Community

Rotary volunteers celebrate work at home, overseas


Steve Yarbrough/Rotary Club of Los Altos
Rotarians Mark Rogge, from left, and Mona Armistead chat with guest David Moy at the July 27 club party.

 

More than 150 Rotarians and their guests attended an evening of dance music, appetizers, wines and desserts July 27 at the home of Bart Nelson, a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

The event also served to update Rotarians on the club’s many volunteer services and celebrate the benefits of membership.

President-elect Kathy Berry described how revenues raised by the Rotary Club’s annual Fine Art in the Park event are distributed to local charitable organizations and support college scholarships, Mentor Tutor Connection for elementary and teenage students, and business and team-building experiences for high school students who attend the Enterprise Leadership Conference and Camp RYLA. In addition to the club’s local support, Rotary International funds graduate-level scholarships.

Berry cited a few of the Rotary Club of Los Altos’ international matching grant projects, including reconstructing a school in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Other Rotarian projects teach sustainable agriculture in Peru and literacy in Mayan villages of Yucatan, Mexico.

The Rotary Club’s AIDS prevention projects support maternal and child health in Africa through rural clinics and connect U.S. physicians with medical caregivers in Liberia, Tanzania and Uganda.

According to membership director Lindsay Carpenter, membership in the Rotary Club provides opportunities to become better connected with the community, interact with other professionals, assist with international humanitarian efforts, develop leadership skills and involve families in community service.

Berman visits Rotary

In other Rotary news, State Assemblyman Marc Berman visited Rotarians at their Aug. 1 meeting, giving a progress report on his work in the Legislature. Berman, a Democrat, represents the 24th District, which includes Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View.

In additon to discussing his controversial Assembly Bill 302 (see today’s Schools section for details), Berman touched on the issue of cybersecurity and the threat of election meddling.

He introduced a bill this year, AB 730, which prohibits altering video, audio or images of candidates running for public office 60 days before an election. He cited the emergence of “deep faking,” wherein readily available artificial intelligence can be used to manipulate video and realistically depict someone saying or doing things that were never in reality said or done.

“I know we value freedom of speech a lot,” Berman acknowledged. “But that doesn’t give you the right to put your words in my mouth.”

A second anti-deep-faking bill he introduced this year, AB 602, would require consent prior to depicting a person in digitally produced sexually explicit material and would allow that consent to be rescinded within three business days unless certain conditions are met.

Berman also is chairman of a select Assembly committee on preparation for the U.S. Census. He underscored the importance of conducting an accurate count of the population. The count generates federal funding of nearly $2,000 per person annually, he said.

“If there’s an undercounting, if people are afraid to participate, California loses billions of dollars per year over the next decade,” he said, which could also mean losing seats in Congress.

He expressed support for the recently approved 2019-2020 state budget, noting increased funding in early childhood and K-12 education, housing and homeless services, and resources to ensure safe drinking water.

At the same time, Berman said the state’s “rainy day” reserves, at nearly $20 billion, are the highest in the state’s history.

“It’s critically important because we know how cyclical the economy is,” he said.

For more on Berman’s efforts, visit a24.asmdc.org.

For more information on Rotary Club membership, visit losaltosrotary.org.

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