Supervisor Mike Antonovich at WVRC on March 13th.

GEORGE COX started us off with the Pledge, which he preceded with a bit of history. Our Pledge was first used in 1892, and it has been amended a couple of times. A word of warning here – when YOE is next asked to lead, I’ll go into my routine about extending our hand at the word ‘”Flag” – this practice was abandoned in 1942, since it resembled the Nazi salute, and I’d like to start a campaign to bring it back. But I digress. PP JIM DOWNIE and LENNIE FRIEDMAN took us through America in their usual melodious fashion. PP STEVE SCHERER provided the Invocation, first explaining that it was based on the teachings of Aristotle – moderation in all things.  There are three things that do not come under the restraint of Moderation – they are Friendship, Good Health, and Wisdom, and it’s good to have an excess of all three. Thank you, STEVE – ancient but good thoughts, certainly.

We had a Visiting Rotarian, Bert Kreisberg, who now belongs to the Beverly Hills Club – he was also with us last week, and is certainly most welcome.  SHARON RHODES WICKETT introduced her Special Guest, Waverly Johnson, who is the Western Area Director of PATH – this is his second visit with us. It was birthday time, and it seemed to me that we had more than the usual average attendance. Perhaps this was due to a leak somewhere along the line that each March birthdayer would receive Big Bucks – a hundred clams, as it turned out! Those who rose to the bait included JIM BECHTEL who started March on the 1st, arriving in Philadelphia. WALLY FISCHMAN and PP MICHAEL NEWMAN chose the 3rd, WALLY in St. Louis, and MICHAEL in good old Santa Monica. TERRY R., WHITE preferred Oceanside, on the 4th, while BRUCE HARRIS elected Chattanooga (surprise) on the 5th. PP CHRIS GAYNOR raised the flag in LA, on the 11th, while both URI HERSCHER and PP JOHN SINGLETON combined on the 14th – URI in Tel Aviv, and PP JOHN in Salt Lake City. SHARON RHODES WICKETT arrived on the 20th, in La Grande (and I know you knew that is in nearby Oregon), while PDG ANDY ANDERSON came along the next day in Buffalo. Last of the Marchers was MYRON TAYLOR, on the 26th, in Goodwill, W.Va. – and it’s worth reminding us all that MYRON’S dad refused to allow him to work in the local coal mine. This insistence on his dad’s part allowed MYRON to work his way through college, plus providing us all with one of the real preachers of our time. Good Job, Mr.Taylor!

PP BOB LUSK has written Prexy TED that he will be retiring from the Singleton Company as of April 1st – which will also end his need to commute FORTY SIX miles each way to work, from Camarillo. So BOB will be resigning from WVRC, where he has been a member for just FORTY EIGHT years! WE gave him a well-deserved sendoff, even ignoring LENNY’S suggestion that we not accept PP BOB’S resignation. BOB followed me as President of WVRC, and was responsible for providing a memorable Demotion, complete with color slides depicting a supposed tour I was conducting on a Ford TriMotor. BOB, we’ll miss you – but don’t be a stranger, please.

PP GEORGE DEA will undergo back surgery, having two discs fused, in early April – let’s stay in touch, since he will be out of commission for awhile. Note that the District Breakfast is on March 25th – KEN LEVER is the contact. However, pushing his luck, as is sometimes his wont, KEN then responded to a request for information from Prexy TED to define Pechanga.  Since all of us already know that this is the name of the resort in Temecula where the District Conference will be held from May 1st to the 4th, KEN pointed out that his research suggested that we should be aware that eating there could turn us into pigs. While this was perhaps a way of getting our attention, it still cost KEN a hundred big ones. However, it should be noted that for those of us who didn’t have to pay the fine, we probably owe KEN a drink for the cautionary word… RUDY ALVAREZ attempted once again to elicit sympathy for his task of shepherding four Group Study youngsters to Sardinia and Rome starting this May, and noted that the group from Italy will be arriving on April 6th – anyone wishing to host them should give RUDY a ring, please. A final note – KACY ROZELLE announced the arrival of Andrew Joseph Rozelle on February 28th – and Prexy TED reminded us that the Rozelle’s now have three youngsters under five! This provided a fining opportunity of $100, which Prexy TED was quick to accept.

SALLY BRANT provided us with another outstanding program, featuring Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich as our Speaker. Mike was born in LA, holds both a Bachelors and Masters from Cal State LA, and has done graduate work at Stanford and Harvard. He is a member of many significant Boards and Commissions in Southern California, starting his elective office career in the California State Assembly in 1972. He is one of just five LA County Supervisors, and his geographic area covers part of the S. F. Valley, parts of Glendale and Pasadena – a huge tract.

Mike started off by announcing that he and our own PP BOB LUSK were fellow members of  Sigma Nu fraternity. He pointed out that while there are 88 cities in LA County, there are an additional 134 unincorporated communities, the largest of which is Altadena. The largest city if of course LA, with 3.7 million, followed by Long Beach with 480,000 and Glendale with 200K. The County is actively working on Emergency Preparedness, with frequent training sessions. He specifically mentioned that local Fire Departments all work well together – geographic boundaries do not exist.

We are facing a severe budget crunch, particularly at the state level.  When he was in the Legislative, then-Governor Reagan convened the members, and they passed a bill to help the fiscal situation THAT SAME DAY. The current Legislature, perhaps handicapped by lack of long-term experience, is still dithering about what to do with our present crisis. A few years ago we had an eight billion dollar surplus – today we face a deficit of between twenty five and thirty billion! The longer this inaction goes on, the worse it will get – soon we will be letting policemen and teachers go, since we cannot pay them. In summary, the public-private partnership that existed for so long has been badly damaged.

An example of this ‘dithering’ is our regional airport concept. As far back as 1960, Ontario Airport was started, and plans were underway to expand Palmdale. LAX, today, covers only 350 acres – the smallest major airport in the U.S. Yet the government bodies that control these facilities continued to make parking and landing fees higher at both Ontario and Palmdale – thus driving clients back to LAX. The good news is that Mayor Hahn is a true believer in the Regional Airport concept, and we are beginning to move toward some solutions.

We are all concerned with highway congestion – and again, in 1960 or thereabouts, we decided to build subways to solve the problem. So we now have 17 miles of subways that cost FIVE BILLION dollars. On the other side, by a cooperative effort in the Pasadena area, they have provided 14 miles of above-ground rail transport for just 700 million dollars – above ground is the way to go.

His final subject was the 30,000 children in Foster Care in LA County.  When these kids reach 18, they are automatically ‘emancipated’ and must begin to fend for themselves, without any adult supervision. This is a self-defeating policy, and he strongly suggests we need a program that will provide senior foster care parents, to handle these youngsters who just aren’t ready to be fully on their own. The good news here is that there is a new Head of this agency, who promises some quick action to bridge this gap.

Q&A – RAY ZICKFELD, Are the old Pacific Lines still available? Yes, and some are being used. PP MIKE NEWMAN, Must adoptions still be confined to ‘same race’? No, the law has been changed, and if you hear of a problem, let me know personally and I’ll check on it. LENNY FRIEDMAN, what came of the idea to extend LAX runways into the ocean? There are much less expensive land areas available – and the Regional concept must be expanded. YOE asked about the present status of the proposal for a Borough System in LA. The City Council, AND the Mayor, won’t have it, period. BURLEIGH ARNOLD, Do we have sufficient Emergency Equipment and it is properly funded? The Budget is short, but we are trying.

Mike Antonovich, thank you for your sobering overview of where we are going in Los Angeles.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe