Why I Chose To Fund a Local Robotics Club & Why America's Economic Future Relies on It
America's children are falling behind to our foreign competitors in the areas of science and math. According to the Programme for International Student Assesment (PISA), America's students rank far 30th in math and 23rd in sciences. In 2009, 470,000 15-years-old students representing 65 nations and territories participated in the PISA study.
Tough times call for the government, at all levels, to make hard cuts in its budget. But we cannot just cut, we must also make measured investments in the future. Some of these investments will not pay off for years. But, like any worthy investment, the return will outweigh the cost of the investment. As a member of the City's Subcommittee on Community Grants, I am responsible for recommending community grants. This year, for the first-time ever, the Dublin High School and Middle School (Wells & Fallon) Robotics Club applied for community support grants. The club requested $50,000 and the city's staff recommended $0. Robotics is the science and technology of robots, their design, manufacture, and application. Robotics requires a working knowledge of electronics, mechanics and software, and is usually accompanied by a large working knowledge of many subjects.
I thought rejecting this applicant was short-sighted. Surely, our priority for community grants must be funding shelter and food programs. However, the State of California is slashing education budgets in all areas of learning. Having MC'd a Dublin robotics competition, I saw first-hand how important it is to encourage students to learn the important skills that go into robotics. As today's economy becomes more globalized, more and more American jobs are being sent overseas. Students entering the workforce in the next 5, 10, 20 years will need these skills to compete in the areas of engineering, science, and even hi-tech manufacturing. The club's advisor told me the greatest challenge for her club is attracting students who are the children of non-engineer parents. Those students, she said, are most at risk of falling behind in this changing economy.
I asked that the council provide the group with $6,000 in seed money, for recruiting and supporting this program. Unless we start to upgrade our education system to a 21st Century model, that reflects what our children will need to compete and thrive once they complete their education.
Farmers Market is Back!
The second year of the Dublin Farmers Market is upon us. Support local vendors every Thursday at Emerald Glen Park, from 4p.m. to 8p.m. For more information, visit: http://dublinca.gov/index.aspx?NID=928 // and don't miss "First Thursdays," where on the first Thursday of the month we'll also have local winegrowers providing wine tasting.
Alamo Canal Trail Groundbreaking
On April 10, I attended the groundbreaking of the Alamo Canal Trail groundbreaking. The bike trail is part of the East Bay Regional Park District’s First Green Transportation Initiative. The trail will provide safe bike and pedestrian access. The greatest benefit of the trail is that it will provide a bike and pedestrian link between Dublin and Pleasanton without having to use a vehicle. The undercrossing should be open in the fall. Stay tuned!
Wine Sub-Committee Wraps Up Year-Long Mission
When I joined the city council, one of my first goals was to connect Dublin to the Livermore Valley Wine Region. After all, according to the American Viticulture Association (AVA), Dublin is in the same AVA region as Livermore and Pleasanton. Meaning, our soil is capable of producing the same quality grapes as our neighbors. I've often referred to this as "Grapes Not Growth." I'm proud to report that the sub-committee has finished it's work. From the sub-committee report, the Council has resolved to try and find ways to entice and attrace winegrowers to Dublin, particularly in Eastern Dublin. We also have made a financial commitment to be a sponsor of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association, allowing us to work hand-in-hand with local winegrowers. Finally, for the first time ever, we will have a Food & Wine Festival (known as "Splatter") on Saturday, September 22 at Emerald Glen Park. Our findings can be found at: http://citydocs.ci.dublin.ca.us/weblink7/DocView.aspx?id=344835