President Dan opened the Zoom platform at 11:15 allowing members time to converse casually prior to the formal start of the meeting at noon.  
 
Some members expressed some frustration with the necessity of maneuvering through technology these days.  Ray Smith's solution is to ask for assistance from his eigh-year-old grandson when he is stumped.
 
Frank Rosenberg was asked about their Flagstaff residence.  He said the surveillance system they have installed shows that the snow is mostly gone.  He said the last time he was up there the snow was waist deep.
 
John Pennypacker reminisced about a time he visited the Cady's when they were in their floating home in San Diego.  John asked Polly if a certain store owner still remembered her, feeling quite certain that they would.  That recalled for Polly a time that they enjoyed a meal with John in Australia.  She remembered that John had ordered Kangaroo.  Pam indicated she would be in and out of the meeting as she was preparing an evening meal for her family - Alex, Wilder and Joey.  This brought on a conversation about food and family and friends and morphed into talking about unusual foods and likes and dislikes.  John told about a bad experience with Korean food at a restaurant in Virginia.  He was there for lunch and only the kimchi was good.  He went back in the evening hoping for a better experience and did not have anything he enjoyed.  Some thought it might have been the Virginia location of the Korean restaurant that was the problem...  This led to discussing that some foods have been known to cause nightmares. 
 
This prompted someone to ask Jim Schmidt about his football nightmare.  In his dream, they were down to the final seconds in a game.  His team needed a touchdown to win the game.  After one failed play, Jim suggested to the quarterback a play that he was certain would work.  He faked a move which created a clear path to the end zone.  As he was near the goal, he could see that the pass was going to fall short.  He planted his foot and reached behind him.  Just as he caught the ball, he felt extreme pain.  He had fallen out of bed, landing in a heap on the floor after hitting his head on the nightstand, thus cheated out of his moment of glory.
 
Steve Ross announced that he ad received his first COVID immunization at Walgreen's.
 
President Dan announced that he had heard from Melodie who was scheduled to present the thought for the day.  Melodie was having technical issues and would not be able to attend the meeting.  Ray Smith agreed to fill in for her with an invocation.
 
At Noon, President Dan called the meeting to order introducing himself and reciting the 2020-21 Rotary International theme:
Rotary Opens Opportunities. 
 
He then recited the Rotary Vision Statement:
Together we see a world where people unite and 
take action to create lasting change - 
across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves
 
President Dan asked Ray Smith to offer the invocation.
 
When President Dan said it was time to introduce guests, he noted that Tom Yuzer is our most-regularly-attending seasonal Rotary visitor.
 
Rotary Minute - Allan Cady - Fundraising
Allan began by saying that a lot of things make Mesa West Rotary unique and the best club in the world.  One thing is the generosity of the members.  It has been shown time and time again.  They are generous with their time, energy and money and it is all greatly appreciated.
 
This year's Sponsorship Campaign is no exception.  At the time of the meeting, donations were up to $31,850.  The original goal was $30,000.  He said we were not going to shut off the sponsor program yet as a number of pledges were still coming in.  He planned to meet with his team captains the week of the 15th to decide the direction they will take going forward.  Currently, team Goetzenberger is leading, having brought in $11,100.  Team Flint is in second place having brought in over $4,000.  A couple of other teams are approaching that $4,000 number.  
 
When Allan looks at what he has brought in personally, he realized that it might help other members be more successful in their efforts if he were to share what works best for him.
  1. He writes out a script of what he wants to talk to each potential donor about.  He said a lot of the people he approaches are former business associates.  He first asks about work, and how things are currently going for the prospect.  After they have talked about the prospects work and family for a bit, he then talks about how things are going for himself - about the opportunities his Rotary involvement has opened for him.  He then talks about some Rotary projects and ways he is able to be a part of effecting positive change.
  2. Allan sets a personal goal.  He felt it is most effective to set a goal for the number of people he would contact rather than target a specific dollar amount.
  3. Make a list identifying prospective donors to be contacted.
  4. Allan makes sure that he either hands them a brochure (if meeting in person) or e-mails it right after their conversation.  That is a tangible way for the prospect to be acquainted with what we are working toward.
  5. He said to sell the club hard - showing pride in the projects we do and are involved with.
  6. Allan said not to mention a dollar amount.  The amount is immaterial.  He just asks them to donate something to help us do what we do.  He often doesn't know how much until the check arrives.
  7. Allan said not to get discouraged if you get turned down.  He said people are giving adding he only gets turned down by one in ten of those he asks.
  8. Allan said it is important to be optimistic.  Rotarians are optimistic people.  He said it is very important to display an optimistic mindset.
  9. Allan also said it is important to display pride in what you are doing and the club you are a part of.
Allan thanked everyone for their attention and time, and assured everyone he will continue to work the project for a bit.
 
Happy Bucks - Bert Millett
  • Jeanie Morgan pledged $78 happy bucks celebrating her 78th birthday saying she heard from Rotary friends from every continent except Africa and Antarctica and was treated to a Red Lobster dinner by her family.
  • John Pennypacker pledged $10 to thank the member who orchestrated the very impactful program about being raised by a mother with Autism presented by Wendy Hamilton on February 4.
  • Allan Cady announced Polly's brother Doug gave Sabrina a ring on February 10.  Allan pledged $10 for their celebration of Doug and Sabrina's engagement.
  • Bert Millett pledged $43 for his 43rd birthday which would be coming up in a week.  He noted that Tom Brady is also 43 - one of the few things they have in common.
  • Jim Schmidt pledged $5 for retelling the deranged retired accountant football nightmare prior to the meeting formally starting.
 
Program - Mayor John Giles - Five Goals for Mesa over 2021
 
Wendell Jones introduced Mayor Giles who was elected Mayor of Mesa, Arizona in 2014 and began his second full term in January, 2021.  The Mayor oversees a growing economy that has added thousands of new jobs, made over $3.65 billion in new capital investment and employers like Google, who is joining Apple in the Elliot Road Technology Corridor and Amazon in the Falcon Business District.  He brings renewed focus and attention to Mesa's downtown resulting in a new Arizona State University facility with cutting edge programs and budding creative economy with new businesses, restaurants and entertainment options.
 
Education and building Mesa's workforce are top priorities for Mayor Giles.  He is proud to spearhead the Mesa College Promise that provides qualified graduates with a free community college education.  The Promise, along with Mesa Counts on College and the Mayor's Teen Force summer internship program are working toward building Mesa's future workforce.  This year, he is chair of the Mayor's Education Roundtable, where Mayors from across the state share data and build on plans to increase student success.
 
Mayor Giles is a member of the United States Conference of Mayors Board of Trustees and serves as Chair of their Immigration Task Force.  Giles is also a proud member of the Mayor's Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness.  Mesa's program has housed more than 120 homeless vets.
 
Recognizing these efforts and more, Money.com, a subsidiary of Time Magazine, named Mesa the best big city in the Southwest.
 
Born and raised in Mesa, Mayor Giles earned degrees from Brigham Young University in Political Science and Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law where he is now an Adjunct Professor.  He has managed his own law firm in downtown Mesa for more than 25 years.  Mayor Giles is a marathoner and triathlete who has completed two full Ironman competitions, 20 marathons and four Boston Marathons.  Mayor Giles and his wife Dawn have been married for more than 35 years.  They have five children  and eight grandchildren.   
 
The mayor began his presentation by saying Rotarians are among his favorite people.  He thanked club members for their service and commitment.  He said his personal priorities have shifted necessarily because of the COVID Pandemic.  Because Mesa is a city of over 500,000 residents, the Federal Government deposited $90,000,000 in to the city bank account.  An influx of that much cash is a wonderful blessing, but also a very sober commitment to spend those funds appropriately and be accountable for how they are utilized.  They did a lot of outreach to determine needs and hardest hit areas.
 
With the pandemic, they determined some city services were no longer appropriate.  They closed the arts center, parks and recreation, libraries, and museum.  They could not see how they could run those services safely.  They utilized the impacted employees to gather information in the outreach program and work on funding priorities to address.
 
The mayor reminded everyone of the initial public reaction in March, 2020 when people were very nervous about the basics of life.  Grocery store shelves were empty.  That panic was reflected in the outreach responses they received.  Early-on, it was obvious they needed to respond to basic needs partnering with food banks in the area.  They converted the Mesa Convention Center into a food warehouse with thousands of cars per day picking up food.  It was a Godsend for many families.
 
A lot of the people in line for food were from other local communities because those communities had not yet received their funds.  Housing was an issue.  Some of the money was spent for rent and utility assistance.
 
Not everyone was in the same boat.  Some were on rafts without life vests and some were going under.  The city tried to provide a life line.
 
School children had to adapt to remote learning - a situation which excluded some populations which either did not have the technology or internet access or either.  He was at a downtown elementary and saw parents in line to pick up packets in addition to food for their children.  Families without the ability for their children to use the technical learning programs were picking up paper packets.  The mayor met with the school superintendents asking how the city could partner.  A lot of progress had already been made in getting middle school and high school devices.  They were able to get laptops for all elementary school students.  He said we should be proud of the way Mesa has used precious public resources.
 
The mayor emphasized the pandemic is not over.  We have several months ahead where we will remain at status quo.  He is hopeful the vaccine will have the hoped-for impact.  He believes there will be some additional money for rental assistance and utilities in the next stimulus package.  The CARES act is over, so for some things there is no longer city funding available.  There may be another opportunity in the future to receive more resources.
 
Mesa, as a city, is very reliant on sales tax.  They do not have a property tax.  As it turns out, the city has been okay when it comes to resources.  On-line sales now have to pay sales tax to local governments.  Expenses have gone up dramatically.  They are doing things they don't normally do.  The mayor said they could have turned in receipts for double what they received.  He said local government is where the rubber meets the road.  He listed the five priorities:
  1. Emergency Response
  2. Equality
  3. Environment
  4. Education
  5. Economic Development
With regard to equality, he emphasized the digital divide.  Low income people don't have access to internet.  The city is working on getting fiber to all homes and businesses in the community.
 
They are also working on non-discrimination ordinances.  A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about the need for ordinances in the news.  There was a lot of litigation, and initial attempts were controversial in other communities.  A few years ago, there were too many unanswered questions.  The issue has matured quite a bit.  A lot of the "buts" and scary hypotheticals have been resolved.  Court cases provide the needed way to create an inclusive, diverse, welcoming community.  They will be working on this over the next few weeks.
 
With regard to the Environment, he said school children want to make sure they inherit a habitable planet.  Mesa is struggling with recycling programs.  The market for those commodities is simply no longer there.  The public expectation is that those materials not end up in the landfill, but the city is struggling with how to make that happen.  They are working to use city resources so they are not so dependent on third party contractors to have a sustainable recycling program.  It is expected to have goals that are sensitive to climate change.  There are many noble goals, but very little idea how they will be reached.  He doesn't consider those real goals and will be looking for realistic goals and a path to get there.
 
John Pennypacker asked about all the construction at Falcon Field.  There had been a years-long waiting list for hangars.  The city finally caught up with that.  Some of the new hangars are for private jets and others are to lease out.  The city does not sell the real estate.  They enter into long-term lease agreements.  New hangars bring neww businesses.  Gateway airport is very quickly transforming as well with both industrial and commercial development.
 
In spite of the pandemic, 2020 was the best year ever for economic development.  Google and Apple brought multi-billion dollar projects.  Lots of activity around Falcon.  A large spec building near Boeing has been taken over by Amazon.
 
Lola asked about articles she had read about repurposing some waste for paving streets, etc.  It is a huge problem globally.  China is no longer taking wahe we used to sell to them.  We need to reduce, reuse, and recycle.  They are participating in a study with ASU to look for additional markets for recyclable material.  During the pandemic, drivers were sharing the same trucks which had to be sanitized between each use.  Durin g that period, everything had to be dumped at the landfills.  The facility for recyclable materials burned down.  They are doing it again now, but are not where they want to be.
 
Wendell Jones asked about what we are looking forward to with our schools.  Decisions by the school board are difficult.  They have to attempt to balance how to keep everyone safe while trying to keep them from going crazy.  The city has no regulatory or policy authority with the schools, but do partner with them on lots of things very effectively.  They try to be the wind beneath their wings as much as possible.  They help curtail activities outside of school.  Protocols at school are safe.  The outside events ask that public safety requirements are enforced.  The city tries to cooperate and put strict rules on protocols at hotels and parks and public fields.  They try to find safe practices to keep things open as much as possible.
 
Bob Zarling asked about education as well.  He wondered if there was a thought about funds for libraries to help people get caught up.  The mayor talked about the Mesa K-ready program to make up the deficit on preschool readiness.  They use city resources for that program.  They will replicate that over other ages.  The Mesa College Promise program is available to make sure community college is available to kids that are college-ready.
 
Due to the virus, libraries are still on very limited protocol.  The same is true of museums.  Both are very structured for very small groups.  They are spending a lot of money to augment education.
 
Large corporations are coming to Mesa.  With regard to how Rotary might help.  Most corporations have resources available.  They mayor himself does a lot of fundraising.  In order to be impactful, they need to raise money outside of the city budget.  Education is an easy sell.  Education is on most corporate core value statements.  If Rotary wanted to engage in that fundraising effort, the mayor said he could suggest several good causes related to needs that need to be filled.