June 3, 2021
Westwood Village Rotary Club
Coming Up on June 17th - Dr. Elizabeth R. Upton

Dr. Upton is Associate Professor in the Department of Musicology at UCLA, where she is also the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Musicology and Chair of the Faculty for The Herb Alpert School of Music. Dr. Upton will be speaking on "Thanks for the Beatles," based on the popular course that she has taught at UCLA since 2012 - and which two of our members have taken and enjoyed. 
WVRC Club Assembly

Our Club Assembly will be held next Thursday, June 24th - also our Club's 92nd birthday. We will share key highlights of our Strategic Plan - and we have exciting news. Be sure to join us for our last meeting of this Rotary year.
WVRC Foundation Donation Challenge

In honor of our Club's 92nd birthday and the successful completion of a challenging year, our Club is holding a WVRC Foundation Donation Challenge - please consider making a year-end donation to our Club's Foundation, which will be matched 2 to 1 by our Club, up to a total of $5,000. Members will have the opportunity to vote on the worthy causes to receive these donations in our Club Assembly on June 24th.
Westwood Virtual Rotary Club Meeting for June 10, 2021
Brian Whitney led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Phil Gabriel gave our thought for the day – after a couple of days of personal contentious conversations, he asked everyone to close their eyes, take a beat and let everything go; ponder the last week and step back and maybe gather themselves. He had everyone take a moment.

Song meister and soloist, Ed Gauld, shared the song of the day, “Give My Regards to Broadway.”

Two special guests: David Stover and Benjamin Fisher along with Senior Lead Officer Pete Ojeda and guest speaker, Captain Jonathan Tom of the West Los Angeles Division of the LAPD.

Special observances for June-
  • Birthdays: John O'Keefe (June 19th), Steve Scherer (June 21st) and Sharon Bradford (June 22nd)
  • Wedding Anniversaries: Eleanore & Jim Meyer (June 3rd) and Kathie & Ed Gauld (June 21st - 60 years!)
  • Rotary Anniversaries: Jim Meyer (June 1st), Scott Whittle (June 1st), David Friedman (June 1st), Chris Bradford (June 12th) and Bill Edwards (June 18th).

Past President Steve Scherer shared some memories and a nice tribute to John and also shared about Dick Littlestone’s passing and asked Ron Lyster to share some memories of Dick and how helpful he was to Ron in his year as President.

Save the Date for our Club Assembly on June 24th, which is also our Club’s 92nd birthday!
President Nancy encouraged us to have our beverage of choice to toast our Club.

Year-end challenge to give to Rotary Foundation and our club will match 2:1 and two projects will be chosen to support from

IPP Diane shared that the UCLA Air Force ROTC Sword Ceremony has been changed to a live event and moved to July 6th at 3:00 p.m. at the L.A. Coliseum.

The Rotary International Virtual Convention starts this Saturday, June 12 – you can still register. There is a lot of info on the website regarding speakers and schedules and President Nancy encouraged us all to log in and participate.
Past President Tom Barron provided this introduction of Captain Jonathan Tom:
Today we are privileged to hear from a local product who has risen to the position of Commanding Officer for the West Los Angeles Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, Captain Jonathan Tom. Captain Tom was born and raised in L.A., a proud fifth generation Angeleno. He went to L.A. Unified schools, attending University High School and graduated from USC. 

He formerly served as the Commanding Officer of the Critical Incident Review Division, which is responsible for facilitating the review and adjudication of uses of force on behalf of the Chief of Police. This position also provided administrative support and training to officers, supervisors and command personnel. 

Captain Tom has worked assignments in all four geographic bureaus, giving him experience in various communities, including Commanding Officer of these units: South Traffic Division, Rampart Patrol Division, Olympic Detective Division and the Southwest Area Vice Unit. On his way up the ladder, he served as investigator at the Professional Standards Bureau and Detective Headquarters Division – a gun unit. He was also firearms instructor at Training Division, on patrol at the Special Problems Unit in the West Valley, West L.A. and Southwest divisions.

Captain Tom has had an opportunity to work in different leadership positions during special events such as the space shuttle Endeavour to the California Science Center, Academy Awards, and NHL and NBA championships, among others.

Captain Tom is a member of the department’s peer support cadre, board member for a law enforcement association and a former delegate for the Los Angeles Protective League.

His personal philosophy is for all personnel to work hard, treat each other with respect, and provide service to the community, as if the people you are dealing with were your family. 
Although Captain Tom will address home protection, he is open to other areas of concern you may have. 

Rotarians, let us welcome our Police Commander for the Westside, Captain Jonathan Tom.

Before Captain Tom discussed the issue of “Home Protection” from the Los Angeles Police Department perspective and other issues of importance to the citizens of Westwood, he introduced SLO Pete Ojeda - 19 years on July 1, in W.L.A. for 16 years, patrol officer, Narcotics, Vice Division, Special Projects, plain clothes, field training officer.  Currently he is our liaison regarding any community issues and problems.  He speaks with his officers every day within a large geographic range that covers Westwood Village.  His email is:  36393@lapd.online. He is here to answer any questions. Feel free to reach out to him anytime at that email. We thanked him for coming in on his day off, even after working the UCLA Undie run last night!

Captain Tom grew up in L.A. – his family has been here for 140 years – and his family owned the New Moon Restaurant on 9th and San Pedro, which closed in 1992 after the riots. (Some may even have seen him doing homework at the tables or sleeping with the chairs pushed together) He graduated from University High in 1987 and then attended USC. He spent one year at Whittier Law School, which was not for him. So, he talked to his boss’s husband, who was a Deputy Chief overseeing West Bureau, who loved his job. Now he has been with the LAPD for 25 years, starting his probation in West L.A., and may end as Captain, where he has served for the last 5 years.  This past year has been especially difficulty with morale, but the community has been very supportive and has kept his team motivated. The West Los Angeles Division covers 65 miles of area to protect (all of S.F. would fit in his jurisdiction).

Your home should feel like a sanctuary and be safe, but with current events and what is on the news, there is a sense of unease with homelessness exploding and burglaries rising. Although, recently, there have been many arrests with special task forces and a decrease in burglaries from these “flocking crews” of various gang members who have come together.  

Shared Home Burglary Tips sheet 
1.    Lock up your car, home, garage doors, backyard doors, windows 
2.    Make the house look occupied, because they are less likely to break in if you’re home
3.    Have good relations with your neighbors – pay attention to each other’s properties if gone, take mail off porch, etc.
4.    If you have a Security System, turn it on
5.    Video Doorbells
6.    Lighting
7.    Inventory of valuable items – keep serial numbers to match up if belongings aretaken
If you suspect an intruder is in your home do NOT enter, phone 911.

Think about National Geographic and the lion stalking the wildebeest.  They are never looking at the prey that are looking back AT them, they are looking for the ones that are not looking and not paying attention. Human predators are no different and want easy targets so that they can get away.

Don’t necessarily confront them but maybe go out of your way to wave and say "HI" and ask how they are doing, do they need anything.  Trying to establish communication may cause those that may be surveilling your neighborhood to move on if there is too many aware neighbors around. 

He answered questions.

Tom Barron asked about protests at Federal Building, why Wilshire was closed – why does that happen and then we can’t move around as easily?

Captain:  Police need to facilitate your 1st amendment right of freedom to speech. LAPD does not want to shut down traffic but as they have seen in the past, the Federal Building is a symbol. Crowds can grow and not stay contained on the sidewalk, so in those instances it is necessary for safety to redirect traffic.  

If it becomes an unlawful assembly, things become complicated, but LAPD does not want to become the story. Three key considerations are:
1.    Protect life and property
2.    Facilitate freedom of speech
3.    Don’t become the story

Gordon:  Is shoplifting not enforced if less than $900?

Captain: Under $900 is considered a misdemeanor and it is up to store to press charges.
Stores do not want to become “the story” but now they are willing to prosecute because the shrinkage is so high that some stores have had to shut down.

Phil  asked about morale and how are they dealing with it and where do they live?

Captain Tom: Officer Next Door programs used to exist but many cannot afford to live in L.A.
He personally has struggled, feeling that they are not appreciated, valued, or want you there (like in any difficult relationship). They have lost over 5,000 officers (15%) due to retirements and early retirements.  

In New York, those with over 20 years of service are looking at each other like, “Why are you still here?” 

L.A. is on track to lose 600 officers in one year.  They have not been replaced. One Police Academy class has about 40 graduates; they are down 540 officers from where we were last year so that has changed how they handle operations. They now do online reporting, have downsized certain areas and task forces, such as animal cruelty.  The morale impact is incalculable but there is a lot of conversation happening around this.  

Our particular community has given so much support, which lifts their morale. They are being very productive and are still engaged and doing their job but it is complicated. Most do this job because they have a heart of service, not for the money.  

What will public safety look like in the future if we make it so difficult for police officers to do their jobs?

Benjamin: Lives in Mar Vista – What would you do if you lived in my community? He doesn’t know what to do.

Captain Tom:  How can you impact the policy and personally what can I do?  Stay persistent with your elected officials for what you want.  And stay aware and prepared.

Diane thanked him for his service and said he and his team consistently show up to their Brentwood neighborhood meetings and are always accessible and responsive and she appreciates the terrific job they do.

  • Commentary by PP Aly Shoji

WVRC 2020/2021 Leadership Team
President: Nancy McCready
Treasurer: Terry M. White
Youth/Vocational Service: Phil Gabriel
Director/Peace: PP Marsha Hunt
Foundation: PP Steve Day
Global Scholarships: PP Chris Bradford
Webmaster: PP Ron Lyster
Director/Merchant Minute: PP Mark Rogo
District Governor: Bette Hall
Immediate Past President: Diane Good
Secretary: PP Diane Good
Community Service: Aaron Donahue
International Service: Nevin Senkan
Program Chair: PP Tom Barron
Membership: PP Mike Newman
Director/Social Media: PP Aly Shoji
Windmill Editor: P Nancy McCready
Assistant District Governor: Michael Lushing