March 14, 2002


ALMOST 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 situation.
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 profession.

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 were chosen!

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 improving.

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