The Flywheel

MEETING OF February 6th, 2009

The Civil Grand Jury of Contra Costa County

Bill Kenny, a member of Rotary and a member of the CC Grand Jury will visit Richmond Rotary to discuss the Grand Jury.

The Civil Grand Jury is the watchdog of the people. It’s charge is to oversee, analyze and comment where necessary on all areas of government … be they cities, special districts or county operations within Contra Costa County.



Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Richmond Rotary President Mark Howe called the meeting to order and asked Rotarian Judy Morgan, our speaker for the day, to lead us in the Pledge to the Flag. In a change of format, President Mark asked Rotarian Jim Young for a thought for the day. Jim complied with this from Winston Churchill: “When you are traveling through Hell, don’t stop!”

Rotarians with Guests

Judy Morgan introduced her guests, Virginia Finlay, Chairperson of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce Board, and Sadia Altaf, Chamber Director of Communications.

Sunshine Report

Sunshine Person, Bill Koziol reported that it was sunny outside.


  • Foundation Chair, Erle Brown, had an announcement about matching grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In the past they donated $100 million to the Rotary Foundation for Polio Plus to be matched by the same amount from Rotary. Just recently they announced a $255 million grant to be matched by $100 million from Rotary—resulting in a total of $555 million to finish the job of eradicating polio in the world. Erle encouraged Rotarians to designate some of their Foundation contributions for Polio Plus.
  • Secretary David Brown read a note from Norma Partridge Wallace, widow of Bart Wallace, thanking Rotarians for the fellowship her late husband he enjoyed with the Club over the years, and accompanied by a donation of $500 to the Club.


Tom Butt was recognized for some egregious act of hubris.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Jan Brown was sad not to see Elof Granberg Present.
  • Bob Dabney was happy about his Reno winnings.
  • Don Lau,  expressed happiness about a great time on the train.
  • Glenn Daggs, enjoyed the Second Annual Rotary Crab Feed, as did his children.
  • Tom Butt, was up-beat about a Green conference he attended in Albuquerque, NM, the place of his birth, but he was run out of town at an early age.
  • Erle Brown, happy about the train trip and thankful to John Nicol and Sid Chauvin for all their work to make it a success. Erle was also happy to be leaving with Phyllis for a month in Puerta Vallarta.
  • Jim Young had kudos for Erle Brown on another successful crab feed, and also for the City of Richmond for having had the foresight to encourage a mixed economy which seems to be weathering these difficult days.
  • Sid Chauvin, was happy about his son’s 40th birthday.
  • Mark Howe was happy about skiing with his son yesterday.
  • Paul Allen was happy about attending a barbeque in Jamaica and about the Obama administration’s dedication to a Green economy.
  • And Jerrold Hatchett was happy about his daughter buying her first house.

Norm’s Nonsense

How many Republicans does it take to change a lightbulb?
86. 12 to investigate Obama's involvement in the failure of the old bulb, 23 to deregulate the lightbulb industry, and 51 to pass a tax credit for lightbulb changes.

How many Democrats does it take to change a lightbulb?
17. One to change the bulb, 6 to talk about how wonderful it's going to be when the new bulb is screwed in, and 10 to argue for increased funding for solar lighting research.

Raffle Results

Judy Morgan drew a ticket with Tom Butt’s name (Ah, the irony!), and Tom in turn drew a white ball.


The Richmond Chamber of Commerce

Judy Morgan demonstrated another way of cutting pounds at the opening of Curves in 2006.

President Mark called up Tom Waller to introduce speaker of the day President Judy Morgan of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.

Judy began her remarks by informing everyone that the Chamber, founded in 1924, is this year celebrating its 85th anniversary. Its mission, she said, is to provide services, resources and advocacy to foster growth in the business community and benefit West Contra Costa. Illustrating her talk with a slide presentation about the make up and organization of the Chamber, she pointed out pictures of Chamber board members, past and present, noting that they included many Richmond Rotarians.

She then outlined the Chamber’s five core values:

  • Creating a strong economy. In particular the Chamber is emphasizing small business this year.
  • Promoting community. This is achieved through leadership training opportunities and by staging and supporting community events such as the Home Front Festival, which this year will be on October 2nd and 3rd.
  • Providing networking opportunities. These include mixers, thanks for giving recognitions, and special events. Judy also serves on boards of many other local organizations.  
  • Representing business to government. This involves making sure that the viewpoint of business is heard by local government as it considers issues affecting business. Judy pointed out that the Chamber actively opposed Measure T in the last election and supported Measure D.
  • Electing business-friendly candidates. This is often accomplished through a PAC which is a separate entity of the Chamber.

At the end of her remarks, Judy answered questions about the Chamber’s budget and about how the PAC is constituted. In regard to the former, she said the Chamber is establishing a new fee structure for members which will be based on the number of offered services that individual businesses subscribe to rather than on the number of employees, as has been the past practice.


- Scribo Veritas, Editor Ted Abreu