The Flywheel

Program for November 14, 2008
We meet at Salesian High School this week!

Up close and personal

Salesian High School exterior

The brave members of Richmond Rotary again leave the tranquility of their Friday perch at the MVCC and venture into West County. This time to Salisian Hign School to be welcomed by our own Father Nick Reina for a lunch and program by and about Salisian HS, which is a venerable West County institution.

The address of Salesian High School is
   2851 Salesian Avenue
   Richmond (see a map)


MEETING OF November 7th, 2008

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Mark Howe called the meeting to order and asked April Jordan to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.  Mark then asked Jim Young entertain the attendees with a joke.  Jim provided a great joke comparing a Mortgage Broker with a pigeon… the result, the pigeon can still make a deposit.

Rotarians with Guests

Henry Kelman’s guest was his son Benjamin.


  • April Jordan invited all Richmond Rotarians to Peres School to read to the children in grades K-6th on Wednesday evening November 19th.  Dinner is served at 5 pm and reading begins at 5:45 pm.  The evening ends with a assembly and raffle in the multi-purpose room.  Grand prize is a lap-top computer donated by Jon Lawlis
  • Past President, Pam Jones announced that Glenn Daggs has accepted the nomination for President of our Club for 2009-2010 and Alan Baer has accepted the nomination for 2010-2011.  Past club presidents formed the nominating committee.  The election by members will take place in December 2008.
  • Mark announced that the Friday, December 12 will be our Annual Auction.  Jim Beaver and Don Lau will be our auctioneers.  Please call and let them know what your auction item you will donate
  • David Brown said the financial figures from the Ghosts of Winehaven event are near final.  Gross more than $18,000 and money was still coming into the treasurer. 
  • Mark invited everyone to his house for a cocktail party to celebrate the success of the event.  The party will be on Friday, November 14th from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm.  His address is 1321 Sanderling Island.  Please RSVP to Susan, his wife, at or (510) 237-2557.
  • Nick Despota briefly described the Richmond Rotary Peace Project which will benefit from the Ghosts of Winehaven and related activities.
  • Sid Chauvin announced that the Reno Train Trip will take place on January 25-26, 2009.  Money is due on November 17th.   Call Sid for reservations. (510) 222-7665


Mark “invited” Don Lau to pay a fee for “behavior unbecoming a Rotarian” as documented in the West County Times with pictures of Don in “costume” from the Winehaven event of October 31st.  Don skirted the request but could not avoid contributions to celebrate his birthday, tomorrow, November 8th and his Dad’s 92nd Birthday next week.
Tom Butt was congratulated for his re-election to the Richmond City Council.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Judy Kafka had some happy dollars for the great time she had at her 50th Class Reunion from Knox College in Illinois.  Judy said there were 160 graduates and 64 of them returned for the Reunion.   from Glenn Daggs.  It seems Glenn had called Herb.  Glenn said he would miss Rotary this week since he will be “working on his suntan.”  Glenn is cruising the seas his family.    
  • Josh Surowitz, Glenn Daggs and David Brown, to the cheers of many members, each commented on the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency of the United States.  What a awesome election. 
  • Earle Brown had some happy dollars to remind us that it is the “Paul Harris Foundation” month and that we should remember to contribute.
  • In response to the announcement that the Annual Auction will be Friday, December 12, Jim Beaver encouraged Tom Butt and Judy Morgan to organize a tour of the city as a auction item.  Jim also that the main reason the Glenn Daggs had been nominated for President of our club next year was due to the excellent quality of the Egg Nog which Glenn concocts for the annual auction.  Sid Chauvin had a couple of comments on that subject. 
  • Elof Granberg’s $100 happy dollars were in gratitude for having Mark Howe as President of the Club.  By the applause of the group, I’d say we concur with you Elof.
  • Sid Chauvin’s happy dollars were to thank Josh Genser for bidding-up one of the auction items at the Winehaven so high and then allowing Sid to win the bidding.  That one “activity” it made the “fund-raiser” a great success, according to Sid.  Thanks Josh.
  • Jim Young’s happy dollars were in celebration of his daughters 1st wedding anniversary.  The couple lives in London and enjoys it tremendously.

Norm's Nonsense

This week the demonstrative Norm Foley says "Show me".

  • Show me a man who wears his heart on his sleeve and I will show you a man with a crazy transplant doctor.
  • Show me a man with bugs on his teeth and I will show you a happy motorcycle rider.

Raffle Results

Alan Baer’s ticket was selected in the raffle and he chose a “white ball” for a free lunch.



What next for the mortgage industry?

Picnic table crushed by tree
The picnic is over. Photo by Nick Despota.

Rich Mazziotti, is a 30+ year veteran in the mortgage financing industry and is currently a private banking mortgage lender with Wells Fargo Bank.

Rich stated that the reason for the current financial problems is Risk.  In the 1970s we had the savings and loan situations, then in the 1980s we started to bond-like investing with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  By 2003, with investors worldwide wanting to purchase bundled-mortgages, the usual practice of verifying the capability of applicants for home loans to repay their mortgage went by the way-side.  Investors and investment banks were willing to the Risk.  By 2005 the practice was industry wide with investment banks using outdated computer models based on prime loans, not sub-prime loans, to sell these investments.  Then in 2006 and 2007 the housing bubble burst.  Again the computer models had not “realized” that there was a housing bubble. 

The current situation may have started with the housing markets, but the experts also did not realize how interconnected are the finance and money markets. More than 240,000 jobs were lost during the last month and more than 650,000 have been lost during the quarter. Most experts think this recession will last for another year.

— Rotating Editor, Margaret S. Morkowski