Parks and Rec welcomes new commissioner, announces another’s departure

To start off its April 19 meeting, the Parks and Recreation Commission swore in Cayley Jenner as a new commissioner. Later on in the meeting, Community Service Director Jesse Bobbett announced Commissioner Judy Villablanca’s departure after six years. 

Also during the meeting, the 2022 Scholarship Assistance Program application was announced. 

The Scholarship Assistance Program provides recreational opportunities for those who may not otherwise be able to participate in Community Services Department programs and activities. To qualify, eligibility is determined by household size and annual income in accordance with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Low Income Limits for Los Angeles County. Approximately eight scholarships are processed annually. Average total amount awarded is approximately $1,300. 

Community Service Deputy Director Kristin Riesgo said the department turns away about four applicants a year, but said not many people know about the scholarship program.

“We try our best to let people know about it, and process every application, but it’s not too many,” Riesgo said.

Bobbet said one of the things they run into is the low applications due to qualifications. 

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“The biggest thing we hear is the restrictions are too tight, so we don’t have many people who qualify,” Bobbett said. “On average, we give eight scholarships a year — that’s a fairly low number considering the number that attend our programs.”

Bobbett said most people who live in Malibu don’t qualify due to the income.

“The requirements are so low, that you’d almost have to be really poor to qualify for this,” Bobbett said. 

For questions regarding the City of Malibu’s Scholarship Assistance Program, or to submit an application, visit cityofmalibu.org/2022scholarshipapplicationpacket.

Bobbett provided the commission assessments and work plan for the fiscal year 2022-2023. He recommended the commission to approve projects such as the programs when the Charmlee Center reopens. The Commission voted to approve the projects.

During department updates, Bobbett said the department has been trying to recruit and hire part-time and full-time staff, but have been struggling. Due to staff shortages and low registration, some programs have been canceled such as the recent Charmlee Wilderness Hike.

“There have been a couple times where we thought we had to close a facility because we just didn’t have a staff member there to work and we’ve had to cancel some programs,” Bobbett said. “We just wanted to make sure the commission was aware that as we start to get closure in May we’re anticipating potential issues.”

Bobbett announced the departure of commissioner Villablanca after department updates. Villablanca has been a commissioner since 2016. 

“I know it has been a little wonky with commissioners, across a lot of our commissions lately — losing some, adding some — but this one is a little bit of a bummer for us,” Bobbett said. “We worked with Commissioner Villablanca for six years. What can I say? Commissioner Villablanca and I have not always agreed on everything, but what I will say is that I am so appreciative of your dedication to the commission and your hard work and years of service you have put in, but also you were so really instrumental in a lot of our programs.”

The commission also discussed implementing phones and WiFi reception for parks such as Charmlee Wilderness Park and Las Flores.

After the commission thanked Villablanca for her service, the meeting adjourned. The next Park & Rec meeting will be held on May 17, in person at the Malibu City Hall Multipurpose Room. 

Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department. Twitter @samanthavbravo

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