The Coast News Group

No reinstatement of senior commission

OCEANSIDE —City Council voted down reinstating the Senior Commission on April 22.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez requested the commission be revived to give seniors a formal voice to address City Council.

“Seniors are the backbone of a lot of things we do,” Sanchez said. “They have so many experiences, have lived long lives, and know how to get things done.”

Former Senior Commissioner Jimmy Knott commended fellow commissioners for serving the city.

“They helped in getting funding for different programs,” Knott said. “They got things done because they had the name ‘commissioner’ behind them.”

Viessa Lyons-Ferrell, former senior commissioner and longtime senior center volunteer, said senior needs seem to be forgotten with the disbandment of the commission. Lyons-Ferrell said seniors still ask her for help with transportation and other issues, and she assists them as best she can.

Councilmen Chuck Lowery, Jerry Kern and Jack Feller opposed restarting the commission.

Lowery said he does not support reinstating it due to costs in staff time to prepare and run the meetings.

The commission was disbanded, along with other commissions and committees, during city budget cuts in 2010.

Last month the Senior Citizens Standing Committee was formed under the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Four senior volunteers serve on the standing committee.

Lowry said the standing committee has already organized a water conservation outreach program that would be held at the senior center in July.

Lowery, Kern and Feller said they are satisfied with senior representation on the standing committee that meets at no additional city cost, since it operates under the Parks and Recreation Commission.

“It’s not that we abandoned them, we just did it in a different way,” Kern said.

Feller said it’s just not the right time to reinstate the commission.