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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, October 15, 2020

Ces Butner, President of Rotary Club of Oakland

Call to Order – Ces Butner

President Ces Butner called our virtual Oakland Rotary Civic Thursday meeting to order at 12:28 pm, noting this is the 5,313th meeting in our 111-year old history.

Adam Sbeta

Thought for the Day – Adam Sbeta

Adam Sbeta reminded the Zoom audience that the California Consumer Privacy Act gives consumers control over personal information that businesses collect about them. California consumers have the right to know about the personal information collected, the right to delete personal information collected, the right to opt-out of the sale of personal information, and the right to non-discrimination for exercising their privacy rights.

Tristen Conner, Theory in Practice Acoustics

Meeting Sponsor – Tristen Conner, Theory in Practice Acoustics

TIP Acoustics is an acoustical consulting and engineering company founded by member Tristen Connor. It is an Oakland business and is woman and LGBT owned. The company provides sound isolation, equipment noise control and environmental acoustic services in construction, renovation, and tenant improvement projects. Best of all, Tristen will donate 5% of her fees to the club on any project referred by an Oakland Rotary member. Thank you, Tristen.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Past president Ed Jellen welcomed District Governor Gregg Giusiana and guests Allison Woolsey (hosted by Keith Uriarte) and Lisa Rooney-Zarri (hosted by Wendy Howard).

District Governor Gregg Giusiana

District Governor’s Annual Visit

President Ces introduced District Governor Gregg Giusiana. Gregg is a retired police chief and member of the Gilroy Rotary Club. He was selected as Gilroy's "Man of the Year" in 2015. Gregg commended the Rotary Club of Oakland for its work in the community and for District 5170.

Past President Sean Marx

Nominating Committee

Nominating Committee chair, Past President Sean Marx, announced that the club will hold an election for club directors and the president-elect-nominee in December. He invited members to nominate eligible members to serve on the Nominating Committee by entering their names in the chat box. A minimum of twelve nominees are needed for the Nominating Committee election on October 29th. 

Leeann Alameda

Paul Harris Fellow Presentations

Leeann Alameda, co-chair of The Rotary Foundation Committee, kicked off the presentation of Paul Harris Fellow awards. The Paul Harris Fellow program recognizes individuals who contribute or who have contributions made in their names, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation. President Ces virtually presented PHF pins to the following members:

  • Ann Chretien - PHF+7
  • Julie Fox - PHF+4
  • Mary Geong - PHF+5
  • Merlin Edwards - PHF+1
  • Ruth Stroup - PHF+1

Mary (wearing all of her PHF pins) and Ruth thanked Ces for the pins and underscored their support of the PHF program.

Presidential Challenge Announced

President Ces urged members to support his goal of 100% participation in The Rotary Foundation (TRF) and Oakland Rotary Endowment (ORE) campaigns by pledging to contribute $50,000 to the TRF and another $50,000 to ORE if every member makes a contribution in any amount to both campaigns. He recommended that all members experience the "gift of giving" by supporting Rotary's local and international projects. He reminded us that our club dues pay club operating expenses and are not used for the TRF or ORE.

Joe Goralka, co-chair of the Rotary Foundation Committee, thanked President Ces for his amazing support, vision, and generosity for the TRF and ORE campaigns. Thank you Ces

Jackie Forrester, Owner - Forrester Accounting and Bookkeeping

New Member Induction – Jackie Forrester

Sandeepa Nayak, Technical Director of Kha Creation, introduced new member Jackie ForresterJackie is an Oakland native and owner of Forrester Accounting and Bookkeeping. Growing up in Oakland, Jackie participated in youth and community programs, including the Jesse Owens track and field events, the Oakland Christmas Pageant, and Junior Achievement. Welcome Jackie. Your new red badge is waiting for you.

Danny Mai

Business Development Expo

Business Development Committee chair Danny Mai invited everyone to virtually attend the Business Expo on Thursday, November 5th, 3:00-5:00 pm via Zoom. Mayor Libby Schaaf will be the keynote speaker. You must register to attend at: http://bit.ly/shoprotary2020 


Olivia Luisa, representing Area One Interact, reported on the District 5170 Interact Fall Leadership Conference. The virtual conference had 1,000 attendees. The 2020-21 Interact international and community projects were revealed at the conference. The international project is "Feeding the Future" which will address food insecurity in Yemen and has a goal of $50,000. The community project is "Combating with Care" which will relieve the impact of Covid-19 on local marginalized communities and has a goal of $20,000. Good luck Interactors.

Larry Diamond

Speaker of the Day – Larry Diamond

Past President David Stein introduced Larry Diamond, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and professor of political science at Stanford. He has consulted with the World Bank, United Nations, State Department, and other governmental and non-governmental agencies.

Dr. Diamond discussed the six key trends of the global democratic recession. They include a declining level of freedom and democracy; the deteriorating rule of law; the waive of illiberal populism; increasing polarization and intolerance; the authoritarian resurgence; and the decay of democratic values in the U.S. and Europe.

The global expansion of democracy has slowed, and more than 50% of countries are not democratic. There have been declines in freedom in Turkey, Venezuela, Hungary, Poland, the United States, Russia, Kenya, and Mexico. Causes of the decline in democracy include accelerating globalism; rising levels of immigration; globalization of corruption; and new authoritarian solidarity. Dr. Diamond brought a depressing but important message to the audience.

To watch his video recording please click here.

Michael Bruck - Club Secretary

Nominating Committee Candidates

Club Secretary Michael Bruck announced a bonanza of nominees for the 2020-21 Nominating Committee. They are David Stein, Renia Webb, Elida Scola, CJ Hirschfield, Gail Uilkema, Alex Poulsen, Diane Schaffer, Mary Rudser, Jim Caponigro, David Barron, Danny Mai, Robert Kidd, Harold Lowe and Steve Nicholls.


The bell was ringing during the meeting.

  • Joycie Mack rang the bell three times for the Paul Harris Fellows.
  • Joe Goralka rang the bell for Ces Butner and the Presidential Challenge.
  • Greg Annis and Danny Mai rang the bell for Interact and their projects.


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

Larry Gelernt, Deputy Director, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Next Meeting, October 22 – Lee Gelernt

Gary Flaxman announced the speaker will be Larry Gelernt, Deputy Director, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He will speak on the clash between US immigration policy and constitutional rights.

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