The Flywheel

Program for August 15Th, 2008

What's next at Point Molate?

Jim Levine of Upstream Development discusses the current development plans and time table for Point Molate, the old Naval fuel depot, and former winery, Winehaven.

The image at the right shows the proposed plan for a resort hotel/casino for this historic piece of land, adjacent to the Chevron wharf and refinery.

MEETING OF August 8th, 2008

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Mark Howe rang the bell and called the meeting to order on this lucky day of “8’s” and the start of the Summer Olympics in Beijing. Jerrold Hatchett led the pledge of allegiance. Josh Surowitz provided a clever joke about a proton being “positive” (you really had to be there).

Rotarians with Guests

  • Charlie Fender introduced Felicity Wright, the pastor of his church on the Arlington.
  • Allen Baer introduced his guest, Jerrold Hatchett, from Simms Metal.
  • Rafael Madrigal introduced his guest, Barbara Diaz.

Sunshine Report

  • John Nicol confirmed that Anne Nusbaum, wife of long-time Richmond Rotary member, Joe Nusbaum, passed away on Thursday, August 7. The funeral service was being held at 1:00pm today (Rotary meeting day) and several Rotarians were in attendance there.
  • John also reported that Elof Granberg is back in the hospital although no further details were available.


  • Mark Howe announced that the next meeting for the Richmond Rotary Peace Project (RRPP) will be Wednesday, August 20, at 8:00am, at the Nevin Center. (If you want to review the work of the Peace Project team to date, you can find meeting notes in the sidebar of the Projects page.)
  • Mark also asked everyone to make note of Friday, October 31. A regular (but really special) Halloween Rotary meeting, complete with box lunches, will be held at the historic Winehaven at Point Molate. After the regular meeting ends at 1:30pm, optional tours will be available.
  • Rafael Madrigal said there will be a Richmond Rotary baseball outing at the Oakland A’s game on September 19, a Friday evening, 7:05pm game time. Cost will be $30 per person.


Jim Young presented Laura Kuhn with a Women in Rotary service pin and thanked her for house-watching while he and his wife, Linda, attended the Rotary International Convention in Los Angeles in June.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Rich Brandes, who has really moved to Mendicino County but will be able to visit us from time to time, had some happy dollars for having his sons at home for a while.
  • Herb Cole offered happy dollars while recalling a recent meeting of the raucous group known as the Rejects, when Bob Dabney’s son attended and commented about “a side of dad never seen before.”


Dealing with the Drought

Parched earth

Because the scheduled program speaker had a last-minute calendar conflict, Jim Young introduced Michelle Blackwell from the East Bay Municipal Utility District (also known as “East Bay MUD” or EBMUD) to talk with us about cool, clear water.

EBMUD was created in 1923 to supply water to parts of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, including Richmond and surrounding communities. Michelle reminded us that we get some of the best water anywhere: direct Sierra snow-pack via pipeline from the pristine Mokelumne watershed located to the east of us (no agricultural run-off, etc.).

We’re currently in a drought condition, which was declared on May 13. As of early May, water in the EBMUD reservoir was at a level equivalent to 63% of average annual precipitation. Based on calls for water conservation, customers have so far achieved an overall 9.8% usage reduction although EBMUD has set an overall reduction goal of 15%.

Letters have been sent to EBMUD customers with rate increases averaging 10% as of August 1. Residential customers are being asked to reduce water usage by 19%. It’s a tiered rate system (the more you use, the more you pay) and there’s a surcharge if usage is not reduced by at least 50% of goal. If individual residential usage is no more than 100 gallons per day, then no further reductions are needed.

EBMUD is anxious to help customers reduce water usage, including, if requested, an on-site water conservation audit. Devices like special shower heads and hose aerators are available free of charge.  

Michelle also provided some other interesting highlights.

  • Recycled Water Project. Chevron currently uses 8-million gallons per day of recycled water. That capacity will soon increase to 12-million gallons per day so more systems can be supplied (cooling towers, boilers, etc.).
  • Freeport Project. For some 30-40 years, efforts have been underway to achieve at least a back-up water supply for EBMUD customers from the Delta. By the end of 2009, EBMUD will have the rights and capacity to draw up to 100-million gallons per day out of the Sacramento River during drought conditions. (Normal EBMUD system-wide usage is several 100-million gallons per day.)
  • Delta Levees. About 90 miles of EBMUD aqueduct pass over the Delta and, based on extensive studies, about 10 miles of that rest on levees considered at high risk of failure from an earthquake or severe storm. Besides stockpiling pipes and materials for rapid response in case of failure, EBMUD is also seriously looking into tunneling several miles of aqueduct to a depth of 80-feet.
  • Desalinization Plant. EBMUD is entering into a long-term joint-venture for a pilot plant project in Baypoint to test commercial viability of large-scale desalinization (main issues: energy costs and dealing with brine creation).

- Rotating Editor, Tom Waller