Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How Much Was Your Hot Dog?

Just saw a video from my friend Travis at The Work of the People featuring Chris Seay. It's a great piece on our affluence and world poverty. See the video here.

I deal with poverty issues each day and, for sure, the issues folks deal with in the US are real and at times desperate. However, extreme poverty in other parts of the world is a whole different issue altogether.

In the end, I can say that I'm blessed to live in this country.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Nephew Noah in New Orleans

Event This Thursday

CDI presents “The Other America,” a film by Allen Willis of Dr. King’s April 1967 speech at Stanford.

Discussion to be facilitated by Brandon A. Smith of the
Martin Luther King Jr. Research & Education Institute,
Stanford University.

A discussion of how our own economic success as a diverse and growing community is integral to building a sustainable and economically just community as envisioned by Dr. King.

Thursday, June 28, 2007, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Faith Baptist Church, 835 Runnymede,
East Palo Alto

Anne Lamott

I just finished Anne Lamott's book, "Plan B - Further thoughts on Faith". I really enjoy Anne's writing. She's brutally honest, funny and insightful. I appreciate her candid approach to life, faith and her view of the world. Some Christians can't handle her type of straight forward writing. She can be at times irreverent. But, when I'm alone or with those I'm most comfortable I can also be 'somewhat' irreverent (those of you who know me know what I mean), sarcastic and sardonic. It's not that my heart is bad, it's just that I've seen a lot. Anne's worldview is refreshing to me as someone who is still trying to define who I am in Christ.

Anne is a unashamed democrat and has an more liberal view of theology that I'm used to. But - her love for Jesus and honesty all but makes up for her strong views on the Bush administration. If you're looking for theology, then you should look elsewhere. If you're looking for a someone who is also on 'the journey', than her writings are right 'up your alley'.

Her first book, "Traveling Mercies" which is essentially her testimony really impacted me. I suggest you start with that one and then read 'Plan B'. Her books are written (in my view) for folks like her, liberal, somewhat free thinking and secular. They're for folks who are still trying to work things out. If you're lifelong supporter of the '700 Club' this may not be for you. Here's an excerpt from 'Plan B'
"I bet I'm beginning to make some parents nervous - here I am, bragging of being a dropout, and unemployable, and about to make a pitch for you to follow your creative dreams, when what parents want for their children to do well in their field, to make them look good, and maybe also to assemble a tasteful fortune.

But that is not your problem. Your problem is how you are gong to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you're going to live it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it, and find out the truth about who you are." (p.302 - 303)
"I'd wanted to be a writer my whole life. But when finally made it, I felt like a greyhound catching the mechanical rabbit she'd been chasing for so long- discovering it was mealy metal, wrapped up in a cloth. It wasn't alive, it had no spirit. It was fake. Fake dosen't feed anything. Only spirit feeds spirit, your own and universal spirit, in the same way that only your own blood type, and O negative, the universal donor, can sustain you. 'Making it' had nothing that could slake the thirst I had for immediacy and connection." (p.304)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Please Pray for Shane Claiborne and the Simple Way Ministries in Philly

Early Wednesday morning, June 20, 2007, a fire devastated a North Philadelphia neighborhood causing 100 residents to evacuate. Among those affected by this fire was CCDA board member, Shane Claiborne and many of his neighbors and fellow workers of the Simple Way. You can get more information at the Simple Way website.

Please keep Shane and all of his neighbors in prayer, as many of them have been left homeless.

Golf / Yankees at San Francisco / New Banner / CNW Juristictional Convocation

Played golf with my normal crew this morning at Palo Alto Muni. My Friday morning partners are a bunch of retired guys and a couple of pastors who have welcomed me into their normal group. It's good to be the youngest! They really are a great group of men. I feel honored to be with them One man is 82 years old and is still walking 18 holes! I can't complain about my sore feet when I'm with them. I shot a horrible 53 on the front nine then parred 4 holes in a row to shoot 43 on the back ending with a score of 96. Not great, but getting better! My handicap is now 24.3, down from around plus 30 6 months ago.

The Yankees are in town this weekend playing the Giants. I like both teams, but I'm a Yankee fan at heart. The Giants are my National League team. It's the first time the Yankees have played in San Francisco. I couldn't get tickets - but I'm watching it on TV.

This week is our yearly Church of God in Christ California Northwest Holy Convocation. This year it's our 50th anniversery, so there is a festive mood. It's hard to believe that it's been a year since the service where I switched my ordination to COGIC. Pastor Bains got to do a short 15 minute sermon from the main stage last night. He did a great job, but I know he was a little nervous, especially speaking in front of our Bishop Hamilton and his cabinet. I was proud of Pastor Paul! Tomorrow night Presiding Bishop Charles Blake will speak. I'm looking forward to his message

We're getting closer and closer to the new East Palo Alto credit union opening. A couple of more steps are necessary, but we're feeling good about the progress. Eventually we'll be included on this website. We're pushing for an August opening, but may have to wait until September. This week we hung a new banner announcing that Community Trust Credit Union of East Palo Alto is 'coming soon!.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fly Southwest and keep your ipod!

Last Monday I went to LA to meet with Amy Sherman. We went down to talk to the California / Nevada Credit Union League about Amy's Econonmis program. Economis is an excellent web based 'token economy' that teaches kids econonic literacy through a very like program. We're looking to impliment the program in a local East Palo Alto school and offer the program to three to five other community partners.

We had a great time with the League and then headed back to the Ontario airport for our trip back to San Jose.

Amy is a great person. Very engaging and bright. She's written a few books including this one. She's recognized as a national leader in CCDA circles. NCUD is thrilled to be workign with her.

In EPA we had a great time meeting with our potential partners. I'm especially excited about working at my son's school East Palo Alto Stanford Academy. Jenni and I have alot or work to do to get ready for the roll out of our financial literacy initiative this fall.

However, on the trip back I forgot my ipod on the plane. I was depressed. My ipod is a high utility item for me as music is a big part of my life. I've digitized most of my music and packed away all of my almost 1000 cds. Once I found out I had forgotten the ipod I call the Southwest and made a report, but didn't have much faith that it would be found. To my delight I recieved a call today telling me my ipod was at the airport! I went to San Jose on the Harley and picked it up!

God is good! Southwest is good! Fly Southwest!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Buinding a non profit org on the cheap.

Good ideas from the folks at FROG via Guy Kawasaki. I'm rethinking some of the ways my organization does things. I need to look more into google docs. and other free web applications. Any of you used google docs? What's been your experience?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The most addictive and interesting website in a long time

Check out truemors.

Abreu is back! Bombers get back to .500!

It's been a tough year for a Yankee fan. But - all is looking better. Yankees get 7th straight win, Abreu is looking like his old self. The Rocket has relaunched... Now all we need is for the Red Sox to get a little of the negative mojo we had for the first two months of the season.

Forget you, Steve Joh! We'll see how things end up!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

the Kooks

Great new band. Kind of like the Beatles meet the Knack meet the Strokes... English dudes. Check 'em out on itunes or your favorite music site...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Africa pledge is a smokescreen, says Bono

Rueters reports:

HEILIGENDAMM, Germany, June 8 (Reuters) - Rock star Bono denounced world leaders on Friday for producing a "deliberately misleading" pledge to fight AIDS and other killer diseases.

"I am exasperated," Bono told Reuters in a telephone interview at the Baltic resort where leaders from the world's rich nations were rounding off their three-day summit.

"I think it is deliberately the language of obfuscation. It is deliberately misleading," he added.

G8 leaders announced a $60 billion pledge to fight AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis with great fanfare but many activists were disappointed that they failed to set a timetable for the spending plans and that it contained little new money.

"They have taken language hostage. We wanted numbers but this is burobabble," Bono said, criticising the lack of a timeline and the fact that the pledge did not apply specifically to Africa.

"It is not real in any language. We are looking for accountable language and numbers. I might be be a rock star but I can count."

The U2 singer and campaigner, who has been in Heiligendamm holding private meetings with G8 leaders, identified Italy and Canada as the main obstacles to a more ambitious deal.

He also expressed disappointment that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the summit host, had not managed to convince her counterparts to make concrete commitments.

"We wanted her to be an honest broker -- she has a history of that -- but she hasn't managed to rein them in."

"I think Merkel showed passion and commitment but she hasn't turned that into real outcomes."

G8 leaders also restated pledges made to double aid spending made two years ago at a summit in Gleneagles in Scotland.

"They say they will keep their pledges on Africa but it is remarkable. In a 25 page document we can't see any evidence of how they are going to get to those. It is a maze."

Coming Soon 2

Coming Soon!

Photos from New Orleans

Had a great time in New Orleans. The conference was great. I made some good contacts and heard more about what is was going on in the community development credit union world. By chance my sister Kelli and her family were in town. I don't get much time with Kelli - but I love her a ton. Saul and the kids (Noah and Lilli) were also there. It was great to see them...

Came back on Saturday night - and promptly go the flu. I went to church yesterday, had much with Max (who is in town for a BCM training) then went to bed.

Had crawfish (yes, I sucked the heads) gumbo and all the favorite New Orleans stuff.

After many years it was a trip to be in the city. I had lots of flashbacks. When I was with YWAM schooling we did the first part of our Discipleship Training School outreach in New Orleans. It feels like that was a lifetime ago. The last time I was in New Orleans was when Melissa and I stopped in during our first California to Florida trip when we were engaged. I have some very interesting pictures of us, very young and bright eyed.

I didn't get out to the lower 9th ward where the Katrina damage was but the storm is very much on the heart of many in N.O.

It's good to be back home... I now have a credit union to open this summer!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Ministry Internships

Starting September 2007

TechMission assists organizations in using technology in urban ministry to help address injustice and develop at-risk communities. Starting this Fall, TechMission Corps' AmeriCorps program is offering one-year full-time paid internships serving in urban ministries in Boston, New York, Chicago, Denver, and Los Angeles. The following are available:

After School Program Coordinator Positions

This AmeriCorps position will assist with a K-8th grade after school program based in a church or faith-based organization, serving through mentoring, providing basic technology activities, coordinating volunteers, and providing overall support.

Teen Program Coordinator Positions

This AmeriCorps position will assist with a teen program based in a church or faith-based organization, serving through tutoring, mentoring, college prep, assisting with web-based academic enrichment elements, conducting community & parent outreach, assisting with community and school partnerships, planning college visits and workshops as directed, coordinating volunteers, and providing overall support.

Volunteer Coordinator Positions

This AmeriCorps position will assist with volunteer and work-study student recruitment and coordination for programs based in churches and faith-based organizations. Duties may include recruiting and placing volunteers and work-study students at sites, assisting with monitoring, data tracking, and providing overall support in volunteer management. Members may assist in other program areas as needed.

Technology Coordinator Position

The Technology Coordinator position is a full time postition through AmeriCorps, which is responsible for supporting the technology needs of TechMission. Applicants should view this position as an internship to gain experience in technology in a nonprofit/ministry setting working in one of the largest organizations doing technology and ministry worldwide. Duties may include:

* Supporting technology activities at TechMission Corps sites across Boston
* Other technology activities as appropriate

Web Developer Intern Position (*VISTA)

The Web Developer Intern position is a full time postition through AmeriCorps*VISTA which is responsible for supporting the technology needs of TechMission. Applicants should view this position as an internship to gain experience in technology in a nonprofit/ministry setting working in one of the largest organizations doing technology and ministry worldwide. Duties may include:

* Updating and creating new webpages using Dreamweaver and/or Frontpage 2003
* Programming scripting for TechMission's website PHP and/or Java/Javascript
* Maintaining TechMission's website, online database and other online tools.
* Assisting with any other technology or administrative needs.

General Requirements and Qualifications

* Applicants for this program must be at least 18 years old
* must have a high school school degree or equivalent (GED)
* must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States
* specific qualifications vary by position but generally applicants should have good people skills, ability to work with children, and have a desire to learn
* familiarity with Microsoft Word and the Internet desired
* applicants with experience working with Black and Latino communities or non-profit/community/faith-based organizations are strongly encouraged to apply
* accepted applicants must follow all federal and AmeriCorps guidelines with respect to faith during official AmeriCorps hours
* *VISTA postions will have some additional requirements


* A basic living stipend for the year of at least $11,100
* Health insurance
* At end of year, an educational award of $4,725 to pay off past student loans or future educational expenses
* Federal student loan deferment or forbearance
* Childcare, if eligible
* AmeriCorps benefits do not affect eligibility to continue receiving government assistance.
* Possible rental assistance
* *VISTA positions will have slightly different benefits

For more information on these and other opportunities

Call 617-282-9798 ext. 103 or email thierry@techmission.org

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Stuck in ORD

So - I'm on my way to the NFCDCU conference in New Orleans. I was asked to sit on a panel that is talking about emerging models in the community development credit union world. I'm looking forward to hearing and seeing more about other youth programs around the country.

My flight has been delayed two hours. A bunch have been cancelled, so we'll see what happens...

I should be working - I have a ton to do. BUT - I got up at 4:00 am and have the attention span of a flying bat right now - so I might as well blog. I've been somewhat sporadic in my postings, so now is a good time to catch you up on the last few weeks.

Random comment - There are two adorable little girls next to me, it's been fun talking to them. It seems like the whole airport is delayed.

Random comment - 4:05 departure...

Had a great time with Jeremy in New York a couple of weeks ago. Jeremy scored tickets for the Yankees / Red Sox game. Jeremy is a good guy. It's been good getting to know him over the past few years. I met Jeremy's brother Jonathan. So far all the DelRio's seem to be great folks.

My folks came up the day after I got back from NYC. Dad was working at a nuclear plant on the central coast. He was tired after working about 12 weeks straight. He took a much needed nap. Pastor Bains had Dad come up and say a few words from the pulpit. He's calls him his 'Italian Dad'.

So - we're getting closer to the credit union opening. The target date is August 8th. The next few weeks are nuts for me, starting with this trip to New Orleans. Next week we're hosting a breakfast to let folks know about the project and how they can get involved. I'm working hard to prepare a presentation for that meeting. Last Saturday we had a strategic planning retreat. It was a great day to look at where we've been and where we're going. Rob McClelend facilitated the meeting. I met with him yesterday and he gave me a bunch of homework (no wonder why he's a professor). I'll post more about that later. Then, on July 13th we have our golf tournament. Crazy times. I remarked to Melissa yesterday that this feels like the busiest time of our life, as least since we lived in Mexico.

Random Comment - met a cool young lady over a Cesar salad. We talked about purpose in life. Thanks for putting stuff into context, Rick Warren.

Maria Chavez, who will be the Senior Branch Manager of the credit union left her job at BCM and is now in training in Modesto for the CU opening. Before she left she threw a fun 'life change' party at her friend's house. Cindy Porras (Mora) and Greg Mora came. Maria, Cindy and Greg were in our youth group in Modesto. It was SUCH a blessing to see them, all grown up but thriving. They almost feel like 'our' kids. Melissa and Kim also took a turn at Karoke.

Kim - I have proof that you're not all 'COGIC'!!

Random thought - everyone is bored here.

Well - I better run, think they might be boarding soon. Time to stretch my legs a little.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Immigration crackdown misguided

Palo Alto Daily News editorial:
Immigration officials continue to wreak havoc in the Bay Area through misguided enforcement efforts, uprooting longtime community members and creating hostility in the process.

Our advice to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security: Harness the resources you use to drive assimilated Bay Area families out of the country and use them instead to protect our infrastructure, inspect shipping containers and capture terrorists.

It makes sense to deport people who are here illegally but it's not clear that the federal officials can carry out that mission. Some of those caught in ICE's net have been here so long they have U.S.-born children in their teens.

The raids drew complaints from San Mateo County Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Jacobs Gibson complained that the federal agents identified themselves as "police." This can be a problem for local law enforcement agencies that are banking on the cooperation of the immigrant community to maintain law and order.

The city of Richmond has ordered its police not to cooperate with ICE raids. Other police officials seem content to remind everyone that it's not their job to enforce federal immigration laws.

The latest local resident snagged by federal authorities is Elaini Mahoni, an East Palo Alto resident who faces deportation to the Kingdom of Tonga. In 1995, an immigration judge ordered her deportation after she failed to attend a hearing. So on May 21, ICE officers took her into custody.

In the many intervening years, Mahoni has been caring for her disabled husband, a legal resident, and her three American children. Her attorney says Mahoni never received notice of the judge's order. Either way, we now face the prospect of seeing a family torn apart because of our federal agents' belated enforcement of immigration laws.

Agents arrested 1,811 people in Northern California with outstanding deportation orders. Among those caught in the crackdown was a Palo Alto family, Pedro Ramirez and Isabel Aguirre. They have four American children who faced placement in foster care. Eventually the family, which includes a 15-year-old boy, was forced to relocate to Mexico.

There's no dispute that immigration officials are following the law by forcing these people out of the country. But enforcing immigration violations more than a decade after the fact merely exasperates our community. Federal officials should either do a better job of enforcing the laws here or find better uses for our tax dollars.


Friday, June 01, 2007

My wife informed me...

that I'm now officially an 'old guy'. (Birthday in 17 days...)

hmmmm. Time to start wearing black socks with velcro tennis shoes.

iphone's Secert Ingredient, Google

Man, I really want one of these. Might have to wait a while, though. I like my Treo, but it can be a little 'buggy' sometimes. I just had do do a complete reset to it and download all the software again.

Apple and Google just can't stand to be apart. Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced this week that Apple TV will soon play YouTube videos. Google recently unveiled a desktop search program especially for Mac users. And Google tools increasingly appear to be a key part of the secret sauce behind Apple's signature new gadget, the iPhone, set for release in June.

Both brands are beloved by legions of fans, and with Google CEO Eric Schmidt embedded on Apple's board of directors, the companies have gotten wise to the benefits of synergistic coupling. Call it the power of Gapple.

The iPhone's Web widgets and browsing software will enable access to a wide range of Google applications, with built-in tools for Google Maps and searches. A number of the portal's other mobile applications, such as Google News, will also work on the iPhone, benefiting from its touch-friendly browser. And Google's newest mobile tool, an on-the-go version of its calendar program, will take advantage of the iPhone's bright colors, though Apple will offer an alternative in the form of a built-in version of its own iCal software.

Sumit Agarwal, product manager for Google Mobile, says Google has been working with Apple and is moving in the direction of universal access to its suite of search and software applications on mobile devices. "Generally speaking, everything that you see on Macs, pending the technical ability of the device itself, will migrate into mobile applications," Agarwal says. That's likely to include a universal sign-on, so that you don't have to sign into each of Google's services separately.

Rather than dumping huge applications onto small devices, Google's mobile applications are streamlined and stripped down to focus on the primary ways consumers use them on the go. "With Blogger, for example, it isn't as important that I be able to leave lots of comments, as that I can capture the essence of what I'm doing at that moment and share it in real time," Agarwal says. "I may want to snap a photo of a monument and store a voice annotation."

Google may have surprises yet to come for the iPhone. The portal partnered with LG in March to offer a blogging tool, and a related widget for the iPhone would be a logical next step. Google already offers a GMail widget for Macs, and a similar program on the iPhone would complement the pre-installed Apple mail software.

What else might Google offer? Possibly a Google Reader widget. The portal recently announced that its blog-reading tool can now be accessed offline. And though the iPhone could access Reader through its browser, a widget would be particularly useful when speedy mobile Web access isn't available. And why not a YouTube iPhone widget, now that YouTube is on Apple TV?
Read the entire article here.