LAURA LAKE at WVRC on July 28th
PP BOB WESSLING led the Pledge. JACK PAUL provided some thoughts for his Invocation: “We have to recognize that people make systems, not the other way around. Today we want to reflect on what we stand for. We should give consideration to Fellowship and thank you all for listening to me.” Well done, and brief! Thanks, JACK. Who else but LENNY came forward with the song? And he choose You Are My Sunshine, in celebration of SUNNY’S 89th birthday - and it was meaningful for all of us, too.
We had some usual guests, and more. SUNNY was with LENNY, of course, and PEGGY came with her helper. PP CHRIS BRADFORD brought SHARON, Antoinette Mongolli was introduced for the last time as a Special Guest, by PP STEVE SCHERER. PP STEVE had another Special Guest, Ben Allen, and BRIAN WHITNEY brought Tom McNeely, a friend who is visiting in LA. And yet again, PP STEVE had a third Special Guest, Mirabel Segovia, who we now know is in the Insurance business.
There were several announcements:
- Next Wed, August 3rd, the Audit Committee of our City Council will meet at 6 pm in WLA, at 1645 Corinth, to discuss charges of Corruption in the Dept of Bldg and Safety.
- PP DON NELSON reported on the death of our PP STEVE ADLER on July 14th.
- August 27th will be our CARNIVALE, a gala by our Auxiliary, at the home of LEO TSENG. There will be clowns and entertainment - Save The Date!
- The weekend of Oct. 7th is set for our Club Visit to Chinatown in SFO,
- Nov. 7th is the date of our Paul Harris Celebration Dinner
And all this was capped by ELLIOTT TURNER who came forward to thank all those who helped to make the Demotion Party a big success. Specifically, mention was made of PP PETER MORE, GWEN LYSTER, DWIGHT HEIKKILA and his wife, SOOK, plus PP STEVE DAY - who received a Plaque as the latest winner of the Hammy Award - well deserved, no doubt!
COLBY SMITH came forward courageously, to be led by PP STEVE SCHERER in the Pledge to Westwood, so touching that there was hardly a dry eye in the house. I won’t quote it here, since everyone already knows it - but it did mark COLBY’s ascension to full membership, no longer tagged as a Yearling. Next, PP STEVE brought Antoinette Mongelli forward, and she was introduced as our newest member. This of course provided a standing ovation.
We were given some time off to enjoy our steak dinner, and then PP CHRIS BRADFORD told us about our Speaker, Laura Lake. Laura, who is known to many of us, is very active in community affairs, particularly with the Friends of Westwood and Save Westwood Village Organizations. Born in Brooklyn, Laura graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Political Science, then went on for her MA and PhD at Tufts University in Mass. She is married to a UCLA Molecular Biologist, and they have two children.
The controversy over the proposed 290 room hotel, which would be built on the present site of the Faculty Center, has several aspects. One is the financial predictions, and she also wants to be sure we all know that we can join the Faculty Center for $20 per month, which allows use of all facilities - you have to be a lifetime member of the UCLA Alumni Association, which costs $495 for those not already so enrolled. She does not have any objection to a Conference Center - it is the hotel aspect which she opposes.
Her objection to the hotel idea is based on her figures which show a $5 million tax loss to the City Treasury annually. The membership of the Faculty Center voted 3 to 1 against the proposal. Part of its projected cost - $40 million - is a gift by the Lufkin Foundation, with the total cost estimated to be $160 million. This is a residential community, and a commercial hotel doesn’t fit. Previous examples of a mixed-use facility have found that the faculty club eventually disappears. What makes UCLA great is its faculty, which attracts the best students. The faculty needs a fully independent faculty center, which they now have, and enjoy.
The University commissioned a study as to how such a mixed-use facility would be received. The projected daily rate, in 2014, would be $270 per night, and with all meals, $350. Academics cannot afford these rates - and if true, the whole financial projection falls apart. Where the faculty center is now is NOT a favorable location for a residential hotel - if one is to be built, it should be closer to Westwood Village itself. A bit of history - when the opposition to the deluxe hotel came up, Chancellor Block put the idea on hold - yet another survey was taken after that time, without any public notice. Mrs. Lake believes the whole idea should be shelved, permanently. We also had access to a Survey, which she urged us to complete and return to her.
The original idea was a Guest House. How did it become a deluxe hotel? There is an existing facility, a guest house, with forty rooms. It is comfortable and well-used. This new project was kept as a secret for two years, and then sprung on the community. Q - The law school needs meeting facilities has there been discussion about this in the plans? No, that possible use has not been discussed. Note that about 25,000 persons currently move into and out of campus daily - another 50 to 100 would make no difference. And finally, she did state that she was not opposed to the idea of a conference center somewhere else on the campus - just not where the present faculty center is located.
It seems to YOE that there was sufficient interest in this whole idea for us to schedule someone from the other side to present their ideas.