It is with sadness that we learned of the passing of our Honorary Member, Marjorie Viau, on Monday, August 30th. Marjorie passed onto Life Eternal after a lengthy illness. She was the widow of our former member, Slosson Viau.
Please hold Marjorie's family in prayer. A service to celebrate Marjorie's life will be held on Saturday, November 20th at 10:00 am at the Westwood United Methodist Church, 10497 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90024.
September 2, 2010
A very interesting meeting today. We were duly invoked by PP Peter More, reading from the excellent text by our former member, the Reverend Myron Taylor, on Rotary’s Four Way Test. Mark Rogo then stepped up to the plate for the pledge, but found no flag pole. Not to be deterred, Mark located a few American Flags on the Rotary Club banners behind the lectern, and we all pledged our allegiance to those (which, although small, nevertheless represented our great nation).
Maestro Lenny Friedman led us in the patriotic song (God Bless America), with Terry de Sousa giving aid and comfort on the sidelines.
President Gordon noticed that poor Nevin Senkan had been left all alone at the Greeter’s post. V.P. Elliott Turner was tagged with the responsibility for that, and found his wallet $25.00 lighter after President Gordon’s fine. President Gordon then fished around for a club member to blame for the Club’s lack of a flag, and the obvious choice was the flag salute leader, Mark Rogo, who also received a $25.00 fine. V.P. Elliott protested, making some think it was he who was being fined; for Elliott’s efforts, President Gordon tacked on to Elliott’s fine an additional $20.00, making Elliott’s wallet just that much lighter. And our Rotary Pin investigator, Terry de Sousa, collected recompense from Lenny Friedman for his failure to wear his pin.
Guests today included Athena Jackson (special guest), Renato Romano (visiting Rotarian from Beverly Hills), Sook Heikkila, Pat Anderson, Mina Soroosh (former Ambassadorial scholar), and Nicole Carcel (guest of our speaker).
Mina Soroosh announced that District 5280 has one of only six Ambassadorial Scholar alumni associations, and that this organization is holding a raffle to benefit Greater Peace in Los Angeles, a District 5280 sponsored project.
President Gordon thanked many Rotarians for their participation in the Auxiliary Fun Party at Peggy Bloomfield’s home last Saturday, including PP Don and Roz Nelson, Dwight and Sook Heikkila, Ed and Nina Jackson, Marie Rolf, Margie Downie, Leo Tseng, and PP Steve and Marsha Day. Click here to view photos.
A SPECIAL NOTICE: Go online to wvrc.net (or westwoodrotary.org) and take the weekly survey. There are only three questions - how did you like the food, how did you like the program, and how did you like President Gordon’s joke. (The link to the survey is at the bottom of the web-page.) But don’t bring up the subject of President Gordon’s jokes at our next meeting or, if you are unlucky like Terry M. White, you just might get a $20.00 fine!
Mark Rogo announced a special fund-raiser sponsored by the Holmby-Westwood Property Owners Association to benefit the Friends of the Library, to be held October 3, 2010, at the Playboy Mansion. Contact Mark Rogo for further details.
SPEAKER: Chris Bradford then introduced our speaker, California State Assemblyman Mike Feuer. Mr. Feuer was elected to the California Assembly in 2006, and among many other political responsibilities he chairs the Select Committee to Improve Government. Our speaker recited that as a high school student in San Bernardino he was awarded a scholarship by the San Bernardino Rotary Club, and that he has never forgotten Rotary.
Of the many bills sponsored or authored by Mike Feuer, he is most proud of Measure R (to increase sales taxes in order to pay for rapid transit), a new bill that permits State bureaucrats to take goods off of grocery shelves (for our own good), a bill requiring guns sold in California to have “micro-stamping” technology, a bill prohibiting health insurance companies from raising rates more than once a year, and a bill prohibiting the State from entering into contracts with anyone who transacts business with Iranian energy companies.
On the topic of the budget, Assemblyman Feuer criticized the Republicans for their positions on education, jobs, corporate and oil company “tax breaks” (Editor’s comment: Wonder where those jobs go when businesses decide to seek more business-friendly jurisdictions?), and the “global warming” controversy. He proposed as solutions to California’s budget crisis the reduction of the sales tax (Editor’s comment: Wait a second... wasn’t he proud of increasing the sales tax?) to draw commerce away from the internet and federal government bail-outs. Many of our problems can be resolved by “engaging” them and “getting concessions.” (Editor’s comment: Sounds like a protection racket to me; are we headed down the path of Chicago’s gangster politics and New York’s Tammany Hall?)
A number of our members had questions for Assemblyman Feuer. PP Jim Collins asked about the problems caused by teachers’ unions; Mike Feuer suggested that we “engage” those problems. Tom Barron asked about bloated and out-of-control public employee pensions. Mike Feuer said he has proposed legislation to prevent “spiking” - the practice of putting a major portion of a public “servant’s” salary in the later part of his or her career in order to “spike” retirement payments. Other than that, Mr. Feuer suggested “getting concessions” from these unions. PP Steve Day commented upon the application of the alternative minimum tax. (YOE stand-in has undoubtedly forgotten a number of the excellent questions posed by other members).
Mike Feuer ended with a premise and a proposal with which most of us can agree. Government does a very poor job of overseeing its programs, and there is a need to stop writing so many laws. Amen to both! Perhaps it is time for us to admit that California - first in the nation to adopt a full-time legislature - was wrong. It was a failed experiment. It is only human nature to fill one’s time with activity when to do otherwise would cause boredom; one starts to believe that he or she is there for a purpose, and that purpose is to make more and more laws. Please, please, stop! Go home; shutter Sacramento. (End editorial comment. Hey, this is fun. If you want to editorialize, tell Ernie Wolfe you would like to do this job the next time he’s out of town!)
Next week Supervising Special Agent Mary Prang of the FBI Los Angeles Office will speak on Homeland Security issues.