Monthly Archives: August 2013

Childhood Obesity Rates Are Down – More Work to be Done

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August 21  |  Education, Health Policy  |   Carl Guardino

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of low-income obese children ages 2 to 4 dipped in California from 17.3 percent to 16.8 percent.

Childhood obesity rates went down in 19 states, up in three states and stayed the same in 20 states.

For the math majors who noted the new study only accounts for 42 of the 50 states, the CDC reports that eight states were not included in the study.

Setting aside how troubled I am that any child could be obese – let alone more than 17 percent of the Golden State’s 2-to-4-year-olds – let’s talk about how progress is being made:

  • First, more health care institutions offer weight-management programs, including increased exercise and portion control.
  • Second, better food choices are being offered in schools.

It’s the second area – food choices in schools – where we can all play a role at the local and statewide level. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is increasing its focus here. In-depth discussions continue with California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction about how we can ensure that Silicon Valley kids can choose something other than “deep fried fat” in the school cafeteria, and that healthy foods and snacks are presented in a desirable way to capture the attention of our kids. You should speak to your local school and school board about this, too.

Bluntly, our kids deserve a better start – because where you start often determines where you end up. Children are five times more likely to be obese as adults if they were obese as a child. Now that’s a reality we need to digest.

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BART Extension On-Track: New State Funds

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August 16  |  Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

A million here, a million there, and pretty soon you are talking about real money.

These famous words by a former member of Congress underscore the importance of the funding needed for transportation improvements throughout our region.

This was driven home to me again last week in San Diego, when my colleagues and I who serve on the California Transportation Commission approved an additional $40 million in state funds to build our BART extension to Silicon Valley. Over the past five years, we have allocated nearly $760 million in state funds for this vital link between Fremont and San Jose. The final allocation of $39 million is scheduled for delivery in August 2014.

Equally important, construction is under way, with the BART extension running nearly $100 million under budget and 18 months ahead of schedule. Kudos to the VTA for its stewardship of our tax dollars. Indeed, our BART extension is on-track.

The important partnership between local voters who have taxed themselves and state and federal funds, is making the dream of BART to Silicon Valley a reality.

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America Needs Immigration Reform

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August 1  |  Federal Issues  |   Carl Guardino

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is once again taking a delegation of 12 CEOs – each running globally competitive, demanding companies – away from their own businesses to tend to our nation’s business. Investing three full days in Washington, D.C., these 12 CEOs will meet individually with more than 50 key members of the House of Representatives, pressing for comprehensive immigration reform.

What makes this trip unique is what makes Silicon Valley’s innovation economy unique:

  • First, we are primarily not going to D.C. to preach to the converted. Our meetings are with 50 members of the House who are not yet convinced we need comprehensive immigration reform.
  • Second, while the Leadership Group’s 400 member companies are primarily headquartered in Silicon Valley, our members have facilities and employees in all 50 states and in almost all 435 congressional districts. Our visits with 50 House members will underscore that we have one or more of our companies that has a physical presence in each of those districts.
  • Third, while our expertise in immigration reform is strongest on the need for high-skill, high-wage workers to continue to fuel America’s innovation economy, we also recognize the need for workers from around the globe engaged in high-tech, low-tech and no-tech; which is why our trip to D.C. is also coordinated with California’s essential agriculture industry. Together, we will make the case that a strong economy requires workers in all industries who were born here in the U.S. or desire to legally come here and contribute to our country.

Our country’s immigration system is broken. As Silicon Valley CEOs, we are committed to working with Congress to fix it.

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