The Flywheel

Next Meeting: July 15th

Auditing Rotary International Foundation projects

Mike Barrington

Concord Rotarian Mike Barrington plays a special role in the worldwide impact and reputation of the Rotary. Mike conducts audits of RI Foundation grants, the application of funds, and their success at meeting their stated objective.

Mike visits Richmond Rotary to discuss this process, part of the assurance procedure used by RI in its fund and program management.

Meeting of Friday, July 8th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Launching his term as Richmond Rotary President, EJ Shalaby welcomed Rotarians and guests to his first meeting. Following the tradition of the Pledge of Allegiance and the Invocation, EJ asked Henry Kelman for a thought for the day. Henry: “I hope Washington can resolve the national debt ceiling ‘crisis’…”.

Visiting Rotarians

Henry Kelman introduced his brother and past Richmond Rotarian Joe Kelman. Jim Young introduced Dudley Thompson owner of Transport Graphics from Oakland #3.

Rotarians with Guests

Things always get left out in the confusion of starting a new Rotary Year and recording the names of our guests at this meeting is one of them. Apologies.

Sunshine Report

With no Bill K, no Sunshine Report. But just calling for the Report prompted a sunny thought for Herb Cole. He remembered David K. (Kuchenthal) because of the outstanding sturgeon fishing he and Alan Blavins enjoyed last weekend. No keepers but three catch-and-release landings. More later.


  • A sign-up list is circulating for the tailgate party and A’s game, August 20th, ending with fireworks. The exact time for the party has not been set, (under consideration, ranging from 10 AM to 3 PM) but all members are recommended to sign-up, get in your $30 and stay tuned for food grilling arrangements. Check with Alan Baer or Rafael Madrigal for details.
  • Jim Young advised the members to mark their calendars and invite guests for three upcoming programs:
    - On August 12th representatives from Chevron will discuss the Hydrogen Project, a stalled initiative they hope to restart soon.
    - On September 23 and 30th, real estate attorneys from the firm Timken Johnson Hwang will discuss federal and local real estate law (on the 23rd); and eminent domain, inverse condemnation and ‘the elimination of blight’ redevelopment law (on the 30th). Rotarians and guests only.


Dandy Don Lau, sometimes referred to as the Menehune, presided.

  • Starting with new Prez EJ Shalaby, Don recognized EJ’s 50th birthday. EJ celebrated by his family traveling to the Southland where Jeannine and the twin babes held court for the very large Shalaby to visit and celebrate as well as meet the twins. It was a successful celebration for the 60+ family members over the weekend visit.
  • Dandy Don then turned to Josh Surowitz, who celebrated his 7th wedding anniversary with his family in Barcelona, Spain. Josh reported a fantastic trip that included “visions” of medieval churches and dungeons, induced by large quantities of outstanding Spanish food and wine. Josh made a material contribution to the Rotary Foundation, thereby sharing his good fortune.
  • Don recognized Ralph Hill—or maybe it was Ralph Hill recognizing himself—but recognized in any case was the fact that Ralph joined the club in July 1948, 63 great years in Richmond Rotary. Congratulations Ralph!

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Herb Cole, having previously thanked the fishing gods for his great sturgeon fishing trip, now had a few Happy $$ becasue he didn’t have to wait for the Triple A Boat Towing service to get them off the Suisun Bay mud when he tried to take the shortcut back to the marina. Herb & Co. were graciously ‘lifted up' (as opposed to 'uplifted') by the tidal gods. Herb was also thankful that Coast Guard security at the Concord Weapons Station dock yell first and shoot later: guards in Zodiacs with 30 caliber machine guns told his fishing party to “Git” when they got too close to the dock.

  • Don Lau had Happy $$ for the pending arrival of his first grandchild in January.
  • Jim Young had Happy $$ that his son Zeb has secured a new full time job at O’Reilly Media & Innovation Sebastopol.

Norm's Nonsense

A man goes into a restaurant. A beautiful waitress comes over to serve him and asks what he would like. He says, "I want a quickie." She slaps him and says, "Just give me your order mister!"
Another customer leans over and says, "I believe that's pronounced quiche."


Contra Costa Food Banks logo

Program Chair Jim Young introduced Larry Sly, the just-demoted President of the Concord Rotary Club and Executive Director of the Contra Costa & Solano County Food Bank. After a dutiful acknowledgement of his alma mater, UC Berkeley (Go Bears!), Larry said he has been with the Food Bank for 35 years and stated out as the second employee, a truck driver.

The Food Bank was started to help Emergency Food Pantries like the Richmond and Pleasant Hill Food Pantries that were started before the Food Bank to provide emergency food to individuals who were applying for public assistance or Food Stamps but did not have the resources to get through the two week application process. In those days the Food Bank was a Sea-Land Container in a church parking lot, an old pickup truck and a route to Safeway stores to get day old bread that was being trashed.

Today the Food Bank distributes 13,000,000 pounds of food yearly in Contra Costa and Solano Counties, from two warehouses using a fleet of 18 trucks. Visit the Food Bank’s website to learn more. Larry Sly and EJ hit it off well so you may be hearing more about the CC&S Food Bank in the life of Richmond Rotary.

A few factoids from Larry’s presentation.

  • Current food need is up in the continuing Great Recession from 98,000 to 132,000 food ‘gifts’, usually a three day supply of food each month.
  • All kinds of people are now getting food assistance from senior citizens who cannot make in on their Social Security, to the working poor with jobs making $13.00 +/- an hour, to unemployed professionals who have been out of work > 1 year.
  • The donation most needed by the Food Bank (besides money) is peanut butter.
  • The Food Bank ‘Farm to Kids’ program provides surplus fresh produce to 9,000 kids and their families a month.
  • Volunteers worked 35,000 hours at the Food Bank last year.
  • Of the $7MM in cash donations received last year, 95% went for food aid.
  • The Food Bank cuts deals with manufacturers and farms to buy food at very low cost they used to get for free. This is because the historic donations of damaged or packaging flawed product was seen as being really valuable by the producers partly because the Food Bank kept coming to pick it up and distribute it. That process also created markets for the previously ‘free’ food which is now sold to discount outlets that did not previously exist.
  • The Food Bank’s cash donations come from; 15% government grants and programs, 40% community donations; 45% foundations (which have been stressed by the Great Recession).
  • Only 50% of the Contra Costa County residents that qualify for Food Stamps receive them.

- Rotating Editor, Jim Young.