JANUARY ENDS at WVRC – the 29th, that is.


SLOSS VIAU was up first with the Pledge, which he led very well.  Next was the song, which apparently was supposed to combine two keyboardists – PP JIM DOWNIE and GREGG ELLIOTT, under the baton of PP STEVE DAY.  The song was Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, but there appeared to be some confusion as to when to sing – it was later described to me as “Back to ten fingers, with a new song leader” and as you can imagine, I cannot attribute this comment.  CLARK McQUAY came forward with the Invocation, entitled, “Have you planted your garden?”. It should contain Peas, Squash, Lettuce and Turnips, and the last bit of advice was to “Turnip for Rotary”.  Many of us know what a gardener CLARK is, and this was a well-done takeoff.


BILL MICHAEL announced our Visiting Rotarian, Adelita Baltodano, from the San Jose Costa Rica Club, whose category is Real Estate.  Pres. PETER pointed out that we had HANK HEUER with us once again, after his extended Leave of Absence, and this news was greeted by great applause. We then had four examples of the use of Chinese/English.  Man who drive like hell is bound to get there.  Man who run in front of car get tired. Man who run behind car get exhausted, and War does not determine who is right, war determine who is left!  We showed a great photo of SEAN McMILLAN and LEE DUNAYER, along with a mother and daughter – they were transported in SEAN’S pressurized Cessna Centurion from and back to Santa Maria, so the daughter could have treatment at UCLA – well, done, guys!  This is the first instance of our participating in Angel Flight, and let’s keep it up.


One week from now – February 7th, is the Sweetheart Brunch at Shanghai Reds – we need your reservation, with about 30 signed up already – contact ERNIE or DON, but do it RIGHT AWAY, please. March 4th will be Hobby Day, and LEE DUNAYER is in charge – please tell him what you will be bringing for the rest of us to see and admire – I recall that amazing shell that PP ERIC LOBERG displayed, but let’s have lots of exhibits, OK?  CORAZON house-building project is March 5th and 6th in Tijuana.  KACY ROZELLE is the contact, and there are just a few spots still available.  And further down the road, on Sunday April 18th, the Geffen will present “The Underpants: as adapted by Steve Martin.This will be followed by refreshments at Pres. PETER’S home, so let DON NELSON know if you can make it. 


PP DAVE WHITEHEAD next presented a wonderful simulation of the trip to Mars, where our two Rovers have just landed.  Of course, some joker asked DAVE how he got these photos, and DAVE calmly replied that it was his hobby!  Anyway, it was a terrific show, and I have to admit that I didn’t know they wrapped the Rover in a bunch of balloons to cushion it for landing.  Apparently it bounced over twenty times before settling down.  When you realize that it takes six months just to reach Mars, having two Rovers there and functioning is truly impressive.  Keep up that hobby, DAVE!


The previous 25th and 50th Anniversary Books were shown, and it was then announced that we were all ready to print the 75th, which of course features every year between 51 and 75 – except that ONE laggard hasn’t turned in his copy.  Sad to relate, this is PP MIKE NEWMAN, and the obvious lead-in is to fine him, right?  There were several suggestions from the audience (it’s always easy to propose a huge fine if you aren’t the one being fined) with the high being five hundred clams.  Pres. PETER then announced a degree of clemency – if PP MIKE gets his report turned in by next Thursday, Feb.5th, most if not all of the fine will be forgiven.  But MIKE, that’s a DEFINITE Date, OK?


SALLY BRANT introduced her boss, Scott Gibson, President of the Coldwell Banker Greater Los Angeles Company.  Scott was born in Inglewood, and graduated from UCLA with a degree in Political Science in 1978.  He became a salesman for Harleight Sandler, then Jon Douglas, and Fred Sands, and in 1988 he purchased Kent Realtors, which had three offices and 150 agents. There were a series of buyouts, and in 1997 he joined Coldwell Banker.  He lives in Pacific Palisades with his wife and three daughters.


Coldwell Banker now encompasses nine hundred offices nationwide, with an annual sales volume of 130 billion dollars. The area under Scott’s management provided 19 billion of this total!  When will this ride end?  He thinks 2004 will be strong, but not as good as last year, since he expects an increase in interest rates in the 3rd or 4th quarter.  The present inventory of residential property for sale is the lowest in history.  Homes that sell for one million or less are most affected by interest rates, and they provide 55% of their sales volume – last year, they only listed two for over ten million ($39.5 and $70, to be exact).

Scott feels that it is OK to buy now, unless you have to sell in a year or two.


Q&A – PP CHRIS GAYNOR, Where do older client move when they sell.  Oxnard and Ventura, Las Vegas, Arizona, Oregon, and Florida.  SEAN McMILLAN, How is the 2nd home market.  It is strong, with Los Angeles properties selling fast, and Riverside County leads the U.S. in sales.  GREGG ELLIOTT – What is the effect of Prop. 90.  It is allowed on a county by county basis.  PP MIKE NEWMAN, Will they change Prop 13 to include blood lines.  They shouldn’t fiddle with it.  ED GAULD – What is your inventory.  In the Valley, we have 3000 agents selling a total of 2000 listings.  The average has been 6000 listings – and one question everyone asks before selling is, “Where will I go if I sell?”.  Refinancing and upgrading property is going on everywhere. 


JACK HARRIS, What is the effect of the 3% withholding tax.  The State wants to be sure they get your state income tax.  DON NELSON, Are your commissions negotiable.  Not at all.  Either BRUCE ROLF or BRIAN BUMPAS, Is part of the problem that people are living longer, per the Wharton School.  What can you do about that, asks Scott.  PP CHRIS GAYNOR, Recently, salaries have not kept up with the pace of appreciation – why is that.  The economy was going into recession, we had an earthquake, etc – a tough time locally, but that’s now past.  There is a wider audience for L.A. property, and our economy is now more diversified.  Wages will catch up.  PP JOHN SINGLETON, Traffic is a big problem.  Yes, but where you live in Carlsbad will get much worse soon, since there are no plans for increased infrastructure down south, while in LA such plans are underway. PP MIKE NEWMAN, Are Brentwood and the Palisades now the highest cost areas.  Yes, but don’t overlook Malibu.  DON NELSON, why is the lease market so soft.  Because most people can buy today.  MARK BLOCK, What is the future of brokerages.  The Internet cannot be ignored, and brokers must be aggressive.. CLARK McQUAY, Is there much Spec building.  No, prices are so high that a markup isn’t possible.  Note that larger homes are more in demand. 


Scott, we thank you for your wide-ranging talk about a subject which interests us all.

                                                                                              YOE, Ernie Wolfe