THE IDES OF MARCH - the 14th, that is.
Yes, I had to look it up - the 15th was the day predicted for the
assassination of Julius Caesar, and perhaps by next year I will have
found out if it really happened that day. Anyway, at WVRC we
began with the Pledge, led by RAY ZICKFELD - and he gave us good
instruction, so everyone really started at the same time, etc.
HENRIETTA LIAN presented a thought for the day, gleaned from
the LA Times. It was titled, Look To This Day, and was indeed
thought provoking. Her delivery certainly added to its excellent
reception. LENNY FRIEDMAN and JACK HARRIS next combined to
lead us in It's a Grand Old Flag, an old standby.
The introduction of Visiting Rotarians was by SANDY SANDERSON.
Kian Moradzadeh is from Rancho Park, in Real Estate
Investments. Next, two ladies seated at my table, Benjamas S.
Watana, the Charter President of the Rotary Club of Bangkok
Suwanabhum, and Trong Watana - whose last name on her card is
Sangswangwatana, by the way - and she belongs to the same Club in
Bangkok and provides Limousine Service at the Century Park Hotel.
Since I know you all are taking notes, a prize will be
offered next week for our member who can spell any ONE of these last
names! DAVE MATSON arose to present his friend, Robert
Johnson, pointing out that this is the first time in his 2 ˝ years
as a member that he has brought anyone to the Club. He further
hopes that this will lay to rest the possible perception that he HAS
no friends… But he was concerned upon arriving to find that
he had perhaps brought Mr. Johnson to a subversive organization, one
that displayed our flag UPSIDE DOWN. This impression was immediately
corrected by ELLIOTT TURNER, who leaped to his feet to point out
that all that proved was that we were just confused (which I assume
is less heinous). While on his feet, ELLIOTT introduced his
guest, E tu Stein who is a real estate litigator..
MARK BLOCK was pleased and proud to announce that we now have FIVE
Club relatives going on the Japanese Student Exchange this summer.
They are Cindy LYSTER, Taylor MORE, Ashley GREATHEAD, Nicole
GAYNOR and Beth Jacobs, granddaughter of ANDY and Pat.
This is the largest number of our kids we have
ever sent in one year, and their sponsoring relatives are to be
congratulated on getting them involved. PDG ANDY ANDERSON was
up next to fill us in on the forthcoming District-wide Music
Contest, which will be held at that well known local institution,
Westwood United Methodist Church. Attendance will cost ten
bucks, ALL of which will be used for prize money for scholarship
winners of the several categories of music. The Westwood ladies will
provide some refreshments, and it should be a lovely afternoon -
save the date!
The last District Breakfast of this Rotary year will be March 26th,
0715 at the LAX Marriott - PP DOUG DESCH can sign you up. And
two days later, our last meeting this month, on the 28th, will be
Spouses Day - the speaker will be Police Chief Bernard Parks, which
should be a good draw for attendance. Also, that's a good
meeting to ask guests, by the way. The District Conference,
chaired by our own PP RON LYSTER, is set for May 2nd to the 5th at
the U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego. There's a train ride,
hospitality suites, tennis and golf tournaments, a Yoga class by
Guin LYSTER, and DAVE MATSON will provide an ecumenical Service on
Sunday, and his wife, Mary, will sing.
President Elect TED IHNEN spoke about our excellent expected
attendance at the International Convention in Barcelona, which will
be from the 24th to the 27th of June.
Among those going are Pat and PDG ANDY ANDERSON, Janice and Pres.
GEORGE DEA, RUDY ALVAREZ, ANN SAMSON, Joe and LENORE MULRYAN, Guin
and PP RON LYSTER, Theresa and TED IHNEN, and perhaps Marian
and LEO TSENG. It should be a great affair.
PP MIKE NEWMAN did his usual excellent presentation of two new
members, KACY ROZELLE and SEAN McMILLAN. KACY, who is
sponsored by TED IHNEN, SLOSS VIAU, and former member, BILL
BLOOMFIELD JR, is in Private Equities, lives in the Palisades, has 2
kids and likes to golf, hike, and ski. There is some suspicion
that he has been known to play golf with our long-lost member, PP
RON WANGLIN, plus BILL and TED, of course. SEAN is sponsored
by RAY ZICKFELD, and is in International Law, officed in Santa
Monica. He has 3 kids, his hobbies are skiing, tennis, and
flying - has his own plane. SEAN and RAY were both former
members of Century City Rotary, so they go back quite a ways. PP
MIKE then asked the question that former member and PP JIM EDWARDS
used in HIS introductions - What Is Rotary? It's a worldwide
organization of dedicated men and women who consistently work for
world understanding and peace - and as PP BOB WESSLING reminds
us, somehow we remain as the one of the world's best kept secrets.
Let's spread the word of all the good that we do, OK? SEAN and
KACY were then given a well-deserved standing ovation.
KEN LEVER was invited forward by Pres. GEORGE - and some of us know
that this can often be a risky business (although, admittedly, not
as dangerous as PP ERIC LOBERG would be), Anyway, KEN claimed
that Pres. GEORGE was complaining to him that a number of our
members felt that our meetings lacked substance - and he, KEN, of
all people, was charged with doing something about this regrettable
He chose as his first weekly title, The Week That Never Was (or
maybe it was NOT).
So, KEN pointed out that among the major news stories of the week
were, of course, the continuing war on terrorism, the six-month 9/11
anniversary, the intifada in the Middle East, certainly the rise in
the stock market - but overwhelming all of these was the portentous
announcement that David Letterman had agreed to stay with CBS,
spurning ABC in the process. He next chose two erudite (that means
they got smarts) pigeons to comment on Letterman, etc. First
up was PP STEVE SCHERER, and he tried manfully to elicit some
response from this bunch of early-to-bedders regarding their
reaction to Letterman Vs Ted Koppel. Turns out that Discussion
Chair KEN was the only one present who would admit to staying up
that late, and he confessed that he sometimes had other things in
mind at that time. PP BOB WESSLING was up next, and in view of
STEVE'S lack of audience response, reverted to his well-known and
obviously favorite topic, the athletic fortunes of De Pauw. BOB
pointed out that his Tigers (the men, that is) had reached the Elite
Eight, but lost, while the ladies were in the Final Four. YOE
has to comment here that you never know what might happen if you go
and allow the STUDENTS to play.
Our Speaker was Stewart Kwoh, Executive Director of the Asian
Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California,and he was
introduced by Pres. GEORGE. The Center was founded in 1983,
and is the largest such center in the United States. It deals
with problems like immigration, domestic violence and hate crimes,
has a staff of 40, some 700 volunteers, and serves as many as 15
thousand clients per year. Stewart has good genes - graduated
from UCLA plus UCLA Law, and has numerous honors within the legal
Stewart told us there were 250 hate crimes in the U.S. last year
committed against Asians - often, only because they sometimes look
like middle easterners. This racial stereotyping is very dangerous -
and we ought to be shocked by its prevalence. He recalled the
terrible unfairness of our treatment of west coast Japanese during
WWII, which had no basis whatsoever in fact - it was really just a
gut reaction that we had to do SOMETHING, and by God, those Japs
The issue of sweatshops is a serious concern. His neighbor
worked for a public agency, and they found an escapee, who led them
to a group of eighty Thai nationals who were literally enslaved in
Los Angeles. Among the guilty persons to be considered here
are not only those who kept them in virtual slavery but the
follow-up chain of those who benefit from the low-cost articles
these 'slaves' produce - that is, wholesalers and retailers,
among others. We all know slavery is wrong - but we are not as
concerned about its prevalence as we might be. And the good
news is that we in California now have some of the best laws in the
entire nation regarding these sweatshops.
Q&A - RAY ZICKFELD, When I was on the Board of the United Way,
we were often looking for representatives from the many ethnic
minorities in the area. Is there now a dialogue between them?
There is some, and it is improving. We now have Latino
and Thai workers who labor side by side, which once was considered
an impossible combination. Asians need to learn to participate
in other than their own charities.
PDG ANDY ANDERSON, why are Cambodians almost always in poverty
classifications? Essentially because they are almost all
refugees, without any education - and they don't speak English.
At one time, all refugees were put on welfare, which is the
wrong system - they urgently need to learn English, and this is
A final note, if I may. I parked on the first level above
Stone Canyon, and they moved me to the second level. There
was a note on my windshield, saying "Don't park on the first
level if it is full. Park here. " OK.
YOE, Ernie Wolfe