Newsletter – September 25, 2018

Pledge: Les Gudger                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Invocation: Mike Grace

Bell Ringers: Cathy Skeen for celebrating her birthday and 43rd Anniversary as well as buying a home in Incline Village (but she’ll still be coming to Rotary.) Matt Ross for celebrating his 18th Anniversary on Sunday and for his son, Andrew, who was at this weekend’s airshow with the Robotics Team from Rio and is also half way through with his Eagle Scout Project. Also, Rio beat El Camino in Volleyball! Rob Olmsted for turning 41 on Sunday! And Duane Oliveria gave $25 each Cal win so far and $29 for celebrating his 29th Anniversary for a Bell Ringer at $104!

Happy Bucks:
Ben Fox gave HB for celebrating his birthday by camping with the family, and is now suffering for it (back.) Les gave HB to warn everyone not to leave getting a passport to the last minute. He spent 7 hours in San Francisco yesterday getting it to go to Cabo.

Mike Caplan, Earl Heverly and Duane Oliveria were all late. Prez Tom had them each answer a Rotary Trivia question to get out of a fine. None of them got the question right!

Announcements:

  •  On Friday, October 5th, we will have a Fleet Week Boating adventure on Captain Steve’s boat in the San Francisco Bay. More Tim Cahill is co-chairing with Captain Steve. The bus will leave at 8am from Pavilions. We’ll be leaving from the Marina Bay Yacht Harbor. Both the Parade of Boats and the Blue Angels will be there. Steve will prepare his “from scratch” Clam Chowder along with tri-tip, etc. There will be mimosas and Bloody Mary’s on the bus! Cost is $80 per person, guests are welcome but the number is capped at 40.
  • The 13th of October is a Rotary Work Day at William Pond Park. We will be restoring benches (thanks to the wood donated by Al Cady.) A BBQ lunch will follow. Meet at William Pond Park (at the end of Arden Way & the river) at 9am. Steve is getting the fireboat and Sheriff’s ATV to help move items. Arrive at 8:30 to build benches and lunch will be at 12:00. There is also a pre-work party on October 7th at Al’s home to prep the wood for the benches. Please come and help—9am.
  • Al still needs a stronger commitment from someone to help with set up and clean up for the meetings.
  • November 6th our meeting is moved to Cannon on 33rd Street in East Sacramento. They are opening special for our lunch.
  • The Fall Grant deadline is September 30th. They will be discussed at the October Board meeting on October 3rd at Howe Park.
  • Mike Grace announced the last weekend of the comedy “Oh, He’s Coming Back” at the Howe Avenue Theater. September 28, 29 and 30.

Mike Grace did his joke list while Tom raised a set amount of money—Mike got in 3 1/2 jokes!

Our speaker today is Roger Niello, a local celebrity and former Assemblyman. Roger talked about the political climate and said he is frustrated with the anti-government sentiment present since the Donald Trump victory. Looking forward, Roger thinks the Congressional Elections coming up are the most important. He noted he will be on KFBK at 7pm on election night with others to discuss the election.

There are 25-30% of voters who are rock solid behind Trump. A significant number of voters voted against Clinton rather than for Trump to allow him to pull off the upset. Trump highly energizes the opposition base by making everything all about Trump. Roger looks at the “right of center suburbanites”, and wonders if the Republicans can keep them even though they voted for Trump. Roger says Trump is “his own worst enemy.” He is a thin-skinned, egocentric narcissist. He wears his emotions on his sleeve. Will the anti-Trump movement be enough to cause a split among the Democratic ranks?

Startling fact: 49% in a poll said they favor impeaching President Trump. On a generic ballot, 49% chose a generic Democrat, 42% chose a generic Republican. Historically during a non– Presidential year election, the sitting President’s party loses 18 out of 20 seats. This year, 60 Congressional seats are highly contested. The net loss in 90% of mid-term elections since 1902 is 4 1/2 seats. In California many Politician’s are becoming “decline to state” or “Independent” rather than align with either party.

The Senate is a different story. There are 26 Democrats to 8 Republicans up for election. 10 of the seats are from districts where Trump won in 2016. Could Congress go Democratic, quite likely. The Senate should remain Republican so we will have a split.

The more important election are the Governors races. There are 336 Republican and 16 Democratic and 1 Independent Governors and 6 are up for election this cycle. The key is that in 2020 there will be a census and Governors can redistrict accordingly.

The top 2 voting has made a huge impact in California, where we’ll often see a Democrat against a Democrat in the election because they were the top 2 vote getters in the primary.

Steve Poizner running for Insurance Commissioner says he’ll show Republicans how to win—become an Independent.

The question is how small the majority will be in the Legislature. The significance is the necessary 2/3 majority to increase taxes. Congress will probably go Democratic, and the Senate is up for grabs.

Roger gave us an idea on some of the propositions on the ballot in November. Prop 6 is about the gas tax. A yes removes the gas tax, a no means they stay in place. Is it possible that the sentiment on prop 6 could show a more open election with the possibility of a Republican Governor?

Roger recommended the following web sites: LAO.CA.GOV and Votersedge.org

Both parties are effected by the populists verses the establishment (traditionalists.) Could that dynamic cause a split in the parties? Could 4 parties be possible? Roger says look at Europe, that is not what we would want.

Roger was asked about the Kavanagh confirmation, and Roger says it hinges on the few people on the Judicial Committee. He didn’t give a prediction.

Follow Roger on Twitter or the web at: @RogerNeillo and RogerNiello.com

Thank you Roger, for your insight into the current world of politics.

Next week: Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Sean Reagan

Newsletter – September 19, 2018

Invocation by Al Cady

Visitors: Antonio Lopez, Dan Hines, Kristina Robinson and Ron Lader.
People without Rotary Pins paid $1.
Our hosts at JJ Pfister Distillery are Kevin and Gail Keck—fun fact, their daughter received an Arden Arcade Scholarship and is now in Pediatric Oncology.

Announcements:

  • On Friday, October 5th, we will have a Fleet Week Boating adventure on Captain Steve’s boat in the San Francisco Bay. More details to come. Tim Cahill is co-chairing with Captain Steve. The bus will leave at 8am. Both the Parade of Boats and the Blue Angels will be there. Steve will prepare his “from scratch” Clam Chowder along with tri-tip, etc. There will be mimosas and Bloody Mary’s on the bus! Cost is $80 per person, guests are welcome but the number is capped at 40.
  • The 13th of October is a Rotary Work Day at William Pond Park. We will be restoring benches (thanks to the wood donated by Al Cady.) A BBQ lunch will follow. Meet at William Pond Park (at the end of Arden Way & the river) at 9am. Steve is getting the fireboat and Sheriff’s ATV to help move items. Arrive at 8:30 to build benches and lunch will be at 12:00.
  • Al still needs a stronger commitment from someone to help with set up and clean up for the meetings.
  • Danny passed out flyers and sponsorship opportunities for the 7th Annual fundraiser which this year is called “Taco Bout A Fiesta!” See flyer and sponsorship opportunities attached.

The first impression of JJ Pfsiter’s was how nice the tasting room is and how cool the artifacts are hanging on the wall. I began speaking with Kevin, the Great-Grandson of John Jacob Pfister. John Jacob was born in Switzerland and came to San Francisco in 1869. He opened JJ Pfister Knitting Company in 1876. He was a very prominent industrialist of his time. He had brought machines from Switzerland which produced 12,000 knit wool bathing suits a month. They were his signature item. He also made baseball uniforms, and outfitted the Klondike Miners.

John Jacob’s mission was to provide quality, value and the best customer service. Ideals adopted by his namesake, JJ Pfister’s Distillery. At the time of the 1906 earthquake, many of the swimsuit styles he made were out of San Francisco on display. Thus, the original swimsuits on display in the tasting room. After the earthquake and fire—which did most of the damage to the factory, JJ Pfister Knitting Company moved to Berkeley.

A friend of the family asked the Keck’s to make vodka from his potatoes. He grows organic potatoes in Oregon, but only 1/3 are acceptable size and shape for Whole Foods to purchase, so the 2/3 left are now being used to make JJ Pfister Vodka. It takes 15 lbs of potatoes to make one liter of vodka. The JJ Pfister vodka is purely organic. When they discovered they needed nitrogen for the process, the farmer flooded his fields while leaving a quarter of the grain behind and it attracted thousands of birds using the Pacific Flyway. Their excrement provided the necessary nitrogen. 1% of the proceeds from JJ Pfsiters is donated to the Miller Refuge in the Klamath Basin.

Our tour of the distillery (the heart of any fermented operation) was very interesting. The fermentation process is an ancient reaction. We learned the process of mashing, cooking, cooling, adding yeast to ferment and storage. It was somewhat surprising to learn that the new oak barrels are only used one time. Afterwards they are sold to breweries because the bourbon in the wood helps flavor beer. Vodka can be made in 8 days start to finish if necessary, bourbon and whiskey need to be aged in the barrels. The remaining “stuff” after distilling is fed to cows at an Elk Grove farm to continue the organic cycle. When the potatoes come in they can be ground 1000 lbs at a time. The farmer plants them in cycles so the potatoes are always freshly picked when the process begins. The peels go in the grinder after the potatoes are washed several times.

Everything that touches the product is organic including the bottles, labels and medallions. The potatoes they use are russet potatoes. We learned that whiskey here is spelled with the “e”, where in Scotland and Ireland it is spelled without the “e” – whisky. Irish whisky is smoother than Scottish because it doesn’t have the heavy peat Scottish distiller’s use. The copper used in making the stills is significant because it takes the sulfur out of the product—if they don’t have copper in the stills they throw copper nails into the product while it is being distilled.

JJ Pfister opened in April. Their products are available at Nugget Markets, Total Wine, and several fine restaurants in the Sacramento area. Currently they are producing Vodka, Gin, Rum and Drakas (a honey based liquor.)

Thank you Kevin, Gail and the JJ Pfister family for a very fun meeting!

Newsletter – September 11, 2018

Pledge by Paula James                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Invocation by Al Cady

Bell Ringers: Rob Ford: Spent last week in Hawaii to celebrate his 27th Anniversary this coming Saturday. Jenny Davini: her daughter just became a homeowner in the Garden of the Gods! Cathy Skeen: Her son just got married and she found out 3 days before—no work! Happy Bucks: Bruce Stimson had the best 3 day weekend—he and Nancy took their 2 granddaughters to Safari West and went “Glamping” in a tent then drove the next day to Monterey and spent the night in the Monterey Aquarium watching the Enchanted Kelp Forest all night then went to the Zoo the next day. Boy what a treat! Linda Bigler is celebrating a birthday tomorrow. Rob Olmsted has been gone for a while—closing of the legislative session then spent some time in Alaska. Monika said her father who passed away 6 months ago had a bucket list and she and her mom wanted to do something on the list so they went to Loaves and Fishes armed with $250 worth of pies to feed the clients there. They’ve now decided to do something like it each month. Our speaker, Lou Stanfill said his son turns one on Saturday.
Announcements:

  • The window is still open for the Fall Grant applications. By accepting applications twice a year we can be choosier in evaluating requests. The decisions will be made at the October Board Meeting.
  •  Tuesday, September 18th we will meet at JJ Pfister Distilling Company at 9819 Business Park Drive, Sacramento 95827. This is our regular lunch meeting.
  • On Friday, October 5th, we will have a Fleet Week Boating adventure on Captain Steve’s boat in the San Francisco Bay. More details to come. Tim Cahill is co-chairing with Captain Steve. The bus will leave at 8am. Both the Parade of Boats and the Blue Angels will be there. Steve will prepare his “from scratch” Clam Chowder along with tri-tip, etc. There will be mimosas and Bloody Mary’s on the bus! Cost is $80 per person, guests are welcome but the number is capped at 40.
  • The 13th of October is a Rotary Work Day at William Pond Park. We will be restoring benches (thanks to the wood donated by Al Cady.) A BBQ lunch will follow. Meet at William Pond Park (at the end of Arden Way & the river) at 8:30am. Steve is getting the fireboat and Sheriff’s ATV to help move items. Arrive at 8:30 to build benches and lunch will be at 11:30.
  • Al still needs a stronger commitment from someone to help with set up and clean up for the meetings.
  •  The September 5th Board Meeting and Wine Down Wednesday at the Vogel’s home was fantastic and Prez Tom thinks all Board Meetings should be there!

Mike Grace was finally able to give Rob Olmsted his Paul Harris Pin and Certificate for all the help he gave Mike during his year as President.

Paul King and Monika Singh attended a 4 hour seminar on Human Trafficking on Saturday. They learned that human trafficking is a 150 Billion Dollar Business. There are 40 Million victims world wide and over 100,000 in the US. California is a hotspot due to its location. The 100,000 number is probably not accurate because many are not reported. Human Trafficking is “a person who is compelled to do labor or commercial sex acts”—with 80% being in labor and 20% in sex trafficking. Many are promised false jobs and then are held captive by having their passports taken away and then they are paid a pittance but charged huge fees for living expenses. This creates a debt bondage for the victim. Many victims are lured through family members or by threatening the life of family members if they don’t cooperate. In January a law was passed in California with broad programs to help reduce and eliminate human trafficking. Rotary has committed $400,000 to teach programs in 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th grades about what it is and how to avoid becoming a victim.

There was a kick-off rally at the capital and now they are looking for schools to agree to participate in the program. This is “community service at it’s finest.” Monika reminded us that if we see something odd, do something about it. Online sites are especially high for recruitment but also nail salons, convenience stores and such can be as well.

The Rotary District is doing a blood drive and Randy Freidman is again challenging Arden Arcade members to give in the name of Arden Arcade Rotary. When you do you’ll receive a special pound of Sedna Coffee as well as a $20 donation made in your name to the Foundation. Thank you, Randy!

Our speaker today is Lou Stanfill, a 2003 graduate of Jesuit and UC Berkeley graduate where he played Rugby on his way to becoming a US National Team Player. Lou talked about the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and what it meant to him. On that day, September 11, 2011 he was playing in the World Cup of Rugby in New Zealand. In the first game against Ireland, they lost but then went on to beat Russia in the next game before losing to Australia and Italy. Rugby is HUGE overseas, and the World Cup is the 3rd largest sporting event.

Lou told us why 9-11 is important to him and all of US Rugby. Mark Bingham, a CAL Rugby player was on flight 93 and he was paramount in keeping that plane from going on to Washington DC. He along with his fellow passengers overtook the terrorists and brought the plane down. In addition, Sean Lugano who was a member of the NY Athletic Club Rugby Team was a first responder who lost his life helping others during the attack. Sean’s brother, John, came to New Zealand to address the team prior to their game. He spoke from the heart of how much Rugby meant to him. Lou said all of this just highlights the attitude of “for the greater good.” There was also a Memorial Service in a church in New Zealand and the church was packed. The team also received messages from first responders and firefighters of encouragement. There is a “brotherhood” among rugby players. There is true evil in this world and we should all be proactive in stopping it before it happens.

Rugby Nor Cal is a non-profit organization formed to promote and teach youth rugby. Along with teaching the game of rugby, their mission is to promote higher values. Although rugby is a game of “hit as hard as you can,” it is also the “sport played in heaven.” While rugby is a hard hitting, rough game, the players are held to a high standard. They have respect for the sport as well as for their fellow players. Nor Cal Rugby hopes to raise the awareness of the game. Northern California has had more players on the National Team than any other place. Cal Rugby is big-time as is Jesuit’s team.

Rugby is not like other sports. Football, basketball and baseball players dream of going pro and getting a huge salary. Rugby players can play professional for years and finish in debt. Blaine Scully, a former Jesuit player and Jan Scully’s son, scored the first skin for a tier 1 National team from the US.

How can we help Nor Cal Rugby? Donate, Get Involved, support the teams.

Thank you, Lou, for the insight into Rugby and good luck with Nor Cal Rugby!