A DISTURBING REPORT on FEMA, WVRC on November 10th
We began with GENE PRINDLE leading the Pledge and he admitted never having arrived this early at Rotary before! Next up was the duo of JACK HARRIS and RICK CULLEN taking us thru You’re A Grand Old Flag. And I take full credit for asking, and receiving, more tempo in our rendidtion! President DON gave the Invocation., which he had prepared for the speech given by RI President Carl-Wilhelm Sttenhammer earlier this year. As usual, President DON provided a meaningful message.
TERRY M. WHITE was called forward to explain why he had left his Jonathan Club pin at Rotary two weeks ago. While not clearly explained, he was next asked if it was true that he had been appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Beer Wholesalers Association? Since he could not tell a lie, thus admitting his appointment, and since he was remiss in leaving his Jonathan Club pin behind, he was fined a measly fifty bucks.
Should have been more, but…Next up was LENNY FRIEDMAN, who gave an impassioned plea for us all to show up at the 59th Anniversary of Sarah Leonard Jewelers opening in Westwood Village this event over two days, tomorrow and Saturday.
President DON again took it easy, and only fined LENNY fifty nine dollars for this blatant promotion. But DON, YOE has to chide you you are not really living up to your promise to make WVRC the FINEST club in the district ! Each of these pigeons should have been dinged for at least twice what you let them off with, right?
It was Birthday Time for the month of November. But before this current crop could be called forward, President DON reached back to those who had earlier missed the actual presentation date for their own birthdays. These included such well-known reprobates as ED JACKSON, Sept 12th, SOL DRESNER, Sept 16th, PP BOB WESSLING, Oct 8th, RO SHAW, Oct 10th, MADAME WU, Oct. 24th, PP STEVE DAY, Oct 25th, SHANE WAARBROEK, Oct 27th., and BOB THOM, Oct 30th. All these clowns now owe ten bucks each as a storage fee for holding their time-sensitive gifts for an extra month (or two). The November Birthdays included SUSAN ALLEN, who elected the 4th in Detroit, and STEVE LORE, who also liked the 4th but preferred Los Angeles as a nesting place. MIKE YOUSEM CHOSE Omaha on the 6th same date as PP TOM LENEHEN, but TOM elected Evanston, Illinois. HENRIETTA LIAN liked the 16th, in nearby Santa Ana, while our long-absent NEVIN SENKAN came along in Ankara, Turkey. on the 20th. Both LEE DUNAYER and PP RON WANGLIN liked Los Angeles, LEE on the 21st and RON on the 23rd. That left AL BELANCA to pick the 27th in Buffalo, and President DON finishing it all up on the 28th in San Diego. Methinks each of the November’ers now owe $50 as a welcoming fee, right? Since they each got a Birthday Present, PLUS that Song, the expense was probably worth it, right?
Our Visiting Rotarians was Mitchell Kraus, from Santa Monica he is in Financial Services.. PP JIM COLLINS had a guest, Andrew Luquin. Jim claimed that he graduated just fifty five years before Andrew , and he is another one of those Betas from UCLA. LEE DUNAYER brought along a colleague, Jennifer Bleau, who is with Lincoln Financial and when we learned that she and LEE shared the same birthday (November 21st), President DON subtly suggested to Jennifer that if she happened to join WVRC, they could also share the adulation given to birthday’ers at Westwood. Now, you gotta say that’s a hell of a sales pitch, right? KACY ROZELLE had a Special Guest, Tim Smith. Tim is a former member of LA Five, and the Managing Partner of Endeavor Search Partners, an executive search firm. TONY MARRONE brought his wife, Veneice.
Our Rotaract Club is hosting a RotorGolf Tournament on November 19th. this apparently means it is being held at a Minature Golf site, and of course this opens up the low-scoring possibilities to many present WVRC members who might otherwise feel they didn’t want to compete on the regular links. President DON has the details. On that same Saturday, November 19th, there will be a seminar/meeting at Stephen’s Steak House in Carson devoted to Potential Rotary Leaders.. Again, President DON has the details.
This past Saturday, the 5th, the first of four Ethics Kaffeeklatsches was held at the home of PEGGY BLOOMFIELD. There were over twenty five Rotarians in attendance, including several from WVRC , and we had a good discussion. The remaining three meetings will be on Dec 10th, Jan. 21st and March 11th and I have the details.
I provided a couple of tickets for the UCLA-New Mexico State basketball game on the 15th, and a spirited bidding ensued. The winner was SEAN McMILLAN, and he is paying fifty dollars for the pair.
Ellen Horwitz and I were called forward, so that I could introduce Ellen as the new Director of our Meals on Wheels of WLA program. Meals on Wheels of WLA had co-directors, one of whom served for 27 years, and the other for only 17 years and Ellen and her Assistant, Evita Cheslow, are assuming their duties.
As you probably know, we have several members who serve as volunteers DORIS OGILVIE (for 28 YEARS!), DON and ROZ NELSON, SHIRLEY MORE, and YOE. We deliver a hot and cold meal to homebound recipients, Monday through Friday, and the meals are prepared by the UCLA Medical Center, so they meet any dietary requirements. We are always looking for more volunteers the time frame is from 10:30 until 12:30. We also are able to check to see that our clients are all OK each day, which is important since they are mostly elderly, and sometimes we are the only outside person they see that day. Also, we welcome referrals if you know someone who might need our services, please let us know. We charge those who can pay for the meals, but we deliver regardless of ability to pay. Since we receive no government support, we depend on donations and every year WVRC gives MOW a check for $500! So it’s a useful and needed service, and we would certainly welcome your inquiries, please.
We were then asked to believe the following:
A judge was interviewing a Divorce Applicant, and he began asking her questions.
“What are the grounds for your Divorce?” “About four acres and a nice little house.”; “No, what is the foundation of this suit?” “ It is made of concrete and bricks”; “I mean, what are your relations like?” “I have an aunt and uncle living here in town, and so do my husband’s parents”; “Do you have a real grudge?”. “No, we have a two-car carport, and never really needed anything else”; “Do you have any infidelity in your marriage?” “Yes, both my son and daughter had stereo sets, so the answer to your question is yes”; “Does your husband ever beat you up?” “Yes, once or twice a week he gets up before I do.”; Finally, in frustration, the judge asked, “Why do you want a divorce?” “I never wanted one my husband does. He says he can’t communicate with me”.
And I can’t resist adding a couple of one-liners which have come to me
It’s always darkest before dawn. So if you’re going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.
Never test the depth of the water with both feet., and Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
TONY MARRONE introduced Dr. Graham Waring, our Speaker. Dr. Waring did his undergraduate work at UCLA, and then attended UCLA School of Medicine. His Residency was at UCLA you might say he was involved there. His specialty is Internal Medicine, and several of our members are his patients. He also has a more famous patient, Governor Arnold Schwartznegger. TONY heard his story, and convinced Dr. Waring to come and tell it to us. His practice is in Santa Monica.
Dr. Waring began by telling of a friend of his who often went to Africa to provide surgery for Cleft Palate victims. Particularly in third world countries, this deformity almost shuts the victim out of society. An example was a woman he operated on, and on his next visit she had married and had gotten a job her first! This kind of example showed him how he could make a difference in other people’s lives. And he couldn’t resist pointing out that those in the audience who were his patients were probably among those who always complained without just cause, as we can all understand…
When Katrina hit, he and his wife were in Hawaii. Arriving back in LA, he inquired as to how he could go there and be of help. He knew the husband of a woman who worked for FEMA she was by that time in New Orleans but the husband pointed out that he couldn’t work through FEMA because he wasn’t being paid. The husband suggested contacting the Red Cross and another agency, but they had no openings, either. They did give him a 10-15 page form to fill out, and he knew from experience that if it took him that long to fill out the form, it would take them weeks to act upon it.
He called his friend, the Governor, who put him in touch with the head of California Emergency Services but no one there could tell him where to go. A friend with a private plane flew him and several other physicians and some nurses into Baton Rouge. They expected to be met, and told where to go next but upon landing, there was no one there to direct them. They made their way to the local FEMA Center, arriving about 7:30 pm.- and were told they weren’t needed! They hooked up with a local Baptist Church, got the use of a van, and thus were able to carry and deliver the $30,000 worth of supplies they had brought with them from California.
There are about 200 churches in this part of Louisiana, and they all started converting space into shelters about four days before Katrina struck. There was great need of medical help but FEMA wasn’t involved. According to Dr. Waring, the only problem they had while there was solved when they admitted that women ask for directions, whereas men will not! So they went from shelter to shelter and the people they treated had had no medical attention until their visits. One man he encountered was an administrator from Tulane University he was sweeping the floor at one of the shelters. He had lost everything, and didn’t know if he would get his job back this seems to illustrate the terrible consequences of such an overwhelming event as Katrina was.
Believe it or not, occasionally FEMA would come along and try to shut the shelters down, since they weren’t licensed! The church response to this was that, as religious institutions, they weren’t bound by the same rules as commercial establishments might be.
After being there for a couple of days, a pediatrician and a family practitioner decided to go off to the Red Cross Center in Baton Rouge. They were assigned to cover the Center at night, with 2,000 people living there. At least half of the people there had serious diahreaa attacks, which causes dehydration. They had arguments with the Red Cross supervisors, who contended that the doctors from Santa Monica were making patients feel too much at home! Their contention was that the families of the Red Cross staff didn’t get this level of care at home, so why should these people get such care. After changing diapers, parents would stand in line to get water which was usually just a few drops and this was how they attempted to sanitize their hands. The SM doctors then began distributing bottles of water which they had brought with them to the residents, and they were told later that both diapers and bottled water were stacked in nearby warehouses, but were not distributed.
Dr Waring’s reaction, upon his return, was that the team had done just such a small amount of work, due to the restrictions placed on them by the authorities. One of his patients here gave the group a 40-foot container, which they then filled with needed supplies and sent to New Orleans. This was five weeks ago, and since then the SM group has tried to send another doctor and nurse to the area to help. A typical week would have them seeing about 450 patients so there is still a huge need. And FEMA, which was supposed to be paying for prescriptions, had not paid the pharmacies, so many people were without needed medicines.
Based on Dr. Waring’s frustration with trying to help Katrina victims, plus a similar experience when he tried to help after the car plowed through the Santa Monica Famers Market a couple of years ago, he presented some ideas to our Governor. He would like to organize a group of perhaps thirty physicians who would agree to respond to sudden disasters in the Santa Monica area composed of Emergency Room physicians, Surgeons, Pediatricians, and Orthopedists. Since he knows these people, he feels he could assemble them easily, and they would agree to be available within a couple of hours. His suggested the football field at Santa Monica High School as the gathering place an open space, without any ruins to contend with. He would like two tents ready to install, one for cots, and the other housing supplies. These would be delivered by helicopter, along with perhaps ten National Guard troops, who would guard the perimeter. Any area could replicate this system but it has to be in place BEFORE the disaster strikes, of course.
One major condition if there is any bureaucratic BS (his word), he won’t perform. He feels he could put all this into effect without government help but it would be easier if everyone was playing off the same sheet of music. He further suggests that we get to know our neighbors that way, we can all help each other. Dr. Waring, we are indebted to you for a most serious and, really, upsetting message but one we need to hear.
President DON’S ponderable
Just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you…