Message From the President

This is my first article as your new president. Let me first say I am honored to represent you for the next two years. I would like to start my article with my acceptance speech from the 2017 convention.

Good afternoon,

Worthy National 1st Vice President Vera, National Sons of Italy Foundation Trustee Phil, State Officers, delegates and guests. Special thanks to our immediate Past President Lynn, for the excellent job as our State President these past 4 years; you have indeed left some big shoes to fill (high heels that is). Fortunately you’re not going too far so I can tap into your experiences and the knowledge our Past State Presidents also, which I can say is a lot better looking now with Maria sitting there. 

Imagine a 40 year old newly elected Vice President from a local lodge being elected a state delegate in 2003, with no clue what state convention is, he did not own a suit, owned one tie, made a guard, even had to stay at a different hotel for the first night than all the other delegates, that delegate is now your State President; thank all of you for your support and trust in me.

Costa, that’s Portuguese right… my coworkers and some friends don’t believe me. Well my father was a 2nd generation American, with my grandfather originally was from the northern Italian town of Lonzo and my mother Ruth who is a delegate for the Beatrice Portinari Lodge, she is full blooded Norwegian, Two very strong nationalities; I feel I was lucky to obtain the good in both. And yes, I am a member of the Sons of Norway also, I have applications. 

My son Jacob was able to take time out of his work schedule to drive down to Fresno to be here, and yes he is a member. My daughter, Erin and son in law ,Chris (who is a  JAG officer in the Army) with my granddaughter Julianne would have loved to be here also but besides living where he is stationed in Williamsburg, Virginia, my daughter just had a baby boy Harrison, 7 weeks ago. And yes I signed him up as a member of my lodge the day after he was born.
Watching a group of Italians get together and discuss, agree to disagree and finally compromise, shows that our nationality, Italian, are very passionate about their beliefs and our grand lodge, we are  a true democracy similar to what we have in this country.  Thank you again all the veterans for this right.
We may fail on some matters, but fail means “First attempt in learning. 
When I hear the word “NO” to me this means “next opportunity”.
The sign of a good leader is one that has inspired others to be a leader.
But let’s not aspire to be the best on a team, but aspire to be the best team”.
A lot of issues came up at this convention, some confusing, some very controversial, 
some with heated discussions, but in the end we are still friends and family. Let’s look back at what National Trustee Phil stated the 1st day, “Love, Respect and Tolerance”

Your grand council will start putting a strategic plan, to gather facts and information together for the building, so we can present information to the delegation to allow you to make an educated decision on the impact on our order and we will also explore the Idea of transferring the building to the Western Foundation. 
Membership is a key item, we as a Grand Lodge need to work on, but this has to come from the local lodges, we need to change the downward trend and right the ship. We have given you some tools to use as resources thanks to our membership committee. But the best resource is us the members. We, all of us, have to work together to grow together. 
We will also work closely with our new hall rental manager, 5051 Mission St, to help them maximize the utilization of our Grand Lodge building and adjacent lot. Increased revenue is a priority.
 But, remember the Grand Lodge is you, the members, not the building.
Finally thank you Grand Lodge of California for having that convention in Sacramento in 2003, I met many people there, many who are no longer with us but in the Grand Lodge above looking down on us, and I met one lady in particular.  This same lady attended our convention in 2006 in Sparks Nevada where I would propose to her, and pay a large fine for doing this… thanks Vera, really $50.00, and then off to the happiest place on earth where we were married by Judge Al Girolami in Disneyland at Snow White’s wishing well in December 2006. 
Well Donna Lee, are you ready for an “E” ticket ride?
Again thank you Family for your support, and let’s get ready to work!
I started out as your president running, two days after being installed I was on a conference call with the National CSJ president, our CSJ committee chair, Maria Pignati, and members from the Knights of Columbus regarding the changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People day in Los Angeles. We have rallied around this cause, thank you to all the members that have written letters. I am okay with the LA council making another day Indigenous People day but not at the expense of Columbus Day. 
I am writing this upon my return from the National Convention in Florida, where Vera Girolami was elected as our National President. Congratulations, Vera!!  I will give you more on National in my next article. As we prepare for Grand Council I hope to see you Saturday night where we will honor our Past President Maria Pignati.
Again I am looking forward to being your president, and I am willing to work for the better of the order.

Mille Grazie.