The Flywheel

Program for OCTOBER 12th

E.J. Shalaby

Fellow Richmond Rotarian E.J. Shalaby discusses special districts, and why they exist at all in a world of cities and counties.

MEETING OF October 5th, 2007

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Pam Jones called the meeting to order in the lower level of La Strada restaurant. Tony Thurmond led the invocation and Rafael Cartagena led the pledge of allegiance. Henry Kelman had some interesting and seemingly admiring thoughts having to do with Barack Obama.

Rotarians with Guests

Werner Schwarz introduced Pam’s guest, April Jorden.

Sunshine Report

David K had generally sunny skies to report while David Brown chimed in that he saw Jim Beaver walking out of his building recently looking good, about 30-pounds lighter. We look forward to seeing Jim back at the Club soon.


  • Herb Cole said the grant for the clinic in Monterrey, Mexico, has come through and plans are moving ahead for the Jan 16-20, 2008, multi-Club, south-of-the-border trip. Check with Herb and sign up.
  • Rafael Madrigal reported that the District 5160 Rotary Foundation Day raffle has pulled in about $2000 in ticket sales.
  • Joe Serra, the orthopedic surgeon and Stockton Rotarian who spoke to our Club a few months ago, is speaking about polio eradication at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on Wed, Oct 24, at 6pm (conveniently located at the Montgomery St. BART Station stop). Click here for more info (note the “make a reservation” link):
  • Here’s an early heads-up for the Oct 19 meeting. The speaker will be Julia Flynn Siler, author of the all-around best-seller, The House of Mondavi. Just published in June, the book has received wide acclaim, like this review: “The House of Mondavi is a compelling, sweeping, and ultimately heartbreaking American story of ambition, lust, and wine. The reporting on the rise and fall of the Mondavis is stunning. Think Barbarians at the Grape.”

Special Events

Erle Brown made the following announcements.

  • Having missed the prior meeting, Mark Howe was honored with a Paul Harris pin.
  • The Richmond Rotary Club stands at 150% of its Paul Harris goal.
  • Jon Lawlis was recently honored by Rotary International for having contributed over $10,000 to the Rotary Foundation during his time in Rotary so far. That makes him a Diamond Rotary member, one of only three in the Club, the other two being Werner Schwarz and Dave Calfee. Congratulations!


Joe Bagley handled recognitions.

  • David Ninomiya was recognized for his and wife Janet’s wedding anniversary in May.
  • Joe Bagley did self-recognition for both hisrecent birthday and wedding anniversary, having married Rita 32 years ago in the week between their two birthdays. They celebrated their birthdays and anniversary at East Brothers Lighthouse. Joe had a check for his daughter Lana’s Paul Harris.
  • Tom Bennett has been in the Club a year. Tom acknowledged that it’s a good day, with his oldest son having a birthday and his sister of 36 years finally getting married.
  • Erle Brown was mildly harassed about some picture in the paper which got Joe’s attention. Judy Kafka was apparently in the picture also but the caption switched her name and Leslie Levy’s, to which Judy argued convincingly that she would gladly trade looks and bodies with Leslie. And that’s all the scribe has to say about this one.
  • Something happened at the Hotel Mac involving Reyn Partridge. “A hug worth a $100” and “I’ll double it”? That’s ok, I didn’t get it either. But the Rotary Foundation got some bucks.
  • Then there was the Bill Koziol hat that rode around in Jon Lawlis’ car for several days. Something about the head underneath the hat having been a little foggy. What happens at a poker party stays at the poker party!
  • Rafael Madrigal, in his who-am-I, told us about coming into the world at Brookside hospital on a Friday the 13th. With stops at Salesian High School and UC Berkeley along with stints as a History professor, a mortuary salesman, and a corporate type in Tucson, he returned home to Richmond and opened his own insurance business. His goal as a Rotarian (which he first became in Tucson) is to give back to the area which got him started in life.
  • Bill Koziol also did his who-am-I and noted his own Richmond beginnings. With a degree in Business from UC Santa Barbara, he took a turn at being a CPA, which he didn’t like. He also worked for a couple of dot-com’s before they dot-bombed. After a few years at personal consulting, he joined David K at Security Pacific specializing in apartment buildings and duplexes. While he had nothing to base it on, he also issued a stern warning to any lechers in the crowd to keep their distance from his innocent, young fiancée.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Erle Brown had happy $$ for the Cal Bears dumping the Oregon Ducks.
  • David K provided happy $$ for his recent bay fishing experience, even though he only caught one fish that he threw back for being too small.
  • EJ Shalaby had a few happy $$ for the Home Front Festival being over. Rotary’s boat-boarding and snack sales activities raised about $1500 for PolioPlus.
  • Jon Lawlis offered happy $$ for the fact that District 5160 will match PolioPlus dollars, which means a grand total of $3000 will go into the program’s coffers as a result of the Home Front Festival.
  • Werner Schwarz announced with applause all around that he received word from Kaiser that he is “free of cancer”. Werner gave a check for $300 to the Rotary Foundation.
  • Tony Thurmond offered happy $$ to excitedly announce the kick-off of his campaign to run for State Assembly in 2008.
  • Josh Genser gave up happy/sad dollars as he noted commiseration with a buddy from Texas A&M over the latter’s “upset” losses, a problem which Josh acknowledged Stanford doesn’t have (the upset part, that is). As this Flywheel goes to press, everyone in the world knows what Stanford stunningly accomplished against USC the day after this Rotary meeting. Can you imagine how obnoxious Cardinal fans will be at the next meeting!
  • Herb Cole had happy $$ for the good time he had at the Home Front Festival.
  • David Ninomiya offered several happy $$ for the warm fellowship at this Club.
  • Hank Covell came clean about his birthday on Sep 22 (which was missed?!) and gave some happy $$ to boot. Hank was quick to point out that he’s one of the few oldsters in the Club born in Richmond.
  • Bill Koziol had happy $$ for getting engaged while he was in Italy (to the lovely local lady who accompanied him on the trip).
  • Ted Abreu had happy $$ for the recent trip to celebrate his Aunt’s 100th birthday in Kansas along with a couple extra happy ones for living in the bay area instead of Kansas.
  • Mark Howe was happy about finishing his house. He also asked everyone to “mark” their calendars for a barbeque at his house on Sat, Nov 3, for Werner’s birthday. (And don’t forget that roast worthy of a “thousand bonfires” on Nov 2.)
  • Not-really-grumpy John Nicol happily announced the Jan 13-14 Reno train trip for $300, which includes train up and back, hotel, most food, and some drinks.

Raffle Results

Herb Cole pulled a while ball.


John Gioia

County Supervisor John Gioia

Jim Young introduced County Supervisor John Gioia, who graciously stood in for Richmond Port Director, Jim Matzorkis, who had a last-minute schedule snafu that prevented him from speaking to the Club.

While John had one foot out the door looking forward to a weekend getaway for an early celebration of his Nov 22 5-year wedding anniversary, he took a few minutes to briefly review some items of interest.

  • Ferry service will be coming to Richmond again in maybe 2-3 years. Some funding is already in place. It’s all part of the reemergence of an expanding bay area-wide Water Transit Authority.
  • A new Joint Policy Committee has been set up to try to look at regional transportation issues in new, hopefully better ways. Various new schemes are being considered although there wasn’t time to get into pro-and-con details about variable off-peak bridge tolls, car-pool-lane usage charges, and new taxes on gasoline to discourage greenhouse gas emissions. Hmm.
  • Health care reform of some kind is ahead of us and John’s wondering how that will affect the public system of hospitals, clinics, and health plans.
  • While Doctors Medical Center remains in bankruptcy, restructurings have occurred so the operating deficit is now smaller. More financial improvements are needed (renegotiate MediCal reimbursements and maybe look at a parcel tax). Doctors’ 26 ER beds (compared to Kaiser’s 15) are important to West County and you can’t have an ER without a hospital behind it. John is Chair of the Joint Authority made up of the Doctor’s Hospital District and the County.

John ended on the cheery note that the state’s fiscal system is dismal and broken and needs to be overhauled so important needs across many fronts can be paid for. And on that note, Go Packers (Brett Favre)!

- Rotating Scribe, Tom Waller