Mayor looks for solution to youth violence |

Mayor looks for solution to youth violence

Amanda Hammon

Two shootings during the summer 1999 forced Carson City to admit to a youth violence problem.

The city gave the Carson City Sheriff’s Department $82,000 in September for extra deputies to strengthen the staffing at the department. But more law enforcement didn’t equate to less violence, Mayor Ray Masayko said.

Prompted by the violence, he began to think of ways to diminish Carson’s youth violence problem.

After months of planning, Masayko is asking city supervisors to consider giving $77,000 to help local organizations create programs to curb youth violence.

“If I didn’t at least bring these issues to the attention of the policy makers, I wouldn’t have completed what I promised myself that we as a community should do as a result of last summer’s violence,” Masayko said. “I would feel really bad if and when another incident were to occur. Law enforcement only reacts after the incident takes place.”

The mayor’s proposal asks supervisors to consider one-time funding for seven programs.

“I don’t want to convince supervisors that this is more important than other things that need funding,” Masayko said. “This has to speak for itself. It has to convince the people reading (the proposal) that it is important enough to consider its ramifications and positive results. It may not be the city’s job to fund this forever, but it is the city’s job to show some leadership and say this is a serious problem for Carson City. We need programs focused on these issues.”

A task force with representatives from juvenile probation, the Community Council on Youth, Nevada Hispanic Services, Ron Wood Family Resource Center, the Mentoring 2000 task force and other city departments met to review and discuss which programs were needed or which could enhance existing programs. Masayko said the task force focused on programs that filled a gap, not those that duplicated services.

“These are all demonstration programs,” Masayko said. “They must demonstrate their effectiveness.

Programs suggested for funding include:

– The Mentoring 2000 Task Force is asking for $30,000 over two years to start a mentoring program for at-risk Carson City youth. The start up-costs are around $150,000 and mentoring proponents want Carson City, Carson-Tahoe Hospital, the Carson City School Board and Western Nevada Community College to help pick up the start-up costs. The proposed program would create a center with a full-time director to coordinate with mentors for troubled youth.

– The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada is requesting $10,960 to help expand its middle school program. The money would specifically be used to help provide daily transportation from Carson Middle School to the Boys & Girls Club.

– Nevada Hispanic Services has a three-part program called “Progresso 2000.” The Youth Alliance program will work on youth anti-social behavior and gang involvement. The Hispanic Leadership Academy will focus on the involvement of the Hispanic community in leadership roles to help provide positive role models for young Hispanics. The Parent Educational and Informative workshop will try to engage parental involvement in the school system.

– The Carson City Sheriff’s Department is asking for $5,000 as reward money for a Secret Witness Program through the Carson City School District. A similar hotline in the Washoe County School District allows students and individuals to call 202 toll-free from pay phones at any Washoe County school. Costs to extend the program would be borne by the sheriff’s department, Secret Witness, Nevada Bell and KTVN Channel 2.

Mayor Ray Masayko’s proposal to curb youth violence gives money to:

– Expand the Secret Witness concept to Carson High School through the Carson City Sheriff’s Office, $5,000

– Trial Youth Alliance Program through Nevada Hispanic Services, $17,000

– Mentoring 2000 Task Force plan and implementation through the Carson/Douglas Chamber of Commerce Leadership Alumni, $30,000

– Middle school outreach transportation plan through the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada, $11,000

– Public information and education resources through the City Manager’s Office, $5,000

– Hispanic Leadership Academy through Nevada Hispanic Services, $7,000

– Parents education and information workshop through Nevada Hispanic Services, $2,000

Total: $77,000

If you go:

What: Carson City Board of Supervisors

When: Thursday, 8:30 a.m.

Where: the Community Center’s Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.