The City of West Hollywood is taking steps to engage younger residents in civic life with a conference on Thursday.
“NextGen: Civic Impact for West Hollywood’s Next Generation” will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Andaz hotel at 8401 Sunset Blvd.
NextGent is “an effort to engage and empower a new generation of people in local decision-making,” according to a city press release. “The evening will highlight opportunities to get involved in city advisory boards and commissions, to get connected through the city’s social media @wehocity, and to work or do business with and within the city. The event is aimed at NextGen community members, but is open to everyone.”
“Nearly half of the residents in the City of West Hollywood are under the age of 40,” said Councilmember Lindsey P. Horvath, an initiator of the NextGen idea. “Yet many younger people in the city are not as actively engaged in local decision-making as the community at large. We need to work harder to ensure those serving in leadership positions reflect our population, and we also need to create new opportunities for NextGen WeHo to demonstrate leadership in a 21st century city.”
The low level of civic engagement among West Hollywood’s younger residents is evident in voter registration lists. An analysis by WEHOville in 2016 showed that while those between the ages of 20 and 24 made up 9% of the city’s estimated population, that age group made up only 1% of registered voters as of 2015. The gap was even bigger for those ages 25 to 44, who made up an estimated 56% of the city’s population but only 22% of registered voters.
“The NextGen event will include an Engagement Lab with an interactive experience and photo booth that will stir-up comments and conversation about new methods for envisioning and implementing tools and technology to connect people and policy-making,” according to the city’s announcement. “There will also be inspiring speakers, illuminating conversations, a DJ, and refreshments. A cash bar will be available.”
Attendance at the NextGen event is free, but RSVPs are requested and can be made online. The event is open to all ages..
For more information, contact Kate Mayerson, the City of West Hollywood’s innovation analyst at (323) 848-6464 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For people who are deaf or hearing impaired may call TTY (323) 848-6496.