stuck me as possibly senseless is the $250,000 to renovate an old kitchen. I will need more information to understand how this is not a waste of money.

Schenirer spoke about two types of zones he would like see put in place to benefit South Sacramento. One would be a “Med Zone” of health care facilities for preventive care, in partnership with the UC Davis Medical Center. The second would be an “Education Core Zone” to celebrate and assist young people with a theme of “Oak Park Smart.”

“We will be meeting August 28 to discuss these projects,” Schenirer says.

Most interesting were the councilman’s comments about our youth.

“Young people are the most important because they have no voice,” Schenirer says.

But they do have a voice. The question is, do elected officials and community leaders listen?

Officials should go out and talk with disadvantage young people across South Sacramento and hear what they have to say. Give incentives to youths ages 12-17 to take surveys for cash, gift cards or movie tickets, then learn what it is that children really need and want to detour them from trouble and violence.

Direct, personal intervention is better than sitting among individuals who don’t even live in the community, guessing what young people want.

Things are looking up for South Sacramento. But there are many things that still need to be done. With one accomplishment at a time, South Sacramento can become a place where people want to be – and not run from.



  1. Ricardo S. Lopez Jr. says

    I knew before I read this, your opinion was going to be in it! You did not disappoint and you raise good questions and insights. Great job, Courtny!

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