Jack Weiss at WVRC, May 4th
STEW GILMAN led the Pledge, and he did fine. LENNY and PP JIM did the honors with the Song, My Country Tis of Thee. MYRON TAYLOR came forward for the Invocation and that is always a treat. Before he began, he relayed an experience he had at WVRC in 1997. As he began his Invocation, he noticed someone in the audience was talking at the same time. This continued, and somehow, he resisted the temptation to ask for better attention. When he finished, he noticed that the talking had also stopped and then learned that the competing speaker was a translator, seated next to the visiting President of the Rotary Club of Moscow. So the ‘competitive’ talking had a purpose, after all…”We believe there is mind behind the Universe, Purpose running through it, Meaning in it, and Destiny ahead of it…we are people of faith… we thank you for making us a living being…one that thinks and acts. We want to live life at its best. Help us to find a faith fit to live by, a self fit to live with, and a work fit to live for.” As usual, MYRON, you did beautifully. Thank You.
We had no Visiting Rotarians, but there were guests. PP STEVE SCHERER and SALLY BRANT co-hosted Jim Bremner, who is in Real Estate. MARK ROGO again brought his dad, Mort Rogo. PDG BILL GOODWYN gave me credit for hosting Desiree Pierce, who is new to Los Angeles. She is a Wealth Strategist with Northern Trust, and had called me a couple of weeks ago, inquiring about attending. I believe she is a Special Guest. BOB WESSLING introduced his guest, John Heidt, who is in real estate management. John is also in charge of the major development of the property at Westwood United Methodist church he sat next to me (since BOB was at the Head Table). Krista Pleiser is Field Deputy for Councilman Jack Weiss and President DON cautioned her that if Jack didn’t show up, she would be the Speaker!
Birthday Time was upon us, preceded as always by listing those obviously criminal types who didn’t have the courtesy (and good sense) to show up for their BD gifts in their regular month. Culprits included PDG BILL GOODWYN, Feb 23rd in Louisville, - and there were several suggestions as to the proper pronunciation of that city. PDG ANDY ANDERSON (and does this mean that ALL PDG’S don’t show up on schedule?) who picked March 21st in Buffalo. MYRON TAYLOR was next, arriving in Goodwill W. VA. on March 26th. ELLIOTT TURNER came along on April 1st in Jacksonville, FL. CLARK McQUAY picked Alhambra, on April 7th All of these convicted felons were assessed a ten buck fine, referred to as a Storage Fee. The few faithful souls who showed up on schedule, having birthdays in May, included SALLY BRANT, in good ol’ LA, on May 14th, PP HOWIE HENKES in Vicennes, Indiana on the 16th, and GEORGE COX on May 27th in Westmoreland, and of course you know that’s in California. All of the above were appropriately serenaded and gifted, of course.
And then, PP CHRIS GAYNOR strolled in, so President DON reminded him of the ten-dollar fine for being born in LA on March 11th but cautioned CHRIS
that we WEREN’T going to sing to him! This news elicited remarks along the line of “lucky for him”, etc you get the drift.
There were announcements
May 10th, next Wed, there will be a Memorial Service for WALLY FISCHMAN at the Westside Family YMCA. Following the noon service, lunch will be served so ANN SAMSON at the Y needs your reservation if you will be attending, please.
May 9th, our Auxiliary will be bussing to and from the Huntington Museum. The bus leaves from the Westwood Methodist Parking Lot at 10:30. Cost is $13.00, and Marge Downie can take your reservation.
Poll workers are still needed for the Primary Election coming up on Tuesday, June 6th. President DON has the forms and this is a Community Service we SHOULD participate in. Give DON a call, please.
Also on May 11th, the District is hosting a Homeland Security Program. It runs from 0900 to 11 am, at Seahawk Center at Harbor College, which is 1111 Figueroa Place in Wilmington.
And of course, this sector was concluded with a story and even I was embarrassed by this tedious tale. But I digress. During the early part of the last century, Hellman’s Mayonnaise was wildly popular. Made in England, it was particularly sought-after in Mexico. An order was placed from Vera Cruz, for 12,000 cases, and they were loaded on the RMS Titanic, to be delivered after her initial stop in New York. When the news of the Titanic disaster reached Mexico, the locals were almost disconsolate with grief and disappointment. As a result, a National Day of Mourning was decreed. And that’s how the Cinco de Mayo came into being…And I repeat, as YOE, I’m not responsible for simply reporting what is said from the Podium!
SALLY BRANT introduced our Speaker, Councilman Jack Weiss. Jack grew up in the district, and he has impressive credentials. He was an Honors Graduate from Princeton, Editor of the Law Review at UCLA, and then an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles, where he prosecuted Federal cases. His opponent for the City Council was Tom Hayden, but now he’s up against Governor Moonbeam, Jerry Brown, who will be a tougher foe in the Nomination for State Attorney General.
He began by reintroducing his Field Rep, Krista Pleaser she is the point person for the majority of complaints regarding local conditions street potholes, for instance. As a matter of fact, potholes are the most frequent complains they receive. The worst one, as far as he is concerned, is at Veteran and Sunset and even when filled, along comes more rain and washes away the patch. I should admit, at this point, that Jack had a number of asides and comments, all of which got a laugh, but some of which I couldn’t decipher. Another problem is when property is designated for redevelopment. The prime example here is the Veteran’s Administration tract they continue to get pressure from Washington DC to come up with a plan to generate income, the other side believing that the land should only be used for the benefit of Veterans. A plan is needed to show what should be done there over the next couple of decades. A second issue is the tentative plan to build a one million square foot FBI Building at Wilshire and Sepulveda. The GSA has been strongly requested to find an alternative site, but none has surfaced yet. The final issue is the disposition of the ten-acre tract at the corner of Wilshire and Federal, where the Army Reserve units now stand. The Army wants to trade this tract for another location and the new owners would be private development people. That would mean a large commercial project, and again, Jack is seeking ways to control who would own the site.
Something that has been going on for some time is off-duty policemen working as private investigators. This helps their income but it creates possible conflicts of interest when they may end up investigating a crime that they already knew about through their private work. He wants to completely ban this practice. He also is promoting the use of DNA technology to solve crimes. In recent years, DNA has proven to be a reliable way to determine guilt, but it is not yet fully integrated into the criminal justice system, and he wants to expand this process. To do this, the LAPD needs more personnel assigned to DNA and science-related activity and money is always hard to come by in the City budget. Another area that needs more staffing is anti-terrorism. He is promoting a separate unit which will only deal with terrorism, instead of the present somewhat ‘when-available’ process. His example if the unit works ten years on a case, and breaks it, that is satisfactory. The number of leads is overwhelming, and all must be followed up.
He has learned over the four and a half years he has been in office that neighborhoods are often primarily concerned with development and he has formed a Neighborhood Protection Plan, which can help to deal with these concerns. While detailed rules and regulations regarding construction, for instance, are now in place, these rules are not sometimes known to those on the job. So his plan now provides both the developer and workers to get copies of the rules that apply (and available in several languages, of course). His bill also requires the developer to clearly post his name and contact information on building sites, so those neighbors who have a complaint have direct access to this person or firm. The final part of his bill will provide advance notice of coming demolition of existing structures, since only such advance notice can allow time to protest, if that is appropriate. He spoke about the trash pickup costs and problems. He asked us who lived in single-family homes, and many hands were raised. He then asked who was a renter and CHRIS BRADFORD was the only ‘target’ who raised his hand! This led to some revelry, but what it came down to was that CHRIS was paying more than his share of the trash collection costs. The Mayor has suggested a plan to equalize this situation, and Jack favors it. H also disagrees with the recent City Council decision to start using another dumpsite, since it doesn’t solve the problem of the present dumpsite and simply moves the location.
Q&A - PP STEVE SCHERER asked what was the effect of illegal immigration in LA. Much of the effect is beyond control of the city that is, schools, hospitals, public services, and thus city government is not in the loop. Jack stated he does not believe that poor people who are in need should be penalized. SEAN McMILLAN asked who was watching out for the public services we, as a city, provide? Nearby communities he named Beverly Hills and Santa Monica are both richer and have proportionately many fewer miles of roads to maintain, which is one reason they do a better job on average than LA does. HANK HEUER Does anyone in government do ANYTHING to reduce the number of laws now on the books? Jack really waffled on this until HENRY bluntly asked, “Is the answer no?” -but Jack did remind HENRY that such inquiries could be the basis for his being disbarred! Jack did note, when he first joined the City Council, that it took him over a year to get permission to look at city files, AND to get a copy of the City Code government moves slowly, sometimes. TERRY WHITE the younger asked, “How much of gasoline taxes does the City get to use?” Jack didn’t know a figure, but a certain percentage of the tax income does go toward resurfacing city streets, for example. TERRY persisted, saying what he really wanted to know was whether some of that money was diverted into the General Fund. Jack didn’t think so but he did remark that he knows the City Council pretty well by now, and you shouldn’t doubt that they WILL spend your money whenever it can be done! He added that problems with streets and sidewalks are the main complaint his office receives. TERRY further persisted, noting that they were probably paying too much for these services. PP JIM DOWNIE asked about moving the trash site, and Jack reiterated that the decision to use another site was not something with which he agreed. LEO TSENG asked the final question what about the construction on Santa Monica Blvd? Jack pointed out that this project originated TEN YEARS ago under our former Councilman, Ed Edelman, and he confidently expect it to be completed by 2015…Thanks, Jack, you are always engaging, and informative.
JACK HARRIS asks how you make Holy Water you boil Hell out of it.