NOV 20TH: Les Wong, President of SF STATE





Leslie E. Wong joined San Francisco State University as its 13th president in August of 2012.  He oversees one of the nation’s premier urban comprehensive universities offering baccalaureate degrees in 123 academic areas; 27 credential programs; 35 certificate programs; 62 master’s degrees; and 4 doctoral degrees.  He leads more than 3,000 faculty and staff as they serve a student population of over 30,000.

Dr. Wong holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Gonzaga University, a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology from Eastern Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Washington State University.  Early in his career he had faculty appointments at Pierce College and Evergreen State College in Washington State.  He served six years as Academic Dean of Evergreen State College before accepting an appointment as Provost and Academic Vice President at the University of Southern Colorado where he led efforts that significantly enhanced the institutions academic technology infrastructure.  He also served as Interim President at the University of Southern Colorado where he was instrumental in augmenting institutional funding from both private and public sources.  In 1999, Dr. Wong accepted an appointment as Vice President for Academic Affairs at Valley City State University in North Dakota.  At Valley City State, he fostered innovative uses of technology, substantially grew institutional grant funding, and established international exchange programs in China and Mexico.  In 2004, Dr. Wong was appointed president of Northern Michigan University where he led a successful recovery from accreditation concerns, developed the institutions first comprehensive strategic plan, increased institutional grant funding 1000%, and fostered institutional ties with the community.  While at NMU, Dr. Wong's leadership in bringing technology to rural areas led to visits by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

Dr. Wong maintains research interests in educational technology, academic assessment and the role of underrepresented minorities in the academy.  He serves on numerous boards and community organizations including the AASCU New Presidents Academy, Leadership Education 


President Harvey did not repeat last week’s uncharacteristic late start.  This morning, borrowing a page from the NFL’s rule book, we received a two minute warning and an on time start.           

Our attendance did improve this morning to forty-three, or eight better than last week.  In anticipation of a better crowd for our speaker, Board of Supervisors President David Chu, we restored our seating capacity to fifty-nine.  We shouldn’t have added those extra three seats, because the center table, where Dick Pohli and Red Starr always used to sit, was dead empty until President Harvey grabbed his breakfast.  So, we didn’t do as good a job of spreading out like last week.  

We had two guests this morning.  Hosted by Jill Hoffman was Eunice ChangEunice used to work with Jill, but now Eunice is a Staff Attorney for the San Francisco Bar Association’s Right to Civil Counsel Program.  Brought along by Joel Panzer was Catherine Accardi, the Editor of the Telegraph Hill Semaphore and San Francisco Historian.  Catherine will be a speaker here at the GGBC next year.  This year, speaker wise, is already booked out.   

Today’s excuses; Ken Brown for Marty FleisherMarty is in Abu Dhabi waiting for his flight to Africa where Marty will start his four week safari.  Bill Buchanan excused Rich Corriea who is patrolling the beaches of Hawaii.  Reg Young excused Rickey Wilson and Frank Reed excused Eric McGarty and Jackson TalbottMike Hanlon again was not here, but Alex King had Mike’s excuse.  Today is the big Catholic Charities luncheon up in Santa Rosa. 

Excuses for the future; Sidney Mobell is heading to Las Vegas on Sunday so Sid can visit his money.  J. J. Panzer will be attending his first Rebuilding Together board meeting next Wednesday.  And I was right, after returning from two weeks in Italy J. J. is not happy to be back.  J. J. did learn a very valuable phrase while he was in Italy though, “prega di non rompere i coglioni”.  If you would like the translation, just ask me.     

This is quite a useful phrase, especially when communicating with your wife.   

Retroactive excuses requested, even though retroactive excuses aren’t allowed; Arlan Kertz says he should have received an excuse from Antonio White, but when Arlan e-mailed Antonio for the excuse, Antonio responded with a request for Arlan to give Antonio an excuse.  Arlan says if he wasn’t going to be here how could he excuse Antonio?  This is like a “who’s on first or Catch 22” situation.  A good point, so Arlan is herby excused.  Arlan’s anger was somewhat diffused by the early delivery of this morning’s bananas.   

Antony Mills reported his Mom is recovering from back surgery and then took a fall.  Having an aging Mom myself, ninety-four soon to be ninety-five, that requires extra care and recently took a fall herself, Antony is herby excused as well. 

This prompted Bert Hill to mention his ninety-three year old Mom took a fall too.  Bert’s Mom broke four ribs and punctured a lung.  She’s doing fine though.  OK, looks like Bert’s Mom wins the fall derby.  Bert also mentioned this coming Saturday is “Scouting for Food”.  Boy Scouts go from door-to-door collecting food for the disadvantaged.  So, be prepared if a Boy Scout comes to your door on Saturday to have some non-perishable food items to donate.  More details on former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ visit to San Francisco next month for the Boy Scouts.  Secretary Gates will be here on December 12th, and remember it will set you back $500.00 to hear him speak.  

Jonathan Stone missed the last two meeting because he was busy.  Being busy doesn’t qualify for a retroactive excuse.

Excuse explained; Madeleine Savit’s son was coming for a visit and she had to get everything ready for his arrival.  That is certainly a legitimate Mom excuse.                                  

The GGBC welcomed a new member this morning, Eli Hill, with our customary new member round of applause.  We now have two father/son combinations as members.  I hope Eli doesn’t talk as much as his old man.  

A reminder from Chuck Mills; tomorrow is sip and shop Thursday at the Showplace. 

Another test of your memory.  Remember our past speaker George Burk, the only survivor of a 1970 plane crash in Sonoma County?  Did you also remember that George was accompanied by Bill Buchanan and Hugh Tuck on a successful search for the crash site?  Would any of you like to pony up a couple of bucks to buy a memorial bench to be placed at the crash site?  Bill figures about $1.5K will be enough.

Every week during Alex King’s self introduction, Alex uses the tag line that Dale Carnegie will teach young people how to communicate verbally instead of communicating via text messaging.  And us old timers, who all remember what it’s like to actually talk face-to-face, get to chuckle a bit.  Well, this past Friday those of us at Recology weren’t chuckling at all.  One of our collection trucks in Pacifica was struck by a car whose driver was busy texting, pinning the driver between her car and his truck.  If our driver lives, he will do so without his legs. Please see President Harvey’s excellent column in this issue of the bulletin regarding this all too prevalent problem.  

On the lighter side of garbage and recycling collection, Marty Mijalski, who did not get called for jury duty this week, feels his collection company, Waste Management, is a little too “touchy feely”.  The instructions on Marty’s recycling cart tell him to “open lid, load material, grab handle, tilt cart, push or pull cart to curb”.  At this point Marty went back in the house and popped open a beer.  Which when fully consumed, I’m hoping that can made it into Marty’s cart.  

Thanksgiving is getting close, so John McKnight reminds us the Salvation Army will be looking for volunteers to deliver meals that morning.  Although John, in his new position as the “Master of Disaster”, may be making a trip to the Philippines soon.  It’s the Salvation Army’s policy to rotate staff and volunteers during long term disaster recovery operations to keep everybody fresh.  John, still on his mission for the chicken, delivered this morning’s first joke, which was more of a riddle actually. 

What kind of dog can jump higher than a house?  Any dog.  Houses can’t jump.

Not chicken worthy.  Again, a cute joke or riddle, totally politically correct, suitable for children, delivered well, does not qualify for either of the chickens.  Although, this being San Francisco, I’m sure John probably did offend a dog owner or a house owner with his riddle.   

Christine Torrington mentioned she delivers meals for the Salvation Army every Thanksgiving and finds it very rewarding.  Not only are you providing a good, hot meal, you’re providing a smiling face and a few kind words to someone who otherwise may have spent the whole day all alone.  And, Salvation Army doesn’t just do this on Thanksgiving and Christmas when the news cameras are around.  The Meals that Heal program provides a hot meal every weekday with a bag of groceries included with Friday’s meal to get the recipients through the weekend too.

Our second joke of the morning was delivered by Don PerskyDon’s joke was an old one about a General, a Colonel and their driver, a Lieutenant captured behind enemy lines.  The enemy decides to execute all three and gives them each one last request.  The General says he would like to address the troops.  The Colonel says he would like a big cigar and a glass of the finest cognac and the Lieutenant says “please shoot me before the General speaks”.  Sort of a groaner, getting close to chicken worthy, but not quite there.              

Here for two weeks in a row, Cathy Scharetg.  Even though Cathy was downcast, as the Bruce-Mahoney trophy will be residing at SI for the next year.

Also downcast, Steve Shain, as his wife has left him again and has taken all three daughters with her to Scottsdale.  

Terry Cowhey’s says he is now released for two full hours every day.  We still don’t know if he’s incompetent or incontinent. 

Note to Janet Von Doepp, your case of the mumbles is getting as bad as Terry’s, as I again couldn’t catch your comment.  Nor could my trusted, better hearing table mates.   

No joke from Alan Garber this morning, only a political statement.  I guess while I was in Italy, Garber says one of our members got on his soapbox and railed against the government shutdown.  Garber says now all the Democrats up for re-election are slamming the President over Obamacare too. 

The government shutdown didn’t bother me, because I was in Italy where the government actually functions, or at least functions better than ours.  As they say in Italy, “Povero America, dove il Congresso è pieno di idioti”.  I can translate that one for you too.

Tom Smegal’s tag line, “I’m from the federal government and I‘m here to help you”.  Tom also says your tax dollars don’t pay his salary.  Question from the membership, “does that mean you take bribes”.

No jokes from Johnson You this morning either, but Johnson did say to Garber that he is going to give Garber a sharp needle.  Not sure if Johnson is going to give Garber a needle or stick Garber with a needle. 

I got a word of appreciation from Mike Mustacchi for translating Johnson’s jokes.  Or, more like attempting to translate Johnson’s jokes. 

At last Sunday’s 49er game Tom Jacobs noticed an empty seat a couple of rows down.  The late arriving occupant of that seat; Tom Smegal.  Does Smegal arrive anywhere on time? 

Arriving to breakfast before Smegal and Jacobs, your Editor Antonio White promises to publish the Bulletin on Saturday mornings from here on out.          

A reminder from Past President Hugh Tuck; if you want all your information to be correct in our new old style printed roster, make sure to verify the information we have on file and make any changes required on the copy of the old roster on your table.     

Attendance Chairman Hedy Kaveh’s only scofflaw this morning; Mike Mustacchi.  In Wayne Veatch’s absence Mustacchi gave the minutes from last week’s meeting too.  Mike thought the speaker was great.  One of the best speakers ever to appear before the GGBC.     

Since Mike Hanlon was not here to do the birthdays, President Harvey stepped in.  One  birthdays for this week, new member Madeleine Savit.

Knuckleheads of the week; those 49er fans who quickly joined the dump Alex Smith because we have Kaepernick club.  So poor Alex gets shuffled off to Kansas City.

You know what they say in Kansas City?  When your team is 9-0, you say “who’s got it better than us?”  Nobody, especially those chumps sitting in San Francisco at 6-3 and facing Drew Brees and the Saints next Sunday.        



Pete Ratto’s timely account of tragedy struck a sharply personal nerve last week.  One of his senselessly victimized young employees was horrifically injured permanently by a “Distracted Driver” texting.   Each of us may never know when even just a “one second mistake” could ruin our own lives, and those of our families and close loved ones, along with those of innocents we never met before “unintentionally” maiming or even killing them, while correspondingly triggering rippling pain endlessly for their families, friends, and on and on . . .. 

Is this the “New Drunk Driving?”

We hear such cautions increasingly.  Our media recounts the suffering repeatedly.  New laws have been enacted to try to stem the rising tide of personal permanent catastrophes.  It’s different when it happens to someone you know, even if they are “only” affected “indirectly” by the resulting harm.

Still thinking about what Pete had said from the heart, I noticed that KQED also was featuring a radio discussion directly on point (as I drove to work after our meeting).

This time the panel discussion focused on “What can we do about it?”  The tough answer for each of us:  ONLY YOU can stop it!  A legal expert explained that there is rarely any point in reporting even the worst examples you may see, before the “accident” happens.  IT IS HAPPENING EVERYWHERE!  Just look around on the freeway (or maybe in your own mirror?) 

Even if Police could possibly become available to act on tips about Cell Phone texting, the panel expert explained they could not issue any citations.  Texting while driving is classified as only “an infraction.”  He said that means law enforcement must witness it directly firsthand, in order to take action.  Unlike drunk driving, this rapidly worsening nationwide destroyer of lives has apparently not yet reached the point of public shock and indignation required to generate “911” responses.

“Open Container” laws criminalize immediate access to alcohol when propelling deadly metal weights through congested streets.  Let us all make renewed efforts now to put our electronic devices out of reach while driving, if we cannot keep ourselves from using them when we should be focusing our attention on saving lives, . . . including our own, and those of our families who depend upon us.