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America gets back as much as it gives in foreign aid
America gets back as much as it gives in foreign aid

How much of the United States federal budget goes to foreign aid? When the Kaiser Family Foundation asked that question in a 2015 poll, nearly a fifth of people couldn’t even venture to guess. Of those who answered, most said between 5 and 51 percent, and 10 percent of those thought we give away half of our nearly $3.8 trillion federal budget to other nations.

In reality, foreign assistance makes up less than 1 percent of the U.S. budget. Another 1 percent or so funds the State Department. In comparison, America spends nearly five times as much on interest on our national debt.

What do Americans get in return for foreign assistance? A lot.

For starters, we are able to stop deadly diseases before they reach our shores, promote American exports, counter violent extremism, combat climate change and Russian hacking, and support our overseas embassies and strategic allies across the world. The men and women of the State Department and USAID deserve our full commitment to their safety and to providing the tools they need to advance our interests globally.

Next, we make a tangible, lasting difference in the lives of billions of people. With funding from USAID and other aid agencies, organizations such as Pact, an international development nonprofit on whose board I sit, help people around the world to live healthier, safer and more financially and physically secure lives. As we face global challenges such as the refugee crisis and violent extremism, America’s leadership has never been more vital in the world.

Consider PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief), a U.S. effort launched by President George W. Bush in 2003 to try to end the global HIV epidemic. Although it is perennially threatened by budget cuts, as of 2016, it had helped provide: antiretroviral treatment for 11.5 million people, care for 6 million orphans and vulnerable children, training for 220,000 new health care workers and testing and counseling for 74 million people, including 11.5 million pregnant women. We’ve saved millions of lives and millions of dollars at the same time. Preventing disease is a lot cheaper than treating it.

But direct recipients of such aid are not the only beneficiaries. You and I are, too. Many aid organizations, including Pact, focus on systemic, sustainable change, rather than one-time aid. This means we are creating stable, resilient communities around the world, which makes all of us safer.

And then there are the economic benefits. South Korea, Japan, Ghana, Kenya, Vietnam and Germany all once depended on U.S. aid. Now each is playing a major role in the global economy and providing stable, profitable markets for companies such as Coca-Cola, Apple and Microsoft. Visit any of these places and you’ll find a profusion of American products and brands.

Companies from these countries, in turn, are investing in America, creating high-paying jobs from the Rust Belt to the Deep South. As of 2015, cumulative foreign direct investment in the U.S. totaled $3.1 trillion. Among the largest investors are the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and South Korea — all countries that rebuilt after war with America’s financial support.

In 1736, when Philadelphia was threatened by fire, Benjamin Franklin wisely proclaimed, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” American investments in foreign aid save U.S. taxpayers billions because we are preventing famine, poverty, disease and war, rather than struggling with the aftermath on our own shores and around the globe.

Our leadership in the world is achieved in large part through foreign aid. I was reminded of this recently while listening to Maryland’s Sen. Ben Cardin as he spoke at an event hosted by Devex in Washington, D.C., about the challenging landscape that today’s development organizations face.

A true champion of U.S. foreign development assistance, Senator Cardin reminded me that America’s strength is in its ideals. Our generosity, empathy and tolerance, he said, demonstrate our leadership at its best. I couldn’t agree more.

It’s why I decided to spend some of the first years of my professional life in Benin and South Africa working in education and basic community health. It’s also why today I am the managing director of Discovery Learning Alliance, a nonprofit that uses the power of media to transform education and improve lives in the developing world.

I believe strongly in the tangible results and the values advanced through foreign aid. And at just 1 percent of our federal budget, I’d argue the wide-ranging returns are one of the best deals in Washington.

This is a 1 percent we should all be fighting for.

Public meetings
 Stephani Jones



AUESD Board of Trustees: Today, 6 p.m., the Armona Union Elementary School District's Board of Trustees will hold its monthly meeting at the Armona Community Center, District Office Board Room, 11115 C St., Armona. 


Kings County Board of Supervisors: Oct. 17, 9 a.m., the Kings County Board of Supervisors will hold a regular meeting in the Board of Supervisors Chambers. Kings County Government Center, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford, 852-2362. Visit  

Hanford City Council: Tuesday, Oct. 17, 5:30 p.m. closed session, 7 p.m. regular session, the Hanford City Council, holds a meeting, in the Council Chambers, 400 N. Douty St., Hanford. Visit

Lemoore City Council: Tuesday, Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m., the Lemoore City Council holds regular meetings in the Lemoore City Council Chambers, 429 C St., Lemoore. Visit

Westlands Water District Board: Tuesday, Oct. 17, 1 p.m., the Board of Directors of Westlands Water District will hold a regular meeting in the Ballroom at Harris Ranch, 24505 W. Dorris Ave., Coalinga. Visit:

Indian Education Committee: Tuesday, Oct. 17, 12:30 p.m., the Indian Education Committee will meet at the Santa Rosa Rancheria Education Center. Tribal Council members and parents of Indian Children will be provided an opportunity to evaluate and discuss educational programs assisted with reviewing the State Test scores for your child’s district.


Hanford Chamber of Commerce vacancies

The Hanford Chamber of Commerce has openings for three to five new Board of Director positions. The requirements are as follows: Hanford Chamber member in good standing, serve a minimum of a three year term, with a maximum of six year term, served consecutively. Attend monthly Board Meetings, attend functions sponsored by the Hanford Chamber and/or its affiliates and recruit new chamber members. Oct. 13, is the deadline to submit your Letter of interest. Email your information to Jill Caviezel-Hoots at or call 562-760-7674.

Kings County Agricultural Advisory Committee vacancies

Kings County Board of Supervisors is seeking applications to fill vacancies on the Kings County Agricultural Advisory Committee and will consider making appointment(s) to fill the four vacancies at its regular meeting to be held anytime after Oct. 13, at 9 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the Kings County Government Center, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford. Application forms may be obtained from the office of the Kings County Board of Supervisors, within ten working days of this notice.

Corcoran Irrigation District to hold biennial election

Corcoran Irrigation District will hold its biennial election on November 7, to fill two seats on its Board of Directors. The seats to be filled are for Division 2, and Division 5 of the District. The District is a landowner voter district. Directors must own land in the division they represent. Those interested in the election may contact the District at 992-5165 in order to obtain information regarding filing for the offices to be filled by the election.

Bookings and Blotters

Police Hanford

Saturday, Oct. 7

2:25 a.m. Public intoxication, 2000 block of 9 1/4 Avenue.

2:34 a.m. DUI stop, 1600 Glendale Avenue.

2:49 a.m. Public intoxication, 600 block of South Redington Street.

4:51 a.m. DUI stop, North 11th Avenue/West Cortner Street.

7:09 a.m. Burglary, 800 block of West Pebble Drive.

7:22 a.m. Stolen vehicle, 1100 block of Edgewood Drive.

1:17 p.m. Vagrancy, 400 block of East Sixth Street.

1:24 p.m. Injury traffic accident, 600 block of West Seventh Street.

1:34 p.m. Hit and run traffic accident, 100 block of North 12th Avenue.

2:42 p.m. Burglary, 1200 block of North 11th Avenue.

5:30 p.m. Injury traffic accident, West Seventh Street/North 11th Avenue.

5:57 p.m. Public intoxication, 300 block of North Douty Street.

10:03 p.m. Shots heard, 1100 block of Cypress Court.


Saturday, Oct. 7

Samantha Marie Nelson, 29. Suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, being under the influence of a controlled substance and warrant related offenses.

David Michael Fagundes, 44. Suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance and warrant related offenses.

Michelle Ronquillo, 28. Suspicion of possession of a controlled substance, being under the influence of a controlled substance and warrant related offenses.

Sebastian Serrano Landen, 52. Suspicion of a burglary related offense.

Contact your Representative


Hanford City Council

The Hanford City Council meetings are on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. for regular session, in the Council Chambers, 400 N. Douty St., Hanford. Visit

  • Mayor — term 2014-2018, David Ayers, District A.
    Contact by email at
  • Vice Mayor — term 2016-2020, Sue Sorensen, District B.
    Contact by email at
  • Council Member — term 2016-2020, Martin Devine, District C.
  • Contact by email at
  • Council Member — term 2014-2018, Francisco Ramirez, District D.
    Contact by email at
  • Council Member — term 2014-2018, Justin Mendes, District E.
    Contact by email at

Weinstein case is a warning to sexual predators: Change or leave
Weinstein case is a warning to sexual predators: Change or leave

When a guy named Harvey Weinstein is suddenly fired from a company called the Weinstein Company, it should serve as a blaring alert to every powerful person in America who has preyed on less powerful people: Don’t think you can avoid the consequences.

If one of Hollywood’s biggest moguls is losing his position at the successful film studio he co-founded, no harasser is safe. If this sort of behavior can’t be ignored in an industry where the casting couch is a perennial cliche, no company that tolerates harassment is safe. The era in which superiors can freely subject those below them to unwanted advances or comments has ended. Those who don’t change will quickly become extinct.

In a statement, Weinstein admitted that “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain,” saying he came of age “when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different.” Still, his lawyer said he “denies many of the accusations as patently false.” ...

Will this be the scandal that finally forces abusers and their employers to realize they have to change? Maybe so. But there have been plenty of other cases that should have put them all on notice.

Roger Ailes, who built Fox News into a colossus, was fired last year after some two dozen women came forward to accuse him of using his position to try to extract sexual favors. He was followed out the door by Fox News megastar Bill O’Reilly, ruined by credible allegations of similar conduct.

Uber founder Travis Kalanick was forced out as CEO for allegedly tolerating a company culture of sexual harassment.

CEO Mike Cagney got the boot from the personal finance lending startup SoFi amid multiple claims that he and some of his managers engaged in sexual harassment.

Another obvious question: Where on Earth was the board of directors? The settlements paid to buy silence go back decades. In 2015, a memo from a woman accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment came to the attention of the company’s executives and directors. Some “were alarmed about the allegations,” the Times reported. “In the end, though, board members were assured there was no need to investigate.” Big mistake.

Directors there and elsewhere should be more vigilant going forward. Turning a blind eye to misconduct invites costly lawsuits and settlements for the companies they are supposed to be supervising. Board members can also be sued personally for such abuses — and even if their companies promise to pay any damages, the toll in time, aggravation and embarrassment can be high.

Upholding standards and riding herd on behavior that can damage the corporation are a basic part of their responsibility as directors. These days, failure to fulfill that duty is something they are likely to come to regret. 

Directors at this company and others who have ignored such conduct should stop assuming sexual harassment can be covered up. And the episode should deliver a strong message to executives who think they are entitled to take advantage of those beneath them for sexual pleasure: Clean up your act or clean out your desk.