Posted by Pete DeLaunay
Rotarian and co-founder of Vibrant Cities (, James Wong,  introduced his friend, Mayor Bruce Harrell, for the day’s featured program. As a passionate leader who aspired to be Mayor of Seattle as an 18-year-old valedictorian at Garfield High School, Harrell snubbed ivy league schools to attend UW where he was an All-American football player.  After serving on the Seattle City Council for 12 years, he retired only to return in a victorious run for Mayor of Seattle. 
Mayor Harrell was interviewed by past club president, Mark Wright, who asked the mayor why he came out of retirement to run for Mayor.  “The rhetoric was intolerable as was the attitude about business and public safety,” he said. “I wanted to get back in the game with a top-tier executive team of people who love the city and who will fight through the noise.”
The mayor emphasized public safety and the need to compassionately help unsheltered people in the city with housing and the social services they need to get back on their feet.  He said he had met every one of Seattle’s 1,480 police officers, while advancing a third chief aimed specifically at counseling people to get off the streets.
He envisions ways to partner with our “great employers” to embrace social responsibility from affordable housing to related social services. “We are planning a  housing levy next year that will be fully transparent with everybody,” he said. “We won’t and don’t make excuses, but we do the hard work.”
Rotarians were entertained by the Salvation Army Band, as the day’s meeting got underway promptly at 12:30. The band provided a lively version of the day’s anthem, American the Beautiful.   Past Rotary president, Skip Kotkins, provided the day’s inspiration that focused on our featured program, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell.  “Mayor Harrell’s inspiration comes from his love of his native Seattle, and as a biracial youth, UW football All-American, and his 12 years on the city council,” Skip said.  “Mayor Harrell was inspired to come out of retirement to run for Mayor to bring our city back from the depths.”
President Beth recognized past Rotary president and district Governor, Cathy Gibson, with a special pin for her contribution at the Major Donor level in support of Rotary’s many programs from fighting disease to peace efforts, clean water and strengthen local communities.
David Woodward introduced new member, Eunji Seo, as the 17th Consul General of the Republic of Korea, Consulate General in Seattle.
The day’s short program focused on the work of the Salvation Army, with a short video and presentation by NW Division Manager, Major Jonathan Harvey. For more than 156 years the Salvation Army has helped thousands of people get through tough times. “We provide love to all who feel lost beyond their circumstances with resources to help them find a new path,” he said. “We work with people to help them change the trajectory of their life for the better.”   He described the work at Salvation Army shelters and centers as focused on individuals and not the circumstances that led them to despair.  A miniature Salvation Army bell was placed at each table setting at the Westin, as Major Harvey encouraged Rotarians to make a commitment to help people beyond their current circumstances.
VP Membership, Nicole Klein, encouraged Rotarians to join Wellspring Volunteer Day on 12/17; attend the Seattle Rotary Mariners Holiday Party on 12/17; and the Rotary Holiday Party on 12/21.
President Beth closed the meeting with updates about the Seahawks, Huskies, Cougs, and anticipation of the 2026 World Cup in Seattle. 
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