March 29, 2001


BILL MICHAEL started us off with the Pledge. PP JIM DOWNIE was the player, and JACK HARRIS was the leader of The Battle Hymn - announcement of which was greeted with applause. Next up was PP STEVE SCHERER, who introduced his Invocation by reminding us that the current NCAA Basketball Tournament is a single elimination event - you lose once, you're out. STEVE then asked that we all get a second chance in this life --well done, STEVE

RAY ZICKFELD introduced them - and as usual recently, we had a bunch. PETER MORE'S son, Jeff, was saluted as being a big help in our Internet activities. The ever-active KEN KILPO was with Special Guest Diane Margolin, the Executive Director of the WLA Chamber of Commerce - this kind of networking is what will continue to build membership, so Thank You, KEN. For the first time in recent memory, NORA AQUINO was with us - and sure enough, when introduced, she did look familiar! Seated at my table was Norbert Alexiou, from both Frankfurt and Brentwood - his company is Alexx Visionworks, Inc, which is active in international entertainment.. YOE was the substitute introducer for Maynard Gross, from the Homer-Kachemak Bay Club in Alaska, who was the guest of HENRIETTA LIAN. Maynard is in energy conservation, - and is also HENRIETTA'S brother-in-law. PP JIM COLLINS brought along our tallest guest, George Vulich, who is known to many of our Bruin sports fans. BOB YOUNKER was pleased to have Vivianne with him today, and PETER MORE was accompanied by Shirley.

Prexy STEVE pointed out that the MORE'S are really an involved Rotary Family - Shirley with the Auxiliary, son Jeff with our Internet, and PETER is so many of our activities - a well-deserved reminder of their dedicated service. Shirley announced the coming Auxiliary Program at the Huntington Library on April 11th, which will be led by our own ART HENRY as on-site expert - call Petie HENKES to see if you can still sign up. Next up was PP MIKE NEWMAN who, more or less, announced a short meeting right after lunch today of the still-standing attorneys in WVRC - note that there are only two of these who are not senior active! Naturally, the MATSON/Watson issue was touched upon, but now seems to be at rest. YOE announced the forthcoming Group Study Exchange planning meeting, which will be next Wednesday, April 4th, at Dolores on Santa Monica Blvd. - everyone is invited, but note, it's at 0700!

And on that subject, the initial welcoming party will be next Sunday, the 8th in Downey - this is particularly important for the five host families, so they can meet their coming guests. The hosts are PP CHRIS GAYNOR, PP STEVE SCHERER, CLARK McQUAY, PP TOM LENEHEN and YOE - you should have my e-mail on this already,

and I need to know if you can attend on the 8th, please. A QUICK PITCH -

In our somewhat scattershot political offerings, Jill Barad was introduced by her friend, Ross Hopkins. Jill is running for the Fifth District City Council seat, and she has had a long and distinguished career in various phases of volunteering in City government. She heads her own public relations firm, and her main theme is the need to correct and improve the complicated business tax that LA firms have to pay. A good idea, but we still have to look at fairness - who gets how much time to promote their candidacy? (there are something like ELEVEN candidates for the 5th District - since we can't have them all, should we have any?)

Yes, as advertised, we had an excellent session following lunch today, with all the Yearlings present. As a guess, there were almost 20 of us there, and thus a lot of wide-ranging input as to what Rotary does - and how these new kids on the block can get involved. The meeting was co-chaired by HARLAN LEWIS and SUSAN ALLEN, and everyone participated, even though PP BOB WESSLING was uncharacteristically modest in his remarks about DePauw…Seriously, WVRC has a lot to be proud of, and YOE felt that that message came through loud and clear today.

Henry Martinez bravely ventured into our midst, introduced by PP RALPH WOODWORTH. Henry has been in the utility business his whole professional life, beginning with Southern California Edison for 16 years, then to the Tennessee Valley Authority, and since 1998 with the Los Angeles DWP, where he was recently promoted to Assistant General Manager. I say he was brave, since for YOE (and maybe some of the rest of you) this whole subject is extremely complicated. That's not to say that we represented a hostile audience - not at all - but certainly there was some uncertainty and confusion among our less technically inclined members.

His initial statement was that those of us served by the DWP save money - and worry - because we have our own generators and transmission systems, thus enabling us to be independent of the newly 'deregulated ' energy system in much of the rest of California. Apparently this deregulation was introduced in 1997, but we didn't like the terms that were offered, so held back. Mr. Martinez came aboard the next year, and was one of the leading voices urging us to stay out of this new system, and fortunately, their views prevailed.

It is true that our present system, and infrastructure, has some old components, dating back to the 40's. But we now have in place an Integrated Resource Plan, which will rebuild $l.7 billion dollars of new facilities on a fazed timetable. The energy produced will be cleaner than at present, due to these new technologies - and by this summer we will have added 300 megawatts of new capacity. By 2010, we will have 2000 megawatts available, and no long-transmission lines, since it is all in-state. However, transmission lines must be expanded also, to allow flexibility in both importing and exporting power when necessary.

A new concept that the DWP is promoting is the use of both fuel cells (a chemical process that produces energy) and micro turbines, plus solar panels, which we all have seen. These three sources, while small, taken individually, can add up to a lot of total power. An average solar installation costs about $8,000, and will provide half the energy needed for a 2400 square foot home. The DWP is under the oversight of the City Council, and their slogan is "We are here to serve".

Q&A - What legal authority can influence the Public Utilities Commission? - they are essentially independent of State Control, but that appears to be a good management arrangement. What is the target for capacity? They are planning on providing 7000 megawatts, with expected peak demand of 5600 in summer and 3600 in winter. How in the world did we ever get into this mess? It was assumed that competition would provide the 'usual' lower prices, which would attract investment, and the California economy would stay flat - plus the additional 30-40% of excess capacity in nearby states would always be available. None of this occurred - prices skyrocketed, investment was scared off, California began gobbling additional energy, and nearby states were suddenly using all their 'excess' capacity themselves. Why is the price so high today? Because the law says that the last daily bid, which is always the highest, is the price used for ALL bids that day. Also, the same law forbids entering into long-term contracts, so the spot market controls. Wow - it sure is a mess, and Mr. Martinez did shed some light on where we are and how we got there.

Thought for the Day - (and YOE can hardly believe the source…) "The graveyards are full of indispensable men" per Charles degauss.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe