-by Jim Hallett
It was Monday, June 4, 2018, and President Mark Burton looked on as Mike Doell reminded us of the momentous events of 1968, 50 years ago, not the least of which was the wedding of Sandy and Mike, which has resulted, inter alia, in three daughters and six grandkids…..Deb Robertson, somewhat outdone in this competition, brought husband Tom Chwalek with her to prove up her own 30 years of wedded bliss…..Then Mark Lipps, as usual, made clowns of us all, leading us in a June Birthday Wave…..Moving from the ridiculous to the sublime, we heard from Elizabeth Aguilar, volunteer coordinator for Richstone, accompanied by Development Director Allison Tanaka, who updated us on their work with children experiencing family violence ( .  David Gendron presented them with our $1000 check.
Measure MB
Mike Matthews, joined by President Mark, pitched the importance to our schools of the passage of Measure MB, telling us that we are the second worst-funded school (state funds) in the state because of the state’s rich school/poor school funding formula.  As of this writing, it appears that this parcel tax measure passed.
Club Assembly:  Dues
President Mark began a Club Assembly, to be continued at our next meeting, to address the subject of dues.  The proposal is for a $120 increase from $995 to $1115.  This is almost all as a result of increasing room charges (we will be back at the Westdrift next fiscal year).  Prepaid breakfast charges will also rise from $6 to $15.  It has been five years since our last dues increase, and other local clubs are still at a significantly higher per-meeting charge than we are.
Catholic Schools
David Gendron introduced Kevin Baxter, former American Martyrs School principal and now Los Angeles Archdiocese Superintendent of Schools.  This is the largest such district in the country, and would rank as the 4th largest public school district in the state, with 215 K-8 schools and 51 high schools.  The number of Catholic school students in the U.S. has plummeted over the past 50 years from 5.5 million to 1.8 million, which parallels shrinking church populations, so a major goal now is growth.  Kevin cited the Stockdale Paradox in describing how we confront this challenge—have absolute faith but confront the brutal reality. 
To generalize his talk for his audience, Kevin shared his thoughts on leadership.  Growth strategy depends on balancing top-down guidance with local autonomy and requires “systemness,” which is taking collective responsibility, in this case, for all Archdiocese schools as well as one’s own local school.  Through faith, excellence and leadership, the Archdiocese fills the “hole” of its schools “one pebble at a time.”  At the same time, the Archdiocese promotes a culture of innovation, always “feeling the pebble in its shoe.”
Kevin left us with five guidelines for leadership, which sounded a lot like what President Mark and his team do with us: 
  1. Have a core value that drives all decisions.
  2. Recognize personal relationships.
  3. Reflect in an ongoing way on decisions.
  4. Confront conflict, but with tact.
  5. Act with depth, not just breadth.
Yours in Rotary, Jim Hallett