YOE Ernie found himself in St. Johns’ ICU following a routine procedure, and so this edition of the Windmill is undertaken by substitute editor, PP Ron Lyster. PP Ernie is feeling much better now, and should be back at home by the time you read this. Ernie, we missed you and you missed an excellent meeting. Now to the report on our meeting of January 27, 2011.
Tom Barron dreamt up an invocation to start the meeting, predicting a Packers’ win and ending with a magical shoe string. Quite a performance. (You had to be there.) Community Service Chairman John Heidt led the club in the salute to our flag and in the recitation of the 4-way test.
To the conductor’s platform stepped Lenny Friedman, with a plea for someone to assume his awesome duties. David Friedman joined in the quest, only to be nominated himself by a loud and raucous quorum of club members who suggested that he take over his father’s post. With some trepidation, Lenny recalled the club’s dismal performance of “This is My Country” last time around, but he nevertheless directed us into that patriotic song, and the club surprised him with a fine performance indeed.
At the head table were seated PP Steve Scherer, John Maceri, President Gordon Fell, Tom Barron, John Heidt, and PP Steve Day. We had with us, visiting from the Manhattan Beach Rotary Club, Dan Saks with his guest, Marv Kaye.
The Rotary Club of Medford, Oregon has patented a rose and named it the “Goodbye Polio Rose®.” Our club is selling rose bushes to benefit the Polio Plus campaign. More information on the rose may be found here, or contact President Gordon.
The Westchester Rotary Club is doing a home “make-over” and we are invited to lend a hand. Again, for more information see President Gordon or the Westchester Rotary Club website.
Terry White reminded us to mark our calendars for the Sweetheart (Valentine’s Day) Brunch at the Bistro Garden in Sherman Oaks Saturday, February 12.
Friends of the Westwood Library, and its president, Mark Rogo, thanked the Westwood Village Rotary Club for its long-time, generous support. Speaking of Mark Rogo, he took the lectern and engineered what he called a “reverse fine” for Gordon’s poor directions. For perhaps the first time in club history, the club “fined” a sitting president $50. (Mark also took up the $50 challenge.)
John Heidt announced that there will be a community service committee meeting immediately following next week’s general meeting. John also reported on the progress of the subway making its way into Westwood, perhaps stopping at Wilshire and Westwood by the year 2022.
Our speaker, John Maceri, was introduced by Steve Scherer. John Maceri is the Executive Director of the Ocean Park Community Center (OPCC). OPCC is the safety net for low-income and homeless youth, adults and families, at-risk youth, battered women and their children, and people living with mental illness in Santa Monica and on the Westside of Los Angeles County. OPCC has an annual operating budget of $9.2 million, employs a staff of 140 persons, has a volunteer corps of 700, and serves over 7000 individuals and families a year. OPCC partners with numerous other non-profit organizations, veterans’ groups, hospitals, government agencies, schools and universities. According to our speaker, it is more costly to society not to care for the mentally ill, the very poor, and the homeless, than it is to do nothing.
An excellent presentation by a very worthy community service organization was followed by our customary question and answer period. Aly Shoji asked what the OPCC’s service area included. Other than battered women (who come from all over Los Angeles County), the geographical scope of OPCC is from Mulholland in Malibu, along the coast to LAX, and as far east as La Cienega. Jack Paul queried our speaker about the OPCC’s relationship with the Veterans Administration; John O’Keefe asked if a person should give money to the homeless. Our speaker responded that generally you should not subsidize drug and alcohol addiction, but that you should smile and recognize the person even if you are not willing to give a handout. Homelessness is a de-humanizing experience (in the words of our speaker). Finally, visiting Rotarian Dan Saks asked about sister organizations in the South Bay, of which our speaker was aware of none.
Next week sees PP Eric Loberg taking over President Gordon’s duties. That alone is reason to attend. Our speaker will be Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. Don’t miss it!