The Flywheel

Program for January 11th

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The "Big Year" for Bay Area endangered species

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area contains more endangered species than any other National Park in continental North America. Brent Plater, a Bay Area environmental lawyer, has launched a project to recognize and protect these species: the "the Big Year" of 2008.

It's a contest and you can participate!
Can't make it? Then visit the Big Year website to learn more.



MEETING OF January 4, 2008

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Pam called the meeting to order, and Michael Gill lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance, but there was no invocation (for unexplained reasons) nor thought for the day (because Henry was stuck on the other side of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge), although Leslie Levy insisted she had a thought but didn’t express it.

Visiting Rotarians

None today.

Rotarians with Guests

Jim Young and Charlie both brought their wives.  Charlie also claimed as a guest John McPeak, the husband of today’s speaker, Sunne McPeak.

Sunshine Report

Bill K reports no news, except that Charlie Wong is recovering from a cold.


  • David Brown, our treasurer, reported that his accounts were off by $143, until he finally figured out the Mechanics Bank had given the Club an automatic donation of 1% of our average bank account balance.  Thanks, Mechanics Bank!
  • Herb Cole announced that Richmond Rotary’s delegation to Monterrey, Mexico, is the second largest, among 60 people from three states and many clubs.
  • John Niccol told train-riders to bring their cameras because the snowfall will make the ride spectacular.  He also told people to get to room 2516 to watch the NFL playoff game. Details and schedule
  • Hank Covell reminded people about the crab feed, January 26 at Salesian High School.  Set-up and clean-up crews are needed.  Contact Hank (510/222-9454) for tickets. Download flyer.

Special Events

Michael Gill gave us his “Who Am I?”  He’s been a member for two years, so it’s about time he introduced himself and got rid of his red badge.  Michael was born in Palo Alto but grew up in the San Fernando Valley.  Among many other activities as a youth he was a Boy Scout and attained the rank of Eagle Scout.  He came north to Berkeley to go to school and liked it here and stayed.  His undergraduate education suffered from detours and fits and starts, including a stint to study jazz piano, but he eventually graduated and now works for Transept Pharmaceuticals, which is developing a drug to fight insomnia. 

Michael also plays in a wedding band and has his own independent, money-losing record label (how about some CD’s for next year’s auction?).  He’s also on the Board of Directors of the Point Richmond Business Association.  Michael has been married for almost 20 years to a woman he met at summer camp, and he has two kids.  He’s also in the St. Mary’s Executive MBA program.


Margaret didn’t get the e-mail with information about birthdays and anniversaries and such, so she had no recognitions.  Several members, however, recognized themselves:

  • President Pam for her birthday
  • Erle on behalf of Joe Nusbaum for Joe’s and Ann’s Anniversary.
  • John Niccol for starting on his daughter-in-law’s Paul Harris

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Herb Cole was happy USC beat Illinois in the Rose Bowl, but did anyone else care?
  • Erle was happy Cal beat Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl, ditto.
  • Monique was happy that the branch libraries are on their way to reopening this month.
  • Michael Gill was happy for his daughter’s 7th birthday and that he passed his first term of night school.
  • Hank Covell was happy that Pinole Rotary was going to honor Jon Lawlis on January 24 and he was also happy about something having to do with fondue.
  • Margaret wished everyone Happy New Year.

Raffle Results

Jim Y drew a white ball.



California, Water and the Latest Plan

Amanda Jones at Rotary

Charlie introduced old family friend, Sunne McPeak, former County Supervisor, former CEO of the Bay Area Council, and now CEO of California Emerging Technology Fund.  But, she was here to talk about water. 

In 1980, Contra Costa County led the charge against the Peripheral Canal because it would have taken too much water from the Delta and it had no provisions for water storage.  It was defeated, but no comprehensive water policy has been implemented since. 

Sunne is part of the governator’s Delta Task Force that came up with a plan.  The plan is nothing new, but perhaps this time there is sufficient consensus to get it done.  It includes moving enough water from north to south to meet all of the State’s water needs while protecting the Delta and Bay estuary.  To accomplish this, water must be used more efficiently, through conservation, recycling, watershed management, facilities operation and construction of new facilities, including “off-stream” water reservoirs and a better way of transporting water across the delta.  Also, the Delta’s levees must be repaired and maintained.

Editor, Josh Genser