Dan Watson Gets ‘Demoted’

Rotary Club’s annual ‘Demotion Party’ recognizes and honors outgoing president at the home of Carl and Elizabeth von Bibra in the city

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Incoming Rotary President Charles Wiggington presented a gavel to outgoing president Dan Watson last week.

Its name conjures up questions, prompting some to wonder what’s an event with a name like that all about?

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Art and Linda Miller, Dan Watson, Walt Simmons, Randy Leach, David Morales and Bill Reese.

An annual ritual, those departing as president of the South Pasadena Rotary Club each year are recognized for their term in service with, oh, why not, a “Demotion Party.” Yes, that’s what they call it.

In the case of Dan Watson, the city’s former police chief, he was being honored last week for, not one, but two terms as Rotary’s top official, telling a crowd of about 50 in a garden-setting how much he enjoyed his time in office.

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PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Past Rotary member Camille Levee welcome the crowd to Dan Watson’s ‘Demotion Party.’

“It has really been a fun year,” said Watson, speaking to fellow Rotarians in the backyard of Carl and Elisabeth von Bibra’s attractive Craftsman-style home. “I think we accomplished a lot.”

While Rotary’s fiscal year-end party was marked by plenty of fun, its seriousness came to light when Watson talked about the club’s many accomplishments over the past 12 months.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Guests enjoyed an Hawaiian theme as dancers performed for guests at the Rotary party last week.

Perhaps the biggest feat was planting 34 trees around town, mostly in parks and parkways.

Rotary, Watson pointed out, also issued grants to approximately 10 community organizations and supported the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee by purchasing tickets to a pair of fundraisers to support the city float – Crunch Time Party and its annual golf tournament.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Rede Beebe was honored with a Rotarian of the Year plaque by outgoing president Dan Watson.

When it comes to its own efforts in raising funds, Watson joked, “I still didn’t win” the chili cook-off, but praised the event for bringing dollars and attention to the organization.

He gave a giant shout out to Rotary’s signature event, “The Taste of South Pasadena,” which sold about 1,000 tickets and raised approximately $30,000 for the club. Twenty-eight area restaurants participated, providing guests with a sampling of menu items as participants walked throughout the city’s business district tasting a variety of delectable delights.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Camille Leevee was honored at the Rotarian of Year by outgoing president Dan Watson.

“It was a good year because of the hard work by a lot of people,” Watson said in his closing comments.

Charles Wiggington, the president and CEO of Priority One Credit Union, is the incoming Rotary president.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Linda Miller walks through the crowd wearing a shirt full of Dan Watson’s picture. The shirt was auctioned off for $150.

“It’s going to be fun,” said Wiggington, who presented Watson with a mounted gavel on a plaque. “Our citizens deserve clubs like Rotary that are in the community doing a lot of good work.”

During his one-year in office, his focus will be on building club membership and collaborating efforts with other organizations, including the city’s Kiwanis Club, in some joint efforts.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller models his shirt featuring pictures of outgoing Rotary President Dan Watson.

“We’re all going to be working together on some projects,” he said after the Demotion Party. “It’s in the best interest of the community that we do. South Pasadena is a wonderful community.”

The rivalry between Rotary and Kiwanis will continue, insists Wiggington, who likes to boast that the Rotarians own the golf title between the two organizations, but the Kiwanians are the better bowlers.

“We respect each other,” he said. “and both want to help continue to make South Pasadena a great place.”

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Marchelle Sellers receive a Rotarian of the Year award from outgoing president Dan Watson.

After being introduced by Watson, Wiggington handed out pins to all Rotary members that read: “Be the Inspiration,” the club’s international theme. “We want our members to be the inspiration for the community, to get out there, have some fun and get a lot of things done,” he said.

A team of Hawaiian dancers entertained the group during the meeting before Rotary Past President Camille Levee encouraged those on hand to bid on a pair of shirts worn by South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller and his wife, Linda, that were decorated with pictures in honor of Watson. They were the summertime version of the ugly sweater contest worn during the holiday season and went to the highest bidder for $150 after Watson raised it at one point quipping, “I’ll bid $110 because I don’t want them on the street,” a comment drawing a roar of laughter.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Mandy Emerson, Dan Emerson, Bill Reese, Kathy Reese, and Ruth and Fon Leong.

“Will anyone really bid on these things?” whispered the laughing police chief to no one in particular as he paraded through the tables showcasing his shirt featuring Watson’s face during the live auction. “This is fun.”

Indeed it was, as Rotary members enjoyed a full night of it on a memorable one filled with laughter in South Pasadena.

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | South Pasadena Police Chief Art Miller shows Dan Watson, the outgoing Rotary president and former police chief in city, a shirt full of Watson’s photos.
PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Art and Linda Miller show shirts featuring pictures of outgoing Rotary president Dan Watson.
PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Charles Wiggington will be taking over as president of the Rotary Club in South Pasadena.
PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Dan Evans, front, is joined by Christine Robison and Carol Evans.
PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com | Sara Munshin, Karen and Dick Ross.