Burlingame Rotary Club
Founded in 1925

High Gear Bulletin


Zoom Meeting - Wednesday, January 27, 2021

High Gear Editor:  Lisa Goldman

President Emily Matthews called the meeting to order promptly at 12:15.

This Week: Lisa Goldman led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Jerry Winges then led the invocation, telling the assembled group that this past year, he’s found himself thinking a lot about prejudice—racism, sexism, ageism, homeophobia, etc.  Jerry got us all thinking when he recited the poem The Cold Within by James Patrick Kinney. In the words of Jerry,go do something great!” 


Announcements:  We had quite a few guests of the club this week: our speaker, Rob Caughlin; Sheryl Young’s friends Terry Turnbull, Catherine Elvert, and Shannon Cosentino-Roush, David Gallegos, my predecessor Jim Nantell; Lynn Nieberding, Assistant District Governor Mateo Rizzo from South San Francisco, Dr. Jo Whitehouse, and Patricia Nutting (Foster City Rotary). Welcome all!


President Emily gave us some important reminders:

  • Happy hour will be Friday @ 5. 
  • The Spring Golf Tournament will be Monday, May 3.  We’ll have a fund-a-need, but we’re not doing big sponsorships this year. The Fiesta Cart will be roving the course with pre-Cinco de Mayo treats. Muy excelente!
  • Millbrae Rotary’s Chinese new year event will be Friday, February 26. Click here for more info.
  • Yours truly gave a brief presentation on By-District Elections, which are coming to Burlingame.  If you live in Burlingame, make sure you check out the information on the City’s website and participate in our upcoming public hearings. The first one is on Monday, February 1, at 5:30 p.m. It will be held via Zoom, so grab some dinner and your beverage of choice and join us! 
  • January marks 30 years that Julius Aires has been a member of Burlingame Rotary. Congrats to Julius!


Fritz Brauner introduced the First Annual Burlingame Rotary Pet-O-Rama featuring snapshots of Burlingame Rotary pets: cats, dogs, a turtle, a tiger, and chickens galore, plus some stuffed animals. Then Fritz presented the Pet-O-Rama Awards, because who doesn’t love an awards show?  Congrats to all the winners!

  • Best Pals Award: puppies Lucca and Mia La Mariana
  • Least Pretentious Name Award:  tie between Fido (the stuffed dog) Aires and Kitty Juptner.
  • Best Marx Brother Award: Groucho Fama, a cat who seems to have a drinking problem.
  • “Flew the Coop” Award: Ichabod Kimball, a flamingo who recently escaped? Your editor got distracted by her own pet at this point.
  • Poodle-palooza Award: Dixie, Pickle, Ginger, and Oliver Person, who are three geriatric poodles and one young whippersnapper.
  • “Tiger King Queen” Award: This one featured a photograph of a young Marilyn and her sister starring in an ad with a tiger. 
  • Who’s the Owner? Kiki Goldman and Lady Gaga Delaney starred in this quiz.

Thanks to Fritz, Jennifer Pence, and Nancy Bush for putting the Pet-O-Rama together! Click here to watch the video!


Our beloved Mark Lucchesi, Rotarian, Mollie Stone’s manager, and all around great guy is retiring after 50 years in the grocery biz. There’s a flocking of Mark’s house this weekend. Christine Krolik volunteered to help. Thanks Christine!  There’s also a car parade for Mark this Saturday at noon, starting at BHS.  Click here for more information.



Nancy Bush introduced today’s speaker, Rob Caughlan. Rob is a San Mateo native who graduated from San Mateo High and attended the College of San Mateo and San Francisco State. He may be from San Mateo, but his Burlingame ties run deep—he’s been married to Miss Burlingame 1961 for 57 years. 


Rob has written a memoir, “A Surfer in the White House,” and he regaled us all with some “salty yarns” from his life in politics and advocacy.  


When Rob was a student at San Mateo High, President Kennedy challenged his generation to go out and do something for the country. That was the motivation Rob needed to get involved.  He studied political science and international relations in college and was a precinct walker for Pete McCloskey in his first race, against Shirley Temple. Yes, that Shirley Temple.  Rob went on to work on a number of campaigns across the country and served as an Administrative Assistant to then-Assemblymember Leo Ryan. Asm. Ryan imparted an important lesson--when the office phone rings or someone walks in the door, it doesn’t matter who they are—treat them like the boss. 


Rob started the Roanoke Company advertising and public relations agency in Menlo Park to produce “good cause” media focused on saving endangered wildlife, reducing motorcycle fatalities, and championing environmental protections. He has also worked to elect politicians invested in good, productive government.


Through the advertising agency, Rob met Jimmy Carter, who was Governor of Georgia at the time and working to oppose a US Army Corps of Engineers dam project. After helping on the Carter Presidential campaign, Rob went to DC to work as a Special Assistant to the President. Most of his time was spent at the EPA, but he was detailed to the White House to work on special projects and had a little office in the Old Executive Office Building.  He was able to work on projects he found interesting, such as solar and renewable energy. During his time in DC, Rob learned that government cannot and should not be expected to solve all of our problems. The private sector needs to play a bigger part in solving our problems—and not creating our problems in the first place. He also mentioned that the world needs more Rotarians! 


After working in DC, Rob and his family moved back to California, and he became active with the Surfrider Foundation, serving as their first President.  He was there when the organization won a Clean Water Act lawsuit against two pulp mills in Humboldt County and also helped the Foundation fight Vinod Khosla on the Martins Beach access issue. Rob also co-founded the group Friends of the River.


Rob had some great words of wisdom for us:  we have to struggle and continue to try to create a more perfect union.  


With that, the meeting was adjourned at 1:25 p.m.


John Chiapelone Obituary (1932-2021)





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