October 5, 2000


WVRC MEETING # 13 -do you realize that next Friday is the 13th?

That pearl out of the way, we started with the Pledge, by LEE DUNAYER. Next, in a major revision of sequence, came the Song - It's a Grand Old Flag, with PP STEVE DAY leading and BILL MAXWELL on his squeeze box. DICK LITTLESTONE followed with a somewhat rambling Invocation. He did remind us that several of our members are having some health problems, including BRUCE HARRIS, who has a thrombosis in his leg and is at UCLA, but should be home again shortly - he can be reached there at 267-1428, in room 545 & visitors are welcome. Also mentioned were BILL BLOOMFIELD, DAN PRICE, and Teresa IHNEN, who had a bad car accident, plus Eloise SISAL is recovering nicely from her knee surgery - and thus our meeting was officially launched! But a note of caution to Prez STEVE - some of us are getting older, and these major changes of opening sequence serve to further confuse us.

ANN SAMSON opined as how there weren't no visitors, at least Rotary visitors. However, BRUCE ROLF was accompanied by Marie, and Prez STEVE had his usual quota of guests, including Dr. Mark Goulston, the UCLA Psychiatrist who led the recent Anti-Violence meeting, Steve Jamison, in litigation, and Jim Gottfurcht, in psychology. Meanwhile, we had a short announcement by D. W. Park of the Koreatown Rotary Club. They are putting on a Fund Raiser to help North Korean Youth, who certainly need our help. The program will consist of 2 boys and 7 girls who will present a series of traditional Korean folk dances. Date is November 3rd, 7:30 p.m. at the Wilshire Ebell - contact is Mr. Hong Kim, (2l3) 384-6931.

Kudos were due and presented to the SISKEL'S for the great Picnic, and they were assisted by TED IHNEN, DICK LITTLESTONE, GEORGE DEA, and SUSAN ALLEN. With over 100 in attendance, a great time was had by all - and for those who weren't there - put it on your calendar for next year, for sure!

The recent District Task Force meeting was a well-attended and most-informative affair. Over 60 were there, and with that kind of start, more will be coming at the next session, which will be on December 2nd.. Next Tuesday, 10 October, Board meeting at PETER MORE'S - if you haven't RSVP'd yet, please do so right away. The next day, the 11th, is the Auxiliary meeting - also at the MORE"S - starting at 11:30 p.m. with the FRIEDMAN family talking about jewelry. Oct 24th is the Yearling Breakfast at the Holiday Inn - HARLAN LEWIS is major domo. And finally, for a busy month, the 28th is the Foundation Celebration Dinner.

ART HENRY gave a short presentation, thanking us for all the support shown for Teresa IHNEN. He also will be discussing with the Board the possibility of appointing a Rotary Chaplain, a designated person to be the lead one contacted when one of our members has a problem they want to talk about. He ended up with some quotes from "Only in America", which were well received. PP DOUG DESCH passed along a letter dated 27 Sept from Kari Dorris - since she is now both living and working in Long Beach, she is resigning from WVRC and will join Long Beach Rotary. And JIM BECHTEL's mother had a heart attack and passed away recently. Cards to JIM would be appreciated, I'm sure.

Next up was a semi-interview conducted by PP TOM LENEHEN, designed to further acquaint us with the background of Prez STEVE. He admitted that he now has Goodyear tires on his Ford Explorer, and outlined some of his international travels. STEVE suggested a couple of books to read, and then was asked for his opinion on the USC and UCLA football teams. He allowed as to how UCLA would win their game this year, which I'm sure Bob Toledo will be relieved to know. This opinion drew eight dollar bets AGAINST that outcome, and you can still get in on the action by calling STEVE personally. Thanks to TOM for increasing our knowledge about our present leadership.

Did you notice, by the way, the sparkling POLISHED rostrum we are using? This task was ably carried out by a person, here unnamed, but he doubles as a frequent player of the piano. Also, the new mike is not installed - these things DO help, and we thank this anonymous toiler in the vineyards.

PP STEVE SCHERER then introduced our Speaker, Viggo Butler. Mr. Butler has a BA from Cal Poly Pomona, and a Masters from Pepperdine, was born in England and is also titled Lord Butler, Lord of Cretingham. He is Chairman of United Airports Ltd, which specializes in the privatization of airports, and currently serves on the Board of Infrasoft, Inc, L.A. Economic Development Corp. and Reason Foundation Business Advisory Board, among many others.

Mr,. Butler gave us a wide-ranging overview of some of the problems facing the Los Angeles basin, as regards needed infrastructure and present status.

On a handout, it was noted that California would rank 6th in the world in 1999 GDP, just ahead of Italy, the 60 mile circle around LA would rank 11th, and LA County would rank 16th, just after the Netherlands - which gives some idea of our economic clout. He pointed out that interest in the political process has dramatically decreased in the last 20 years, and that means that not as many people are as concerned about where we are going as once gave this direction more serious thought.

In 1930, our county had 2.6 million - today l0 - and by 2020 over 12 million residents. Air cargo, starting in 1996 at 2.6 million tons, is expected to rise to 8.9 million tons by 2020 - and where is the infrastructure to handle this explosion? Presently LAX handles 6l.2 million passengers, projected to be 94.2 million by 2020, and the only present airports to share this will be Burbank at 9.2, Ontario at 15.3, and El Toro (if ever built) at 22.2 million passengers. So utilizing El Toro is really vital, but is hotly contested by nearby residents - the familiar NIMBY opposition. He mentioned Louisville as an example of a metropolitan area that literally moved a small town to a new location - it was blocking construction of a needed runway at their airport - and we are going to need more runways at LAX! Remember that LAX is owned by LA City, yet serves the entire Region - so LA decisions affect everyone in the area, without giving outsiders any input into how thing should be planned. 

Road traffic figures are interesting - peak morning time is 7 to 8 a.m.,with 3.26 million vehicles - and from 3 to 4 p.m., 3.4 million, 4 to 5, and 5 to 6, both 3.8 million - dropping WAY DOWN to only 2.98 million between 6 to 7 p.m. Projections are for an additional 2.7 million vehicles in the region by 2020. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is trying to address this pressing problem, proposing a Magla (Magnet, maybe?) Train which could travel at 240 MPH between LAX, Union Station, the San Gabriel Valley, Ontario Airport and on to March Field - but only used for freight, of course. 

Long Beach and LA Harbor combined are the 2nd largest in the world - but they only unload ships 8 hours each day! Trucks, IF they had needed roads, cannot deliver after hours, and the unions oppose longer hours also. The 710 Freeway is jammed right now, and if you lined up the trucks that leave the harbor each day, they would stretch from Long Beach all the way to SFO. This bottleneck has to be cleared, and the solution is planning on a Regional, rather than Local basis. However, it isn't being done that way, at least not yet. 

Q&A - What about our Air Traffic Control system, is it hopeless? This is a federal monopoly, and it WILL be privatized, but not right away, of course.

How helpful will the Alameda Corridor be when completed ?- it will help, certainly, and that is the one real success story at the present. But we must remember that you FIRST need roads and access before you build industrial plants - again, it comes back to needed infrastructure.

Viggo Butler, thanks for an excellent, if somewhat discouraging, overview of where we are and where we are trying to go in Southern California. 

Thought for the Day - A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject (by Winston Churchill). 

YOE, Ernie Wolfe