The contentious CRA convention began today with a visit from the Sacramento Police Department. Apparently fisticuffs broke-out when some folks that were not credentialed tried to force their way into the delegate meeting’s morning session. About 125 people were not seated by the Credentials Committee.
After many false starts, the Committee met last night to decide who would be credentialed. The court order not to take residency into account was meticulously followed. The Committee was charged with verifying that the delegates were legitimate. Delegates are awarded per the Bylaws based on the number of members in each chapter. However, the Membership Secretary would not provide any rosters of membership. As stated in the emails from Karen England, Peggy Mew—the Membership Secretary—decided that only she could decide who was a legitimate delegate. This is what the debate was about for most of the day.
The majority of the Credentials Committee voted to verify the number of delegates seated based on the club membership for all clubs. 52 chapters complied. About 40 did not. 8 chapters submitted no delegate list.
Prior to the meeting last night, the Credentials Committee has found many irregularities in submissions. Here are some examples: the same person was submitted as a delegate for three different chapters; registered Democrats and Decline-to-State voters were submitted; at least one name submitted is a registered Republican in Illinois; and many names submitted were not known to be members.
To avoid the appearance of partiality, any chapter that submitted a roster that seemed in order was allowed to seat their delegates. The one know drawback to this approach was that due to a lack of records, the Committee could not verify that all dues were current.
At the morning session today, the 52 delegations were seated without many changes to the list. At the afternoon session which was still going at 4:30 pm, when I finally left, the delegations that did not follow the instructions of the Charter Review Committee were being denied any delegates.
My biggest complaint in the proceedings was that George Park was presiding over the Credentials Committee and the Convention session that decided delegates. Since, he and brother—Aaron—were the chief apologists for Celeste Greig, it seems to me that someone else that appeared more impartial should be running the credentialing process. While deciding the fate of delegates in the afternoon session, George took a volatile situation and made it even worse. He did not strictly follow Robert’s Rules and in between voting on the fate of dubious units he kept handing the microphone to others that kept defending the actions of the Credentials Committee. He also made comments that were provocative and unnecessary. He took a long session and made it even longer. If he needed a break he could have yielded to someone else to keep the meeting moving.
The only time that the forces of Karen England almost gained some ground was when a prospective delegate came into the room and spoke of how he had come all the way from San Diego to vote. He tried to sound like a conservative warrior that he earned the right to be there. Park exposed him as a fraud by asking only one question. How were you selected as a delegate? Like anyone skilled in politics when faced with a yes or no question, he began to filibuster and it was clear he had no idea how or why he was a delegate. I told my wife the story of this young man and I was told that he works for Karen and is a Facebook friend of my daughter.
Thus far, two things are clear. First, England lost the battle today thanks to overreaching & not having Peggy Mew work with the Credentialing folks. Second, before noon on Monday a court action will be filed claiming the CRA violated the TRO issued by the judge.
For claiming to be a conservative leader, Celeste Greig has proven that she is not. She is tone-deaf to the ramifications of her inaction. Rule number one: politics is perception. I think what happened today was within the rules but the way it was done has resulted in the maximum damage to the organization.
Karen England has proven that she won’t take the high road victory. I went to the convention today planning to vote for her but the way she and her inner circle conducted themselves today made me change my mind. In the morning session our good friend Ron Givens was leading the charge against Park. Later Mike Spence took the lead.
The conduct of England’s forces were the same tactics that I have seen when the prochoice lesbians show up at a prolife rally or when harassing sidewalk counselors in front of an abortion clinic. How and why Karen got a bunch of Republican staffers from the capitol to behave like this is very disappointing. If she had followed the rules leading up to the convention she would have won.
The bad news is that she brought in a bunch of people with no history with the organization and has been feeding them a diet of half-truths and bald-faced lies. Karen has poisoned the well and inoculated these newbies against holding both sides accountable. Everything now is personal.
As I watch this and listen to Karen, I think I am seeing many of the same tactics unfolding that Barbara Alby used in the 1980s to take over CRA. The difference this time is that it is happening to the folks Barbara brought into the organization. In a sense, the cycle is coming full circle. My question is after Karen captures the organization at the next convention and purges all the dissenters, will the CRA still exist?
I am amazed at the extent Karen has gone to in repaying Aaron & George Park and Tom Hudson for the harm she feels they have done to her. Truly hell hath no fury…