- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
In May, Eta Takele, UCCE Riverside County director, was told to expect to receive no funding from the county in light of a budget shortfall in revenue. She and her UCCE staff and academics relayed the shocking news to their Riverside County clientele, and many asked how they could help.
In early June, more than 100 4-H members, 4-H volunteers, Master Gardener volunteers, farmers, nutrition course participants and other UCCE stakeholders attended a meeting to tell the Riverside County Board of Supervisors how they have personally benefited from UC ANR research and outreach and urged them not to cut UC Cooperative Extension funds.
Despite the need to make budget cuts, the Board of Supervisors agreed to maintain their contribution to UCCE and talked of expanding support later as an investment in the people of Riverside County.
In a recording of the board meeting, public comment begins at 18:30. Starting at 1:17:45, Supervisor Chuck Washington makes a motion to not cut UCCE programs, but find savings in lease expenses.
“Many, many thanks are due to a tremendous number of supporters who took the time to reach out to Supervisors and share their stories,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president, who attended the board meeting with Takele. “Jeffries commented that the public participation in the meeting far exceeded his expectations.”
A 4-H member who traveled nearly three hours from her home in Blythe to testify about the benefits of the 4-H program at the hearing told the supervisors, “It definitely saved me from getting into trouble.”
In “As Riverside County ponders spending cuts, public outcry saves 4-H, Master Gardeners,” the Press-Enterprise quoted Supervisor Jeff Hewitt: “'I think if we get this financially fit, why aren't we helping expand these programs?' Hewitt said to cheers.”
“This experience shows that our programs touch peoples' lives and there is strong support for UC Cooperative Extension in Riverside County,” said Anne Megaro, government and community relations director. If you have questions about outreach to elected officials, please contact Megaro at email@example.com or (530) 750-1218.