February 1, 2001


The First of February, by Golly

When you get to my advanced age, change can be confusing. Upon arrival today, I was told that GEORGE DEA would conduct the meeting, and from him I got the usual outline (which of course cemented in my mind that HE was indeed the one). Then who else but the formerly missing Prexy STEVE showed up, and assumed the podium. I suspect that the outline I received was authored by Prexy STEVE in the first place, but nonetheless my mind set was that GEORGE would follow it. I mention this in case I make more than my usual errors and omissions - besides, if you want the whole truth, my tape recorder was also not present, which additional handicap may forever cloud the accuracy of this report. But enough - let us proceed:

New member ATHENA JACKSON was urged up to that upper floor (from which all those privileged to sit can look down on the rest of us), and then got all kinds of help as to the proper way to lead the Pledge. In spite of this, she did very well. LENNY FRIEDMAN and PP JIM DOWNIE combined on God Bless America, and in YOE's opinion, it was one of the best renditions we have ever had. Giving us some advance tempo expectations really seemed to help (and the Good Lord knows we need all the help we can get in this exercise). Then, the FIRST variation from whose ever agenda it really was - Prexy STEVE allowed the visitors to be introduced AHEAD of the Invocation! Really, this is shocking - but I digress…

BOB YOUNKER started off announcing that former member John Crowell was with us, visiting from Coto de Caza, while Arlene Sobel sat at our table - she is a nurse from the Sunrise Club in the Valley. Ben Turner is a Forensic Engineer, based at LA 5. PDG Steve Yoshida and his wife Yoko are from Homer, Alaska - he and our ANDY ANDERSON were fellow-DG's - and Pat Anderson was also a guest.. Beyond Rotarians, we had a bunch of other visitors: GEORGE COX introduced Barbara Cressman, who lives outside London and is visiting briefly. GEORGE DEA spoke about Ro Shaw, a Special Guest who teaches Tai Chi and is sponsored by HENRY TSENG. PETER MORE was accompanied by Shirley, and SUSAN ALLEN introduced another of our Students, Gin Lee who is studying accounting/finance at UCLA. TOM LENEHEN told us about Special Guest Janie Spencer, while the aforementioned HENRY TSENG was with our Member-on-Leave, CHIN ONG. CHIN was one of the real movers at our PLLUS presentation in Singapore - we are in his debt. New Member BOB KREISBURG brought along his wife, Vera,

The bell tolled for PP JOHN SINGLETON. Prexy STEVE asked him what he had to be pleased about, and JOHN responded that this was the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the Singleton Company. JOHN'S dad started things in Salt Lake City, and moved the company here in 1952. JOHN'S son, Todd is now the President, and PP BOB LUSK is G.M. This led to PP DAVE WHITEHEAD being called on the carpet to plug his own business, Brody-Pennell Air Conditioning. DAVE opined as how he was disappointed that GEORGE DEA wasn't running the meeting, but he did admit that his operation was founded by old-time member JACK PENNELL, and since their merger, they also are electrical contractors. SALLY BRANT spoke right up, pointing out that DAVE had changed her Airco recently, and her gas bills have gone down 50% as a result. Wouldn't you know that ELLIOTT TURNER had to chip in that he bought some light bulbs from DAVE, and his (ELLIOTT'S) gas bill also went down. Perhaps this can be explained at a later meeting…And one more financial note - PAUL SORRELL won the auction of two Laker tickets donated by BOB THOM, paying WVRC Foundation $160.00!

We finally got to KEN KILPO, who provided our Invocation, a prayer reminding us all that there are two aspects of life - giving and receiving - and each, without the other, is not as affirming as it would be otherwise. Another visitor, Cheryl Kingston, read parts of a letter from Michael J. Fox's in response to our request for his support group to be involved in our PLLUS Program. They will list our video on their web site, but cannot be directly involved beyond that. PDG ANDY ANDERSON then reintroduced PDG Steve Yoshida. ANDY pointed out that there were three Rotary Clubs in Russia before Steve became D.G., and now there are 36, so his pioneering efforts to expand Rotary into new territory has really paid off. Steve spoke briefly about his Russian experience (his District covers 11 time zones), and reminded us all that Russia has no history of volunteerism. However, the people there help each other in other ways: an example is that their doctors don't get paid - but they come to work anyway, since they are dedicated to their healing profession. Another anecdote - these same doctors raise garden vegetables, which they sell in order to be able to buy needed medicines. His last thought was that he was anxious to work with any of us in these endeavors.

And the BRIEFEST of ANNOUNCEMENTS - PETER MORE spoke of the upcoming District Conference - date is April 26-29. RUDY ALVAREZ reminded us that the deadline for applications for the Japan Student Exchange is February 15th - YOE chimes in to remind all that this is a WINNER.

And finally, even though they already have 80 signed up, there is still room to join the Valentine's Brunch at Shanghai Red's on February 10th.

Rocky Delgadillo is a candidate for City Attorney, and was introduced by PP RALPH WOODWORTH. Rocky is currently the Assistant Deputy Mayor under Riordan, in charge of our city's economic development. During his previous position with O'Melveny & Myers, he helped raise $500 million as seed money for investment in the inner city. Rocky graduated from Harvard and then Columbia Law - and in spite of 'just' playing for Harvard, played professionally with the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League.

His main theme was the extreme diversity of our Los Angeles area in economic affairs. . He specifically noted several leading components. #1 was Entertainment - we were already the largest in 1990, but have now doubled in size. #2, the New Media - we are calling it the Digital Coast, and we already have more firms than Silicon Valley and New York combined. #3 is Fashion - we passed NY five years ago and remain #1. Biotech industries, in which we are #4 in the U.S. - and #7 in the WORLD. People in this industry earn an average of $60K - more than the Entertainment average, for example. UCLA and USC provide over half of this activity, and half of the new patents nationally come from the LA area. #5 is Food Processing - we make more tortillas than in all Mexico! We have the most Asians in the country, and lead in the production of Designer Noodles (so there!). #6 is metal benders - that is mechanical production of 'widgets' of all kinds - Chicago is the #2 behind us. #7 International Trade - LA and Long Beach harbors combined (and they really are one) are #3 in the world, and #1 in the U.S. 600K jobs are provided by this sector, and the Alameda Corridor, when completed, will allow container units to be offloaded directly on trains for transfer to Union Station downtown.

He feels that this one corridor may eventually make the Panama Canal obsolete - it will be quicker to ship to LA, and train over the U.S. than go through the Canal. This led to his comment that maybe Jimmy Carter knew what he was doing when he 'gave away' the Canal.

Rocky suggests we should encourage dreamers, since that's where we get some really good ideas. He reminded us that the Internet started at UCLA in 1971 - and we 'invented' the bikini bathing suit, fortune cookies, and the Mars landing rover, to name a few. The HOLLYWOOD sign could become our own Statue of Liberty - we have a real chance to become the center of western civilization! Q&A - in the Fortune 400, we now have 14 companies in LA. Others are looking to move here. The role of the City Attorney is to interpret the new LA Charter - and that's a BIG responsibility. That office now has 440 attorneys, by the way. He believes we can revitalize downtown by locating plants there, and this in turn means we must provide multilevel housing for the people who would need to be relocated. YOE loved his final answer to the question of how you get the OK to use the downtown area - "Ask for forgiveness, rather than permission".

And at last, the Thought for the Day - "The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat" from Lily Tomlin.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe