Scot Clifford, our District Governor, at WVRC on January 18th
Prexy MIKE started off by announcing that we welcomed visitors to the best club in the District this was soon superceded by “Best Club in America,” and then, finally, in the World! This was followed by the Pledge, led by PP TOM LENEHEN, who introduced the subject by saluting DG Scot, and our two Past DGs, ANDY and BILL. LENNY came forward to lead the Song, and then, when it was discovered that we did, indeed, have a piano, he was joined by JACK HARRIS. The song was America. AL BELANCA gave a very brief Invocation, from the Chinook Indians “May all I say and all I think, be in harmony with thee, God within me, God beyond me, maker of trees”.
Prexy MIKE then introduced the” Brass” District Governor Scot Clifford, Chief Deputy Governor Marc Leeka (known as Deputy Dog), and our own PP PETER MORE, who is an Assistant Governor. PETER then introduced his wife, Shirley. PP STEVE SCHERER spoke about our Honorary Member, ELOISE SISKEL, noting that she served more than once as Rotary Auxiliary President. JACK HARRIS brought Pauline, and Annie was with HENRY TSENG. Sunny Friedman was with LENNY, who announced that Sunny shared his bed she in turn pointed out that “He gives me diamonds!” Pat Anderson accompanied PDG ANDY, and Pat Dodson was with WARREN. He, in turn, wanted it to be known that they were brand new parents which drew some questioning silence from the audience but he then added, “of a new puppy!” This caused a fifty-buck fine to be levied. SEAN McMILLAN introduced his guest, Fred Kelly, who may be a candidate for membership. Finally, SEEMA PATEL spoke about Katia Vaisberg, who is the VP of Rotaract.
Next week, the 25th, will be Investment Advisors Day. PP STEVE SCHERER will be in charge, and spouses are of course welcome.
ED GAULD reminded us that we will be making WAPIs this Saturday, in Fellowship Hall at Westwood Methodist Church, starting at 2 pm. This is a joint project with Rotary, our Auxiliary, and Rotaract, and all are welcome.
Also, ED has Application Forms for our Japanese Student Exchange, which will take place starting June 27th. Our kids spend four weeks in Japan, staying in homes a week at a time, and then the Japanese students come back with them, to be housed here the same way. This is open to students who are 15 to 18 years old and anyone who has participated will add to my voice in praising the program. The deadline to apply is April 1st., so call ED for details. This is a real winner!
CHRIS BRADFORD reminded us that the Annual Abe Lincoln Remembrance will be held at the WLA Veteran’s National Cemetery on Sepulveda, on Saturday February 10th. The program starts at 11 a.m. and J.P. Wammack will be giving his famed rendition of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. You may remember that J.P. did the same for us last year.
PP JOHN SINGLETON very nicely offered wall calendars for 2007 which, of course, brought forth cries of “Fine Him”. Anyway, he’ll have them next week also.
PDG BILL GOODWYN spoke about Mollie Mitchell, who will be with us for a six-week course at UCLA. She needs housing for two of those weeks. Of course, some unidentified wag wanted to know if he could see her picture first…Anyway, PDG BILL can give you details call him at (310) 600-7880.
LENNY FRIEDMAN gave me several pairs of glasses, to pass on to whoever in the District now collects them. I don’t know who this is if you do, will you let me know, please? Meanwhile, Thanks to LENNY.
The joke came next. A newly hired CEO had been told that one way to get everyone’s attention was to immediately fire someone. As he was walking around in the plant, he noticed a small group of men standing in a group. When he went over to them, he first asked, “What are you guys doing?” And before anyone answered, he asked one, who was leaning against the wall, “What’s your name?” “I’m Tim Johnson” he replied. “Well, Johnson, you’re fired go pick up your check”. As Johnson walked away, the CEO asked why the group was chuckling. “Johnson is the Pizza delivery guy”.
Assistant Governor PETER MORE introduced our Speaker. Scot Clifford joined Wilshire Rotary in 1997. As president in 2001-2002, the club founded a Youthact and a Rotaract Club, inducted 17 new members, and achieved 100% Paul Harris Fellow membership. He has been on the District Group Study Exchange committee since 1997 and in 2002 he chaired the World Peace Scholarship Committee. Scot has also been the District Director of International Service, and was the counselor for an Ambassadorial Scholar from Taiwan. He received his BA from UCLA in History, and his law degree from Southwestern. Scot is a partner in the Pasadena firm of Laquer, Urban, Clifford and Hodge, and he and his wife, Wendy have been married for 31 years. They have three children and a 2-year-old granddaughter.
Scot was greeted with a standing ovation, and began by asking us how many liked a tie he displayed. The positive results were not overwhelming, but he explained that this was the Official Rotary Tie for 2006-07, as chosen by R.I. President William Boyd. President Boyd belongs to the Rotary Club of Pakuranga, NZ and the tie has to do with a local artisan. Assistant Governor Marc Leeka loyally wore his! During his training to be a District Governor, he, along with 528 other soon-to-be DGs, were introduced to the tie in San Diego and all of them wore it while there. Of one thing you can be sure if you wear it, people will comment and this gives you the chance to tell them about Rotary!
His wife, Wendy, designed the new District Rotary pin, and he made them available to everyone at WVRC. He confessed that it wasn’t his favorite pin but when your wife designs something, what can you do? As his term has progressed, Scot has learned that a lot of Clubs don’t really welcome the Governor’s visit. So his Assistant Governors send a form letter out, announcing to each club when he will visit no comments accepted!
Since he was also visiting as an attorney, this led him to another story. A famous trial lawyer from BH was going hunting, in his upscale new SUV. He spotted a duck, got out of his car, and shot the bird as it flew over. It fell into the nearby farmers land, and he started to climb over the fence when the old farmer came along in his rickety tractor.
The farmer asked him what he was doing, and the attorney told him he was going to retrieve his duck. The farmer said, “No way that bird is on my land.” They argued about this, and the farmer finaly said, “We have a way to settle these disputes. Each of us takes three punches at his opponent, and whichever one wins, gets the duck” “OK” said the attorney and the farmer said he would start. He proceeded to kick the attorney in the groin, which doubled him up. He then punched him in the chest, so he straightened up, and the farmer then booted him in the rear, causing the attorney to fall face first into the mud. Our attorney friend pulled himself together, and said grimly to the farmer, “Now it’s my turn.” But the farmer climbed into his old tractor, and drove off, saying, “Oh, I give up you can have the duck”.
Scot then relayed some apocryphal stores of attorneys regarding non-standard answers given in cross-examination. “What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up that morning?” “Where am I, Kathy?” “Why did that upset you? “ “My name is Susan”. Or, “Do you have any children?” “Yes, three.” “Any boys?” “No”. “Were there any girls?” And finally, a doctor being examined after performing an autopsy “Did you check for pulse, blood pressure, breathing” to each of which the doctor said “No”. “Well then, it is possible that the patient was still alive when you performed the autopsy.” Again, “No”. “How can you be so sure the patient was dead?” “I had his brains in a jar on my desk”.
Scot then noted the many outstanding members we have, starting with PDG’s BILL and ANDY. He reminded us all that these two started and chaired the first Paul Harris Dinner, which has raised a great deal of money for Rotary since it began. He complimented PP PETER MORE and Prexy MIKE for the fine job they are doing, and of course this was followed by loud applause. This led to a story about the attorney who bought a box of very fine cigars. He immediately insured them for a total of $15,000. He then smoked them all, and sued the Insurance Company, saying they had been lost by a series of small fires. Once the attorney cashed his $15K check, the Insurance Company in turn sued him for arson! He was convicted, spent two years in jail, and had a fine of $25K assessed. The point of this, of course, is that ethics are important and Rotary stresses ethics in all its activities.
We learned some interesting history about the prevalence of discrimination in Southern California. Scot told the story of a present member of Watts-Willowbrook Rotary who moved out here in 1939 with his parents. They could only find one motel in Santa Monica which would take them and this same ‘system’ persisted into the 1960’s! This man and I missed his name was the first African-American to be admitted to the Santa Monica Rotary Club in 1967. On another subject, in politics today we don’t have civil differences of opinion they escalate into extreme positions almost immediately. A story about Abe Lincoln in an early appearance, he responded to those who attacked him for being two-faced. “Folks, if I had two faces, would I be wearing this one?”
Bridging the gaps between extreme positions, and getting to know others in foreign countries is done through Rotary by our Ambassadorial Scholarships, the World Peace Program, Group Study and Youth Exchanges, our advocacy of literacy, our many joint projects building infrastructure. And to finance all these activities, we are asking that each Rotarian provide $20 per month to R.I. This money goes a long way, and is well spent. After some urging, he traveled to El Salvador and was shown the luxury that the rich enjoy. But he also saw the other side, which was a benefit of being there.
They delivered eyeglasses to a large group of youngsters, and later met the many kids who were given wheelchairs their first chance to get around on their own. A village on the hillside above them now has water because of a joint project between the local Rotary club and a club in Canada, digging a well, and arranging to have the water taken up the hill. This allowed, for the first time, the children of that village to go to school, since before the well, they spent their days carrying water up the hill.
Remember that our generosity makes a difference the results will last a lifetime. President MIKE, you have a great opportunity to spread the word on what we do.
Proclaim Rotary it works!