President DON spoke about WALLY FISCHMAN, who passed away suddenly last week. WALLY joined Westwood in 1981, and has been a faithful member ever since. During WWII he was a lieutenant aboard the destroyer, USS Bingham, attended UCLA and there met, and married, Madelyn Ratner. Graduating from USC Law, he practiced civil law for over forty years on the Westside. He and HENRY TSENG founded Parkinsonians Learning Lifelong Useful Skills (PLLUS) along with an Exercise Therapy Program for those with this disease, which was centered at the Westside Family YMCA. Donations in his honor may be made to the Westside Y. We observed a time of silence in WALLY’S memory he will be missed by all.
We had several Visiting Rotarians. Eva Brodehl belongs to the Rotary E-Club on New York Avenue. She reminded us that she had visited WVRC seven years ago, and even attended our Picnic at the Siskels. She was a member of Rotaract during her schooling, and has since graduated from Medical School and is now an Ophthalmologist. It was certainly good to see her again.
Richard and Joan Correll are members of the Hampton NH Club, and both are in Architecture he practices, and she manages! Maynard Gross hails from the Homer-Kachemak Bay Club in far-off Alaska, and was the guest of HENRIETTA LIAN. Maynard is an Electrical Engineer, and he is also HENRIETTA’S brother-in-law. He later spoke to us about his activities as an incoming District Governor in Alaska and eastern Russia. from which he just returned yesterday. PP RON LYSTER introduced his new Assistant, Bonnie Harris. SUSAN ALLEN was with Yoshika Umyawa, a former Ambassadorial Scholar. PP JIM COLLINS brought David Price, who is involved with the Museum of Flying at Santa Monica Airport and also flies his own P51! NICK KAHRILAS had two guests, both of whom are involved with Charitable Ways. Chase Ahders is an attorney, and Ed Rutyna is a field representative.
Birthdays were up next and there was a long list of those lost souls who had failed to pick up their presents at their scheduled time thus incurring a ten-buck fine, so there! The list of these obvious criminals included PP TOM LENEHEN, way back on November 6th in Evanston, IL, ART HENRY on Feb 11th in Cambridge, MA, DONN CONNER on the 25th of Feb in Tulsa, TERRY R. WHITE in Oceanside on the 4th of March, and PP JOHN SINGLETON, who claims Salt Lake City on March 14th. But the month of April is now upon us, and those who graced us with an appearance THIS month include ELLIOTT TURNER (and no comments, please, since he arrived on the 1st), in Jacksonville, FL. CLARK McQUAY chose the 7th, in Alhambra, and DEBBIE HEAP liked that date also, but preferred Pasadena. DICK ROBINSON came along the next day, in Altus, OK, while ERIC LOBERG elected the 18th, in Ithaca, NY. DORIS OGILVIE took us back to LA, on the 25th (and the roster date is wrong!), while DON PARK claimed the 28th, in Bruning, Nebraska and that’s all she wrote for this month. At this point, PP TOM LENEHEN made what might be called a technical error he presented President DON with a TUIT, which as I’m sure you all know, is a small piece of paper cut into a circle, and allows the recipient to claim they are “Getting To It”. This error in judgment on PP TOM’S part cost him fifty big ones, so his total outlay for showing up today comes to 93 bucks. That’s an expensive lunch!
This brought us back to the above-mentioned Maynard Gross. As noted, he has just returned from Russia, on Rotary business, and he reports that the 37 clubs now operating in eastern Russia are part of District 5010, the Alaska and Yukon Territory. You will recall that our PDG ANDY ANDERSON was also visiting in Russia, and he met Maynard up there. Rotary started in Moscow in 1990, and by 2004 the Eastern sector had the above-mentioned 37 clubs, with about the same number in Western Russia. Some of the special problems he is encountering include incorporation and liability insurance. Since incorporation is required by Rotary edict, our legal eagles are challenged by drawing up papers that include clubs in Canada, Alaska and Russia. What’s your opinion as a Russian, what does Incorporation mean, and why should they? The second problem concerns money. There are no credit cards, or checking accounts, in Russia. So how do you collect Rotary dues? And since their MO is to just show up, rather than pre-register, it’s tough to organize an event. However, in spite of this, Maynard volunteered for the job, so let’s wish him well!
Now comes the joke. A woman was suddenly widowed, and her late husband had $30,000 to his name. After paying the funeral home and the cemetery, the widow tells her friends that there is nothing left! “How can that be?” she was asked. “Well, the funeral cost $6,000, and I gave a donation to the church of $500, and I spent another $500 for the Wake and refreshments, and the rest went to the Memorial Stone.” “The Memorial Stone - $23,000 for the Memorial Stone? How big was the Memorial Stone”? “Three carats.”
SHANE WAARBROEK introduced our Speaker, Ted Hayes. He was born in Columbus, Georgia in 1951 and grew up in a family with a strong spirituality emphasis. Ted belonged to the Boy Scouts from age 10 to 17, and he credits them with teaching him their ideals of good citizenship. He informally studied Judaic/Christian Scripture, various philosophies and religions, and particularly that of his Black ancient ancestors. These studies are what ignited his ambitious and passionate activism against homelessness and youth crisis. His initial activism was ignited by a Tent City demonstration set up by local activists in LA during the winter holiday season of 1984. He organized a shantytown for the homeless, which became a vibrant and self-empowering community called Justiceville. This led to a prototype shelter-housing facility called The Dome Village. Located in downtown LA, the Village is designed to “break the cycle” of homelessness, and contains 20 Omni-sphere domes. SHANE feels that Ted epitomizes the Rotary ideal of Service Above Self.
Ted began by thanking us for inviting him to speak. He emphasized that he was available to speak to smaller groups, in homes or elsewhere, and would welcome opportunities for dialogue about homelessness. I have included his contact information at the end of this report. He feels that the US would do a lot more about helping the homeless if they only knew what to do. The County of Los Angeles plans to spend up to one hundred million dollars to alleviate the homeless problem.
The essential part of their program involves relocating the downtown homeless population into five centers scattered about the County and each selected area presents the NIMBY problem that is, Not In My Backyard. He understands the reluctance of these areas to welcome the homeless, and agrees with their concern, to an extent. In essence, their objection is to the creation of a center over which the local community would have no say. To make this idea more palatable the County would fence in each area, thereby building what amounts to an enclave within each location. There is no “exit strategy” to phase out the need for these enclaves. He is convinced there must be a better way.
85% of the homeless in the downtown area are black men. The idea of the five new centers reminds him of what the Nazis did with the Jews and others whom they considered undesirable and he feels our country is staggering in that direction. He spoke of attending a meeting in which the chief speaker was Supreme Court Justice David Breyer, and Ted was the only one with a question afterward. He asked him if we were the only country which turns it back on the homeless, and Justice Breyer agreed that we were in that position. The present problem is that we have become ‘used’ to the idea of a homeless population, whereas in the not too recent past, it was a matter of more urgent concern. The Social Service agencies have clearly failed and the easy option is, Call The Police. But the police have nothing else to do but lock people up, and that’s a limited option, due to space limitations. In addition, it’s a complete Dead End, as far as moving toward a solution.
He has some ideas, which he has tried to present and explain to public officials, business leaders, and charitable Foundations but he feels that the ACLU has consistently thwarted his efforts. Their method of fighting his ideas is to sue and they continue to sue, and thus either completely stop or terminally delay any serious consideration of possible solutions. The major opposition comes from upper middle class, white college professors. Most are Democrats, and many of them are Socialists or worse (read, Communists). Their intent is to make our country look bad in the eyes of the world. They want to turn poor black people, in particular, over to the government, to Welfare. Now, thirty years later, the results are apparent our cemeteries and jails are filled with black men. Yet we continue to advocate socialist ‘solutions’ - GIVE these people everything they need. This has never worked, and never will.
He wants the President to take over the homeless problem, and to solve it with a domestic Marshall Plan. He advocates taking over former military bases, among other unpopulated areas, and provide homeless people with the opportunity to move there. Bring in productive businesses, plus allowing the new residents to start their own enterprises, and open them up to employing the homeless. While it is true that a percentage of the homeless population has become lazy and used to handouts, there is a silent majority who would welcome the opportunity to own something, perhaps to work for themselves, in a new environment. Bring in manufacturers, and pay employees LESS than the present minimum wage why, because the cost of living in these unused areas is far less than the cost of living in urban areas. He concluded by pointing out that he is a Republican and once his landlord discovered that, the rent for the Dome Village has been raised from $2500 a month to $18,333, as of June 1st, 2006.
While not part of the speech he gave, it is interesting to point out that his youngest daughter, Joanna, won the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal in the 100 meter hurdles in record breaking time at the Athens Olympics. To reach him, Dome Village is (213) 892-9011 or 892-9065, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q&A LEE DUNAYER, Is there a Graduation Plan, and could anyone else get into one of these new townships? He has a blueprint, and yes, others than the homeless can move in with productive enterprises. PP JIM COLLINS, Are there people who have medical problems that would prevent their being able to function in these new villages? Yes, there are people like that, and the Community into which they would move will gather round and help. RAY ZICKFELD, How many people are homeless because of lack of education? The great majority of the homeless are capable of holding down a nine to five job, with the encouragement that a new community can provide. STEW GILMAN, How many in LA would you consider to be in this homeless group? Perhaps 88,000 in LA city, and a total of 220,000 in the entire county. CHRIS BRADFORD, what is behind this huge increase in rent for the Dome Village? Ted appeared before the landlord ‘committee, but the raise stands - and he was told it was because he, Ted, is a Republican! Yet, when he said he was considering being a Democrat, the landlord told him that he should be ashamed of himself (go figure). LEE DUNAYER, again Is it fear or laziness that keeps them from seeking regular jobs? Some of both, sad to say. Editorial Opinion I’d say Ted had the audience with him most of the way.