April 27, 2000


PP JOHN SINGLETON abruptly reminded me of why we should again consider impeaching Prez BOB WESSLING. JOHN pointed out that I, YOE, the best-known supporter of desserts (as opposed to that lousy salad they usually serve), failed to leap to my feet and lead a rousing opening cheer for STEVE ADLER, since it was obvious that STEVE is a closet member of the 'dessert-always" clique within WVRC. The dessert was splendid - (although it should be admitted that my standards aren't very high - all desserts taste good to me). However, it may be possible that there is light at the end of the tunnel (another of my catchy and original phrases, as you undoubtedly already know), in that STEVE obviously planned this dessert as a teaser into his coming term as President. Just to carry this wonderful prospect a bit further, if we got rid of Prez BOB now, we could look forward to an early menu change. Supporters of Desserts, ARISE!

Anyway, STEVE was up front because Prez BOB was back at that school in Ohio, having been summoned to again help the football team with strategy, etc. So STEVE started us off with the usual themes.. CLARK McQUAY led the Pledge, followed by JACK HARRIS and PP JIM DOWNIE leading us in America. That synthesizer of yours, JIM, really provides a wonderful variety of musical instruments - and it's no secret that WVRC needs all the help we can get in our choral efforts. Keep up the good work, please! Next up was MAX LICHTENBERGER, who recited the well-known "I shall not pass this way again", a double winner since we all need to be reminded of that fact, plus, MAX allowed us to sit down during the reading.

SALLY BRANT introduced the visiting Rotarians: Andrew Binns, who is from the Latrobe Club in Melbourne in Dental Supplies, and John Binns, from Box Hill - yes, that's still in Australia - who does orthodontics. Next was Jane Siegal, from Beverly Hills, like SALLY in residential real estate. Sitting next to me was Max Braeuer, a real estate attorney from the Berlin club, and last, Stefan Baverud, who is from Vadstena Rotary in Sweden - he produces carbon brushes. Quite an international assortment - perhaps they were drawn by the prospect of the dessert menu… Other guests included Sunny Friedman, wife of LENNY - and YOE has to be on LENNY'S side in protesting that just because he fell below the high gaze of acting Prez STEVE, he shouldn't be excluded from being recognized! Our former Ambassadorial Scholar Rob Greenhalg had two guests with him from Argentina, Carla Latino and Patricia Perez. Finally, RUDY ALVAREZ brought Bruce Rankin, the Executive Director of the Westside Food Bank, and his wife, Catherin Wagard, who is on the Board of the St. Joseph's Center in Venice.

RUDY spoke of the good work done by the Westside Food Bank, and Mr. Rankin reported that WVRC has collected the equivalent of 10,000 meals in the year we have been supporting their operation. They also received our check for $300.00. And if you haven't visited St Joseph's Center, it is worth doing - their 'restaurant' itself is worth the trip. Acting Prez STEVE asked long-time-missing GREGG ELLIOTT to stand, and as a sort of catch-up on costs, GREGG was fined one hundred clams. At this time, GEORGE DEA introduced Rob Greenhalg. Rob told us what he has been doing the last three years, the first of which was as our Ambassadorial Scholar. He graduated from UCLA in Political Science, and went to Buenos Aires to get his masters - and, of course, he's still there. A very impressive young man, and he'll be back home in time to be with our WVRC members who will be attending the International Convention. And before that, ALL Officers of WVRC are expected to attend the District Assembly in Torrance, starting at 0700 on Saturday May 20th - contact Prez-to-be STEVE ADLER, and arrange to carpool down.

Starting this Sunday, the GSE team from Bavaria will be with us for a week. Marian and LEO TSENG are hosting a Reception and Buffet Dinner, starting at 4:30, so we'll begin to get to know our guests at that time. Here are some brief biographies -

Georg Eschenlohr, Team Leader. He is Managing Director of Land Surveying in Landsberg am Lech and would like to meet urban planners, developers, environmental control personnel and those in related fields. Founding Member of Landsberg Rotary Club in 1973, he served as President in 1994/95. It is not known if he likes desserts… Ernie Wolfe is his host, so call (3l0)474-5137 to get together with Georg.

Peter Herfert (and all other team members) are not Rotarians. He is a banker, age 37, and would like to meet others in that profession - enjoys hiking and skiing. His host is David Bohn of the Santa Monica club - (3l0) 393-9688.

Katrin Jockel is 27, and trains sales people. She is interested in personnel and retailing, since she works for a large department store in Munich. Her host, from Santa Monica, is Dr Sam Muslim, (3l0) 452-9532.

Holger Klug is in Advertising, and is interested in all aspects of that field, including TV, radio, and print media. He is 29, and has done some fashion photography. His host is David Bohn, who is also hosting Peter Herfert - and that number is (310) 393-9688.)

Christine Lohse is a teacher of music. She is 39, would like to visit high school and college music departments, and is also interested in the history of American Indians. Her host, from Santa Monica (again) is Monika White, Minikawhite@earthlink.net.

So - there you have it - four team members and one team leader. LEE DUNAYER has spent a lot of time trying to round up people who could spend an hour or two with these bright, young individuals from Germany. Some slots are filled, but there is plenty of open times to get together - and you will be the winner when you share your knowledge with our GSE visitors.

That stands, by the way, for Graduate Student Exchange. C'mon now - if we really are members of Rotary INTERNATIONAL, let's get off the dime and MEET these visitors.

But they are gone by Friday - so you will have to call their hosts right away, as soon as you get this Windmill, PLEASE!

JIM BECHTEL introduced our Speaker, Ann Reiss Lane, who is an advocate of gun control, and later this year, we will hear from the other side. Ms Reiss Lane has a 20-year history of working with former Mayor Tom Bradley, as a member of the Board of Library Commissioners, then the Fire Commission, and most recently, the Police Commission, plus graduating from Beverly Hills High, UCLA, and Stanford. She is the co-founder of Women Against Gun Violence, and her intent is to put a human face on gun deaths. As many children die in Los Angeles County every month as died in the massacre at Littleton High School in Colorado - and this is EVERY month in Los Angeles.

The Police Chiefs Association proposed a number of effective gun control measures, but the plans were emasculated by the state and local authorities - the NRA has a major influence with legislators, and thus showed their muscle once again. Again, she is trying to end our 'tolerance' of gun deaths - and Assemblyman Wally Knox finally got a bill passed that limits sales to one gun per person per month - this to stop persons from buying in quantity, and then reselling them to 'distributors' who sell to those who could not otherwise buy a gun.

The crime rate is dropping, but gun suicide is increasing every year. Of the 20 gun suicides by children in 1998, the youngest was a 12-year old girl - and you have to know that she didn't BUY that gun. She found it at home. In answers during the Q&A, she pointed out that most people are killed by someone they know, rather than by a stranger - where did the killer get that gun? Suicides exceed homicides - and it has to be easier to control guns in homes than guns sold at swap meets, for instance. She suggests that parents talk to their children about guns - and when they are going for an overnight, you would be well advised to phone the host parents and ask if they have a gun in the house. If they do, you put your children at risk by allowing them to stay in such an environment.

Success in these efforts is incremental, but it is increasing, which is certainly good news.

Thank you for presenting your side of the argument, Ms Reiss Lane.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe