Iran has Time Machine?

Today, the Telegraph newspaper is reporting “Iranian scientist claims to have invented ‘time machine’”
Their story appears here, but when I read the headline, this is what I expected to read:

Iranian scientist, Abdul McFly, claims his invention will take you from the 7th century to the 21st century simply by driving his mechanical invention at 88 mile per hour from Iran to virtually any other country in the world. Religious rulers in Iran were angered by McFly when he told them that in the future there would be air conditioning, running water, indoor plumbing, and virgins would be in short supply on television.

CRA Course Correction

After many emails over the last two days, I was able to get CRA to find a way to keep several members on the Board that were slated for removal.

This started by my asserting that the March 2 Board meeting was invalidly noticed 13 days instead of 14 as required by the Bylaws. By my math Feb 17 to Feb 28 was 11 days plus two in March equals 13 days. It helps when Bill Gates agrees with you. Try A3=A1 minus A2 in Microsoft Excel and you get this:

While the CRA was not willing to concede they blew the meeting notification, the leadership has pledged that they will reassign these wayward souls to the Board to fill their own vacancies. This keeps the March 2 meeting legit and keeps the Board mostly status quo. Had I not raised a ruckus, five to eight folks would have been tossed off the Board. This likely would not affect the outcome of any races for officer’s elections but it has the appearance of mischief.

Per CRA Bylaws, Board members are only allowed to miss two meetings during a two year term. The removal from office is automatic; thus when you miss the second meeting, you are never notified of the removal, it just happens. You are cut-off. It has been the practice that no communication is made with a person being removed. You just notice that your email box is quieter.

A few years ago, I was removed as Voter Registration Secretary after missing one meeting; not two as required by the Bylaws. I didn’t know I was off the Board until I heard I had been replaced. By then it was too late. It turns out that I was never marked as present at a Board meeting concurrent with a CRP Convention. After an hour of this two hour meeting, I had to attend a meeting with Steve Poizner held in an adjoining room. This was during his run for California Governor. My purpose attending the meeting was because I was the CRA Voter Registration Secretary. The irony was that doing my job cost me my job.

Once a vacancy occurs, the President has the option of filling the vacancy with the person of her choice or leaving it vacant until it can be filled. When CRA is less than three weeks from their Convention and the deck chairs start getting shuffled, it has the appearance that people are trying to tinker with the vote.

Once I got word of the offer to restore people to the Board, I began to dial back the rhetoric. I went from napalm to small arms fire. I was about to get nuclear on the subject but thankfully that was not necessary.

I am grateful to Tom Hudson and Karl Heft for engineering this arrangement. Furthermore, Celeste Greig had to sign-off on this in some capacity. Thanks for finding a way to do the right thing.

The Sith Lord says he’ll believe it when he sees it but I will give the Board the benefit of the doubt.

The Empire Strikes Back: Part 2

The way money is handled can be either an orderly process or a chaotic, clumsy and haphazard one. Order prevents fraud, disorder invites it.

I have twenty years of experience in accounting including payables; receivables; payroll; sales and employment taxes; just to name a few areas that I have worked. In business, anything received in the mail is opened, date stamped, and routed to the appropriate person for further handling. When handling money, tasks should be divided between various employees and subjected to processes that verify correct handling of funds.

In offices where I have worked, all checks were copied twice. One copy was kept with the deposit slip and the other attached to the invoice that the check was paying. This was kept in a vendor file. In a matter of minutes I could lay hands on any invoice or payment that I ever touched and present it to the boss or outside auditor.

In volunteer organizations, these types of practices are important to maintain. When, I was a treasurer in my local CRA chapter, I have made copies of all deposit slips and all checks that make up the deposit. I also kept copies of membership applications for all people joining the club. I also have copies of all checks written and invoices that were paid with these checks. When these types of practices are not followed then you lose control of the funds and chaos begets more chaos.

This is a tale of chaos resulting in people in CRA not following Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or the governing Bylaws.

As currently written, membership dues and applications are sent to the Membership Secretary. The Membership Secretary updates the records and verifies applicant’s voter registration and stuff like that. The funds are sent to the Treasurer to be deposited.

As a result of the 2011 leadership fight, the Membership Secretary is on the look-out for mischief. Red flag items include large checks that pay dues for large groups of people instead of individual checks from members, unsigned membership applications, and the like.

Additionally, certain clubs have a reputation for bouncing checks. Checks received at conventions have even a higher rate of being bounced. In the past, it has been possible to show-up at the convention, pay dues with a fraudulent check, vote for the officers of your choice and go home leaving CRA holding the bag.

Instead of supporting processes that are designed to protect individual officers and the group as a whole from fraud, certain officers try to circumvent this process. When that officer is the statewide President then it becomes a bigger problem.

It is not unusual for an owner of a small business to take shortcuts when it comes to money; oh the stories I could tell about that…; however, the President of a corporation with franchises all over a state like California is another matter. This is effectively what CRA is, a California corporation with many franchises. For the President to ever touch a check from a member is a violation of established procedures. She may occasionally cosign a check that pays a bill—I’m assuming two signatures are required to write a check; this may not be the case but should be—but generally check handling should be left to others.

The current CRA President is frequently handling money from members and depositing funds in the corporate bank account. By doing so, she is bypassing both the treasurer and membership secretary and thus the system of checks and balances established to protect the organization. From what I know, she does not make copies of these checks and deposit slips; instead she simply sends an email as the mood strikes her stating that Bob, Mary and Steve paid their dues. If she happens to forget then the treasurer has to hunt her down and see what she has been up to in order to reconcile the account.

Along these lines, another money handling screw-up has surfaced.
On February 22, 2013, Membership Secretary George Park sent an email about paying dues and other deadlines to chapter Presidents and Board members. The applicable portion for this discussion appears below:

6. When mailing membership dues to me, please use the following mailing address, with no signature requirement. My mail box is locked and very secure; I will not accept FedEx, UPS or any US Mail that has been sent with a signature requirement. Again, use regular US Mail with no signature required.

On March 14, 2013, this email was sent to CRA President Celeste Greig and others:

Please see the letter that has gone out to all CRA Units. Please also note Item #6. I just rejected a certified mail envelope sent to my office. I will not accept certified mail or any postal mail that requires a signature. I also will not accept Fed Ex or UPS packages. All membership mail must be sent to my home address and not to my office. I have consistently reiterated these details in multiple communications since I have been membership secretary. I wanted to bring this to your attention as an FYI. Thanks

Yesterday, April 9, 2013, Park sent out an email that included the following:

(Click Here) to see an email sent to CRA President Celeste Greig after I rejected a Certified Mail Envelope that she mailed me. This email was cc’ed to the entire CRA executive board on 3/14/2013.  Why was Celeste collecting the RAGSCV unit dues?  Why did she send their dues registered mail with a signature required?

Once again, Greig is interjecting herself into the money end of the corporation. Why is she handling dues for a local chapter? Where is the treasurer of the chapter? Why can’t they send in their own dues like the other 50 odd chapters? Why send money to Park with a signature required? For about seventy-five cents—which is cheaper than the postage Greig paid—she could have sent the money with a delivery confirmation that requires no signature. Again, she should not be handling money.

Yesterday Steve Frank again interjected himself into this controversy. Please note that Frank is a past President of the CRA Corporation. As someone in the business world and a past president, he above all people should know that the president should stay out of the business of handling money. Instead he fires back at Park stating,” Now he is upset that a club did not trust him to accurately record their membership and instead sent its membership checks to the CRA State President.”

Besides Frank again re-inventing the Bylaws to suit his bias, this is a personal attack on the Membership Secretary. Some folks may not like the stuff they hear George Park say but I have known him for a few years now and he impresses me as a man of integrity. Park took a shoe box full of junk and has done a good job of rebuilding the mess left by Peggy Mew. Somehow, I think that if I was to research it, that Mew was likely the Membership Secretary when Frank was CRA President. Thus one could say that Park is cleaning up the debris that Frank and others failed to deal with when they had the chance.

George Park is doing his best and is trying to get local chapters to follow the rules that have always been there, just not enforced. He takes his fiduciary obligation as a corporate officer seriously; others like Frank and Greig treat CRA like a Cub Scout den leader meeting.

Sith Lord thinks Steve Frank Presidency was before Peggy Mew was Membership Secretary.

The Empire Strikes Back: Part 1

The CRA elites have been hard at work behind the scenes to insure that the status quo is maintained. As stated earlier, part of this strategy is keeping clubs that violate the rules—but vote the right way—in good standing so they will vote for the Greig Slate. (Please note that challenger John Briscoe has no slate.)

Antelope Valley RA has been given a pass after disgorging two years worth of paperwork and dues. They sent in rosters for 2012 & 2013 and a check for dues and as a result, they have been declared as a chapter in good standing. Please note that they were given a pass on paying any dues for 2011 and submitted their dues after the paperwork deadline for the upcoming convention. The stated reason for being given a pass on 2011 dues is that no current members have records that go back that far.

Antelope Valley did not follow the rules set forth in the State Bylaws but was given a pass in part because they have powerful patrons that neither faction in CRA feels they can afford to cross; in particular, George and Sharon Runner. Runner and his wife are listed as members of the Antelope Valley RA. AVRA claims a few other elected folks as members also.

Putting his best spin on this yesterday, Membership Secretary George Park released a statement praising the return of the prodigal son.

For over two years, the previous leadership of the unit simply never communicated with the CRA Membership Secretary and had not paid dues to CRA. Thanks to the efforts of CRA VP Tim Thiesen, we were able to make contact and in a conference call were able to resolve all the issues that existed.

The AVRA is one of the oldest units in the CRA and the new leadership is now fully reconnected with the CRA. VP Tim Thiesen made this possible through multiple phone calls. Thanks to Tim’s efforts AVRA is now go to go.

“I am truly grateful to Tim Thiesen for helping bring the Antelope Valley Republican Assembly back in to the CRA fold”, said George Park, CRA Membership Secretary, “It is gratifying to see the earnest commitment from their new president toward growing CRA and the Conservative Movement in the Antelope Valley!”

“Leadership means connection”, said Tim Thiesen, “and connection means sharing information and treating everyone fairly regardless of their opinions. To move CRA forward, the era of suspicion and stealth need to end.”

Reconnecting with the AVRA, on the heels of the wildly successful reorganization of the Ventura RA are two serious signs of progress in the direction of building a stable, healthy CRA going forward in Northern L.A. County and beyond.

Park can sure make lemonade from lemons.

Being Frank

Being Steve Frank must be a lot like working as the White House Press Secretary for Barack Obama. Frank gets trotted out in public every few days to put lipstick on the sow that is the CRA Presidency of Celeste Greig.

Today, George Park dumped another steaming load of Greig’s past actions on her doorstep. An hour later, Frank was dutifully trotted-out to again attack the messenger.

In today’s installment, Park once again concentrated on the Republican Assembly of Greater Santa Clarita Valley. On their current membership roster, this group is claiming members:
• Living in Texas and Washington DC.
• People that never joined the club or paid dues.
• Not even registered to vote.

Frank and Greig defend the legitimacy of RAGSCV despite the fact that the Bylaws they are pledged to support require that CRA members must live in California and be registered Republicans in the Golden State.

Frank accused this malfeasance on the fact that Park is not doing his job.

The irony is that Frank and Greig are the reason that clubs like these are not disciplined for their failure to follow the rules. Park’s emails are informing the Statewide Board of the problems in the organization and making sure that the appropriate committees must confront these issues while not allow those enabling this aberrant behavior to sweep it under the carpet. In addition, Greig is exposed as failing to lead, thus building the case that she should be replaced as President.

Frank has ignored my advice to get a good rhyme to cover his crimes and instead opted for, “End the Fraud.  Let CRA grow—end the Drama.” You can tell what Frank believes by what he accuses the other guys of doing. He projects his values and tactics on to his enemies because he figures that they operate from the same motivation that he does. Let’s break down his slogan.

• “End the Fraud”: Park would agree that ending the fraud is his goal—the fraud perpetrated by Frank and Greig.
• “Let CRA grow”: The growth Park wants is orderly and organic, the growth Frank wants is cancerous and destructive.
• “End the Drama”: Ending the Drama is stopping the special treatment and exemptions allowed by Greig and Frank. If everyone followed the same rules there wouldn’t be any drama.

Being Frank is difficult when you have nothing to work with. He can’t defend the record of the incumbent so all that he can do is attack Republicans that desire to do the right thing. Being Frank is more like Obama’s press secretary than I imagined.

Maybe RINO should be Republican Incumbents Need Obfuscation.