February 24, 2000


On this last meeting before Leap Year actually is upon us, YOE was once again given the opportunity to enunciate the "Three Acts" - and recalled, as usual, just one - Continuity. However, upon consulting the back page of almost any Windmill, it turns out the missing two are Consistency and Credibility - now, let's all try to remember that, OK? The Pledge was led by SHARON RHODES-WICKETT, followed by the song, with BILL MAXWELL and PP STEVE DAY in the lead - and YOE was impressed when STEVE fluttered his hand over his heart at the appropriate time in the song (whose title escapes me, somehow.)

DON NELSON provided the following Invocation, which I now reprint, based on several requests:

Mary had a little lamb, His fleece was white as snow.
And everywhere that Mary went, the Lamb was sure to go.
He followed her to school each day, T'wasn't even in the rule.
It made the children laugh and play, To have a Lamb at school. And then the rules all changed one day, Illegal it became;

To bring the Lamb of God to school, Or even speak His Name.
Every day got worse and worse, And days turned into years.
Instead of hearing children laugh, We heard gunshots and tears. What must we do to stop the crime, That's in our schools today? Let's let the Lamb come back to school, And teach our kids to pray!

Alas, STEW GILMAN had to report no visiting Rotarians. But other guests included Prez BOB'S wife, Judy, and their friend, Walter Kingsley, MAX LICHTENBERGER'S wife, Anita and two Special Guests, Jim Engstrom with PP HOMER NEWMAN, and Eloise Helwig, with PP MIKE NEWMAN.

There followed some convoluted fining, with PP JOHN SINGLETON being nicked for l,000 big ones. This drew a reminder from JOHN that perhaps Mr. WESSLING wasn't aware of the surcharge for his weekend visit, which came to an even $500. This issue was not totally resolved, as best YOE could ascertain. Prez BOB next was apparently trying to get all the alphabetical B's under his fining umbrella, so he called on CLAWSON BLEAK for another 100. This led to SLOS VIAU thinking HE had been called, and, prompted by GEORGE COX, SLOS asked what he had done (advice from YOE, here - never ask. It won't help…). This in turn enabled Prez BOB to assess both VIAU and COX the same l00 bucks. It may be confusing, but the net result is an increase in our WVRC Foundation coffers, which is always welcome.

RAY ZICKFELD reminded us that the deadline for the Roster was upon us - if you don't correct whatever it now says, it will soon be too late! RUDY ALVAREZ provided bad news - the Awards Book is about at deadline and good news, most of the suspects have turned in their reports. He still needs pictures - identified, please. LEE DUNAYER reminded us that the five Group Study Exchange visitors need housing - call him, OK?

The Japanese student exchange program will depart from LA on 27 June ,returning from Japan on 29 July. Kids from 15 to 19 are eligible - and we have a whole bunch of Alumni of this program in WVRC. For more info, PETER MORE, (3l0) 470-8998 or http://wvrc.net - deadline to apply is 25 March. Don't let your kids miss this - it is a real growth experience. International Service Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Wed, March 1st at the home of PETER MORE- pizza and all the fixin's. Please RSVP to PETER at the above phone, or moretech@sprynet.com. Enclosed with this Windmill is an Application Form to attend the District

Conference, set for 4-7 May at the Dorsal Palm Springs Resort. If you wish, you can apply and charge it to your WVRC bill - just turn the form in to PP DOUG DESCH (filled in, of course).

And before we get to this week's program, YOE has to admit to another series of gross errors from last week. First, the Trajectory of the Saturn launch is Venus, Venus, Earth, Jupiter Gravity Assist, OK? The Huygens Probe will land on the satellite Titan, but Cassini itself will be in permanent orbit around Saturn. Finally, a minor error in sizes - Titan is about l/3rd the size of Earth, while Saturn is almost TEN times the size of Earth. So don't mess with that baby, OK? I thank Dr. Grazier for these corrections, which arrived just after we went to press last week.

But back to today. Once again, SALLY BRANT brought us an excellent program.

She introduced our speaker, Steve Soboroff, who has an excellent 7-year history of working within the City government. He was first Harbor Commissioner in the early 90's, and responsible for creating the Alameda Corridor, which delivers freight from the harbor to downtown, where it is then transshipped. He then became President of the Recreation and Parks commission, overseeing 350 parks. He created l45 Park Advisory Boards, giving local control to residents, and initiated the Safety Lighting Program, which lights parks throughout the City - and saves us taxpayers over $6 million in the bargain. An impressive record, certainly.

YOE found Mr. Soboroff to be a most unusual speaker. He has little professional technique, but has zillion facts which keep appearing as he describes what is happening in our City. He started off by recounting a chance meeting he had - watching the Clippers - with Tiger Woods. As a result of this introduction, Tiger put together a $2 million dollar fund to build a Golf Academy in downtown L.A. The kids come there after school - and once their homework is done, they can learn some golf, plus seeing how such a project works.

The LAUSD was next - and he is concerned, along with many of us, that 80% of 4th and 5th grade kids are still reading below grade level. An amazing statistic is that almost 75% of the kinds in our public school system come from families at or below the Poverty Level, and many of their parents don't speak English. He has a longtime relationship with Kirk Douglas, who ended up giving Soboroff 2.5 million dollars to spend on schools - thus bypassing the bureaucracy in order to spend the money much more efficiently.

As an example of the problems being confronted, he told of one school, built in 1909 for 350 students - it is still limping along, now with 1300 students! Many of these kids get up between 4:30 and 6 a.m. to catch the school bus, which leaves at 6:30, taking them away from their neighborhoods to schools that have room for them. None of these parents EVER visit their children's school.

Mr. Soboroff gave a particularly graphic example of how government can get in the way. The school system is starting to dig trenches, to lay cable for computers in the schools. This didn't sound right to him, so he called Steve Jobs and asked some questions. Jobs quoted Soboroff a price of $l80 million dollars, to build 7 labs with l0 computers each for each of the over 500 schools, all to be completed in ONE MONTH! He pointed out that the way to find out what is really happening in the school system is to talk to the mid-level employees - the custodians, for instance, who point out that many toilets no longer work, and cannot be fixed. That's a pretty basic problem, obviously.

His last subject was the LAPD, and the Rampart scandal. Why did it happen, and what can we do to see that it NEVER happens again? Morale is terrible in the department - they used to graduate l00 officers per class - most recent class had 14 graduates. Thus we are losing officers on a continuing basis.

He was asked about traffic, and made some simple suggestions for improvement - reversible lanes on heavily traveled streets, left turn signals on demand, rather than automatically, never allow construction on nearby parallel streets at the same time - plus some 40 other ideas. He isn't short of ideas and he seems to get things done.

Maybe we should hear from a rival Mayoral Candidate once the Primary is out of the way - but thanks to SALLY for an eye-opening view of what is going on in L.A.