Now that we know this is Magazine Month, it is the duty of all loyal
Rotarians to READ THE MAGAZINE - at least once. The pledge was led by
DAN PRICE, followed by Messieurs HARRIS and DOWNIE leading us through
It's a Grand Old Flag - and it should also be noted that we had some
excellent background music from JIM'S keyboard before we officially
got underway. PP YOSH SETOGUCHI stepped up with a good Thought for the
Day, allowing as how we could stand up since it was short - which it
was. PP BOB LUSK had no Visiting Rotarians to report, but recent 3rd-time
dad MARK BLOCK jumped up to introduce his father-in-law, Bob Berman,
who hails from the Rotary Club of Jackson, Mississippi. Among his other
claims to fame is that he is the present District Governor for the state!
And his reward for all this is that newly arrived Jared Block's middle
name is Berman - although YOE is forced to editorialize that that's
a very tough eligibility standard for naming grandchildren...
Bob Gaston, President of WLA Rotary, was next introduced, and he in
turn named the members of WLA who were with us today. It was noted that
we formed the WLA Club in the 60's, giving them our then-name, and adopting
Westwood Village as our permanent moniker. The only ongoing confusion
that this can cause is that there is also a Westwood Rotary Club, somewhere
in northern California - but the facts are that WE know which is which,
STEVE ADLER spoke of his guest, Paul Supnik, who is an attorney specializing
in intellectual property rights and entertainment. GEORGE DEA also introduced
Ava Bodel, from Rotaract (and Germany). And in a demonstration of real
evenhandedness, JACK HARRIS was fined by Prez BOB because JACK'S grandson
made Phi Beta Kappa at that school in Indiana where BOB claims to have
matriculated. Maybe this was Prez BOB'S way of saying that even though
HE, BOB, was not so honored as an undergraduate, he felt that JACK would
understand that some penalty had to be attached to his grandson's achievement.
Ah, the ways and byways of Executive minds...
With the ever-present threat that PP JIM DOWNIE might walk at any moment,
Prez BOB nonetheless went ahead with the usual litany of announcements.
First up was April 11th, the Board Meeting at 6:30, hosted by ELLIOTT
TURNER - RSVP's requested, please. The District Conference is at the
Doral Palm Springs Resort, from 4 to 7 May, and almost 30 have signed
up so far - RON KLEPETAR is the contact. GSE will be with us (see below)
from April 30th to May 5th - check with LEE DUNAYER. And lastly, there
are FOUR - count 'em - Golf Tournaments coming up. Prez BOB has the
details, so call him, please.
GSE, which stands for Group Study Exchange, started in 1965, and we
have consistently been involved. Rotary districts in different countries
are paired up, each sending 4 or 5 young professionals to spend up to
four weeks in the host country. They must be non-Rotarians, and are
led by a Rotary Team Leader. Their purpose is to promote International
understanding and goodwill, and they learn about the customs and cultures
where they visit, of course. We are sharing a week of hosting this year's
team with Santa Monica Rotary, and the GSE group comes from Bavaria.
Immediately after our hosting, the group will attend our District Conference
in Palm Springs. They will arrive in Westwood on April 30th, and there
is a Welcome party at Marian and LEO TSENG'S home, starting at 4 p.m.
- RON LYSTER needs to know if you would like to attend, please.
And now, briefly, two programs which are particularly close to YOE's
heart: The Japan Student Exchange deadline has been extended - this
program is truly an opportunity for 15-19 year old students to spend
a month in Japan, and PP YOSH SETOGUCHI has the details. It's open to
any relative of a Rotarian, the price is right, and whomever you send
will thank you for giving them this unique opportunity.
The District 5280 Polio Corrective Surgery Committee is actively recruiting
Rotary orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists,
operating room nurses, and prosthesis technicians to participate in
our wonderful project to enable polio victims to WALK! This is the $140
Value I have spoken of before - for the volunteers, it involves 2 to
3 weeks of time, in India or Africa, and the contact is Dr Wes Bradford,
(310) 542-6686, email@example.com. Please spread the word - the need is
SALLY BRANT brought us another excellent speaker, California Secretary
of State Bill Jones. He first served in the Legislature, and was chosen
by his peers to be Republican Leader of the State Assembly in 1990.
Elected Secretary of State in 1994, he was the first resident of California's
Central San Joaquin Valley to serve in a statewide constitutional office.
Author of the Three-Strike Law, his emphasis in his new position has
been to increase voter participation and improve business conditions
for California companies. He lives near Fresno, has a working farm,
and he and his wife of 30 years, Maurine, have two daughters, Wendy
He favors and has worked to provide an open primary. This is not popular
with either political party, but it does give everyone a real choice
in early voting - and the vote total in our recent presidential primary
was the highest it has been in the last 16 years. And tests have shown
that if you reach out early, the voter will stay with you. So it seems
to work, even though both parties still refuse to abide by it in their
selection process. California is a candidate-driven state, where issues
are not as important as some other places. He is hoping for a 70% turnout
in our next general election - and his goal is 100% turnout, eventually.
He feels we in California can be an example, not just to other states,
but to the rest of the world, and therefore is constantly seeking ways
to increase this vital voter participation.
One of his proposals is to have a national rotating primary, with four
regions, and each region taking turns at being first to vote. Sounds
good, but which region will agree to starting last, YOE wonders? A study
has shown that Sunday elections do not materially help in increasing
participation, but several variants are also being considered. Part
of all this is controlling voter fraud, and he favors a zero tolerance
here. Over 2 million nonexistent voters have been removed from the rolls,
and there is now a statewide computer network that helps in this endeavor
In the Q&A period, one early question was, How tough is it to do business
We are not competitive with neighboring states, and the international
trade rules handicap us. We must continue to work to correct these inequalities,
and that is political, and thus takes time and patience. We had a Competitiveness
Council under Governor Wilson, but it has been discarded. Remember,
if we have to always depend upon bond issues to provide needed infrastructure,
that source will eventually dry up - the legislature has to step up
and fund some of these needs from our general tax income. What about
voting on the Internet? The biggest problem is verification of the voters
eligibility, but it is being considered. What are the problems in agriculture?
Genetic engineering is under attack, but it will survive and prosper,
over time. Does NIFTY work? Congress can vote - but the Administration
has to implement, and sometimes that doesn't happen. Presently our southern
neighbors can charge up to a 40% tariff, while we are limited to 10%,
Their 40% will decrease over time, as stipulated - but by the time it
gets even with our 10%, there won't be nearly as many surviving farmers
as there are today. We continue to lose farmers because of lack of profit.
Secretary Jones, thank you for your message. And YOE has to add that
he didn't realize there were ANY surviving elected Republicans in California.
It must be lonely in Sacramento.
YOE, Ernie Wolfe