The Flywheel

This Week's Program: April 17th, 2009

The Richmond Rotary Peace Project

About 6 months ago our club launched an ambitious project aimed at reducing violence in Richmond. The Richmond Rotary Peace Project is comprised of 3 components, with the major investment of money and volunteer effort going to 2 programs at the Nevin Community Center.

And how is it going? Jan Brown and Nick Despota will offer an answer. The director of Opportunity West, Cheryl Maier, and a staff person from the agency will also be present to help provide a good picture of our accomplishments and challenges.

Last week's MEETING: April 10TH, 2009

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Prez Mark welcomed the group. Visitor Rosemary Corbin lead the pledge of allegiance. Josh Genser offered a doubly-timely joke for the day about Passover and taxes.

Rotarians with Guests

Josh Genser introduced guests Rosemary Corbin, former Mayor of Richmond, and her associate Cheryl Butts.
William Dabney introduced the former Mayor of San Pablo.  Your editor humbly apologizes for not catching his name. This is not the only time this happened this week.
Mark Howe brought a guest as well, that your editor also did not catch the name of.

Ah, but here's a name to be noted, a bright light in the local constellation of basketball stars: Jordan Lau. Don's son is a member of the now State Champion Salisian High School basketball team. Go team.
Charlie Fender brought his wife.
Editor’s Note: Werner let me know I forgot to note last week he had brought his lovely first wife, his “Queen without an I-pod”. A thousand apologies to Werner for ruining the timeliness of his joke. Will not happen again! 


  • Mark Howe could use some help with the literacy project. Contact him to get involved.

Special Events

Jovanka joins the Club.

Jovanka Beckles made it official and was awarded her Red Badge. Welcome, Jovanka.

Professional fundraiser Eric Gavidia also did his “Who am I”.  Eric discussed overcoming his travails in early life being raised by a 16 year-old single mom, and without consistent positive male role models.  His father had been an illegal alien and deported to Mexico. Eric grew up in an immigrant lifestyle, speaking both English and Spanish, and eventually overcame abuse as a child and a crippling auto-immune disease during high school that left him nearly unable to walk to develop a love of non-profits and graduate Stanford.  He now lives with his girlfriend of four years and her kids, and believes that attitudes, not eternal characteristics, are deterministic. 

Bob Connolly explains himself.

Bob Connolly presented his “Who am I”.  Bob comes to us from the Mechanics Bank in Point Richmond. He had been a Rotarian in Vallejo from 1979 to 1986, and recently was persuaded by Josh Genser and Allen Baer to join our club.  Bob has a girlfriend who has three daughters and has a fondness for hiking and baseball.

Happy and Sad Dollars

Erle Brown was sad because his alma mater had a terrible performance in the NCAA tournament.
Eric Gavidia was happy because his little brother played at ATT Park and made the SF Chronicle, but was sad because the team lost.
Josh Genser was happy because the Richmond Rotary bowling team with Josh, Josh, Jovanka and Monique won for the second year in a row.  The team had a total pin count of 1100 and the next closes team had 952. Can you say “dynasty”?
George Egan was happy because he had a great tax season (that makes one of us), but was sad because he will miss the Poker Night because he will be in Georgia.
John W. Nicol was happy to have warm memories of the Rev. Leon Lufburrow (please forgive a possible mispelling). The Reverend always remarked that he wished the club was dark the Friday before Easter so everyone could attend church. 
Lisa Vorderbrueggen, our guest speaker, had some happy dollars of her own because her 23 year old son had been accepted into the CHP.

Raffle Results

Jordan Lau drew the White Ball.


The Club was quite lucky again to have two great sets of speakers this week.

The Rosie the Riveter Program

Guests Rosemary Corbin and Cheryl Butts spoke to the group about this program that is generating a lot of excitement in Richmond. The program centers on middle-school aged girls who are best reached during years 11-13 when they can sometimes get off track.

The group saw a wonderful slideshow of young women participating in the program learning building trades such as carpentry, application of math principles to real world problems, financial literacy and large-scale artistic programs such as the “Story Telling Chairs” and “Home Chest” programs.

To be as successful as possible, this valuable program needs assistance in the form of monetary contributions and members’ time.

Political News Coverage in West County

lesa macintosh

Lisa Vorderbrueggen is a political writer and columnist for the Contra Costa Times and the Bay Area News Group. Prior to her political assignment, she covered regional growth and transportation at the Times. As a transportation writer, she appeared in a film that won an Emmy for best documentary, “A Bridge So Far: A Suspense Story,” which chronicles the saga around the construction of the new Bay Bridge.

Lisa discussed the ensuing political vacuum as a result of Ellen Tauscher’s appointment to the U.S. Department of State, and presented a candidate-by-candidate run-down of the various prospective Democrats and Republicans likely to run.  Because a door opens in congress so infrequently because of the absence of term limits, all of the candidates discussed need either act now, or risk waiting a lifetime!

Rotating Editor, Scribe, etc., Josh Surowitz