The Flywheel

March 22, 2019

NEXT MEETING: March 22, 2019

The Data Behind the Climate Crisis

Scientist Eric Arens will present data that convinces experts that climate change is happening—not in the future, but now.

While it is true that the Earth has cycled between colder and warmer climates, the present spike in average temperatures worldwide is clearly correlated to the abundance of CO2 in the atmosphere. Eric will explain the correlation between greenhouse gases and rising average temperatures. He’ll look at the main lines of evidence for today’s changing climate and review some of the steps that must be taken to restore the climate.


Darlene Drapkin invites us to pitch in for the César Chavez Day of Service, March 30th, from 10 to 2. Meet in front of Portumex, on 23rd Street. We’ll plant trees, paint and beautify, and enjoy being together as a community making a difference in one of the most vibrant parts of our city. Register here to get a commemorative T-shirt, while supplies last.

MEETING OF March 15, 2019


President Jerry Feagley clanged the meeting to order at 12:35, nearly deafening the scribe for the day, seated a few feet from the huge bell. If we’ve missed something, blame the bell-ringer.

Nick lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Alan Blavins called for a moment of silence for peace, justice and remembrance for those killed in a mosque in New Zealand a few hours earlier.

Sid offered the thought-for-the-day:Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Rotarians with Guests

We welcomed Zelpha Chauvin, Sid’s wife [who must be a person of immense forebearance. -Ed.]

Visiting Rotarians

Terry Kotsatos of the El Cerrito Rotary Club visited us today.

Recognitions and Happy and Sad Dollars

Ric Ambrose began Recognitions by noting a coincidence: he and our visiting Rotarian, Terry Kotsatos, went to the same high school in Warren, Ohio. Nice to have the infusion of Midwestern self-reliance and dependability in our region (says this Midwesterner).

Don rose to acknowledge both his Club anniversary and 30th wedding anniversary.  About the latter, he told us “They said it wouldn’t last.” Indeed. Don and Shelly had a fabulous vacation, visiting both Rome and South Africa, and donated 1400 South African Rand—$100. Thank you, sir.

Darlene Drapkin celebrated closer to home: a very nice birthday dinner at La Strada.

Norm also celebrated two anniversaries, his birthday (71 years) and his wedding anniversary (49 years). Norm made a donation to the Foundation.

David Brown celebrated his 25th Club Anniversary. How did we manage our treasury before David?

Happy and Sad Dollars

Nick had both very sad and very happy dollars. He noted that crimes driven by hatred have been with us since the dawn of humanity. What’s new is the internet, which affords perpetrators to amplify their messages and broadcast their crimes. Stricter regulation of social media content is one necessary step. His happy dollars were for the hundreds of thousands of students who, this very day, were not going to school but instead demonstrating for aggressive action to address climate change.

Jerry had happy dollars, telling us about his sister who was visiting Alaska and reporting on the the society she sees there, comprised of both European and Native Americans.

Bob Dabney was happy to call attention to a report on the West Contra Costa Unified School District, documenting very positive developments in the district.



Impacts of Gun Violence

Our speaker was former Oakland Chief of Police, Howard Jordan. Mr. Jordan reviewed the current statistics on gun violence, leading with this halting fact: every day 318 people in America die from gun violence, including both homicides and suicides.

Here in Richmond, homicides have been declining over the past 10 years. Compared to other large cities, Mr. Jordan told us, Richmond is relatively safe.

On the more troubling side, gun sales in California have increased by a factor of 2.5 over the last ten years. What’s more, although California has the strictest gun laws in the country, our state has a higher incidence of violent crime, per capita, than the national average. The reason for this may be the higher percentage of Californians who live in major cities, where homicides are more prevalent, compared to the rest of the country.

A major issue that stymies gun control are gun shows, where 20% to 40% of all firearm sales take place. In most states, background checks are not required for purchases at gun shows.

Mr. Jordan cited several factors which are empirically determined to correlate to higher levels of gun violence:

  • Easy access to both legal and illegal firearms.
  • Widespread gun ownership. In the US, 43% of households have at least one firearm.
  • A lack of meaningful deterrence to gun ownership by those who should not have them.

-Nick Despota, Flywheel Editor