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Windmill for April 20th, 2023

By PP Mark Rogo

Called to order by Club President, the man, the myth, the legend, PP Chris Gaynor. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by one of our Club members. Don’t ask me which one. I didn’t write it down. Oy vey. Our “Thought For The Day” was offered by PP Mark Rogo, giving all of us famous one-liners from famous personalities throughout history. Our Club song was led by The Maestro himself, PP Ed Gauld. “You are my Sunshine”. Listening to the chorus, it reminded me how we should all keep our day jobs. Oy vey. 

PP Chris asked for guests and for visiting Rotarians. VP Ben Fisher introduced Dr Yang Shein and wife Jiayi. PP Mark Rogo introduced Meir Nemetsky as “special guest” at his second meeting. 

The Westwood Village Rotary Club was honored to induct as its newest member, Dr. Yang Shein. Dr. Yang Shein made some introductory remarks, with VP Ben assuring everyone that his craft talk was sure to be a memorable one, scheduled for June 8th. 

Our Guest Speaker was Bruce Rosen, President of the Bandini Foundation, which played an important role in the history of Westwood and Brentwood. Bruce was a UCLA graduate, and then pursued a career in finance. Now retired as an investment advisor, he co-founded the Westside food bank in 1990. In 2004 the Bandini Foundation received a license for ten years to operate the Heroes golf course where Bruce maintains an office.

Story of the VA property in Westwood/Brentwood - It all started in 1825, when Arcadia was born in Mexico. The family arrived shortly afterwards by boat. California was Mexican territory until 1848. When California entered the Union, the U.S. government honored all Mexican land grants. She met Able in 1840, married him and moved to Los Angeles. Only about 40,000 people lived in California and half were Indians. Most Anglo’s lived up north near San Francisco. In 1850 the world changed with the “gold rush” and about 1,000,000 people came in over the next two decades. California became a state in 1850.Arcadia’s second husband, Col. John Baker, found gold and silver deposits and with a partner became entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. Their businesses included the Hotel Arcadia near Loews in Santa Monica. His partner found the largest silver strike in United States and heirs are still receiving royalties today. 

In 1872 Arcadia and John bought 32,000 acres from the Sepulveda family, who owned it from a Mexican land grant, extending from Beverly Hills to the beach, and the foothills to what is Pico Blvd today. She later donated the land for the Palisades Park to the city. In 1877 she donated enough land for the first national soldiers home west of Mississippi, as an irrevocable grant in perpetuity to solely benefit veterans. It began as a housing community, which peaked after WWI. About 6,000 veterans lived there. In 1930 the Government did not consider homelessness their responsibility. The Reagan administration tried to sell the veterans land, resulting in the original family heirs filing suit. In the end, the Government lost the case. The ACLU entered the picture and came into the lawsuit and represented ten homeless veterans. The Government lost and appealed. The Obama administration decided to settle. In 2010 UCLA and Brentwood School were identified as the most responsible for misusing the property. 

Today, the entire campus is being rebuilt. The Federal Government is obligated under a settlement to build 2,000 housing units for homeless and at-risk veterans. The first building is already done. The new leases from Brentwood School and UCLA are replaced by revocable licenses. Bruce says, “In this country that it took us this long is just a disgrace.” The ultimate goal is for 5,000 units to house about 12,000 people (vets and their families.). The whole campus will hopefully be connected to doctors, therapists, geriatrics and other services. The original hospital was built in the 1960s It’s now a five star hospital. Bruce adds, “Remarkable testament to what we can do and what we should do.” 

The Veterans Golf Course is now also a recreation center, with a club house. Bruce is looking to add on a game room. The golf course is open to the public seven days a week. There are nominal green fees for non-veterans. Fees collected pay for maintenance of course and services.

 Private golf clubs in the area teach maintenance and support the VA course. Some private clubs have even hired some of the homeless vets after training. Hillcrest Country Club provided the funds and in 1946 built the course. 

Also on the VA campus are 140 Tiny housing units for about 200 people. All of them were donated by past governor Schwartzeneger and others. They cost about $10,000 each and include heating, air conditioning, Wi-Fi and, are partially furnished. The VA provides communal bathrooms and showers.

The greatest concentration on campus are the Vietnam vets. One vet, Larry, is 94 and a WWII vet. Depression, suicide, and PTSD are all problems addressed there.  Thank you, Bruce, for a wonderful presentation.



  • This Thursday's WVRC meeting, April 27th, 2023, will be on ZOOM and feature UCLA football player and current enrollee in the Transformative Coaching and leadership graduate program, Shea Pitts.

  • April 27th, 2023 from 6-8pm District 5280 will have its last Rotary Means Business Event at the Scholb Brewery. If interested in attending, please register on the District’s website.

  • April 29th,2023 WVRC will once again do a cleanup project in Westwood Village. Please plan to meet at 9am at the Westood Transitional Village on Sepulveda Blvd. Be sure to wear masks, eyewear, and long sleeve shirts and, pants, no shorts.

  • As an FYI and, to put into your calendar book here is how the next month of WVRC weekly meetings look:

1.April 27 we are on ZOOM

2.May 4th we meet at Hillel

3.May 11th we meet at Hillel

4.May 18th we meet are Persian Gulf


5. May25th will be on ZOOM

  • District Conference is at the wonderful Miramonte Indian Wells Resort & Spa and you have until April 30th to get the reduced rates. Plan to attend as this conference is always a fun time.

  • May 20th, 2023 is the District Assembly from 8am - 12pm at the beautiful Da Vinci High School located at 201 N. Douglas St. in El Segundo.

  • SAVE THE DATE!! June 25th we will be demoting in fun fashion our second time President Chris Gaynor at the famed Whiskey Reds located at 13813 Fiji Way in Marina del Rey from 6-10pm.

  • FINALLY: New wheels - PP & President Gaynor announced his new ride, a Lucid. He waited a long time for it and, it can travel 425 miles on one charge. The fine was $200, which was met with some skepticism but stood solid considering the upcoming wedding of Chris and Roses's son.

WVRC 2022/2023 Leadership Team

President: Chris Gaynor

President Elect: PP Steve Day

Vice President: Benjamin Fisher

Treasurer: Terry M. White

Youth/Vocational Service: Diane Good

Director/Peace: PP Marsha Hunt

Foundation: PP Steve Day

Global Scholarships: PP Chris Bradford

Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster

District Governor: Olivia Patterson Ryans

Immediate Past President: Nancy McCready

Secretary: PP Nancy McCready

Community Service: Aaron Donahue

International Service: Nevin Senkan

Director: PP Tom Barron

Membership: PP Mark Rogo

Director/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji

Windmill Editor: Teya McCockran