ALL HAIL THE NEW REGIME, starting July 11th!

It was interesting sitting next to a Democrat and listening to a Republican speaker. You can perhaps guess that my seatmate had some questions as to some of the opinions expressed.  But I won't tell you it was BOB WESSLING, so you will have to wait until my verbatim report on the Speaker, which will explain the whole thing!

Prexy TED started his whole new term WITHOUT listing the various themes for the day, week, month and year. However, he did follow form by starting with the Pledge.  This was led by new member CHARLES MAGNUSON, and like any good attorney, (which he is), he came prepared with a sheaf of papers outlining opinions about the separation of church and state, plus profiles of the two judges who ruled recently on the illegality of "Under God". I'm not sure if the dissenting judge was similarly profiled, but since no one insisted upon examining this topical material, we proceeded with the standard Pledge.  Next up was JACK HARRIS as conductor and PP JIM DOWNIE on the piano, with the song being It's a Grand Old Flag.  LEE DUNAYER followed - but not too closely, since it took him awhile to make his way to the podium. His Invocation focused on how different we are, each of us as complete individuals, and stressing that we should put these bountiful talents to work in implementing the Rotary Creed.

I was pleased to be asked to say a few words about our so-recently-deceased DAVE MORE.  DAVE was special to so many of us - I outlined his military career, recalling that his 36th Artillery eventually captured NINETY THOUSAND Germans in North Africa before they moved on to Sicily, Salerno and up the boot of Italy. He and Eleanor were married in 1947, and his service at Westwood United Methodist Church was the stuff of which legends are made - eight years on Trustees, including Chairman, and five years as Lay Leader, during which time all debts on the Sanctuary were finally paid. He joined WVRC in 1980, sponsored by MILO BROOKS - MILO sure knew a good man when he saw one! I concluded my remarks with the opinion that DAVE was a good guy - a title to which all of us should aspire.  We'll miss you, DAVE.

PP DOUG DESCH introduced his Special Guest, Brian Bumpas.  Brian is busy with the alumni of Hamilton High School, and DOUG mentioned that he had, in an earlier life, flown over the Hump during WWII.  JAY HANDLE had a Special Guest, Janet James, who is Executive Director of a Youth Club of which JAY is President.  I buttonholed JAY after the meeting, saying we had missed him, and he pointed out that he has been in New York recently. RALPH SMITH brought Betty Good, his Significant Other, who has recovered very well from TWO recent strokes.  PDG ANDY ANDERSON was with Pat, who is progressing well from her recent knee operation.  JOE FISCHER brought along what he admitted was his Better Half, Dolly.  PETER MORE introduced the immediate Past President of the WVRC Auxiliary, his wife Shirley.  PDG BILL GOODWYN announced that he was accompanied by the Grandmother of his Grandchildren, Judi. LILLIAN KLIEWER brought along her almost-nine-year-old daughter, Cassandra.

Members of the Board were introduced.  Starting with PETER MORE, President-elect, RUDY ALVAREZ, Veep, PP STEVE DAY, Foundation Director, JIM BECHTEL, Youth, KEVIN KOMATSU, Community Service, RALPH SMITH, Vocational, and HANK HEUER, International. KEN LEVER, incoming Secretary, was out of town. From this relatively high point, we slipped into low comedy when Prexy TED retold a story one of his sons told him, to wit "Why did the gum cross the road?"  "Because it was stuck to the chicken's foot "- which answer, not surprisingly, elicited widespread cries of "Bring back George" and similar sentiments. On a bit more serious vein, Prexy TED reminded us that Rotary International President Bhichai Rattakul will be visiting our own WVRC this coming January.  President Rattakul has served Thailand as Foreign Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and President of the Parliament, so his visit amounts to quite an honor for us.  As Prexy TED attempted to further elucidate (that means describe…) coming plans, there was a commotion, which brought the question, "Is that the Loberg Table?" Stay tuned - apparently we are in for further comments and pearls of wisdom from PP ERIC, perhaps as early as next week!  

TED spoke briefly about all that goes on at an International Convention.  It shows the breadth and scope of Rotary, worldwide - highlighted by the parade of flags from the 140 countries in which Rotary operates. He noted that several members are already planning to attend the 2003 International Convention, which will be in Brisbane, Australia, in early June.  Those signed up so far include PP GEORGE and Janice DEA, RUDY ALVAREZ, PDG ANDY ANDERSON and Pat, PP RON LYSTER and Guin, and of course, President-elect PETER MORE and Shirley.  We were reminded that TED'S letter arrived this past week, and it should be perused, for an overview of who is doing what, etc.

Some money came in. HENRY TSENG, who just turned 95, was clipped for 95 clams.  This event triggered a donation to our Foundation of 100 dollars by his nephew, LEO. Meanwhile, SLOSS VIAU and Marjorie celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary.  This cost SLOSS 100 big ones, the same as PP MIKE NEWMAN was assessed.  Seems that MIKE'S son Patrick was with a choral group that sang at, among others, Winchester Cathedral and Westminster Abbey - obviously, travel is expensive (and worth it).  PP JIM DOWNIE and Margie sent in 100 dollars in honor of our departed PP DAVE MORE, and were joined by PP GEORGE DEA and Janice for a like amount.  And I wouldn't be fulfilling my fiduciary responsibilities if I didn't suggest that your donations in honor of DAVE and others are always welcome.  But PP JIM DOWNIE wasn't content with just his continuing financial support - he also has repainted the welcome signs directing us to our meeting place.  Thanks again, JIM.

In another money-raising endeavor, Prexy TED slyly asked those in the accounting profession to raise their hands.  Since our speaker was a CPA, each one of those pigeons who complied was nicked for 100 dollars!  Our Speaker was Greg Conlon, who is running for Californiia State Treasurer.  Since this position obviously involves fiscal watchdogedness (my word -neat, huh?), Prexy TED let the cat out of the bag regarding PP GEORGE'S fiscal shenanigans. TED presented Gregg with hard evidence of the admitted fact that PP GEORGE has been - and may, for all we know, still be - printing Dea Dollars.  Gregg accepted this evidence without comment.

SALLY BRANT, this year's overall Program Chair, then formally introduced Greg.  His resume is impressive, including 30 years as a senior partner of Arthur Anderson (1959-1991) and more recently his JD Law Degree from San Francisco Law School. He was Commissioner and later, Chairman of the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) from 1993 through 1998, plus serving as Commissioner of the California Transportation Commission. He is an Eagle Scout, and served as an Air Force pilot in 1956-59.  This is his first venture into elective politics.  While Greg won the Primary, it also provided some good lessons in campaigning.  Both he and his Primary opponent raised about $250K - $100K of which was Greg's own money - but his opponent in November has a FOUR MILLION war chest. Since Conlon lives in the Bay Area, Northern California is his base, and he acknowledges that Southern California really controls the outcome, because of the vast population differential.  The present projected state budget still has an eight billion-dollar shortfall, caused, he believes, by a 37% increase in state spending (with a net 5% increase in the population).  This increased the state payroll by 45K - that's THOUSANDS of people.  We now have the 2nd worst credit rating of any state in the Union, and this cannot be allowed to continue.  Using some smoke and mirrors, the Legislature proposes taking the money from our earlier settlement with the large tobacco firms to cover about half the deficit.  The rest could come from an increase in auto license fees, doubling from their present base.  A new, larger cigarette tax is also being discussed. How many of these will pass the Legislature is not known - but if they don't have a budget in place by Monday 15 July, all State employees are to start being paid at the minimum wage!

Conlan suggests that the present Governor and Treasurer are the ones responsible for our high energy costs.  He plans to cut expenses (don't all prospective politicians say this?), and get the state entirely out of the energy business.  Establishing financial discipline will be his next objective.  At present, by the way, each California citizen has a debt of about $1000 - if present policies continue, this will soon rise to $2000 per each of us.

Q&A - PDG BILL GOODWYN -. What is the impact of these poor credit ratings - they automatically trigger higher interest rates for any state borrowing, and we do a lot, day-to-day. YOE - is the intent of the law mandating a balanced budget being circumvented - Yes, they are using the famed smoke and mirrors to give the impression that the budget will be balanced.  PP STEVE SCHERER - what is our income from the Lottery - Schools receive between 4% and 6% from it.  JAY HANDAL - how much do we have in reserve - the state has borrowed seven billion from the general fund so far, and there are plans to issue another twelve billion in revenue bonds.  BOB THOM -why doesn't Bill Simon defend himself against the TV attack ads that keep appearing. - I don't think Conlan answered this. PP CHRIS GAYNOR - remember, California is not the only state operating in deficit - but we do have the highest increase in the country.  JACK HARRIS -are those under Prop 13 safe from changes.  Yes, but it eventually will disappear once original ownership dies off.  CATHY REZOS - who audits the state finances.  They are not audited by any outside accountants.  There is a disfunction in the way things now operate - the Treasurer needs the funds, and the Controller pays the bills, but there is no one responsible for the overall budget.  With this administration, all the money from state pensions is invested with labor-friendly countries.  Conlan reminded us of reality, when brought up the fact that his Anderson pension would not be paid. His experience with the PUC will certainly help him as State Treasurer.  BRUCE ROLF - what are our present costs of borrowing. Conlan said he wasn't sure. LEE DUNAYER - is it time to once again protect our agriculture from the fruit fly epidemic - yes.  If bonds are not issued in a timely manner, there is a .3 % penalty - and with the amounts we borrow, that's a lot of money.  PP HOMER NEWMAN -can you compare Palo Alto (where he grew up) to Redwood City, where Conlan lives.  No specific answer - and we thank HOMER for injecting a bit of humor into the speaker's message.  If he is elected and there is still a Democratic majority in the legislature, it won't be easy to put some of his proposed reforms in place. PP HOWIE HENKES -Does the mandated Minimum wage rule apply also to the Legislature  - and this question was greeted with thunderous applause.

Prexy TED gave Conlan a copy of Myron Taylor's new book on the Four Way Test  - an excellent Speakers gift, YOE believes.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe