Program Chair:
  Peggy Bloomfield
October 30, 2008   

Nov 20
Stem Cell Research

Dec 11
Christmas Shopping

Next Week...
November 6
Craft Talks
Marcia and Rick Brous

Upcoming Programs...
November 13
Rotarian Alonzo Bell

November 20
Dr. Owen Witte
Stem Cell Research Chief at UCLA

November 27
ark for Thanksgiving

December 4
Dark - Joint Meeting with Santa Monica
Rotary Club on Dec. 5

December 5
Joint Meeting with Santa Monica Rotary Club
Riviera CC

December 11
Christmas Shopping Trip - Contact Mike Yousem

This Week...
The Pledge was led by ED WRIGHT.  PP CHRIS BRADFORD provided a brief Invocation – “In these times of economic uncertainty, we are mindful of those less fortunate than us, and grateful for our blessings. Let us Pray. Our Father in Heaven, we thank you for the blessings which you bestow upon us each and every day.  Grant us strength and wisdom to fulfill your work here on Earth through Rotary Service Above Self.” Excellent, and to the point – Thanks, CHRIS. LENNY came forward – we’ve missed you – and led us in America the Beautiful.

Those Head Table people spoke their pieces.  PP CHRIS BRADFORD reminded us that the selection process for Ambassadorial Scholars is now going on. Please call him with names of those you wish considered. PP RON LYSTER has lost his paralegal, and is looking for one – give him a ring.  And PP BOB WESSLING relieved our anxiety by reporting that DePauw had prevailed in overtime this past weekend!

There were several guests.  CURT SMITH brought his neighbor, John Johannes, who apparently took CURT in when he had his flood. John is an Immigration Attorney. PP STEVE SCHERER again introduced John Heidt, who is about to become official. MARK BLOCK brought his assistant, Marina Curry, who, as he reminded us, went to SC!  JR DUZBAK had a Special Guest, Julie Ware, who is a Medical Executive. At this point, it became necessary for President SEAN to impose a five-buck fine on the entire table of rowdies. I then collected this from five of them – PP DAVE WHITEHEAD, PP PETER MORE, PP ERIC LOBERG, NICK KAHRILIS, and MARK BLOCK. Two refused to pay, claiming insolvency – PP JIM COLLINS and PP JOHN SINGLETON.

And I cannot resist an Editorial Comment – the preponderance of names preceded by PP would indicate that this PP process loosens their lips!  Another contributor was DICK ROBINSON, who changed his suit for this first time this year and thus wasn’t wearing his pin.  Last, but apparently free, for some reason, was DON PARK – no pin, but no fine.

ELLIOTT TURNER came to our rescue, with two spiritual moments. The first concerned a husband who left work early one Friday.  Instead of going home, he spent the weekend partying with the boys.  When he finally returned home on Sunday night, his wife was furious and let him know how she felt.  After what seemed several hours of this, his wife paused and asked him, “How would you like it if you didn’t see me for a couple of days?” The husband couldn’t believe his luck, so he looked up, smiled, and said, “That would suit me just fine”.  Monday went by, and the man didn’t see his wife.  Tuesday and Wednesday went by and he still didn’t see her.  Come Thursday, the swelling went down a bit and he could see her a little out of the comer of his left eye.

His next offer concerned John, who was in the fertilized egg business.  He had several hundred young pullets, and ten roosters to fertilize the eggs.  Since he kept records, any rooster not performing went into the soup pot and was replaced.  However, this keeping up took a lot of his time, so he bought some tiny bells and attached them to his roosters.

Each bell had a different tone, so he could tell from a distance which rooster was performing. Now, he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report by just listening to the bells.  John’s favorite rooster, Old Butch, was a very fine specimen.  But this morning he noticed Old Butch’s bell hadn’t rung at all. Investigating, he saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing – but the pullets, hearing the roosters coming, could run for cover.  To John’s amazement, Old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn’t ring. He’d sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one. John was so proud of Old Butch, he entered him in the Renfrew County Fair and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.  The result was the judges not only awarded Old Butch the No Bell Piece Prize but they also awarded him the Pullet Surprise as well.  (Maybe this plays better when telling than reading?)

But, moving right along, clearly Old Butch was a politician in the making.  Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most highly coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them when they weren’t paying attention?  Vote carefully this year, the bells are not always audible. (Yeah, now I get it!)

LEAH VRIESMAN reported on her efforts with LORIN RUTTENBERG to find suitable gifts for ALY SHOJI and her daughter, London.   The baby has now received both a silver teaspoon and a silver teething ring – as someone pointed out, she now has a silver spoon in her mouth!  While she was up there, LEAH reminded us all of the District-wide Blood Drive now going on. It will be this Monday, Nov. 3rd, at three different locations, and you can- and should – register so WVRC will also get the credit.

President SEAN provided some personal history of his own.  Born a Catholic, he was deeply affected by the Nazi atrocious that were still on display in Europe – this while he was living in Germany.  As a result, he left the Catholic Church, feeling their response to these terrible events was neither appropriate or sufficient.  However, he did tell us of Msgr Hugh O’Flaherty, CBE (28 Feb.1998-30 Oct 1963) who has been credited with saving nearly 4,000 allied soldiers and Jews during WWII by concealing them in flats, farms and convents in and around Rome. When the Allies arrived in Rome in June of 1944, 3,925 of the escapees were still alive.  O’Flaherty demanded that German prisoners should be treated properly as well.  He even visited the imprisoned SS Chief of Rome, Colonel Herbert Kappler in prison.  Month after month he was said to be Kappler’s only visitor.  In 1959 Kappler converted to Catholicism.  O’Flaherty was immortalized in the 1983 TV film, The Scarlet and the Black, where he was portrayed by Gregory Peck. SEAN completed this episode by pointing out that all organizations, including churches and Rotary, carry out many worthwhile activities.

But we couldn’t end all these yarns without one last Irish tale.  Paddy was driving down the street in a hurry, because he had an important meeting and couldn’t find a parking place.  Looking up at heaven he said, “Lord take pity on me.  If you find me a parking place I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up Irish Whiskey”. Miraculously, a parking space appeared.  Paddy looked up again and said, “Never Mind, I found one”.

HANK HOYER introduced our Speaker, Margaret Rosenfeld. Before he began, he became one of many storytellers today, as follows:  As you know, there was an ongoing dispute between the Orangemen and the IRA. A visitor was walking down the street when he was held up by a gunman. The gunman asks, “What is your religion?”  Our visitor knows he has a problem – if he says Catholic, and the questioner is Protestant, he’ll get shot.  On the other hand, if he goes the other way, again he’ll probably be shot. So he has an inspiration, and replies, “I’m Jewish”.  “Well, you’ve just met the only Hamas member outside of Palestine”!  But, moving right along, HANK told us that Margaret is a partner in the firm of Baker and Hostetter, and in charge of their Labor and Employment section on a national basis. She graduated from Queen’s College with honors, and then to Chicago Kent College of Law, where she was the Valedictorian of her class.  She has had a wide range of experience, working both for and against government agencies. She is a Litigator, and mostly works with firms that have been sued by their employees.  She considers herself a ‘preventive lawyer’, where prior advice and preparation can often avoid problems. As we were reminded, when you are sued, you lose lots of time preparing your defense and thus not tending fully to business, so preventing that is her focus.

Ms Rosenfeld began by pointing out that what you need is to have a lawyer you can call with questions – and in cases where state and federal laws diverge, the stricter interpretation usually applies in California Employment Law.  She first asked about the size of our businesses, and it was probably ERIC who responded that we are all under $250,000!  We were asked how many of us had what I heard as ELPA Insurance, and I didn’t see any hands go up.  This is recommended for catastrophic coverage – the awards can really be huge.  For the day-to-day problems, it can be expensive, with a high deductible.

The biggest issue in California today is the new popularity of class action suits.  In the last five or six years, these have grown tremendously, since there is a lot of money to be made on the plaintiff’s side.  There is a three to four year statue of limitations in most cases, but those sued found they could not easily defend these actions.  They occur mostly in the areas of meal and rest-periods.  The rules in California are very specific, but since most businesses work in a practical fashion, these rules are often not carefully followed.  But there is a case now before the California Supreme Court (Brinker) which, if affirmed, will make interpretations much easier and more practical.

Another area of present controversy is whether your employees are called Exempt or Non-Exempt.  This refers to their status as far as working overtime and minimum wage.

The general feeling is that if they are salaried, that means the overtime and minimum wage rulings do not apply, but that really isn’t accurate.  Particularly on the federal level, the rules are very specific about what qualifies someone to be a Manager, for instance. 

A related problem is with Assistant Managers – should they also be exempt?  Part of the problem is that most people prefer to be considered exempt – it is more prestigious – but unless they meet the standards they do not qualify.  In California, even an agreement with your employee about their status does not stand against the government standard.

Vacation is another problem that comes up frequently.  Vacation is like a wage, and thus whatever they have earned belongs to them.  As an example, if someone comes to work, and leaves after six months, you cannot say to them, you have to be here a year to earn vacation – it must be prorated.  The same applies to unused vacation time – it cannot disappear if not used.  There are very detailed rules about what you must pay when someone leaves their job.  On the day you terminate someone, you must pay them all their wages up to that time, that day – including accrued vacation pay. The rules are not that onerous, but if you don’t follow them, you are subject to serious penalties.  For instance, for each day that you don’t settle what is owed, their daily rate will become due.

Another rule is that you cannot deduct anything from an employee’s check unless they have given you permission to do so.  An example would be if they break something – you cannot charge them for it.  Willful destruction is another matter, of course. Say they ask for a loan.  You agree, and they are to pay you back periodically.  Before the loan is fully repaid, they quit - but you cannot charge them for the unpaid balance, unless you have a written agreement to that effect. 

There are various types of leave, which can be taken.  One that often causes problems is disability leave – what to do when they want to come back but only do partial duty?  The three main types of leave are Disability, Pregnancy and Workers Comp, plus Family leave if you have fifty or more employees.  In California, Pregnancy Leave eligibility begins with employment – there is no ‘waiting period’.  Since California laws and requirements can differ from other states, a national company has to conform to local law. Cases involving sex harassment are no longer as prevalent as they used to be, primarily because companies are doing training in this regard.  Ms Rosenfeld has found that the training really helps. 

If you are looking toward a reduction in employment, BEFORE you begin, write out the standards, which will be observed in the process.   Will seniority be paramount, or adaptability, sales positions vs. training, or whatever.  And everyone wants to include a non-compete provision when an employee leaves – but that simply is not allowed, period.  And here’s a rule from EWJr hisself – you must pay people no later than by the month.  This goes back to our famous Depression, when people expected to get paid, but the longer period left them holding the bag.

Margaret Rosenfeld, you have certainly provided us with a lot of useful information.  We thank you – and HANK HEUER – for being with us today.

Closing Words of Wisdom – A penny saved is a government oversight.

—YOE, Ernie Wolfe


Sean McMillan

President Elect
Ed Gauld

Vice President
Mark Block

Don Nelson

Shane Waarbroek

Executive Secretary
Ernie Wolfe, Jr.

Past President
Chris Bradford

Community Service Chair
Leah Vriesman

International Service Chair
Mark Rogo

Membership Chair
Steve Scherer

Vocational Service Chair
Curt Smith

Youth Service Chair
J.R. Dzubak



Dong Kurn Lee

   Chuck Anderson
Redondo Beach 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