The Flywheel

Jump to summary of program of Feb. 12th or Feb. 19th

Our Next Meeting: February 26th

The Acapulco Gold Rush of 2009
2 men shaking hands

Oakland City Council Member Rebecca Kaplan and Oakland businessman John Clay discuss Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, regarding medical use of marijuana.

Needless to say, the proposition raises a few questions. One of them is this: How will the City of Richmond move from ignorant bliss to regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries?

Pick one:
a.) Carefully
b.) Reluctantly
c.) Delightfully
d.) All of the above.




Last Meeting: February 19th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Glen Daggs (or was it Prez-In-Waiting Alan Baer) called the meeting to order. X-Prez Mark Howe again showed his commitment to Truth, Justice & the American Way by leading the club in the Pledge of Allegiance. While Stony Stonework led the invocation last week, there was no invocation this week. Your scribe heard a ‘prayer or thanksgiving’ that we had avoided that religious stuff causing your scribe to wonder if you can every have too much, “peace, freedom and justice?

A note from our scribe:
From You may have noticed that last week’s Flywheel was a little short on details, again proving that sometimes life is ‘bigger than life’ and can blindside you when you least expect it. For better or worse, some rather illegible notes from the meeting of the 12th have fallen into your scribe’s possession and at least some of the happenings of that lost meeting will sprinkled throughout this Flywheel.

Rotarians with Guests

Mike Arronian, reported to be a Red Badge Rookie candidate was Herb Cole’s guest.
John Clay and Heather Culp visited the club on the 12th.


  • Prez-In-Waiting Alan Baer asked everyone to plan on participating in the joint “All I-80Clubs” St. Patrick’s Day dinner hosted Wednesday evening by the Berkeley Club at Hs. Lordships at the Berkeley marina. Alan also asks that all attending pay the $35 fee for dinner. The dinner is on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th and replaces our meeting of March 19th . In other words, No meeting March 19th.
  • Alan also invited everyone to check out the Program Calendar on the Flywheel Website so that you can better plan whom you want to invite on which Friday to see and consider Richmond Rotary.  Members are reminded that the club pays for the lunch of guests who are invited to consider joining Rotary.
  • Monique le Conge invited the members to the Library Foundation Fundraiser March 3rd at the Bermuda Room from 5 – 7 PM. It will be Sweet & Savory and you can get more information at
  • John ‘The Enforcer’ Nicol announced that members without their Rotary pin will be fined $2.00.
  • Sidney “Of the Internet’ Chauvin announced he had Rotary pins for sale for $5.00.


While Prez Glenn offered Recognition Amnesties to anyone in the crowd because his Recognizers weren’t present, we fall back to last week:
Dandy Don (who calls himself the Menehune) Lau announced with great pleasure and fanfare his 21st wedding anniversary to Shelly and he donated 100 smackers to the Rotary Fund to Save the Planet. Don was equally happy that his daughter is soon to be married and he is on his way to San Diego to look for wedding venues. Foreshadowing Happy & Sad $$$ Don was also happy about the award the Richmond Library Bookmobile just received.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Nick Despota was Happy to be able to associate with so many smart and informed people, obvious products of regular library use, and he seconded Monique’s recommendation to attend the Library Foundation Fund Raiser March 3rd...
  • David Brown was Happy to be off to Puerto Viagra for a holiday with the other Brown’s (Erle & Phyllis Brown).
  • Like Don Lau, Paul Allen was Happy about the Richmond Library Bookmobile. Good to see you Paul.
  • Jim Young was Happy David Brown was so ‘mechanical’ in his representation of that other bank.
  • Herb Cole had Sad $$ as he thinks more member need to visit Elof Granberg as he can no longer travel to our meetings. See Herb for more information.
  • Mark Howe was Happy that the America’s Cup is now in San Francisco and is hopeful that Larry Ellison will allow the America’s Cup Race to take place on the Bay.
  • Henry Moe was Happy that the Salesian high School Basketball Team and AGAIN beaten St. Mary’s,
  • John Nicol was Happy to remind the club that past member Hal Halkinian (sp) foreshadowed the America’s Cup coming to San Francisco and invested accordingly.

Norm's Nonsense

Not another lawyer joke...

A priest and a lawyer died and went to heaven on the same day, and St. Peter showed them both to their rooms. The lawyer's room was extremely large and lavish, but the priest's room was a little ten-by-ten cell with one window and a cot. The priest said, "St. Peter, I have spent my entire life serving God, why do I get a crummy room and the lawyer gets the best room?"

St. Peter replied, "Well, we get thousands of priests up here, but this is the first lawyer we've ever had."


Unionization, Corruption and the Mexican Labor Market

sewing shopThe Program of Jim Young introduced Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar Galen Ages who researched this subject for his Master’s Degree at the Autonomous Free University of Mexico City. Galen actually corrected Jim Young’s ‘Peace Scholar’ introduction, and in the process thanked Rotary for the two fine long term programs that promote better international understanding and peace.

Galen made the following points:

  • The Mexican labor market works essentially as a “closed shop”, against the general wishes of unions and labor organizers who want an ‘open shop’, in order to create more democratic decision making and transparency.
  • The Mexican labor system is corrupt and the corruption is actively supported by entrenched special interests in all levels of government including the judicial system.
  • The apparent goal is to keep Mexican wages artificially low by creating sweetheart contracts with large international industrial investors that have been pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into the Mexican economy under NAFTA.
  • The corruption is not modern and goes back to the Mexican Revolution of the early 20th century and the establishment of the political party ‘PRI’ which ruled Mexico as a single party state longer than the Communist Party ruled Russia.
  • The PRI lost its monopoly on Mexican politics with the election of past President Vincente Fox, but not much has changed.
  • Artificially low wages in Mexico, which often are not ‘living wages’ by Mexican standards are a primary contributor to illegal Mexican immigration to the United States.

Thank you Galen Ages for an illuminating and informative program about our Neighbor to the South.  And, thank you for being a Rotary Ambassador Scholar.

Jim Young introduced program finder, Michael Gill, but before giving  up the microphone prattled on about the need for ethics beyond words like the 4 Way Test, sitting the news of the day that included the embezzlement of tens of millions of Health Savings Account dollars in Colorado and Tiger Woods ‘apology’.  Michael Gill introduced his Maters professor, Dr. David Gill (no relation), as the teacher of one of the best classes he has ever taken and a graduate of both Cal and USC.


PROGRAM OF February 19Th

Business Ethics 101: Beyond Damage Control

David GillDavid Gill started by noting that ‘ethics/values' are taught in classes from junior high school through post doctorial management program.  Gill considers most of these courses “Ethics 1.0” because they are too narrowly focused on reactive management, negative blame identification and “damage control”. Gill’s core thesis is that we need to move beyond this narrow Harvard Business School case study approach to the creation of businesses that promote a culture of ethics and excellence, “Ethics 2.0”.   Gill made the following points during his presentation

  • Ethics = Excellence.
  • Excellent organizations promote proactive problem solving and learn from mistakes without recrimination (at least the first time).
  • Gill described ethical/excellent management as wanting to avoid the need for damage control by; identifying damage control causing issues; developing and promoting practices that avoid problems; synchronizing those practices with the organization’s mission and vision, developing a culture based on mission, values and practices; all this systematically supported by organizational leadership.
  • Gill said that such organizations then establish their own internal quality control that; identifies new ‘damage control’ issues before they happen; educates the organization about the problems, avoidance strategies and ‘best practices’ for avoidance and damage control if it is needed; implements this strategy throughout the organization, and then; systematically evaluates its success at problem ID, education and evaluation.  All of this is again supported by organizational leadership.
  • David concluded his program by emphasizing that business ethics is more than ‘damage control’ and staying out of jail. It is about how we treat each other, quality and excellence.
  • David invited the members to consider his book on the subject, “its About Excellence, Building Ethically Healthy Organizations”, and his free monthly on-line magazine (Zin) “” @ .

The Q&A portion of the program was full of noteworthy questions and comments from our Rotarians, again proving if you want the really good stuff, you have to be there. Notes could not captor the flavor and breadth of the commentary.

Thank you David Gill for a thought provoking program.  Thank you Michael Gill for finding such high quality speakers for Rotary.

- Pinch-hitting scribe, Jim Young