Yes, we did it twice in a row. Speaking editorially, I don’t understand how we are now shunted aside (frequently) after absorbing this huge lunch increase. Either we are at the Bel Air, or we are not. When will we next be moved out of the way? And if you think this resentment on my part was started by their stonewalling us on the Cobb Salad poisoning, you are right. But, as so often happens, I digress.
PP RALPH WOODWORTH and I had a brief discussion after the meeting today, the subject being, do we still need a front page? It does seem repetitive, and you don’t need both of us giving you a bio on the speaker. Let’s talk about this soon and make any changes that may be helpful, OK? That being said, you don’t need a bio from me on Ramona Ripston, next week’s Speaker RALPH will supply, as he does so well
We started today with the Pledge, after first welcoming the many spouses who attended. I think PP ERIC LOBERG led the Pledge, and then we welcomed LENNY FRIEDMAN back after his lengthy convalescent from his hip replacement JACK HARRIS suggested My Wild Irish Rose, which we attempted. I interjected an Irish story at this point, relating the sad story of the drunk who forgot his wheelchair touching, really. JACK HARRIS followed with the story of Murphy standing outside the bar. Events led to an almost tragic conclusion, when Clancy didn’t stand up for the tab, but Murphy had a good explanation. ED GAULD provided his usual excellent Invocation.
There were no visiting Rotarians but one did turn up, from the Malibu Club Mario Ortero. He had called me yesterday wanting to visit, and I told him about our temporary move to the Luxe. The spouses who attended included Janice Dea, Caroline Harris, Annie Tseng, Roz Nelson, Pauline Harris, Sharon Bradford, Laura Kahrilas, Margie Downey, Sunny Friedman, Marge Viau and Vachere Fell. It was good to have so many with us please do it again, soon, OK? SALLY BRANT introduced her grandson, Bob Brant, and MADAME WU told us about her guest, Doren Lee. We had our Rotaract contingent Tori Hettinger, Candice, William and Michele, and they do brighten up the place. Our forty tickets at the Magic Castle were discussed this is for Sunday, April 10th, with brunch being served at 12:30 and the big Magic show afterward.- cost is $40, and PDG ANDY or Rev. ED GAULD can sign you up. WILLIAM Frymann, Webmaster for Rotaract, then spoke briefly about their upcoming plans which will include supporting the local Fire Station on Veteran Ave.
The first meeting of our new Library Committee took place before today’s meeting Janice DEA led the presentation, and Sharon and CHRIS BRADFORD, Kathy and ED GAULD, and LILLIAN KLIEWER got a lot of useful information. Supporting this brand new Westwood Branch Library is a real opportunity to show that WVRC really is a WESTWOOD club, and with these members leading the way, we will make our mark.
Senor RUDY had some excellent photos of the new Branch, located at 1246 Glendon, just south of Wilshire. RUDY also has the tickets for the Far West Breakfast at the Chicago International Convention - $30, and you won’t want to miss it.
The District Conference is set for Palm Springs, April 28th to May 1st, and we need some more members to sign up. It will be at the Doral Desert Princess, and they will provide us with an excellent venue. Reservation forms are available call Ernie but the best rates expire the end of this month, so don’t delay signing up.
PP MICHAEL NEWMAN introduced our Speaker, William Simon. MIKE met Bill at a parents meeting for their daughters, and invited him to speak at that time. His original guidelines were that he wasn’t to talk about Politics but that was solved during the Q&A. Bill lives in the Palisades, and he is an active community member several neighborhood boys come by to use his basketball court, and they are always welcome.
Bill began by noting that his time with his family is his most important time. He told how he met his wife, learning that she, too, was a basketball fan the start of a beautiful relationship. March 28th will mark the 20th anniversary of their first date. When he spoke to Santa Monica Rotary, they gave him a Rotary coin, and the motto shown on it is, “Service Above Self”. He feels this is a very basic rule of life. Another motto is, “to keep it, you have to give it away”
Yesterday was a tough one for Bill. A friend, 52 years old, died, and this caused him to question what he, Bill, was doing. He spoke to his priest, who had some wisdom to pass along. He also mentioned a book, “The Purpose-Driven Life” which he highly recommends. A comment from his kids which he thinks are the three most dangerous words around “Follow me, Dad”. He thanked us for inviting him and I have to end this specific report by quoting what Caroline Harris said to me afterward “He’s the best looking man I’ve ever seen!”
Q&A I asked the first question, What are your political plans. He will run for California State Treasurer in 2006 the incumbent is being term-limited out. GEORGE COX, Does that tie in with Pension Plan changes. Yes, the Treasurer invests and manages these funds. California has 300 billion dollars to invest, and his experience is in that field. PP STEVE SCHERER, What is your opinion about Rudy Guliani (for whom he worked as an Assistant District Attorney) I’d give him a good grade because he takes on the tough issues. He battles the unions, and he’s a leader. CATHY REZOS, Are we broke. It is easy to see that our deficit is increasing, and yet we have fewer cops, firemen, and teachers, for example. We are behind in infrastructure maintenance by 180 billion dollars. California is the least hospitable state for businesses, it costs $50K just to get a permit to build a house, and that’s why only houses costing $300K or more are being built there is no profit below that figure. ED GAULD, What is your position on Stem Cell Research. With the debt we now have, and soon-to-come due needs, why spend 3 billion on stem cells the private sector will take care of that need. TONY MARRONE, What is your experience with Rudy Juliani. He should be a Presidential candidate, he is loyal and fair, and sometimes even sees around corners. He supported Bill is his gubnatorial campaign. An example, Juliani said he would endorse Bill or then-Governor Grey Davis, whichever Bill thought would do him (Bill) the most good. He has great qualities, and he’s a great guy. Thank you, Bill Simon, for visiting with us.
The Toast, given by one of the Rotaractors - May the road rise up to meet you…and may God hold you in the palm of his hand.