NEXT MEETING: May 24, 2013
Baton Rouge Ambassador-by-the-Bay Report
Albert Fraenkel, President of Baton Rouge Rotary in 1986-87, helped one of Rotary’s largest clubs (nearly 500 members) usher in a new era of social and entrepreneurial change that included opening Rotary membership to women. (Detail of Supreme Court decision on right.)
MEETING OF May 17, 2013
President Jim Young rang the bell and called the meeting to order. Herb Cole led the pledge of allegiance and George Egan asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. President Jim had this thought for the day: “It’s Opening Night!!”
Rotarians with Guests
Alan Baer introduced his guest, Gonzalo Ochoa, owner of G&O Tires and Service Center on 23rd Street in Richmond.
The Club wishes a speedy recovery to Henry Moe, who has a bad case of the flu.
New member Rosa Lara did her “Who am I?” Lara was born in Mexico and grew up in Richmond, attending Helms Middle School and graduating from Richmond High School in 2003. She attended Contra Costa College, worked for Kaiser for a while, and then signed up for the 12-week RichmondBUILD program to develop skills in the construction and renewable energy fields. By week seven of the class, she was working for the City of Richmond in code enforcement and abatement while boarding up abandoned houses. Reflecting the work-hard ethic that she learned from her father, Lara was then recognized for her many talents by being selected as Recruiter for the RichmondBUILD program. And she’s now President of the 23rd Street Merchants Association. Congratulations, Lara, and welcome to the Club!
Alas, no birthdays or anniversaries or extraordinary personal accomplishments merited recognition on this fine day. We sped along into Happy and Sad Dollars, making up for the calm in this category.
Happy and Sad Dollars
A fleeing Taliban terrorist, desperate for water, was plodding through the Afghan desert when he saw something far off in the distance. Hoping to find water, he hurried toward the mirage, only to find a very frail little old Jewish man standing at a small makeshift display rack — selling ties.
The Taliban terrorist asked, “Do you have water?” The Jewish man replied, “I have no water. Would you like to buy a tie? They are only $5.” The Taliban shouted hysterically, “Idiot Infidel! I spit on your ties. I need water!”
“Okay,” said the little old Jewish man, “If you continue over that hill to the east for about two miles, you will find a restaurant. It has the finest food and all the ice-cold water you need.”
Several hours later he crawled back, almost dead and gasped “They won’t let me in without a tie!”
The Fine Art of Improvisation
The scheduled program speaker had a family emergency to take care of so Jim Young asked President-Elect Liliane Koziol to lead an open discussion about possible programs and projects for the coming year.
Liliane shared that one of her planned activities for next year is a literacy project in India. This will involve providing desks and other equipment to some specific schools in that country. The project will be done in conjunction with a group the Club has worked with before in Monterey, Mexico. There will be BARSHEEP Club participation, District grant applications, and in-country travel opportunities for interested Rotary members.
There was a lot of discussion about the desirability of local hands-on projects that allow Rotary members to come together for a few weekend hours to accomplish worthwhile tasks while socializing and building relationships within the Club. A well-remembered example of such an activity was the Club’s association with Christmas in April, a local non-profit that enabled Rotarians to make minor repairs and renovations to senior-citizen and other disadvantaged people’s homes.
Mike Winter has been looking into Rebuilding Together, the apparent non-profit successor organization to Christmas in April. He’s had some difficulty establishing communications with Rebuilding Together and is concerned about what he hears is a “pay to play” feature requiring fees to be paid before being connected with project work.
Several members pointed out there should be lots of opportunities for project work that don’t require paying a fee to be helpful (for example, what the Club has done with NIAD). Lynn Martin further advised that it’s important to connect with non-profits in terms of what they truly need.
There was also good interaction about the pros and cons of simple, short-term projects versus more comprehensive, longer-term projects. Short or long, a project should add value in some meaningful way.
In terms of future speaker programs, Herb Cole suggested the Club schedule a lunch at Three Seasons, the widely acclaimed on-campus restaurant at Contra Costa College where students in the Culinary Arts Management program prepare for careers in gastronomical delights.
Rotating Scribe, Tom Waller