July 15th at the Luxe –Another Good Program


After a bit of a noisy start, ED JACKSON came forward to lead the Pledge.  We only had three song leaders this time – but the quality was excellent, of course.  They included LENNY FRIEDMAN, PP STEVE DAY and JACK HARRIS. After several attempts including early advice to Sit Down, we came together with America.  Speaking editorially, which as you all know, I seldom do, I do believe that a piano might help our rendition.  ED GAULD provided the Invocation, allowing those who were still standing from the previous exercise to sit down.  “God, some of your people are hurting – they have problems that are very hard to solve… many people are poor, some have not a single friend… please show us how we can share your love with them” Nicely done, Ed.


I was called upon to speak about Visiting Rotarians, and I related that I had a phone call earlier today from Ray Ingle (sp?) on my machine – he wanted to know if we were meeting, and where.  Since he got no answer from me, he was going to call the Bel Air and ask them, but I somehow doubt that they gave him any useful directions.  I looked up the name in the District Directory, but he wasn’t listed - so our one chance for a visitor at the Luxe didn’t pan out. SHANE WAARBROEK introduced Susan Baldwin, who is with White and Cash - she is an associate of our Speaker, Frank Baxter.  And at long last, we have a specific report on the upcoming District Breakfast – CHRIS BRADFORD was able to confirm that the first of the four meetings for this year will be on August 11th, 0715, at the LAX Marriott.  All Directors are urged to attend, and those who can should reserve with CHRIS, please.  And earlier in August, Saturday the 7th, to be exact, a Membership Seminar will take place, at the Carson Community Center.  This will start with breakfast, and the meeting itself will run until noon.  The person to notify if you are going is SHANE WAARBROEK.


RUDY’S WORLD, as noted on the website was up next.  After a show of hands of how many had checked the web, GORDON FELL was fingered – he was sitting next to me, so I could check his reaction to the questions, which I now pass on  to all of you…There was what looked like a mask, or sculpture, as GORDON saw it.  Turns out it was a Doorbell, which Senor RUDY encountered on his early morning walk. This general recognition on the part of GORDON got him off the hook as far as suffering a fine.


July Birthdays were noted, and in the interest of proper sequence, will be listed as they occurred, OK?  First up was HENRY TSENG, on the 2nd in Yokahama, Japan.  Two of you chose the 4th, ED GAULD in Long Island City, and HANK HEUER, also in the state of NY, but Yonkers was his city.  On the 6th, we went international again, with MAX LICHTENBERGER arriving in Steyr, Austria.  CLAWSON BLEAK brought us back to the US, coming along on the 10th in St. George, Utah.  DANNY SKINNER arrived on the 15th, in LA – and GORDON FELL also alighted in LA, but on the 18th.  Next day, PP YOSH SETOGUCHI kept the action going in LA – that was the 19th, of course.  DICK DAVIS alighted on the 26th in Marion, Indiana, while SALLY PHILLIPS chose Cooperstown, North Dakota (not to be confused with that other town of the same name where some sort of baseball activity goes on). She just squeezed in to July on the 29th, but TERRY M. WHITE closed out the month on the 31st, in Santa Monica. We provided our usual touching vocal tribute to those who were able to be present. But in the interest of historical accuracy, it should be noted that NO birthday gifts were presented – and I’m sure no one will accuse me of this being a self-serving announcement, even though my own is next month…(It’s the 11th, and presents are OK, of course).

And it turns out that TODAY, the 15th, is JIM and CAROL COLLINS 54th Anniversary – our Congratulations, and best wishes.



Yes, we have business cards as lunch tickets for the following: Nora Aquino, Susan Allen, Clawson Bleak, Al Bellanca, Mark Block, Sally Brant, Donn Conner, George Cox, Dick Davis,  Gregg Elliott, Gordon Fell, Wally Fischmann, Lenny Friedman, Art Henry, Kevin Komatsu, Tom Lenehen, Harlan Lewis, Eric Loberg, Steve Lore, Tony Marrone, Sean McMillan, Bill Michael, Peter More, Homer Newman, Mike Newman, Don Park, Gene Prindle, Kacy Rozelle, Ro Shaw, John Singleton, Myron Taylor, Bob Thom, Leo Tseng, Elliott Turner, Sloss Viau, Ron Wanglin, Bob Wessling, Terry M. White, Terry R. White, Dave Whitehead, Ernie Wolfe, Ralph Woodworth, Mike Yousem and Ray Zickfeld.  So, if you ain’t and wanna be, give YOE a card, please.


LENORE MULRYAN introduced Mina Soroosh, our Ambassadorial Scholar who will be leaving for Spain on August 5th.  LENORE reminded us all of what an excellent Ambassador Mina will be – she has been so very active in a number of Rotary activities already. At this point, PP JOHN SINGLETON presented Mina with a box –was it FIVE HUNDRED – pencils, embossed “WVRC Los Angeles, California USA Ambassadorial Scholarship Program”. A nice touch, certainly - even though there were the usual mutterings among the troops about whether the Singleton name would also appear somewhere…Mina began by thanking us for the opportunity to study aboard – she will be concentrating on the Basque Community in Northern Spain during her year.  The Basque community is located essentially in the Pyrenees Mountains, and numbers about three million.  Most of them have been integrated into Spanish society for centuries, but since 1959 there has been a movement to secede, and this will be her study focus.


Their separatist organization was founded during the regime of General Franco, and has become known for its use of violence to further their aims. They have achieved a degree of independence, having their own justice system, post office, and airport, for instance.  However, they are not satisfied, and thus the violence continues.  Their stated aim is to become a new country, which would mean that Spain would lose one of its present seventeen provinces.  At the same time, there is discord within the movement itself, with one faction seeking less autonomy than the main body.


Mina became interested in the Basques as she was pursuing her studies toward a PhD in French literature at UCLA.  She was interested in minority communities which existed in the 16th and 17th centuries, and her reading included a book about the witchcraft practiced by the Basques that long ago.  On a trip two years ago to the Basque area of France, she briefly visited Northern Spain, and that appears to be a fertile ground for further study.  While the Basques have their own language, they also speak Spanish, and Mina will be spending the first month of her study time on a Spanish Language Immersion project. 


Mina has a historic connection to Iran – long ago, here ancestors were Zoroastrian, which was a sect that was not integrated into Iranian life and culture.  As she questioned people she met on her earlier visit to Spain, they seemed to be in the same category, but in Spain rather than Iran. She will spend some time in Bilbao, studying Basque history, and then visiting and interviewing the Basque people themselves.  Mina was told early in her association with Rotary that it would change her life, and she feels that even before this coming trip, her life has been wonderfully affected by her association. She gave specific thanks for being included in the Christmas Gift project, and the Progressive Dinner, so ably chaired by Peggy Bloomfield. Mina also summarized her many opportunities to see and participate in local Rotary programs – she is indeed a walking advertisement for all that we do.  We wish her Godspeed, and good luck – there is an element of danger in what she is undertaking.


KACY ROZELLE introduced our Speaker, Frank Baxter.  Mr. Baxter is Chairman Emeritus of Jefferies and Company, a global investment bank, and he retired as CEO in 2001 – which KACY opines was because he, KACY, left the company at that time and it was no longer any fun! He has a long and impressive list of civic activities, including President of the Board of the LA Opera, California Co-Chair, Bush/Cheney ’04, Trustee LA County Museum of Art, and Director of the Pacific Research Institute. He belongs to the LA Country Club, the Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, NY and the University Club, NY City.  It was KACY”S final comment, “With all these clubs, he really should be a better golfer than he is” that summarized their long relationship.


Mr. Baxter began by praising the Rotary sense of Volunteerism.  He then noted that until 1960, our public schools were the best in the world.  Asking for a show of hands for those whose children attended private schools – and almost everyone raised their hands - he then asked us in the audience for our own school choice, and almost everyone in the audience was a public school graduate. He feels that this decline in public support is one of the two reasons why our public schools today are so mediocre – the other problem being the power of Teachers Unions.  In the south central area of LA, statistics show that 90%of the students are minorities, and 80% of them drop out along the way.  50% of those who are left still fail to graduate from high school.  He added that algebra is the most important subject that should be taught today.


If you visit schools in south central, you would be overwhelmed by how shoddy and untended they are.  The gangs that flourish show that we are close to becoming another Baghdad, since these gangs are really domestic terrorists.  However, on the West Side, we should be much more concerned than we are – this is not a problem that cannot travel.  Former Governor Romer, the Supt. of Schools for Los Angeles, ahs improved reading and math scores – but only up to the 4th grade.  Of the 750K students in south central, 160K of them have no permanent seats, due to overcrowding and lack of new school construction. There is a strong interest in building smaller schools – but any new school faces a tough fight, since the land has to be taken over by Eminent Domain – and the people so affected put up a strong defense.


In the Charter Schools which he is championing, 93% graduate from Middle School.  To succeed, these schools must be built on high expectations, which in turn brings middle-class parents back to public education. There are now forty four Charters, with a population of 15K.  Their budgets are $6500 per pupil, whereas LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) schools receive almost twice that amount per pupil.  Money has been voted to build new schools, but it is tied up in bureaucracy.  The student population, by the way, is 70% Latino, and 30% Black.  In their most recent meeting to build a new Charter School, they had 250 applicants, but could only accept 200 –and it takes a full year to get a new school up and running. The overall budget gives $9 million annually to Charter Schools, and $89 million to the regular LAUSD schools.  But if 100% of the Charter Schools succeed, this could change the entire District mind-set.


Q&A – RAY ZICKFELD, We have gone from best to worst in state rankings, right?  Yes, sad to say, that is true.  PDG ANDY ANDERSON, Do you have a problem getting teachers? No, they welcome the freedom provided in Charter Schools.  GEORGE COX, "Do the Unions impair progress?"  They were formed in 1965, to protect teachers, and that is all they are interested in. SEAN McMILLAN, Does the federal legislation about accountability help?  Frank Baxter only knows about California State laws, but he does not think federal legislation is worthwhile – this has to be solved locally.  PP MIKE NEWMAN, Will there be a Charter School in Pacific Palisades?  Yes, and it has to be good – if it is, the students will come.  In the areas where Charters now operate, the free lunch program has declined in numbers, since Middle Class parents are switching back to public education, and they can afford to provide their kids with lunch.  CLARK McQUAY, How is Palisades High doing as a Charter School, and does bussing affect it?  They are doing very well, and hope to end the bussing when they can build more charters in South Central. Final note – I have a copy of the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools – and I can give you copies.  It’s a great document to study – and act upon!

Thank you, Frank Baxter – and despite our concern about who introduced you, we very much appreciate your bringing your important message to us.


And now, the SLOGAN:  WESTWOOD VILLAGE ROTARY CHARTER SCHOOL  -we need to finance and support one NAMED for us, right?

                                                                                                 YOE, Ernie Wolfe