The Flywheel

This Week's Program: August 21st, 2009

Serving the children of Africa

Senator Loni Hacock

Attorney Rahel Alemayehu of Ethiopia, the first woman to become a member of the Addis Adaba Rotary Club, will discuss the work of international organizations that arrange adoptions for her country's destitute children.



Last week's MEETING: August 14th, 2009

At a special event co-hosted with the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the club met this week at the beautiful Craneway Pavilion. On the agenda were a presentation by state senator Loni Hancock, and a special birthday tribute to Richmond Rotarian Elof Granberg on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

Elof Granberg at 90

The unquestioned highlight of the luncheon was honoring Elof Granberg for his 90th birthday. Elof’s litany of accomplishments and acts of service to his country and community are truly an inspiration to all of us (please see “Elof Granberg at 90 Years – The American Dream” prepared by Werner and Elof’s son, published in last week’s Flywheel).

Elof birthday cake

Elof Granberg, Werner & Leah Schwarz
Elof Granberg, and Werner and Lea Schwarz

In addition to the guest of honor, in attendance was Past Rotary International World President Cliff Dochterman, who presented Elof the Outstanding Rotarian Award and delivered the best wishes of Rotarians from all around the world. Senator Hancock also presented Elof a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Senate in recognition of his being an outstanding Rotarian and citizen.

Also in attendance were Elof’s son Erik Granberg, wife Robin Granberg, granddaughter Lindsay Granberg, grandson Ben Hawkins, and Nona Ramsey, a friend of Betty Renkert. A bevy of Richmond Rotary “old timers” also attended to honor Elof, some with spouses: Betty Renkert, Russ and Fimi Schulze, Norm and Bonnie Foley, Charles and Clavel Fender, Charles and Jean Wong, Don Hardison, John Nicol, and Werner and Lea Schwarz.

The entire crowd presented Elof a heartfelt and much deserved standing ovation. Elof, “humbled and honored,” thanked all of his friends for the recognition. World War II Hero… Inventor… Entrepreneur… Philanthropist… Rotarian… Happy Birthday Elof! 


State Senator Loni HancockSenator Loni Hacock

State Senator Loni Hancock began by posing a timely question, “Is California Ungovernable?”

Senator Hancock said that after recent travels to Europe and the East Coast, she was struck by how often others outside of our state comment on what a “mess” California is in. She lamented that ours is one of only three states in the union that require a 2/3 majority to pass a budget in the legislature, and that this has caused “complete paralysis” within the budget process, although the Senator commented that the constitutional convention process to change this is very daunting and not a significant likelihood.

With the state “teetering on the brink of bankruptcy”, the Senator also felt that the State initiative process and term limits were also problems that made effective governance of the State very difficult. On the bright side, we may soon all be relieved of our misery by some measure because a bill has entered the legislature to legalize and tax pot!

- Rotating Scribe, Josh Surowitz