Program Chairs:
  Peggy Bloomfield
April 17, 2008   

April 24
"Rotary Foundation"

May 1
"UCLA Basketball"

Next Week...
April 24
"Rotary Foundation"
- Steve Day
The mission of The Rotary Foundation

Upcoming Meetings...
May 1
"UCLA Basketball"
- Ben Howland
UCLA's basketball coach

Upcoming Events...
May 1, 7:00 am
District Breakfast - Westin LAX Hotel
Patricia Murray gives an eyewittness account of the conditions in the Middle East.

This Week...
CALIFORNIA ECONOMIC EDUCATION - WVRC on April 17th - PP DON NELSON led the Pledge, and was unfazed by the comment from the audience, “You almost have it right”.  LENNY came forward with Let Me Call You Sweetheart, and the duet of DOWNIE and YOE was forgettable. JOHN WOODALL gave the Invocation, first telling us it was short, so we could remain standing.  It was a prayer from Kenya, “From the cowardice that dares not name names, from the laziness that is content with half-truth, from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth, Good Lord, deliver me.” Well said, JOHN – and short is best.

We had a number of guests. Visiting Rotarians were PDG Len Wasserstein, from Beverly Hills, and Sandra Alcaesei, who is in Real Estate in Pacific Palisades. Our Speaker, Bill Coffin, had two of his staff with him – Justin Phillips and Amanda Lheshivila.  KATIA VAISBERG brought Brad – didn’t get his last name, but active in their Rotaract group. LENNY brought SUNNY, and PP STEVE SCHERER introduced Special Guest David Friedman, who was sitting at the Yearling table. (There were some who wondered if this was a move to escape paying for lunch…but that would never have occurred to LENNY, anyway).

We have concluded our search for Japanese Student Exchange slots – and there were only six this year.  Of the several candidates from WVRC, Jeffrey Day, who is related to next week’s speaker, and Natalie Hession, JIM COLLIN’S granddaughter, were selected.  They will now move on to the District, where a further Selection Process will take place. Those on our Selection Committee. chaired by SHANE WAARBROEK, included GORDON FELL, ALY SOCHI, LORIN RUTTENBURG, SAROSH MOTIVALA, ED WRIGHT, and PEGGY BLOOMFIELD, MARK KRAUSE, ELLIOTT TURNER, CHRIS BRADFORD.  Our thanks for your nice work.

May 1st is the last District Breakfast of this Rotary year, at the Westin LAX, starting at 0700.  We have a table for ten, and as of this writing there were still a couple of seats open.  (It counts as a make-up, by the way) The Speaker will be Patricia Murray, and her subject will be her experiences as a CA. National Guard pilot in the Middle East. DON NELSON has tickets.

May 17th is the District Assembly. Starting at 0800 and ending by noon.  Incoming Prexy SEAN MCMILLAN reminds us that this is a ‘Must’ for all new officers and Board Members.  Please respond directly to SEAN.

Vice President ED GAULD was asked by President CHRIS to explain why he had a bad day last week. ED and Kathie were planning to attend his 50th Reunion at Duke.  They arrived at LAX about 6 am, and after a few minutes were told that their American flight was cancelled.  Naturally, they were upset – ED was described as livid - and as a result he was interviewed by a reporter from NBC TV.  Thus he appeared on the Today Show that SAME morning (April 9th) PLUS the 6:30 Evening News with Brian Williams! After this tale of woe, President CHRIS of course asked ED if he was wearing his Rotary pin – he wasn’t – or if he mentioned WVRC on the air – but again, he didn’t.  CHRIS then read a letter from American, addressed to Ed Gauld, c/o Westwood Village Rotary.  They apologized profusely for the inconvenience, and to make up for it, the GAULD’S were offered a coupon which provided a choice of a pillow OR a blanket on their next flight! The coupon expires on April 30th, so tempis fugits, or however that goes.   Apparently ED’S line that they took exception to was “They are a bunch of Hokies operating the worst airline in the USA”.  Of course, all this publicity resulted in a fine of a hundred big ones, to which ED replied, “I accept with humility!” The good news is that ED picked up a Red Eye flight on his cell phone, so they did get to the Reunion, even though a bit short of sleep.

This being just after the Tax Season has ended, CPA’s were the subject of inquiry.  It seems that PP CHRIS GAYNOR missed a couple of meetings, and then someone remembered that PP STEVE DAY was also in that category.  There were other suspects but nobody fingered them. The upshot was that CHRIS and STEVE were both awarded 50 buck fines, to which they reluctantly acquiesced.  (That means they decided it was better to agree now, to save themselves for a later, perhaps more important, charge).

And apropos of nothing at all, we need one more driver to take the Japanese students for a visit to UCLA after lunch on the 7th of August, and then later, back to their homes.  As far as I can tell, YOE and PP STEVE SCHERER agreed – if not, tell somebody, OK?

And a last note - a Rotoractor from Italy is seeking housing in LA. His dates are July 11th through the 16th. Please let President CHRIS know if you can accommodate him.

STEVE PETTISE introduced our Speaker, Bill Coffin.  Although STEVE’S 90-year old mother thought his subject sounded boring, STEVE guarantees us that it is not –as we will soon see. Bill is the CEO of a Westwood company, California Council on Economic Education, or CCEE.  He can be reached at (310) 477-8900.  His organization is doing great things, and he will be talking to us about a serious condition in our society, involving many of our young people.

Bill – and did you notice how much he looked like ART MARSHALL? – began by thanking us for the opportunity to tell their story.  It’s an interesting time- Bear Sterns plus the Housing Sub prime meltdown, resulting in the dislocation of families – 1.5 million foreclosures, and 800,000 individuals who will file for bankruptcy this year.
His title for this phenomenon is The Silent Killer of California Families.  This silent killer is an epidemic of Economic and Financial illiteracy, especially among our 20-35 year olds – and it mostly starts in High School. It is the # one reason for divorce, a key factor in at least 30% of high school drop-outs, and for college freshmen, also, plus being the major cause of record numbers of Californians living at poverty level.

All this is taking place in a state that is the 8th largest economy in the WORLD.  Yet the HS dropout rate in California is 30% - (up to 50% in LA County).  That’s 570,000 students.  We rank 32nd in K-12 math, and 53% of HS students flunk a National Financial Literacy test.  The essential reason is the gradual and relentless deterioration of K-12 education.  17% of everyone in California is at or below the poverty line, that being $20K for a family of four. That includes 22% of 18 year-olds, (2.4 million) and 4 million blacks and Latinos. In 1980, 2/3rd of our population was white – in 1990, it was just over 50%, and today it is below that number.  Popular support for public education has declined, teacher pay is not keeping up with the private sector, and teaching economic reasoning /financial literacy is difficult.

Math and Reading are the two highest priorities today, with history about a third less in class hours, social studies half of history – and gym gets twice as much time as economics!  What does this mean to you as an employer?  Your young employees are coming to you without the skills that contribute to the bottom line.   Many younger customers have no concept about the role of profit, and competition – “They’re making lots of money – why shouldn’t I pick up a few things?”  Uninformed voters increasingly support public policy that is against your interest.  Many consumers really believe that the government sets oil prices.  And of course there is a huge tax loss as these uneducated young people make less money than those they replace.

The core of the CCEE program is teaching teachers how to teach their students how to swim – when that happens fewer drown!  The only viable battle ground for these skill sets to be taught on a statewide basis is K-12 education.  It is there that the cost to society is lowest in school; the cost to learn this is highest in real life.  Their mission is to provide economic reasoning and financial literacy to citizens of California. – to make those subjects relevant to the teacher, student and parent.  There is a surplus of gardeners, but a shortage of teachers, financial planners, nurses, engineers.  We teach about the power of the budget, the role of credit and credit abuse. Credit card abuse, by the way, is the single biggest reason for economic bankruptcy.

Oscar Wilde said anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination – and teens spent $180 BILLLION in 2007! CCEE started their program in 2003, reaching about 250 teachers. They have expanded every year, reaching 3500 teachers in 2007.

The enormity of the problem can be realized when you know there are 300,000 high school teachers in California – the good news is that you only need one teacher per HS. The first year their newly trained teachers influenced 100,000 students.  In 2007, the figure was 500,000.

In summary, California’s main asset, its human capital, is at risk. Economic reasoning and financial literacy link directly to life success. CCEE is part of the answer.

Thank You, Bill Coffin, and Thank You, STEVE PETTISE, for bringing this program to our attention.  YOE agrees that Rotary would make a wonderful partner in your efforts.

But back to today. 

Words of Wisdom from Albert Einstein – subject, Imagination
Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.

And now, pardon me for a very personal message.
As I was working on this Windmill, the phone rang.  It was Avishai Shalev!
If you are old enough and have been around long enough, you will recognize Avishai as an Ambassadorial Scholar. (I don’t think that was their title then). Avishai, who is from Israel, came to UCLA during the 1966-67 school year. He had a BA, and received his Masters in Double E while here.  I was his counselor, and had met him a few months before he arrived. We had dinner in Tel Aviv, and after he felt comfortable with me, he ventured a question that had really been bothering him. “Mr. Wolfe, I know UCLA has a large foreign student population.  I am concerned how I, a Jew, will get along with the many Arab students there.” Needless to say, I was able to fully reassure him that he would find enough Jews on campus to feel comfortable!

In the middle of that school year, while Avishai was still at UCLA, my family and I were in Israel.  We were invited to his parent’s home for dinner.  His sister took leave from her Army duties – she was a lieutenant – to join us, and his little brother, Benjamin, who was 12 at the time, later flew F14’s. Today he is the leading eye surgeon in Israel.  Avishai and his wife, Nellie are both fine – he is now 65 and still teaches at Tel Aviv University.

To say that hearing from him again made my day, would be putting it mildly. 

—YOE, Ernie Wolfe


Christopher Bradford

President Elect
Sean McMillan

Vice President
Ed Gauld

Mark Block

Exec. Treasurer
Don Nelson

Shane Waarbroek

Executive Secretary
Ernie Wolfe

Past President
Michael Gintz

Community Service Chair
Mark Rogo

International Service Chair
Elliott Turner

Membership Chair
Steve Scherer

Vocational Service Chair
Sherry Dewane

Youth Service Chair
Ann Samson



Wilfrid J. Wilkinson

    David Moyers
Palos Verdes Sunset Rotary

Monday, Beverly Hills, BH Hotel, 9641 Sunset
Tuesday, WLA/Brentwood, Chez Mimi, 246 26th St, Santa Monica
Wednesday, Century City, Hyatt Regency Century City, in the Breeze Cafe
    Culver City, Wyndham Hotel, 6333 Bristol Parkway, CC, or
    Wilshire, The Ebell, 743 S. Lucerne Blvd, LA
Friday, Santa Monica, Riviera Country Club, 1250 Capri Dr, Pacific Palisades