- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
An article in the Martinez News-Gazette said "vocal lobbying by the Contra Costa 4-H members and their parents" influenced the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors to maintain its funding support for UC Cooperative Extension until June 30.
Indicators had been that funding would end immediately. The board's decision gives the program time to seek “other funding mechanisms," wrote reporter Greta Mark, attributing the comment to "4-H officials."
Mark wrote that supervisor Gayle Uilkema told the newspaper the board planned to discontinue its "$352,000 in annual funding to the 4-H in an attempt to close the county’s $50 million budget deficit." (It seems the writer confuses the umbrella UC Cooperative Extension organization with 4-H, perhaps because it is UCCE's most visible component in this urban county.)
“The Supervisors provided us a window of opportunity,” the article quoted farm advisor Janet Caprile. “We’re hopeful, but at the same time we know it’s very serious, we don’t know if we can find funding.”
Uilkema said the county would maintain a minimal contract with UCCE and provide services in kind, such as gas and buildings, the article said.
“We’re trying to keep 4-H on life support,” Uilkema was quoted. “So that as opportunities evolve with time, we have not abandoned youth-oriented county programs and we can resuscitate it and bring it to a ramped-up level when things change.”
An article in the Hanford Sentinel had better news for UC Cooperative Extension. This story focused on state funding for the program. Reporter Seth Nidever spoke to the vice president of UC ANR, Dan Dooley, who grew up in the area served by the Hanford Sentinel and attended Hanford High School.
Dooley told the reporter that the current state budget looks better for UCCE than it did during the 2003 state budget crisis.
"We're not expecting major reductions," Dooley was quoted.
However, the story noted that UCCE hasn't quite recovered from earlier slashed budget allocations, which cut the number of advisors to 230, down from nearly 400 that were employed at its peak in 1990.