Pledge and Invocation

President Mike, healthy once again, was there to lead our inaugural breakfast meeting.
He called on Cary Koh to begin with the Pledge of Allegiance.  He then asked Father Michael to give an invocation.

Guests and Visiting Rotarians

There were no guests or visiting Rotarians.  It may take others awhile to get this new schedule down.  Exciting turn-out for our first breakfast meeting. The turn-out from our members was quite robust.  Many of us must be early risers....


President-elect Marc Friedman reminded us that our lunch meeting of March 21st will NOT be at Poplar Creek.  We will hosted by Burlingame High School.  This luncheon will be catered by Sapore Restaurant and give us all the opportunity to meet the 40 students here from Italy for the BHS exchange program.  Exact location details to follow.  Stan Moore informed us that our last March meeting on the 28th will be an evening event at Steelhead Brewery. Cheri Delacy-Carr announced a short meeting of the Burlingame Bistro committee at the conclusion of breakfast.  She tasked us with marking our calendar for Sunday, May 20th for this event. Cheri also mentioned the upcoming Fireside Chat for the newer members.  The date is to be determined.
President Mike informed us that Hillbarn had offered us tickets for their upcoming performance of Elephant Man. The ticket price is $30.  He was trying to gauge the interest from the club.  So let him know if you are interested.


Stan Moore introduced our speaker, Chris Chmura.  Chris joined NBC Bay Area in April of 2016 as a Consumer Investigative Reporter. He is the host of NBC Bay Area Responds.  He began his talk with a shout out to Rotary and the Club in Florida that granted him a 4-year college scholarship in 1995.  He noted that the 12 Emmys he has received are in large part due to Rotary.  Responds assists Bay Area folks with their consumer complaints helping recover money owed to them.  These efforts have led to $1.5 million being recouped in less than two years.  This unit has handled 8800 cases, 18 per work day.  They respond to every email taking on almost all complaints.  The top issues are in three main areas; phone, auto and airlines.  Awards have ranged for $9 to $170,000.  The $9 recovery was a car wash in Union City.  The devastating fires in the North Bay have increased complaints in that geographic area. There did seem to be an uptick in incoming emails due to advertising during the Super Bowl and the Olympic Games.
The program’s approach is three pronged.  First they analyze.  Then they attempt to fix.  And if there is a pattern they try to affect future changes.  The timeframe for the solution runs between 15 minutes and 6 months.  Chris concluded his prepared talk and then opened it up to questions.
One member asked whether there were complaints that the program turned down.  Chris said they do not get involved with custody issues or those involving pending litigation. Another asked if there were many “lost causes”.  Chris responded no and went on to tell of a vendor that refused to refund a client even though they were unable to retrieve any data from his hard drive. The company went so far as to threaten to sell the clients data if the payment was not made.  They are no longer in business thanks to Responds.  When asked about the size of his staff he said there are only five members behind the scenes addressing the consumer complaints. Chris also informed us that the station’s attorneys review everything before a word is televised.  No fake news here. Someone asked about Yelp reviews.  Chris indicated that there is little they can do as Yelp refuses to take down posts even when proven to be false.
Even though Responds is expensive to produce it creates loyalty and ratings.  Plus its mission is for the greater good as an advocate for the consumer.  Thank you for what you do!