The Flywheel

Next Meeting: SepTember 3rd

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin

The Richmond Rotary Club is pleased and honored to welcome Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, who will tell us why she is seeking a second term.

Mayor McLaughlin believes in the “unlimited possibilities” of the City of Richmond, which enable Richmond to lead other Bay Area communities by example.

Mayor McLaughlin is the second mayoral candidate to appear before our Club. Councilmember Nathaniel "Nat" Bates will visit us on October 8th.


Last Meeting: August 27th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Stoney lead us in the invocation. 

Rotarians with Guests

  • Amanda Jones, Pam Jone’s daughter was visiting the club with her fiancé Tim Floyd.
  • Mark Grushayev, brought Jane Anderson to today’s meeting.   Jane works for Chevron and manages the environmental issues at the old 130 acre Richmond Chemical site across from General Chemical.  She also is involved in public affairs for the refinery which is probably a bigger job that dealing with the environmental agencies which is saying something.  

Sunshine Report

John Nicol needed to leave the meeting early because his wife, Felicia, was in the hospital. We wish her well.
Ralph Hill
, who had been ill, we understand is now on the mend.
Dan Tanita had triple cardio bypass surgery at the beginning of the summer, had a relapse, but according to his dental sidekick Bill Van Dyk is now doing just fine.

Pakistan Relief

District Governor Karl Deikman advises us how we can support Rotarians in Pakistan responding to the devastating floods in their country. The two most efficient ways are to send donations either to District 3272, or to the Rotary Foundation.

District 3272 Governor Shehzad Ahmed verified that he can receive and administer funds. Learn more.

If you prefer, you can also make donations to Rotary International, which has also established a relief effort.


  • Bob Dabney reports that the folks needed for the GRIP dinner have all been secured.  
  • Alan, our fearless president, is getting an early start on the holiday auction.  There were three lists going around where he wants to know what each of us is going to contribute to the holiday auction – so sign up and donate that Rembrandt hanging over the fireplace mantle!
  • Amanda Jones was awarded a Paul Harris today by none other than Pam Jones her very PROUD mother.
  • September 29 will be career day at Contra Costa College.  Stay tuned for opportunities to participate.  This was the brainchild of Werner Schwartz and he will be watching.

New Member

Heather Kulp was inducted into the club today and was given the traditional red badge.  We look forward to her Who Am I presentation.

Happy and Sad Dollars & Recognitions

  • Beav, our recognition leader today, wanted recognize Don Lau for being himself.
  • Bob Dabney was recognized for his anniversary.  When asked what he did; he fumbled the ball. He said that Cheryl is usually in bed early and nothing happened!  He paid for this gaffe with some money and will pay again tonight when he gets home.
  • Stoney also celebrated an anniversary, like the gentleman he is, and took his wife to his favorite restaurant. – The Claremont in the Oakland Hills with its fabulous view of the bay.
  • John Nicol had some sad dollars to donate because his wife Felecia was put in the hospital today – we all wish her a quick recovery.
  • Tom Butt just returned from a week long camping trip in the Eastern Sierras – he says he did not have any form of electronic communication, but on the E Forum, where there are pictures of his trip with Shirley, he said that he was “almost always without electronic communication” – now Tom are we really supposed to believe that you could survive for a week without the slightest internet fix?
  • Jerry Feagley celebrated his 50th high school reunion and was glad to see that his name was not on the list of classmates who are not longer with us.
  • Herb  commented on the unusual and entertaining dialogue the developed over last weeks flywheel where I got carried away with my editorial license and was duly put in my place by the board.  I only noticed that I was not fired as the flywheel editor which I thought I deserved.
  • Judy the permanent optimist, talked about a fabulous trip she took to Maine. 
  • The two Davis grads, three if you include me, were lamenting about Davis football’s prospects at the hands of Cal next week.  David noted that one is not admitted to Davis based on athletic prowess and Monique was looking forward to sitting next to Z ( A Cal Grad) in the Davis rooting section next week.

Norm's Nonsense

Consumer-directed health care hits new highs. Or lows.

  - "Doctor you told me I have a month to live and then you sent me a bill for $1,000! I can't pay that before the end of the month!"
"Okay, you have 2 months to live."

 - A woman goes into a dentist's office and says, "I think I'd just as soon have a baby as get a tooth pulled."
The dentist says, "Make up your mind. I have to adjust the chair."


Wastewater Treatment in Richmond

Wastewater Treatment Plant, Richmond, CA

Richmond Rotarian Mark Grushayev spoke to us today about the Veolia Water, the company that was hired in 2004 to manage the Richmond wastewater treatment plant on Canal Blvd. after many legal setbacks caused by raw sewage spills.

After a detailed presentation about Veolia, a large French conglomerate with 315,000 employees, Tom Butt stood and offered a testimonial.  After explaining that he had been on the council for more than a decade, he reported that the bulk of the complaints he had received before Violia was hired were about the sewer plant—which incidentally is located just below his house.  Tom said that after Veolia was hired the complaints virtually stopped!  

The councilman explained why. In his opinion the city employees had not been qualified to run a complicated plant like this and were in fact “destroying it”. Richmond paid the price with lawsuit after lawsuit. [I guess the moral of the story is that the private sector is, in this case, more cost effective at performing vital city services than employee unions that place job security above job competence.  Next stop fire protection. - Mark H.]

Violia’s responsibilities also now include the very old and dilapidated sewer collection system which leaks horribly and suffers from saltwater intrusion which frequently overloads the sewer plant.  Sewer discharge rates have recently been increased to pay for the modernization program.  [I had a celebratory beer last week at the MAC with Jim Goins, the city’s finance director, John Knox the city’s bond counsel and Bob Williams from Dain Raucher, the investment bank who will shortly sell the $25 million in waste water bonds, whose proceeds will go to improve the collection system. - Mark H.]   

- Mark Howe, rotating scribe and insuppressible commentator