The Flywheel

Program for October 17th, 2008

How Much Longer, How Much Worse?

Bottle of aspirin

Greater Bay Bank Treasurer Mike Pelham “Ret”, visits Richmond Rotary with one man’s opinion about the on going sub-prime mess and continuing credit crisis in the capital markets.

If you are looking for a dose of reality after the glowing promises of the political conventions, this is the program for you.


MEETING OF October 10th, 2008

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Mark Howe called the meeting to order at La Strada restaurant. Cory Lawrence led the pledge of allegiance. Josh Surowitz masterfully told a joke about a nervous virgin newlywed fellow who not once but three times stepped outside of a chalk circle on the floor while this guy he just met in the bar had his way right there in front of him with the bride in the honeymoon suite. You may want to see Josh and have him pull it all together.

Rotarians with Guests

Allen Baer introduced his guest, Jerrold Hatchett, General Manager of Sims Metal.

Sunshine Report

As a past Police Commissioner, David Brown spoke warmly about Richmond Police Officer Brad Moody, who died last week from injuries suffered when his car hit a light pole. Richmond Rotary will contribute $1000 to a fund for Officer Moody’s family, which includes two small children. Individual donations can be made at any Mechanics Bank.


  • Captain Frank Desplancke of the Salvation Army made a plea for helping to restock the food pantry. Mark Howe and a couple of Rotary volunteers are going to make a Costco run using Mark’s pick-up truck. Individuals are welcome to bring food donations (canned vegetables, fruits, and stews are best) directly to the Salvation Army at 4600 Appian Way, near the El Sobrante fire station.
  • Mark again reminded everyone about the Ghosts of Winehaven event starting at 12-noon on Friday, October 31, at the historic Winehaven facility on Point Molate. This is our regular Friday meeting and you should purchase tickets online ahead of time. More details and tickets ($35 each).
  • The annual Richmond Rotary Holiday auction will be on Friday, December 12.
  • John Nicol blew his train conductor whistle and announced (drum roll!) that the annual Reno train trip is on for Sunday-Monday, January 25-26, 2009. It was pointed out that Richmond Rotary is the only Club with access to the train’s dome car. The 25th floor hotel “meeting” room has been arranged, complete with the famous Gin Fizz’s. John said this really may be the last annual train trip, so sign up now!

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Jan Brown had happy dollars for being back after a bout with pneumonia.
  • Jim Young was happy that Jan’s back. (As we all are!)

Norm’s Nonsense

On aging:
"How was your blind date last night?"
"Terrible, he arrived in a 1935 Rolls Royce."
"What's so terrible about that?"
"He was the original owner."

You know you are getting old when you sit in a rocking chair and need help getting it started.



Vision, Priorities and Activities

stop sign arrows

President Mark Howe led a discussion about Richmond Rotary vision, priorities, and activities.  Read a one-pager of notes that he handed out.

Mark said it was clear at the Rotary President Elect Training Seminar (PETS) that almost all Clubs face the same challenge of member recruitment and retention. At least part of the effort to meet that challenge includes achieving greater local visibility. (Did you know that Richmond Rotary was established in 1905 and is the 2nd oldest Rotary Club in District 5160?)

While Rotary International is a global service organization doing great things in many places (polio eradication, wheel chair program, etc.), Mark argued that attracting and retaining committed members requires a mix of check-writing and hands-on local involvement. He encourages an emphasis on limited, focused activities with local community relevance (for example, the Richmond Rotary Peace Project).

It was mentioned during discussion that a two-year Club President’s term (like El Sobrante Rotary does) might enable better stability and continuity for Club activities. At the same time, maybe greater continuity and effectiveness can be achieved through this dialogue process whereby Richmond Rotary confirms a broad member consensus about a durable strategic framework of Club priorities and activities going forward. To be continued at the December 19 Club meeting.

- Rotating Editor, Tom Waller