Mid January at WVRC - the 16th

CLAWSON BLEAK got us off to a good start with the Pledge. Prexy TED did note that the flag was first hung upside down, possibly indicating that someone was trying to send a distress signal, but this suspicion was not substantiated. Next up were JACK HARRIS and LENNY FRIEDMAN, with the song - in this case, America. JACK cautioned us beforehand, " Watch the bouncing ball, please" which apparently was the key to another successful rendition. BRIAN BUMPAS gave the Invocation, first allowing us to be seated (at the suggestion of Prexy TED). BRIAN recited some poetic thoughts by Johnny McGee, an American fighter pilot who was killed in combat over England. It was a moving rendition and we thank you, BRIAN.

PP GEORGE DEA was called upon to introduce any Visiting Rotarians, but alas, once again, there weren't none. Prexy TED brought forward our newest member, BOB FLICK, whom TED sponsored - they go back to law school at Stanford. STEW GILMAN had a Special Guest, Steve Lore, who is a local contractor. CLAWSON BLAKE (trick question - how do you pronounce his name ? - see paragraph above) had a Special Guest, an old friend Dr. Robert Bartlett, an ophthalmologist. DON NELSON had his Special Guest, Tom Barron, a former partner of DON'S at what was once called Haskins and Sells. DON also had the good taste to bring along ROZ, who admitted she jumped at the chance to have someone else fix lunch!

Prexy TED then acknowledged the many members who were involved in last week's Hump Day. This opus was entitled Three Cousins and a Dog, or something like that, and it indeed reminded him of old home week, with Edwena, Ned and Jed PLUS the dog all performing admirably. The cast included KEN LEVER, PP STEVE DAY, PP ERIC LOBERG, PP DAVE WHITEHEAD, MARK BLOCK, LILLIAN KLIEWER, ELLIOTT TURNER, LEE DUNAYER and a special thanks to PP STEVE'S CPA partner, Rajiv Mehra,

In another bit of derrring do, Prexy TED called forward PP ERIC LOBERG to present what was first identified as an announcement. However, with ERIC, it is no surprise to recognize that things are often not what they first seem - and this was no exception, of course. ERIC reported that as a result of a recent survey of one hundred men, all of whom had to drink a six-pack of been within an hour, several conclusions emerged. First, all the subjects gained weight, had to urinate frequently, and talked excessively. They also became overly emotional, couldn't drive properly, argued about nothing at all, plus refusing to apologize when they were wrong! As a result, no further testing is planned. ERIC, we all hope you will continue to enlighten us on these sorts of weighty subjects.

It was birthday time, and the following list - against all tradition, alas - covers all who came along this first month of the year, but NOT in the numerical order of their arrival. So - BRIAN BUMPAS picked the 27th, and DENNIS CORNWELL was just a day away, on the 26th. KEN KILPO missed today's date by one, thus the 17th (and there is some precedent if your BD is the same day as the list for that month is announced, it doubles your fine). LILLIAN KLIEWER is the 28th, while HARLAN LEWIS preferred the 8th. PP BOB LUSK choose the 10th, but PP RON LYSTER was a copycat with HARLAN, that being the 8th again. DAVE MATSON split the month, his date being the 15th, while CLAIR MITCHELL preferred the 23rd. Last one announced was SANDY SANDERSON, on January 3rd.. All were serenaded, with PP JIM DOWNIE at the keyboard, and were gifted with what appeared to be tie tacks.

I made a serious request for help in housing the wife of a patient at UCLA who just today had a double lung replacement. Afterward, who else but ART HENRY came forward and said his home was available. Turns out that one of our neighbors had already agreed to help, but I do want to personally thank ART for offering. While on the subject of announcements, the Club now has rented a small storage area in WLA, so if any of you have been holding Rotary items (wine glasses, liquor, whatever) please call me and we can take these things off your hands. At the Board meeting last evening, it was formally voted to divide the duties of the Executive Secretary, so long carried out by DOUG DESCH , into two jobs. DON NELSON will be Executive Treasurer, and I have become Executive Secretary. DON is already well along in his duties, but it will take me a bit of time to be fully functional, so please be patient. KEN LEVER reminded us that the District Breakfast is coming up on February 4th, at the LAX Marriott, and he will take your reservation. And last, sad to announce, both MIKE O'CONNELL and JOE FISCHER have resigned.

The Sweetheart Brunch is set for Saturday, February 8th, at 11 a.m. Those members signed up so far include JACK HARRIS, PP HOWIE HENKES, PP ERNIE WOLFE, KEN LEVER, RALPH BEASOM, RUDY ALVAREZ, BRUCE HARRIS, PP BOB WESSLING, PDG ANDY ANDERSON, SLOSS VIAU, MIKE YOUSEM, BRIAN BUMPAS, PP MIKE NEWMAN, PP HOMER NEWMAN, PP RALPH WOODWORTH, PETER MORE, HENRY TSENG, RO SHAW, HARLAN LEWIS, LENNY FRIEDMAN, PP GEORGE DEA and GEORGE COX. Apparently the Rotary Auxiliary is also taking signups, so be sure you are on one list or the other, please.

Prexy TED asked BRIAN BUMPAS to tell us one of his many stories as a sort of continuum of his earlier craft talk. BRIAN related how his dog, Mr. Lucky, accompanied him into the Hilton Hotel as he was delivering the LA Times. One day, as they were both inside, BRIAN heard a bit of commotion behind him, and saw President John F. Kennedy entering the lobby. Mr. Lucky, meanwhile, had preceded JFK, and was raising his leg on a chair along the way. But the Bell Captain, Jimmy Smith, was quick as a flash, and by the time the President passed the spot, it was all cleaned up! Speaking editorially, YOE is wondering if BRIAN and PP ERIC are perhaps in that same 'risky' category as far as allowing them mike time…We could vote, I guess.

RUDY ALVAREZ spoke briefly about the upcoming Group Study Exchange. Rudy has been chosen as the group leader, and there were 21 candidates to fill the four slots of team members. They were chosen, along with four alternates. As RUDY pointed out, "It's tough duty but someone has to do it". Congratulations to RUDY - he'll do his usual good job.

DON NELSON introduced our two speakers. Tom Boyle and Denise Bustamonte are with Deloit Touche, and DON pointed out that his former firm is one of just four remaining big firms. Don first asked us to be especially nice to our speakers, since they work for the firm that pays Don's retirement! Tom is in charge of their Global Pollution practice, while Denise is a tax specialist, and they took turns speaking, with the other person operating their project display on the big screen. They have titled their presentation Deep In The Heart of Taxes, a reference to where the new tax programs originated - at President Bush's ranch near Crawford, Texas.

Tom started out by reminding us of the tax changes voted in 2001. The rate then was 39.6%, and now it has gone down to 38.6, eventually going to 35. During Reagens administration, the top rate was 28%, by the way. The issue in 2001 was how to handle projected surpluses, plus the need to shore up Social Security. What happened to the tax cuts that were then proposed? 71% of the polled citizens felt it was a poor idea, and yet the ten-year target is a total reduction of 674 billion! These cuts are not in effect until OK'ed by Congress, so they are not permanent. The present plan to not tax dividends will cost the Treasury 100 billion per year, and it is aimed at individuals. The IRS, by the way, is angry, feeling that the financial climate now present handicaps their efforts. They have hired more agents to cover these complicated tax producers.

Denise next spoke, discussing the Alternative Maximum Tax - AMT. It is not simple, and some costs are not allowed - but it is popular with consumers. Education Funding has grown rapidly - from l.5 billion a few years ago to ten billion in 2001. It can be used to cover tuition and related expenses. Individuals can give $55K, or a couple can provide $110K, which means the free gifts to individuals are covered for the next five years.
She reminds us that the Estate Planning provisions only go to 2010, and should be extended.

Q&A - PP CHRIS GAYNOR - What is the status of the attempt to tax Internet transactions? This is currently still under discussion. We are no closer to tax reform now than we were forty years ago. CHARLES MAGNUSON - What transactions act as a Red Flag to the IRS? Offshore investments will be looked at closely. LEO TSENG - Tell us more about the 529 plan. It provides the opportunity to give an individual $11K annually, for a total advance of $55K - but remember that takes care of further gifts for the next five years. You can choose the type of plan that best suits your needs. If the dividend tax is repealed it will narrow the rates that are allowed. And last, SALLY BRANT - What is the definition of wealthy? Apparently, anyone who pays taxes!

Thanks to Don for arranging our speaker. One final note - we are dark next Thursday at noon, but will be at Riviera next Thursday evening for RI President Bhichai's visit.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe