Betsuin Board Bullets

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Betsuin Board Bullets
San Jose Betsuin Board of Directors Meeting
March 05, 2015

submitted by Joyce Iwasaki


It was moved/seconded/passed to accept the February 04, 2015 meeting minutes as corrected.

It was moved/seconded/passed to sell 90 shares of APPL (Apple stock) held at Computershare for the Generations Capital Campaign consistent with the current policy to liquidate stock donations immediately upon receipt.

Ministers’ Report – Rinban Fujimoto

On February 15, 2015 Nirvana Day Service, the guest speaker for English was Dr Scott Mitchell from the Institute of Buddhist Studies, who shared his personal quest, journey and understanding of life through Buddhism in his Dharma messages.

Suggestions Boxes – Joyce Iwasaki

The Suggestion Box concept originated in the Ministerial Affairs Committee and partnered with the Communications, the Research and Planning and the Property Management Committees to facilitate the sharing of helpful, innovative ideas. This is a quick and easy way of receiving suggestions, comments and questions from the Sangha and others to help the Betsuin conduct business and help improve existing programs and activities, and get new ideas.

Three suggestions boxes are available with comment cards and pens. People are encouraged to share ideas and to include their names and contact information so we can share our progress on the suggestions.

The boxes are located on the outsides of the Office Building and of the Education Building and in the Annex Lobby.

Property Management Report – Steve Onishi
Safety and Security
A Safety and Security Committee was formed. Committee goals were established. The members conducted a walk-around to view the entire church “campus” to get a feel for the magnitude of the project. The current plan is develop a list of tasks/areas of concerns. The committee will then prioritize a task list.
Education Building Parking Lot Lighting
Recently, a church member tripped and fell in the parking lot one night. It was felt that poor lighting contributed to this incident. Now, one of the three light standards is on all night. With all three light standards on, the parking is extremely well lit, but it clearly illuminates the neighboring apartment building with lighting going directly into some of their windows. This seems to be a good compromise as opposed to having all three on. The committee will continue to monitor this situation.
Gym Renovation Preparation
In preparation for the gym renovation project, inventory of all of the contents of the building is being conducted. Everything must be moved after Obon and prior to the beginning of construction, slated for early August. We are currently trying to determine storage requirements. Responsible persons/organizations will be identified for all items and they will insure that the items are either disposed of or moved into storage. As with any move, we hope to dispose of as much old material as possible.
Research and Planning Committee – Janice Doi
The committee has been working on aligning our various parcels with correct tax exemption status. Progress continues.
Property Tax: Welfare Exemption

On February 17, 2015, Randy Suzuki and Janice Doi met with Julie Wood, Exemption Investigator with the Santa Clara County Tax Assessor’s office. She wanted to see the actual properties for which we are seeking a Welfare Exemption.

At the conclusion of the tour Ms. Wood indicated that most likely we would be granted exemptions for everything on the 5th/6th Street lots with the exception of the gym parking lot. We will not be exempt on the gym lot because we rent spaces to JBA. Kawakami is not included as it is income-generating property, not used for religious purposes.

(It should be noted that we do not have a current contract with the Japantown Business Association. It is suggested that we wait until after renovation to renegotiate the contract.)

On the 4th/5th Street properties, Ms. Wood noted that most likely we would not be granted exemptions on any of the properties on 4th Street as none of those are visibly used for religious/welfare purposes, as they are obviously abandoned and vacant. We discussed with her the use of the vacant lots for parking for services and religious activities and she said if there were spaces marked and signed indicating parking, she would consider the exemption. With respect to the Kurasaki house, she said if we used it for meetings, housing for ministers or other religious/non-profit activities, we could apply for the exemption.

To date we have received refunds on Rev. Sakamoto’s parsonage and a partial refund on Rinban’s parsonage. We are still waiting for the full refund on Rinban’s parsonage as well as the official determination letter from the assessor.

EcoSangha Report – Al Hironaga

At the BCA National Council Meeting, the attached EcoSangha resolution was officially approved and adopted by the BCA. Rinban Don Castro of Seattle Betsuin and Rev. Hirano of Salt Lake temple presented the resolution. San Jose EcoSangha members, Stan Kawamata, Harriet Kawamata and Carol Yuki, attended the activities and helped Karen Akahoshi of San Diego with the workshop, displays, and the question–and–answer session. We are heartened to see the BCA adopt the EcoSangha resolution, which reflects the principles and objectives of our own San Jose Betsuin EcoSangha. (Resolution wording in the BCA Report below)
The EcoSangha is planning for Earth Day to be held on Sunday, April 19, 2015. The guest speaker at the services will be David Mas Masumoto, an organic peach, nectarine and grapes (for raisin) farmer, a newspaper columnist, an author of seven books, and whose farm and family has been featured on the late Huell Howser’s “California’s Gold” program. Activities and displays planned to date include: art contest display, bird watching, children’s crafts, solar cooker, 8th grade display, aquaponics, green ninja videos, worm composting, yoga benches and food sales. We will be accepting CFL light bulbs, household batteries (sizes 9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA and smaller), unwanted and/or expired medication for recycling. We will also feature a book recycling table where you can bring your used books and pick up used books from others.
Dana Club Report – Al Hironaga

On Wednesday, February 11, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, fourteen members of the Dana Club sorted and boxed carrots donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank. The sorted foods along with produce sorted by other groups were distributed to needy local families and food kitchens. Some of the food that we sort at Second Harvest was distributed at the Thursday brown bags distribution in our annex.
On Saturday, March 28, the Dana Club will again be sponsoring the Yu-Ai Kai birthday party for seniors born in March and April. Dana Club volunteers will host the party, provide the entertainment, serve the refreshments, conduct the Bingo games and issue the Bingo prizes. The prizes for the Bingo games have been donated by Dana Club members.
On Wednesday, April 22, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, the Dana Club will again be sorting donated food items at the Second Harvest Food Bank. If you are interested in helping with this effort to support the community, contact Al Hironaga at Our group size is limited to 15 people so the first 15 to respond will be put on the list of volunteers.
Garden Committee – Al Hironaga

On Saturday, February 28, the Garden Committee and members of the Bonsai Club planted the beautiful Japanese maple tree that was donated by Paul Sakamoto. The tree was planted near the entrance to the Betsuin office.

2015 Buddhist Churches of America National Council Meeting Report – Janice Doi

Rinban Fujimoto, Reverend Sakamoto, Joyce Iwasaki and Janice Doi attended the BCA National Council Meeting in San Diego, February 26 through March 1, 2015. Due to illness, Todd Tsudama was not able to attend. Todd executed a proxy, which was exercised by Janice Doi.

On Thursday, IBS presented a symposium on Buddhism and Counseling. It was a very interesting and informative presentation on psychology, mindfulness and some innovative ways to incorporate psychology and mindfulness in Jodo Shinshu.

On Friday, the Coast District Council held a quick meeting to decide on which hotel we will be using for the 2017 NCM, which the Coast District will be hosting. It was decided that we would use the San Jose Marriott, which has offered a room rate of $179 as opposed to $199, at the Doubletree. The Coast District will be working on forming the conference committee in the months to come. A contract has been signed with the San Jose Marriott.

The bylaws changes propose below were all approved:

A. Should we simplify the BCA Bylaws and voting rules for ministers at National Council Meetings (“NCM”) by permitting all ministers certified as Kaikyoshi the right to vote at NCM?
B. Should the restriction be deleted from the BCA Bylaws that past presidents are ineligible for election as a Director-At-Large until they have served for 3 years on the National Board (“NB”) as a district representative?
C. Should changes to the CBE Bylaws require approval by both the NB and the National Council?
D. Should the (a.) Guidelines for Establishment of Temples and (b.) Guidelines for Selection of the Bishop, be subject to oversight to approve changes? If “Yes”, should the NB and/or the National Council have oversight responsibilities?
E. Should the proposed changes to the BCA Bylaws for the purpose of improving its clarity, accuracy, and organization be adopted?

The Proposed Budget was approved. It was noted that there is a shortfall of income vs. projected expenses but there are reserves set aside to cover this shortfall if fundraising efforts are not able to cover the deficit. The coming fiscal year’s assessment will be approximately $109 per member.

A motion was passed referring the proposal to install solar panels back to the BCA National Board with instruction that a way to finance the project without use of temple assessments be found.

Tom Nishikawa of the San Luis Obispo Temple made a presentation and request to the National Council that the San Luis Obispo and Guadalupe Buddhist Temples be allowed to join the Coast District. Tom stated that according to BCA bylaws, it is up to the two districts to approve the move. Tom stated that the Southern District has approved the move. The issue is pending before the Coast District Council.

A format change to add a “Dharmathon” after the business sessions each day were very well received. The Dharmathon consisted of 15-20 minute Dharma talks by 8 different ministers. Each was unique and was insightful and inspirational. Other sessions included “epolling” with the use of cell phones, Youth leadership, ministerial affairs, BCA endowment, BCA Archives. One of the highlights was an EcoSangha presentation by Rev. Castro, Karen Akahoshi and Harriet Kawamata. It highlighted the efforts of the San Jose Betsuin EcoSangha and was well received by those attending. Our EcoSangha donated the shopping bags, which we use here in San Jose. It was great to see 200 other people all carrying their bags back to their respective temples.

On Sunday, we attended the Eitaikyo Service at the San Diego Buddhist Temple. The Hondo was full. Reverend Patti Usuki and Reverend Koho Takata delivered the Dharma talks.

WHEREAS, one of the major social issues of our time is a deep concern for the environment; and
WHEREAS, with the core teachings of interdependence and compassion our Buddhist religion is inherently ecological in vision and conservation-oriented in practice; and
WHEREAS, our Buddhist Churches of America not only consume large amounts of resources in themselves but also serve as a model for personal behavior in the homes of each of its members and society at large;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that each BCA temple be encouraged to adopt policies that promote an awareness of the profound implications of our behavior on future generations and to promote ecologically friendly behavior in the spirit of “mottai-nai.”
Approved by the BCA National Council 2/28/2015