NEXT MEETING: June 23, 2017

The Challenges of a Richmond Distiller

There are many misconceptions about what a distiller’s life is all about. Some think it is romantic, some envision an illegal appellation moonshiner, and some a jet-setting glamorous party animal… The reality is far from this. Distillers have to cope with what any other manufacturer has to go through and sometimes more when it comes to taxation, compliance, distribution…

Farid Dormishian, Founder/Distiller for Falcon Spirits Distillery, will touch upon these and will share some of his own personal challenges and accomplishments. He will also describe his journey from undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at UC Berkeley, to bartending and wine-making, to launching his own distillery. Members won’t want to miss this talk, as Farid is also bringing samples of his delicious spirits for us to taste!

MEETING OF June 16, 2017


President Josh Surowitz called to order the final meeting of his term of office. Henry Moe led us in the pledge of allegiance. Stoney asked for a moment of silence for peace, freedom and justice on Earth. Sid’s thought for the day was, “The people with whom we should try to get even are the people we’ve helped.”

Rotarians with Guests

Simon introduced son, John Ellis, who just graduated from John Swett High School.

Nick had three guests: his wife, Nel, who is the Membership Chair of Healthcare for All California; Dan Hodges, the Director, and a co-founder, of Healthcare for All Calfironia, and today’s speaker, Eric Leenson of the Business Alliance for a Healthy California.

Who Am I?

We were happy to learn more about Darlene Drapkin’s background. She is a native of Southern California. Her family is background is Nicaraguan, Polish and Jewish—and despite all of that, she’s a vegetarian. Darlene has an MBA, with emphasis in marketing. Twenty years ago she moved to East Richmond Heights.

Darlene works on neighborhood commercial revival projects; for example, establishing Business Improvement Districts to create money and organizations so neighborhoods can revive their business districts. She used to be a member of Oakland Rotary, and had projects in several Oakland neighborhoods. She hopes to be involved in the organization and revival of Richmond’s 23rd Street corridor.


Announcements were made but none were recorded. Sorry.


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


Single Payer Healthcare in California: Now is the Time

Today’s speaker was Erik Leeson of the Business Alliance for a Healthy California. The organization is new and was formed to make the business case for a single-payer health plan. U.S. businesses pay twice as much business in other industrialized countries, all of which have single-payer health plans, and receive less in services and outcomes. Health care costs are rising faster than inflation, and consumer much more of our Gross Domestic Product than it does in Europe.

Despite high costs and outcomes no better, and in some categories worse, than in other industrialized countries, many Americans remain uninsured and underinsured. Our system is very inefficient. This month, Senate Bill 562, a bill to enact a single payer healthcare system in California, was passed in the California legislature. However, it does not specify a funding mechanism and it will not move into the Assembly until it does. Eric pointed out that single payer is not “socialized medicine” because the delivery systems stay private and consumers would still have choices. Instead, it is “socialized insurance.” While reputable economic analyses show that the plan would save more money than it costs, paying for it remains the hurdle. The current proposal is a tax on gross receipts on business (which would no longer need to pay for insurance for it employees) and an increase in the sales tax (similarly, those in the individual markets would no longer pay premiums).

- Josh Genser, Rotating Scribe