|Mid January at WVRC - the 16th
CLAWSON BLEAK got us off to a good start with the Pledge. Prexy TED did note
that the flag was first hung upside down, possibly indicating that someone
was trying to send a distress signal, but this suspicion was not
substantiated. Next up were JACK HARRIS and LENNY FRIEDMAN, with the song -
in this case, America. JACK cautioned us beforehand, " Watch the bouncing
ball, please" which apparently was the key to another successful rendition.
BRIAN BUMPAS gave the Invocation, first allowing us to be seated (at the
suggestion of Prexy TED). BRIAN recited some poetic thoughts by Johnny
McGee, an American fighter pilot who was killed in combat over England. It
was a moving rendition and we thank you, BRIAN.
PP GEORGE DEA was called upon to introduce any Visiting Rotarians, but alas,
once again, there weren't none. Prexy TED brought forward our newest member,
BOB FLICK, whom TED sponsored - they go back to law school at Stanford. STEW
GILMAN had a Special Guest, Steve Lore, who is a local contractor. CLAWSON
BLAKE (trick question - how do you pronounce his name ? - see paragraph
above) had a Special Guest, an old friend Dr. Robert Bartlett, an
ophthalmologist. DON NELSON had his Special Guest, Tom Barron, a former
partner of DON'S at what was once called Haskins and Sells. DON also had the
good taste to bring along ROZ, who admitted she jumped at the chance to have
someone else fix lunch!
Prexy TED then acknowledged the many members who were involved in last
week's Hump Day. This opus was entitled Three Cousins and a Dog, or
something like that, and it indeed reminded him of old home week, with
Edwena, Ned and Jed PLUS the dog all performing admirably. The cast included
KEN LEVER, PP STEVE DAY, PP ERIC LOBERG, PP DAVE WHITEHEAD, MARK BLOCK,
LILLIAN KLIEWER, ELLIOTT TURNER, LEE DUNAYER and a special thanks to PP
STEVE'S CPA partner, Rajiv Mehra,
another bit of derrring do, Prexy TED called forward PP ERIC LOBERG to
present what was first identified as an announcement. However, with ERIC, it
is no surprise to recognize that things are often not what they first seem -
and this was no exception, of course. ERIC reported that as a result of a
recent survey of one hundred men, all of whom had to drink a six-pack of
been within an hour, several conclusions emerged. First, all the subjects
gained weight, had to urinate frequently, and talked excessively. They also
became overly emotional, couldn't drive properly, argued about nothing at
all, plus refusing to apologize when they were wrong! As a result, no
further testing is planned. ERIC, we all hope you will continue to enlighten
us on these sorts of weighty subjects.
It was birthday time, and the following list - against all tradition, alas -
covers all who came along this first month of the year, but NOT in the
numerical order of their arrival. So - BRIAN BUMPAS picked the 27th, and
DENNIS CORNWELL was just a day away, on the 26th. KEN KILPO missed today's
date by one, thus the 17th (and there is some precedent if your BD is the
same day as the list for that month is announced, it doubles your fine).
LILLIAN KLIEWER is the 28th, while HARLAN LEWIS preferred the 8th. PP BOB
LUSK choose the 10th, but PP RON LYSTER was a copycat with HARLAN, that
being the 8th again. DAVE MATSON split the month, his date being the 15th,
while CLAIR MITCHELL preferred the 23rd. Last one announced was SANDY
SANDERSON, on January 3rd.. All were serenaded, with PP JIM DOWNIE at the
keyboard, and were gifted with what appeared to be tie tacks.
I made a serious request for help in housing the wife of a patient at UCLA
who just today had a double lung replacement. Afterward, who else but ART
HENRY came forward and said his home was available. Turns out that one of
our neighbors had already agreed to help, but I do want to personally thank
ART for offering. While on the subject of announcements, the Club now has
rented a small storage area in WLA, so if any of you have been holding
Rotary items (wine glasses, liquor, whatever) please call me and we can take
these things off your hands. At the Board meeting last evening, it was
formally voted to divide the duties of the Executive Secretary, so long
carried out by DOUG DESCH , into two jobs. DON NELSON will be Executive
Treasurer, and I have become Executive Secretary. DON is already well along
in his duties, but it will take me a bit of time to be fully functional, so
please be patient. KEN LEVER reminded us that the District Breakfast is
coming up on February 4th, at the LAX Marriott, and he will take your
reservation. And last, sad to announce, both MIKE O'CONNELL and JOE FISCHER
Sweetheart Brunch is set for Saturday, February 8th, at 11 a.m. Those
members signed up so far include JACK HARRIS, PP HOWIE HENKES, PP ERNIE
WOLFE, KEN LEVER, RALPH BEASOM, RUDY ALVAREZ, BRUCE HARRIS, PP BOB WESSLING,
PDG ANDY ANDERSON, SLOSS VIAU, MIKE YOUSEM, BRIAN BUMPAS, PP MIKE NEWMAN, PP
HOMER NEWMAN, PP RALPH WOODWORTH, PETER MORE, HENRY TSENG, RO SHAW, HARLAN
LEWIS, LENNY FRIEDMAN, PP GEORGE DEA and GEORGE COX. Apparently the Rotary
Auxiliary is also taking signups, so be sure you are on one list or the
TED asked BRIAN BUMPAS to tell us one of his many stories as a sort of
continuum of his earlier craft talk. BRIAN related how his dog, Mr. Lucky,
accompanied him into the Hilton Hotel as he was delivering the LA Times. One
day, as they were both inside, BRIAN heard a bit of commotion behind him,
and saw President John F. Kennedy entering the lobby. Mr. Lucky, meanwhile,
had preceded JFK, and was raising his leg on a chair along the way. But the
Bell Captain, Jimmy Smith, was quick as a flash, and by the time the
President passed the spot, it was all cleaned up! Speaking editorially, YOE
is wondering if BRIAN and PP ERIC are perhaps in that same 'risky' category
as far as allowing them mike time…We could vote, I guess.
RUDY ALVAREZ spoke briefly about the upcoming Group Study Exchange. Rudy has
been chosen as the group leader, and there were 21 candidates to fill the
four slots of team members. They were chosen, along with four alternates. As
RUDY pointed out, "It's tough duty but someone has to do it".
Congratulations to RUDY - he'll do his usual good job.
DON NELSON introduced our two speakers. Tom Boyle and Denise Bustamonte are
with Deloit Touche, and DON pointed out that his former firm is one of just
four remaining big firms. Don first asked us to be especially nice to our
speakers, since they work for the firm that pays Don's retirement! Tom is in
charge of their Global Pollution practice, while Denise is a tax specialist,
and they took turns speaking, with the other person operating their project
display on the big screen. They have titled their presentation Deep In The
Heart of Taxes, a reference to where the new tax programs originated - at
President Bush's ranch near Crawford, Texas.
Tom started out by reminding us of the tax changes voted in 2001. The rate
then was 39.6%, and now it has gone down to 38.6, eventually going to 35.
During Reagens administration, the top rate was 28%, by the way. The issue
in 2001 was how to handle projected surpluses, plus the need to shore up
Social Security. What happened to the tax cuts that were then proposed? 71%
of the polled citizens felt it was a poor idea, and yet the ten-year target
is a total reduction of 674 billion! These cuts are not in effect until
OK'ed by Congress, so they are not permanent. The present plan to not tax
dividends will cost the Treasury 100 billion per year, and it is aimed at
individuals. The IRS, by the way, is angry, feeling that the financial
climate now present handicaps their efforts. They have hired more agents to
cover these complicated tax producers.
Denise next spoke, discussing the Alternative Maximum Tax - AMT. It is not
simple, and some costs are not allowed - but it is popular with consumers.
Education Funding has grown rapidly - from l.5 billion a few years ago to
ten billion in 2001. It can be used to cover tuition and related expenses.
Individuals can give $55K, or a couple can provide $110K, which means the
free gifts to individuals are covered for the next five years.
She reminds us that the Estate Planning provisions only go to 2010, and
should be extended.
Q&A - PP CHRIS GAYNOR - What is the status of the attempt to tax Internet
transactions? This is currently still under discussion. We are no closer to
tax reform now than we were forty years ago. CHARLES MAGNUSON - What
transactions act as a Red Flag to the IRS? Offshore investments will be
looked at closely. LEO TSENG - Tell us more about the 529 plan. It provides
the opportunity to give an individual $11K annually, for a total advance of
$55K - but remember that takes care of further gifts for the next five
years. You can choose the type of plan that best suits your needs. If the
dividend tax is repealed it will narrow the rates that are allowed. And
last, SALLY BRANT - What is the definition of wealthy? Apparently, anyone
who pays taxes!
Thanks to Don for arranging our speaker. One final note - we are dark next
Thursday at noon, but will be at Riviera next Thursday evening for RI
President Bhichai's visit.
YOE, Ernie Wolfe