November 16, 2000


In-between watching the vote count, here's what happened on November 16th.

We began with the usual litany of themes, and then PP RALPH WOODWORTH broke through with the Pledge.  This was followed by the duo of PP STEVE DAY and
JACK HARRIS assisting us in our rendition of America.  Looks to YOE as though JACK'S hand is completely OK once again, which is certainly good news.   Birthdays were next, and they included SUSAN ALLEN, MIKE YOUSEM, TOM LENEHEN, NEVIN SENKAN, LEE DUNAYER, RON WANGLIN, DON NELSON, and JIM SUMNER - not NORTH but South Carolina, as corrected.  The Invocation followed, by MARK BLOCK, and it was excellent as expected.

PP RON LYSTER gave a report on the International Federation of Motorcycling Rotarians, which he founded.  There are now 1400 members worldwide, with  about 600 in North America, including WVRC members KEN LEVER, JIM BECHTEL, and BILL PIERCE.  To form such a fellowship, you need members from three countries, and it's obvious that PP RON and our other members are part of a going concern.  This report was followed by an announcement of the 2nd District Task Force on Anti-Violence, which will take place on December 8th - check with Prez STEVE for details, please. ANN ELKIN spoke on the used book drive, which will be co-chaired by KEN KILPO and SLOS VIAU.  These books make an excellent Christmas present - think about getting your grandchildren involved in this very worthwhile project.  GEORGE DEA introduced his Special Guest (for the second time), Takumi Noma.  And did you know that DENNIS CORNWELL is the new Vice Chairman of the Westwood Village Community Alliance?  Congratulations, DENNIS - they can use your good help.

MIKE YOUSEM reminded us of the Venice Boys & Girls Club shopping trip on December 14th - he still has a couple of spaces open, so give him a ring.   And at our meeting that day, the PaliHi Madrigal singers will be with us once again - save the date.  The next day, Friday the 15th, PP HOWIE HENKES is gathering WVRC members to serve during the Christmas Program at the Braille Institute - it's an
excellent way to begin the Christmas season, so give HOWIE a ring for details.  RUDY ALVAREZ spoke about the Gift of Life Program, in which two children and their mothers, plus a translator, will be here for surgery at the UCLA hospital.  They arrive right away, and need housing until late December - can you help?  GEORGE DEA spoke about the forthcoming RI Convention in San Antonio, from June 24th through the 27th - it's an interesting city to visit, so check with George if you can attend.  Some of our WVRC motorcyclists will also be there - here's your chance to piggyback a ride!

SLOS VIAU reported on the Westwood Transitional Village, which is located just south of Wilshire on Sepulveda.  The program is designed to provide formerly homeless families with long-term supportive assistance so they can become fully independent, and they can use our concern and help.  There are 40 apartments, with from one to four bedrooms, plus a separate child development center for up to 70 children.  We have discussed having a meeting there, and this would be an excellent way to see and appreciate the work that is being done. In the meantime, on our last meeting of THIS month, the 30th, SLOS will be collecting clothing for the use of those living at the Transitional Village.  There are 34 women, 15 men, and 80 children - so any wearable clothing would be welcome.  Look through your closets - surely there
are some items that would be better used by these needy people.

Next, for what appeared to be the forty-seventh meeting in a row, 'Coach' BOB WESSLING updated us his latest mentoring achievement.  Last Saturday, his DePauw Tigers once again triumphed, this time over Wabash by 27-17. And just to add a local touch, the game was in Crawfordsville, Indiana, which is where JACK HARRIS had his car accident.  But this constant and shameless self-promotion by PP BOB is beginning to be terribly embarrassing to those of us who are a bit more modest.  This makes the 12th game in a row that his Tigers have prevailed, counting from last season when they also benefited from Coach BOB's advice and inspirational appearance at a team meeting.

However, believing as I do in eventual justice, and knowing that my many readers join me in my gathering outrage, YOE does expect that Prez STEVE will soon assess an appropriate fine for this continuing braggadocio.  If you take the standard fine of l00 clams, times, say, just the 12 victories, that begins to come up to a respectable figure.  And no doubt Prez STEVE can add some small amount for taking time away from our otherwise businesslike meetings, plus communication charges - the number gets really interesting, obviously.  The good news here is that the season is probably over, and thus we may be spared further updates. And please be assured that this concern has nothing whatsoever to do with the disappointment, and indeed, dispair, felt by certain other WVRC members regarding the performance of their more local
team… Difficult though it may be, we must strive to keep all this in proper perspective.

At the point, the Bell Tolled - which means MONEY is coming in!  After some questioning by Prez STEVE, it appears that DONN CONNER'S firm has joined forces with City National Bank, thereby catapulting DONN into the rarefied financial atmosphere of all those rich bankers. This elicited a fine of $250, to which DONN tried to respond, reminding all that any such eventual windfall would be years in actually taking place, and thus suggesting an alternate fine of $l5 at this time. This was taken under advisement, and we'll keep you posted, of course.  Next, and in spite of his excellent report on how to form a Rotary Fellowship, PP RON LYSTER was nicked for $100 - seems he THOUGHT about riding a BMW when his own machine was non compus mentis (that means it didn't work) and you all remember what President Carter said about your thoughts - it's almost the same as doing the deed itself, or something like that.  

Both our new members who gave their Craft Talks today were formerly members of West Hollywood Rotary, which had to fold last June after 72 years as a Rotary Club.
Both of our new members were co-sponsored by Prez STEVE and PP RON LYSTER, and just to confuse us further, both of them first introduced their sponsors, who in turn introduced them.  That done, we now hear from NEAL ZASLAVSKY, whose classification is Political and Business Consulting.

NEAL was born in New York, and consistently migrated westward thereafter.  In 1986 he had completed two bachelors degrees, and while working on his masters, was teaching at the University of Arizona in Tucson.  This was also the year that John McCain was elected to fill the Senate seat long held by Barry Goldwater, and NEAL became involved in that campaign.  He found that he loved politics, but when he moved to California in 1993, the local polls were not nearly as welcoming as they had been in Arizona. - who was this outsider, anyway?   So he concentrated on business, starting several companies, writing business and strategic plans for others, and running the largest Russian language media operation in the U.S. When Tom Campbell announced that he would challenge Diane Feinstein for the U.S. Senate, NEAL was willing to help.  Eventually, the powers that be asked him to run the campaign for Campbell in Los Angeles County - and he was back in politics, 18 hours a day!

Campbell lost, but will certainly run for office in California again.  One office he will not seek is the Governorship, now held by Gray Davis - who currently has 23 million dollars in the bank to finance his re-election in 2002.  Two Republicans who may run are Tim Draper, the sponsor of Prop. 38, and Ron Unz, who ran before  - both of these men have sufficient private means to match Davis in campaign spending, estimated to be perhaps 40 millions dollars.  The only Republican now holding statewide office in California is Bill Jones, and he will continue in politics once term limits force him out as State Treasurer.  But back to NEAL - he is busy with business consulting, but cannot resist the political life when the season comes again.

TODD GURVIS had less speaking time than NEAL, but made the most of the time left to him.  He, too, was born in New York, attended Brandeis University and graduated from the State University of N.Y. at Binghamton with a degree in English and Rhetoric (which YOE had to ask him how to spell…)  His first job, at age 23, was on the staff of the Statue of Liberty renovation project, chaired by Lee Iacocca. The way money is raised for these projects is that a CEO of one of the major corporations really can't refuse Iacocca, and thus agrees to a sum - but the money is paid out over time, which means that the sponsor can quit paying if he becomes unhappy. Seagrams was a sponsor, and Anheuser Busch was a major donor.   TODD was one of those who suggested that they sue Coors, who had annoyed the Budweiser people by trying to ride the coattails of the campaign - his job was to keep the sponsors and donors happy.  His reward, after two years, was 30 days notice!

He then managed tours and special events for Philip Morris, and from there went to work for RI in Evanston in their Development Office, under Larry Shawver.  Over the next six years, he worked with many districts, essentially teaching them how to raise money - some of you may remember a presentation to our own VIRGINIA GANDY from RI - TODD was the presenter.  He moved to San Diego in 1993, and in 1995 came to Los Angeles, where he and Wendy Bat-Sarah were married.    They have two sons, Avidan and Eitan. For the next four years he was with Independent Capital Management, and in 1999 helped to found Trilogy Financial Services, where he is VP of Client Services.  So there he is, still keeping clients happy - and probably pretty good at it, too.

YOE has to comment that Craft Talks are usually our best programs, and these two certainly upheld that tradition.  The demise of West Hollywood is certainly to our benefit, and we welcome these two outstanding new members.   Thought for the Day - "Where we stand politically is determined by where we sit".  Winston Churchill.

                                YOE, Ernie Wolfe