The Flywheel

Next Meeting: September 16th

Richmond Rotary membership survey

Our own Don Lau, Mr. West County YMCA, and Executive Vice-president of the YMCA of the East Bay talks about his organizations new image, “re-branding” and new mission statement as the Y moves into the second decade of the 21st Century.

Meeting of Friday, September 9th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

On a cool Friday in Richmond, Prez EJ Shalaby called our meeting to order.  Michelle Itagaki led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.  Herb Cole offered a silence prayer for peace, freedom and justice.  Henry Kelman offered hope with President Obama’s plan.

Visiting Rotarians

Dave Parson formerly of Richmond and now Rancho Mirage was visiting

Rotarians with Guests

Joan Davis introduced her new staff member Pamela Horan. Edgar Deleon introduced Hugh Jo, Insurance Agent; Joe Fisher of Fisher Realty; and Eric Marquis CEO and Lyndon M. Bell Chief Business Development Officer of the Richmond Rockets.

Sunshine Report

Bill Koziol was in the house and happy to report he had no report.


  • Prez EJ asked all to save 10/28 for a Halloween Party with more details to follow.
  • Also the Solano Stroll, which happened on Sunday 9/11, included a Rotary Booth…and hopefully some of you heard David Brown sitting in with the Albany Big Band.
  • David also reminded all that he is asking for contributions from Club members to support the teachers at Peres, who supplement the inadequate budget for classrooms supplies out of their own pockets.
    So far we're just shy of halfway to our goal of $3,400, so consider the critical difference that elementary school teachers make in our community. Then please write a generous check for Peres school teachers (to Richmond Rotary, "Peres teachers" in the memo line).
  • Our guests representing the Richmond Rockets encouraged all to go to the website to find out more about our ABA Team. Game tickets are $10, season tickets $125 (15 games) and there are other packages including Rockets Booster Club with some of the proceeds going to Richmond PAL. First game is November 10 at Richmond Auditorium. Go Rockets!


Your Scribe was happy to Recognize Bob Dabney as he celebrated his 81st Birthday on 9/9.  A rousing rendition of Happy Birthday was sung to Bobby who made a contribution to celebrate.

Happy and Sad Dollars

There were a plethora of Happy and Sad Dollars.

Herb Cole has a very long story that involved his trip to the East Coast and all of the trauma his visit brought to the other coast; Tom Butt was happy about the Maritime Center being completed and the WCCUSD debt being buried; Joan Davis was happy she moved into the new digs at the Maritime Center and invited all to the Open House on 9/29 at 10am; Nick Despota who is working on a report on high schools was happy to point out that career academies significantly improve graduation rates for high school students; Jim Young said it is only 21 days until he gets off the stage coach and retires from Wells Fargo; Michelle Itagagi was happy to have survived 10 days of partying; David Brown announced this was the first meeting in a while that we have exceed the minimum (30) for lunch and happy and sad for his 6000 air miles; Edgar Deleon was proud of his son’s new job; visitor Dave Parson was happy to be with “old” friend and for his hole in one; Hank Covell was happy he was going to visit his family in Arizona; Stoney, one week late, has a joke that had folks laughing and shaking their heads; Alan Blavin was sad to report that his son’s fish record was short lived; Your Scribe was happy he spent some time with his parents in Hawaii.

Norm's Nonsense

A minister is driving down the freeway and is stopped for speeding. The patrolman smells alcohol on his breath and sees an empty wine bottle on the floor.
He asks: "Sir, have you been drinking?"
Minister: "No sir, just water."
Patrolman: "Then why do I smell wine?"
The minister looks down at the bottle and says: "Good Lord, he's done it again!"



Reviewing the Richmond Rotary Survey

Last February more than half of the Club's membership took an online survey aimed at determining how they felt about meeting attendance, the quality of speaker programs, participating in community projects and more: 10 questions in all. (See list below).

At the September 9th meeting Nick Despota reviewed members' responses to the survey. (See the presentation here. Use arrows at bottom of browser window or the links on left side to advance slides.)

After the review, president EJ Shalaby led a conversation about the findings.

Among other things, members seemed to agree that shorter term community projects—a day or weekend project—were more satisfying and more likely to garner participation than those requiring commitments weeks or even months in advance. Accordingly, the board will welcome suggestions from members for short term projects. Nick will make sure the project details and dates are posted on this website, making it easier for members to pitch in.

The survey questions:

  1. On average, how many meetings do you attend per month?
  2. Here are some factors that may influence your decision to attend a Rotary meeting. Please indicate their importance to you.
  3. Here are typical program subjects. Please indicate your level of interest.
  4. How would you rate the mix of program topics?
  5. On average, how many hours per month do you spend on Rotary projects?
  6. Are you a member of a Richmond Rotary committee?
  7. Have you spent any time working in your Rotary committee during the last 6 months?
  8. Is there a service project that you'd like the Richmond Rotary Club to initiate, and to which you would dedicate some of your time?
  9. What do you think is the approximate ratio of local to international contributions our Club makes?
  10. How long have you been a member of the Richmond Rotary Club?

See the responses, by percentages, to this survey.


-Rotating editor, The Menuhune, and Nick Despota