The lunch at Lemon Grass started as a tense meeting between two Sacramento power brokers, but it ended with a friendship that, decades later, would secure the largest gift in the history of the University of the Pacific.
Developer Robert Powell was hunting for bear 25 years ago when he asked to meet with the Dr. Yee who had snatched away the sponsorship of KVIEs Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser. Herbert Yee was a dentist; his brother Franklin, a surgeon.
Franklin Yee suggested his brother dodge the lunch with Powell, but thinking that Powell must be angry with Franklin, then president of the board for KVIE, Herbert Yee went anyway.
He threw out the opening gambit, Now, Mr. Powell, you are mad at one of the Dr. Yees. My brothers a surgeon, and Im a dentist. I said, It cant be me youre mad with. It must be him. He said, No, Im mad at the one that is the chairman of Sacramento Valley Bank. Well, I was chairman of that bank.
As it turned out, Powell was chairing the board of the Alex Brown Bank at the same time, and he had wanted to sponsor the Rukeyser program to get publicity for his bank. But Sacramento Valley Bank had walked away with it.
Yee said he hadnt known that Alex Brown Bank was interested. He apologized. They had a friendly conversation, shook hands and parted friends.
Yee later learned from KVIE staff that Powell had donated $200,000 to the public broadcasting station shortly after their lunch, and he felt that here was the kind of man hed like to see as a UOP regent. Yee had been a regent since 1972, and it just so happened that he was chair of the nominating committee. He put Powell on the list.
When we proposed him to be a board member, there was another regent, a developer named Ed Westgate who knew him longer than me, Yee said. Ed developed Silverado (Resort), and with them both being developers, I think he proposed the nomination and I seconded the nomination and everybody approved it.
UOP was Yees alma mater, not Powells. The developer didnt finish high school. So why would he donate $125 million to the college? Yees guess is that Powell, who died six years ago, felt respected and embraced by the university. Upon Powells request, his fellow regents nominated and accepted his wife to their board when his business interests would no longer allow him to serve. And, UOP had awarded Powell an honorary doctorate.
He was thrilled to be asked to be a regent because heres a person that never even went to college practically, Yee said. He might have taken some night classes or something at a junior college, San Mateo or somewhere. And now hes on the board of regents.
A win for Casa Garden
The nonprofit Casa Garden Restaurant will receive a $50,000 marketing makeover, thanks to more than 5,000 votes from its supporters in an online contest created by a dozen regional firms. Casa Garden board member Margot Bach sees the makeover as an opportunity to raise the organizations profile with a younger generation of potential volunteers, donors and clients. We are really woefully behind the times, Bach said. We need to have social media to reach out to new clients.
What were hoping to focus on is attracting new clients and expanding our social media. Casa Garden, located at 2760 Sutterville Road, donates all proceeds from its restaurant and banquet facilities to the Sacramento Childrens Home, an agency working to break the cycle of child abuse. Bach and other volunteers received news of the contest victory as they are preparing the restaurant for a holiday shopping bazaar. Pay $25 for wine, hors doeuvres and early shopping Friday evening or shop on Saturday for free.
Mighty Cassies victory run
Cassie McFarland, a graduate of Rosevilles Oakmont High School, recently received a private tour of the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving. She met U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios. But the highlight of her whirlwind visit to Washington, D.C., was seeing her initials right alongside those of U.S. Mint sculptor-engraver Don Everhart on a coin commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Baseball Hall of Fame. McFarlands design of a baseball mitt will sit inside the concave of the first curved coin to be issued by the Mint. The convex side shows a baseball. Dick Peterson, the director of the Mint, showed me the coin prototype, McFarland told me. It was beautiful clad in silver. The unusual shape really complements the baseball and glove icons.
Call The Bees Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193. Follow her on Twitter @CathieA_SacBee.