NEXT MEETING: February 3, 2017

Telling Richmond's Story: A Local Journalist's Account of the 'Remaking of an American City'

refinery-town-cover-detailFree-lance journalist Steve Early moved to Richmond in 2012. This month, Beacon Press  published Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City, about Richmond’s colorful history, its labor, political, and racial conflicts—as well as recent acclaim for public policy innovation. The book has been widely and favorably reviewed. A chapter profiling Chris Magnus and “community policing” in Richmond was excerpted in December by Washington Monthly.

Early is an appointed member of the City of Richmond Personnel Board and volunteers as a writer coach at Richmond High. He has worked as a labor journalist, lawyer, organizer, or contract negotiator since 1972.

Last year, Early co-founded a national network of trade union activists called “Labor for Bernie.” Senator Bernie Sanders, a visitor to Richmond in 2014, contributed a Foreword to Refinery Town which praises the book “for offering ideas and inspiration for making change where it counts the most–among friends, neighbors, and fellow community members.”

MEETING OF January 27, 2017


Josh presided over the meeting in a more buoyant mood than we have seen from him recently. Jon Lawlis led the pledge and Herb Cole provided the invocation. Sid’s thought for the day: Why is it that our children can’t read the Bible in school, but they can in prison?

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

We welcomed a number of guests. Darlene Drapkin was a guest of Jon Lawlis. Jerry Feagley brought Al Nero. Alan Baer hosted Edgar De Leon and Gary Tang. Nick Despota invited our speaker Ted Obbad, and Brian Cronin.

Special Events

Jim Findley was awarded his blue badge, and Darlene Drapkin was initiated as our newest member, receiving her red badge.


    • As many have heard, Jan Brown’s mother passed away.  A celebration of Betty’s life is planned on Feb. 3 at 2 pm at the Sunset View Mortuary in El Cerrito.
    • Alan Baer reminded folks that both the crab feed and district conference are coming up. He also asked those attending the crab feed to bring raffle prizes that can be auctioned off at the event.
    • Erle supplemented Alan’s message about the crab feed saying that between 146 and 150 had been sold. So, there is room for only a few more.
    • President Josh mentioned the library project for West County schools. This is a hands-on project where Rotarians will meet with principals and school librarians to determine what they need. If you would like to participate, call Josh.
    • David Brown is one of our point men for the Escape Club at DeJean Middle School, which visits Bay Area sites of natural wonder. He asked us to share with you a report about the Club’s latest adventure: a trip to Ano Nuevo to see elephant seals and their pups. Check out great photos and video of the students (Homo sapiens) and the new parents (Mirounga angustirostris).


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


Cutting Carbon Pollution through Fee and Dividend

Nick Despota introduced our speaker, Dr. Ted Obbard a volunteer with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, a national organization dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It sees the primary strategy for accomplishing these goals as putting a price on carbon. Since this approach to combating climate change is market-based, the organization believes it will more easily gain support across the political spectrum. Central to its goals, the organization seeks to create the political will toward positive action while enabling individuals to exercise their personal power.

Outside studies have shown that the effects of a carbon tax are proportionate to its size, so prices can be set to address the problem in scale. These studies also indicate that reducing greenhouse gas emissions contributes to the creation of jobs, improves the health of citizens, and saves lives.

Learn more about the Citizens’ Climate Lobby at its website.


- David Cole, “Rotating Editor”