ALL HAIL THE NEW REGIME, starting July
It was interesting sitting next to a Democrat and listening to a Republican
speaker. You can perhaps guess that my seatmate had some questions as to some of
the opinions expressed. But I won't tell you it was BOB WESSLING, so you will
have to wait until my verbatim report on the Speaker, which will explain the
Prexy TED started his whole new term WITHOUT listing the various themes for the
day, week, month and year. However, he did follow form by starting with the
Pledge. This was led by new member CHARLES MAGNUSON, and like any good
attorney, (which he is), he came prepared with a sheaf of papers outlining
opinions about the separation of church and state, plus profiles of the two
judges who ruled recently on the illegality of "Under God". I'm not sure if the
dissenting judge was similarly profiled, but since no one insisted upon
examining this topical material, we proceeded with the standard Pledge. Next up
was JACK HARRIS as conductor and PP JIM DOWNIE on the piano, with the song being
It's a Grand Old Flag. LEE DUNAYER followed - but not too closely, since it
took him awhile to make his way to the podium. His Invocation focused on how
different we are, each of us as complete individuals, and stressing that we
should put these bountiful talents to work in implementing the Rotary Creed.
I was pleased to be asked to say a few words about our so-recently-deceased DAVE
MORE. DAVE was special to so many of us - I outlined his military career,
recalling that his 36th Artillery eventually captured NINETY THOUSAND Germans in
North Africa before they moved on to Sicily, Salerno and up the boot of Italy.
He and Eleanor were married in 1947, and his service at Westwood United
Methodist Church was the stuff of which legends are made - eight years on
Trustees, including Chairman, and five years as Lay Leader, during which time
all debts on the Sanctuary were finally paid. He joined WVRC in 1980, sponsored
by MILO BROOKS - MILO sure knew a good man when he saw one! I concluded my
remarks with the opinion that DAVE was a good guy - a title to which all of us
should aspire. We'll miss you, DAVE.
PP DOUG DESCH introduced his Special Guest, Brian Bumpas. Brian is busy with
the alumni of Hamilton High School, and DOUG mentioned that he had, in an
earlier life, flown over the Hump during WWII. JAY HANDLE had a Special Guest,
Janet James, who is Executive Director of a Youth Club of which JAY is
President. I buttonholed JAY after the meeting, saying we had missed him, and
he pointed out that he has been in New York recently. RALPH SMITH brought Betty
Good, his Significant Other, who has recovered very well from TWO recent
strokes. PDG ANDY ANDERSON was with Pat, who is progressing well from her
recent knee operation. JOE FISCHER brought along what he admitted was his
Better Half, Dolly. PETER MORE introduced the immediate Past President of the
WVRC Auxiliary, his wife Shirley. PDG BILL GOODWYN announced that he was
accompanied by the Grandmother of his Grandchildren, Judi. LILLIAN KLIEWER
brought along her almost-nine-year-old daughter, Cassandra.
Members of the Board were introduced. Starting with PETER MORE,
President-elect, RUDY ALVAREZ, Veep, PP STEVE DAY, Foundation Director, JIM
BECHTEL, Youth, KEVIN KOMATSU, Community Service, RALPH SMITH, Vocational, and
HANK HEUER, International. KEN LEVER, incoming Secretary, was out of town. From
this relatively high point, we slipped into low comedy when Prexy TED retold a
story one of his sons told him, to wit "Why did the gum cross the road?"
"Because it was stuck to the chicken's foot "- which answer, not surprisingly,
elicited widespread cries of "Bring back George" and similar sentiments. On a
bit more serious vein, Prexy TED reminded us that Rotary International President
Bhichai Rattakul will be visiting our own WVRC this coming January. President
Rattakul has served Thailand as Foreign Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and
President of the Parliament, so his visit amounts to quite an honor for us. As
Prexy TED attempted to further elucidate (that means describe…) coming plans,
there was a commotion, which brought the question, "Is that the Loberg Table?"
Stay tuned - apparently we are in for further comments and pearls of wisdom from
PP ERIC, perhaps as early as next week!
TED spoke briefly about all that goes on at an International Convention. It
shows the breadth and scope of Rotary, worldwide - highlighted by the parade of
flags from the 140 countries in which Rotary operates. He noted that several
members are already planning to attend the 2003 International Convention, which
will be in Brisbane, Australia, in early June. Those signed up so far include
PP GEORGE and Janice DEA, RUDY ALVAREZ, PDG ANDY ANDERSON and Pat, PP RON LYSTER
and Guin, and of course, President-elect PETER MORE and Shirley. We were
reminded that TED'S letter arrived this past week, and it should be perused, for
an overview of who is doing what, etc.
Some money came in. HENRY TSENG, who just turned 95, was clipped for 95 clams.
This event triggered a donation to our Foundation of 100 dollars by his nephew,
LEO. Meanwhile, SLOSS VIAU and Marjorie celebrated their 60th Wedding
Anniversary. This cost SLOSS 100 big ones, the same as PP MIKE NEWMAN was
assessed. Seems that MIKE'S son Patrick was with a choral group that sang at,
among others, Winchester Cathedral and Westminster Abbey - obviously, travel is
expensive (and worth it). PP JIM DOWNIE and Margie sent in 100 dollars in
honor of our departed PP DAVE MORE, and were joined by PP GEORGE DEA and Janice
for a like amount. And I wouldn't be fulfilling my fiduciary responsibilities
if I didn't suggest that your donations in honor of DAVE and others are always
welcome. But PP JIM DOWNIE wasn't content with just his continuing financial
support - he also has repainted the welcome signs directing us to our meeting
place. Thanks again, JIM.
In another money-raising endeavor, Prexy TED slyly asked those in the accounting
profession to raise their hands. Since our speaker was a CPA, each one of those
pigeons who complied was nicked for 100 dollars! Our Speaker was Greg Conlon,
who is running for Californiia State Treasurer. Since this position obviously
involves fiscal watchdogedness (my word -neat, huh?), Prexy TED let the cat out
of the bag regarding PP GEORGE'S fiscal shenanigans. TED presented Gregg with
hard evidence of the admitted fact that PP GEORGE has been - and may, for all we
know, still be - printing Dea Dollars. Gregg accepted this evidence without
BRANT, this year's overall Program Chair, then formally introduced Greg. His
resume is impressive, including 30 years as a senior partner of Arthur Anderson
(1959-1991) and more recently his JD Law Degree from San Francisco Law School.
He was Commissioner and later, Chairman of the California Public Utilities
Commission (PUC) from 1993 through 1998, plus serving as Commissioner of the
California Transportation Commission. He is an Eagle Scout, and served as an Air
Force pilot in 1956-59. This is his first venture into elective politics.
While Greg won the Primary, it also provided some good lessons in campaigning.
Both he and his Primary opponent raised about $250K - $100K of which was Greg's
own money - but his opponent in November has a FOUR MILLION war chest. Since
Conlon lives in the Bay Area, Northern California is his base, and he
acknowledges that Southern California really controls the outcome, because of
the vast population differential. The present projected state budget still has
an eight billion-dollar shortfall, caused, he believes, by a 37% increase in
state spending (with a net 5% increase in the population). This increased the
state payroll by 45K - that's THOUSANDS of people. We now have the 2nd worst
credit rating of any state in the Union, and this cannot be allowed to continue.
Using some smoke and mirrors, the Legislature proposes taking the money from
our earlier settlement with the large tobacco firms to cover about half the
deficit. The rest could come from an increase in auto license fees, doubling
from their present base. A new, larger cigarette tax is also being discussed.
How many of these will pass the Legislature is not known - but if they don't
have a budget in place by Monday 15 July, all State employees are to start being
paid at the minimum wage!
Conlan suggests that the present Governor and Treasurer are the ones responsible
for our high energy costs. He plans to cut expenses (don't all prospective
politicians say this?), and get the state entirely out of the energy business.
Establishing financial discipline will be his next objective. At present, by
the way, each California citizen has a debt of about $1000 - if present policies
continue, this will soon rise to $2000 per each of us.
Q&A - PDG BILL GOODWYN -. What is the impact of these poor credit ratings - they
automatically trigger higher interest rates for any state borrowing, and we do a
lot, day-to-day. YOE - is the intent of the law mandating a balanced budget
being circumvented - Yes, they are using the famed smoke and mirrors to give the
impression that the budget will be balanced. PP STEVE SCHERER - what is our
income from the Lottery - Schools receive between 4% and 6% from it. JAY HANDAL
- how much do we have in reserve - the state has borrowed seven billion from the
general fund so far, and there are plans to issue another twelve billion in
revenue bonds. BOB THOM -why doesn't Bill Simon defend himself against the TV
attack ads that keep appearing. - I don't think Conlan answered this. PP CHRIS
GAYNOR - remember, California is not the only state operating in deficit - but
we do have the highest increase in the country. JACK HARRIS -are those under
Prop 13 safe from changes. Yes, but it eventually will disappear once original
ownership dies off. CATHY REZOS - who audits the state finances. They are not
audited by any outside accountants. There is a disfunction in the way things
now operate - the Treasurer needs the funds, and the Controller pays the bills,
but there is no one responsible for the overall budget. With this
administration, all the money from state pensions is invested with
labor-friendly countries. Conlan reminded us of reality, when brought up the
fact that his Anderson pension would not be paid. His experience with the PUC
will certainly help him as State Treasurer. BRUCE ROLF - what are our present
costs of borrowing. Conlan said he wasn't sure. LEE DUNAYER - is it time to once
again protect our agriculture from the fruit fly epidemic - yes. If bonds are
not issued in a timely manner, there is a .3 % penalty - and with the amounts we
borrow, that's a lot of money. PP HOMER NEWMAN -can you compare Palo Alto
(where he grew up) to Redwood City, where Conlan lives. No specific answer -
and we thank HOMER for injecting a bit of humor into the speaker's message. If
he is elected and there is still a Democratic majority in the legislature, it
won't be easy to put some of his proposed reforms in place. PP HOWIE HENKES
-Does the mandated Minimum wage rule apply also to the Legislature - and this
question was greeted with thunderous applause.
Prexy TED gave Conlan a copy of Myron Taylor's new book on the Four Way Test
an excellent Speakers gift, YOE believes.
YOE, Ernie Wolfe