Tobin takes youths’ advice

John Ruch

It’s safe to say that City Councilor John Tobin probably would never have thought of putting a comic book section in every branch library. That’s just one of the fresh ideas that came out of Tobin’s new advisory group of local youths, which met for the first time last month.

“How am I going to disagree with a kid who wants to spend time in the library reading?” said Tobin, calling the comic book idea a good one.

Tobin announced plans early this year for the advisory group, which is free to set its own agenda and choose its own name. The group now has 13 youths from around the district.

But Tobin said he would like to have more members, especially from Jamaica Plain. Right now, there are three JP members: Erik Bullard, Estella Stephens and Charnelle Thomas.

Other members include: Ashley Buckley, Matthew Charest, Jacqueline Creed, Daniel Gibson, Antionetta Kelley, Christopher Kinney, Christina Hatzopoulos, Luke McKinnon, Daniel Murphy and Rose Treon.

The group is open to youths in grades 7-12 who live in Tobin’s District 6, which includes JP, West Roxbury and parts of Roslindale and Mission Hill.

The group is intended to give youths a direct voice in city politics, as well as a behind-the-scenes introduction to local government. Members will be introduced at a City Council hearing next month.

“Some of the ideas we’ve put forward that have garnered the most attention have come from my constituents,” Tobin said, describing his eagerness to hear what youths have to say.

Tobin said he told members at the first meeting that while he won’t agree with all of their ideas, “I guarantee you’ll bring something to the table I haven’t thought about.”

Interested youths should send a letter of interest, along with a letter of recommendation from an adult, to Tobin at Boston City Hall, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02201. For more information, call 635-4220.

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