Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rotary Membership of SV City Councilmembers

I was stunned to learn today that all of the current Simi Valley city council are active Rotarians!

Three of them, Glen Becerra, Bob Huber, and Mike Judge, are members of the Rotary Club of Simi Valley.
Steven Sojka also claims on his campaign website that he has been a member of the RCSV since 1990, but he's not currently included in the members list on the RCSV website.

Barbra Williamson is also a Rotarian, but inexplicably a member of the Rotary Club of Moorpark rather than any of the 3 clubs in Simi Valley.

I should also note that ex-Mayor Paul Miller and ex-Councilmember Michelle Foster, both of whom were on the Simi Valley City Council when the religious "support the troops" poster was installed in the city council chamber foyer, are members of the Simi Valley Sunrise Rotary Club. (Miller is a charter member of that club)

Rotary is a most phenomenal volunteer service organization.  It has been around for over 100 years, and among the numerous other accomplishments it can claim as its own in improving the quality of life for millions of people around the globe, it has also had the proud distinction of being instrumental in driving the dreaded disease of polio to the brink of extinction.

I have only the highest admiration for the Rotary Club and its mission and amazing accomplishments. I also have quite a few family members who are Rotarians, some who have served in fairly high positions in the organization.  So even though I am not personally a Rotarian (one has to be invited to join by a local clubmember), I do know quite a bit about the organization.


Here's why I am amazed that our city councilmembers are all Rotarians.  As part of its mission, Rotary encourages the highest standards of ethics from its members. Those standards are throughout its guiding principles. Rotary believes that service to others is the highest ethical action one can pursue.

Rotary has something called the "Four-Way Test".  This test is used to determine the moral weight of a considered action.  If an action passes this Four-Way Test, it is worthy of a Rotarian to pursue. If it does not, it is not worthy of pursuit.

Here's the Test (taken verbatim from www.rotary.org):
  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it BUILD GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to ALL CONCERNED?
Looking over this test, I cannot figure out how this religious poster in City Hall meets any, let alone all, of these test questions.  In contrast to the clear intent of common benefit and inclusion of this test, the city hall poster is NOT fair to me or my family; it does NOT build goodwill or better friendships with my community; and because of its controversy and divisiveness, it is certainly NOT beneficial to the city.  (I won't quibble about the 'Truth' question, although as an atheist, I certainly think that, too, is more than a little questionable.)

I would be most interested to hear from the councilmembers how they reconcile their actions and their support for this poster with Rotary's Four-Way Test.  I cannot imagine how that can be done.

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