Personal Appearances & Live Events

California Speaks Logo

CaliforniaSpeaks: A Statewide Health Care Symposium

On August 11, 2007, some 3500 randomly selected Californians gathered in eight cities statewide, linked by the Internet, to discuss the major problems and proposed solutions for our health care system. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, Senate President pro Tem Don Perata, Assembly Republican Leader Mike Villines, and other Republican and Democratic legislators attended the event, sponsored by the Blue Shield of California Foundation, The California Wellness Foundation, and The California Endowment. Feedback from the 3500 participants was analyzed in real-time by a “theme team” — a panel of 24 select participants, including yours truly — to develop questions based on emergent themes, on which the entire group voted. A final report based upon the results was presented to the participants, media, and lawmakers — all of whom gained a greater sense of urgency for bipartisan solutions to this crisis affecting everyone.

Leadership Pasadena Members at California Speaks

Leadership Pasadena Represented at CaliforniaSpeaks

Members and alumni of Leadership Pasadena, for whom I am webmaster, were among the participants at CaliforniaSpeaks — at their request I took this photo and posted it on their Web site.

Leadership Pasadena Class of 2007

Leadership Pasadena Graduation Ceremony

I also took this photograph of the Leadership Pasadena Class of 2006 – 2007 at their graduation ceremony (Awards were presented by the Hon. Bill Bogaard, Mayor of Pasadena, at right in the front row, above) and posted it on their Web site; the photo was also used in other publicity material.

CSAE Health Care for All Event

Barry Gordon as Emcee at CSEA “Health Care for All” Event

A couple months before also becoming a participant in the CaliforniaSpeaks event, Barry Gordon — longest-serving president of the Screen Actors Guild, former candidate for Congress, and host of the talk shows I produced — was asked to be master of ceremonies at an event held in San Bernardino, California, by the California School Employees Association, in support of “single payer” legislation then pending in the state legislature, to guarantee health care for all Californians. After giving a stirring speech, and with cameras rolling, Barry was the first to put his name on a petition going to the lawmakers. After receiving a call from the organizers, I had coordinated Barry’s appearance and accompanied him to the event; afterwards, I posted photos on his Web site and sent out e-mail to his list with a link to sign the petition online.

Barry Gordon Interviewed at HPS Event

Barry Gordon as Emcee at HPS “Farewell Event”

Later in 2007, I received a call from the organizer of another event, to which I also accompanied Barry: a “farewell event” at the previous site of the Hollywood Professional School — then-demolished, the lot ready to be redeveloped. HPS was a most remarkable school, whose students included a stellar list of child actors and other performers, many of whom would go on to be household names (or faces): Peggy Fleming, Betty Grable, Melanie Griffith, Jill St. John, Tommy Kirk, Piper Laurie, Brenda Lee, Donald O’Connor, Ryan O’Neal, Debra Paget, Tuesday Weld, and our own Barry Gordon.


At the event, covered for cable TV in major cities nationwide by Hollywood’s omnipresent and inimitable Skip E. Lowe, Barry regaled the audience with some happy and poignant, shared memories and re-connected with many old friends, including his fellow SAG activist Paul Petersen, best known as the son on the classic sitcom The Donna Reed Show, and the irrepressible Carl Ballantine, best known to the public as “Gruber” on McHale’s Navy but perhaps better known to show business insiders as having one of the best comic-magician acts of all time. As in any good “wake,” there were tears of joy mixed with those of sadness at the passing of HPS.


I posted my photos from the event on Barry’s Web site, with accompanying text.

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