DECEMBER BEGINS at WVRC - the 5th, that is.

We got underway at the usual mid-hour time, and ED JACKSON was supposed to lead the Pledge - but he wasn't there. PP JIM DOWNIE quickly stepped forward and did well. There was some discussion as to how much ED should be fined for being a no-show, based on the hundred bucks it cost the last culprit, PP MIKE NEWMAN. MIKE, who was present today, tried a lame excuse about being in the Emergency Room at the time he was supposed to do the Pledge. But MIKE, you'll really have to do better than that if you want these excuses to be believable… Next up was JACK HARRIS with the song, in this case assisted by Wally Umber on the trumpet. Wally was in on the invasion at Normandy, and he also served as a bugler - pointing out that he sometime heard some disparaging remarks as to his lineage; while all he was doing, was his job. Wally played, and we sang Taps. I'm not sure I had ever heard all the words before, but it was a lovely, and moving, way to commemorate those who died on December 7th at Pearl Harbor. JACK explained that he heard Wally play at the recent Rotary Auxiliary meeting, and we thank both of you for 'playing it again, Sam'. CHARLES MAGNUSON started with the right idea when he allowed as how we could all sit down during his Invocation. He then suggested that he wanted to talk about what Rotary was all about, and he chose as his key word, commitment. He has found, in his brief time with us, that there are many of our members who exemplify this commitment, in what they do, say, and believe. Nicely thought out, CHARLES.

KEVIN KOMATSU was unable to announce any Visiting Rotarians, and besides that, we didn't have any visitors, period. Prexy TED asked two of our senior members to describe their current Rotary projects. First up was MIKE YOUSEM, who has run our Holiday Shopping Trip for at least fifteen years. We gather some 25 kids, from the Westside YMCA, pair them up with sponsors, and take them shopping for gifts for their families.  Each youngster is provided with $30 by WVRC, and they and their sponsor then pick out some gifts, usually at Pick N Save. I've done this, and it is rewarding - gives these kids an opportunity to get something for their mothers (most are from single parent families) and other family members, and afterward, you have a nice warm and fuzzy feeling about the evening. It is set for next Thursday evening, the 12th, and Mike has everyone matched up. If you missed it this time, get aboard for next year, OK? MIKE specifically thanked HENRIETTA LIAN and FLOYD DEWHIRST for their financial contribution toward this program. PP HOWIE HENKES has long shepherded our participation at the annual Braille Institute Holiday Luncheon. This will be next Friday the 13th, at Braille - they bus in many of their clients, some of whom are completely blind, and a nice Turkey dinner is served to all. Each Rotarians acts as a host at a table, and again, it's a lovely lead-in to the Christmas season. HOWIE says there are a couple of spots still open - call him, please. Then, LEE DUNAYER rose to remind us that this coming game on Saturday against Washington State is one of the few times that both UCLA fans and USC supporters can root for a win by the Bruins.

Prexy TED then nicely reviewed our excellent joint meeting with LA 5 two weeks ago at the Cathedral of our Lady of Los Angeles. We had over a hundred WVRC members and guests there, and the total attendance was 525. The remarks of the coaches were shown on TV that evening, and everyone present enjoyed it. LA 5 is anxious for us to continue as co-sponsors, so save the date for nest year. Special thanks are due to SALLY BRANT, who got us involved, PP JIM COLLINS for helping with the UCLA officials who were present, and PP BOB WESSLING for his many contributions. At this point, SALLY rose to suggest that PP JIM COLLINS should wear the UCLA helmet he won at the auction - this area of possible contention was not resolved…However, I regret to have to point out that PP BOB was thus not able to provide his usual advice and counsel to his beloved DePauw Tigers; and, would you believe, they LOST to their arch rivals, Wabash. In the true Christmas spirit of charity at this season of the year, we won't mention any details - suffice to say, it was their second straight loss to the Little Giants of Wabash. And I think it only prudent to keep in mind that we could yet lose PP BOB if his Alma should draft him for the full-time coaching job that may yet open up. Stay tuned.

Prexy TED spoke of his recent visit with PP DOUG DESCH at St. Johns - he is in room 372, and is doing fairly well. The swelling in his leg has been reduced, and he expects to go home on Friday. One note about calling him at home - he does nap, and may not always answer his phone, but staying in touch is important. Alas, I was then singled out by Prexy TED as reporting that TONY MARRONE had broken a couple of ribs. As I got the story, he was putting up decorations, and managed to fall through the roof. Shortly after I passed on this apparently reliable bit of news, who should show up but TONY himself. The lesson to be learned here is to check your source of info before spreading these assertions, I guess. Anyway, TONY, glad you are back with us.

Our Director of Vocational Service, RALPH SMITH, reported on the status of our coming partnership with Junior Achievement. Since the original meeting on November 14th, a number of our members have indicated interest in becoming instructors at the various grade levels where the program is offered. This training introduces kids to easy business lessons, and the results can be quite worthwhile. Check with RALPH, please.  And everyone has now received the formal invitation to attend our evening meeting at the Riviera with Rotary International President Bhichai Rattakul. The date is January 23rd, and your regular luncheon cost of $27.00 will apply toward the per person charge of $75.00. This is a signal honor for our Club, and you are urged to sign up early, since we want to be sure that all our own members and their guests can be accommodated. PP GEORGE DEA has submitted an article to the Rotarian Magazine on WVRC's introduction of our Parkinson's PLLUS Exercise therapy program, and it will run in their March issue. So, all the pieces are in place - don't miss this event.

December birthdays were announced, with PP JIM DOWNIE providing some nice background music. First up was ANN SAMSON - on the lst, that is, in Seattle. DICK LIVERMORE also arrived on the lst, in Crown, PA - and he is today NINETY years and five days old! It's easy to remember the date, since the Titanic was sunk on the lst of December in 1912 - his birth year. KEN LEVER picked the 2nd, in Detroit. PP RALPH WOODWORTH honored the 4th, arriving in Milwaukee. Maintaining this two-day interval, PP DAVE WHITEHEAD came along on the 6th in nearby Glendale. PP HOMER NEWMAN elected the 18th, in Brawley. PP JIM COLLINS arrived in Huntington Park on the 20th (and I happen to know he will enter the fourth quarter of his life on that date - we both started in 1926). NORA AQUINO came along on the 22nd, from far-away San Luis, Pampanga, Philippines. BILL PIERCE gave himself a Christmas present, arriving on the 25th, while Prexy TED tried that two-day interval again, choosing St. Louis. RALPH REASOM was our last December arrival, on the 29th in Seattle. At this point, Wally Umber reappeared and his trumpet helped us with our rendition of Happy Birthday.

MIKE GINTZ came forward to introduce our speaker, Richard Weiss, Senior VP and Chief Investment Officer of City National bank. Rich graduated from The Wharton School, then went on for his masters at the University of Chicago - both degrees Cum Laude! He began by looking backward, showing on the projection screen the results of our last three years in the equity market. The S&P lost 42%, the Dow 31%, and NASDAQ went down 71% - the average loss for all three indexes is thus 46%. This compares to a GAIN of about 30% in the Bond Market over this same period! He gave two examples of gains in the alternative market - REIT'S are up 52%, and even gold, gained 12%. This means that any investment except equities over this three-year period, gained an average of about 25%. And a final caution - averages are just that, NOT predictors of what will happen in the future.

Historically, starting in 1991, the PE ratio was at 14.3, and today it stands at about 15 or 16 - so the expensive days of recent past are now reflecting true value, rather than hyper
inflation. City National bases their investment strategy on three factors -macroeconomics, fundamental evaluation, and what the major leaders of loss or gain are showing. In a Bull Market , factors to be included are domestic economy growth, monetary and fiscal policy, often inflation, and the value of the dollar. A Bear Market is very much affected by World Events and again, the value of the dollar - and both of these are impossible to predict. As an example of what could happen, oil prices which are now about 25$ could go to, say $40, and the Bear Market will suddenly reappear.  He recommends selling your bonds, and buying equities on a short-term basis. The recovery is on track, and two areas, which are currently undervalued, are industrials and service companies, while resource players and utilities are neutral.

Q&A - DON NELSON, what about municipal bonds? They are good, and you should consider buying out-of-state, particularly Indiana and Illinois, with five year terms, or less. General obligation bonds are not good at present. LEE DUNAYER, Are small businesses feeling our recession? Yes, they now feel the pinch, but real estate and food service are doing well. And remember, if you wait for definitive signs to appear, you will have missed your chance - buy now. KEN LEVER - What effect will the United Airlines problem have? Does it impact consumer confidence? Yes, they have just lost 2/3rds of their stock value, but this will have relatively small effect on consumer attitudes. CHARLES MAGNUSON - What about Levi Straus? Their move is another indication of globilization - they are examples of what will continue to happen.

Richard Weiss, we thank you for your advice - but do you provide any guarantees?

YOE, Ernie Wolfe