CRA Battles to Verge of Extinction—Update2

Note the following blog entry if reviewed by Rush Limbaugh would require either Trouble Coming by Randy Stonehill or Eve of Destruction by Barry McGuire as the bumper music for the segment. A quick review of the previous post on this matter would help add further context.

The results of the California Republican Assembly State Board move to disenfranchise many of their delegates in hopes of thwarting a challenge to President Celeste Greig were appropriately enough released on April Fool’s Day. Before commenting further, here is the official announcement from the Membership Secretary.

Dear CRA Board Members:

The vote on the Greig-Hudson motion regarding the upcoming CRA Convention, conducted from Tuesday, March 29 to Thursday, March 31, had the following results:

Eligible to vote: 49
Voted: 47
Did not vote: 2

Yes: 31
No: 15
Abstentions: 1

Having received a majority of “yes” votes by the CRA Board of Directors, the motion is hereby approved.

Best regards,

Janine Heft
Corresponding Secretary,
California Republican Assembly (CRA)

As this vote was underway, I emailed both Karen England and Celeste Greig and asked them both to request their supporters to dial back on the rhetoric. I also proposed a middle way for Celeste to consider.

In my unit we get four delegates. At our last meeting we brought up the subject of who should choose the delegates, the club as a whole or the president. The motion to let the president decide was made and passed unanimously. All members present were asked if they wished to be delegates. Several members were emailed about the opportunity. The president had zero responses from anyone to be a delegate. After he began calling the more active members, he was able to get a list of four.

Anyway, two of the names that we submitted are disqualified under your proposal. One delegate lives four blocks outside of our northern boundary. Another lives just over the county line, in a place that has a paper club that has not met in at least five years. Oh by the way, this delegate is the father of one of the members you selected to be on the Credentials Committee. Both people helped in the campaign last year and have been members in good standing up until the current controversy. To get these folks caught-up in the current controversy is unfair to our club and our delegates. How can we be expected to grow our club in the current toxic environment. Given a choice, I think we would rather not have delegates at the convention than have their first exposure to the statewide CRA organization be this nightmare.

Interestingly, the vortex of this controversy is centered in Placer County. In the email traffic that I have seen, it has been Karen England squaring off with Aaron and George Park and Tom Hudson.

Tom Hudson is an attorney and member in good standing with the California Bar. He is often looked to for legal advice and provides counsel in parliamentary procedures. He is approachable and pleasant to speak with at various CRA functions. However, I have found that like many parliamentarians, his advice while delivered with authority is often what will help the chair or move to the outcome he desires and may not in fact be in accordance with either Robert’s Rules of Order or the governing bylaws of the organization. Perhaps lawyers are trained that in public you never say I don’t know or let me look that one up and I’ll get back to you.

An experience that I had with Tom many years ago relates directly to the controversy now. It touches on the Yolo County CRA chapter with which Karen England is now a member. It touches on the CRA Board refusing to act in accord with its bylaws and discipline a paper club, and Tom Hudson giving advice contrary to the CRA state bylaws while speaking as the representative of the State Board.

A friend of mine and I were residents of Yolo County and members of the Yolo CRA chapter. Some of the members that rose to leadership in the group began to view their time in office not as representatives of the CRA and the members that elected then but as the owners of the chapter. Think Gollum in Lord of the Rings. “It mine, my precious.”

We documented a number of abuses and went in person to the State Board meeting that was held in Napa to request relief from the State Board. Below is the text of the letter that we presented.

April 24, 1999

State CRA Board,

During the past year, we have been experiencing a number of difficulties with the CRA chapter in Yolo County. These difficulties are of a nature that we feel that they need to be brought before the state organization. We have attempted to get the current president of the chapter to correct these problems and he has remained intractable in his disregard of local and state Bylaws and in ignoring Robert’s rules of order and other things that traditionally govern a political organization. We would normally bring our complaints (to) the senate district Director, but he is an officer in the Yolo County Republican Assembly and is fully aware of the misconduct that is transpiring in Yolo County and is a willing participant in its activities.

Since we cannot appeal to the Senate District Director, we have reluctantly chosen to appeal to the State Board.

Below is a partial list of recent areas of improper activities of the Yolo County group.

1 Per their by-laws, the group was required to meet monthly for a general membership meeting. In addition, a monthly board meeting was also required. However, in 1998, an election year, the Yolo Chapter held its last meeting of the year in March. They did not meet again until February of 1999.
2 This lack of meetings did not prevent the chapter president from making many decisions in the name of the group and conducting activities in the name of the membership without approval of the board or general membership.
a the chapter president endorsed candidates in the name of the Yolo County RA for countywide office without conducting formal meeting or an endorsing convention.
b dues were collected from at least one individual in the county that we are aware of but the apportioned dues to the state organization were never paid.
c Campaign contributions were collected and expenditures were made without the consent of either the board or membership. These include both cash and in kind contributions that were never reported to the Fair political Practices Commission, as is required by state law. One of the signers of this letter, William Tolson, resigned as treasurer of YCRA when this lack of accountability was manifested. This was May of 1998.
3 During the general election campaign of 1998, the president of the Yolo County RA, an ex-officio member of the county central committee, refused to work with the county central committee and support all of our Republican nominees for partisan office.
a In several instances, he misrepresented himself to republican volunteers as the county party and directed the efforts of these volunteers to personal projects and preferred candidates and away from coordinated activities with both the county central committee and Lungren for Governor campaign.
b As president of a Republican volunteer organization, he was permitted to work out of the county campaign headquarters of the local party. While he was working at the headquarters, he actively dissuaded activists who desired to work for Republican nominees other that those he personally supported from volunteering their services to the local party and the Lungren for Governor campaign.
c Furthermore, he pressured the area precincts coordinator of the county party to provide separate walking packets and precinct lists for his volunteers, which included only literature of candidates he approved, and for special exclusionary use of headquarters during the last days of the campaign.

While all of these things during 1998 were offensive to us, it was our hope that a new president would be elected. However, the bylaws were again ignored and no nominating committee was formed in December as require(d). no election was held in January as required by the bylaws. Furthermore a meeting was held in February to elect officers but no meeting notification was sent to the membership. Via word of mouth, we found out about the meeting. We attended the meeting and no quorum was present and no officers were elected.

As a result of the feeling of disenfranchisement from this type of leadership, William Tolson, availed himself of the opportunity at the republican state convention and joined the Sacramento chapter of the CRA. He had formerly been a member of the Sacramento chapter while attending college.

In March, another meeting was held without any meeting notification to the members. In fact the president commented that he purposely did not inform certain individuals because they were not welcome. This action occurred with the knowledge and approval of the senate District Director, who is also the Vice-President of the group. Furthermore, a new set of bylaws was adopted without any prior notification to the members.

Highlights of these bylaws changes include:
Removal of the meeting notification to members
Removal of meeting notification requirement for nominating committee for club officers
Membership is forfeited for non-payment of dues after 60 days upon notification instead of 60 days after notification as previously required
Any member whose dues lapse and wishes to rejoin the chapter must be approved by a 3/5 vote of the executive board
Any member missing two consecutive meetings looses voting rights
To regain voting rights, member must attend two subsequent meetings
Meetings were changed from monthly to bi-monthly and executive board meetings to quarterly

In light of Article VI Section 3, Item g, what is the function of members of the chapter?
“The Board of Directors shall be vested with the power and the duty of transacting all the business of the Assembly. It shall be responsible for carrying out the objectives and purposes of the assembly and shall make such rules and regulations as shall be deemed advisable provided only that such rules and regulations are not in conflict with these By-laws.”

There is no similar statement empowering the general assembly and there are no restrictions provided by the bylaws on actions that can be taken by the governing board.

As a result of these changes and the manipulation of the election process, Carl Brickey, a former secretary of the chapter, has joined the Sacramento Republican Assembly.

The sprit and tenor of these bylaws is not in sync with a grassroots organization who claims the cornerstone of its existence is that of limited government, fair representation, fair elections, open debate and the rule of law.

As a result of the above we humbly ask that the state CRA consider the following actions:

1 Audit the records of the Yolo County Republican Assembly, including financial records, FPPC reports, and minutes of both regular and board meetings.
2 Instate generic bylaws from the state organization and require reorganization of the Yolo County republican assembly, under the supervision of the state board.
3 Take disciplinary action against the chapter president and senate district director.

Our intention in bringing these matters to your attention is to restore the integrity and reputation of the Yolo County Republican Assembly. We trust that this matter will be dealt with discreetly and we wish to direct this matter to the appropriate authority within the state organization.

After arriving at the State Board meeting in Napa, we inquired who would be the best person to speak to about this and we handed off to Tom Hudson. Tom read the letter reproduced above and sent us away with a promise to look into it. No action was ever taken by the Board and we have no indication that the matter went beyond this discussion in the parking lot at the Napa meeting. Eventually Tom counseled us to join the Sacramento unit since we were welcome there.

It wasn’t until we were attending the State CRA convention as delegates of the Sacramento RA that we discovered that what Tom told us to do was in direct violation of the state bylaws. Per the bylaws were only allowed to be a member of the Republican assembly where we lived.

Section12.03. Qualifications for Membership. Members of each Chartered Republican Assembly shall be those American citizens of good moral character who are registered with the Republican Party, in the geographical area of that Chartered Republican Assembly, except that those registered in an area where there is no Chartered Republican Assembly may become members of a Republican Assembly in a nearby unit until a new Republican Assembly may be Chartered Republican Assembly and must continue to comply with those Bylaws, and must pay such annual dues as may be fixed.

A few years after our experience with the State Board the bylaws were amended to allow membership in any unit in the State. Reportedly, others had similar problems with their local chapters. The ironic part is Tom Hudson likely had a hand in helping to write this into the Bylaws.

In light of all this you might be asking why if Tom Hudson knows all this would he craft a rule that all delegates must live in the area where the club is chartered when he knows the history of this section of the bylaws. It goes back to getting the outcome that he desires verses following the rules. Tom is supporting Celeste Greig. Due to conflicts with the Placer CRA group, Karen England is a member of the Yolo group. By crafting the rule the way he did, it disenfranchises Karen England as well as many of her supporters. It results in a favorable outcome in Toms eyes so it is a justifiable action. Simply put its gotcha politics.

Another gotcha moment was a week ago when Karen England said she could support the principals of Grieg’s Contract with the CRA. In response the webmaster for Contract with the CRA added the verbiage that to support the contract was an endorsement of Greig and her slate. They took an olive branch from England and an opportunity for common group and turned it into a gotcha moment.

Then the Park Brothers released the following email on March 31. The email begins with a banner “From George and Aaron Park” followed by the CRA logo.

Take it from us, we know Karen England better than most. We have endured the full force of her bully tactics for years.
Like the letter her lawyer sent us – Karen chooses to handle political disagreements with deceit and threats of legal action.
Her Northern California supporters were distributed throughout the delegations of CRA units in Southern California.
Like any bully, she uses surrogates to fight her battles for her. Yet, she seeks to be the leader of the California Republican Assembly, the conscience of the California Republican Party.
Now that the fraud Karen and her supporters have perpetrated is being exposed—-
Let us share our experience, as a warning about the kinds of rotten things that Karen England is likely to do if we stick to principle, enforce our rules, and refuse to seat fraudulent delegates:
She will threaten to sue all of us;
She will try to get an injunction to shut down the CRA Convention;
She will complain to the District Attorney;
She will complain to the FBI (we’re not kidding!);
She will complain to the Fair Political Practices Commission;
She will complain to the Federal Elections Commission;
She will complain to the City of Sacramento Code Enforcement Office that the Convention does not have all the proper permits;
She will complain to the County of Sacramento that the host unit does not have a business license to run the Convention;
She will threaten to sue the hotel for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act;
She will complain to the legislators and tell them to threaten us on her behalf;
She will complain to the California Republican Party and seek to have CRA de-chartered;
She will complain to the NFRA and seek to have CRA de-chartered;
She will complain to the World Court at the Hague, accusing us all of being war criminals!  OK, maybe she won’t do that, but you get the idea.
Sound far-fetched? Those of us who are part of the Placer CRA Majority on the Placer County Republican Central Committee have lived with many of the above bully tactics.
You have been warned!

From my point of view what should Karen do?
She can’t appeal to the CRA Board because they are not willing to be bound by their Bylaws. She needs to appeal to an outside authority to referee this fiasco. She could go to the California Republican Party Board but much of the non-sense thus far is internal to the CRA. Other than get CRA stripped of recognition by the CRP which does nobody any good what can she do? I think her only recourse in the time remaining is probably the courts. If I had the funds I would probably consider it. The legal opinion that was given to Scott Voights sounds suspiciously like my previous blog.

“… we believe that the proposed Policy conflicts with the CRA bylaws, may violate state law, and that implementation of the Policy would require an amendment to CRA’s Bylaws which is approved by CRA delegates at a convention.” The Sutton Law Firm

If I were England and wanted to get relief in the Courts, I would get an injunction to block Greig and the CRA Board from enforcing the policy. If they took any action in violation of the court order I would have them removed as officers of the corporation.

As I keep saying, if Greig and company would follow the Bylaws and trust the process she would probably still win. All this is destructive, counterproductive and totally unnecessary. After this election is over how does anyone expect this group work together? As usual we will spend our time fighting each other and ceding the battle to the Democrats. I’m glad we’re all God fearing folk in this group because I’d hate to see how pagans would treat each other.