Politics, Mostly in California - August 3rd
PP BOB WESSLING led the Pledge, followed by LENNY and RICK taking us through You Are My Sunshine. PP STEVE SCHERER gave the Invocation, asking for the guidance of our Lord as we adhere to the Rotary Principles of Service Above Self. STEVE, you can’t say it better or shorter than that! Thanks.
We had some guests. PP STEVE introduced his Special Guest, John Heidt, who is known to all of the Westwood Mafia. Our former member, PP BILL BLOOMFIELD JR was with us (as a Visiting Rotarian), and he claimed he was attending in order to find out just what PEGGY was doing seems every time he calls her she is toiling for WVRC. (Careful, BILL, maybe we didn’t tell her ALL the things the Club Secretary takes care of). Since he was already on his feet, BILL was asked why he was all bandaged up. He advises against continuing to ride a bike once it develops mechanical malfunctions (which I think means it broke, but he continued bravely on, without intentionally stopping to fix it). John Woodall, Senior Pastor at that local Methodist Church was again introduced as a Special Guest. MIKE YOUSEM was with his Special Guest, Curt Smith, who is in Insurance. NICK KAHRILAS brought a Special Guest, Ramsey Gaynor he’s another Bruin, and was further described as a fraternity brother of JIM’S!
Prexy MIKE reminded us all of the upcoming Combined Family Fun Day & Picnic, which was described in detail in the flyer attached to last week’s Windmill. It will be on August 20th, at ELOISE SISKEL’S, from 2 to 5. LEE DUNAYER has some surprises in store, for both adults and kids. It’s always fun, and as a reminder, you might be well advised to bring your own folding chairs. This will be a much more elaborate party, not just a picnic, so save the date and BE THERE! Please do detach and send in the Reservation Form right away, OK? And don’t forget that the Japanese Exchange Students will be spending the day with us on Thursday, August 17th. ED GAULD is in charge of their visit, and he will be asking for your help, especially with transportation.
I arose with a dual purpose. First, I announced the crew that would be writing the Windmill in my absence August 10th, SUSAN ALLEN, August 17th, PP RON LYSTER, August 24th, TERRY M. WHITE, and on August 31st, ED GAULD. I then felt compelled to report that SEAN McMILLAN (not present today) was scheduled to be part of the luncheon team interviewing David Hawkins. But SEAN finked out, claiming business pressures and I happen to know the real reason was that he was trying to avoid having to pay for Valet Parking! I submitted that this false frugality was not acceptable Rotary behavior, and that he should be fined a hundred dollars for not admitting his real reason for missing the luncheon. This pernicious tale was greeted with thunderous applause, and Prexy MIKE agreed to nick SEAN accordingly! So there!
Retiring Rotaract President CANDICE DANESHVAR came forward with SEEMA PATEL, incoming Rotaract President. CANDICE spoke movingly of her long association with WVRC, acknowledging how much she had learned, and enjoyed in our relationship. We’ll miss her. SEEMA asked PP DON NELSON, Prexy MIKE, and ANN SAMSON to come to the Podium. They were each presented with a lovely bouquet, and their consistent help and support was acknowledged by a long round of applause. The Rotaract gift to the Club was two new banners to display Rotary Flags, which will be hung from the Head Tables. ANN SAMSON responded for the three honorees, and everyone enjoyed the wonderful camaraderie that was so evidentially present. All ended with a well-deserved standing ovation!
Before anything else could happen, KACY ROZELLE stood up to “Welcome REZA BUNDY” to the club! Seems REZA hasn’t been in town much lately, but he IS back, and will be with us much more often that’s good news for all of us, REZA. ELLIOTT TURNER (who else?) then asked how much it would cost if HE started missing meetings. But in spite of this falderal, Prexy MIKE did proceed with the induction of our two newest members. PDG BILL GOODWYN did the honors, as he does so well. SHERRY DEWANE (who he sponsored) and BARRY MARLIN (sponsored by YOE) came forward, and PDG BILL then spoke about the history and purpose of Rotary. He repeated an old line ...
Lions plan the city, Kiwanians run the city, and Rotarians own the city.
He reminded us that there are 1.2 million Rotarians in 32,000 Clubs around the world who were invited to join Rotary because they were regarded as centers of influence in their communities. Collectively, we have provided extraordinary services to mankind over more than a century a present example being our leadership in reducing polio cases from 300,000 annually to less than 1,000 today.
SHERRY DEWANE is no stranger to Rotary first, for three years as a member of the downtown Billings, Montana Club, and previously a member here. She had to resign several years ago for business reasons but we now welcome her back. SHERRY got a BA Cum Laude from Arizona State. She is Vice President and Relationship Manager for Northern Trust Bank, where she is responsible for business banking and wealth management solutions to individuals and organizations in the LA area. She has previously been with City National, Wells Fargo and the Boston Company. She is the National Co-Chair for the Western Heritage Center and serves on the Board of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. Her classification is Investment Management.
BARRY MARLIN moved from Philadelphia to LA, where he graduated from Hamilton High. He attended UC Berkeley for awhile, but got his BA and Law degree from UCLA. He did additional studies at NYU, and entered the field of International Law. He has maintained offices in LA, Hong Kong, London, New York, and Beirut, domiciled mostly in LA, with a 13-year ‘holiday’ in England. His wife, Evie, was born in England, and they have a 25-year old daughter, Alexandra. He now practices from his home, and also for two months each year, in Europe. His classification is International Taxation.
PDG BILL then reminded us that as old members, it is our responsibility, not theirs, to bring them into the family of Rotary. BILL and I then placed their membership pins on, and they were welcomed with another standing ovation! Our new District Governor, Scot Clifford, came forward to shake their hands, and presented them with the new District 5280 pin, plus a bookmark it was well done, all around.
District Governor Scot Clifford was then formally introduced by Prexy MIKE. DG Scot joined the Wilshire Rotary Club in 1997, and was President in 2001-02. During his term, they inducted 17 new members, for a net gain of 8, founded both an Interact and Rotaract Club, and achieved 100% Paul Harris membership Scot chaired the World Peace Fellowship Committee in 2003. He was District Director of International Service in 2004, and he and his wife, Wendy, hosted a student from Brazil here for a year. He graduated from UCLA, and has been a lawyer since 1974. He found time to play basketball in the Lawyer’s League for 25 years. He and Wendy have been married for thirty years, they have three children and one grandchild.
District Governor Scot began by thanking Prexy MIKE and Assistant Governor and PP PETER MORE for inviting him to Westwood Village Rotary he feels at home, since it is next to UCLA. After a raised-hands survey, he agreed that we have a preponderance of UCLA over USC members, and noted the unique bonus this association provides. He told the story of Abraham Lincoln, who was sometimes called two-faced. Lincoln replied, “If I had two, do you think I would choose THIS one?”
One of Rotary’s primary goals is building international peace and understanding, which is achieved mainly through the efforts of Rotary International. One of the main engines of that effort is the funding provided by our Paul Harris Dinners and note that our own PDG BILL GOODWYN started the whole idea some twenty years ago. If you look at the records, WVRC has exceeded the funding goal set every year by incoming International Presidents. So support is strong, but attendance at the event itself is declining. This year it will be at the Raleigh Studios, on Saturday, November 4th. This Studio was founded by Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford in 1920! We can walk those stages and see some really historic scenery. It will be an exciting and memorable evening.
Let’s review how Rotary helps internationally. We have major humanitarian projects, like safe water, we provide hunger relief, promote literacy, continue educational programs and exchanges, provide over 900 scholarships annually and all this, and more, is funded by events like our Paul Harris Dinners. So contributing as WVRC already does is vital, but attending the Dinners is the very best way to reinvigorate our enthusiasm. We feed on each other’s success at these dinners, and there is no substitute for maintaining and increasing our commitment to building international peace and understanding.
Specifically, here’s how scholarship works. The money we raise is invested for three years, and then returns to the District where it was raised. That District then apportions it out we aim for two or more scholarships a year, but there is no guarantee. But this is a unique system, rewarding those who raise the most by allowing them to choose how to use it, in direct proportion to what they raise. Scot, we thank you for raising our expectations of what we CAN achieve!
MARK ROGO, who, along with ED WRIGHT and SALLY BRANT, are our Program Chairs, introduced our Speaker, Allan Hoffenblum. He publishes the California Target Book, 200 pages of concise detail about every statewide election. This includes our 80 Assembly Districts, 20 Senate Districts (half the total of 40 elected each cycle), and 53 Congressional Districts. They identify the major contributors and the independent committees in each race, profile each major candidate, and predict which races may be the closest as they come up. The LA Times, a subscriber, describes the California Target Book as the “penultimate guide to legislative and congressional elections”.
Mr. Hoffenblum, in a change of pace, so to speak, went to USC. He got into politics in 1967 when he got out of the army, after serving as an intelligence officer in Vietnam. He was considering law school, but wandered into the downtown Republican headquarters and they hired him. He became an Area Director, earning $525 a month, and his function was to encourage registration and get out the vote. As his job developed, people wanted him to manage their campaigns, so in 1980 he opened his own office. He gave that up ten years ago. He uses his contacts and sources to collect the information he now needs.
His subscribers mostly are those who “need to know” the facts he provides. They are intimately involved in these state races. From a business standpoint, if you are going to put some money into a campaign, you need to know what your chances of success are, and you can get much of this information from his publication.
The race for Governor was his next subject. Schwartz Egger currently has an eight to thirteen point lead over Anglicides but note that the election is still over three months away. While Arnold won in 2003, the Republicans had not won a statewide race since 1990. They dropped from 41 Assembly members to 32, from 17 to 15 in the Senate, and both US Senators. Why did this happen so abruptly? There were two causes. The Latino bloc stopped voting Republican because the party completely mishandled immigration issues. And women voters quit supporting Republicans, because they seemed to be a ‘Good Ole Boys Club’. Arnold turned this around when he got almost 40% of the Latino vote, and women liked him. He became a centrist he and Tom McClintock, the conservative, got 62% of the total votes cast.
Arnold took a real beating last year when he targeted the Nurses. Teachers and public service unions, for example. The unions were able to create the perception that he was being against the members, NOT their unions, which are a much better target. He won’t make that mistake again, of course. Remember, Arnold cannot be elected Governor of California as a Republican there are not that many voters in California who have confidence in the Republican Party. He is forming his own coalition of social moderates, independent voters, and ‘soft’ Democrats, plus whatever Republicans he can muster. He is moving to the left on some social issues, and to the right on fiscal issues and taxes, and it appears to be working. His opponent is now attempting to compare Arnold to George W. Bush who is not a popular President.
Only seven of the 158 state elections in California are considered to be competitive. This is due to Gerrymandering and we need to do something about it. I asked what we could, realistically, do? The politicians hate term limits and they would be willing to trade some relief there for redrawing the election Districts. The voters should determine who our representatives are, NOT the politicians! PDG ANDY ANDERSON asked what he thought about the coming National elections. Mr. Hoffenblum thinks the Democrats may have a better chance to gain control in the Senate than in the House. He summarizes their chances by suggesting that if they don’t win at least one of the two chambers, they should commit suicide!
Allan Hoffenblum, we thank you for shedding some light on a shadowy subject. Oh yes, there was a story. Two brothers inherited a 200-acre plot from their deceased father. They divided it into two equal halves, and then began to have a falling out. Soon, one of them dug a trench in-between, and the other filled it with water. One of them hired a carpenter to build a fence, so he couldn’t see the other side and when he returned, he found that a bridge had been built instead. When the two brothers met on the bridge, they found they really didn’t have any serious differences. The moral of the story is let’s all build bridges.
I’ll see you all in September.