The Flywheel

Program for November 3rd, 2006

The Solar Future is Now

Mike Hall, Chief Marketing Officer for Borrego Solar, will discuss solar electric installations in the East Bay.

Who Am I?

Cory Lawrence will do his best to answer that question in several enterntaining and englightening minutes.

Meeting of October 20th, 2006

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Well gosh, in the hubbub of settling guests and conversation we can only be assured that Prez. George Egan did call the meeting to order.  There was a moment of silence for world peace.  There was a Pledge of Allegiance, and, there was thought for the day.  But quoting X-Prez & Secretary Jon Lawlis later on in the meeting, “I was busy”.

Visiting Rotarians

Still busy.

Rotarians with Guests

  • Catherine Hays of Greater Bay Funding reintroduced herself after many weeks absence, And also introduced her guest Sylvia, whose last name I did not get.
  • Glenn Daggs, who need no introduction, introduced his Regional Manager from Arizona, who is also his brother, Victor Daggs.
  • Jon Lawlis guest was Mark Little.
  • Jim Young introduced his guest at the front table, Bill Lindsey, Richmond City Manager.

Sunshine Report

The sun was behind a little dark cloud today as Charlie Wong was not feeling well and had to leave the meeting early.  Charlie, we hope you are feeling better.  


The foundation of our Rotary Int’l Foundation effort, Erle Brown gave the club a pep talk about making contributions to the RIF.  Erle said contributions to date are 55% of Goal at $3,900.  As many clubs in the district have made no contribution, we’re doing OK.  Erle gave special thanks for the $1,000 contribution given by Dave Calfee noting it went a long way to get us to 55%.  RIF contributions fund Rotary’s international philanthropies including the matching grant program run out of HQ and our local district.  One third of RIF donations come back to the district and local clubs as grant support three years after the contribution is made.  Also:

  • Support Rotary Foundation International.
  • Make your checks out to Rotary Foundation International.  Designations to Polio Plus etc do not count for RIF contributions.
  • New members know that for your first Paul Harris ($1,000 contribution to RIF), the club will match your contribution dollar for dollar. Become a Paul Harris Fellow for $500.

Margaret Morkowski asked the members to sign up for the Peres (pronounced PEAR ez —like in easy—according to John Nicol) Wednesday November 15th, 5 – 7 PM.

Special Events

Red Badge Rookie and continuing candidate for Richmond City Council (we’ll get to this in a minute) Tony Thurmond stepped up to the podium to give his “Who am I?”.  Tony said this presentation will have three themes: 1)I may look funny. 2)I’m the luckiest person in the world. 3)Tony’s personal mantra; “It’s not how you start the race, but how you finish it that’s important.” 

Tony’s family hails from Panama.  They immigrated to the West Coast.  Life started rough as his mother died after their arrival in the States and Tony was shipped off to the mean streets of South Philadelphia to grow up with relatives. Tony’s luck started to change for the better as his family as a whole “was always there for me” and took care of him in an otherwise tough environment.  Tony said he was here today standing on their shoulders because he very easily could have been swept up in that tough town like so many other young people, even now.

Acknowledging fellow Temple U. alumnus Bob Dabney, Tony said he graduated from college after being elected Student Body President.  He must have graduated because he went on to Bryn Mawr College to get two MS degrees, one in Social Work and the other in Law and Social Work. Yes, Bryn Mawr is or was an all girl’s school, but Tony didn’t cover that accomplishment in much detail.

Tony continues his family’s tradition of being there to help young people by operating non-profit social service organizations for youth.  The Oakland-based organization he directs helps young people who become adults in the foster care system. Often they are are "shown the door" the day they turn 18 and are no longer eligible for state support.  Tony's organization helps these young folks get stay on their feet.

Tony’s lived in Richmond six years, is married to Kristin and has two lovely daughters (In all three other reasons he is the luckiest person in the world).  Tony’s student-daze political bug got him to run for City Council in 2004.  At the same time he lost a brother at 35 which caused him to withdraw from the world, but “I’m back”. 

He lost the 2004 election but was appointed to a Council vacancy in 2005 and is now running to be elected to that seat. In a very brief political statement Tony said, “I love to serve”.  He said he is more than willing to put up with the 90% BS that flows through the Council in order to deal with the 10% — important issues that affect people’s lives.  Maybe the best news for Richmond and Rotary is that Tony is a young 38 years old so we can expect to benefit from his compassion, energy and insight for many years to come.  Good luck in the election Tony Thurmond!  Your editor notes that Tony gave one of the most moving Who Am I’s of recent memory.   You are invited to get to know him better than  the abbreviated details listed here.


Dandy Don Lau took the podium for recognitions but began by asking, “Are those really political campaign ads on the tables for one Tony Thurmond (for City Council) and EJ Shalaby (East Bay Regional Parks District 1)?  Tony Thurmond, a model of political integrity immediately fessed up that his WERE political advertising, but he only brought them in support of his ‘Who Am I?’.  Dandy Don negotiated a $200 settlement with Tony for the Club.  This gave EJ a political opening in which he also admitted that his little tiny post card was a political ad but comparatively speaking only worth a $100 contribution.  Both these fine Rotarians are clearly gentlemen and politicians!

Getting traditional Dandy Don asked Cory Lawrence how he was doing? Cory acknowledged he as doing OK for just having had another birthday.  Don got Cory to confess that he didn’t get to do what he wanted for his birthday, watch a football game and drink scotch.  But he did get to do what he always gets to do, appease his girl friend with a trip to LA.  Local counsel did advise Cory to use the word “appease” with caution.  Cory is “doing OK” partly because he just turned 29.  Cory honored his B-Day with a $100 contribution to the Rotary Foundation.

Don asked Ren Partridge how he was doing?  The reply came just fine and I’m happy to be here!  Ren just celebrated his B-Day, he had a $100 for the Club and felt like he was a 100 years hold.  Ren celebrated with a very pleasant dinner at his daughter’s home. 

John Nicol asked to be recognized on behalf of Charlie Wong who had to leave early but who celebrated his 81st B-day with a $100 contribution to the Rotary Foundation.  Thanks John and Happy Birthday Charlie.

Happy and Sad Dollars

Erle Brown had Happy Dollars for Cal’s cliff hanger victory during his daughters wedding, which he was also happy about.  But, Sad Dollars for the passing of his good friend and Rotarian Lloyd Henry. Lloyd’s death was news to the club as it caused sighs and moans around the room.  Our condolences to both Erle and the Henry’s.

Margaret Morkowski had Happy Dollars for all the Rotarians who participated in the Chamber’s Golf Tournament. A show of hands indicated more than half the room participated. 

Jan “B-Nimble” Brown had Happy Dollars because of her recent conversation with past member Paul Washington who is doing very well in Colorado, teaching part time at he U of Co and acquiring companies.

Herb Cole had Happy Dollars for the trip that he, Normie, Jon L. & Jon’s daughter are taking to “do good” with Polio Plus and the drive to defeat malaria in Ghana.  Herb also said that Erle Brown knows how to put on one heck of a good wedding.

Raffle Results

There was $530 in the kitty.  Stony Stonework got lucky, but, not quite lucky enough and ended up with a white ball and free lunch.

The Program

Prez George asked Jim Young to introduce today’s speaker.  Dennis Ciocca is Managing Director at the investment banking house of Sutter Securities SF.  Dennis spoke about Proposition 90 on next week’s ballot and private versus public benefit in urban renewal and eminent domain.  But first Young and Ciocca had to say a few nice things about each other since they go back so far, acknowledging projects that worked for the public, mostly low income, Section VIII and student housing and also worked for the shareholders at their various banks.

Dennis said a lot and for those who want to review what he considers the best analysis of Prop. 90, an analysis that recommends a “No” vote, he suggests you read an article from the California Redevelopment Association.  Ciocca presentation made three main points:

  • Eminent Domain has been, is now and always will be controversial even though its process of taking private property is allowed in the US Constitution.
  • There is a hidden agenda in Prop 90 having to do with the “taking of value” that will make it almost impossible for the public to afford any kind of land use restriction or planning.  Simply stated it would require government to reimburse property owners for the loss of future value when a property is restricted from “maximum development”.  A similar law in Oregon has created 2,600 cases of “diminished value” claiming $6.0B in public restitution.
  • Prop 90 has been bankrolled by New York real estate developer and well known Libertarian Howard Riche for both political and economic reasons as passage of Prop 90 would allow all developers to reap huge wind fall profits from any restriction community planning or other governmental activities would place on their real estate development activities.

Thank you Dennis Ciocca for sharing your insights into this complicated subject that will have a direct impact on Richmond.