March 21, 2002


WESTWOOD as March begins to wind down - the 21st.

PP BOB LUSK got us started, with the Pledge.  Next, the team of JACK HARRIS and GREGG ELLIOTT accompanied us in God Bless America, which went well, also.
MARK BLOCK then read what I would call a Pastoral Letter from his Rabbi, and it was well done  (probably no surprise).  Passover and Easter were compared, with the historical information that Passover celebrated the Hebrew's release from bondage in Egypt - and this history also served to remind the Christians present that Jesus celebrated the Passover - Easter came later.  Good thoughts, MARK - we can always depend on you for meaningful Invocations.

GEORGE COX was called upon to introduce the visitors - but he had just arrived, so the task was taken over the Pres. GEORGE.  Those present were headed by our District Governor Len Wasserstein, who was accompanied by Incoming DG Rick Mendoza, plus the Governor's Aide, Pat Cashin.  A late-arriving guest was Pat Gustlin, office manager at SALLY BRANT'S firm. We had another Visiting Rotarian, Thomas Clark Tuffs, an architect from Cleveland, Ohio.  PP STEVE ADLER brought along his long-time business associate, Glenn Darlington, who hails from Perth.  He is a former major in the Australian Army and will be in town for the next week or so. He presented us with a Club flag. His presence is certainly meaningful to YOE, since my wife, Joy, has been in Perth these last several weeks caring for her mother.  Glenn said he would try to reach her - so we'll see if I can deliver his email address to Joy, and she can then give him a working phone number for herself.  Our world gets smaller.  

ELLIOTT TURNER introduced his Special Guest, Diana Rockow, who is in the residential real estate field.  And Pres. GEORGE had a guest, Weijie Yun (yes, that IS the right spelling, by golly) - he is in Venture Capital in the San Jose area.  We did have one Visiting Rotarian - Thomas Clark Tuffs, an architect who belongs to Rotary in Cleveland.  BOB YOUNKER was accompanied by his wife, Vivianne and their daughter, Kathy, who lives in Washington DC. PETER MORE then provided a nice sort of 'goodbye' for the YOUNKERS, who are moving to the Sacramento area to be with their other daughter, Christine Nelson.   BOB has been a most active (new) member, and was our introductory Webmaster.  He was presented with a lovely WVRC nameplate for all his efforts in our behalf.  The YOUNKER family will really be missed.

District Governor Len Wasserstein came forward to explain and narrate some slides about our February 2002 District 5280 visit to India.  This was in behalf of our continuing involvement with the many victims of Polio.  Governor Len first announced - and WVRC is the first club in District 5280 to hear this news - that President Elect Gary C.K. Huang of the Rotary Club of Taipei, Taiwan will be RI President Richard King's Representative at our District Conference in San Diego.  But back to the visit to India. - WVRC sent along two checks - $2000 to buy the 31 wheelchairs Len mentioned, and $6000 to help rehab Dr. Borate's hospital.  Dr. Borate, by the way, is the current District Governor for the Punee area. The sixteen-team members on this visit split into two groups - half to observe and help with the corrective surgery, and the other half visiting those who had already had the various operations. Some more notes here, if I may: - buying 31 wheelchairs for $2000 is a hell of a bargain (although the locals may have helped a bit, since they cost $90 each).  The hospital is located outside of Punee, and our District is starting an appeal for each of us to contribute $100 a year to this most worthy project. Another number comes to mind - for $140 you can provide the operation which will enable these unfortunate victims to WALK again - and there can be no better bargain!  I've said it before - we spill more than that.

Pres. GEORGE gave an excellent overview of the events which will take place in San Diego at our forthcoming District Conference.  As you know, PP RON LYSTER is the Chair of this major event, and there is something for everybody who attends.  As an incentive to new members, the Club will pick up their $35 Registration Fee - it will be worth visiting, for sure.  We do need more of WVRC members to sign up - and since the price, etc., goes up on April 1st, now is the time to do it.  Let's support PP RON and about-to-be- former Pres.GEORGE.  If questions, call PP DOUG DESCH.

SALLY BRANT introduced our Speaker, Scott Gibson, President of Coldwell Banker.  Scott is a native, and obviously had good early advice, since he graduated from UCLA.
He has been in Real Estate since college, working for several local firms - most of which are now part of Coldwell Banker.  For the record, his official title is President of the Greater Los Angeles Coldwell Banker Companies.  This includes 48 branches with 3300 sales associates, and he is headquartered in Brentwood.

Scott began by confessing that he had moved from Palos Verdes, with all those SC people, to the Palisades, to be among the many UCLA fans in that area.  He considers Los Angeles to be the World Capital of Real Estate - among the reasons are the weather, the diversity and strength of our local economy, and the ambiance of our surroundings.    In December of 2000 CB felt we were heading for another recession.
It was not expected to be as prolonged, or as serious as it was in the early 90's - and this forecast seems to have proved out, since we are heading out of recession at this time.
At least, that's what CB clients are saying, and he hopes the same attitude is prevalent among WVRC members.

He points out that our present prosperity is being fueled by 'domestic' money - that is, capital from the rest of the U.S.  In the late 70's and into the 80's, the Middle East was the source of our financing, and more recently, Japan, plus some European involvement was the largest player in our local economy.    Note that this is the first time in forty years that the major economic powers are ALL having a recession at about the same time.  
The real estate market began to heat up in 2001which caused sales inventories to grow - and then came 9/11.  And yet, the period of October 2001 through January of this year were all record months, as far as sales are concerned. CB was averaging one billion per month, and 18 billion for the whole of last year - their nearest competitor produced 3.9 billion in annual sales.

Interest rates will be going up, and that means the inventory of properties will increase, so it's a good time to both buy AND sell right now.  He expects a price increase in the Westside of up to 20% this year.  Breaking that down, the 1 to 2 million dollar homes will go up perhaps 10%.  Those in the 2 to 3 million range won't change much - this is called, in the trade, the Middle Class!  Over 3 million sales will include 4 or 5 over 20 million.  The highest end of the market will provide the most inventory, because of the recent recession. - lots of dot commers are no longer rich.  Prices in that highest category may decline by 10 to 15% into 2003.

Q&A - and there were LOTS.  GEORGE COX - is there mostly cash in the high-end deals?  Yes, there aren't many traditional deals.  JACK HARRIS - what are the demographics in California?  Latinos are the biggest group coming in, and San Diego gets many from south of the border who are high-end purchasers. We don't have many affordable units, so that sends them to Riverside and environs.  LEE DUNAYER - which appreciates more, new or older homes?  New does better, unless major remodeling occurs.  
PP STEVE SCHERER - is there more movement in the population now than before?  Yes.  A recent example in our area - lot offered at 7 million, sold for 8.5, and that means they will be spending at least 5 million for the house itself.  The market is much more fluid, more product produces more inventory. RAY ZICKFELD - what is Donald Sterling trying to do?  He wants to be the LA version of Donald Trump.

PP MIKE NEWMAN -when, if ever, will the movement to Orange County end?  In San Diego County they are building 200.2 million-dollar homes - but so far, they have sold very few, since the builders made a big mistake in what the market would support.  
By the way, Westside prices will peak soon.  PP HOWIE HENKES - how will the airport discussion affect OC?  They MUST look ahead - John Wayne cannot support their needs.
PP JOHN SINGLETON - what is the future of the condo market?  It's the last to go up, and last to come down, but very strong now.  LA used to have 200K condos, now they cost 400K.  Kathy YOUNKER - how does our market affect other distant markets?  The Midwest has slowed, but both coasts are strong.  RALPH BEASOM - what are the main factors in the cost of new homes?  Price of land, permits are huge, and finish work is very high.  BOB YOUNKER -how is San Francisco doing?  Last year they had a big drop, but it is steady now.  JACK HARRIS - how has gridlock affected us?  And here, YOE comes in to totally disagree with Scott Gibson - he thinks it isn't as bad as it once was.  

With unexpected time remaining, FINES!  PP RON LYSTER - your problem with the motorcycle article is that you NEVER mentioned WVRC - 150 clams.  FLOYD DEWHIRST - An award for a lifetime commitment to dentistry - that's 100 big ones.
MIKE YOUSEM -All those trucks of yours parked on Sepulveda - another 100 bucks.
Petie and PP HOWIE HENKES had their 60th Anniversary today - and certainly, no fine was levied -but our CONGRATUALATIONS to both of you!  And finally, our sincere thanks to our Rotary Auxiliary for their $210 gift to the Read by Nine program.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe