Kids have their day at City Council

CARLSBAD — Carlsbad City Council seemed to be all out about the kids on May 24. From awarding children for excellent artwork, helping out the Carlsbad High School Speech and Debate team, and to considering future funding for Boys and Girls Club new Bressi Ranch location was an evening focal point.
When the meeting started, third graders and their family members filled the council chambers. Numerous students throughout the Carlsbad Unified School District were awarded for their artwork depicting historical sites around their town.
The Carlsbad High School Speech and Debate team then pleaded their case in asking for grant funding from City Council so they could attend the June 13 to June 17 National Competition in Dallas, Texas. Without the help, students would be unable to go.
Members of the team, Sam Gardner and Natasha Maldi, made compelling arguments as to why they needed the monies.
City Council listened, voted 4-1, and granted the students $8,000 for their out of state competition expenses. Funds will be appropriated from the City Council general contingency fund.
Councilmember Mark Packard stood alone in his vote. Thoroughly supportive of the debate team, Packard said he thought the city should follow its previous tradition in funding 20 percent of the debate team trip cost, while other monies should be raised through personal and community efforts.
The other members, however, didn’t agree.
“I think both of them (Gardner and Maldi) are just wonderful examples for us to send them to Dallas, Texas, so I would support in giving them $8,000 dollars for the debate,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ann Kulchin.
Councilmember Farrah Douglas agreed with Kulchin. She witnessed the talents of the Carlsbad High School Speech at the Senior Center once.
“They did a magnificent job,” she said. “I do believe they have worked hard and they deserve to go to Dallas.”
Following the vote, Carlsbad High School English teacher and coach for the Speech and Debate Team, Minnia Curtis, was found outside the council chambers.
“I am thrilled for the students,” Curtis said, teary-eyed. “They are so deserving and have put in so much time and effort.”
Curtis will be joining the five students who have earned the right to compete in the June nationals.
On behalf of the Boys and Girls Club of Carlsbad, Greg Nelson, made a presentation in the hopes that City Council would consider funding $500,000 or more money towards the completion of Bressi Ranch.
A few years ago, the city of Carlsbad supported the Bressi Ranch project with $500,000.
To date, Nelson said the project has cost $4.5 million. The teen center and gymnasium are completed. It needs $1.2 million more to finish the main building facility.
“I’m asking if you could be so generous and give us a half a million or more so that we can move forward with building the club and we will raise the other money,” Nelson said. “When you talk about commitment, there is no question that there are a lot of people with a ton of commitment who have made this happen…the children need us.”
Nelson said he’s sensitive to the fact that economic times are still rough.
City Council will make their decision on whether or not to fund more monies to the Bressi Ranch project at their June 21 Budget Hearing.
Until then, Nelson said he will remain hopeful about the June 21 outcome.
“This is a wonderful City Council and mayor — they are great people and they have a lot of tough decisions,” he said. “They will do the best they can and I know that.”

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