February 7, 2002


Rotary in Westwood 

February 7th at WVRC
RICK LIVERMORE started us off by leading the Pledge.  Then came LENNY FRIEDMAN and GREGG ELLIOTT, and we once again sang America.  Note, there was a minor change of key, which was requested - but tough for some of us who were never sopranos.  BRUCE ROLF was pleased to give the Invocation, since he felt he owed the Club some time, after last week. His initial subject was Who Will Write Your Obituary?, and you don't get to choose, probably - so be on your best, OK?

RUDY ALVAREZ told us there was one visiting Rotarian, Richard Marcusi, a Contractor from Culver City, where he once Mayor.  Several brand new members were introduced. LILLIAN KLIEWER is a Realtor, sponsored by two Past Presidents, HOMER and MIKE NEWMAN.  DON PARK sponsored ALON DORON, who is in Publishing and JAY HANDAL was brought in by KEN KILPO and Pres. GEORGE.  JAY owns the two San Gennaro restaurants nearby, in Brentwood and Culver City.  As before, our thanks to these thoughtful present members who went the extra mile in spreading the word about WVRC - the NEWMANS, DON PARK, KEN KILPO and Pres. GEORGE.  PAUL SORRELL introduced his two guests, Bob Martin and Ellen Prystajko - both are with Gavin De Becker & Associates - and Bob will be our speaker today.  YOE recalls that Bob Martin was a guest at our meeting last week - wanted to check us out before speaking, apparently. Sometime during these proceedings, Pres.GEORGE fingered LYNDON PARKER, who was questioned about having neither a sports jacket nor a Rotary pin on.  When LYNDON replied that his pin was truly, "in his heart", Pres. GEORGE'S intention of a confiscatory fine simply melted away,
I guess. PP RON LYSTER brought Greg Jones, who is with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. BRUCE ROLF was with Marie. And keep those visitors coming, please - they do add to the festivities.  

There were several announcements.   Remember that next week we are meeting at the LAX Marriott, to hear Rick King, RI President - and all our forty tickets are already spoken for - please don't show up without a ticket.  Our District Conference, chaired by our own PP RON LYSTER is set for May 2nd to the 5th at the US Grant Hotel in San Diego.  Round-trip rail cost is a bargain at $50, and the scenery enroute is certainly attractive. KEN KILPO presented a check for $300 to Meals On Wheels, which was accepted by PP ERNIE WOLFE.  ERNIE pointed out that those who deliver the meals are sometimes the only person the recipient will see that day - so it is a most worthwhile service.  We average delivering about one hundred meals per day, five days a week.  Among our members who deliver meals are PP JIM SUMNER and Doris, Carol Collins, and YOE.  A brief pitch, if I may: the delivery takes about an hour and a half, the people you meet are interesting, and most important, this is a service which needs more volunteers, always.  Please think about coming aboard, OK?  Call me!

PP STEVE DAY came forward to present a Paul Harris membership to our Volunteer of the Year.  STEVE explained that funds for this activity come from the trust established by GEORGE and Marian SCHWARTZ - the trust being established when he passed away some time ago.  KEN KILPO came forward to speak about this year's recipient - our own new member JAY HANDAL!  JAY was born in NY, coming to LA in 1975.  His list of accomplishments and awards is most impressive.  He is currently the President of the WLA Chamber of Commerce, which under his leadership has grown from less than one hundred members to almost one THOUSAND today!  Along the way, he helped with the revitalization of downtown Culver City, and led successful programs involving youth, the Brentwood-Westwood Symphony, and other organizations (literally, too many to mention by name).  I was seated next to him today, and, in response to my question, he said both San Gennaro restaurants have the same menu, and are mirror images of each other.  They provide some major help to various homeless programs, also.

Pres. GEORGE next picked on those with birthdays this month. He first pointed out that Sagatarians, and (I think) Pices were known to be both cheap and expensive - which gives a lot of opportunity for derogatory comments, of course.   The first three named were LEO TSENG, PDG BILL GOODWYN, and DONN CONNOR, who apparently were grouped together because they have something to do with Finance.  GEORGE appeared to be genuinely surprised that DONN was present - which in turn led to DONN"S retort, "I didn't know you were still President!"  Into the mix went LENNY FRIEDMAN and MIKE O'CONNELL - maybe because they both work in the Village. Apparently, only those in attendance were honored today.  If there were other birthday people mentioned, I apologize - and I do guarantee BANNER COVERAGE next week for any errors or omissions when called to my attention, OK?  PDG ANDY ANDERSON came forward to announce that $6K was recently sent to India to refurbish the HOWARD PHILLIPS wing of Dr. Borrati's hospital, plus another $2K which will be used to buy twenty wheelchairs for polio victims who cannot be helped by surgery. - all funds coming from the Howard Phillips Foundation.  Good job, ANDY.  Finally, TED IHNEN was seen and recognized - he reported that he had absolutely reliable intelligence that PP RON WANGLIN was involved with golf today ON THE WESTSIDE - but obviously didn't make it to WVRC, somehow.  Pres. GEORGE leaped at the chance to fine RON two hundred big ones.

PAUL SORRELL introduced our Speaker, Bob Martin, who is vice-president of Gavin De Becker, a firm specializing in advising on terrorism and ways to meet the threats  
which come with the territory.  PAUL first stated that he and Mr. Martin had discussed his presentation during lunch, and Bob has agreed to keep it simple and not use any big words, in deference to our members who hail from SC…He is a 28-year veteran of the LAPD, retiring as a Captain and specializing in related security matters.  In 1990, for instance, he headed the newly formed Threat Management Division of the LAPD, and during his watch the Rodney King riots came along, plus the 1994 earthquake, so he has, indeed, "been there".  He has lectured extensively, and among his audiences have been major universities, the FBI and the CIA.

Bob started off with a definition of an optimist - that's a person who applauds your speech before it is given (and jumping ahead, YOE will applaud this guy's speech anytime - he was outstanding). Another speaker was lecturing before some 300 experts in the field, and as he finished, one in the audience was heard to say, "That's the worst speech I've ever heard".  Ignoring long-standing caution, the speaker started to accost this individual, based on the theory that you shouldn't be allowed to challenge authority. However, he was restrained by another speaker - "That guy's a known idiot.  Ignore him - all he's doing is repeating what everyone else is saying".

Bob asked us some questions - Did you talk to your kids about not speaking to strangers? and almost everyone raised his or her hands.  Did you tell them that their own relatives are most likely to be child abusers? - and of course, no one raised their hand.  Yet the facts are that 80% of sexual or child abuse is carried out by family members - people you know! His very first case was as a junior partner with an experienced patrolman, who was driving.  They got a call to investigate a domestic violence incident, which was going on right then.   When they arrived at the scene, his partner just strolled up to the front door, even though they could hear cries and sounds of scuffling as they approached.  Finally, the man appeared at the front door - his shirt was awry, he was red-faced, and breathing hard.  The senior officer could see the woman in the background - she was trying to cover the bruise on her cheek from being struck.  Both of them said there was no problem.  The officer then told them if there was another incident of any kind, someone would be going to jail. As they drove away, Bob said, "I think you did that well".  His partner replied, "We'll be back - just hope it isn't tonight".  Shortly afterward, another call, and this time the lead officer rushed into the house, finding the man sitting atop his wife, who had a kitchen fork driven into her eye - she was dead.  This was Bob's first homicide.

There is nothing new in human nature.  We are all human, and each of us has probably experienced all the emotions that are possible - but we seem to think that there is such a thing as inhuman behavior - not true.  Violence is committed by people, who look just like other people.  Try to remember that YOU are the expert - you've been there.  If something doesn't look right, obey your instincts - they are your best safeguard.
Example - That lion doesn't look very hungry!  What does your INSTINCT say?

There are two categories of protection from violence.  One is to reduce the risk, and the other is to reduce anxiety. Only reducing the risk works, yet much of what we do is basically aimed at reducing anxiety. Starting in 1971 - that's THIRTY-ONE YEARS ago - the first reported incident regarding a passenger entering the cockpit of a commercial aircraft took place.  The intruder was eventually subdued, after mortally wounding the co-pilot and shooting the pilot in both arms - but we haven't locked the doors to the flight deck yet.  There have been SIX recorded incidents since then - what does it take to bring about change, please?  

Bob blames the news media for our perception that violence is everywhere.  It if isn't gruesome, it doesn't get printed - and thus the only 'news' we get is about isolated, and really, infrequent violence.  After the Columbine shootings, there was a major effort to install cameras in schools - yet, at Columbine, they already HAD cameras, and all they did was to graphically record what the attackers were doing.  They provided no protection - but again, the media pounced on the idea that videos were the answer to schoolyard terrorism.  Remember that we lost over 3000 people in the 9/11 tragedy - but note that EACH YEAR, over 4000 women are killed by their husbands of boyfriends.

Many women are aware of these risks - but they deny them, because there are so many other risks.  The facts are that there has been a major reduction in domestic violence since 1960, and life is measurably safer now.  But the media continues to exaggerate isolated incidents, and what we see is what we believe (taken out of context).  TV uses fear to get an audience.  They perpetuate the myth that we cannot protect ourselves - but they could teach otherwise.  Why not show good people, volunteers helping - an example is the 1.2 million members of an organization we all know, whose motto is Service Above Self
Let's explore the positive.  And Bob Martin, your message is appreciated - thank you.

Mea Culpa - I know this report is long, but please note two further thoughts -
We have a lovely letter from Virginia Tanner, BOB TROXLER'S daughter, thanking us for the cards and letters he has received during his illness.  Please keep them coming, and I'm still looking for some more people who can visit him occasionally, until he can return to WVRC.  
Last note - Monday is the 11th - FLY your flag that day, OK? Thanks, YOE,Ernie Wolfe.