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Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,384th Civic Thursday meeting to order – highlighting the fact that Oakland Rotary is the 3rd Rotary Club established and we are proudly a diverse group of over 270 members. Our membership includes business owners, professionals and community leaders. 

Pres. Dudley then asked all to join him in reciting our Rotary Vision Statement which, in part, states that together we see a world united to take action.

Thought For The Day - Davey Warner

Davey Warner, soon-to-be-inducted new member and avid outdoorsman shared a lovely and inspiring quote by Harold V. Melchert inviting us to “live your life each day as you would climb a mountain. An occasional glance toward the summit keeps the goal in mind, but many beautiful scenes are to be observed from each new vantage point.” 

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President & Past District Governor Ed Jellen introduced Dianne Dorn,  Past President of the San Leandro Club and Assistant District Governor, Area 4A. Ruth Stroup was pleased to welcome her “GlenFriends” to the meeting. Keri Butkevich introduced guest and husband Nickolai, and David Stein introduced Dan Walters, president of the Bay Area Council of Boy Scouts of America.


Rotary Ukraine Disaster Relief Fund

In keeping with the meeting’s focus on Ukraine, President Dudley reminded us of our own fundraising efforts ignited by a generous club donor’s $10,000 challenge grant that with an additional $5,000 became a $15,000 total challenge. We have matched this gift successfully and the Club is donating $30,000 to the Rotary Foundation Disaster Response Fund assisting those affected by the war in Ukraine. So far, according to the Rotary International website, 53 disaster response grants, totaling nearly $1.5 million have been awarded.  Many thanks to all club members who joined in this generous response.

John C. Weaver Jr., M.D. Memorial – April 30th:

Rotarians are invited to attend the Memorial honoring the life of our esteemed colleague, John C. Weaver, Jr. M.D., whose passion was appreciated and loved by many in our club, and especially those in the World Community Services Committee who accompanied him on his travels for humanitarian projects.

The Memorial will take place Saturday, April 30, 3:30 pm at Piedmont Community Church, 400 Highland Avenue, Piedmont.

National Volunteer Week:

This week being National Volunteer Week, Pres. Dudley asked us to celebrate by volunteering for some of the upcoming events listed on our website’s Event Calendar. Dudley also thanked the volunteers who made the virtual Civic Thursday meeting possible.

Golf Tournament at Poppy Ridge Golf Course:

The Golf Tournament on April 29th at Poppy Ridge Golf Course is sold out.

New Member Induction – Robert Kenney

Sarah Chavez-Yoell introduced new club member Robert Kenney who is an attorney and serves as PG & E’s Senior Vice President of Regulatory and External Affairs. He is an East Bay resident and proud father of two sons. In his spare time Robert enjoys spending time with family, playing tennis, riding his bike and going to the movies. Welcome Robert!

Speaker for the Day – Thomas E. Graham

David Stein introduced our guest speaker with an impressive list of achievements. Thomas E. Graham is a Distinguished Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was the Senior Director for Russia on the National Security Council Staff during the George W. Bush administration and a special assistant to the president while managing a White House-Kremlin strategic dialogue. He is a co-founder of the Russian, East European and Eurasian studies program at Yale University, and has been a sought-after lecturer in global affairs and political science since 2011. 

Thomas’s excellent commentary gave us a behind-the-headlines look at what is happening in Ukraine, why it happened, Putin’s motives and what likely lies ahead for better or worse. He stressed that the nature of the conflict from the Russian standpoint is larger than the war in Ukraine.  He said that Moscow sees as a threat the expansion of NATO’s euro-atlantic region in the years following the cold war when Russia was weakened. Even if the war in Ukraine is resolved, we will likely still see an attempt to destabilize the NATO bond among nations. Moscow’s fear of encroachment is so strong that the present war in Ukraine is seen by some experts as part of Russia’s larger goal to take control of the seaports and the entire territorial region along the Black Sea, for security and economic reasons. 

Putin so far has underestimated Ukraine’s resistance. The timing of the invasion was likely influenced by the fact that Zelensky was a new president who scored low in the polls in his inaugural time before the invasion, easily replaceable in Putin’s mind.  Zelensky also had made a concerted approach to NATO to make good on its 2008 promise to work toward adding Ukraine. This made Moscow nervous, as did the observation that NATO countries had begun to help train other countries on defensive exercises. Putin had little active resistance from NATO in other invasions, and he did not expect the united front it displayed this time.

Ultimately, Putin underestimated both Zelensky and the Ukraine Resistance, while overestimating the readiness and capability of his military. Thomas opined that whatever comes next in the Ukrainian-Russian war, there is likely no negotiated future for the conflict simply because Moscow wants Ukraine to surrender, and they will not do so. Putin sees victory as his only solution to Russia’s security and his personal future. He declared a goal to win the war by May 9, an important Russian Victory Day Holiday celebrating its triumph over Nazi Germany. Whether he will resort to maniacal weaponry to get there, or instead focus on seizing the Donbas region to declare victory, remains to be seen in the days ahead. He is already a war criminal for the organized atrocities committed by Russian soldiers on civilians. Thomas feels it will take a decade or more for Ukraine to recover from all that has happened so far. And the impact on its people much longer, if ever.


After encouraging everyone to participate in supporting our upcoming Gala, President Dudley adjourned the meeting at 1:31 pm as he reminded us to Serve to Change Lives and Don’t Keep Rotary a Secret!

Next Meeting, May 5 – Tasneem Raja – Future Role of Digital Local News

There is no noon meeting on April 28th. Instead, members will spend their Rotary-designated time dressed in their best” Grateful Glam” outfits to attend that evening’s In the Mood for Gratitude Gala at the Sequoyah Country Club.

Isaac Kos-Read announced our next speaker on May 5th will be Tasneem Raja, editor-in-chief of The Oaklandside, the innovative non-profit digital news site that covers Oakland and the East Bay.  She will share her insights into the state of the free press, and the niche that The Oaklandside and similar news sites may fill in its future.  

Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,383rd Civic Thursday meeting to order – highlighting the fact that Oakland Rotary is the 3rd Rotary Club established and we are proudly a diverse group of over 270 members. Our membership includes business owners, professionals and community leaders.

Thought For The Day - Mieko Hatano

Mieko Hatano gave the Thought for the Day. “When we listen to music we are not listening to the past or listening to the future.  We are listening to expand the present.”

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President & Past District Governor Ed Jellen announced there were no visiting Rotarians. One guest was introduced in the Ballroom.

Meeting Sponsor – Kymberly Miller – Children’s Fairyland

Our meeting sponsor was Kymberly Miller, Executive Director of Oakland’s Children’s Fairyland. Kymberly brought us up to date on all the new things happening at Fairyland including their two upcoming fundraisers. The 75th anniversary will be in 2025 so there are tons of infrastructure projects going on to enhance the already great Fairyland experience. Isaac Kos-Read is a big fan of Fairyland and encouraged us all to support the many programs it offers by attending the Annual Gala in the Park on May 25th. Proceeds of this event will fund the infrastructure enhancements as well as the many programs offered. 

Reintroduction of Susan Smith

Jesse Schmidt reintroduced us to Rotarian Susan SmithSusan is a lifelong athlete who played soccer in college at St. Mary’s and now she runs marathons. She has been married for 23 years to her college sweetheart and says that it is her family that she is most proud of. Susan is now running her family business, East Bay Blue Print & Supply Company. A Rotarian for 23 years, Susan is grateful to Wayne Goodroe who convinced her to join.

Oakland Rotary Endowment Annual Meeting

ORE Board President Leann Alameda conducted the annual ORE meeting. After establishing a quorum of members attendung in the Ballroom and on Zoom, she announced the one item of business – election of Board members who will serve a three-year term beginning July 2022. Nominees Ces Butner, Merlin Edwards, Danny Mai and Pamela Claassen were duly elected. Congratulations to the new ORE Board members.


KinderPrep Volunteer Opportunities

KinderPrep Chairman John Holmgren is gearing up for the annual KinderPrep distribution of books and is looking for volunteers. This is a great service opportunity for Rotarians. You can participate in the book bag set-up on April 22nd or book packing event on the April 23rd. There is also an opportunity to be a chaperone at the KinderPrep visit to the Oakland Zoo on April 26th or Children’s Fairyland visit on May 6th. Those interested can sign up on the Club Website calendar.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Survey

Celeste Gordon, DEI Committee Co-Chair, announced the committee will be doing an Inclusion Survey of members along with individual and group interviews to learn about our members’ experiences. The DEI Committee will be looking to see: Do we reflect the diverse community of Oakland? Does everyone in our club feel welcomed? Does everyone feel they have access to leadership opportunities and decision making? The DEI committee is looking for new members, everyone is welcomed to join. “We can’t serve the community unless we are the community”.

In The Mood for Gratitude Gala

Are you In the Mood for Gratitude? Gala Co-Chair Tricia Connors invited us all to attend our April 28th fundraiser at the Sequoyah Country Club from 6 -10 pm. Deadline for purchasing tickets is April 22nd. If you’re in the mood to win a great raffle prize, get your raffle tickets now. $100 will get you one out of 100 tickets, giving you a pretty good chance to win something. If you’re in the mood for wine we also have a $50 raffle ticket that gives you a chance to win 24 bottles of wine! Each bottle is worth over $50! This could set you up for gifts for the holidays. If you’re in the mood for a trip to Italy, Ana Chretien has graciously donated two rooms at a villa in Italy that can accommodate four people. Rick Baskin and Layin’ Down the Law will be performing and joining them will be the legendary Jules Broussard. If you’re in the mood for a great evening with good food and fun Rotarians, the Gala is the place to be. 

Epic Hike, Second Stage

Robert Kidd reminded members to join the Second Stage of the Epic Hike Series (Richmond to San Leandro) on Sunday, April 24th.  This portion will take place in Tilden Park. For detailed information and to register, go to the Club Website calendar.

Golf Tournament at Poppy Ridge Course

Golfers can enjoy a tournament on Friday, April 29 at Poppy Ridge Golf Course in Livermore. Tee times start at 10:40 am.  Deadline for signing up is April 22. Contact Jesse Bowdle at to sign up.

Rotary District 5170 Conference

The Annual Conference will take place on April 22 – 24 at Blackhawk Museum and the San Ramon Marriott. Attendees must sign up on advance for the activities they would like to attend.  Register at the Rotary 5170 District website.

Enterprise Institute Leadership Academy

This one-day event will be April 23 from 8 am – 4 pm. Attend to hear this program for high school juniors. Contact Harold Lowe at, Gary Flaxman at or Dudley Thompson at for details.

Speaker for the Day – Corinna Gould

Robert Kidd introduced our speaker, Corinna Gould, the Confederated Chair and Spokesperson for the Ohlone community.

Corinna traced the history of Native Americans in California and shared with us many facts about the terrible treatment Native Americans received here.  She emphasized this is the history that is never taught in schools.  Her presentation included information about the enslavement of Native Americans at the Missions, laws that made it legal to hunt Native Americans, and how Native Americans were stripped of their language and religion. Many cities, including, Oakland, Emeryville, Albany, Alameda and Richmond are now recognizing that our cities are built on Ohlone Territory and are publicly displaying a tribute to this heritage.


Susan Smith rang the bell in honor of her sponsor, Wayne Goodroe.

Jack McAboy, John Holmgren, Fred Morse, Steve Blair, Robert Kidd and Dudley Thompson rang the bell for Susan Smith.

Shanna O’Hare rang the bell five times for Ed Jellen.

Ed Jellen rang the bell three times: for Robert Kidd, for Michael Bruck and for those Rotarians who rang the bell recently for him.

Lois Corrin rang the bell for Senator Cory Booker.

Tom Limon rang the bell for Georgia Richardson and Karen Friedman.


President Dudley adjourned the meeting at 1:35 pm as he reminded us to Serve to Change Lives and Don’t Keep Rotary a Secret!

Next Meeting, April 14 – Corinna Gould

David Stein announced next week’s speaker is Thomas E. Graham. From 2004-2007, he was special assistant to the president and senior director for Russia on the National Security Council where he managed a White House-Kremlin dialogue and formerly Director of Russian Affairs. His past experiences provide him with a wealth of knowledge that will keep you on the edge of your seat. This meeting is a Zoom-only meeting.

Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,382nd Civic Thursday meeting of the third oldest Rotary Club in the world. We are a diverse group of some 270 business, professional and community leaders dedicated to Service Above Self.

Thought For The Day - Gary Flaxman

Gary Flaxman recalled that at Camp Enterprise Past President Eddie Snow would tell students to “step out of your comfort zone.” Gary’s thought for us as we exit the pandemic is to step out, explore the world with family and friends and be prepared to come out of your comfort zone.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President & Past District Governor Ed Jellen introduced Dr. Dilip Sarkar of the Rotary Club of Chesapeake, Virginia and Richard Schwart, president of San Francisco/Chinatown Rotary Club. Also signing in via Zoom was President Dudley’s wife, Concha Delgado Gaitan.

Meeting Sponsor – Ruth Stroup, Farmers Insurance

Ruth Stroup, also known as “The Insurance Lady”, revealed that owning an insurance business for the last 16 years started by accident (maybe an intended pun). Her goal was always to be a business owner, just like her dad, but it took two previous career ventures before she arrived at insurance as her focus. She believes in serving the community by hiring local people, paying local taxes and giving at least 5% back to the community. She announced a Community Shred Day at her office on Saturday, April 16 from 10 am to 2 pm. All types of documents are welcome and the shred is free. 

New Member Induction – Peter Pervere

Past President Ken Richardson introduced our newest member, Peter Pervere. Peter retired from a career in accounting and finance. He has served on various local boards, including Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Oakland Museum. When he is not golfing, Peter finds time to chauffeur his grandchildren to and from school. He also joins two other members of his family as Oakland Rotarians, his sister Maude Pervere and brother-in-law Sam Miller. Welcome Peter!


KinderPrep – Four Dates

KinderPrep Chair John Holmgren announced four service projects taking place in the next two months.

April 22 – 9am – 12 noon, Set-up for Book Packing Day, 5 volunteers needed

April 23 – Book Bag Packing Day at Johnstone Supply, 9 am – 12 noon, 10 volunteers needed

April 26 –10 am – 1 pm, Field Trip to Oakland Zoo – 10 volunteers needed to welcome students and set up lunches

May 6 – 10 am – 1 pm, Field Trip to Children’s Fairyland for 4 classes – 5 volunteers needed to escort children and help with lunches

Sign up on the Club Website Calendar. 

Email John Holmgren at if you have questions.

Enterprise Institute Leadership Academy – April 23: Gary Flaxman saluted the 40th anniversary of Enterprise Institute (formerly called Camp Enterprise) which began in 1982. This year it is a one-day event on April 23, 8 am – 4 pm, at the Police Athletic League site. Come and watch the students go through the learning modules. For information, contact Gary Flaxman, Harold Lowe or Dudley Thompson.

Lake Merritt Gardens Service Day – April 16: C J Hirshfield announced on April 16 from 9 am to 1 pm, volunteers will clean up Lake Merritt Gardens. Volunteers are asked to bring masks, water and work gloves. Also bring shears and work or rain boots if available. Additional information available on website. Sign up on the Club Website Calendar in advance and fill out the Covid Waiver.

In The Mood for Gratitude Gala – April 28Co-chair Kerry Hamill announced tickets are for sale on the Website Calendar for the Gala, which will take place at Sequoyah Country Club on April 28 from 6 pm – 10 pm. There will be a Live Auction as well as a Silent Auction. One hundred Raffle Tickets are also being sold. Holder of the winning ticket will have first choice pick among the Live Auction items.

Club Meeting Schedule Adjustments for April: Pres. Dudley announced some changes in the April meeting schedule.

April 14th meeting will take place in the Ballroom and on Zoom.

April 21st meeting will be Zoom only.

There may be a noon Zoom meeting on April 28th, to be determined.

Golf Tournament – April 29: Golfers can enjoy a tournament on Friday, April 29 at Poppy Ridge Golf Course in Livermore. Tee times start at 10:40 am. Deadline for signing up is April 22. Contact Jesse Bowdle at to sign up.

Aid to Ukraine: Pres. Dudley updated members on the matching fund for Aid to Ukraine. An anonymous donor made a $10,000 challenge which has been met to-date with $6,200 in gifts from club members. The donor will add an additional $5,000 in matching funds if donations continue. Contact Jesse Bowdle on how to make a donation for this match. Funds will be managed and disbursed by Rotary International through their Disaster Response Fund.

Speaker for the Day – Dilip Sarkar, MD

Debo Sarkar introduced our speaker, and his brother, Dr. Dilip Sarkar. Dr. Sarkar is a retired vascular surgeon who holds certificates as a Yoga Therapist and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist. He is recognized as an expert in the integration of western medicine with Ayurveda and yoga therapy.

Dr. Sarkar began by describing yoga as the union of body, mind and spirit. His analogy is to think of the body as hardware, mind as software and spirit as the programmer.  He dispelled the myth that yoga is “sitting down and putting one’s body in the shape of a pretzel.”

Yoga is a philosophy – mind over body. Breathing is the most important component. Time of day is not an issue, but yoga is often done in the morning and should be scheduled daily.

It is the most important activity we can do as it contributes to adjusting our heart rate, reducing stress, and allowing our minds to experience stillness, resulting in happiness among other things.

Dr. Sarkar walked us through a daily routine to keep our bodies functioning with good posture, and how, over time, we can improve our body functions. (Editor’s note: of the 30+ viewers on Zoom, most had their screens closed—perhaps they were practicing the exercises as Dr. Sarker demonstrated.)

Introspection is important – “find a time for yoga, and yoga will find a time for you.” 

Dr. Sarkar is the author of Yoga Therapy, Ayurveda, and Western Medicine. He can also be viewed on his YouTube Channel.


Lois Corrin, Ruth Stroup, Keith Uriarte, Ces Butner, Robert Kidd, Joycie Mack and Merlin Edwards rang the bell for newly-confirmed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.


President Dudley adjourned the meeting at 1:30 pm as he reminded us to Serve to Change Lives and Don’t Keep Rotary a Secret

Next Meeting, April 14 – Corinna Gould

Robert Kidd announced next week’s speaker is Corinna Gould, Spokeswoman and Tribal Chair of the Confederated Villages of Lisjan/Ohlone. The Ohlone people live in the area now occupied by the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Ms. Gould's tribe, specifically, is located in the East Bay regions now occupied by Oakland, Berkeley, and beyond.

Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,381st Civic Thursday meeting of the third oldest Rotary Club in the world. We are a diverse group of some 270 business, professional and community leaders dedicated to Service Above Self. Together 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.”

Thought For The Day - Dawnn Hills

Dawnn Hills reflected with appreciation on the many contributions women have made to history, culture and society and asked Rotarians to stand in awe of all the women upon whose shoulders they have stood in honor of Women’s History Month which began in Sonoma County as Women’s History Day in 1978 and was later recognized as a Month in 1987.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President Robert Kidd introduced and welcomed Past President and Assistant Governor of Area 4A, Dianne Dorn from the San Leandro Club; Lisa Lorenz, Lt. Governor from Niles/Fremont Rotary Club; Hung Wei, Lt. Governor and District Governor Nominee – Rotary Club of Cupertino; and Oakland Rotary member and Assistant Governor Area 1, Joe Goralka. Allison Bliss introduced her guest and soon to be member, David Warner. President Dudley introduced his wife, Concha Delgado Gaitan.

Oakland Rotary Endowment Campaign

Past President Ces Butner thanked Leeann Alameda for her work on this year’s Oakland Rotary Endowment (ORE) Campaign. He noted that we have distributed over $1.6 million in the past 6 years locally and internationally and have sponsored many projects and contributed to the Saroni-Lena scholarship fund. Gary Flaxman presented a short film about Enterprise Institute, a camp where high school juniors learn to write a business plan, learn about entrepreneurship and career choices they may have and just one of the many projects our Club supports. Ces noted we are about $20,000 shy of our goal of $100,000. Hands began to fly, and the following Rotarians rose to the challenge and made pledges as follows: Shannon Hackley, Fred Morse, Joycie Mack, Joe Goralka, Pauline Fox, and John Malick. Their generosity brought us very close to our goal.

Ces announced there is still time to make a gift. Now is the time to donate so committees can fully resume their activities post-pandemic. To pay online go to . Choose Oakland Rotary Endowment for your donation. Or mail a check to the Rotary office; an envelope was sent to every Rotarian earlier in the month.

District Governor’s Remarks – Richard Flanders

Past President and Past District Governor Ed Jellen introduced District 5170 Governor Richard Flanders who is making the annual visit to the club. District Governor Flanders has been a member of Pleasanton North since 1995, served as his club president in his third year of membership, and has also served as Assistant District Governor.  He has been the recipient of many Rotary awards for his many years of service including, the Lead the Way Award, the Richard King Award and the Karl Stucki Award. 

Governor Flanders noted that today will mark visits to 58 clubs, with just four more club visits on his list. He acknowledged that dealing with the COVID pandemic for the past two years has been challenging for Rotary nationwide. Many clubs have not had the opportunity to meet with one another for the past two years. He encouraged all of us, now that meetings are once again in person, to reach out and let members know they can attend meetings, and engage them to bring guests to meetings so that they can learn all the fine things that Rotary does in the community and around the world. 

He thanked our Club for our generous contributions to The Rotary Foundation that exceeded $175,000. We have also given $30,000 to Polio Plus and $6,000 to provide wheelchairs to those in need. He also thanked the club for our Feed The Hungry campaign and for funding scholarships. He invited us all to attend the upcoming District Conference at Blackhawk Museum in Danville on April 22 through April 24.  As part of the musical entertainment, we can hear our own Oakland Rotarians, Jason Wizelman and Linda Hamilton perform. There will also be interesting speakers and a House of Friendship on the 5th floor of the Marriott Hotel where we can mix and mingle with Rotarians from the District.

Governor Flanders concluded by sharing a heartwarming personal story about the worldwide reach of Rotary. When he was 11, his father died and his mother had the body cremated and interred in a Buddhist temple in Taiwan. His mother told him that she and his father one day would be together again. Six years after Mr. Flanders joined Rotary his mother died, and he and his brother undertook a journey to Taiwan to gather their father's ashes. Not being fluent in the  Chinese language, Mr. Flanders reached out to a friend in Rotary who contacted a Rotarian in Taiwan. This Rotarian met Mr. Flanders and his brother at the airport and drove them to the temple where their father's ashes were sitting on a table. The monk at the temple was unsure about presenting the ashes to Mr. Flanders until the friendly Rotarian took the monk aside. Twenty minutes later the monk handed the urn to Mr. Flanders. The friendly Rotarian was named Gary Huang, who later became the Rotary International President from 2014-15.

Speaker for the Day – David Montejano

President Dudley Thompson introduced our speaker, Professor David Montejano, who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and from Yale University with a M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology. The professor has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of New Mexico. He is the former chair of the Center for Latino Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of numerous scholarly tracts as well as three books: Angelos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, Sanchos Journal: Exploring the Political Edge with the Brown Berets, and Mexican Merchants and Teamsters on the Texas Cotton Road 1862 to 1865. 

Professor Montejano focused on the theme of how markets supersede war and gave examples of how commerce continued during the civil war. Southern cotton was sent to New England mills during the war to make Union uniforms. This was made possible by Mexico being neutral and the somewhat dubious machinations of a businessman named Charles Stillman who sold guns to Confederates and cotton to the Union by not labeling the goods, writing very little correspondence and taking advantage of British and French ships claiming neutrality by docking ships in the Rio Grande. Some of the goods were shipped to Havana, then transferred to another ship, then on to Liverpool and from there to New York. Stillman seemed to understand the concept of realpolitik before the term was invented. Professor Montejano’s books will continue the story. 


President Dudley adjourned the meeting at 1:30 pm as he reminded us to Serve to Change Lives and Don’t Keep Rotary a Secret!

Next Meeting, April 7 – Dilip Sarkar – Yoga and Western Medicine

Debo Sarkar announced next week’s speaker will be his brother, Dilip Sarkar, MD, FACS, D.Litt (Yoga) a retired vascular surgeon who holds certificates as a Yoga Therapist and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist. He is recognized as an expert in the integration of western medicine with Ayurveda and yoga therapy.

Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

President Dudley Thompson opened the 5,380th Civic Thursday in-person and zoom meeting at 12:30 pm. 

Thought For The Day - Dudley Thompson

President Dudley gave an impromptu Thought for the Day from his notebook of ready-to-use inspirations. He quoted Winston Churchill: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”  

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President and Past District Governor Ed Jellen announced there were no visiting Rotarians. Online, his guest was his wife, Julie Jellen. In the Ballroom, Leeann Alameda, Bruce Nye and Stew Epstein introduced their guests.

New Member Induction – Kevin Jenkins

Gary Flaxman introduced our newest member, Kevin JenkinsKevin was elected as a trustee to the Peralta Community College District in November 2020. He helps students, faculty and staff in many ways such as furthering educational opportunities and addressing school safety and COVID concerns. Kevin is also the proud father of his son Elijah. Welcome, Kevin!


President Dudley made the following announcements:

Thanks to Past President Carla Betts who decorated the Ballroom tables on St. Patrick’s Day and provided additional décor to President Dudley in the form of a flashing green light on his bowtie for the day.

Thanks to the volunteers who worked at the Oakland Marathon’s Rotary water station for six hours. For the first two hours, runners received extra-strong Gatorade and presumably extra strength. At that point, Rotarians learned they should be diluting the drinks with water.

Thanks to Tom Limon for organizing the Weekend Ski Trip.

Thanks to Jesse Schmidt and the Business Development Committee for putting on a successful Margarita Mixer attending by some 60 members and guests.

Weekly meetings will continue in-person in the Ballroom and on Zoom for the month of April. However, there will be no noon meeting on the 28th because the annual Gala takes place that night.

The Club now has a Meeting Production Team, whose job it is to come in, set up and put on the weekly meetings. It replaces the Audio-Visual Committee. Today marked their first day on the job.

Re-Introduction of Ed Jellen

Past President Michael Bruck reintroduced Past President and Past District Governor Ed Jellen. Ed is a California native from Los Angeles who was elected class president twice as well as student body president and voted most likely to succeed. His first job at the age of 13 was as a paperboy delivering the “Los Angeles News” on his bicycle to 50 customers. His other work experiences include dishwasher, busboy, and stockroom clerk. He also was a delivery person for his father’s furniture store. Ed graduated from UC Berkeley and then from Cal School of Law. He practiced law in San Francisco for 15 years and has been an Adjunct Professor at UC Berkeley and Stanford. He was appointed to serve as US Bankruptcy Judge in the 9th Circuit Court where he served for 25 years. At the Rotary district level, he served as District Governor in 2014-2015. He’s initiated many projects and has been a major donor to the Paul Harris Society. Ed enjoys photography and bridge and is an avid reader and crossword puzzler while listening to 50’s rock and roll music. 

Oakland Rotary Endowment Campaign

Past Pres. Linda Chew gave a gave an update on the Oakland Rotary Endowment Campaign underway this month. In just the past six years, ORE has given $1.16 million to local and international communities including 65 grants to local nonprofits. ORE funds KinderPrep, Enterprise Institute, Karl Stucki World Community Service, and Saroni-Lena Scholarships to name a few. 

A gift of $150 can purchase 2+ wellness backpacks for veterans. For $250, supplemental classroom materials can be provided to a KinderPrep teacher. $1,000 can purchase a computer to give homeless people electronic access to the services they need, and $2,500 can provide a scholarship to a Saroni-Lena student for one year’s tuition.

Linda was followed Kelly Friedman, Executive Director of City Slickers Farm (CSF). With support from ORE, CSF has increased wellness and built community through access to gardens, green space, and city farming. They run the west Oakland farm park on 1.4 acres with 37 chickens, ducks, a rabbit, garden and other farm features. CSF grows food/plants for education purposes and to give-away to the community.  Kelly expressed her appreciation for Rotary’s support!

Linda returned to the podium to announce about $60,000 has been donated toward the $100,000 goal. The campaign is in the final stretch. For postponers, aka procrastinators, now is the time to donate. To pay online go to . Choose Oakland Rotary Endowment for your donation.

Speaker for the Day – Gary Meyer

C J Hirshfield, introduced today’s speaker Gary Meyer. Gary’s knowledge of film is unmatched and is the founder of Landmark Film chain, former co-director of the Telluride Film Festival and inductee into the San Francisco Film Hall of Fame. 

Gary first showed a slide of the new Academy Museum in Los Angeles which recently opened. The museum has a theatre, gala space under a transparent dome, and other museum exhibits. Some exhibits include features on The Wizard of Oz, North By Northwest, ET, and other famous movies. The museum also dives into the history of makeup artistry, animation and silent films. There is a collection of Oscars in a semi-round room displaying various Oscars from past winners.  

This year the Academy Awards are changing some formatting and being hosted by a trio of women including Amy Schumer.    

For Best Documentary, most of the nominees can be streamed online. Summer of Soul and Flee are two that are fabulous, he says. Two short documentaries made by San Francisco filmmakers are nominated.  

In a peculiar twist this year, the Best Actress nominees are not in any of the films nominated for Best Picture. Best Director is an interesting category, but Gary thinks Jane Campion from Power of the Dog will be the likely winner. Best Picture is a toss-up between Coda and Power of the Dog. Coda would be a surprise winner, but many think it could win as a dark horse.  

Ukraine Relief Donations

President Dudley talked about many suggestions that have come in for making donations to benefit the needs of Ukraine people. The Karl Stucki World Community Service Committee vetted these suggestions and has recommended two places. One is World Central Kitchen which is providing meals within Ukraine. The other is The Rotary Foundation Ukraine Relief Fund. It will administer emergency grants of $50,000 each to Ukrainian Rotary Districts or Districts in bordering countries to provide shelter, medicine, clothing and other needs.  

Also, Barbara Beery has a friend who is giving $10,000 towards Rotary Ukrainian efforts and will match the gifts of others. At the meeting, the following Rotarians pledged gifts toward the match: Barbara Beery, Alex Poulsen, Peter Sherris, Ralph Sklar, Robert Kidd, Deep Rajbhandari, Lois Corrin, Jim Boessenecker and Joe Goralka.


Keith Uriarte rang the bell for Kevin Jenkins.

Lorna Padia Markus, Mary Rudser, David Douglas, Linda Boessenecker, Robert Kidd, Michael Bruck, Dudley Thompson, Peter Sherris, Jack McAboy, Linda Chew and Joe Goralka rang the bell for Ed Jellen.

Elida Scola rang the bell for David Stein.

Keith Uriarte rang the bell for Renia Webb.


President Dudley adjourned the meeting at 1:33 pm as he reminded us to Serve to Change Lives and Don’t Keep Rotary a Secret!

Next Meeting, March 31 – David Montejano – North-South Commerce During the American Civil War

Robert Kidd, Speakers Committee Chair, announced next week’s speaker is David Montejano, Professor Emeritus of Ethnic Studies and History at UC Berkeley. He will discuss commerce and merchants, both North and South, who engaged in treasonous but highly profitable trade with the enemy during the American Civil War. 

Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

President Dudley Thompson opened the 5,379th Civic Thursday meeting by summarizing the Club’s 113 plus year history. The joy of those members who could attend in person was palpable throughout the Ballroom. However, Pres. Dudley reminded everyone of the Club’s policy that masks must be worn in the Ballroom except when eating or drinking.

Thought For The Day - Liz Ortega

In her inspiring thought for the day, Liz Ortega reminded us that women still face various forms of gender discrimination, which have been aggravated during the Covid pandemic. Following her remarks, Pres. Dudley led us in reciting the Club’s Mission Statement.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President and Past District Governor Ed Jellen introduced two distinguished guests: Past Pres. Jon Gresley and Past Pres. Gudrun Dybdal, who are both prominent members of the Truckee Club. We also were favored with the presence of C J Hirshfield’s guests Gary and Kathy Meyer who attended in person. Sandeepa Nayak introduced Ruth Stroup’s online guest, Edie Zusman, MD & MBA (Director of the Piedmont Neuroscience Center on Grand Avenue).

Self-Introduction – Clive Worsley

Clive Worsley thanked us for the warm reception he has received since joining the Club in January. Clive informed us that he is the new Executive Director of the Junior Center of Art and Science; that he is a native of Glasgow, Scotland; that after emigrating to the U.S with the rest of his family, Clive’s father designed the audio public address systems used by BART, Fantasy Records in Berkeley, The Grateful Dead, and other major organizations and artists; that Clive himself enjoyed careers in Rock N’ Roll and on the stage as an actor and as the Artistic Director of the Townhall Theater in Lafayette and the Director of Artistic Learning at Cal Shakes; that he was the acting coach for the prominent actor Zendaya Marie Stoermer Coleman who is up for a Golden Globe award; that his passion for acting was united with a passion for helping youth, which motivated his move to the Junior Center; and that with the help of member Isaac Kos-Read, he is in the process of leading the Junior Center to a full recovery from its recent tragic fires. Pres. Dudley presented Clive with his blue badge and other new member materials whereupon all present gave Clive a standing ovation.

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

After a nod to our longstanding Leprechaun-in-Chief Ed Rorke, Pres. Dudley asked Ralph Sklar (dubbed “Ralph O’Sklar” for the day) to commemorate St. Patrick’s Day by leading us in singing “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”. Only a few notes and lyrics were mangled in the rousing rendition.


Oakland Marathon and Running FestivalPres. Dudley announced we need five to ten more volunteers for the Club’s hands-on project of staffing water stations for this coming Sunday’s Oakland Marathon. If you can help, just email Pres. Dudley.

Business Development Margarita MixerJesse Schmidt invited everyone to attend the Business Development Committee’s Margarita Mixer from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on March 23 at Nido’s Backyard. Appetizers are gratis courtesy of Jain Williams of State Farm who is sponsoring the event. There will be a cash bar. Bring a friend!  Pre-register on the Club’s calendar website.

Pres. Dudley announced next month there will be more opportunities to volunteer at Club hands-on projects:

Lake Merritt garden clean-up on April 16,

KinderPrep book packaging on April 23,

Enterprise Institute Leadership Academy training for camp counselors on April 23 as well,

KinderPrep field trip to the Oakland Zoo on April 26. 

Pres. Dudley strongly encouraged everyone to attend the Rotary District 5170 Convention on April 22-24 in San Ramon. 

Last, but not least, is the Club’s Gala scheduled for April 28 at the Sequoyah Country Club.

Oakland Rotary Endowment Campaign

Past President Lorna Padia gave a moving pitch for the Club’s annual campaign for the Oakland Rotary Endowment (ORE). She recited a few examples of all the good works the Endowment has funded ranging from KinderPrep, numerous Community Service Committee grants, to Saroni-Lena scholarships. While she emphasized the rewards of taking action to help build our community, she reminded us that we need to invest in ORE to make that happen.

Lorna was followed by Pat Williams who told us the remarkable history of the Club’s Saroni-Lena scholarship program, celebrating its 60th anniversary and one of the oldest and most successful college scholarship programs in the Bay Area. Since its inception, the Saroni-Lena Committee has awarded more than $1.7 million in numerous scholarships to Oakland high school graduates.  It began as a bequest from former Club member Al Saroni. The first scholarship went to a kid named Harold Lincoln who later became the CEO of Nintendo America and then CEO and Chairman of the Seattle Mariners. The program expanded and was renamed Saroni-Lena in 1978 when it received another major bequest from the estate of former member Matt Lena. When the funds donated from the program’s founders eventually ran out, the Club kept the program alive and growing with annual allocations from the ORE budget. Whereas only one scholarship was awarded in the first year, now the program awards six to ten scholarships each year. Recently the program partnered with the City’s Oakland Promise program to administer the scholarships. Saroni-Lena Committee members still play a vital role in mentoring the beneficiaries as they navigate their way to college degrees. (Many are the first in their families to attend college.) Pat made a compelling case for why all of us should donate generously to ORE!

Lorna returned to the podium to announce that she and all of the ORC and ORE Board members have contributed to the ORE campaign but it is still about $50,000 short of reaching its $100,000 goal.  So please donate. To pay online go to . Choose Oakland Rotary Endowment for your donation.

Speaker for the Day

C J Hirshfield, a confessed film noir addict, introduced our keynote speaker, Eddie Muller, film director, author, and the host of Turner Classic Movies’ popular weekly “Noir Alley” TV show. This month, he is also moving his annual Film Noir Festival from San Francisco to Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater.

Here are the highlights of Eddie’s talk:

– He wrote the book on film noir titled Dark City, The Lost World of Film Noir, which led to his being asked to head film festivals at Los Angeles’ Egyptian Theatre and the Castro Theater in San Francisco. This experience introduced him to some of the original film noir producers and screen writers. He now does eight festivals around the country and constantly receives requests from other cities.

– “Film noir” refers to a U.S. film movement that spanned the 1940's and 1950's. This was America’s only organic artistic movement, that Eddie calls the “anti-myth of American life”. The films portray the hard knocks reality of life and its unexpected turns versus the “live happily ever” myth of traditional American culture. The films were written and produced by artists, and not the money driven Hollywood studios. Many of these artists were emigres from war torn Europe. The scripts are especially attuned to the American vernacular. (C J recited one: “I’ve met a lot of hard-boiled eggs in my life, but you’re a full 20 minutes!”) Having experienced the horrors of the war era, the emigres were pessimists about life in general. The films tried to warn us about racial injustice, police brutality, sexual assault, and immoral politicians running amok. A striking irony is that nowadays some people watch noir films as comfort food because they remind them of a better time.

– Eddie has lived in Oakland for 30 years. He decided to move his Bay Area Film Noir Festival to Oakland when the pandemic prevented continued filming in Atlanta. The new Oakland festival begins next Tuesday at the Grand Lake Theater, which Eddie’s neighbor, owner of the Grand Lake, offered to him. Eddie is happy he moved the festival to Oakland. He thought it was about time that a popular institution go in the reverse direction taken by the Warriors. He has found Oakland to be very welcoming, more so than San Francisco.

– If you want to learn more, attend the Festival. You can also read the new edition of Eddie’s book which has a lot of new material.

– In response to Robert Kidd’s question: The conventional characterization of film noir as a genre that depicts victimized, ruined women is inaccurate and the result of poor scholarship. In fact, more women were involved in the films than early film noir critics realized. All the films have a good woman who is the right answer to men’s problems; but the men go for the bad femme fatale; e.g., the movie Angel Face where the ambulance driver who is better off staying with his nurse girlfriend, instead falls for a demented heiress. Also, many women wrote the books on which the films were based: e.g., Patricia Highsmith and Dorothy B. Hughes. But more attention has been given male writers such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. In addition, there were excellent female film producers such as Joan Harrison, Hitchcock’s protégé.

– In response to Bob Barth’s question: Eddie’s favorite boxing subgenre film is The Setup.

– In response to Stephanie Casenza who asked how Eddie compared the remake of Nightmare Alley with the original, Eddie answered they’re both good. The main difference is that the new version is more faithful to the novel by keeping its “bleak” ending.

– In response to Allison Bliss’s question: Yes, the German film school known as “expressionism” had a big influence on film noir. The German movement is based on the idea that what you see in a film is a reflection of the actor’s inner emotions). It occurred during the “silent film” era of the 1920's when Berlin was the center of film making. The German films often disregarded realism and had realistic but distorted and stark black and white scenes that accentuated the war-related pessimism of that era. See, e.g., the film called The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

– In response to Steve Lowe’s question: Yes, Eddie has been slipped a mickey but not at waterfront dive; It happened at a bar in Salzburg, Austria at the hands of locals who didn’t like Eddie’s loud-mouthed American companion.


Lorna Padia Markus rang the bell for Jesse Schmidt, who recently sponsored a club meeting resulting in Lorna becoming a satisfied client.


President Dudley adjourned the meeting at 1:33 pm as he reminded us to Serve to Change Lives and Don’t Keep Rotary a Secret!

Next Meeting, March 24 – Gary Meyer

C J Hirshfield announced next week’s meeting will feature Gary Meyer, Founder of the Landmark National Art House Theater Chain and the former Co-Director of the Telluride Film Festival. He will discuss nominees for the upcoming Oscar awards and the glamorous new Academy Museum in Los Angeles.

Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

President Dudley Thompson called the 5,378th Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland meeting to order at 12:30 pm. He expressed the elated feelings of everyone enjoying the first in-person meeting in the California Ballroom in a number of months.  In addition, more than 40 people attended the meeting via Zoom.

Thought For The Day - Jean Rains

Jean Rains presented the thought from Susan Felder: “Inspiration and imagination go hand in hand”.

President Dudley lead the group in the recitation of the Rotary Vision Statement.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President and Past District Governor Ed Jellen introduced Richard Schwart, President of the San Francisco Chinatown Rotary Club. On line were Past-Presidents Jon Gresley and Gudrun Dybdal on vacation in Maui, and Past President Iris Brody Lopez, zooming in from Peoria, Arizona. Keith Uriarte introduced his guest in the Ballroom.


International Women’s DayPresident Dudley reminded everyone that District 5170’s celebration of International Women’s Day is scheduled for March 13th at the Rotary San Jose Summit Center. Oakland Rotary is one of five clubs invited to have a table there to showcase its projects. Volunteers are needed for the club’s table. Featured speaker is Zoom COO, Aparna Bawa.

Oakland Marathon and Running Festival. On Sunday, March 20th, the club will work at two of the water stops. Register on the Club calendar website the two water station locations available and make sure to include the Password for the one where you want be.

Bob Barth’s Letter to Rotary Magazine. Pres. Dudley called attention to Bob Barth’s letter to the editor in the March issue of Rotary. Bob urges Rotarians attending the International Convention in June to purchase certified carbon offsets for their travel. He describes how to determine the calculations. Bob also suggests that Rotary International should calculate the carbon footprint of the Convention and purchase offsets to minimize the footprint. What a positive way for RI to inaugurate its first year focusing on the Environment.

New Member Induction – Cathy Adams

Renia Webb introduced the Club newest member, Cathy “Kittie” Adams. She is President of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce. Two fun facts: she has a “crush” on Frazier and has to watch the show every night before retiring. She is also a lover of blues music. Welcome Cathy!

Pres. Dudley took the opportunity not only to present Cathy with her new membership badge and Rotary pin, but also to recent new members Jean Rains and Dawnn Hills. All three received the traditional standing ovation from everyone in the Ballroom.

Oakland Rotary Endowment Campaign

Leeann Alameda, president of the ORE Board of Directors, outlined the impact ORE makes. She spoke about progress to date ($50,000+ pledged) toward the goal of $100,000 and the impact made in the past few years. The campaign wraps up the end of March. Great job, Leeann! To pay online go to . Choose Oakland Rotary Endowment for your donation.

John Holmgren, KinderPrep Chair, picked it up from there to describe the impact Rotarians have on this pre-kindergarten program in the Oakland schools. While some of the activities have been on hiatus during the pandemic, such as volunteering in the classroom, chaperoning children on a field trip to Children’s Fairyland or the Oakland Zoo, and the summer book program for each child, others have continued. Classroom supplies, virtual science kits for students and a virtual library for those schools who are without libraries have been made available. Now that the children are back in the classrooms, John expects that a field trip may be doable this spring, and he indicated that volunteers will be needed to pack and delivering books for the summer book program, just like they did pre-pandemic.

Business Development Mixer

Jesse Schmidt, Business Committee Chair, announced the next Business Mixer will be Wednesday, March 23rd at Nido’s Backyard, 104 Oak Street, Oakland. It will be an all-outdoor event. Attendees need to register themselves and their guests in advance at

Speaker for the Day

David Stein introduced Park Williams, UCLA Professor in the Geology Department. Prof. Williams began his presentation showing a satellite photo taken on Sept 9, 2020 of the smoke layer inundating the entire coastal area of California. The current megadrought we are experiencing is 22 years long, and 2021 was drier than any other year in this period. Last year was also the driest in the past 121 years. He attributed this to 40% caused by humans and 60% caused by “bad luck” from nature.

The distribution of water across continents changes and life changes as well. He noted that the Sahara Desert, now an extremely dry area, was once a lush habitat. He also commented that at a depth of 60 feet in Lake Tahoe, a grinding stone used by Native Americans has been found dating back 6,000 years ago.

At this point 80% of available water in California is used by agriculture, much of it now being pulled in the Central Valley from ground water reserves, which will take many years to replenish. While solving droughts is not the mission of his group of scientists, he noted that humans need to use less water in the future, and also need to be more efficient in their uses. He mentioned desalinization plants, which have been on the state’s agenda for many decades. Cities can and should consider building and maintaining desalinization plants even though they are expensive.


Keith Giron rang the bell for Jean Rains.

Jean Rains rang the bell Dawnn Hills

Ces Butner and Joycie Mack rang the bell for Cathy Adams.

Jack McAboy rang the bell for Linda Hamilton.

Dudley Thompson, Fred Morse, Mary Rudser, Teresa Weyand, Sean Marx, Phil Holt, Linda Boessenecker, Karen Friedman, Mary Geong, Robert Kidd, Sheldon Crandall, Ed Jellen, Rick Baskin, Mike Bruck, Jason Wizelman, Ces Butner (7 rings), Elida Scola, Ruth Stroup, Joe Goralka,  Daniel Cheng, Joycie Mack, Harold Lowe, Pat Williams, Georgia Richardson and Tim Limon (2) rang the bell for the Illustrious Seven.


President Dudley adjourned the meeting at 1:34 pm as he reminded us to Serve to Change Lives and Don’t Keep Rotary a Secret!

Next Meeting, March 17 – Eddie Muller – Living the Film Noir Life

C J Hirshfield announced next week’s meeting will feature Eddie Muller, bestselling author and host of Turner Classic Movies weekly "Noir Alley" as he discusses what drew him into cinematic shadows filled with diabolical dames and the cynical antiheroes who love them. The renowned “Czar of Noir” will talk about why this film genre still strikes a chord with today’s audiences. Plus, learn why Eddie has moved the 2022 edition of his Noir Festival to Oakland, after 20+ years in San Francisco.  

Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

President Dudley Thompson called the 5,377th Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland meeting to order at 12:30 pm.

Thought For The Day - Clive Worsley

Clive Worsley presented a thought from Frank Herbert: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliterations. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. When the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I remain.

President Dudley led the group in the recitation of the Rotary Vision Statement.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President and Past District Governor Ed Jellen indicated that no-one had signed in at the chat box.  Anghe Barde from the Rotary Club of Karad State Maharashtra signed in later.


Evolutionary Blues. President Dudley reported over 300 people attended this amazing event. He thanked everyone for participating, and gave special recognition to Allison Bliss for suggesting the event, and Georgia Richardson and Nancy Williams for their dedicated leadership in making it happen.

In Person MeetingsPresident Dudley announced that in-person meetings in the California Ballroom will restart on March 10th (along with Zoom broadcasts). Noting that it comes almost on the two-year anniversary of the pandemic shut-down, he reminded everyone that proof of vaccination will be required (no booster necessary) and N-95 or KN-95 masks are strongly encouraged.

Blood Donation. Blood donations continue to be critically needed. Sign up at the Red Cross website. Please let Jesse Bowdle know if you have donated blood.

Ukraine AssistancePres. Dudley reported that several initiatives are underway to provide assistance and supplies to the people of Ukraine. At this time District 5170 has set up a fund in conjunction with American Red Cross to provide much-needed supplies. Donations can be made at this website: Other partners with Rotary will be forthcoming as information becomes available.

Oakland Marathon and Running Festival. On Sunday, March 20th, the club will work at two of the water stops. Register on the Club calendar website. Note the two water station locations available and make sure to include the Password for the one you want.

International Women’s Day

Rotary District 5170’s celebration of International Women’s Day is scheduled for March 13th at the Rotary San Jose Summit Center. District Lieutenant Governor Liza Lorenz joined Pres. Dudley to announce the event. Oakland Rotary is one of five clubs invited to showcase its projects. Featured speaker is Zoom COO, Aparna Bawa. Register on the District 5170 website.

Oakland Rotary Endowment Campaign

Kymberly Johnson, chair of the ORE Campaign, outlined the impact ORE makes. As an example, David Kittner, Community Service Chair, told how the committee identified three primary focus areas for this year: Social Justice, Arts and Environment. It has awarded $35,000 of its $50,000 current budget to projects supporting Social Justice and Arts organizations. Between now and the end of June, they will be awarding grants focused on the environment. A service day is scheduled in April to work at the Tile Mural location at Lake Merritt that commemorates the 60th anniversary of Fukuoka Japan’s sister city connection with Oakland.

This year, ORE plans to raise $100,000. All members are encouraged to give an amount that is personally meaningful. During the meeting, pledges from Leeann Alameda, Tom Limon, Robert Raburn and David Stein were recorded in the chatbox.

Business Development Mixer

Jesse Schmidt, Business Committee Chair, announced the next Business Mixer will be Wednesday, March 23rd at Nido’s Backyard, 104 Oak Street, Oakland.  It will be an all-outdoor event.  Attendees need to register themselves and their guests in advance at

Speaker for the Day

Attendees were treated to a special twist on the popular television series “Shark Tank” featuring six Rotarians who pitched why their business or organization should be chosen. David Kersten and Jesse Schmidt presented the contenders – three with for-profit businesses and three with non-profit organizations. Each was asked to describe how they can contribute to the “Success of Oakland’s Youth”.

Riza Hernandez, founder and owner of EntreFolio, Sandeep Rajbhandari, founder and CEO of Local Foodz Cali Inc., and Derreck Johnson, founder and owner of Home of Chicken and Waffles, each described their businesses and their personal passions for serving the community.

Julayne Virgil, CEO of Girls Inc., Jack McAboy, Chairman at Sylvan Learning Center, and Kimberly Miller, Executive Director of Children’s Fairyland, outlined the opportunities their businesses provide and why they are so committed to the work they do.


Joycie Mack rang the bell in honor of the Oakland Rotary “Sharks”.

Clive Worsley rang the bell in honor of Isaac Kos-Read

Isaac Kos-Read rang the bell in honor of Kymberly Johnson.


President Dudley adjourned the meeting at 1:30 pm as he reminded us to Serve to Change Lives and Don’t Keep Rotary a Secret!

Next Meeting, March 10 – Park Williams – Megadrought in the American West

David Stein announced that next week’s meeting will feature Park Williams, Professor at UCLA and author of “Megadrought in The American West”.

Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

Following a rousing rendition of the Four Way Test song, President Dudley Thompson called the 5,376th Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland meeting to order at 12:30 pm

Thought For The Day - Ruth Stroup

Ruth Stoup presented two thoughts for the day; The first from Mahatma Gandhi: "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others" and the second from Howard Zinn: "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world."

President Dudley led the group in the recitation of the Rotary Vision Statement.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President and Past District Governor Ed Jellen introduced two visiting Rotarians: Richard Swart, President of the San Francisco Chinatown Club and Dianne Dorn, Assistant District Governor of Area 4A and Past President of the San Leandro Club.

New Member Induction – Ama Torrance

Pat Williams introduced new member Ama TorranceAma is an artist specializing in sculpture. She keeps active through tennis and pickleball and both her father and brother are Rotarians. Ama was then inducted by President Dudley and warmly greeted by the virtual audience. Welcome Ama!

Evolutionary Blues

Georgia Richardson reminded everyone that Thursday evening, the Rotary Club of Oakland hosted the screening of "Evolutionary Blues, West Oakland's Music Legacy" in observance of Black History Month. This documentary film traces the history of the Oakland blues scene. President Dudley urged all attendees at the Grand Lake Theater to wear Rotary branded clothing.


  • Wildcat Canyon Hike. Past President Robert Kidd reported that the first leg of the Rotary hike from Richmond to Castro Valley is fully booked but that future legs of the hike are open for signups: Tilden in April; Redwood in June; Chabot in July.
  • In Person Meetings. President Dudley announced that in-person meetings in the California Ballroom will restart on March 10th (along with Zoom broadcasts). Proof of vaccination will be required (no booster necessary) and KN-95 masks are strongly encouraged.
  • International Women's Day. Rotary District 5170’s celebration is scheduled for March 13th at the San Jose Summit Center. The featured speaker is Zoom COO, Aparna Bawa. Register on the District 5170 website.
  • Oakland Marathon and Running Festival. On March 20th, the club will work at two of the water stops. Water stations are open for five hours and each will have two shifts for volunteers.
  • District 5170 Conference. The conference will be held at the Blackhawk Museum and San Ramon Marriott from April 22 – 24. Register on the District 5170 website.
  • Blood Donation. Sign up to donate blood at the Red Cross website. Please let Jesse Bowdle know if you have given blood.
  • Carbon Footprint Survey. The Environment Committee invites all members to take a brief survey to determine your carbon footprint. All participants will be entered into a drawing for a wine tasting at Brooklyn West Winery (thank you Stew Epstein).

Breakout Rooms

Meeting participants virtually traveled into breakout rooms for ten minutes of fellowship.

Speaker for the Day – Terry Smith

C J Hirschfield introduced Terry Smith, co-founder of Pollinator Posse. Pollinator Posse is an Oakland-based nonprofit that focuses on outreach and education, habitat creation, and community science in support of pollinators. California pollinators include 1,600 species of native bees, 300 species of syrphid or hover flies, and butterflies. 

Western Monarch butterflies stay on the California coast instead of migrating to Mexico. Historical population numbers were 4-10 million but 2018 and 2019 counts showed them dropping to 30,0000. The 2021 survey showed an increase to 248,000. This is not a recovery but buys time for the Monarchs.  The decrease in population is caused by climate change, pesticides and herbicides, and habitat loss. Terry recommended that we become stewards of our local ecosystems and create diverse habitat gardens which include native plants. The Pollinator Posse website - - provides plant lists. 

Recent Pollinator Posse projects include Pollinator Posse Day (declared by Mayor Schaaf); the Pipevine Swallowtail Project; Tees for Bees (hitting seed balls into a golf course rough); Air BeeNBee structure at Lake Merritt; and the Autumn Lights Festival at Lake Merritt. Pick up your free milkweed seeds at seven Oakland library branches (including Rockridge) and start planting.


Lois Corrin rang the bell in honor of Terry Smith.


President Dudley adjourned the meeting at 1:30 pm as he reminded us to Serve to Change Lives and Don’t Keep Rotary a Secret!

Next Meeting, March 3 – Rotary Shark Tank

Jesse Schmidt announced that next week’s meeting will “Rotary Shark Tank”, presented by the Business Development Committee

Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

President Dudley Thompson welcomed Rotarians and Guests to the 5,375th meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland. As we are meeting remotely President Dudley invited guests to enter their names in the chat box so that they could be introduced later in the meeting. 

Thought For The Day - Joe Goralka

In recognition of the upcoming Presidents’ Day Holiday, Assistant District Governor and Oakland Rotarian Joe Goralka, was invited to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance and share the Thought for the Day. Before doing so Joe shared that today was a very special day for him as it is his wife, Martha’s, birthday as well as their anniversary. Happy Birthday Martha and Happy Anniversary to Joe and Martha!

Joe expressed that in honor of Presidents’ Day he found a few quotes from former presidents as well as a couple of quotes on gratitude in honor of our upcoming gala celebration “In the Mood for Gratitude”.

For Presidents’ Day:

From Theodore Roosevelt – “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

From Abraham Lincoln – “This is a world of compensations: and he who would be no slave, must consent to have not slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.”

From John F. Kennedy – “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

For our upcoming Gala:

From Michelle Obama – “We learned about gratitude and humility that so many people had a hand in our success.”

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past President and Past District Governor Ed Jellen was very happy he had two visiting Rotarians to introduce! Martha Goralka, Past President, Rotary Club of Delta Antioch and Richard Swart, President of the San Francisco/Chinatown Rotary Club. Welcome to our visiting Rotarians.

Meeting Sponsor – Sandeep Rajbhandari

Sandeep Rajbhandari, founder of Local Foodz Cali Inc., sponsored today’s meeting. Sandeep founded the company in 2014 with one employee and now has grown the business to include 15 employees. He has a goal of taking his company national. Using a holistic approach, he provides fresh, healthy foods that are tasty and quick to prepare. Fellow Rotarian, Jesse Schmidt, of TNT Strength provided a testimonial to the quality of the product.


A technology glitch required the reintroduction of Elida Scola to be moved to later in the meeting so President Dudley provided some Club updates.

  • We will continue to meet remotely until March 10th. Hopefully, we can join at the California Ballroom beginning on the 10th.
  • Sunday, February 27th, Past President Robert Kidd will lead a hike through Wildcat Canyon. Register through the Club website.
  • The Oakland Marathon, planned for March 20th, will provide an opportunity for Oakland Rotarians to help people the hydration stations. More information will be available on the Club website.
  • The Rotary District 5170 is sponsoring an International Women’s Day event on March 13th. Register through the District 5170 website.
  • The San Francisco/Chinatown Rotary Club donated 600 pocket alarms for distribution to Asian Americans. Rotarians will be recruited to help distribute. More information will be coming.
  • Finally, the District Blood Drive is ongoing. Please let Jesse Bowdle know if you have given blood

Evolutionary Blues

Nancy Williams, birthday celebrant and social media diva, reminded Rotarians that the screening of the documentary, Evolutionary Blues, showcasing West Oakland’s music legacy is only one week away. Tickets are still available for the February 24th event at Grand Lake Theatre. Doors open at 6 pm, show begins at 7 pm. Shout out to Ruth Stroup for purchasing 60 tickets for middle school students at Edna Brewer Middle School. Kudos also to David Kersten for interviewing Cheryl Fabio, documentarian, and posting it on our Facebook page. Group tickets for more than 10 are available by contacting Jesse Bowdle.

Reintroduction of Elida Scola

Technology difficulties resolved, Past President Robert Kidd, provided a reintroduction of the amazing Elida Scola, a member of our Rotary Club since 2006. Elida grew up in Audubon, New Jersey, population 9,500 – or, as Elida recalls, population 9,500 white Republicans. Elida attended College in New Jersey, and then business school in Maryland. In 1975, she and her partner Lisa drove their VW camper to – where else? -- San Francisco. Within days of arriving in San Francisco, Elida paid a courtesy call on a woman who was an aunt of one of Elida’s friends in New Jersey. That woman was Del Martin, co-founder of the Daughters of Bilitis and an iconic leader of the lesbian community. As they met, Del cut to the chase: Do you want a job? And so it was, that literally days after she arrived in San Francisco, Elida became a social and political activist, for the San Francisco Commission for the Status of Women. There followed non-stop meetings, in and out of City Hall, in the neighborhoods, in the lesbian community. While the work was exciting and meaningful, after two years Elida had burned out on politics and politicking.

So, she moved on – to a job with an art-framer on 24th Street in the City. Elida recalls that it was the best job that she ever had: four days of working and learning her new craft, followed by three days of partying and exploring Northern California.  But inspired by her father, who owned a barbershop in Audubon NJ, Elida wanted her own business. It was then that serendipity intervened once again. Through a friend, Elida met a woman who wanted to sell her framing shop in Oakland. Although she had no interest in leaving the City, she visited the frame-shop, and immediately decided to buy. Elida and Galleria Scola have been on Grand Avenue ever since.

After more bell-ringers than this writer could count, Elida thanked her fellow Rotarians and shared that she was somewhat of a reticent Rotarian and it was due to Robert Kidd’s persistence that she joined and thus began her love affair with Rotary.

Speaker for the Day – Mitchell Schwarzer

Steve Nicholls introduced our speaker of the day, Mitchell Schwarzer. Mr. Schwarzer is a writer whose most recent book, Hellatown, focuses on Oakland and discusses what has happened in Oakland and the circumstances and reasons behind the developments.

Mr. Schwarzer shared that the goal of his book was to provided deeper context and perspective of Oakland’s history to allow readers to understand and develop curiosity about where they live and develop responsibility for their surroundings. Hellatown focuses on the modern history of Oakland, from 1890 through the Great Recession in 2009.

Oakland had tremendous growth up until the early 1960’s due in part to the transcontinental railroad and the development of urban neighborhoods. The decline began in the mid-late 1960’s until Jerry Brown became mayor. Three major changes that took place that underscored the decline: 1) government began to take responsibility for city making and planning including building freeway systems, 2) the shift of demography with the migration of Black and Asian populations to the west, 3) shift in the city’s reliance on an industrial economy with the decline of shipyards, the relocation of auto factories and closure of the canning industry.

The San Francisco Bay Council was developed with major business leaders who saw the need for a plan for a deindustrialized economy. They could see that rail transportation would be taken over by freeways and congestion would become an issue. There would be a need for a BART-like system. They also recognized the shift from blue collar work force to the new “office economy”.  San Francisco immediately took actions to develop a business district while Oakland didn’t take action until later. A plan was eventually developed, Metropolitan Oakland Area Plan, which tried to copy much of what had worked in San Francisco. However, the plan had some major flaws with attempting to sanitize the downtown, not just the edges as in San Francisco, but an 18-block area from 11th Street to where I-980 is now located. The plan included a downtown mall and private businesses. Also included in the plan was a middle-income development of urban renewal with mixed demographics. However, many of the white residents fled the city for the suburbs. So, while the leaders had tremendous prescience in recognizing the economic changes were coming, they did not realize the Oakland would not draw folks as San Francisco had. These decisions have implications including the housing inequities we see today.

President Dudley was able to present Mr. Schwarzer with a few questions but there being many more in the chat box, Mr. Schwarzer agreed to stay online after the meeting. President Dudley thanked him for his presentation and honored him with a contribution to the ESRAG.


Nancy Williams rang the bell for Ruth Stroup.

Joe Goralka, Jack McAboy, Alex Poulsen, Bob Breecker, Ces Butner, Karen Friedman, Rick Draper, Jim and Linda Boessenecker, Ruth Stroup, Jean Rains, Mary Rudser, Joycie Mack, Lois Corrin, David Douglas, Stephanie Casenza, Jason Wizelman, Tom Limon, Sandeepa Nayak, Isaac Kos-Read, Ed Jellen, Dudley Thompson, Peter Sherris, Robert Kidd, Georgia Richardson, Ralph Sklar and Wil Hobbs rang the bell for Elida Scola.


President Dudley thanked those who rang the bell, meeting participants, and our speaker. The meeting was adjourned at 1:32 pm as he reminded us to Serve to Change Lives and Don’t Keep Rotary a Secret!

Next Meeting, February 24 – Terry Smith – Saving Endangered Monarch Butterflies

Robert Kidd announced that next week’s speaker is Terry Smith, co-founder of Pollinator Posse. Who doesn't love the Monarch butterfly? More to the point, what is more vulnerable than a Monarch butterfly? Monarch populations are plummeting -- from 1.1 million counted in 1997 to 2,000 in 2020 -- the result of climate change, habitat destruction and widespread use of insecticides. The Pollinator Posse is a non-profit committed to supporting Monarch communities and to mobilizing homo sapiens -- like us -- to save this and other endangered pollinators.