March 28, 2002


MARCH FINALE - the 28th at WVRC

PP RON LYSTER provided us with a bit of history, as far as how the first Pledge of Allegiance was phrased.  Then the test - did we know TODAY'S version?  Yes, we passed.  LENNY FRIEDMAN and JACK HARRIS took the stage for the song, with JACK asking plaintively if GREGG ELLIOTT was in the audience.  He was not, so JACK accepted the duty.  We sang America the Beautiful, and there was a minor difference of opinion as to which key we were in - apparently JACK was in F, but with eleven other keys to choose from, some in the audience choose another route.  Since we're not in the running for "Best Rotary Singers" it went just fine.  PP JOHN SINGLETON gave the Invocation, and it was well done.  While on the subject of JOHN, he and Joanne have invited all those attending the District Conference to stop in on Thursday late afternoon in Carlsbad.  Their home is well worth seeing - and a little bird told me 'a piece of ice' might also be available.  Please do call them to RSVP, OK?

JAYNE SPENCER did a nice job of introducing the Visiting Rotarians.  First up was John Colville, from Paramount - he is a Plastics Manufacturer, but his real claim to fame is that he will follow Rick Mendoza as incoming District Governor.  Susan Hill belongs to the Villa de Alverez Club - in Mexico -while Ted Rose currently belongs to Arcata, CA. Prez. GEORGE asked the Spouses who were present to stand, and there were quite a few.  PETER MORE admitted that his guest was the real author of our Website, his son Jeff.  It took Jeff about four hours - and the results really show.  Thanks, Jeff.  PP RALPH WOODWORTH was with Robert Avila, who is General Manager of the Glenridge Home Owners Association.  Bob Greer was the guest of PP JIM COLLINS - Bob is a retired Continental Airlines pilot, and may become a Special Guest.   YOE had a Special Guest, Joe Spooner.  Joe is an MD, with an MBA, lives in the Palisades and he works with the elderly.  Prez. GEORGE also had a Special Guest, Kaz Nihahara, a retired professor from UCLA.                           .

Husband and wife, Ted Rose and Susan Hill,  next presented an excellent report on Rotary Project Amigo. They both have varied Rotary backgrounds -Ted belonged to Rotary in Ferndale, CA, and Kirkland, WA. while Susan was formerly a member of Emerald City, also in WA. This project started over 18 years ago, when Ted was in Colima, trying to find the famous volcano, Popocatepetl. (Yes, all right, I DID have to look up the spelling!) Anyway, he failed to find the volcano, but while waiting three hours for his return bus, some children from the Orphanage gathered round him - they were fascinated, since he was so foreign. The memory of these poor kids remained with him, so Susan and he came down the following Christmas and gave them a party.  Their description of the need brought others from his Club down to visit, and so Rotary Project Amigo was launched.  Currently, RPA provides medical and dental care to the poor in the State of Colima, frequent enrichment activities, Jr. and SR high school scholarships (school isn't free after the 6th grade in Mexico), and for those that qualify, college scholarships (currently, 61 students are on scholarship).  They have weekly Homework Clubs, staffed by volunteers over the whole state of Colima, and excelling in school earns incentive awards.  Casa Amiga is the RPA boarding house for young women students in Colima - note they focus on the rural poor, most of whom have no opportunity to progress with their education.  An exciting sponsor activity is their Voluntary Work Week program, which is scheduled several times every year  - you spend a week in Colima, helping in carefully directed ways - this is hands-on volunteerism!  YOE has details, or you can check at  Editorial comment - this would make one hell of a great Club project for WVRC - think about it, please.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "One cannot sincerely help another without helping himself" - and we all can use the help.  Summary- this is a truly inspirational project!  Thanks to Susan and Ted for opening this opportunity to all of us.

PAUL SORRELL and PP STEVE SCHERER have completed an excellent quarter as Program Chairs, and they received some well-deserved applause.  PP JIM DOWNIE was warmly thanked for fixing up our lectern and continuing to monitor and repair our sound system.  I was pleased to remind all our members of how special GEORGE DEA is - his help with a visiting patient at UCLA is another example of Service above Self.

Here's just a partial listing of what will be going on at the District Conference in San Diego.  Thursday - golf tournament, the train down, and a Spanish Dinner.(plus stopping enroute at the Singleton's).  Friday - We host the District Breakfast, Vocational and Club Service celebrations,  Reza Pahavi as luncheon speaker, the Tennis Tournament, and Hospitality Suites.  Saturday, 5K run/walk, new member breakfast, Community, Youth, and International Service celebrations, Chris Lewis as luncheon speaker, Music, Tennis and Golf awards, District Reception and Silent Auction, and the Gala Ball. And on Sunday, Yoga with Guin LYSTER,, an Interfaith service led by our own DAVE MATSON and a noon brunch. Book by Monday, April 1st for the best rates, OK?
NOTE -WVRC PAYS for all new members Registration Fees - a bargain, so GO!

KEN LEVER was up next - this in spite of the fact that he had the temerity to bring his wife, Beverly, along as a witness.  He reminded us of a previous interlude, and this was a continuation of something loosely called The week that never was.  Recognizing that we can well use some uplifting and possibly more cerebral intercourse, he then fingered PP ERIC LOBERG, asking him for his evaluation of the recent boxing match between Paula Jones and Tanya Harding.  Before he replied, ERIC expressed concern about an advance caution voiced by YOE regarding ERIC'S known proclivity for racy stories - and the pleasing thing about this, to YOE, was that at least SOMEONE is reading my stuff!
ERIC started by titling this historic event "The Clubber vs the Lover", or, if you prefer, "The cat scratch in the desert patch".   He noted that Paula was gowned by Frederick's of Hollywood, while Tanya was sponsored by Golden  As a fitting conclusion, he pointed out that Tanya turned tail, so to speak, and ran…Referring to the sky-high ratings for this event, ERIC couldn't help but be impressed when he later learned that the most popular sports program on TV today is pro wrestling!  A word to the wise here - don't mess with this guy, OK?

PDG ANDY ANDERSON introduced our speaker, Chief of Police Bernard Parks.   ANDY, who as most of you know, was one of three Deputy Chiefs when he retired, has known Chief Parks for only the last thirty years, so we have to take whatever ANDY says with the proverbial grain of salt…Seriously, ANDY did remind us that all the criticism that has erupted over Park's possible renomination for another five year term comes from the Police Protective League - the Police labor union, that is.   This could be likened to the auto workers union objecting to the choice of a CEO for Ford Motor Company -it's just not done.  Remember that the officers of this union are all sworn police officers, paid by us citizens, and protected by their Civil Service status from any responsibility for their actions.  (YOE would guess there aren't many Rotarians who like unions…)

Chief Parks reminded us that only a few years ago, the LAPD was in such terrible shape that they had to bring in a general to run it.  It was known as the best department that money could buy.  Chief Parker came in, and things changed.  The Police serve 4 million citizens in LA- their motto is "To protect and to Serve".  While most of us may never be in touch with many city departments, our inborn need for safety means we will all have contact with our Police. The LAPD has a huge website - best in the U.S., apparently - and it eleven thousand pages tells of its many crime prevention programs.  A couple of statistics - we average 200 traffic deaths a year in LA.  194 police officers have been killed in line of duty.  Those are big numbers.

LA is safer today than it has been in the last thirty years.  And in that period, our population has grown by 1.2 million residents.  Why has the crime rate dropped?
Part of the reason is that we don't have as many kids coming along - and youth have historically been the biggest source of crime.  Also, we have added between 2000 and 2500 new police officers, which always helps.  The most crimes occur in the first few years of any decade, by the way.  75% of people say they feel safer now than before - but the Union keeps up the flack.

A bad statistic - of those persons jailed in the last thirty years, and since released, over 80% of them return to prison - and 40 % of all released prisoners come back to LA.  
Chief parks commented on the homeless community, reminding us that the great majority of them are mentally ill.  They were promised treatment, but it never came - thus they are still with us, and won't go away.  A large number of them are addicts, and there are very few facilities where they can be treated.  And of course, criminals prey on these people - they are easy marks.  He noted that the police are usually called in after everything else has failed.  And the homeless are more visible now than before 9/11

. There are 100 different languages spoken in LA.  As an indication of our racial diversity, there are more Samoans in LA than in Samoa!  Almost any foreign protest has supporters in LA, since we just have so many diverse people living here.  We now recognize that our border with Canada is the one that needs protection from entering terrorists - they don't come in from Mexico.  And we should remember that we each have some responsibility for knowing what is going on in our neighborhood - the Police can't do it all, and certainly not without our help and cooperation.  Two examples of suspicions that should have been raised - the flight students in Florida who weren't interested in landing or takeoff, just level flight - what were their instructors thinking about?  And how many drivers' licenses can come to any one address before someone starts asking questions?

Q&A - and I may have missed some names here.  I did ask the first question - what is your reaction to the jailing of drug users, as opposed to pushers, etc.  Education and enforcement are what works.  Drugs should not be free, and interdiction does work.
Judi GOODWYN - why do so many young people have mental problems.  The former crack babies are now growing up.    Remember, the family is where they learn violence.  Mental health gets the last public health attention, and we badly need to show young people better ways to live. Prez. GEORGE - has the DARE program been eliminated.
The Police Commission decided the 60 officers involved would be more valuable on the streets than in the classrooms. But DARE did produce good results when it was being used.  LEE DUNAYER -  what are some comparable police forces.  New York has eight million people, 40K policemen.  Chicago, smaller than LA, but 13K officers.  We now have 2.1 officers for each 1000 residents, and we should have 3, at least. Note that Chief Davis said we needed 8500 officers almost twenty years ago - and this was just accomplished recently.  PP HOWIE HENKES - does the 3-day workweek really work.  The pilot programs did not show the system to be effective, but the new system is somewhat better - and it will be in effect citywide soon.  Where do our police officers live.  80% outside LA, 20% here.  RAY ZICKFELD - do we effectively coordinate with nearby non-LA districts in crime prevention.   There are 18 such areas, and we have good relations with all of them.  LENNY FRIEDMAN - what do you think of the succession movement.  I'm not in favor - there will be lots of tough issues if it passes.  JACK HARRIS - Governor Davis wants to close nine prisons. - where will they go.  We can house 160K prisoners, and it depends on what future decisions are made.  [[ STEVE SCHERER - why is Mayor Hahn against you.  He wasn't in the election campaign, but he is now pandering to special interests (read, the union).   
Chief Parks, you could tell from all those who stayed beyond normal closing time that we were all interested in your presentation.  Thanks for being with us.

Three members were with us who should be recognized - DANNY SKINNER, who went to school with Chief Parks, BOB THOM - we've missed you , BOB, and NORA AQUINO -come see us more often, please.  

YOE, Ernie Wolfe