CRA Aftermath: A New Hope

Celeste Greig was on display this week-end in all her glory. As the President of a statewide organization, her behavior during the Convention of the California Republican Assembly these last few days has been akin to that of a petulant child and not the leader of “the conscience of the Republican Party.”

Friday during the final Board meeting she presided over before Sunday’s election of officers, she had the boldness to ignore the agenda and deny certain officers the right to give committee reports because she had personal differences with them. She simply skipped the agenda items and declared that the meeting was adjourned.

Also, despite many promises, those thrown off the Board due to missing the illegally noticed March meeting were not reinstated. However, two new people were added to the Board.

Lastly, Celeste tried to clarify her infamous comments on rape. All she really did was double-down on the same comments made at the CRP convention.

Later on Friday, despite the best efforts of Steve Frank and Bill Cardoza, Celeste-who appointed the members of the Credentials Committee-was unable to gain any meaningful advantage from this body. The fate of seven chapters was debated. Three of the chapters never sent any delegates so no action was taken on them. Frank was only able to bring up three chapters for challenge. Fresno, Kings and Ventura RAs were challenged. Frank hoped not to allow their delegates to be seated. Fresno and Kings were settled quickly. Frank was beat back in his vigorous efforts to refuse the newly formed Ventura RA chapter from being seated. The evil club from Santa Clarita was only able to seat one delegate. The list they submitted only had one valid delegate and no alternates. Their bylaws require delegates live within their territory and three of the submitted names were not seated as a result of violating this provision. The net result was that the stage was set for a fair fight on the day of the election. One Sunday, turnout would be the key to the CRA Presidential election.

On Sunday, Celeste started the meeting with the report of the President. During her report, the CRA banner that was hanging on the wall behind and above her head fell off of the wall. It was never re-hung. I took this as a bad omen for her.

Celeste Greig about one minute before banner fell

Shortly thereafter, voting took place followed by several overly long committee reports on Bylaw changes and Resolutions. These reports were placed in this part of the program to allow all ballots to be counted. In the midst of the Bylaw reports, Steve Frank approached Celeste-who was seated at the front of the room next to the podium—and whispered into her ear. A few minutes later, she left and never returned.

After the Resolution Committee reports were completed, the election results were announced. Results were given in the opposite order of the ballot. This allowed the Presidential results to be announced last. There were 164 people eligible to vote; however, two did not. Celeste Greig received 78 votes and challenger John Briscoe received 84 votes.

Typically, at this point in the process, the outgoing President will congratulate the winner, pledge support and offer help during the transition. Greig did none of this. As I found out later, she had checked out of her hotel room and left the convention long before the results were announced. Such behavior is all anyone needs to know about her character. This display of contempt for the CRA and what it stands for is inexcusable.

I subsequently learned that last time Greig lost an election that she dropped out of the CRA for about eight years before re-appearing. This is the behavior one expects from a child not someone that is in their seventies and is a veteran of the political process.

Greig is the first sitting CRA President to loose since the Nixon era.

Most of Grieg’s geriatric supporters also disappeared. I think many will not attend another CRA event. The only exception might be Steve Frank. Frank for the first time in many years is off the Board. He was the lone looser in the race for Vice-President. There ended up being six VP openings and seven candidates.

Briscoe was quick to introduce more transparency in the Board and also more accountability for Board members. Jobs were given to VPs and Senate District Directors. Two clubs were de-chartered and four were referred to the newly established Chapter Review Committee. A new era has begun in CRA. Perhaps the post Alby era has begun.