NEXT MEETING: May 17, 2013
California Mega-storms: Rivers in the Sky
Professor B. Lynn Ingram from the UC Berkeley Department of Earth, Planetary Science & Geography visits Richmond Rotary to discuss her recent Scientific American article about the gigantic storms that hit the North American West Coast about once every 200 years. The program will consider the historic consequences of the most recent storm (1861), as well as the modern implications for the next storm.
MEETING OF May 10, 2013
President Jim Young rang the bell and called the meeting to order. Rafael Madrigal led the pledge of allegiance and Stoney Stonework asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. President Jim offered this quote from Henry Ford as the thought for the day: “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.”
Rotarians with Guests
- Joe Bagley’s guest was his daughter Lana, a Salesian high-school graduate and now So-Cal dwelling industrial engineer visiting her parents for Mother’s Day.
- Tom Butt’s guest was Tom Powers, a farming friend who lives in Martinez.
- Sid Chauvin’s guest was his wife, Zelpha.
- Jon Lawlis’ guest was his betrothed, Darlene Quinville.
- Rafael Madrigal’s guest was Ed Medina, Richmond Deputy Police Chief.
- Tom Waller’s guest was Ron Nunez, Associate Pastor of Waypointe Christian Fellowship church in Richmond.
A celebration of Henry Kelman’s life was held at La Strada Restaurant on Saturday, May 11, and was well attended by Richmond Rotarians.
- The world premiere opening night of the Lost Secrets play at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts will be Friday, May 17, at 7pm. Rotary District Governor, Laura Day, will host a champagne reception at the Center after the opening night performance. As everyone knows by now, there are five more performances (May 18, 19, 24, 25, and 26). Rotary volunteers are still needed for box office helpers and ushers at all six performances. Please contact Jim. And be sure to buy plenty of admission tickets for friends and family, neighbors, work associates, the postman, and others that you think might enjoy this delightful (and meaningful) production intended for kids of all ages.
- Read an excellent article that appeared recently in the Contra Costa Times newspaper about the Lost Secrets play and Richmond Rotary’s important role.
- Thanks to those who helped at the Richmond Rotary booth at the Cinco de Mayo festival on (coincidentally) May 5. Lots of Richmond Tales books were sold and information about the play was distributed. Also, it became clear there’s a real need for Rotary-balloon-inflation-and-ribbon-tying training, which will likely be conducted by Josh Genser.
- In a ceremony on Friday afternoon, the Coronado YMCA was officially renamed the “E M Downer Family YMCA” in recognition of long-time supporters in the Downer family, which founded Mechanics Bank in Richmond.
- This month, the Richmond Rotary Board of Directors will meet on Thursday, May 30. Same place as always: through the kitchen and upstairs at La Revolucion Restaurant.
- Teen Moms gift bags preparation will take place at Nick Despota’s house on Saturday, June 1, from 9am to 11:30am. He and Jan will ask volunteers to help for a couple hours that morning.
- Don’t forget about the Bocce Ball tournament in Martinez on June 8. Teams headed up by Pam Jones and Rafael Madrigal will be competing for world dominance or at least first place.
- For those keeping meticulous personal planning calendars, here are a couple of noteworthy July dates: on Friday, July 5, the Club will be “dark” (no meeting) while on Friday, July 12, there will be fireworks in the form of widely acclaimed program speaker, Cliff Dochterman, a past-President of Rotary International and someone who’s not to be missed.
Foundation Director, Connie Tritt, presented Lana Bagley with a family member Paul Harris Fellow pin and certificate.
Erle Brown received his Paul Harris award number seven.
Congratulations to Lana and Erle!
Happy and Sad Dollars
- Building upon his reputation as the unrivaled global fisherman in Richmond Rotary, Alan Blavins offered some happy dollars for his upcoming four-week fishing excursion to northern Thailand.
- Michelle Itagaki was quite happy to learn from her doctor that all internal “hardware” used to put her back together after last summer’s water accident is finally coming out next month.
- George Egan was very happy about the stock market’s success as he’s been able to pull in record investment dollars for his business to look after.
- Erle Brown was happy to have Police Chief Chris Magnus come talk to the Club. Confirming that it is a small world indeed, Erle reminded us that Chris Magnus was born and raised in Lansing, MI, where Erle’s wife, Phyllis, used to teach. One of Phyllis’ students was a young man that later became our very own police chief!
- Stoney was happy he went to Vallejo last week and attended the Rotary District Summit meeting, which was attended by 500-600 people. He enjoyed speaker Cliff Dochterman’s talk (remember he’ll be at our Club on July 12), which emphasized that a lot of what Rotary’s always been about is good old fashioned “networking” and the many pleasures and benefits that entails.
- John Wilson was happy to provide some information cards about various publicly available astronomy-related activities that his son oversees on Mount Diablo.
- Joe Bagley, already pretty happy about his daughter being able to join him for lunch, was also happy about his wife Rita’s art showing at a weekend event in San Pablo.
- Sid Chauvin was very happy about leaving for 10 days on vacation with his wife, Zelpha.
Only creatures that can talk are allowed in this bar …
-A gorilla walks into a bar and orders a scotch and soda. The bartender fixes it for him and the gorilla gives the bartender a ten dollar bill. The bartender thinks he will put one over on this beast so he rings up double the amount and gives the gorilla one dollar in change. The bartender then says to the gorilla, “We don’t see many gorillas in here.”
The gorilla replies: “At these prices I can see why.”
-A termite goes into this bar and asks a customer: “Is the bar tender here?”
-A horse trots into this bar and orders a drink. The bartender says: “Why the long face?”
Police Chief Magnus reports on the Public Safety
Chris Magnus is in his eighth year as Richmond Police Chief. It’s been a “building period”, as he put it, full of struggles and challenges, both internal and external. The Chief first acknowledged the tremendous help that Deputy Police Chief Ed Medina has been in providing various technical and support services to the police department’s work.
“Unfortunately,” Magnus said, “life doesn’t go in a straight line” and we’re currently experiencing an uptick in criminal violence in some areas. With his usual straight-talking manner, Magnus said there are a lot of “underlying problems in Richmond that one agency [the police department] can’t solve by itself.” Richmond has a “sizable underclass” with needs that include jobs, shelter, and a better standard of living.
Over the years, there has been an uneven pattern of local gang activities involving different forms and shapes. In confronting this reality, Magnus strives to have his department be very strategic about going after those who are committing the violence and, for the most part, the police know who they are.
Stunningly, there are only about “100” really bad guys in town responsible for perpetrating heinous violent crime, but building strong cases against them takes time. In targeting the right people, Magnus has his police officers nurture good community relations (and that’s been reasonably successful, it seems), thereby receiving fuller cooperation from law-abiding citizens and not having the police department be seen as agents of oppression.
Getting the right people off the streets and breaking the cycles of violence also requires close cooperation from the District Attorney’s office. Magnus was happy to report that “Richmond is back on the DA’s office radar” and that two assistant DA’s are now handling Richmond cases.
An alarming trend that Magnus spoke about is the increasing number of violent young gang members aged 12-14, often the children of the really bad guys. Magnus said, “We’re starting to see a new generation that has lost its way because the older generation has not taken care of them.”
Middle schools are a particular concern where problems with bullying and other forms of bad behavior are on the rise. When talked to and offered alternatives to a life of destructive behavior, many of these young offenders simply respond by saying, “Why? I’m going to be dead by the time I’m 18 and I’m taking others with me.”
What to do? Magnus made it clear that he believes we must invest more money, time, and resources (wisely) into early childhood development programs, child care, and schools in general in order to give kids the best chance for successful lives free of violence. We can’t just “start” promising new programs but we must also “sustain” proven ones like the Police Activities League and others that are struggling to survive financially.
Magnus supports establishment of a local Family Justice Center where various support services for families and youth can be brought together in one place. A building at the corner of 24th and Macdonald is being considered. A primary focus of the Center will be reduction of domestic and sexual violence. We don’t want to continue having our young people exposed to and imitating wrong behaviors.
Another issue to watch is the effects of AB-109, Sacramento legislation that calls for increasing numbers of imprisoned folks being set free and returned to communities (often referred to as “re-entry”). There are a number of non-profits and community-based organizations like Rubicon vying for federal and state funding to help returnees with job-search, housing, and other needs. Magnus sits on a County committee where he continues to advocate for a greater percentage of these funds flowing to local entities instead of just building up larger County bureaucracies to oversee things.
Many thanks to Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus for visiting our Club and providing his candid overview of continuing challenges.
Rotating Scribe, Tom Waller