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Ces Butner, President of Rotary Club of Oakland

Call to Order – Ces Butner

President Ces Butner called our Civic Thursday Zoom meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. noting this is the 5,329th meeting in our 111-year-old Club and invited us to recite our vision statement.  Ces explained that our meeting format will be a bit different today in order to accommodate our annual Richard D. King Annual Youth Speech Contest, with the winner advancing to the next “Area Level” of the annual Rotary Speech Contest.

President-elect Dudley Thompson

Member Poll

President-elect Dudley Thompson announced an upcoming member poll and reasons for it. Dudley recounted our own club’s past efforts on climate change and protecting the environment via expert speakers and one-off club projects. Now club leadership wishes to poll the membership in order to better focus our future on club service. Noting that Rotary International recently added a seventh pillar of strategic international impact, that of Protecting the Environment, it is a good time to poll. He asked everyone to complete the survey ASAP which will also help inform our direction on our next First Five Club Meeting on April 22, Earth Day, and any joint environmental projects we might also undertake.

Winter Williams

Thought for the Day – Winter Williams

Winter Williams set the tone for the day’s speakers when she shared an optimistic quote by Alexander Graham Bell stating a longer version of the “when one door closes another opens” adage. This was penned by Bell in association with his intent interest toward, and engagement in, the skills of elocution and speech, apparently fueled by relatives with significant hearing loss. This interest fueled his invention of the telephone, and of course those famous first words “Mr. Watson can you hear me?” (Wow, a pocket history lesson, thanks Winter!)

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President Ed Jellen reported that Kim Cohn brought her daughter, Quincy, to today’s meeting as her guest. Lois Corrin also attended as the guest of C J Hirschfield.

Alex Kaffka

Richard D. King Annual Speech Contest

peech Contest Committee Co-Chair Alex Kaffka began the speech contest by explaining the format consistent with Rotary content rules. He noted a number of club members were involved in making this contest happen and they would be introduced later in the program. Four student contestants from different area high Schools would each have up to five minutes to present their speech and interpretation of the 2021 Speech Contest Topic. Rotary Creates Opportunities. Then the judges, consisting of club members who were not contest committee members, would take two minutes after each speaker to evaluate the merits of the presentation. The winner will be announced at the end of all four speeches. Until then, contestant identities were kept anonymous by the assignment of Speaker A, B, C and D titles.

Leading off the presentations was Speaker A who presented a compelling case for the value of social media to make a positive impact throughout the world. By way of example, she shared her work to form a Teens for Healthcare Instagram group to expose youth to future healthcare careers via presentations from current professionals. She now has 3,000 Instagram followers throughout the world and a growing interest in the healthcare field. She explained that teamwork was vital to delivering good health care in the ER and the OR, and that teamworld is also learned through involvement with Rotary. 

Speaker B spoke eloquently about Rotary’s Four-Way Test and gave examples of how following each principle had impacted her own life working with others. The examples were vivid and positive and she also pointed out what negative things could happen if these points were not followed in our relationships with others.

Speaker C emphasizes the opportunity Rotary creates in designing leaders who are on the right side of morality and why this is important, citing examples of what happens when morality in his opinion is missing on the world stage. He also described ways that his engagement in Rotary as an Interact member for four years has developed his own leadership and engagement in service to his community, and to his fellow students including his becoming Class President. 

Speaker D focused on the importance of good communication, an opportunity that Rotary fosters in the world by overcoming language barriers where they exist and achieving great things collectively. She recounted her move to the US at age 10 and having to learn a new language in a new culture. She wishes to incorporate this experience into a career as a speech interpreter in healthcare and other venues so that fair and equitable treatment is given to all.

All of the presentations remained within the allotted five minutes, Ginni Ring the Contest Timer announced. She was aided in the proceedings by Jim Boessenecker serving as the Contest Teller. Later we learned about their professional qualifications to be involved with the contest, with Ginni coming from a 25-year career in youth and family advocacy, while now-retired Jim made plenty of speeches during his 25-year executive career at Chevron.

The Speech Contest added a new dimension for the first time. This year students were mentored by various Rotarians over 6 weeks of practice and training. Mentor Riza Hernandez shared the value of her experience and encouraged others to come forward.

With the judges’ important role, we learned about their qualifications. Garrett Riegg is a semi-retired former trial attorney and now a current substitute teacher. Kerry Hamill is the retired former Assistant General Manager of BART. Garrett Anderson is a pastor and also an attorney. Melvis Madunezim is a motivational speaker and an English Language Teacher. Stephanie Casenza is a public relations and fundraising professional for a well-known nonprofit.

Finally, a winner was chosen, and it was Speaker C now revealed to be Alvin Wang, a student at Mission San Jose High School. Committee Co-chair Barbara Beery announced that he will receive $100 and will advance to the next round in the Area Rotary Speech Contest. Also introduced and thanked for their participation were Mya Nguyen from Alameda High School as Speaker A; Grace Tan of Oakland Charter School as Speaker B and Peiwen Lin of American Indian Model School as Speaker D. A virtual and much-deserved round of applause was given to all!

Click here to watch the entire speech contest.

Co-chairs Alex and Barbara acknowledged and thanked all Speech Contest Committee members for their work including Debo Sarkar, Riza Hernandez, C J Hirschfield and Greg Annis.

Bellringers

Executive Administrator Jesse Bowdle announced the following bellringers:

Rotarians rang the bell in honor of the hard work other Rotarians did to make the contest a success and for the student contestants. They were Lorna Padia Markus, Debo Sarkar (ringing twice), Joe Goralka, Fred Morse and Ces Butner. Thanks for your generosity!

Adjournment

After giving our contest winner a last word of thanks, President Ces closed the meeting by ringing the bell and his closing adage “and that’s the way it went” plus the reminder that Rotary Opens Opportunity for Service Above Self.

Birthday Greetings

  Happy Birthday! Celebrating between March 1 and 8 are:

 2 – Daniel Cheng

     - Candice Elder

 3 – Linda Chew

7 – Rosemary Darden

    - David Douglas

Membership Anniversaries in February

Thank you for your years of service to the Rotary Club of Oakland and the community!

  • L. Mrris Johnson – 45 years
  • Ken Richardson – 38 years
  • Joel Parrott – 35 years
  • Shannon Hackley – 33 years
  • Sean Marx – 28 years
  • Rick Baskin – 16 years
  • John Weaver – 13 years
  • Bob Breecker – 9 years
  • Abel Guillen – 8 years
  • Brad Gill – 6 year
  • Jason Wizelman – 6 years
  • Renia Webb – 5 years
  • Bryan Morgan – 4 year
  • Emily Morgan – 4 years
  • Isaac Kos-Read – 3 years
  • Jim Ippolito – 3 years
  • Nicholas Williams – 3 years
  • Susan Schroeder – 2 years
  • Sam Miller – 1 year   
  • Cory Nott – 1 year
  • Pauline Fox – 1 year
  • Rod James – 1 year 
Adam Tobin

Next Meeting, March 4 – Adam Tobin, Chabot Space & Science Center

In keeping with our focus on outer space as NASA’s Perseverance makes its landing on Mars, our speaker next week will be Adam Tobin, President of Oakland’s Chabot Space and Science Center. The topic is Launching the Next Generation of Scientists and Explorers.  This is a thrilling time in space exploration. As humanity reaches further into space, we wonder: just how far will our kids explore? Building on its 137-year history in Oakland, Chabot Space & Science Center is launching innovative, new models for STEM education. Chabot’s bold vision sets the stage for inspiration and opportunity for ALL of Oakland's youth.

Ces Butner, President of Rotary Club of Oakland

Call to Order – Ces Butner

President Ces Butner called our Civic Thursday Zoom meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. noting this is the 5,328th meeting in our 111-year-old Club.

Thought for the day – Gary Flaxman

Gary Flaxman quoted James Baldwin for his thought for the day.  Part of the quote included “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed that is not faced” .

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President Ed Jellen was happy to introduce visiting Rotarian Dianne Dorn, a past President of the San Leandro Rotary and guest of Jesse BowdleC J Hirschfield hosted Lois Corrin who is considering becoming a member.  Bob Peltz brought Linda Peltz, Libbi Peltz and Jay Rosenblatt with him.

Bob Peltz

Member Reintroduction

Jack McAboy reintroduced us to Bob Peltz.  Born in Brooklyn, Bob moved to New Jersey in high school and went to college at Rutgers where he was on the tennis team.  After college he joined the Air Force.  He attained the rank of Lt. Colonel and retired after 33 years.  As a civilian he worked at Crocker Bank and Civic National Bank. Bob also taught at the City College of San Francisco. A 41-year member of Oakland Rotary, he has been involved in many community activities, some of which include the Oakland Police Retirement Board and Oakland Parking Authority. Bob is recognized as an athlete, teacher, banker, military man and a community servant.

Steve Hart

New Member Induction – Steve Hart

David Stein introduced us to new member Steve Hart. Steve lives in Oakland and is the owner of Advantage Micro Systems. Two fun facts about Steve: he is such a big Cal football fan that he waited until the Cal-UCLA game was over to go to the hospital when his wife was in labor.  Steve won the Corn Hole championship the first time he played. Welcome Steve! You can educate us all on what a Corn Hole competition is.

Bike rides

High Adventure Events

Committee Co-Chair Mark Rosen and the High Adventure team have bike rides scheduled every 3rd Saturday and hikes scheduled every 4th Saturday.  These are easy events that are good for novices. The group will hike around Berkeley Marina on February 27th.  Contact Robert Kidd at robertfredkidd@gmail.com for more details.

Continuing Effort on Racial and Social Justice

In recognition of Black History Month, President Ces read our Racial and Social Justice Statement.  Oakland#3 has continued to diversify.  Our membership is 30% people of color and 46% female.  Our female membership is higher than the average Rotary.  President Ces is creating a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.  If you would like to join this committee contact Pres. Ces or Executive Administrator Jesse Bowdle.

Jasmine Rashid

Speaker for the Day – Jasmine Rashid

Celeste Gordon introduced our speaker Jasmine Rashid, Directory of Advocacy and Strategic Partnerships of Candide and Editor-in-Chief of Visibility Magazine.  Passionate about social justice, Jasmine has developed The Financial Activist Playbook for supporting racial justice. She reviewed with us eight things we can do to promote Financial Social Activism.

Click here to watch her segment:

Tea & Cooking with the President

President-Elect-Elect Mary Geong provided final information about Tea & Cooking with the President at 5:30 p.m. in honor of Chinese Lunar New Year 2021, Year of the Ox. Chef Henry Poon has provided a recipe for Pan-Seared Black-Tiger Prawns which has been emailed to members.

Bellringers

Executive Administrator Jesse Bowdle announced the following bellringers:

  • Dudley Thompson and Ces Butner rang the bell for Bob and Linda Peltz.
  • Linda Chew, Wil Hobbs, Linda and Jim Boessenecker, Jack McAboy, Mike Bruck, Stephanie Casenza, Bob Barth and Linda Peltz all rang the bell for Bob Peltz.
  • Bob Peltz rang the bell for Jack McAboy and Dudley Thompson.
  • Keith Uriarte rang the bell for the Club’s Diversity Efforts.

Adjournment

President Ces Butner closed the meeting by ringing the bell and his closing adage “and that’s the way it went” plus the reminder that Rotary Opens Opportunity for Service Above Self.

Birthday Greetings

Happy Birthday! Celebrating between February 16 and 28 are:

16 – Charlie Adams

17 – Nancy Williams

24 – Linda Bradford

25 – Kim Cohn

27 – Keith Uriarte

28 – Riza Hernandez

Membership Anniversaries in February

Thank you for your years of service to the Rotary Club of Oakland and the community!

  • L. Morris Johnson – 45 years
  • Ken Richardson – 38 years
  • Joel Parrott – 35 years
  • Shannon Hackley – 33 years
  • Sean Marx – 28 years
  • Rick Baskin – 16 years
  • John Weaver – 13 years
  • Bob Breecker – 9 years
  • Abel Guillen – 8 years
  • Brad Gill – 6 year
  • Jason Wizelman – 6 years
  • Renia Webb – 5 years
  • Bryan Morgan – 4 year
  • Emily Morgan – 4 years
  • Isaac Kos-Read – 3 years
  • Jim Ippolito – 3 years
  • Nicholas Williams – 3 years
  • Susan Schroeder – 2 years
  • Sam Miller – 1 year   
  • Cory Nott – 1 year
  • Pauline Fox – 1 year
  • Rod James – 1 year    
Annual High School Speech Contest

Next Meeting, February 25 – Annual High School Speech Contest

Jesse Bowdle announced our program will feature Round 1 Club Level of the annual Richard King District 5170 Speech Contest.  Four local high school students will compete with their speeches on the theme “Rotary Creates Opportunities” sharing what they have learned about the 4-Way Test integrated into the presentation.

Ces Butner, President of Rotary Club of Oakland

Call to Order – Ces Butner

President Ces Butner called our Civic Thursday Zoom meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. noting this is the 5,327th meeting in our 111-year-old Club. We are committed to the Rotary ideal of “Service Above Self”. In order to remain focused, we recited our 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. As part of our continuation of Black History Month celebration, today we will enjoy with a performance and discussion from award winning artist, Terrence Brewer. Please help us reach our goals by bringing in a new member.

Abel Guillen

Thought for the Day – Abel Guillen

Abel Guillen led us in the Pledge of Allegiance in honor of Presidents’ Day and shared this timely quote from Barack Obama: “Democracy doesn’t work if we constantly demonize each other. For progress to happen, we have to listen to each other, see ourselves in each other, fight for our principles but also fight to find common ground no matter how elusive that may seem.”

Presidents’ Day

Abel Guillen shared the history of Presidents’ Day. This day honors George Washington, the General of the Continental Army and the first President of our Republic. The holiday also recognizes Abraham Lincoln, who preserved the Union during the American Civil War and brought about the emancipation of enslaved peoples. As a military general, Washington held the army together through defeat after defeat as the Nation struggled towards independence from the British Crown. Historian Alan Snyder, notes that at one point when pressed by some to become America's King, Washington soundly rejected that offer by saying “that's not what we've been fighting for”. In 1968, Congress passed the uniform Monday Holiday Act that moved a number of holidays, including Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day and Labor Day to Mondays to give workers more three-day holiday weekends.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President Ed Jellen welcomed visiting guests and fellow Rotarians: Jennifer Geong, Danielle Geong, Patty Pringle (Rotary Club of Dublin), and Belinda Tarlach – guests of Mary Geong. Keith Uriarte’s guest was Allison Wooley. Matt Iverson-Comelo was in attendance as guest of Frank Pare, a visiting Rotarian. Dianne Dorn (Rotary Club of San Leandro and Assistant Governor for Area 4A in Rotary year 2021-2022) – guest of Jesse Bowdle was also present. WELCOME!!

Zeydi Gutierrez & Nancy Williams

New Member Induction – Zeydi Gutierrez & Nancy Williams

Isaac Kos-Read, Zeydi Gutierrez’ sponsor, introduced her to the club. Zeydi works as the Public Affairs and Strategic Director for AB&I Foundry. The Oakland-based foundry manufactures commercial fittings for industry and residential properties, removes waste from the Bay, melts guns from buy-backs and is involved with educating children during field trips. Isaac suggested we take a trip to the foundry when we are finished covid-ing.

David Kersten introduced Nancy Williams. Nancy is a franchise owner of Money Pages. She is committed to social justice in everything she does. A graduate of UCLA, she moved to the Bay Area in 2014. She noted that now is the right time for her to be joining Rotary.

President Ces inducted our two newest members into our club and discussed the requirements and benefits of being a member and practicing SERVICE ABOVE SELF.  Welcome Zeydi and Nancy!

Mary Geong

Chinese New Year

President Elect-Mary Geong wished us Gung Hay Fat Choy or Gong Xi Fa Cai – “May you be Happy and Prosperous”. The lunar new year is the longest and most important celebration in Asia, with over 1.5 billion people across the globe celebrating the new year in China, Vietnam, Korea and Singapore for two weeks. The Chinese year 4719, the Year of the Ox begins on February 12, 2021. The Chinese use the lunar calendar with 13 months, which is why the lunar new year changes every year.

Mary also shared a folktale about how the signs of the Zodiac were chosen. The animals had a water race, and the hardworking ox was in the lead with a rat close by- the rat asked the good-natured ox for a ride on its back but then at the last second, the ungrateful rat jumped off onto land to cross the finish line first. The ox came in 2nd, the tiger was 3rd and so it went and the happy go lucky pig took his place as last and the Chinese Zodiac and its 12 signs were born.

At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with poems on red paper, and give children and single people crisp lucky money in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire and good luck, which according to legend, can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities also drive away evil spirits. Due to COVID-19, there will be no Chinese New Year parade this year, but the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of San Francisco has commissioned 11 life sized statues of ox to celebrate the Year of the Ox. They are located around the city of San Francisco with one at the Oakland Airport.

In keeping with the celebration of Chinese New Year, our club will have Tea and Cooking with the President on February 18 from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. and a special guest will teach us to cook spiced prawns and brew a cup of tea. A list of the ingredients will be posted in advance.

Terrence Brewer

Speaker for the Day – Terrence Brewer

Winter Williams introduced our guest, Terrence Brewer, by noting that artists need to be resilient. Terrence Brewer is an award-winning musician and educator whose musical influences derive from the blues, jazz and Africa. Terrence Brewer first appeared at one of our Rotary meetings around 20 years ago.

Mr. Brewer began by playing a Charlie Parker smooth jazz rendition on his guitar. The second song he played was from the Great American Songbook, “I'll remember April”. In that song we could hear the transition from Afro Caribbean beats to swing rhythms. Even on a zoom screen, it was evident that his music was enjoyed and appreciated. President Ces noted “while we are committed to service above self, we also like to have fun”.

Mr. Brewer responded to questions posed by Rotarians. He discussed the resiliency an adaptation that artists have found necessary in order to respond to a new way to perform during COVID-19. He personally used to perform 250 live shows a year and that has diminished 21 or two performances a month. His theme was music finds a way. He also noted that all forms of music—jazz, Blues, and rock and roll – are tied at the heart of the music to adaptation and resilience. The lock down has forced musicians to reassess the way they perform, how they perform and where they perform. It is now possible with the technology available to stream and perform music that can be seen all over the world in a way that is not possible when performing in clubs. Mr. Brewer talked about the fact that there is no culture that doesn't have music. Music forms the soundtracks of our lives. One of the factors that became evident during COVID-19 was the inequity of technology ownership among certain musicians. Mr. Brewer also made the point that everyone likes some form of music.

Click here to watch Mr. Terrence Brewer video segment.

President Ces thanked Terrence Brewer and announced that a donation in his name would be made to our Unhoused Residents in Oakland project and that he would receive Linda Hamilton’s book, “100 Years of Oakland Rotary.”

Bellringers

Executive Administrator Jesse Bowdle announced the following bellringers:

Mary Geong (2) in celebration of Chinese Lunar New Year and her 45th (sapphire) wedding anniversary,

Ruth Stroup and David Kittner for Mary Geong,

Ces Butner (2) for Mary Geong and Chinese Lunar New Year,

Abel Guillen for Karen Friedman’s birthday, and

Isaac Kos-Read for Abel Guillen -- to make it eight lucky bellringers.

Adjournment

President Ces Butner closed the meeting by ringing the bell eight times and his closing adage “and that’s the way it went” plus the reminder that Rotary Opens Opportunity for Service Above Self.

Birthday Greetings

Happy Birthday! Celebrating between February 11 and 17 are:

Ahmad Anderson – February 13

Catherine Coleman – February 14

Georgia Richardson – February 14

Membership Anniversaries in February

Thank you for your years of service to the Rotary Club of Oakland and the community!

L. Morris Johnson – 45 years

Ken Richardson – 38 years

Joel Parrott – 35 years

Shannon Hackley – 33 years

Sean Marx – 28 years

Rick Baskin – 16 years

John Weaver – 13 years

Bob Breecker – 9 years

Abel Guillen – 8 years

Brad Gill – 6 year

Jason Wizelman – 6 years

Renia Webb – 5 years

Bryan Morgan – 4 year

Emily Morgan – 4 years

Isaac Kos-Read – 3 years

Jim Ippolito – 3 years

Nicholas Williams – 3 years

Susan Schroeder – 2 years

Sam Miller – 1 year   

Cory Nott – 1 year

Pauline Fox – 1 year

Rod James – 1 year

Proposed For Membership

The following individuals have submitted applications.  If no objection is received within five days, the application will be submitted to the Board of Directors for action:

  • Nik Dehejia

    ZOOLOGICAL ADMINISTRATION

    Oakland Zoo / Conversation Society of California

    9777 Golf Links Road

    Oakland, Ca  94605

    Sponsor: Joel Parrott

  • Trisha Connors

    EDUCATION

    Pleasanton Unified School District

    4375 Foothill Road

    Pleasanton, CA  94588

    Sponsor:  Kerry Hamill

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    CITY GOVERNMENT

    1 Frank Ogawa Plaza

    Oakland, CA  94612

    Sponsor: Keith Uriarte

Jasmine Rashid

Next Meeting, February 18 – Jasmine Rashid

Celeste Gordon announced our speaker will be Jasmine Rashid, who will discuss Moving Money: A Financial Playbook for Racial Justice.  She is a Director of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships at the Candide Group.  Previously she was a writer, strategy consultant, associate at the Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility, and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of VISIBILITY Magazine — a publication dedicated to showcasing the creative work of traditionally marginalized voices.  

Ces Butner, President of Rotary Club of Oakland

Call to Order – Ces Butner

President Ces Butner called the 5,326th Civic Thursday club meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland to order smiling his charming welcome to members and guests.

 

Joe Goraka

Thought for the Day – Joe Goralka

Joe Goralka gave us two thoughts for the day from Henry Thoreau, “In a world of peace and love, music would be the universal language.” and that “cats and music are two distractions of life”.

President Ces reminded us to ‘Join a Committee! That’s where Rotary happens.”

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President Ed Jellen introduced Dianne Dorn from San Leandro Rotary, guest of Jesse Bowdle, Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan; Matt Tews, guest of Marcus Clark; Lois Corrin, guest of C J Hirshfield; and Erika Gimbel, guest of David Kersten.

President Ces reminded us that we have 27 new members this year but are short of our goal.

Ed Silva

New Member Induction – Ed Silva

Our newest member is Ed Silva, sponsored by Jack McAboy. Ed is in the Oakland office of Emergency Services. He is soccer player and biathlete. He was raised in Peru, and his first introduction to Rotary was through his father, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Lima, a past club president and past district governor.  Welcome Ed!

Harold Lowe

Skyline Interact Club Presentation

Enterprise Institute Committee Chair Harold Lowe gave an update on plans for the Enterprise Institute and described what it does. Each spring since 1982 the Enterprise Institute has taken place in a dormitory style camp in Aptos, just south of Santa Cruz.  During the three-day retreat, high school juniors learn the benefits and challenges of American business, as they team up to create and operate a company. Participants work on marketing concepts, business strategies, communication skills, and networking.

The 2021 spring weekend at Camp Toyon has been postponed once again due to the COVID pandemic.  However, the committee is working on big plans for April 20-22, 2022 which will mark the program’s the 40th Anniversary. Harold showed an historic photo of the group of students and mentors the year he attended as a student.  A jovial contest broke out between Harold and Danny Mai, who also attended Camp Enterprise, as it was known then, to see who was the first to attend. 

Danny Mai

Business Development News

Danny Mai, chair of Business Development, announced the next event in the Shop Rotary series will be Wednesday, February 10 from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. when Wil Hobbs and Tommy Edwards will talk about the PPP loan program for small businesses.

Celebrate Black History Month

Pres. Ces shared with us that the NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909, the centennial anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

Maestro Michael Morgan

Speaker for the Day – Maestro Michael Morgan

Steve Nicholls introduced Maestro Michael Morgan, our speaker for the day.

Michael Morgan told us about Oakland Salutes Madam V.P., a video webcast available to watch on YouTube. Created to welcome and honor our new U. S. Vice President Kamala Harris, it is a compilation of music and dance performances skillfully edited by Bruce Crisp, videographer and first trombonist in the Oakland Symphony Orchestra.

Arts groups are suffering through the pandemic and need our support to stay alive until they can resume live performances and solvency. Michael encouraged us to donate to any one of them.

The Oakland Symphony is involved in many community programs. They start in the schools, even during this time of school closures, using zoom instruction. The work to ensure a diversity of players in an orchestra starts with preparing children for the rigors of a career in music that includes the audition process. “Behind Screen” auditions, like those at the New York Met help insure unbiased selection of new players.  Oakland and its symphony are ahead of the curve presenting women and composers of color, among them Florence Price, who is buried in an unmarked grave in Chicago.

Our Symphony has the first Chinese Instrument Youth Orchestra in the country. They will be presenting the Great Wall Fundraising Concert on February 26, 2021. You can register for tickets on Eventbrite.

Frederica von Stade is organizing a chorus for the unhoused. Tentatively named Oakland People’s Chorus, this effort is just beginning.

More good news is that Oakland Symphony has a concert ready to go as soon as COVID restrictions on gathering are lifted.
Click here to watch Michael Morgan's video segment.

Bellringers

Executive Administrator Jesse Bowdle announced the following bellringers:

C J Hirschfield, Georgia Richardson, Lois Corrin (2) and Dudley Thompson rang the bell for Michael Morgan.

Adjournment

President Ces Butner closed the meeting with the gavel hitting our bell and his closing adage “and that’s the way it went” plus the reminder that Rotary Opens Opportunity for Service Above Self.

Birthday Greetings

Happy Birthday! Celebrating between February 1 and 10 are:

Jill Loh Kearns – February 2

Karen Friedman – February 9

Membership Anniversaries in February

Thank you for your years of service to the Rotary Club of Oakland and the community!

L. Morris Johnson – 45 years

Ken Richardson – 38 years

Joel Parrott – 35 years

Shannon Hackley – 33 years

Sean Marx – 28 years

Rick Baskin – 16 years

John Weaver – 13 years

Bob Breecker – 9 years

Abel Guillen – 8 years

Brad Gill – 6 year

Jason Wizelman – 6 years

Renia Webb – 5 years

Bryan Morgan – 4 year

Emily Morgan – 4 years

Isaac Kos-Read – 3 years

Jim Ippolito – 3 years

Nicholas Williams – 3 years

Susan Schroeder – 2 years

Sam Miller – 1 year   

Cory Nott – 1 year

Pauline Fox – 1 year

Rod James – 1 year 

Terrence Brewer, Jazz Artist

Next Meeting, February 11 – Terrence Brewer, Jazz Artist

Allison Bliss announced our speaker will be Terrence Brewer. In addition to being a first-call and in-demand bandleader, record producer, concert performer and studio musician, Brewer has established himself as one of the San Francisco Bay area’s foremost music educators. For 20+ years Brewer has been a private lesson instructor, master class instructor, clinician, lecturer, music workshop facilitator, and presenter to students of all ages, skill levels, and musical styles

Ces Butner, President of Rotary Club of Oakland

Call to Order – Ces Butner

President Ces Butner called our 5,325th "Civic Thursday" meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland to order at 12:30 p.m. and welcomed all of our Zoom guests.

 

Stephen Murphy

Thought for the Day – Stephen Murphy

In reflecting on President Joe Biden’s recent environmental administrative actions, Stephen Murphy shared quotes from Van Jones, author of “Green Economy,” about how building such an economy will lift all boats in a green wave benefiting us all, and the polar bears too.

Oakland Rotary Vision

President Ces invited us all to recite our vision where Service Above Self connects us all

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President Ed Jellen introduced guest Donna Salonga, a Skyline High School instructor in attendance with students from the school’s Interact Club for a presentation later on the agenda. Three Rotarians introduced guests, including one who had just completed her membership application and another who is contemplating doing so.  Pres. Ces encouraged us to continue to introduce our club to prospective new members; he wants to meet his goal for our mutual benefit!

Sandeepa Nayak

Meeting Sponsor – Sandeepa Nayak, Kha Creation

Sandeepa Nayak was pleased to share highlights of her successful website business known as Kha Creation. She and her team help companies across many industries, and also nonprofits to ensure they have the best website presence to meet their organizational goals. She is particularly interested in receiving referrals to marketing executives, graphic designers and digital marketers who may require services such as those she offers.  Before closing, with her few minutes of self-promotion left as a meeting sponsor, Sandeepa surprised us all by ringing the bell for fellow Rotarians, listed under Bellringers, who had been helpful to her business. Wow, what a great and generous heart Sandeepa!

Greg Annis

Skyline Interact Club Presentation

Interact Committee Chair Greg Annis shared the good news that the Skyline Interact Club, once under our sponsorship decades ago, had returned to us again this year. He introduced club representatives Yene Chan, Sabrina Woodsum and Instructor/Sponsor Donna Salonga who each gave us highlights of their recent community service project. After they connected with an Interact Club in Nepal recently, Skyline Interact members decided to raise funds in support of that club’s Gravity Water Project.  Skyline Interact members launched a fundraising project to help bring the project to life, raising $1,500 of their $2,500 goal so far.  They had a successful “Walk for Water” walkathon to create awareness about the 3-mile trek currently undertaken by Nepal school children, a burden which took time away from school attendance and studies.  Greg noted that Skyline’s project work was very much in keeping with both Rotary International’s focus on clean water and that of our club’s Karl Stucki World Community Service Committee. A number of our members wholeheartedly agreed, using the meeting’s chat room to spontaneously pledge funds toward Skyline’s goal.  Bravo to this next generation of Rotarians doing good deeds already!

Robert Kidd

Saroni-Lena Scholarships

Robert Kidd let us know that the Saroni-Lena Scholarship Committee is looking for additional members to help review applications, interview students and decide awardees in the coming months. If you can help, contact committee co-chairs Steve Blair at blair5200@gmail.com or Fred Morse at FredAMorse@gmail.com. The committee in particular is focused on equity and hopes to attract worthy students from the Latinx, African-American, Asian and LBGTQ communities.

Phil Bennett and Renia Webb

Karl Stucki World Community Service

Co-chairs Phil Bennett and Renia Webb reported that several projects have been supported by our club’s WCS. Approved projects include donating $1,000 to provide 1,000 solar-charging units to a community in Beirut, Lebanon as well as $1,000 to a Food Program serving Honduran families.  Additionally, the committee has partnered with a club on the Peninsula to support children in Cambodia with a joint gift of $4,000, working with former District Governor James Brickley.

Before concluding their report, Renia congratulated the Skyline Interact Club for their fantastic work on a world community service project.

Phil also thanked all club members who contributed to the Rotary International Campaign this year and its chairs, Leeann Alameda and Joe Goralka who worked so hard toward Pres. Ces’s challenge, itself a most generous amount.  We have raised a record amount and are at 95% of club participation.

Selvi Stanislaus

Speaker for the Day – Selvi Stanislaus

Marie Saverimuthu introduced our speaker of the day, Selvi Stanislaus, Executive Director of the California State Franchise Tax Board (FTB). Selvi is the first woman appointed to oversee the FTB and its 6,000+ employees charged with collecting $66 billion annually to fund state projects, programs and state infrastructure. Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Selvi comes from a long line of public servants in her family. She was educated here in the United States as an attorney and specialist in tax law and has overseen the agency for the past 15 years.  The California FTB is the largest agency of its kind in the nation. Selvi spoke of the progress made in upgrading a multi-phase IT system to re-engineer how our state tax returns are processed in order to maximize collections and efficiencies (an interesting factoid considering all the media reports of the state’s challenges in sending money the other way, to unemployment claimants, blamed on antiquated IT systems at the EDD). 

Selvi’s talk focused on what she termed “hot topics” that concern the public and its engagement with the FTB.  She walked through several of them including how to:

-take steps to resolve a state tax issue working with FTB

-reach out to FTB officials in the pandemic when face-to-face meetings can’t occur

-treat your expenses on your tax return related to working from home

-address residency issues for state tax purposes

It was a great presentation overall. Unfortunately, there were more questions than allotted time left, but Selvi directed us to the FTB website where much of this information is found: at http://ftb.ca.gov/help/find-your-answer. 

Click here to watch her segment from the meeting.

Bellringers

Executive Administrator Jesse Bowdle announced the following bellringers:

Sandeepa Nayak who rang the bell five times for Mark Rosen, Leann Alameda, Jackie Forrester, Danny Mai and the Rotary Club of Oakland.

Marie Saverimuthu rang the bell five times in honor of Selvi Stanislaus.

Joycie Mack and Ces Butner rang the bell for the Skyline Interact Club’s water campaign.

Adjournment

President Ces Butner adjourned the meeting at 1:30 p.m. with his signature comment “that’s the way it went” and the reminder that Rotary Opens Opportunity for Service Above Self, as he rang the bell.

Proposed For Membership

The following individuals have submitted applications.  If no objection is received within five days, the application will be submitted to the Board of Directors for action:

Nancy Williams

BUSINESS MARKETING

Money Pages of Oakland

4400 Keller Ave.

Oakland, CA  94605

Sponsor:  David Kersten

---------------------------------------

Steve Hart

IT SERVICES

Advantage Microsystems

2625 Alcatraz Ave, # 371

Berkeley, CA  94705

Sponsor:  David Stein

Michael Morgan

Next Meeting, February 4 – Michael Morgan, Oakland Symphony Orchestra

Steve Nicholls announced next week’s speaker is Oakland Symphony Orchestra Conductor Michael Morgan who will share news of some of the latest creative work being undertaken by the symphony in these challenging times.  Please consider inviting a guest who loves music!

Ces Butner, President of Rotary Club of Oakland

Call to Order – Ces Butner

President Ces Butner called our 5,324th "Civic Thursday" meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland to order at 12:30 p.m. and welcomed all of our Zoom guests.

 

Georgia Richardson

Thought for the Day – Georgia Richardson

Georgia Richardson gave us the thought of the day. After attending a California Realtors Association meeting on diversity and inclusion, Georgia shared how we must get comfortable with being uncomfortable if we are going to fix inequities. 

Oakland Rotary Vision

President Ces led us in the Rotary vision and recapped last week’s meeting before mentioning how elated he was to see the inauguration of US Vice President Kamala Harris. 

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President Ed Jellen introduced visiting Rotarian Dianne Dorn of San Leandro Rotary.

Dudley Thompson

Strategic Plan

President-Elect Dudley Thompson reported on the strategic plan.  Rotary clubs always face issues of continuity with changes in leadership each year.  In 2015, the club undertook a strategic plan through 2019.  Past-President Peter Sherris started a revision but COVID-19 put a lot of uncertainty into the plan.  The next phase will include 30 personal interviews of club members followed by a survey of all members.  The new strategic plan should finalize by April 2021. 

David Kittner

Community Service Update

David Kittner, chair of the Community Service Committee, detailed how the club makes grants to local nonprofits in the community.  It’s a passive system that waits for organizations to make a grant request that is then approved or not.  Instead, this year they will attempt to find and recommend grants to the board.  They have prioritized the topics of homelessness and social justice.

Members are encouraged to reach out to Georgia Richardson at georgia.w.richardson@bhhsdrysdale.com on the issue of homelessness and Sam Miller at samuel.r.miller48@gmail.com on social justice. 

Isaac Kos-Read

Public Image/ Communications Report

Isaac Kos-Read, co-chair of the Public Image/Communications Committee, explained how social media has been a source of disinformation, but can also be a force for good and the goal is for Oakland Rotary to be a positive force on those platforms.  Isaac mentioned there have been 30,000 active engagements on Facebook.  He thanked Stephanie Casenza for her help. In preparation for the breakout sessions that followed, Isaac asked members to share how we can connect on social media and grow the visibility of the club. 

Italina Kirknis

Speaker for the Day – Italina Kirknis

David Kersten introduced our speaker Italina Kirknis who gives talks all over the country on effective social media.  Italina is an Oakland native who played varsity tennis at Bishop O’Dowd. She is a JD with a legal background, but practices her passion in online marketing and branding.

Italina gave us an overview of her own Facebook business page that shows immediately her value and demonstrates what she does.  Leverage all the space in your social media profiles to brand and tell visitors what you do.  Always include a call to action and hashtags so people can find your content. People will often scroll through your profile, see your picture and engage in various ways so make sure to be on brand and consistent in your message.  Additionally, do not forget to personalize and humanize your content.  Another piece of your brand is to use your audience’s interest to pull them into your brand and social media platforms.   Italina suggested to “maximize the free” by using hashtags and other techniques before considering paying for boosting ads on Facebook and Instagram. 

Cocktails with the President

Cocktails with the President – January 21st

Jim Boessenecker announced Cocktails with the President is tonight at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom.  Everyone is invited to join President Ces for a post-inauguration presidential trivia quiz.

Bellringers

Executive Administrator Jesse Bowdle announced that Joycie Mack rang the bell in honor of the new Biden administration

Adjournment

President Ces Butner adjourned another busy meeting a few minutes before 1:30 p.m. with his signature comment “that’s the way it went” and the reminder that Rotary Opens Opportunity for Service Above Self, as he rang the bell.

Proposed For Membership

The following individuals have submitted applications.  If no objection is received within five days, the application will be submitted to the Board of Directors for action:

Ed Silva

VOLUNTEER

Oakland, CA  94611

Sponsor:  Jack McAboy & Rick Draper

-----------------------------------------------------

Zeydi Gutierrez

PUBLIC AFFAIRS 

Public Affairs Strategic Director

AB&I Foundry

7875 San Leandro St.

Oakland, CA  94621

Sponsor: Isaac Kos-Read

Selvi Stanislaus

Next Meeting, January 29 – Selvi Stanislaus, CA Franchise Tax Board

Past President Lorna Padia Markus announced next week’s speaker is Selvi Stanislaus.  Selvi is the first woman Executive Officer of the CA Franchise Tax Board.  See how you can lower your taxes!

Ces Butner, President of Rotary Club of Oakland

Call to Order – Ces Butner

President Ces Butner called our 5,323rd “Civic Thursday” meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland to order at 12:30 p.m. and welcomed all of our Zoom guests.

 

Thought for the Day – Pat Williams

Pat Williams shared two quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.:

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?"

"Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service. You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love."

Oakland Rotary Vision

President Ces led the recitation of the club's vision and previewed the meeting lineup.

Martin Luther King Jr. Presentation

Past President Charlie Adams gave us a history lesson on Martin Luther King Jr. The national holiday honoring Dr. King started in 1983. The MLK memorial in Washington D.C. was completed in 2011. Its official address is 1964 Independence Avenue, in honor of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The inscription on the memorial is from Dr. King's 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech:

"Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope."

Charlie urged us to rise above the despair of today to march forward with love.

President's Update - Thermometer

President's Update

President Ces announced that 92% of our members have donated to The Rotary Foundation campaign.  He is thrilled to have led in changing the culture of our club. We are only a few members short of reaching our goal. The leadership team will reach out to the remaining members to secure their participation.  Ultimately, our donations come back to the Club to use in making Global Grants.

Family Dog Walkers - Winter Williams

Meeting Sponsor – Winter Williams, Family Dog Walkers

Winter Williams, a true Renaissance woman, introduced us to her business, Family Dog Walkers. When she joined Rotary two and a half years ago, she was a business banker and music promoter. At the time, dog walking and boarding was a side interest.  She spoke of how important pets are in our lives. We need levity and furry faces in our lives especially now as we shelter in place.  She also reminded us that dogs, as well as humans, can get stressed during the pandemic.  With her love of music, she has put together a playlist, nearly 2 hours in length.  Winter can be reached at www.familydogwalkers.com

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President Ed Jellen introduced Rotarian and Past President of Rotary Club of San Leandro, Diane Dorn, Visiting Rotarian and Past President of Oakland Uptown Club Frank Parray, Carrie Hamill brought a guest Trisha Connors, Pamela and John Claussen brought a guest Anne Scott,

Scott Baird

New Member Induction – Scott Baird

President Elect Dudley Thompson introduced new member Scott Baird. It only took Dudley five years to get Scott to join the club. Scott is the manager of Coast Counties Peterbilt. He is a golfer and attended the last two Masters Tournaments. He is also a poker player and finished 118th in a recent tournament. We will have to find out how much money Scott won in that tournament. Welcome Scott! 

Jobs Needed for Saroni Lena Scholars

Janice Brickley and the Saroni Lena Committee are looking for summer internships and jobs for the Saroni Lena students. The positions should be for at least 20 hours per week and for 8 weeks with minimum wage.

Students are looking for positions in finance, business, law, politics, government, media, public relations, real estate development, construction trades, criminal justice, law enforcement, non -profits, social services, hospitality, engineering, entertainment, healthcare, and medicine. In other words, just about every Oakland Rotary Club classification.

Saroni Lena Scholars and the institution they are attending are: Vesna Sot (UC Merced), Grace Hernandez (UC Davis), Jose Sandoval (UCLA), Antwan Adams (UCLA), Amanda Huynh (Stanford University), Juliana Dang (UC Berkeley), Nathan Van (UC Irvine), Bryan Resuleo (UC Merced), Lilly Tran (UC Berkeley), Kevin Huang (UC Santa Cruz), Edgar Galvez (UC Davis), Vivian Feng (UC Berkeley), Saryah Colbert (UC San Diego), and Yu Jun (Ariel) Chen (UC Berkeley).

You can find student resumes on ClubRunner or by using this link:  https://tinyurl.com/y3u732cb

Contact Rotarians Janice Brickley at janicembrickley@gmail.com , Steve Blair at blair5200@gmail.com, or Sam Miller at samuel.r.miller48@gmail.com for more information.

Housing Insecurity Task Force

David Naveh, reporting from Tel Aviv, gave an update on the Oakland Community Neighborhood project. The task force has developed a community village model for homeless families, has located two possible managers, and identified two possible sites., The task force is looking to take the next steps after a meeting with Mayor Libby Schaaf. Rotarians Peter Sherris, David Naveh and John Claassen can answer your questions.

David Metz

Speaker for the Day – David Metz

Past President David Stein introduced David Metz, president of FM3 Research. FM3 Research conducts public opinion research for candidates and ballot measures. It has worked for the City of Oakland, the Oakland Unified School District, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and has done polling in all 50 states. 

David reviewed some of the recent findings of the 2020 "Pulse of Oakland" poll conducted for the Chamber. Six hundred twenty-four Oakland voters likely to vote in November, 2020 were interviewed in October, 2020. Challenges in obtaining responses to the poll include the shift from landlines to cell phones, more texting, and suspicions about polling. Findings included:

  • Voters are increasingly pessimistic about the city's direction
  • Issues of high concern include homelessness, housing, the economic impact of coronavirus, the cost of living, and the cost of rent
  • Issues of lower concern include traffic congestion, growth and development
  • Perceptions of city government are mixed
  • Voters increasingly feel less safe in the city and in their neighborhood
  • Most voters learn about city government from social media (35%) 

 

In discussing trust in polling, David noted that the public pays a high amount of attention to polling but has a low amount of trust in the results of polling.  He made the following comments about Inaccuracy in recent national polling:

  • Problems were localized and connected to federal races
  • Georgia polling was very accurate
  • Maine polling for the US Senate race was inaccurate
  • California polling is accurate
  • Turnout models were inaccurate
  • Latinx opinions are not accurately captured
  • Trump voters were not "shy" about giving their opinions but were less likely to respond to polls due to a lack of trust in institutions
  • Progressives may be more likely to respond to polls

Bellringers

Executive Administrator Jesse Bowdle recognized the generous members who rang the bell:

Steve Blair and Fred Morse for Janice Brickley and the Saroni Lena program

Joycie Mack and Marie Saverimuthu for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Marie Saverimuthu for Thai Pongal

Adjournment

President Ces Butner adjourned another busy meeting at 1:30 p.m. with his signature comment “that’s the way it went” and the reminder that Rotary Opens Opportunity for Service Above Self as he rang the bell.

Italina Kirknis

Next Meeting, January 21 – Italina Kirknis – Online Presence Tips

David Kirsten announced our speaker will be Italina Kirknis, an online presence expert and speaker.  She will show us how to upgrade our presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram in order to gain more visibility and drive a steady stream of clients to our businesses.

Ces Butner, President of Rotary Club of Oakland

Call to Order – Ces Butner

President Ces Butner called our 5,322nd “Civic Thursday” meeting order at 12:30 p.m. and welcomed all of our Zoom guests.

Lou Rigali

Thought for the Day – Lou Rigali

Lou Rigali gave us the thought of the day. He shared a quote by Mary Parker Follett, an early 20th century management consultant, philosopher and pioneer in the fields of organizational theory and behavior. “We find the true man only through group organization. The potentialities of the individual remain potentialities until they are released by group life.”

President's Update - Thermometer

President's Update

President Ces announced that 92% of our members have donated to The Rotary Foundation campaign.  He is thrilled to have led in changing the culture of our club. We are only a few members short of reaching our goal. The leadership team will reach out to the remaining members to secure their participation.  Ultimately, our donations come back to the Club to use in making Global Grants.

Family Dog Walkers - Winter Williams

Meeting Sponsor – Winter Williams, Family Dog Walkers

Winter Williams, a true Renaissance woman, introduced us to her business, Family Dog Walkers. When she joined Rotary two and a half years ago, she was a business banker and music promoter. At the time, dog walking and boarding was a side interest.  She spoke of how important pets are in our lives. We need levity and furry faces in our lives especially now as we shelter in place.  She also reminded us that dogs, as well as humans, can get stressed during the pandemic.  With her love of music, she has put together a playlist, nearly 2 hours in length.  Winter can be reached at www.familydogwalkers.com

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President Ed Jellen introduced Visiting Rotarians Dianne Dorn, San Leandro Club Past President; Oakland Rotary Past Presidents Dale Chamblin and Iris Brody Lopez; Kathryn Marshall from San Francisco Evening Rotary Club, and Martha Goralka from Rotary Club of the Delta. Members brought numerous guests.

Jesse Bowdle

New Member Induction – Jesse Bowdle

President Elect Dudley Thompson introduced our newest Rotarian, Executive Administrator Jesse BowdleJesse has been a member of the San Leandro Club for the past four years. Two interesting facts about Jesse: He is a certified barbeque judge of the Kansas City Barbeque Society; and he rode in the first AIDS Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Women in Rotary

Past President Jack McAboy talked about the history of women joining Rotary.  After a ten-year legal battle between the Duarte (CA) Rotary Club, which had admitted women to active membership and Rotary International which had revoked the club charter. The California State Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Duarte Club. The case wound up in the United States Supreme Court, which mandated Rotary International must allow women to be active members. Now 30 years later, there are 280,000 plus women in clubs around the world representing 23% of total membership.  In our club, 33% of our members are women and we will have had nine female presidents when President-Elect-Elect Mary Geong takes office in July 2022.

Five of our long-time members shared their stories:

Gail Uilkema joined in 1987 having been named Superintendent of the Piedmont Public Schools. She has had the opportunity travel internationally with Rotarians to Ghana, Vietnam, Guatemala and other countries. She appreciates the tremendous friendship at weekly meetings and through committee work.  A recent pre-COVID activity she enjoyed was distributing food at Laney College.

Carla Betts joined in 1980 and became the Club’s first female president in 1997.  She was already familiar with Rotary because her husband, Ken was a member starting in 1970. She acknowledged she has 30 years of friends as a result of joining Rotary.

Shannon Hackley was in her mid-20s when she joined the Club in 1988. She was a young entrepreneur and acknowledged how fellow Rotarians provided her guidance as she grew her business. She recalls going on the Reno Train Trips, an activity for many years of Bay Area Rotary Clubs.  Historically most participants were men, and she recalls not being made to feel welcome.  She also commented about travelling in Central America on Rotary trips.  When meetings took place, she was relegated to spending her time with the wives of local Rotarians.

Iris Brody Lopez joined the club in 1990. She was one of the first HOPE mentors. She served the club as its 99th President in 2007. During that year, the Oakland Reads program, which provides three books to every third grader in the Oakland Schools, was started.

Mary Rudser join the Club in 1990 and was Club President in 2009. She saluted fellow Rotarians, characterizing “giants among us who saw things in us that we might not have seen in ourselves”.

Mayor Libby Schaaf

Speaker for the Day – Mayor Libby Schaaf

Kymberly Miller introduced our speaker Oakland Mayor and Honorary Rotarian Libby Schaaf.

Mayor Schaaf gave us a State of the City address. Starting in 2020, the city saw major businesses establishing their home in Oakland.  Among them were Blue Shield of California and PG&E. Oakland had just added 16,000 new housing units in only five years.

Her first knowledge of the COVID-19 situation was a call on March 5, 2020 from Governor Gavin Newsom telling her about the Grand Princess cruise ship circling in San Francisco Bay with an outbreak of this new virus aboard.

The three themes for 2020 became Tested, Sheltered and Connecting.

Tested – the city provided COVID testing initially to first responders, then free to the community in East Oakland.

Sheltered – with the help of Governor Newsom who got FEMA to allow sheltering in vacant hotel for the most vulnerable individuals, 2,000 plus people were off the streets and housed in four hotels plus a FEMA trailer park.

Connecting – Through Project HomeKey, Oakland will add 800 permanent housing units. The City has purchased a dormitory in the Rockridge neighborhood from California College for the Arts to house 100+ residents.

Shared housing is being pursued with Bay Area Community Services to provide 17 single family homes for 100+ individuals.

They are keeping connected through the great Oakland Check-In to provide meal deliveries, personal protective equipment and other needed supplies.

The Oakland Public Education Fund has raised $13 million to help the 25,000 school children who have not had computers or internet connectivity with equipment and tech support.

The City of Oakland has established an online permitting process to speed up projects.

For 2021, Mayor Schaaf’s theme took a quote from Ben Franklin about being Healthy, Wealthy and Wise.  She also added Safe and Solvent.  In conclusion she noted none of us can be healthy as long as homelessness is in the streets.

Bellringers

Executive Administrator Jesse Bowdle announced the following bellringers:

Joe Goralka rang the bell for Martha Ely Goralka.

Karen Friedman, Beth Hillman, David Stein and Ces Butner rang the bell for Women in Rotary.

Bruce Nye, Beth Hillman, Maya Woods-Cadiz and Ces Butner rang the bell for Mayor Libby Schaaf.

Adjournment

President Ces Butner adjourned another busy meeting at 1:30 p.m. with his signature comment “that’s the way it went” and the reminder that Rotary Opens Opportunity for Service Above Self as he rang the bell.

Dave Metz

Next Meeting, January 14 – David Metz – Local Opinion Poll Results

David Stein announced our speaker will be David Metz, President of FM3 Research. He will provide an overview of the latest opinion research to tell us what Oaklanders think about their community and local government; what the results of the 2020 election mean for politics and governing in Oakland and in California; and whether we can all trust what polls tell us anyway.

Ces Butner, President of Rotary Club of Oakland

Call to Order – Ces Butner

President Ces Butner called our 5,320th “Civic Thursday” meeting order and welcomed all of our Zoom guests.

President Ces led the attendees in reciting the Rotary Club of Oakland vision statement. He then shared a slide with the Rotary Foundation giving a "Thermometer." Seventy-two percent of club members have donated to the Rotary Foundation to date. Ces urged all members to donate so that the presidential challenge donation of $50,000 will kick in.

Fred Mackay

Thought for the Day – Fred Mackay

Fred Mackay presented the thought for the day and suggested that after a difficult 2020, we should all strengthen our ties as humans in 2021.

Presidential Challenge Donation - Thermometer

Vision Statement

President Ces led the attendees in reciting the Rotary Club of Oakland vision statement. He then shared a slide with the Rotary Foundation giving "thermometer." Seventy-two percent of club members have donated to the rotary Foundation to date. Ces urged all members to donate so that the presidential challenge donation of $50,000 will kick in. 

David Kittner

Feed The Hungry - Part 2

David Kittner, chair of the Community Service Committee, reported that last week's Feed the Hungry event raised $20,000 in pledges, a record shattering amount. Not only has Steve Nicholls of MN Builders agreed to match the $20,000 (for a total of $40,000), he has agreed to match up to another $5,000. The bells started ringing via the chat box. Here are today’s donors:

Karen Friedman, Jason Wizelman, Jennie Hunsberger, Iris Brody Lopez, Sean Callum, Ruth Stroup, Sean Marx, Fred Mackay, David Kersten, Diane Schaffer, Courtney Ruby, CJ Hirschfield, Sed Tydus, Debra Barnes and Ces Butner. Pauline Fox rang the bell the week earlier.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President Ed Jellen introduced Rotarians Dianne Dorn, past president of the San Leandro Rotary Club and Iris Brody Lopez, past president of the Rotary Club of Oakland. He also introduced guests, Jennifer Geong (all the way from Belarus) and Dena Shupe (all the way from the Oakland City Auditor's office).

Slate of new board members

Annual Meeting and Election

Past President Sean Marx presided over the club's 2020 election. Members nominated as directors for 2021-24 are Kimberly Cohn, Wil Hobbs, Mike Mowery and Renia Webb. The member nominated for president elect-nominee for 2022-23 is Mary Geong. There was no waiting for our election results. The "yes" votes immediately appeared in the chat box and Kim, Wil, Mike, Renia and Mary received a rousing ovation.

Holidays

The Holiday's Are Here

Pres. Ces introduced three members who provided insight into three holidays celebrated this month.

Christmas from Keri Butkevich

Keri's Christmas tree is at the center of her family's Christmas celebration. The ornaments bring her memories of family, trips, and crafts. She displayed a photo of the ornament she made in her 1975 kindergarten class. She wished everyone a holiday of peace, joy, and healing.

Hanukkah from Mike Bruck

Mike displayed his t-shirt with all of the possible spellings of the word Hanukkah-Chanukah-Hanukah-Chanukah etc. You can never go wrong by using the Hebrew spelling. Hanukkah commemorates the Maccabees victory over the Syrians in a fight for religious freedom. The Jews could only find enough oil for the temple lamp to burn one day but miraculously, the lamp burned eight days. Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days by lighting the menorah candles and eating potato latkes.

Kwanzaa from Renia Webb

Kwanzaa is the youngest of the three holidays (started in 1966) and honors African heritage in African-American culture. Renia played a video describing the one-week holiday (Dec. 26-Jan.1). Festivities involve dancing, singing, storytelling, gifts, and a large feast. Families often decorate their homes with fruits, a black, red, and green flag, and a candle holder with seven candles. You can participate in Kwanzaa even if you celebrate other holidays.

Happy Holidays to all.

President’s State of the Club Report for July - December

President Ces presented his state of the club report covering the first six months of the Rotary year. This has been a challenging period for the club due to the Covid-19 pandemic but the club has faced that challenge and has become stronger. Accomplishments include:

1. High-profile speakers at weekly meetings such as Representative Barbara Lee, Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan, Rotary International president-elect Jennifer Jones, and the Federal Reserve panel.

2.Creation of the "Civic Thursday" brand for the weekly meetings.

3.Continuation of community service projects. The Community Service and Kinder Prep committees have been hard at work serving the Oakland and school communities.

4. Collaboration with the "First Five Clubs" on the packing and distribution of hygiene kits for the homeless community.

5. Record fundraising for the Rotary Foundation and Feed the Hungry campaigns. Stay tuned for another presidential challenge during the spring ORE campaign.

6. Fifteen new members have been inducted but Pres. Ces needs at least 35 more new members to reach his goal.

7. The Housing Insecurity Task Force is working on a special project. Mayor Libby Schaaf will help unveil this project next year.

Rotoract Report

DeVante Brooks, former H.O.P.E. mentee and president of the Oakland Community Rotaract Club, introduced the club's officers and gave a brief update on the club's activities. Rotaractors are always receptive to advice from Oakland Rotarians.

Special Announcement from Phil Bennett

Phil Bennett introduced the audience to the newest member of his family – Isabel Zawadi Bennett, born November 14th. Congratulations to Phil and Patricia.

Tinisch Hollins and Courtney Ruby

Speakers for the Day – Tinisch Hollins and Courtney Ruby

Winter Williams introduced Tinisch Hollins, associate director of Californians for Safety and Justice, and Oakland Rotarian Courtney Ruby, City of Oakland Auditor. The panel, moderated by Winter, engaged in a discussion of criminal justice reform. Crime victims have shifted from their traditional opposition to criminal justice reform to supporting the crime eradication and its causes. They are seeking additional funding for services to victims of crimes. Victims don't trust a criminal justice system that has already failed them. There is no quick fix or easy solutions.

Courtney Ruby's office released a performance audit of the Oakland Police Commission and the Community Police Review Agency in June. The report made five findings and 41 recommendations. It found that although the commission was intended to be one of the most powerful police oversight commissions in the U.S., it needed to be more effectively organized and supported to create lasting change. There was pushback from the commission and since the auditor has no enforcement powers, the public needs to take action.

Click here to see their video

Cocktails With The President

Holiday Cocktails With The President

Past President Linda Boessenecker invited everyone to have cocktails with President Ces on Thursday, December 17th, 5:30-6:30 p.m., via Zoom. President-elect Dudley Thompson will be sending the recipe for a special holiday cocktail and you should wear your festive attire - prizes will be awarded. 

Bellringers

Executive Director Pat Williams announced the following bellringers:

Phil Bennett and Ces Butner rang the bell in honor of the birth of Isabel Zawadi Bennett.

Robert Kidd rang the bell in honor of Steve Nicholls.

Donation To The Salvation Army

Donation To The Salvation Army

President Ces recently presented a check for $ 2,000 to Captain James Sullivan of the Salvation Army.  This donation to the Salvation Army honors our Club’s July-December Speakers. Our Club recently partnered with the Salvation Army in delivering hygiene kits to residents of Oakland’s encampments and witnessed firsthand the Salvation’s Army strong commitment and service to these individuals.

Adjournment

President Ces Butner adjourned another busy meeting at 1:34 pm with his signature comment “that’s the way it went” and the reminder that Rotary Opens Opportunity for Service Above Self as he rang the bell.

Ces Butner, President of Rotary Club of Oakland

Call to Order – Ces Butner

President Ces Butner called our 5,319th “Civic Thursday” meeting order and welcomed all of our Zoom guests.

Pres. Ces reported he has put to good use the recommendations from our speaker, Magician Dennis Kyriakos, on what technology to use to look your best on Zoom. He has a new circular light, computer stand and a backdrop.  You looked great, Ces!

Kim Cohn

Thought for the Day – Kim Cohn

To highlight the Community Service Committee’s work, Kim Cohn read a quote from M.F.K. Fisher: “It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others.”

Lorna Padia Markus - Mowat, Mackie & Anderson

Meeting Sponsor – Lorna Padia Markus – Mowat, Mackie & Anderson

Lorna Padia Markus was the meeting sponsor today, featuring her firm, Mowat, Mackie & Anderson. A CPA for 30 years, Lorna has seen tax policies change over many Presidential administrations.  She advised us to work with a professional and to do our year-end tax planning because it’s not known what the tax rates will be in 2021.  Mowat, Mackie & Anderson works with individuals and businesses of all sizes and offers a full range of services, which include tax planning, retirement planning, succession planning, and mergers and acquisitions. Their goal is to have a personal relationship with their clients and to provide extraordinary service.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President Ed Jellen welcomed several visitors which included many Rotarian relatives.  Bonnie Hamlin’s guest was her husband Earl.  Georgia Richardson brought her daughter, Rhyon Sherer. Mary Geong’s daughters, Danielle and Jennifer Geong, visited from Washington DC and Belarus, respectively. CJ Hirschfield brought two guests from the Lake Merritt Nature Center, Sonia Byrd and Terrie Smith. 

A Slate Of New Board Members

Nominating Committee Report

On behalf of the Nominating Committee, Past President David Stein announced the recommended slate of new Board members for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2021:  Kim Cohn, Will Hobbs, Mike Mowery, and Renia Webb

Our President Elect Nominee for 2022-2023 is Mary Geong. Over the years, Mary has held many positions in Rotary Club of Oakland and worked on many committees. They include: the Oakland Rotary Endowment Board of which she is a past president, Saroni Lena Scholarship Committee, Entertainment Committee, Homeless Committee, and KinderPrep Field trips.

Congratulations Mary and all of those newly nominated to the Board.  The official election will take place at the December 10th meeting.

Jesse Bowdle - New Executive Administrator, Oakland Rotary Club

Executive Administrator Announcement

President Ces announced that after nearly seven years with Oakland Rotary Club, Executive Director Pat Williams will be retiring in the latter part of December.  The Club has made great strides under Pat’s leadership, and we thank her for the work that she’s done.

Our new Executive Administrator is Jesse Bowdle. A fellow Rotarian and member of the San Leandro Rotary Club, Jesse had a chance to say a few words and is very excited about his new position. Jesse and Pat will be working together for the month of December to facilitate a smooth transition. They can be reached at executive.director@oakland-rotary.org and (510) 451-2120.

Candice Elder

New Member Induction – Candice Elder

John Claassen introduced our newest member, Candice Elder.  A Bay area native, she grew up in Oakland and graduated from UC Berkeley. Mayor Libby Schaaf recently appointed Candice to the Oakland Homeless Commission. Welcome Candice, we look forward to meeting you in person!

Community Service Committee Chair David Kittner

Feed the Hungry Annual Fundraiser

Community Service Committee Chair David Kittner launched the annual Feed the Hungry Fundraiser.  Oakland Rotary has been raising funds to feed the hungry for 30 years. We support many organizations with the funds we raise.  They include: Alameda County Community Food Bank, Harbor House, Oakland Catholic Workers Food Program, Bay Area Meals on Wheels, First Presbyterian Church, Prescott Joseph Center, St. Mary’s Center, St. Vincent de Paul Community Center and Operation Dignity. 

Steve Nicholls announced that MN Builders would graciously match up to $20,000 in donations. David then asked Oakland Rotarians to ring the bell to donate to the Feed the Hungry Program. This spurred many bell ringers at all levels: 10 rings, 5 rings, 4 rings, 2 rings and 1 ring.  Thank you to everyone who donated!  We raised a total of $ 20,100, and this will be matched by Steve, up to   $ 20,000 Thank you for your generosity Steve! We’ll be able to make a big impact in helping those who are food insecure.

Thank you to the Club members that rang the bell:  Roberta Abel, Wise Allen, Bob Barth, Carla Betts, Stephen Blair, Linda Boessenecker, Jim Bossenecker, Scott Bowhay, Bob Breecker, Mike Bruck, Ces Butner, Jim Caponigro, Stephanie Casenze, Linda Chew, Pam Claassen, John Claassen, Walter Clausen, Kersey Clausen, Kimberly Cohn, Kathy Dwyer, Merlin Edwards, Candice Elder, Julia Fox, Mary Geong, Joe Goralka, Kerry Hamill, Bonnie Hamlin, CJ Hirschfield, Wil Hobbs, William Hogan, John Holmgren, Jack Iles, Edward Jellen, Robert Kidd, David Kittner, Isaac Kos-Read, Tom Love, Joycie Mack, Danny Mai, Jack McAboy, Tommy McCoy, Sam Miller, Fred Morse, Mike Mowery, Sandeepa Nayak, Bruce Nye, Shanna O’Hare, Lorna Padia-Markus, Alex Poulsen, David Rabb, Georgia Richardson, Patrick Riley, Mark Rosen, Marie Marietta, Peter Sherris, David Stein, Ruth Stroup, Dudley Thompson,  Gail Uilkema, Keith Uriarte, Teresa Weyand, Winter Williams, Pat Williams, Jain Williams, and Suzie Yokomizo

Chef Nikki Shaw

Speaker for the Day – Chef Nikki Shaw

Georgia Richardson introduced our speaker, Chef Nikki Shaw.  The multi-talented Ms. Shaw is not just a chef.  She is actively involved in the community teaching nutrition, healthy eating and self-care. Nikki emphasized the importance of getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. In this time of Covid-19, it’s important not to neglect our heath.  Make sure you get regular checkups.  Plan a relaxing activity and do some fun things – make time to laugh.  Try to avoid the “Covid 15” by eating healthy high fiber foods.  You can boost your immune system with Vitamin A and Zinc.  Vitamin C will help build antibodies.  Protein helps your cells stay healthy.  Don’t forget your mental health; that’s important too.  Avoid sugar because it suppresses your immune system and causes inflammation.  Cut back on carbohydrates.  Chef Nikki left us with this thought – “When you eat good, you feel good. When you feel good, you do good.” Click here to watch her segment.

Happy Birthday Bert Clausen

Birthday Shoutout to Bert Clausen

Bert Clausen, the club’s oldest member, is celebrating his 100th birthday anniversary today.  He joined the club in 1957.  His son, Kers Clausen, reported he is doing well.  We extended our congratulations to him on this very special day. 

Cocktails with the President

Cocktails with the President

President Elect Dudley Thompson announced we will have a Holiday Cocktails with the President, virtually of course, on Thursday, December 17th at 5:30 pm.

Bellringers

Executive Director Pat Williams announced the following bellringers:

Georgia Richardson rang the bell in honor of Nikki Shaw.

Joe Goralka announced East Bay Restaurant Supply will provide a $500 gift card to Nikki Shaw for her work in Oakland.

Adjournment

President Ces Butner adjourned another busy meeting at 1:34 pm with his signature comment “that’s the way it went” and the reminder that Rotary Opens Opportunity for Service Above Self as he rang the bell.

Tinisch Hollins and Courtney Ruby

Next Meeting, December 10 – Jay Jordan and Courtney Ruby

David Stein announced that we will have two speakers on December 10:  Tinisch Hollins and Courtney Ruby.

Jay has worked at the intersection of social justice and politics throughout his career.  In the South Los Angeles area, he worked with a group of crime survivor to transform their community by employing an asset-based community development strategy. In Stockton, he created his own non-profit, The First50, that focused on teen diversion and civic engagement.  In its first year, The First50 saw both 100% high school graduation and college enrollment.

Oakland City Auditor and Rotary member Courtney Ruby will share with us her office’s findings and issues facing the City of Oakland during these challenging times.