The Flywheel

Program for THURSDAY April 24th

JOINT MEETING WITH EL CERRITO
Guerilla Publicity: Connect with the Media

Jill Lublin

Jill Lublin is co-author of two national best sellers, Guerrilla Publicity and Network Magic and currently host of a nationally syndicated radio show. Jill shares her proven publicity secrets for getting the attention of national media, including The New York Times, CNN, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and more--

Learn the 7 guerrilla tactics for mastering any interview with magazines, newspapers or TV. And when you get your 15 minutes of fame, remember that you learned it all right here in Rotary!

 

MEETING OF APRIL 18th, 2008

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Prez Pam Jones rang the bell and began another gathering of the friendly and “lively”(quote from program speaker, Severin Borenstein).
Rafael Cartagena led us in the pledge of allegiance.
Henry Kelman's thought-for-the-day was an off shoot of his insightful observations skills.

Rotarians with Guests

  • Jan Brown introduced John Strohmeier from the West County Times.
  • Glenn Daggs introduced Erle Moffett, an associate from OSS International.

Sunshine Report

  • Bill K. observed that everyone must be fine as he has heard of no issues and Charlie Wong, Elof Granberg and PDG Werner Schwarz are all in attendance today. Co-Editor: late news from the North Coast that X-Prez Rich Brandes has eye/vision issues that, together with his new job (working for Lisa), have kept him away recently.

Announcements:

  • E. J. Shalaby announced that the Bowl-A-thon for RotoVision was a great success. EJ reminded the club that Richmond Rotary fielded two teams. Team Genser won first place and Team Shalaby came in second…from the bottom. The event raised funds for new RotoVison projects.
  • Glenn (Birthday Boy) Daggs gave a brief description of the Peres School Walker Creek Camp project that is moving ahead within its $8,500 budget objective..
  • Mark Howe reports that garden plots at the Rotary Centennial Peace Garden at 4th and Nevin are fully subscribed by community folk with a waiting list for planting barrels that will bring additional growing space. Mark also gave a concept description of a Rotary/RPD gun buy-back program that is based upon similar programs in Oakland.
  • Rafael Madrigal invites Rotarians to participate in the Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival on Saturday, May 3rd & May 4th.

    The Parade is at 11:00am Saturday. Participants meet at 10:00am at 24th and Barrett (across from Wilson and Kratzer Mortuary). The route is 2 miles and ends at San Pablo City Hall at San Pablo Ave. and Church Lane.

    The Festival will take place from 11:00am - 6:00pm on Sunday, May 4th. Rotarians are also being asked to be Helpers in the post-parade Fun Zone. Call Rafael M. for more information or to sign up for an hour or two.
  • Jan Brown announced the 40th Annual School District reception for student artists at the Richmond Art Center. Richmond Rotary support helped sponsor student awards this year.
  • Rhonda Harris described this year’s Rotary sponsored Teen Moms Project at Richmond and Kennedy high schools. Help is needed to pull together 44 +/- baskets with practical care needs. Delivery of the baskets is slated for May 30th and a sign-up sheet is circulating.
  • Josh Genser invited members to the fund raiser/reception for Beyond Emancipation at his home April 25th, 4:00 PM. Beyond Emancipation is the organization Tony Thurmond runs that helps 18 year olds transition from foster care to life-on-their-own.
  • Prez Pam reminded the club that next week’s meeting is THURSDAY THE 24TH HERE AT MVCC. It is a joint meeting with the El Cerrito Club.

Special Events

Blue Badge Graduation

Glenn Daggs asked Rafael Cartagena to come up to the podium so the club could recognize his just -performed leadership of the Pledge of Allegiance as the last one he would do as a Red Badge Rookie. Raphael has completed the four tasks needed for full membership, including attending another Rotary Club Meeting, in Monterey Mexico. As Glenn gave Rafael his new blue badge, he observed that Rafael already has his first Paul Harris. Congratulations Rafael!

Recognitions

  • Prez Pam announced it was Glenn Daggs turn to be recognized. PDG Werner Schwarz in one of those very dangerous moves from his lair at the back table, deftly produced a very large Birthday Balloon which he affixed to Glenn’s coat. A cacophony of congratulations were then expressed to Glenn for his 50th Birthday and to Werner for keeping anything as big as that balloon hidden. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GLENN!
  • Jim “the Beav” Beaver began the anti-climactic recognition of Glenn Daggs’ 50th Birthday. Glenn said he went snow skiing and water skiing, surviving both and made a contribution to the Rotary Foundation.
  • Congratulations to Ralph Hill and Audry celebrating 33 years of wedded bliss (at their favorite Motel 6 overlooking the mud flats).
  • John Wilson recognized his own 50th wedding anniversary with a handsome contribution to the Club. Congratulations John and Lynne!

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Josh Genser had Happy $$ for the successful Bowl-A-Thon, easy for him to say given his team’s victory.
  • Herb “Dollar-A-Word” Cole had Happy $$ for both the WCCUSD student art show and the fund raiser for Beyond Emancipation. Herb reminded everyone that the day a young person in foster care turns 18 years old, he or she is essentially dropped onto the streets. Beyond Emancipation works to help them transition to self-sufficiency.
  • Jon Lawlis had Sad $$ because he will miss this year’s Cinco de Mayo parade, but Happy $$ because he’s missing it to go to an Eagles concert in Indio.
  • Rhonda Harris had Happy $$ because she is going to Vegas, to visit her Grandson.
  • Jan Brown had Happy/Sad $$ for the Mira Vista Park native plant garden and a City weed-eater run amuck.
  • Rafael Cartagena had Happy $$ for the honor of getting his new Blue Badge.

Raffle Results

Kerri Andow drew the lucky ticket good for a free lunch!

THE PROGRAM

The Ever-Changing Landscape of Energy
Resources, Energy Usage, and Our Future
Severin Bo

With the windows partially drawn to permit the beautiful weather and exhibit a fitting view of the Richmond Refinery in the distance, Dr. Severin Borenstein, a co-director of the Center for the Study of Energy Markets and a former member of the governing board of the California Power Exchange and the California Attorney General’s Gasoline Price Task Force, discussed contemporary issues associated with oil prices and related energy considerations with particular reference to challenges and misunderstandings faced today.

Dr. Borenstein perceives three broad challenges facing U.S. energy policy: (1) Gas and energy costing too much (an issue about which he is contacted almost daily by reporters); (2) Geopolitics of oil in our “one-world” oil market; and (3) Pollution and green-house gas considerations.

High cost of Gasoline and Energy

Bad news for big-car lovers… as a result of the great influence that oil-producing nations enjoy in establishing barrel prices, in concert with rapidly growing energy consumption in developing nations, gasoline will probably never be “cheap” again in the U.S. This is underscored by the fact that the United States does not produce or reserve enough gasoline for itself. Indeed, whereas in 1978 the U.S. imported 35% of its oil, that figure has risen to 65% today. Although “Big Oil” CEOs say they deserve tax breaks to drill for more oil to control gas prices, this request is not consistent with their frequent assertion, and the reality, that they cannot indeed control oil prices. Because a solution is not therefore likely to come from the supply side, Dr. Borenstein feels that demonizing the oil companies misses the point (although your humble rotating co-editor finds it cathartic, nonetheless).

A solution will instead likely have to originate on the demand side by changing our habits to commute shorter distances for work, drive more efficient vehicles, etc. Some Richmond Rotarians seemed surprised to learn that moving towards efficiency is not actually the trend, as our gracious speaker revealed that if we drove the same size vehicles from the mid-1980s, we would use 35% less gas. Dr. Borenstein attributes this phenomenon to insatiable demand for “powerful heavy toys” which are more fun to drive but consume more fuel, and notes that we would also be just as safe in smaller and more efficient cars.

Geopolitical Energy Considerations

Dr. Borenstein’s comments in this area centered on his belief that the notion that as a nation, we can wield our collective consumer power to choose which other nations benefit from our enormous energy market, is likely erroneous. The “one-world” oil market means that even if we were steadfast in refusing to purchase oil from unfriendly nations such as Iran and Venezuela, or nations with atrocious human rights records, such as Saudi Arabia, such nations still would have no problem selling their product elsewhere in the highly demanding international market, and prices of oil would not be affected.

Our national consumption of oil is therefore problematic because hostile nations use their significant oil profits to fund movements inimical to the interest of the United States. Iran for instance, enjoys $50 Billion more in their hands, which goes a long way towards funding their pet interests such as Hezbollah. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, on the other hand, uses his nation’s vast oil wealth to influence South American elections towards ends that are less democratic.

It’s the Environment, Stupid

First, the good news… The United States is poised to fare reasonably well for many decades in the face of climate change. Less fortunate will be other nations whose geographical and environmental conditions will make them more vulnerable to rising water levels, temperatures, and the resultant drought, famine and global conflicts that will likely ensue. Reducing green house gas emissions is therefore the greatest energy challenge we are faced with today, and a big part of the solution is the development of alternative fuel sources. Unfortunately, the current administration is hampering the development and implementation of such resources at exactly the wrong time. Our speaker was confident that any of the three leading presidential candidates (Obama, McCain and Clinton) would make changes for the better in this regard. Interestingly, he feels that increased energy and climate debate in the lead-up to the November election would not be beneficial because it would force the candidates to say “stupid things” and lock in positions that are not reasonable, such as Senator McCain’s proposed “gas tax holiday”.

Dr. Borenstein feels that any major reduction in gasoline prices would result in over-consumption in the U.S., relative to supply, and opined that if windfall profits were taxed aggressively (such as the $10 and $12 Billion quarterly profits announced recently by major U.S. oil companies) and used to reduce gas prices, we would end up seeing lines at the gas station that resembled those of the 1970s crisis shortage. Dr. Borenstein does not believe so much of the hype that higher gas prices will have a significant adverse affect on the U.S. economy, and points to the United Kingdom, where their economy is doing well despite $8.00 per gallon gasoline. Although to be sure, he feels that higher fuel prices may mean a slight draw-back in U.S. standard of living, that it would not be remarkable and would likely take us back to about the 1997 standard of living, which he remembered as not being so unlivable.

Finally, Dr. Borenstein addressed the prospective efficacy of certain alternative energy sources. He indicated that hydrogen had been long promised, but that scientists had developed no feasible hydrogen solutions and that they are still at least several decades away, which they also wrongly prognosticated several decades ago. Concerning nuclear energy (or “nucular” energy, as it is also known), although Dr. Borenstein felt nuclear energy merited greater discussion than at present, that it was not as cheap as commonly believed and that the waste disposal was problematic. Corn Ethanol also was not likely a “winner” as it is expensive and doesn’t really reduce net emissions.

Dr. Borenstein’s highly interesting and informative presentation left Richmond Rotarians wanting more, as there were more with questions than time permitted. There is no doubt this issue will continue to be of great relevance to us all.

Written by Josh Surowitz.

- Your rotating Co-Editors, Jim Young and Josh Surowitz