January 11, 2001


PP MIKE NEWMAN got us started with the Pledge, followed by the duo of LENNY FRIEDMAN and PP JIM DOWNIE who took us through Home on the Range. Next up was DAN PRICE, who asked everyone to join him in The Lord's Prayer - well done, DAN. Auxiliary President Shirley More presented a check for $220 to ANN ELKIN to be used to buy books for the Pediatric Reading Program, as started by NEVIN SENKAN. This money was raised at their recent meeting, and will be well spent, I'm sure. We just learned that DICK DAVIS is recovering from major surgery - give him a ring at home.

Our two visiting Rotarians were Ben Turner, from LA 5, who is an expert witness - but he didn't say about what, and George Fenimore, a past president of Beverly Hills. There were a number of guests, led off by TED IHNEN with Special Guest Lawrence Hofstra, who heads up the North American operation of Dragon Airlines, a partial subsidiary of Cathay Pacific. MARK BLOCK introduced his seatmate, Ann Marie Christian, who is with Best Buddies. TODD GURVIS brought along his boss, Kevin Macintosh, VP of Trilogy Financial Services. Next up was KEN KILPO, who had with him Special Guest Jack Berlin, owner of B&B Printing, and a fellow member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce. The ever-active GEORGE DEA asked Sharin Clisser to stand - she has just been listed as a prospective member, and is involved with Parkinson Research.

Several upcoming events should be noted. Tuesday, Jan 30th - District Breakfast at LAX Marriott - call JIM GREATHEAD. Saturday, Feb. 10th - Valentine Day Sweetheart Brunch at Shanghai Reds in the Marina - contact is PETER MORE. And RUDY ALVAREZ had once again assumed the mantle of collecting the reports of all Committee Activities - e-mail to him, and soon, OK?

Under somewhat confusing circumstances, four students then came forward, first purporting to be Rotaract members. However, once at the mike, they revealed their true identity - they were conducting a very high level Q&A, using Perky STEVE as their acknowledged World-Class-Authority, who was reputed to know everything about everything - which they were about to demonstrate. First question, from TODD GURVIS - "Why is it that my two youngsters always have to wet the bed between two and four a.m., rather than at a time when I'm not already asleep?" The answer was somewhat disjointed, since Mr. Know-it-all was restricted to uttering a single word, in-between two of the students who flanked him (that means they stood on each side of Prexy STEVE). Next question, by YOE - "My brother-in-law wants to know if Viagra works". Someone at my table pointed out that my sister wanted to know the same thing - and then things kind of went downhill, when it developed that I am an only child…However, the day was saved by GENE PRINDLE, who asked me if we had been put up to ask these searching questions. I could only speak for myself, but I'm sure TODD would agree that we were both dying to know the answers - and the question does authenticate that these four students were really clever extemporary performers.

Tracking them down afterward, Sean Hart is from Carmel, Myles Nye from Oakland, Jessica Moss from LA, and Jeff Parker from San Diego - all are sophomores in the drama department at UCLA, and they were quite good at their shtick. Other questions followed, one referring to the final tally in Florida, and a final request for clarification as to why Prexy STEVE referred to Claude in the Rotary Handbook as his Hostess. They next moved to an interview with RUDY ALVAREZ and Coach BOB WESSLING, in which Prexy STEVE signaled if the answers to various questions were right or wrong. Needless to say, everyone present knew a lot more about these matters after this presentation - and it WAS fun. The finale was when Prexy STEVE was presented with the Official Hump Day Plaque - and those of you who so carefully read each word of this publication will recall that this second Hump Day performance was alluded to in last week's publication.

After this somewhat tumultuous interval, PP ROY BELOSIC introduced our Speaker, Capt. Wally Graves of the Los Angeles Police Department. ROY knows Capt. Graves personally, since he was the lead investigator in a vicious assault upon one of ROY'S sons, demonstrating that only the highest standards of police conduct and expertise would be applied to every case. He is a native son, graduated from Lynwood HS, has a BA from Cal State LA, and from the FBI National Academy. In February, Capt. Graves will have been with LAPD for 30 years. Until a couple of weeks ago, he was was in charge of our Police Station in WLA, and now works downtown.

Wally Graves started by stating that he was extremely proud of the LAPD, and he tells those under his command to show their pride also. He pointed out the Rampart was discovered by the LAPD, itself - NOT by some other government body, and certainly not by the LA Times! In their internal investigation the LAPD came up with 108 recommendations to improve supervision and control - but this activity is not generally known, even thought 3/4ths of the total improvements are already in effect! The Times, for example, repeats the same charges over and over, perhaps based on the theory that constant repetition will establish the charges as facts.

Also, he pointed out that three of the first four officers charged in the Rampart scandal were not accepted by the LAPD for enrollment - but they were passed by the independent Personnel Department, who have the final say in these matters. There is a constant shortage of money in the budget - LAPD has never been supplied with polygraph equipment, for instance, and this is controlled by the City Council.

The definition of corruption is abuse of power, and this is where Rampant fell far short. Chief Parks has put into effect a number of reforms, which are often not popular with the officers on the street. Every complaint is investigated, for instance. Capt. Graves feels they have an opportunity to regain the position they once had, and Chief Parks will lead the way. During this process, however, morale does suffer. Today there are 8400 officers in the LAPD, which is very small in comparison to New York, or Chicago, both of which have less than 15% of the territory of Los Angeles to patrol.

Q&A - How do the Police Union and Management get along - not very well, at present. The fastest growing crime today is identity crime - that is, stealing ID and using it for credit card purchases, etc. This is where Capt. Graves is now working, being in charge of the Financial Crimes Division. How do you break the so-called Code of Silence - strong leadership can and will do this. A fine report, and we can well understand PP ROY BELOSIC'S admiration for both Capt. Graves and the LAPD itself.

Thought for the Day - "Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret" - Ambrose Bierce.

YOE, Ernie. Wolfe