Letters to the Editor



University Of California-California State College System rivalry remembered:

When reading the Feb. 17 issue of OC Register “ UCI makes a play for Obama to speak at graduation,” I immediately had an instant, somewhat humorous but true, flashback from the 1960s that occurred during my exciting career as director of governmental affairs for the trustees of the California state colleges.

San Diego State College leaders had successfully persuaded the president, the late John F. Kennedy, to deliver his address at its graduation ceremony. The university was planning to present him with an honorary doctorate degree.

Upon seeing that planned action, the University of California promptly arranged to secure a legal opinion by the legislative counsel which concluded that only the University of California has the “legal authority” to award a doctorate degree.

Representing the trustees of the state colleges, I immediately went to the office of the attorney general and decided to challenge that “opinion,” asking the attorney general to rule on this important-now public issue.

Happily the attorney general’s opinion successfully concluded that San Diego State College may legally award the president the honorary doctorate degree since the prohibition only applies to an “earned” doctorate degree.

It didn’t end there. As a result of so much media attention on the issue, I received a telephone call from the secretary at the White House, stating that the president would like to have copies of both legal opinions, which I promptly sent him.

Les H Cohen, Mutual 15

Legislative Advocate Emeritus


Surprisingly, my early morning walk was enhanced by the lovely flowers already blooming in February instead of June. My yellow, pink and fuschia kalanchoes are ready to bloom.

Some trees with colorful flowers and varieties of ground flowers beautify the surroundings. Mother Nature’s season cycle is greatly affected by global warming.

It reminds me when I was teaching science, my students’ inquisitive minds were eager to learn about this unusual phenomena. These beautiful flowers in bloom not only lightened my spirit but also helped the healing process I’m experiencing while strolling the paths.

Lisa A. Dickson

Mutual 1


Very often when I take trash out to the recycle bin in Mutual 1 behind Building 11, I find large cardboard boxes that have not been flattened, which overcrowds the bin.

So for the benefit of all of us, I go home, get a large knife and or scissors and go back to cut and flatten the box or boxes. Most recently, it was a large TV box.

I guess that new residents don’t understand or read the instructions on the lid of the recycle bin. I also find Styrofoam in varying forms.

Perhaps Realtors should make it part of their welcoming speech to provide the trash container rules in writing or give them a tour of the trash areas. A printed reminder on Page 1 of the Golden Rain News would help, too.

Annette Stone

Mutual 1


Let’s not have any more stories on water drought in the GR News. The drought has all been exacerbated by legislative engineering in Sacramanto.

Our corrupt politicians have been making plenty of money on the drought. California aqueducts and storage tanks were designed long ago to take advantage of rain and mountain runoff from wet years and store it. But they remain inactive.

Environmentalists have been winning this war. Special interests managed to dismantle the system by diverting water meant for farm and farmers to pet projects, such as saving Delta smelt fish.

That leaves farmers without water, causing forced flushing of more than 3 million feet of water into the ocean for the last five years that was originally slated for the central valley.

Politicians want to blame the drought for lack of water. We need to be water-informed and not let our precious water spill out, the water that must be contained for such droughts.

Crooked politicians force us to curb water, which is ridiculous. Please place stories in the News about this issue. Why are we dedicated to keep re-electing these same politicians?

Why should a burden be placed on the citizens of Leisure World to save water, while in Sacramento they are making foolish choices to line their pockets?

What we need in The News or at one of the clubhouses is shared discourse of honesty on this topic and many others. It should not remain one-sided.

Sylvia Volen

Mutual 1


As a rebuttal to the letter (Golden Rain News Feb. 20) regarding my performance in the Great Songs Concert, it was not one of my better concerts.

I need to make some radical changes for next time.

Valentino Perry

Mutual 14

Focus on GAF Column


by Anna Derby

LW contributor


There’s a new team in town! Sandra Massa-Lavitt, Dee Dickerson, and Anat Ben-Aziz now share the responsibility of overseeing operations at the Golden Age Foundation (GAF) hospitality center in Clubhouse 6.

On weekdays beginning at 9 a.m. coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are served to shareholders who drop by on their morning walk or bike ride or just stop by to socialize.

New shareholders are especially appreciative of the center because it’s a good place to meet new friends. The new team has taken over the leadership role from Linda Johnson, who served as the GAF hospitality chair for four years. 

Each month, more than 3,000 guests enjoy the center, and many willing GAF volunteers help make the program a success. The leadership team makes sure there is always enough volunteers and supplies to meet guests’ needs.

 Sandra Massa-Lavitt has lived in LW since 1991. “I have spent time as president of Mutual 5 and now spend much of my time keeping up with many of the issues concerning the community. I’m interested in the services that GAF provides. The hospitality center gets people out and about. It’s a place where we can meet neighbors that in turn leads to meeting other new friends. We are so lucky to have our facility because it makes life in our community even better. Thanks to all the shareholders who bring sweets and goodies from time to time to share with others.”

Sandra makes sure all the necessary supplies are available. Coffee and related supplies are ordered through the Golden Rain Foundation to take advantage of its discounts. Other supplies such as sweetener, paper goods, cocoa, and popcorn are purchased by a run to a local Costco or Smart and Final store.

 Ms. Dickerson has lived in Leisure World since 2012. She has been volunteering at the center since last year. It’s important for her to stay busy since she came from an extremely busy life style before arriving at Leisure World. Her experiences with the many personalities, and ethnic and social groups in LW make for an interesting adventure. “You become a friend almost instantly after sharing some time in the center over a cup of coffee,” she said. She oversees backup hospitality volunteers and logs and reports monthly volunteer hours to the Recreation Dept. and GAF board.

 Anat Ben-Aziz has lived in Mutual 3 nearly two years. She was recruited by Linda Johnson during a visit to the center. It’s a good thing that some of Anat’s hobbies include working out, walking, and riding her bicycle, since she walks or rides to the center nearly every weekday to make sure there are enough volunteers. If a last-minute substitute is needed, she calls to find another person willing to fill in.

GAF relies on volunteers to support its many service programs for the LW community. Some volunteer jobs can be done as a team. Shareholders interested in volunteering to help the hospitality center team or to learn about other GAF volunteer opportunities, call 431-9589.

PEP Column


by Ann Pepper

LW contributor

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members from around Leisure World will be recognized May 17 at a brunch sponsored by the Planning for Emergency Preparedness Foundation (PEP).

The volunteers will form the core of response teams in a major disaster and LW neighborhoods need to see their numbers grow. PEP want to show appreciation of those who have already trained to help themselves and their neighbors.

CERT-trained residents should save this day for brunch. To register for an invitation, call PEP President Edie Hugo at 343-3282.

PEP will deliver some major events again this year.

Last year’s all building captains, directors and other emergency volunteers event featured Cal-Tech and USGS geologist Dr. Lucy Jones and State Sen. Alex Padilla.

This year’s event in August will have some new surprises.

• It will be held in the evening to give working residents an opportunity to attend.

• The event will offer an array of food trucks serving up specialty menus.

• It will again feature speakers who are experts on how to respond to a major disaster locally.

In June, PEP will offer an introduction to emergency preparedness for new directors and a round table on what works and what doesn’t in preparing their mutuals to be ready to respond.

Save the date to participate in the 2014 all-Leisure World emergency drill and great California ShakeOut Oct. 16 at 10:16 a.m.


Credits and Kudos


Credits & Kudos must include the writer’s name and mutual, and will be edited for brevity. Mention of a business or service is not an endorsement or recommendation by the LW News or Golden Rain Foundation.


Phyllis Poper and her Mutual 14 neighbors are thankful to resident Bill Inch who drove them home after church when their car wouldn’t start and the Auto Club was unable to help. Two members of the group use canes and one a walker so it would have been a stretch to make it home without Bill’s help.


Dorothy Geisler of Mutual 1 is grateful to shareholders in Mutual 2 for their native and drought-resistant plant gardens on Merion Way and the other mutuals for replanting areas at the ends of carports, plus those others who have replanted their yards.