NEXT MEETING: September 18, 2015
Note meeting location change! See below.

The Bishop Wears No Drawers: A Former Catholic Missionary Priest Remembers Africa

Michael Barrington, a Rotarian for 18 years and Past President of the Rotary Club of Concord, will provide Richmond Rotary members with an overview of his engaging memoir.

Michael is the chair of Rotary’s International Committee and is responsible for generating more than $1 million dollars in Global or Matching grants. He also works for The Rotary Foundation as a Technical Advisor and in this role monitors and evaluates large humanitarian projects. He does the same professionally through his own company, MJB Consultants, and has worked in more than forty countries.

Michael is on the Board of Directors of Rotary International’s Wasrag committee and helps develop their projects in West Africa in conjunction with Cirque du Soleil and Water Aid. In another life, Michael was a Catholic missionary who served in Mexico, Brazil and Puerto Rico, and for ten years in Nigeria. He also lived for a year as a hermit. Academically he considers himself to be ‘over engineered’ having several Masters Degrees and a Ph.D. He speaks six languages. His book “The Bishop Wears No Drawers” is a memoir of his African experiences.

MEETING OF September 11, 2015


President Alan Blavins welcomed guests and Rotarians and called the meeting to order. Tom Butt was asked to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Prez Alan led us in the invocation, a silent prayer in remembrance of 9-11. Herb Cole, sitting in for Sid Chauvin, who just got a hip replacement, quoted somebody (probably himself) saying, “I have good people skills. I just have a bad tolerance for idiots.” Come to think of it, he could have been quoting Sid.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

There were no visiting Rotarians. Doris Mitchell introduced her guest. CPA Mey Saechao, visiting for the third time. (Does that mean she likes us?)


    We will meet at Cafe Soleil, 3550 San Pablo Dam Road, El Sobrante, on Friday the 18th. The meeting room is next to and on the left of the Cafe entrance. Stay tuned for the location of the Sept. 25th meeting.
  • David Brown announced that it’s the time of year when school bells ring and Rotarians sing, ‘Time to support Peres School teachers again. The club wants to provide its annual $100 gift to all the teachers to help them with new school year supplies and expenses. Send/bring cash, check or money orders David A. Brown payable to Richmond Rotary or use the donate button on this page with a quick e-mail to DAB. He’ll figure it out.
  • Joe ‘Swanpy’ Bagley announced a very successful club visit with Charlie Wong and his wife Jean at their Oakland home. The event was so successful and Charlie has so much on site parking, some consideration is being given to holding a remote meeting at his home. Details if they develop, to follow.
  • No Sunshine Report today.


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


Building Community Police Partnerships

Club Treasurer David A. Brown, who is also a member of the Richmond Police Commission, was pleased to introduce the City of Richmond’s Crime Prevention Manager, Michelle Milam. Michelle is a Richmond native, graduated from El Cerrito HS and Cal and describes herself as a poet, playwright and signer as well as a crime prevention manager for the RPD. Speaking about her job, Michelle mused that the firefighters are lucky, “They go out into the community and pass out those red toy fire hats and all the kids come running. The reception in the community is never quite that enthusiastic for the police”. Then using her own enthusiasm, Michelle lunched into her core message.

Like a junior high school teacher of old, Michelle said, “You need to pay attention…if you want to prevent crime in the community.” As in the rest of the Bay Area, one of the biggest impediments to paying attention to one’s immediate environment is hand held technology, i-Things. The recent increase in robberies has to do in part with folks texting and not paying enough attention to their immediate environment to realize they are not the only ones interested in their hand held device. Basic advice: 1)Take off your head phones; 2)Don’t walk and text; 3)Watch your back. Other common sense advice included, Don’t flash money or valuables. Don’t leave valuables in your car or at least put them out of sight.

“Now that you are paying attention and you notice that something/someone doesn’t seem right, call the police. “Don’t worry about bothering the police. We want to know something is amiss before it turns into a real problem for everyone”, says Michelle.

The main part of Michelles effort is focused on the Neighborhood Watch program. She organizes and implements the programs in neighborhoods around the city. Besides providing an opportunity for local folks to meet their beat cop, the Watch programs encourage:

  • People get to know each other.
  • Be proactive.
  • Provides suggestions that everyone can use to improve the safety of their families and property.

Michelle invited the member to contact her if they would like help start a Neighborhood Watch program in their neighborhood, including a program for Spanish speaking neighborhoods.

Another major focus of Michelle’s work is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). CPTED is the management of real property so that it is less vulnerable to criminal activity and presents a positive “we care” image to the entire community. Besides basics like lighting, gates, fences and alarm systems, it encourages landscape maintenance that precludes restricted visibility and encourages ‘the eyes of the street’ as primary surveillance of the neighborhood.

Everything Michelle said about Neighborhood Watch and CPTED is also available to business owners through the Business Watch Program. Michelle encouraged members to contact her for more information at

Thank you Michelle Milam for a great presentation about crime prevention in Richmond.

- Jim Young, Rotating Editor