Several members joined the Zoom meeting early so they could enjoy an opportunity to visit with one another.  It was nice to see Erwin and Joan Reimann who we away for a bit enjoying a visit with their daughter and son-in-law in southwest Colorado in a community north and east of Durango.
 
At Noon, President Dan welcomed everyone to the meeting officially and reminded all of this year's Rotary International theme - Rotary opens opportunities.  He also recited the Rotary Vision Statement.  Shelly Romine offered the invocation.
 
There were no guests present other than the speaker, Scott Smith.
 
Rotary Minute - Jeanie Morgan - The Four-Way Test 
Jeanie said that one of the things she loves most about Rotary is The Four-Way test.  In fact the thing she misses most about her former club is the fact that every week the members would recite the test together.  She firmly believes the world would be a peaceful place if all leaders made the test their guide in all the things they think say and do.
 
In looking up information about the origin of the test, she learned some details she had not been aware of in the past.  She knew the test originated with Herbert J Taylor who was a Chicago Rotarian, and she also knew it had something to do with trying to save a company following the stock market crash of 1929.  What she learned was that the company he was trying to save was Club Aluminum.  Their creditors gave him the task of saving the company from being closed as a bankrupt organization.  They owed $400,000 more than the value of their assets.  Somehow, they were able to borrow $6,100 from a Chicago bank to give them a little cash on which to operate.
 
Taylor and the leadership team felt they needed something to make them stand out and decided it was the character, dependability, and service mindedness of their personnel.  They wanted to be very careful in their selection and help them become better men and women as their careers with the company progressed.  They wanted to find a simple measuring stick of ethics which could be easily memorized, but nothing like that seemed to exist at the time in available literature.
 
One day in July, 1932, he prayed about the matter.  Immediately after he prayed, he picked up a white card and wrote out The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do.  He placed the little test under the glass of his desk and determined he should try it out before talking to anyone else about it.
He almost threw it out the first day when many things that passed over his desk didn't pass the first question.  He had not realized how many untruths appeared in the company's literature, letters, and advertising.
 
After a couple of months of constant effort on his part to live up to the test, he was sold on its worth and ready to share it.  Of his four department heads, one was Roman Catholic, another a Christian Scientist, along with an Orthodox Jew and a Presbyterian.  He asked them all if the test was in conflict with any of the doctrines and ideals of their faith.  They all agreed that truth, justice, friendliness and helpfulness were very compatible.  They all agreed to use the test to check proposed plans, policies, statement, and advertising.  After a while, all employees were asked to memorize and use the test in their relations with others.
 
In January, 1943, the RI board agreed that The Four-Way Test should be brought to the attention of Rotary clubs.  It became a part of the Vocational Service ideal.
 
The company survived and in 1954-55, Herbert J. Taylor served as President of Rotary International.  In reminiscing about the origin of the test, he said, "From a bankrupt condition in 1932, our company within a period of some twenty years had paid its debts in full, had paid its stockholders over one million dollars in dividends, and had a value of over two million dollars.  All these rewards have come from a cash investment of only $6,100, The Four-Way Test, and some good hard-working people who have faith in God and high ideals."  To read more details from the history Jeanie found and shared, CLICK HERE.
 
Happy Bucks with Colleen Coons 
  • Warren Williamson fined himself $10 for not staying to help clean up following the very enjoyable October 29 social at Pam Cohen's house on her 65th birthday.
  • Colleen Coons fined herself $10 for the same reason.
  • Lola McClane also fined herself $10 for leaving a great social without helping clean up afterward.
  • Pam Cohen pledged $10 for her awesome birthday celebration and the card she received which contained so many heart-warming birthday messages from her many friends in Mesa West Rotary.  She said that Mike, Chris and Chuck stayed after the party to help clean and Chuck came over the next morning to move the heavy stuff.  She also added $5 asking everyone to pray for her brother who was scheduled to have a faulty replacement heart valve replaced again the week of November 9.
  • John Pennypacker pledged $10 for the help he had from John Ernst at UPS in preparing Pam's birthday surprise package.
  • Ray Smith pledged $10 for a most incredible dessert buffet at Pam's celebration.
  • Wendell Jones pledged $15 describing the unique way he and Ray shared desserts from the abundant buffet at the social.
  • Shelly Romine pledged $10 for the lovely party and the opportunity to remind members to check their email for the message about the newest community service opportunity.
  • Chuck Flint pledged $10 saying he would match the fne from Ray if he thought Ray would not borrow his fine from Wendell.
  • Jim Schmidt pledged $10 saying he regretted having to leave the party early and missing the dessert buffet, but did say he thought he might have enjoyed half of the delicious shrimp Chuck had prepared.
  • Chris Krueger pledged $10 saying she thought she might have been responsible for eating the other half of the shrimp.
  • Dan Coons was fined $10 by his outgoing, ruthless Sgt. at Arms for the day - Colleen Coons - and pledged an additional $10 for the great party and all the hard work Pam did for the club on her birthday.
  • Pam Cohen mentioned that another member of the Mesa West Rotary family had a birthday on October 29.  Ray smith missed his wife, Vickie's birthday to attend the Mesa West social. and didn't even bring her with him.  Ray explained that Vickie was celebrating her birthday with her friends on the 29th and they spent the next evening celebrating together.
Announcements:
  • Jeanie Morgan announced that in 2017-18, Mesa West Rotarians  made our club the highest ranking club in the state for individual giving to support The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona.  Although she is proud that we have remained in the top five in the past couple of years, she would like to see us rise to the top.  There is a link at the bottom of each Messenger as well as on the club website to make giving easy.  There is an option to choose giving monthly, quarterly, or annually to make ongoing support easy and painless for donors.  So far, only four donors have selected that option and they are all members of Mesa West.
  • President Dan announced that the January RYLA will be virtual.  The link to register is on the district website, and Rotarians who know high school students should encourage them to register and participate.
  • Dan also announced a very impactful donation has been made to our club through our member, Jim Crutcher.  Jim's nephew has contributed hand sanitizer valued at $38,000 which we will be distributing to several local agencies who will be able to make good use of it.
  • Colleen Coons announced that the time line is getting short.  We are almost ready to launch the Zello tutoring program.  It is very important that ll volunteers finish their on-line training.  An invitation to a meeting will be going out the the volunteers before our next meeting.
 
Program - Valley Metro with Scott Smith
Wendell Jones introduced his good friend and a former member of our club - Scott Smith.  Scott is CEO of Valley Metro.  He served as Mayor of the City of Mesa from 2018-2014.  He served as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors - the only Arizona mayor to have served in that position.  Valley Metro is a partnership of 17 municipalities and Maricopa County, offering bus, light rail, paratransit and vanpool services to more than 72 million riders annually.
Scott has been married for forty-two years, and has three children and eight grandchildren.
 
The services provided by Valley Metro include local and commuter buses, light rail, neighborhood circulators, rural route, paratransit, and vanpool.  These services provide commuting alternatives and are enhanced with customer service and marketing.  Scott shared photos of a view of the light rail going through downtown Mesa and an overhead view of the Gilbert Road Extension which opened in May of 2019.
 
Some interesting statistics and historical facts were shared.  A network of transportation like this does not happen without a series of voter decisions authorizing development of revenue sources to support the development and growth of public transit resources.  The birth of Valley Metro dates all the way back to 1985 when Proposition 300 was approved.
 
COVID-19 has impacted the system.  Many of the essential workers rely on the system to get them to and from work.  There was funding in the CARES act signed in March to maintain the system, including the necessary workforce  and address the economic conditions and lost revenues that would be inevitable.  Rapid transit ridership has been down 75% and local transportation has been reduced by 37%.  Some of the changes that were made to make utilization of the system safer were enhanced cleaning of the units and allowing rear-door boarding of local busses.  Some rides had to be slowed in their frequency.  The number of passengers allowed was reduced to allow social distancing.  Plastic barriers to surround the operators were installed.  Persistent fogging of the vehicles and buildings in the network also improves the sanitation integrity of the rides.
 
Ridership of Paratransit units has been down 40%.  Shared trips have been suspended.  The vehicles are disinfected between passengers.  They suspended the ADA Eligibility Process for thirty days - using presumptive eligibility.  They provided grocery and medicine delivery to ADA customers to reduce high-risk travel.
 
Construction projects have gone on and in some cases faster than they might have had the pandemic not occurred.  Some slides were shared of where Scott believes we will be with available transportation resources by 2024 which includes some streetcar vehicles being added in some specific areas.  They will not require overhead wiring to operate.  A map was shown of there they are planned to operate in Tempe. A South Central/Downtown hub will be added/enhancing the network. A second phase of expansion will include a northwest extension going to the Metrocenter, which will have been redeveloped into a multi-use center which will benefit from as well as be a benefit to the transportation system.
 
The light rail has had some economic benefits to the communities it serves.  There had not been a new building permit in downtown Mesa for the thirty years prior to the light rail coming to town.
 
From a question from John Pennypacker wondering why long-term paid parking was not an option when riding to Sky Harbor, members learned that government funding stipulates that the transit authority cannot charge for parking.
 
The children of today will be the adults of tomorrow, relying much more with each passing decade from mass transportation.  To see most of the slides shared during the presentation, CLICK HERE.