Final Entry Kick Ball Instill Change

September 01, 2011

Kick, Ball ... Instill Change

While congratulating Lorna Padia Markus on her recent appointment as president for Rotary Club of Oakland—the third oldest club in the world—California CPA discovered she also has taught line dancing for a decade. This, coupled with her colorful stories of the Bay Area she grew up in and her extensive community work, meant we had to get to know this partner at Mowat Mackie & Anderson LLP a bit better.

What’s the key to being a good line dancer?
An ear for the drum and not thinking too much about having two left feet.

Has anything changed in line dancing in the 10 years you’ve been teaching it?
It seems to come and go in popularity. Ten years ago, it was very popular in places like Cadillac Ranch or Josie Wales, which are both now closed. Many of my students are recently widowed, and my class has been a great opportunity to re-enter the world. It’s also a great source of exercise and doesn’t require a partner.

Who makes better students, kids or adults?
I’ve taught from age 6 to 90. I’ve found that age isn’t a factor to being a good student, but rather attitude. Those who are willing to learn something new without getting frustrated or embarrassed do the best. I have an 88-year-old student who is a terrific two-stepper, but has two left feet when it comes to line dancing. However, he’s been coming faithfully every week for the last year and a half and is finally feeling comfortable with the easier
dances. Moreover, he has an infectious positive attitude. The younger kids are also great because they haven’t learned yet to worry about how they look.

Are there any teachers in your life who were memorable?
My fifth grade teacher, Ms. Howard, who taught me how to earn what I wanted; Mr. Gamble, my junior high teacher who taught me self-confidence by teaching me to lead; and my high school English teacher, Mr. MacKenzie, who taught me to love books like “The Scarlet Letter,” “A Streetcar named Desire” and “In Cold Blood.”

What are your favorite memories of growing up in San Francisco?
Summers spent learning to swim at Garfield Pool with the Red Cross for only a dime; taking the bus anywhere in the city for a nickel; hanging out at Dolores Park on a Sunday listening to the Bongos; and the free opera in the park series hosted by the San Francisco Symphony.

You are heavily involved in community work and fund raising. Where did that all start?
Two places: One, my mom put me to work at an early age helping with her volunteer efforts for the National Foster Parents Association and California State Foster Parents Association. Second was a life-changing event: I was hit by a car when I was 14, and believe the difference between my being here or not is God’s will. I believe each day is a gift and try to make it count.

What keeps you motivated to keep up with all your community work?
Moments when I get to see the fruits of my labor. For example, seeing three Boys & Girls Club members sing the Star Spangled Banner a cappella, training a new class of junior staff (ages 13 to 16) and hearing about their goals and dreams, and delivering books to third-graders in Oakland. Through these experiences, I realize that there is nothing wrong with today’s kids—they just need caring adults to guide them toward success. Also, the opportunity to engage the next generation of volunteers—including my son, daughter and grandchildren.

Putting on your Rotary hat, what’s your favorite place to be in Oakland?
Any place with good food and wine. Oakland has a great restaurant scene from the Uptown district with Ozumo, Pican and Flora, to Jack London Square. I love being near the water, having drinks at some of the nearby restaurants like Home of Chicken & Waffles, Boca Nova, the Fat Lady or Scott’s. Sundays are a great day to check out the farmer’s market, visit the U.S.S. Potomac or just watch people go by.

What is the plight of today’s business owner?
Navigating the maze of the various local, state and federal tax and regulatory requirements—while at the same time managing their business. Today’s economy has spawned many new single owner/employee businesses that are often unaware of local gross receipts taxes, county taxes, state registration requirements or federal employment regulations. The penalties are onerous and the cost of compliance can be significant.

What’s coming down the pipeline for biz owners in the financial compliance arena?
With all the new audit and tax requirements for CPA’s ranging from the California audit documentation requirements, the Nonprofit Integrity Act, Sarbanes-Oxley, peer review, IRS new preparer penalties and standards, and the new preparer registration program—small businesses and nonprofit organizations will face increased costs of securing professional services as CPA’s pass on their costs of complying with these requirements.

Back to News