WVRC MEETING # 2 - July 18th, 2002

I hope you are as impressed as I am with the consistent and dedicated service that FLOYD DEWHIRST has provided as our Front Page Bulletin Editor.  This task is, in many ways, more important than the Windmill itself - it tells what is GOING to happen, rather than just reporting on what HAS occurred.  Floyd has carried out this responsibility for several years, and he FINALLY decided it was time to step down.  FLOYD, all of us in WVRC are in your debt - thanks for a job WELL DONE!  And I have to report that it's always an unexpected pleasure when someone agrees readily to a request for volunteer service.  I called PP RALPH WOODWORTH, told him my problem, and he immediately replied "Ernie, I'll be glad to help!"  We are still in good hands.

YOE is certain that he wasn't the only member present who was deeply touched by Prexy TED'S announcement of our WVRC Theme for 2002-03.  You gotta admit that "Do Not Scream" - in Chinese, yet - is both catchy and appropriate.  However, a word of caution - it may be necessary to inscribe this message on the forehead of certain, here unnamed, members.  Each of us needs all the help he can get, and an occasional cautionary word is often the difference between bedlam and simple disorder.

We did pledge to our Flag, using the still-legal phrase to which we have become accustomed, and were ably led in this endeavor by SLOSS VIAU.  LENNY FRIEDMAN and GREGG ELLIOTT next assisted us in getting through America - and it should be noted that GREGG also provided some pre-meeting background music, which was enjoyed by all. MAX LICHTENBURGER provided the Invocation, reminding us all that winning isn't everything - standing for something is more important.  

At this juncture, new member AL BELLANCA was ready and willing to announce our Visiting Rotarians - but alas, there were none. AL, a word of advice, if I may - please don't take this failure personally.  PP DOUG DESCH once again introduced his Special Guest, Brian Bumpas, who takes care of Alumni Activity for Hamilton High School.  PP JIM DOWNIE once again provided a useful but often unnoticed service to WVRC, refinishing the Welcome Signs, which direct us to the proper entrance for our meeting.  JIM, you are always there when needed. Thanks. And there was just ONE announcement,
that being about the upcoming District Breakfast.  The date is Tuesday July 30th, and the speaker is Jean Irwin, a former Ambassadorial Scholar, on the topic, "Teaching deaf children to speak".  If you think about it, when they cannot HEAR speech, they have nothing to mimic, so it is a most necessary skill to impart.  There will also be a ladies barbershop quartet performing that morning.  . SLOSS VIAU is the contact person here, please.

Proving once again that he is entirely fearless, Prexy TED summoned PP ERIC LOBERG to the podium, for the intended purpose of helping us to celebrate our July birthdays.  Those of us who have been around for twenty or more years (when PAST PRESIDENT ERIC was PRESIDENT ERIC) fully recognize the uncharted territory which may be exposed in such a move, but Prexy TED risked it anyway.  (As he stated, this was a strategic move to perhaps co-opt one who has been known to heckle, or at the very least, be a bit irreverent to those who are speaking). PP ERIC did not disappoint, leading off by quoting from the new DMV Driver's Test, designed for drivers solely within the Los Angeles area.  Heavily tilted toward the entertainment field, among the first questions to be answered after your name was the name of your therapist.  Sex had several places to be checked, and the next question was what ELSE you do while driving - there were no less than FOURTEEN activities, and of course multiple choices were permitted. A particularly damming question concerned what POSSIBLE reasons you might have for NOT having a portable telephone. (To inject a modicum of reasonableness here, there may have been a disclaimer as to what outside use could be made of your answers should you have to appear before a court of law).  Anyway, you get the idea, and the new test certainly does open up some areas of inquiry that are well past due for statistical recording.

Moving right along, PP ERIC then noted the following members as arriving this month of July - on the 4th, HANK HEUER in Yonkers, NY, and on the 6th, from Steyr, Austria, MAX LICHTENBURGER.  MAX was first announced as coming aboard on the 4th - same as HUEUR THE LAWYER  but after some protest from the subject himself, the date was corrected as above shown.  The reasoning here is that MAX ought to know his own correct date, and does anyone really think PP ERIC can read, anyway?  CLAWSON BLEAK showed up in St. George, Utah on the 10th, followed on the 12th by HENRY TSENG, thereby providing our SECOND foreign-born Julyer! (Yokohama, Japan, for the record) DANNY SKINNER arrived in LA on the 15th, and PP YOSH SETOGUCHI also claims LA, with his date being the 19th. Kindly ol' Doc DICK DAVIS slipped in from Marion, IN, on the 26th, and the Julyer's were completed on the 31st by TERRY M. WHITE.  There was the usual serenade, and appropriate gifts were distributed.  On this subject, I'm sure it won't be considered pushy if I point out - in advance - that YOE will be among the birthdayers next month.  Forget that crap about No Gifts, Please - who knows what favors you may create by a proper, substantial expression of gratitude to someone? (who of course will not be named herein…)

PP STEVE DAY next briefly reminded us of our two Rotary Foundations.  Benefactors are those who provide a donation of $1,000 or more in their wills to the RI Foundation, while JOHN SANDMAN Fellows are those who provide a similar amount to our own WVRC Foundation.  STEVE will be glad to discuss these matters with those who are interested, of course.  He then announced that SLOSS VIAU has just been recognized as a Benefactor, and SLOSS was presented with an appropriate Certificate denoting his participation. Along that line, we have received further donations to our Foundation in memory of DAVE MORE from Audrey and CLARK MCQUAY, Sally and PP HOMER NEWMAN, Louise Mary and FLOYD DEWHIRST, and Roz and DON NELSON.

Our Speaker was Commander Sharon Pappa of the Los Angeles Police Department.  She was introduced by ART HENRY, who is proud to have known her as a friend for many years. She is a veteran of 23 years in police work, starting as a patrolman (person?) in Santa Monica.  She then transferred to the Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Department, where she became Chief at the age of 31. During her tenure, she grew that organization from a force of about 100 when she came aboard to 450 when it was merged into the LAPD some five years ago.  She has long specialized in the management of large police forces. Her subject was "What are the qualifications needed to successfully manage the LAPD?"  As an aside, when she accepted ART'S offer to speak before us, she had not yet decided whether she would seek the position of Chief - so this is the first formal announcement of her intentions.

Within the LAPD, Commander Pappa first oversaw the integration of her 450-person force into the much larger LAPD and the LA County Sheriff's Department. Approximately 60% of the MTA police merged into the LAPD, and 40% went with the Sheriff's Department. They were first assigned to traffic duty, which was their primary function in the MTA, and after one year, began moving into other wider areas of police work.  This created a kind of reverse problem, since the LAPD officers who replaced them were NOT as experienced in traffic control.  The entire force is now fully integrated, of course, after the merger which took place in 1997.

The Chief of the LAPD is assisted by ten Deputy Chiefs, and the city is divided into four geographic areas.  There are 18 police stations within the City of LA. Commander Pappa was fortunate to start in the Central Bureau, which includes Hollenbeck, Newton, Northeast, Rampart and Central Stations.  The LA Riots were in 1998, and of course she had a direct view of how the force responded.  She pointed out that she had the advantage of 'new eyes', having been with the LAPD for such a short time, and thus being able to see things from a fresh standpoint. To its major credit, the department immediately began its own investigation, listing almost all of the problems that eventually appeared in the highly critical Christopher Report.  (Specifically, between 80 and 90% of all the findings in the Christopher Report were initially reported by the LAPD itself)   This report led to the imposition of the Consent Decree, which in turn fell to new Chief Bernard Parks to implement. As you may recall, when Chief Parks spoke at WVRC, he detailed the problems he had with the Police Union, many of which were brought on by the terms of the Decree.

The first need was to codify the new rules - and there were many.  But until they were in writing, they could not start to be implemented.  This has meant massive retraining -which is what the LAPD is now doing. This training process is well along, and it must continue under the new chief, of course. But all this has adversely affected recruitment and morale.  As this implementation progressed, it began to be apparent that they didn't need to investigate EVERY complaint  - they did need to track them, but the important lesson was that such problems were being addressed.

Commander Pappa discussed the recent beating incident in Inglewood.  She pointed out that all the facts are not known yet - there have been allegations that the video was edited, for example.  But such violent treatment of a handcuffed prisoner reflects on ALL local police, unfortunately. Morale suffers - police feel they aren't appreciated, being tarred by the same broad brush.  The next chief must inspire better conduct, not by threats
but by a recognition that such actions can occur.  In a more open atmosphere, officers on the line will realize they won't automatically get fired, unless such actions are found to be intentional, not accidental. In other words, the intent of management should be to educate, not frighten the troops.  

Crime in LA is increasing - and part of the reason is that the department is 1000 officers short of its quota.  There simply aren't enough police to cover a city of this size.  Recruitment is going better, and the Union has backed off somewhat, now that Chief Parks is not longer present as a symbol of their discontent.  The new chief must be able to talk to the troops, and constant training and retraining will be needed.  Officers now assume their duties after 7 ˝ months of training, and their supervisors must be reminded that these new people don't have the experience to perform without closer supervision.
The Police Commission is now much more active in its oversight - and the LAPD isn't yet used to this level of scrutiny.  The watchword should become Customer Service-not a phrase heard much until recently.

There will be lots of applicants for the job.  All will be well qualified.  They will first be interviewed by the Police Commission, which will submit their three top choices to the Mayor for his decision. This process makes a lot of sense, since the Mayor must work closely with the new Chief, and that could be difficult if the Mayor had no input into the final choice.

Q&A - DENNIS CORNWELL - what is the Chiefs salary, and why do you want the job.    Between 165K and 250K and after five years with the LAPD I think I see their problems with new eyes.  I know how to listen.  JACK HARRIS -if the Valley secedes. What will happen to police protection.  We don't want them to leave, but if they do, they have agreed to retain the status quo for a year, and then begin a separation process.  YOE - what about your family.  I'm married, no kids.  My husband is about to return to school - he may become a professional student…PP HOWIE HENKES - is the Police Commission better now than before.  Yes, they have much more participation. The interim Chief is working to take some of the 'meanness' out of police work, which is an excellent idea. LENNY FRIEDMAN - what reaction do you expect to the idea of a woman as police chief.  Well, they might expect Janet Reno, but that's not me.  (and after that, LENNY announced that he would vote for her)!  Up front afterward, PP JIM COLLINS asked her opinion of the 3/12 and 4/10 work week ideas.  Both are still under discussion, with the Union strongly making noise about 3/12 - she doesn't like it.
Commander Pappa, thanks for sharing your ideas on the future of the LAPD with us.