Oakland Rotary News

Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, August 12, 2021

President Dudley Thompson called the 5,531st Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland to order at 12:30 p.m. Apparently, last week's meeting (#5,350) was so memorable, President Dudley repeated that meeting number in his opening remarks. Next week's meeting may be meeting number 5,352, depending on Dudley's math skills.

Jason Wizelman recommended that given all of the world's problems, we be kind to each other and shared this thought by Mark Twain: "Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see."

Past President and Past District Governor Ed Jellen welcomed Dianne Dorn, past president of San Leandro Rotary.

A host of members introduced their guests: -

  • Ed Brail, guest of Isaac Kos-Read
  • Angela Clausett and Terry Wiley, guests of Georgia Richardson
  • Angel Lax, guest of David Kersten
  • Jimmie Wilson and Christine Saunders-Berg, guests of Renia Webb.

President Dudley welcomed the new members present in the ballroom who joined between January, 2020 and August, 2021. For many, this was their first in-person Civic Thursday meeting. The following members stood and introduced themselves:

Sheng Thao, Keith Uriarte, David Kersten, Nancy Williams, Pauline Fox, Derreck Johnson, Peter Agnoletti, Sandeep Rajbhandan and Deep Rajbhandan.

President Dudley invited Past President Ces Butner to the stage which due to Covid-19, was a somewhat unfamiliar place for Ces. Dudley presented the framed mayoral proclamation to Ces which established June 24, 2021 as Ces Butner Day in the City of Oakland.

The Oakland Symphony is our newest corporate member. Steve Nicholls introduced executive director Dr. Mieko Hatano and music director and conductor Michael Morgan (who was unable to attend the meeting). The Oakland Symphony was founded in 1933 and 54% of its musicians are women. Welcome to Rotary.

Keith Uriarte introduced Liz Ortega-Toro, the executive secretary-treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council. Liz is the full-time officer who runs the Council's daily operations. Liz is the first Latina to serve as secretary-treasurer in the history of the council. She arrived in the U.S. with her mother and brother as undocumented immigrants and joined her father in Oakland. She graduated from Fremont High School and joined the labor movement at age 21. Liz said, 'Unions need to deal with both "bread and butter" issues as well as social and political issues.'

Missed our meeting but interested in checking out the next one?

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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, August 5, 2021

President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,350th Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland. He welcomed everyone to the Zoom only meeting.

Trisha Connors shared the thought of the day about being happy with the things you already have. The saying is from Andrew Irvine, an author on stoicism.

Last Saturday, Rotarians and friends spent the morning at the Oakland Police Activities League (PAL) campsite in Roberts Regional Recreation Area pulling weeds, fixing landscaping and cleaning restrooms. The service day was led by Daniel Cheng and the Community Service Committee. Thanks to former TV Anchor Wendy Tokuda for organizing!

Oakland Rotary was one of the five original Rotary Clubs featured with a montage of photos on the front cover of the August, 2021 Rotary Magazine and an article about how Rotarians are finding fresh ways to connect. It reported on the five clubs’ collaborative project to provide sanitation kits locally to homeless people. Representing the club on short notice at the photo shoot were President Dudley Thompson, President Elect Mary Geong and Audio Visual Co-Chair Sandeepa Nayak.

President Dudley announced that lunches will be available starting with the August 12th meeting. They will need to be pre-ordered. Look for the Rotary email blast for ordering instructions. The Ballroom will open at 11:30 am for fellowship, hors d’oeuvres and drinks.

High Adventure Committee Co-Chair Mark Rosen posed the trivia question asking what/who is Stomper? Stomper is the A’s mascot and will be at the Rotary A’s game on Friday August 27th versus the New York Yankees. Only 20 tickets are still available. There will be an informal tailgate as well as a Rotary “shout out” on the jumbotron at the game. Order tickets on the Club Website in the Event Calendar.

President Elect Mary Geong invited us to attend Cocktails with the President on August 19th, 5:30 pm at Calavera Restaurant.

Allison Bliss introduced our speaker of the day, Stephen Menendian. Stephen Menendian is the Director of Research at the Othering & Belonging Institute of the University of California Berkeley. He is the lead author of "Roots of Structural Racism" (June 2021), a study of racial residential segregation and its consequences. At a time when the U.S. is becoming more segregated, his work focuses both on the causes and mechanisms of inter-group inequality, and seeks to design effective policy interventions. Stephen discussed racism in the Bay Area and its racial patterns.

Missed our meeting but interested in checking out the next one?

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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, July 29, 2021

President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,349th Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland. He welcomed those in the California Ballroom, as well as those joining online.

Sedrick Tydus gave us the thought about Change. Not always something we are comfortable with normally, it is important the way we look at it. It is here to stay. Embrace Change!

Sandeep Rajbhandari introduced one of our newest members, his father Deep Rajbhandari. Deep, the son of a Rotarian in Nepal, started working when he was 17 years old after his father’s death. He has started several companies, studied to be a commercial airline pilot, founded the first publicly traded airline in Nepal and started an insurance company as well. Deep was a member of Rotary in Nepal prior to coming to the U.S.

President Dudley introduced our other newest member, Pete Agnoletti. Acknowledging that he has known Pete all his life – because Dudley has been friends of his parents for about 50 years. Pete is Vice President of Brokerage for Marquee Commercial. He is father of a daughter born earlier this month on July 5th. Welcome Deep and Pete!

There were no visiting Rotarians at the meeting. Several guests attended via ZOOM and in the ballroom. Marques Cook of Capitol Corridor JPA was the guest of Sandeepa Nayak. Also online were Michael Knox and Shane Durkan from Skyline High School, Mark Fowler of Stowe Management Corp and Christina Ong. In the ballroom, Fred Morse introduced Victoria Balla and Thoa Nguyen, and Robert Rayburn introduced Aisha Brown.

Fred Morse, Saroni-Lena Scholarship Committee Chair, introduced Gail Uilkema and Karen Friedman who announced the winners of the Saroni-Lena Teacher Awards.

Scott Bowhay introduced Robert Rayburn, club member and elected member of the BART Board of Directors. Robert spoke about the BART is emerging from the pandemic. He spoke about measures taken by Bart to make the travel experience safe and more convenient for travelers.

Missed our meeting but interested in checking out the next one?

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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, July 22, 2021

President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,348th Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland. He welcomed those in the California Ballroom, as well as those joining online.

Derreck Johnson let us in the Mission Statement and gave the Thought for the Day. He envisions a time when people will be comfortable visiting the downtown area with concerns, where kids in East and West Oakland will like look just like me, can walk to school without walking past the feces and trash that is piled up six feet high and most importantly we have not one person that's living on the streets.

Immediate Past District Governor Gregg Guisiana presented Rotary District 5170’s distinguished Richard D. King Award to Immediate Past President Ces Butner. The award is given to the individual who has made the greatest commitment to the programs of The Rotary Foundation. While he was President, Ces had a goal to change the Club’s culture by inspiring every member to support The Rotary Foundation. He leadership achieved 95% participation, up from 35% in the past. In accepting the award Ces announced he is committed to making a similar donation this year to The Rotary Foundation in order to keep the momentum of total Club member participation going.

Ruth Stroup shared information about the Service Day Cleanup taking place at Rotary’s PAL (Police Action League) Campsite on Saturday, January 31st from 9 am to noon. The campsite is located in the Oakland Hills at 10100 Skyline Boulevard.

High Adventure Co-Chair Mark Rosen invited Rotarians to bring family and friends to cycle from Pt. Richmond across the Richmond San Rafael Bridge to Larkspur Landing on Sunday, August 1st.

Courtney Ruby introduced speaker of the day - Kelley Kahn, Policy Director in the Office of Mayor Libby Shaaf. She oversees a very busy portfolio of Development and Planning functions for the City of Oakland, including Business Development, Workforce Development, Cultural Affairs, Public/Private Development, Real Estate Development and Special Activities Division. In the relatively short time available for her presentation, she shared numerous statistics and projects.

Missed our meeting but interested in checking out the next one?

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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, July 15, 2021

President Dudley Thompson convened his first “regular meeting” as our recently inaugurated leader and welcomed those in the California Ballroom, as well as those joining online, to the 5,347th Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland.

Renia Webb, exhibiting incredible service above self, provided the thought for the day and mission statement via zoom while parked in her car! After leading us jointly in our mission statement, Renia shared a thought from Hall of Fame Coach, Vince Lombardi, in honor of the work of our committees as well as the upcoming Olympic Games. “I don’t necessarily have to like my players and associates but as their leader, I must love them. Love is loyalty, love is teamwork, love respects the dignity of the individual. This is the strength of any organization.”

President Dudley announced the recent death of two long-time members: William Scherer and Dave Anderson. Members observed a moment of silence in their honor.

The First Five Collaborative, a working group of the oldest Rotary Clubs (Oakland, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle) began working together during the pandemic to leverage the clubs’ combined knowledge, expertise, and human capital. They recently held a photoshoot with three Rotarians from each club. President Dudley Thompson, President-Elect Mary Geong, and Audio Visual Co-Chair Sandeepa Nayak represented Oakland.

The photo was posted on Facebook with a “caption contest” asking Rotarians to post their ideas on appropriate captions. President Dudley shared some sample captions with all receiving varying amounts of laughter and applause. The winning caption, selected by President Dudley, “Ain’t no party like a Rotary party” was submitted by Isaac Kos-Read, Public Image & Communications Co-Chair—seems appropriate!

In lieu of the traditional speaker of the day, President Dudley introduced six of our esteemed Committee Chairpersons to speak about each of their committees. Prior to sharing their committee information, Dudley asked each committee chairperson to respond to two questions; why did you join Rotary, and why have you stayed? The answers to the questions, while different for each person, shared common themes. Many joined Rotary to learn more about Oakland, establish business connections, and become involved in the community. Most have stayed for their original reasons PLUS they stressed the opportunity to develop long-term relationships and make an impact locally and internationally.

Missed our meeting but interested in checking out the next one?

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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, July 8, 2021

The traditional procession that begins each new Rotary year was led by President Dudley Thompson. He was accompanied by members of the Rotary Club of Oakland Board and trustees of the Oakland Rotary Endowment. The procession started at the back of the Ballroom and proceeded to the front, as everyone in the room gave a standing ovation to the leadership group.

Past President Linda Boessenecker called the Civic Thursday meeting of the 3rd oldest Rotary Club in the world to order from the California Ballroom. We are celebrating the inauguration of our 113th President Dudley Thompson.

Marie Saverimuthu led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. She also presented two thoughts for the day. Nelson Mandela: “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived, it is what difference we have made to the lives of others.” Mother Teresa: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Past President Linda gave us a biography of President Dudley Thompson. President Dudley introduced members of the Rotary Club of Oakland Board and members of the Oakland Rotary Endowment Trustees. The officers, in addition to President Dudley, are Mary Geong, President-Elect; Michael Bruck, Secretary; Lorna Padia Markus, Treasurer, and Ces Butner, Immediate Past President.

He also introduced our Executive Administrator, Jesse Bowdle, and encouraged members to introduce themselves since most have not met him in person. He encouraged us to consider Jesse our best friend in the Club. He thanked Past-Presidents Peter Sherris and Ces Butner for their leadership and accomplishments for the past two very challenging years.

SERVE TO CHANGE LIVES will be the Club’s theme. It also is Rotary International’s theme.

Our very own Ana-Marie Jones was the recent keynote speaker at a Rotary seminar on how to approach the reopening of clubs. She shared some key concepts and great encouragement. First of all, she told us to prepare to be our BEST selves. We can rise to any challenge. Then she identified concepts to carry us forward.

Pres. Dudley spoke of the honor to serve as President and laid forth his three goals for this year.

1) Keep us all together and safe,

2) Continue to make Rotary the best service organization in the world, and

3) Encourage all of us to become more engaged by joining a committee and participating in all that Rotary has to offer and invite a friend to join.

Environment, the newest pillar of Rotary International, will be the focus of his speaker gifts. Finally, he pledges to serve seriously, but not somberly.

Missed our meeting but interested in checking out the next one?

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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, June 24, 2021

President Ces Butner tried to call the meeting to order only to discover he was no longer in charge. Instead, the Club’s Past Presidents took over to conduct the annual Demotion. Past President Ed Jellen welcomed everyone to the 112th Presidential Demotion as well as its 5,345th meeting. Past President Linda Boessenecker explained that we would be celebrating Ces’ achievements and send him on his way as Past President.

Past President Ken Richardson led everyone in reciting the Vision Statement: Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

Past President Ed Jellen welcomed guests of President Ces: his wife Teresa and daughters Andrea and Raquel, and his sisters Loretta Butner, Bonita Butner, Nina Butner, and Dani Dwyer.

Past President David Stein summarized the many accomplishments made during President Ces’s year as President. Here are some highlights.

The Rotary Foundation Committee had a year like no other – a record $170,000 in contributions, more than doubling our previous year. We became the Top club in Rotary District 5170 and met President Ces’s $50,000 participation challenge.

President Ces has been named the recipient of the Richard D. King Award from District 5170, bestowed on the Rotarian who makes the greatest personal commitment to the programs of the Rotary Foundation.

Our latest signature project in Oakland, a mural titled “The Embrace” celebrating peace and diversity was unveiled at the Broadway entrance to Jack London Square in June. It is a joint project with the Oakland Uptown and Piedmont-Montclair Rotary clubs.

Missed our meeting but interested in checking out the next one?

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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, June 17, 2021

President Ces Butner called to order the 5,344th Civic Thursday meeting of the third oldest Club in the Rotary world to raucous applause from the California Ballroom for this first meeting in-person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teresa Weyand provided the thought of the day. California has opened up but instead of taking hand sanitizer and masks out in public, courage and compassion are needed. She included a quote from aviatrix Amelia Earhart: “No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind of action leads to another. A good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and roots spring up and make new trees.”

C J Hirschfield introduced our newest Rotarian, Lois Corrin. Lois bleeds Cardinal Red (Stanford) and has known Kamala Harris since childhood. She is a mom who describes herself as an “extra” extrovert who is glad the pandemic is nearing an end. President Ces read the Rotary Four-Way Test and presented Lois with her red badge. Welcome, Lois!

President Ces announced the annual recipient of the Dan Lasar Good Job award. This year’s winner is Leeann Alameda, co-chair of the Public Image/Communications Committee, The Rotary Foundation Campaign Committee, and Board Secretary Oakland Rotary Endowment. Next year she will be President of Oakland Rotary Endowment. Kudos to Leeann!

President Ces recapped his hectic year as Club President and gave special thanks to the following members for standing with him and providing necessary support:-

- David Stein

- Isaac Kos-Reid

- David Kittner and Steve Nicholls

- John Holmgren

- Fred Morse and Steve Blair

- Renia Webb and Phil Bennett

- Linda Chew - Peter Sherris

- Joe Goralka and Leeann Alameda

- Kathleen Sims - Jack McAboy

- Celeste Gordon and Greg Knight

- Sandeepa Nayak and Jack Iles

- Pat Williams and Jesse Bowdle

- Linda Boessenecker and C J Hirschfield

Allison Bliss introduced this week’s speaker, Brad Howard. Brad is a past district governor and past Board Director of Rotary International. Through his work, he has helped lead 1,600 people in polio vaccination internationally. Brad spoke about the Rotary Peace Mural Project and diversity goals which are very important to him, Rotary, and the community. He also shared the origin of the idea to build this mural.

Missed our meeting but interested in checking out the next one?

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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, June 10, 2021

President-elect Dudley Thompson called the 5,343rd Civic Thursday meeting of the 3rd oldest Rotary Club in the world to order at 12:30 p.m.

Mark Rosen urged everyone to celebrate National Candy Month by eating as much candy "as our heart desire”. Is Mark a part-time lobbyist for the National Confectioners Association? If so, we are looking forward to free samples.

President-elect Dudley served as substitute president for the day in place of President Ces. Ces will return for next week's hybrid meeting (Zoom and in-person at the California Ballroom). The demotion of President Ces will be a Zoom meeting on June 24th. There will not be a meeting on July 1st and the inauguration of President-elect Dudley will be celebrated on July 8th.

Gala Committee chair Kathleen Sims reported that Casino Night Gala resulted in a net profit of close to $60,000 for the Oakland Rotary Endowment. She thanked the Gala sponsors, bidders, attendees, and workers for making the Gala a big success. ORE President Mike Mowery thanked Kathleen for her hard work on the Gala and Jim Caponigro for leading the 2021 ORE campaign. Total fundraising for the year approached $190,000. Congrats to all.

President-elect nominee Mary Geong reminded the audience of the protocols for our first in-person meeting on June 17th.

Past President Michael Bruck invited everyone to the first in-person Cocktail with the President of this Rotary year on Thursday, June 17th, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at Scott's Seafood Restaurant, #2 Broadway, Oakland (Jack London Square). Indoor and outdoor areas will be available to congratulate President Ces and give him a big sendoff as he completes his year as president.

Pat Williams introduced Jonathan Becher. Jonathan is president of Sharks Sports & Entertainment, the parent organization of the San Jose Sharks hockey team, the minor league San Jose Barracuda hockey team, three ice rinks, and the Sharks Foundation. He is a three-time tech CEO, an author and blogger, and a "Wahoo" from the University of Virginia. Jonathan discussed business challenges and opportunities related to the pandemic.

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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, June 3, 2021

President Ces Butner called to order the 5,342nd Civic Thursday meeting of the third oldest Club in the Rotary world from the California Ballroom with presenters both in person and via Zoom.

Gail Uilkema shared three quotes – Will Rogers: “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today”; Dolly Parton: “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain”; and Dr. Seuss: “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Co-Chair Greg Knight reintroduced Barbara Beery. Barbara cherishes the many relationships she has gained with numerous Rotarians in the Club. Barbara is a World Champion swimmer. She competed in the 2014 and 2018 Gay Games 9 and 10 where she won gold, silver, and bronze medals. She is looking forward to the 2022 11 games in Hong Kong.

Saroni-Lena Scholarship Committee Co-Chair Steve Blair introduced this year’s scholars who were in attendance via Zoom.

President-Elect Dudley Thompson introduced our speaker, Bernard (Bernie) Schlager. He is Associate Professor of Historical and Cultural Studies and Executive Director, The Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.

We celebrated Pride month with Bernard Schlager of The Center for LGBTQ and Gender Studies in Religion who discussed the recent history of the relationship between LBGTQ people, society, and churches.

Missed our meeting but interested in checking out the next one?

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