Rotary Moments
by Jim Hallett
 
It was Monday, June 25, 2018, the last day of the already legendary presidency of Mark Burton, and John Osten celebrated his Rotary moment(s), watching people blossom in the sharing of their thoughts of the day…..President Mark thanked us for allowing him to serve us as our president and called us “the most righteous group of people I have ever met.”…..Guests included one of Jamie Cappetta’s countless children and City Manager Bruce Moe.
 
Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden
David Gendron and David Harris brought us Roy Gonella, who organizes the Manhattan Beach Botanical Garden.  Roy told us about the long-planned and at-long-last approved tool shed and small office about to go up by the garden.  We greeted his good news by contributing $1000 to the cause.
 
Manhattan Beach Police Chief Derrick Abell
Manhattan Beach Police Chief and Acting Fire Chief Derrick Abell filled us in on his long-term vision for police services.  Chief Abell grew up in Inglewood with an “always right” single mother and went on to play on Montana State’s national championship football team.  Given his background, he is “passionate about kids.”  His three-point strategic plan includes:  (1) Develop personnel and training, giving us officers who are well-educated role models and future leaders; (2) Fight crime and protect our quality of life by proactively identifying potential problem areas, utilizing technology like license plate readers, Nixel and social media; and (3) Partner with the community (he himself coaches Mira Costa football).  His closing advice to us:  Stay in your lane, do your job, and do your job well.
 
Club Foundation Board
Ian Jackson presented nominees to replace our outgoing Club Foundation Board members and to join members Bob Stephenson, Ian Jackson, and Immediate Past President Mark Burton.  The nominees, Geoff Bremer and Jim Hunter, were almost unanimously approved, with only a joking dissent from Mr. Hunter.
 
Club Awards
President Mark decided to make the Demotion Evening a whole lot shorter by using this meeting, surrounded by active members who could truly appreciate the people he honored, as his forum to honor those who made his year a great year.  (I have missed a whole lot of names here, but I got most of the big ones.)
 
Board of Directors
President Mark described his Board members as possessed of great initiative—“they all owned it”—and had individual words of praise for each one.  They were:
 
Ken Deemer, President Elect
Jay Harkenrider & John Rhind, Treasurers
Russ Samuels, Secretary
David Gendron, Community
Bob Lanahan & James Kennedy, International
Shannon Ryan, Past President
Tim Hageman, Youth
Loli Ramezani, Vocational
Mark Lipps, Social
Gerry Morton, Programs
 
Committees
All Board members received gift bags, with wine and gift certificates and who knows what else, as did a bunch more folks, including:
 
Ian Jackson, Memberhip.
Jan Rhees, Family of Rotary.
John Osten, Sergeant At Arms.
Dan Quisenberry, AV.
Norm Levin, AV.
Donn Ennis, Photographer and Kiva Microloans.
Sue Vogl & Jim Hallett, Bulletin.
Dick Chase, Concierge.
Chris Ullman & Jim Hunter, Early Arrival Setup (and Chris did Meals on Wheels).
Jordan Holbert & Debby Arnold, Celebrate Manhattan Beach.
Dennis Morehead, Scholarships.
David Peters & Dave Harris, Paul Harris Foundation.
Jim Hunter & Debby Arnold, Dine-arounds.
John Hugunin, Book Club.
Kathleen Terry, Peace Chair.
Lisa Hemmat-Lupercio, Wines and Venues.
Steve De Baets, Rotary Cares.
Jan Buike, Seniors.
 
No RINOs Here
Actually, I lost all track of who got a gift bag and who didn’t, but it was clear President Mark was on the verge of saying, what the heck, everyone should get a gift bag.  He started reeling off name after name, faster than I could write, each name eliciting unanimous nods of the head and “oh, yeahs.”  It was one of those times when all we do, and all of us who do it, is just overwhelming.  All these chairs had an army of unsung volunteers who showed up for all their projects, past presidents who do not sit on their laurels and first year club members who jump in whole hog, plus everyone in between.  It seems that no one quits on this club’s service commitment.
 
Rotarian Of The Year Gerry Morton
Finally……drum roll……President Mark got to the name we all wait to hear every year—the Rotarian of the Year.   President Mark posited that the key to a good Rotary Club year is “speakers, speakers, speakers,” and boy have we had a whole lot of winners, and the winner of Rotarian of the Year was the plainly deservingGerry Morton.  Thank you, Gerry, for a great year.
 
Ken Deemer
President Mark then made the expectations surrounding the upcoming presidency of Ken Deemer daunting indeed, promising that Ken will “take us to the next level” and further promising that Ken “has a great sense of humor.”  While Ken quietly blanched and tried to get away, President Mark received his penultimate Standing O.
 
Demotion
Yes, penultimate, not final, for there was still the dreaded Demotion Dinner ahead of President Mark.  It was a dignified, even tame affair, by this club’s standards—one wag suggested that “Mark didn’t give us much material” for the usual mocking folderol that outgoing presidents have to endure.  His costume was a judge’s robe and English wig, surely a promotion rather than a demotion.   Lisa Hemmat-Lupercio provided her usual delectable repast, the remodeled O’Donnell Hall proved a comfortable venue, and a Mira Costa musical group kept our moods light and airy.  Ian Jackson made quick work of swearing in the incoming Board.  To top off the musical evening, Charlie Steinmetz’ wife Weezie sang Over the Rainbow, accompanying herself on a ukulele, Iz-style.  As if President Mark’s virtues had not been sufficiently extolled already, MC Chris Ullman piled on by reading us a Rudyard Kipling poem packed with sage wisdom.   We all left feeling grateful to Mark and feeling confident that Ken Deemer would do even better, while Ken continued to plot his getaway.