March 2, 2000


There's hope for all of us, even for YOE. Prez BOB asked the inevitable first question, something about Act With… and then answered it hisself, rather than picking on you-know-who. Thank you, Mr. Wessling! That done, we moved to the Pledge, by TERRY WHITE. LENNY FRIEDMAN and BILL MAXWELL took us through Working on the RR - TWO verses, yet! PP JIM COLLINS provided an Invocation by Dr. Albert Schweitzer, ending with "I don't know what your destiny may be - but happy will be those who sought and found ways to serve." Not a surprise, coming from JIM.

BILL MAXWELL, apparently getting double pay for double duty, reported there were no Visiting Rotarians. SALLY BRANT introduced her guest, Elizabeth Bessolo, and PP JIM SUMNER brought his wife, Doris. Gaea Schwabbe was welcomed back from a Rotaract Convention in Hong Kong - for which she paid her own way! This brought money to mind, which prompted Prez BOB to fine BILL MAXWELL (that playing the accordion is EXPENSIVE!) and CLARK MCQUAY l00 dollars each. PP DAVE MORE was next singled out, paying the same fine because his daughter, Diane Peterson-More is running for the State Assembly in Pasadena. Some of us old-timers will recall the DAVE did the same thing - run for the Assembly, that is - awhile ago, but of course he had no chance since he was a Republican…

STEVE ADLER reported on his recent attendance at PETS, which prepares you for
assuming the duties of Rotary President, pointing out that he was the only incoming Prexy to sport a snazzy briefcase with the Rotary Emblem emblazoned (that means it had a logo) on the case. We WVRC'ers only travel first class, of course. STEVE also made a pitch to send any photos you may have of our activities to RUDY ALVAREZ, who is putting together the Awards Book. PP ROY BELOSIC announced the passing of an old-time member, Dr. BOB TOLLE, who died at the age of 90 in late January. The announcement led off with " Prominent Physician, UCLA Supporter, Rotarian" which pretty well covered BOB'S priorities. Note that PP JIM DOWNIE has been ill, but is now back home. Cards are welcome, of course.

An important Deadline is approaching - March 25th, for the Japan Youth Exchange. My daughter, Andrea, went on this 30 years ago, as did Joy's daughter, Jennifer, just a few years ago -demonstrating that it's still going strong, and that says a lot about the value of the program. PP RON LYSTER reminded us that the age limits are 15 to 19, and children, grandchildren, etc. are all eligible - with the club picking up a good portion of the cost! Contact is PETER MORE and many of our members have direct experience - call me, too, OK? And while it isn't quite as immediate, RON KLEPETAR spoke of
the District Conference in Palm Springs, coming up from 4 to 7 May. You already have copies of the Application, and PP DOUG DESCH reminds us that you can charge the cost to your Rotary account, if you send the App to him. It's important that we support Prez BOB on this, so don't delay, please. Finally, TED IHNEN reported briefly on the GSE, and all is on track for their visit in early May.

SALLY BRANT did it again - another excellent speaker, whom she introduced. Leslie Appleton Young is Vice President and Chief Economist of the California Association of Realtors. Her topic was "Economic Forecasting" - and if you thought going to the planet Saturn had lots of facts and figures, you ain't seen nuthin' yet! Leslie's presentation was nicely augmented with color slides, and the first one I remember showed the figures for 1999 sales. 4.97 million existing homes were sold, plus 886K new homes, and there were 1.65 M housing starts. Consumer confidence - and thus spending - were up 4 to 5%, the best ever, and 20% of those polled said their profits from the stock market impacted their decision to buy. Inflation was only 2%, and unemployment around 4%, plus productivity growth of 5% - also better than a year ago. Unit labor costs were only up slightly - but stay tuned, apparently.

Mortgage rates were l.4% lower a year ago, and will keep going up. Recent median home prices were, '79 - 84K, '89 - 196K, and '99 - 217K, and we should expect an average annual 8% increase . At the same times, mortgage interest rates were, '79 - 11.2%, '89 - 10.3% and '99 - 7.8%. In '79, 30.9 % of available housing was considered affordable, in '89, 3l.3 %, but in '99, only 10.9% was so considered.

Within California (which ALL these figures apply to, by the way), about 200K immigrants come in each year - half of them to LA Country - which balances the outflow of those leaving the state. Historically, in 1970 Latinos made up 12% of our population, and by 2040 they will be an even 50%! Already today, Garcia is the most frequent name in new homeowners. Incidentally, 1991 provided the peak value for homes. Today, the average time a home is on the market is 29 days, and decreasing - there will be an increasing shortage, since we need 25% of the home real estate market to be new construction, and we currently are only averaging l0% in building permits. And one more bit of history - California lost 500K jobs during our recession, and all have not yet come back - that may be a year away.

Some general facts (we need a few more, obviously) - Of those who own computers, only 41% are on the Internet. And 46% of those 41% went on the Net in the last twelve months! This final note is particularly useful to those of us who consider ourselves to be salespeople: After an inquiry, a response within 8 hours will produce a 35% close rate. Response within 24 hours provides a 20% rate, and within 48 hours, only an 8% close rate. So, RETURN THOSE CALLS!

Ere I leave you with your temples throbbing, I must return to one announcement not covered earlier. - Come April 28th, there will be a Singles Benefit at the Santa Monica Pier. Just how this will occur was not fully explained - or anyway YOE didn't get the word - but it does open up the question of whether this intriguing activity will be climaxed by a leap from the Pier into the inviting Pacific. So don't cancel your subscription to the Windmill - ALL will be known, soon.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe

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