Rotary Log for August 29, 2019
President Leo is proving to be an accomplished time manager.  He called the meeting to order promptly at 12:15PM. Our cheerful greeter, PP Cleo, led us in song.  John Bohenko offered the prayer, one that perhaps he silently invokes before Council meetings and press interviews.
Red Sox-Yankees tickets were auctioned by Steve Bennett bringing $130 into the coffers. They were offered thanks to Eric Weinrieb, an apparently rabid “Pinstriper”.
This was followed by an addition to the customary introduction of guests and visiting Rotarians. Leo asked members with less than one year of tenure to stand and announce themselves. A nice touch…
Our new president had a plethora of announcements, which can be found on the club website.  Of interest are a couple of Rotary Fellowship opportunities. Rotary Rocks is happening in Portland on October 5th.  And Sunshine Boys at the Seacoast Rep from 8/28 to 9/8 has a special ticket offer for members of the club. 
Not quite ready to surrender the mike, Leo invoked personal privilege to penalize the Finemaster $5 for no apparent reason.  Finally, he noted the absence of an historical moment due to another Jon Flagg appointment in court. Many wondered- are his appearances personal or professional? One thing is certain. Members missed his dry and droll wit.
To a nice round of applause for a good guy, John St. Pierre collected the $44, 50/50 raffle prize.  No match though - buy your tickets next week for a chance at the $225 bonus!
Important Reminder
Our engaged and generous club carries out its purpose in so many ways. The Basic Needs Committee was formed to assist community members lacking in such essentials as food, clothing, shelter and health care.  This year, under the guidance of Tiffany McKenna and her committee, Crossroads House is beneficiary of our heightened attention. 
Members are asked to check out sign-up boards at the back of the room for cooking and serving shifts at the shelter. We are also requested to participate in the Diaper Drive during any of the next three meetings. How can you help? Donate diapers in sizes 3 to 6, baby wipes, and new or used baby monitors. Or bring cash or check and committee members will do the shopping for you, announced Tiffany.
The Program: Park Portsmouth
Benjamin Fletcher, Portsmouth’s Parking Director, was introduced by City Manager Bohenko.  Utilizing a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation, Fletcher outlined the wide scope of the Parking Division. It is a Special Revenue Fund within The Department of Public Works.  The city website is a resource for the interested reader to learn more than can be covered here.
We learned that the Division has responsibility for the city’s 2400 units of on- and off-street parking and two parking garages. They generate $7.5 million dollars in annual revenues.  Further, the Division oversees a wide range of other programs. These include School Crossing Guards, downtown snow and trash removal, “Signs and Lines, Fees and Fines.”  Bike lanes and the Zagster Program are also under its purview. Overheard was mostly negative chatter from several tables about the newly designated Middle Street bike lanes.
Fletcher offered a description of parking occupancy rates in Portsmouth, too complicated to cover here. A simple data point is that the goal is for 85% parking occupancy. The coveted inner-city-most spaces exceed that, and are used primarily by out of town visitors. Another factoid is that parking revenues contribute $2.4 million dollars to the general fund.
Parking was referred to as a “quintessential supply and demand model.”  City goals are sufficient supply, support safe and inviting walking environment and embrace a “Park Once” philosophy.  These are viewed as best practices in the interest of residents, visitors and especially downtown business.
Supply and demand are apparently controlled through a system of parking zones and rate schedules. They are not without complication and controversy. More central and coveted spaces cost more. Hanover Garage and outlying spaces progressively less.  The new Foundry Garage is below expected use at 30% occupancy, hence it employs pricing strategies to encourage use.  In addition, there are several free lots. Conversely, newer private lots add convenience and availability, but at a premium price.
The level of interest in a luncheon topic can often be judged by the number and passion of the follow-up questions. Today’s Q&A session was spirited, reinforcing the oversized importance of parking in the city.
Regarding follow-up questions, here is a gentle reminder.  Our club benefits greatly from the many talented and generous speakers who give of their time each week.  We won’t always agree with everything a speaker has to say. But our unique Rotary ethos is to listen respectfully.
The Q&A session has a simple guideline.  Ask one question and avoid a discourteous editorial. Most of the speakers are willing to set up a time to meet with a member who has a keen interest in a topic.
Leo brought the meeting to a close with the Four-Way Test.  Particularly pertinent to the tip: Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendship?
Respectfully submitted, Neal Ouellett