My Year Serving On The Honolulu Youth Commission - Honolulu Civil Beat


About the Author

Cardenas Pintor

Cardenas Pintor was born and raised in Kalihi-Kapalama and is a part of the class of 2023 at Farrington High School. Pintor served as Honolulu Youth Commissioner from 2021-2022 representing District 7.

In the 2020 general election, the second question offered to voters in Honolulu was, “Shall the Revised City Charter be amended to establish a Youth Commission under the Managing Director?”

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Once the votes were cast, 208,732 votes were counted in support of the Honolulu Youth Commission, solidifying an opportunity for youth to participate in civic engagement, leadership, and amplifying youth voices in the City and County of Honolulu.

Fifteen members between the ages of 14-24 help advise on any policies or concerns the youth of Oahu has. Each council member of the City Council appoints one member to represent the district, and six members are chosen by the mayor.

I was privileged to be one of those members. For the past year, I feel I have gained a lot of knowledge from being a Honolulu Youth commissioner.

The Commission’s Concerns

Many resolutions and discussions were brought up in the Honolulu Youth Commission. The first resolution, introduced by Vice-Chair Daniel Pruder, urged the creation of new jobs and paid internships for high school students and college students in the City and County of Honolulu to ensure more work experience is offered to youth.

Many more resolutions would be introduced and discussed. These included discussions on lowering the voting age to 16, regulations on tobacco products, the name change of President William McKinley High School to Honolulu High School, the removal of the statue of William McKinley, and recent discussions on better waste management, recognizing Hawaiian Nationals, and more.

Honolulu Youth commissioners, from left to right: Cardenas Pintor, Pahonu Coleman, Gracie Kostecki, Kainoa Azama, Keziah Ancheta, Ella Matsui and Trinity Silbanuz are sworn in with Mayor Rick Blangiardi, at far left and Council Chair Tommy Waters and Vice-Chair Esther Kiaʻāina in attendance at right. 
Honolulu Youth commissioners, from left to right: Cardenas Pintor, Pahonu Coleman, Gracie Kostecki, Kainoa Azama, Keziah Ancheta, Ella Matsui and Trinity Silbanuz are sworn in with Mayor Rick Blangiardi, at far left and Council Chair Tommy Waters and Vice-Chair Esther Kiaaina in attendance at right. Submitted

One of the most notable resolutions made was by Chair Kainoa Azama in November, urging for the decommissioning of the Red Hill fuel storage facility. The resolution passed by unanimous consent days before it was released to the public that 14,000 gallons of fuel were leaked into Oahu’s water system.

Growing up in Kalihi-Kapalama, I looked for solutions to problems like the school-to-prison pipeline, youth working jobs to support their families, and questions on how to embrace and revitalize Hawaii’s culture and history. So during the time I had on the Youth Commission I made resolutions calling for support for the minimum wage to be $18 an hour by 2026, having support for research on algae being used as biofuel to reach 100% renewable energy by 2045 while also helping revitalize the limu population, and giving incarcerated people a minimum wage.

I learned about what goes on within the City and County government, learning protocols like sunshine laws, and how to fill out a financial disclosure form when applying for my first job.

If you or someone you know is interested and qualifies to become a commissioner, I highly encourage it.

With many of the colleagues I worked with, I am happy and proud of them for ensuring that the future is better than today. Although I have encountered many youth caring about problems and issues that they face or their community has, they do not know where to go when it comes to taking further action.

Councilmember Radiant Cordero, Councilmember Augie Tulba, and Mayor Rick Blangiardi will appoint one youth to become a commissioner for the next two years. Any resident within District 7 or 9 can apply if they live within those areas, and anyone living on Oahu can apply to become the mayor’s appointee.

With this opportunity, if you or someone you know is interested and qualifies to become a commissioner, I highly encourage it.

Click here for more information about the Honolulu Youth Commission. I can tell you from personal experience that it was an honor to represent District 7.

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About the Author

Cardenas Pintor

Cardenas Pintor was born and raised in Kalihi-Kapalama and is a part of the class of 2023 at Farrington High School. Pintor served as Honolulu Youth Commissioner from 2021-2022 representing District 7.


Latest Comments (0)

GOOD JOB Cardenas Pintor! I hope you stay involved. Best of luck and wishes to you.

ChoonJamesHI · 4 weeks ago

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