The Flywheel

Program for March 28th

Helping to build a more peaceful world

Macdonalds arches

Emmy Irobi, a Rotary Peace Scholar at UC Berkeley talks about conflict resolution in the Nigerian Delta.

Mr. Irobi's life informs his interest in peace and conflict resolution: he once was a child soldier.


MEETING OF March 21st, 2008

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Prez Pam Jones rang the bell and called the meeting to order. Glenn Daggs led a moment of silence for peace on earth. Rafael Madrigal led the pledge of allegiance. Henry Kelman had an intriguing thought for the day about many current seasonal holidays having their origins in ancient pagan traditions.

Visiting Rotarians

  • Gisela Hernandez and Bradley Ward from San Pablo Rotary joined us for lunch.
  • Aaron Gobler of Albany Rotary also joined us.

Sunshine Report

The Memorial Service for Richmond Rotarian David Ninomiya will be held at 1:00pm on Saturday, March 29, 2008, at the Berkeley Methodist United Church, 1710 Carleton Street in Berkeley.


  • John Nicol announced that Richard Granzella, an honorary member of Richmond Rotary, passed away on March 20. Richard was one of the founders and longtime President of Richmond Sanitary Service.
  • David Brown reported that the Board approved $2500 for the Madagascar Hospital project and that a matching grant proposal was received from the District. David also announced $200 will be given to support awards for student art in the upcoming West County School District art show being held at the Richmond Art Center. Lastly, David confirmed that effective immediately, each Club member will be charged $5.00 (includes dessert) for attending a weekly meeting if they don’t purchase a lunch ticket.
  • Rafael Madrigal is getting word out early in the lead up to the Cinco de Mayo festival, to be held on Saturday, May 3, including a parade on 23rd Street and the related opportunity to carry the Richmond Rotary banner.
  • EJ Shalaby and Albany Rotarian Albert Gobler talked about the third annual Rotavision Bowlathon to be held at the Albany Bowl, 540 San Pablo Avenue, from 5:00pm to 7:30pm on Saturday, April 12. Proceeds support Rotavision International, which provides eye surgery, physician training and technical support worldwide for children and adults needing sight-saving eye surgery. Bowlathon fundraising receipts were $4000 the first year and $5000 last year (including $1300 from Richmond Rotary). The overall goal this year is $6000. Josh Genser stood to announce that he and several others will assemble a formidable team of bowlers with game averages over 200 each.
  • San Pablo Rotarian, Brad Ward, inspired by the good work with wheel chairs and other medical support in Monterey and Sabinas Hidalgo, Mexico, announced that a fundraising event will be held on May 9 at Maple Hall in San Pablo for the benefit of Doctors Hospital (details to follow).
  • Thanks to all who recently participated in the worthwhile Read Across America session at Peres elementary school!

Special Events

  • Erle Brown gave a Rotary Foundation report, as follows.
  • Year-to-date contributions from Richmond Rotary members to the Foundation are $20,356.50, already 231% of the full year’s goal of $8,800. The Club’s annual giving per capita is $232.55, third highest in the District. In terms of total giving (all dollars including restricted, permanent, etc.), Richmond Rotary ranks fifth in the District. As for donor percentage, Richmond Rotary has 64% compared to 40% for the District overall. Richmond Rotary also has 10 Paul Harris Society members ($1000 annual pledge).
  • Erle’s looking for $5000 - $6000 more for this fiscal year.
  • Alan Baer was presented with his Paul Harris pin with another stone, Judy Kafka with her Paul Harris Plus-Two ($3000 in contributions), and Charlie Wong with his Paul Harris Plus-Four ($5000 in contributions).


  • Leslie Levy officiated with aplomb and recognized Henry Kelman for his and his wife Kathleen’s 23rd wedding anniversary.
  • David Brown has celebrated 14 years with Richmond Rotary and gave $200 to the Foundation.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Monique le Conge had happy $$ for the reopening of two branch library sites, Bayview and West Side, both of which have been closed since May of 2004 because of the City’s financial woes at the time.
  • David Brown is happy to be going to Japan soon to celebrate his son’s and daughter-in-law’s wedding anniversary. He assured us that, during his absence, our money’s safe with assistant Treasurer, Josh Surowitz.
  • Jan Brown was happy for International Women’s Day a couple of weeks ago although she was sad to have been ill and missed the related talk by Irena Dyatlovskaya, the local interpreter for the Russian architects’ visit one year ago.
  • Judy Kafka offered some $$ for her husband’s happiness about the West Side library in Point Richmond being open again.
  • Jim Young had happy $$ for his son in law, Scott Johnson, who safely weathered an east coast stormy hazard at sea while onboard a naval vessel.
  • Ren Partridge had happy $$ for the special reception at the Richmond Art Center on Friday, April 18, 5:00pm – 7:00pm, in celebration of the West County School District art exhibition (April 4 – 25). The art exhibition and the special reception are open to the public.
  • Josh Genser provided happy $$ for his upcoming east coast trip with his daughter as they do some college shopping.
  • Leslie Levy was very happy about not having to replace some carpeting in her home, thanks to the honest and helpful advice of fellow Rotarian, Rafael Cartagena.

Raffle Results

John Nicol drew a white ball.


Stoney's inside view of McDonald's

Harpreeet Sandhu

Jim Young introduced our own Stoney Stonework, who told some amazing stories of the company known for its golden arches.

Stoney began his 34 years of involvement with McDonalds in 1974, when, 19 years after the company’s founding in 1955-56, there were 1500 restaurants in the chain. Today there are over 30,000 restaurants in more than 140 countries.

Dick and Maurice McDonald started it all in the early 40’s with a couple of hamburger stands. After time out for WW2, the McDonald brothers set up three hamburger outlets, one each in Sacramento and Stockton with the main one in San Bernardino, east of LA. They strove for efficiency and modeled their operation after the Ford car assembly line.

Chicago’s Ray Kroc entered the scene in 1955 when he received orders from the McDonalds’ brothers for four multi-mixer machines to make milk shakes. Kroc, about 55 years old at the time, a diabetic and a “semi-alcoholic” (Stoney’s words), flew to San Bernardino to check things out.

Lurking in the McDonald’s parking lot just to watch, Kroc saw that this was “it”, an opportunity of a lifetime. He wanted to partner with the brothers to expand the business and then talked them into selling it for $2.6 million in 1956. Virtually penniless at the time, Kroc managed to get high-interest financing from Beverly Bank outside Chicago. The loan was later paid off for a total of $14 million.

Stoney talked about four key players at McDonalds over the years.

  • Ray Kroc was the heart of McD, a moral man of high integrity whose word could be counted on (although he supposedly preferred hot dogs). He apparently served in the same WW1 Army unit in North Africa with Walt Disney.
  • Fred Turner, an eccentric who was kicked out of Harvard, was an operational expert. He devised the “QSCV” framework (Quality, Service, Cleanliness, and Value). In 1984, he started Hamburger University in Oak Brook, IL, as a place to educate restaurant operators in the standardized McD way of doing business.
  • Harry Sonburn, a financial genius, came from Frosty Freeze. He devised the longstanding “11.5” licensing formula (8.5% for rent and 3.0% for service).
  • Jerry Newman was the soul of McD and its longtime CFO. He made “Newman Deals” that saved struggling franchisees until they could get their feet on solid financial ground.

The first menu in 1955 had hamburgers for 15 cents each and fries for 10 cents. When Stoney graduated from high school in 1960, he recalls a night out with a movie and a McDonalds’ meal for a whole $2. Want to get into the business? It’ll be about $675,000, 40% up front in cash and the rest can be borrowed. The average franchisee does about $2 million in annual sales and realizes about 5-8% before debt servicing.

- Rotating Scribe, Tom Waller