Oakland Rotary News

You are here


Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, February 17, 2022

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 chatbox so that they could be introduced later in the meeting. 

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.”

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.

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.

 President Dudley provided some Club updates:

1. We will continue to meet remotely until March 10th. Hopefully, we can join at the California Ballroom beginning on the 10th.

2. Sunday, February 27th, Past President Robert Kidd will lead a hike through Wildcat Canyon. Register through the Club website.

3. 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.

4. The Rotary District 5170 is sponsoring an International Women’s Day event on March 13th. Register through the District 5170 website.

5. 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.

6. Finally, the District Blood Drive is ongoing. Please let Jesse Bowdle know if you have given blood

Nancy Williams, the 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..

Steve Nicholls introduced our speaker of the day, Mitchell Schwarzer. Mr. Schwarzer is a writer whose most recent book, Hella town, 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. Hella town focuses on the modern history of Oakland, from 1890 through the Great Recession in 2009.

Oakland had tremendous growth up until the early 1960s due in part to the transcontinental railroad and the development of urban neighborhoods. The decline began in the mid-late 1960s 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 a blue-collar workforce 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, the 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 Oakland would not draw folks as San Francisco had. These decisions have implications including the housing inequities we see today.

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.

Click here to watch Mitchell Schwarzer video segment.

Missed our meeting, but interested in checking out the next one? Click below to learn more. https://www.oakland-rotary.org/calendar

#serviceaboveself #rotaryinternational #rotaryclubofoakland #rotaryopensopportunities

Add new comment