Our newest member, SHANE WAARBROEK, led us in the Pledge. LENNY FRIEDMAN and JACK HARRIS combined to lead us in a nice rendition of Silent Night.

LENNY gave the Invocation, starting with the always – welcome suggestion that we sit down first. Recipe for Friendship was the title of the Poem he offered. First, you need someone who accepts you as you are, not putting you in some category that isn’t your natural niche. They find you funny, and laugh at your jokes to show it. They like you, and let you know it. These aren’t always characteristics you find, and when you do, nurture them – that’s what friendship is all about. Good thoughts, LENNY.

We had no Visiting Rotarians, but RUDY ALVAREZ arose to tell us that we had three special guests – MARTHA and BOB BRUMBAUGH, daughter and son-in-law of DOUG DESCH, and KATHY DESCH PHAIR, DOUG’S niece. They were there in tribute to DOUG’S passing just one year ago today, and it was great to see them all.

It hardy seems possible that a full year has gone by – we will never fully put together the ‘going machine’ that DOUG ran so well, and for so long. I’m sure when I remind the BRUMBAUGHS and KATHY that they are welcome anytime, we’ll see you often!

PP JOHN SINGLETON brought along his best friend of 52 years, Joanne, plus one of the Managers of the Bel Air Hotel, Dietmar Gross. LILLIAN KLEIWER brought along her Special Guest, Marianne Annis, who is with the National University, and supervises their student teaching.

Born on this date in 1882 was Fiorello La Guardia, who was Mayor of NY from 1933 to 1945. Then in 1930, another LENNY FRIEDMAN appeared – he’s a violinist – and our own LENNY was heard to remark, I wish someone had told me…Continuing in this more or less general information theme, they are claiming that you burn more calories sleeping than when watching TV. The King of Hearts is the only king without a mustache. Then, from the floor, “Neither does the Queen of Hearts”. AND, the Boeing 747 wingspan is longer than the Wright Brothers first flight! In 1985, the Dow Jones closed above 1500 for the first time… (I hope you are keeping track of these helpful bits of trivia.)

No doubt you saw the brand new 75th Anniversary Commerative shirts that the Board Members were all wearing. These can be ordered – the cost is $40 for one, $70 for two, and $100 for three – check with DON NELSON, and they come in Blue or Maroon. But if you want one for FREE, all you need to do is get fined by Pres. PETER (You do the math here – I’m confused…). KACY ROZELLE came forward to remind us about the Corazon House project which we are sharing with Manhattan Beach Rotary. On Friday, March 5th we will drive down to San Diego, have dinner, and stay in a motel there. Early the next morning, we cross into Mexico, and BUILD A HOUSE that day, the 6th!

We return that evening to LA. Manhattan Beach will have thirty members going, and we are to supply the same number. This is a real hands-on project – c’mon aboard and lets’ get our hands dirty!

I don’t remember the last new member I proposed, but this week, we ‘pinned’ SHANE WAARBROEK. LEO TSENG came forward to add some comments, and suggested that he, LEO, should be fined for not proposing SHANE himself – so, another fifty bucks to the treasury! One of the things I mentioned was that SHANE would certainly lower the average age of our group! Welcome aboard, SHANE. At this point we began to seriously worry about Sheriff Lee Baca showing up – and suddenly, there he was! CHRIS BRADFORD came forward with an introduction. Sheriff Baca is the 30th Sheriff of LA County, and was elected in 1998. Born in East LA, he attended Benjamin Franklin High School, and earned a doctorate in public administration from USC in 1993. Turns out he also runs EIGHT miles a day, which discourages some of us who liked our own record…

The Sheriff started out by saying that it wasn’t easy growing up as a Latino in an essentially Chinese neighborhood – and it didn’t help that his name, Baca, translates to Stupid! He was raised by his grandparents. The Sheriff’s office was founded in 1850, and covered a great many more counties than at present. This is the largest County in the entire U.S., with ten million population. He has 15K employees, and a 1.6 million dollar budget. Among the units under his supervision are the MTA and the Community Colleges. He feels the essential problem with his organization is the constant need to be reminded to stay nimble. He has created the Deputy Sheriff Institute, and over 1200 of his officers have completed the course.

Half the men in jail are also guilty of spousal abuse! His Recovery Program has been most effective, and it starts with the men first admitting that they have this problem – after that, they can be helped. After being released, many men return to help counsel those being treated – which speaks very well indeed for how effective the program really is. He bought his home in San Marino in 1949, and still lives there. The problems that have almost overwhelmed his department started with the recession of the mid 90’s, and they still struggle with the lower income available. He has lost 1100 deputies, and most of the guilty parties are serving short sentences, since there just isn’t room for them in jail. His pitch – and the reason he agreed to speak – is to push for our yes note on the ½ cent sales tax increase which will be on the November 2004 ballot. This money can only be used for police and education, period. LA County will receive 34% of the $500 million it will raise – that’s $168 million dollars.

Q&A – BOB FLICK, How ready is our Homeland Security? We are in great shape (and note that PP TED IHNEN was a real mover in getting this going). Our agencies all get either an A or B, across the board. BRIAN BUMPAS, Have you contacted Arnold? Yes, and he has to get more money from several sources. LILLIAN KLEIWER, What is your position on Sex Offenders. He favors castration – that removes their sex drive, period. CATHY PHAIR, What about all the people hanging out on the street (she lives in Long Beach). He is working with their Police Chief on this serious problem. RALPH BEASOM, Is it true that the LAPD got a 9% increase, and your sheriffs got no raise?

Yes, they are dedicated men and women – and we hope to help those numbers. DENNIS CORNWELL, Does the ballot measure in Nov. 2004 require a 2/3rds vote. Yes – it won’t be easy to pass. PP JIM COLLINS, What are the gambling numbers? About 20% of gambling income is from out of state, but there is a new measure on the ballot which will equalize the return that the franchises pay to the state. A specific amount will be devoted to public safety.

Sheriff Baca, thank you for a detailed and most helpful overview of what your department is doing.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe.