NEXT MEETING: February 15, 2019
NOTE: This Friday we'll meet at the Community Room, Mechanics Bank Hilltop. See below.

The Changing Face of our Homeless and How We can Help

Kathleen Sullivan from GRIP will share the challenges of a State of Emergency for our homeless population in Richmond and throughout our state. The face of our homeless is not what it use to be and the options for housing are a major challenge. It’s important to know what services are available in your community and how you can help to support local homeless initiatives.

MEETING OF February 8, 2019


President Jerry Feagley called the meeting to order at 12:30.  Josh Genser led us in the Pledge this week.  Bob Dabney did the invocation for peace, freedom and justice on earth and prayers for those in our club suffering from illness.  Sid’s thought for the day was, “You do not need a parachute to skydive.  You only need a parachute to skydive twice.”

Alan Baer introduced our newest Rotary Member, Matthew Duffy, Superintendent of Schools – WCCUSD.  Alan Baer did the induction honors.

Next year is our Club’s 100th anniversary, so we need more members to keep our projects going!

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

We welcomed two guests, one of them for the last time. That was Matthew Duffy, Superintendent of Schools – WCCUSD, who was inducted into the Rotary later in this meeting.
Ariel Mercado, from BART, also joined us on this day.


Jerry Feagley announced that the Rotary meeting this Friday, February 15th, will be held at at the Mechanics Bank Community Room located at 3190 Klose Way, Richmond.

Mechanics Bank Hilltop is not at the Hilltop Mall.


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


Darlene Drapkin introduced our speaker, Lateefa Simon, BART Board Director,  Known as the girl with the glasses, Lateefa is legally blind and takes BART everywhere! Her grandmother was a Rotarian in San Francisco. Her family came to the Bay Area in 1943. Richmond is now her home. Lateefa is a huge advocate for transportation justice. She relies on public transportation for herself and her child, after losing her husband four years ago. She understands better than most that we need BART and we need it to be good.

Lateefa’s updated us on  BART’s rebuilding and reinvestment activities since the passage of First Measure RR Bonds Issue, a total of $3.5 Billion. Of that,  90.4% is dedicated to “Fix It First,” and 9.6% to “Prepare for the Future”.

BART has 90 miles of tracks in Contra Costa County, 110 miles of tracks in total. It is repairing and replacing critical infrastructure, fixing the tube, and taking earthquake safety measures.  Now until 2020, $300 million of project work to fix and repair. Some highlights of program:

  • 22 miles of tracks have been replaced, making the ride quieter and safer;
  • the system will begin a seismic retrofit of the Transbay Tube;
  • Hayward Maintenance Facility does maintenance of all cars, including new cars;
  • New train cars – 200 new cars by the end of 2019 – they will have state-of-the-art audio system, color-coded seats for disabled, cleaner due to no carpet on floors or seats, new cars now have three exits vs. two exits on older cars;
  • El Cerrito Del Norte Station Modernization – Construction started in September, 2017, hope to be done in 18 months;
  • Independent Oversight Committee – made up of CPAs, attorneys, etc. to oversee where money is being spent and routine audits;
  • Overall, there are about 30 trains in the BART system;
    Richmond BART Building has retail, co-working and business incubator space.  This is starting to happen now in Downtown Richmond;
  • Public safety around the BART stations – need to hire more officers, increase visibility, connect homeless to services;
  • Providing more parking for most BART stations;
    Enhancing the Hercules Transit Center, with buses to transport riders to El Cerrito or Richmond Stations;
  • Sick, addicted people, homeless are living in our tunnels. BART is working with all cities to address this;
  • 15 new cleaners, cleaning being done each day;
  • A new focus on Fare Evasion – need for more enforcement, higher barriers, plug holes;
    A pilot program to provide means-based fares for people not able to afford current fares;
    Youth Fare (50% off) expanded to age 18 from 13;
  • Clipper Card Vending Machines – one vendor machine per station – replacing the paper tickets;
    You can download a security app, BART Watch, that gives the ability to inform the BART Police of any problem or safety issue via your smart phone and they know exactly where you are due to GPS in your phone

A special thank you to Lateefa Simon for her very informative update on what is happening at BART right now.

- Rotating Scribe Darlene Quenville