CRA After Action Report

The California Republican Assembly’s 80th Annual Convention is now officially over. I would like to give my analysis and comments in no particular order.

First, the circular firing squad report.
Prior to the convention, three known targets were scheduled; Nevada RA, and Steve Sarkis and Baron Knight.

Nevada RA
After weeks of raising hell about this chapter, the Park boys just let it go. Literally nothing was said at the Convention concerning this chapter even though George and Aaron Park had been denying access of information and reports to the Charter Review Committee for weeks. They wasted dozens if not hundreds of manhours of the committee’s time over this issue and then simply dropped it.

Appeal of Sarkis and Knight
Nobody actually had the guts to put this on the convention schedule but saved it for the last item of business on the last day under the euphemistic label of Other Business. The CRA Board presented their case against Sarkis first. The Board was given 10 minutes to show why a lifetime ban was a fair and just sentence. Sarkis was not present so his case was made by Knight. Knight finished most of his defense case in the allotted 10 minute timeframe. Then Tom Hudson and CRA President John Briscoe advanced a motion that changed the sentence from life to five years. This motion was approved. Then Knight—via a motion—was given a one year suspension instead of five. After the motion was approved, Knight objected and asked that the one year suspension be reversed. He claimed he was innocent; so now the Board gave a 10 minute presentation on Knight and then Knight was able to offer his defense. A series of votes were then held; a one year suspension was defeated, then a five year suspension was defeated. In the end, Knight’s suspension was overturned and he is now a member in good standing with the group (assuming his dues are current).

This outcome is most unsatisfactory for me. Knight clearly did things deserving of some type of disciplinary action.

The biggest loser in this was John Briscoe. Briscoe’s team was thrown under the proverbial bus by their leader. I agree that the original sentences from the September 2014 Board meeting were too severe but John agreed to the punishment at the time. His failure to defend his Board is an inexcusable lapse in leadership. Unfortunately, other leadership problems were on display at convention.

Convention shortcomings were evident even before it began. Missing were printed schedules, handouts of relevant materials and lack of meeting rooms. Delegates were exposed to a form of politics that even one-ups Nancy Pelosi’s famous you have to vote for it to know what’s in it. CRA delegates got to vote on stuff they never even saw. They adopted committee reports that weren’t complete or had been edited for content after the committees had met. Thus what was voted on was not the same as what committees had voted upon when they had met. Not even electronic copies or overhead projections of relevant documents were available prior to votes. Occasionally, selected parts were hastily read. Again President Briscoe was apparently OK with this also.

The scheduling was very inefficient. The Saturday afternoon session began over 30 minutes after the lunch banquet was finished and was concluded 2 ½ hour before the evening meal; thus 3 hours of business could have been conducted on Saturday instead of Sunday. (The entire general session on Sunday was scheduled for three hours and forty-five minutes.)

Folks like me wondered why the Resolutions Committee killed the Saturday Only convention resolution when there was literally enough time to do everything in one day and then go home. Oh, but nobody except the Resolution Committee ever saw the resolution because it wasn’t in the committee’s report when it was submitted for adoption on Sunday.

On Sunday, the officer elections were held. Only two contested races were on the ballot; Membership Secretary and National Committee Man.

George Park faced challenger, Rick Marshall for Membership Secretary. Park wasn’t my first choice after doing his best Peggy Mew impersonation for the last several weeks. I was willing to consider Marshall as a worthy candidate until he opened his mouth to say why he was running. Marshall was clearly a leader of the malcontent wing of the group. His whole platform was griping about the move to annual dues which we just implemented in January of this year. Marshall has clearly never been the Treasurer of a local chapter before and was talking non-sense. I think Solomon said that even a fool is regarded as wise when he remains quiet. Marshall could benefit from this advice.

Bill Cardoza faced-off with relative newcomer, Johnnie Miller for National Committee Man. Miller is from a new chapter in south-central Los Angeles. Miller, a rare black face in a very white crowd, looked good in his three piece suit and with a name that could be mistaken for an adult beverage, he proved a formidable foe. Miller was the third person Aaron Park had tried to recruit to oppose Cardoza.

Cardoza tried to campaign for the office while Miller did not. Cardoza started his campaign on Saturday morning by forwarding an email from Aaron Park informing Bill that he would face an opponent. When I first saw the mail, I thought Park had sent it as a hit piece. Upon further examination, Cardoza had sent it. Unfortunately for Bill, it was not a hit piece and the mail was several days old.

The next campaign efforts that I noticed were on Sunday morning. Cardoza had three pieces that he gave out; mostly while folks were in line waiting to vote in his race. This is the first time I ever saw someone soliciting votes during polling. I kept joking with my neighbor in the line that Cardoza couldn’t do that within 100 feet of a polling place.

Cardoza is a follower. Watching him try to say he is a leader was rather pathetic. Yes, he’s been in CRA for many years. He very well could be the oldest active member in the group. He and I are definitely in the top five folks still active. Anyway, he has always found his way to the side in power. He’s a lieutenant and will never be anything more.

Every time Cardoza was able to get in front of a microphone during the convention, he trumpeted his position as chaplain of CRA. Too bad he knows nothing about theology, the group desperately could use a chaplain like that. Cardoza talked repeatedly of being there since the Christians took over in 1988. Hey Bill, this might be a newsflash to you but there was nothing Christian about how Barbara Alby and company took over the CRA. Machiavelli couldn’t have been prouder of your efforts in ‘88. We are still dealing with the fruit of this poisonous tree.

Morgan beat Cardoza handily in the race. After the results were announced, Cardoza was allowed to speak. What most thought would be a concession speech was instead an awkward, rambling recitation of all Cardoza’s accomplishments which was then followed by a brief congratulation to the new officeholder.

This reminds me of Aaron Park’s introduction of a State Assembly member at the Saturday luncheon. Aaron finished his introduction by saying something to the effect that this Assembly Member was so popular in his district that not even Jesus Christ himself could beat this guy. Many of us including the elected official were clearly uncomfortable with these words.

While talking about the convention with the Sith Lord, he speculated that the Nevada RA fiasco was partially a diversion to keep the Charter Review Committee from knowing the current membership numbers in the group. Based on what I know, I think his speculation has merit. It stands to reason that if the state party is hemorrhaging members that its chartered clubs would be too.

Oh, lastly the Board meeting held after the convention was a truncated affair. Newly elected President Briscoe did not fill any vacancies or appoint any committees; even though business was moved from the convention to a Bylaws Revision Committee.

I sense the days of everyone having a chance of being on a committee are over. I fully expect the remaining inner-circle to occupy most vacancies. Briscoe holds power now only because he didn’t face an opponent for re-election. He won’t get a pass next time…if there is one.

My final thought is that CRA is woefully equipped to deal with the new political realities of California. They are too stuck in the past with a broken and defective paradigm. They really think they can control the CRP platform in 2016 and laugh in my face when I tell them that they already lost it last month. They are like a person exposed to a lethal dose of radiation, they are dead but still walking around waiting for their body to catch up with reality.

Funny Headlines from March 10th

Today, two headlines really caught my attention. Both were worthy of Jay Leno’s headline segment…too bad he’s off the air.

The first entry is from Indonesia.

This Indonesian House Is for Sale and Comes With a Pond, a Backyard and … a Wife.

Yeah, that’s right buy a house get a wife. When I was single, my New Year’s Resolution for many years was “get a life, get a wife.” Someone finally did me one better. I’m glad some enterprising woman has found a way to prosper in Obama’s economy; however, I think you should get title insurance in case what you find under the burka really belongs there. Actually, she’s not bad. See her photo below. Do you think Obama could try this in Detroit?

And the Beatles said money can’t buy you love.

The second story is from Southern California.

Health Officials Warning Of Incidents Of Ocular Syphilis Along West Coast

Ok, let’s analyze this one. In this news story, doctors are advised to keep an eye out for this rare form of syphilis. Where are people putting their body parts to get this disease…in their eyes? Yeah, I know your momma said it could make you go blind but did she really mean this? Yuck….

Bonus Entry

“Funny” can mean humorous but it can also mean “peculiar” or “just not right”. This next story certainly meets that definition.

Feds have 6.5M Social Security numbers for people 112 years old, and up

Yes, even though worldwide there are only 35 people aged 112 and older, our government has 6.5 million social security numbers for folks in that age bracket that are currently receiving benefits. Just remember this statistic when you hear a politician talk of the pain that would result in people’s lives if government tried to reduce fraud and waste.

Well at least these articles distract me from the thought of the circular firing squad drill this week-end.

A Modest Proposal for Convention 2015

The California Republican Assembly has often touted the quote attributed to Ronald Reagan that the CRA is the “conscience of the Republican Party”. But what happens when Republicans do the unconscionable? What happens when the California Republican Party throws Reagan under the bus?

Reagan often said that he never left the Democrat Party, they left him. Now the Republican Party has left Reagan too. So what do we do now? Do we stick with a suicidal Party that has blocked all grassroots access to the Party while consolidating all power at the top or tell them to kiss our grits? If the Log Cabin debacle is not the proverbial bridge too far then what is?

When Lincoln was President and in the era thereafter, the Episcopal Church was known as “the Republican Party at prayer”. The troubles in the Republican Party have finally reached the place that they mirror where the Episcopal Church has been for decades. Apostasy is rampant and the leadership has locked out the true believers. So like the proverbial frog in the pot do we get out of the boiling water or stay until we are turned to soup?

I, for one, tire of tilting at windmills or to quote the Kenny Rodgers song, “you got to know when to fold ‘em”. In this spirit, I have proposed that the CRA pass the resolution that appears below. My question to skeptics is, “if not now when?”

Resolution to Terminate Affiliation with California Republican Party

Whereas, the CRA is a grassroots Republican organization; and

Whereas, the CRA believes in the rule of law; and

Whereas, the CRA affirms the Judeo-Christian values upon which or country was founded, and

Whereas, the CRA is committed to promoting the values of life and traditional families; and

Whereas, the CRA has dedicated itself to promoting conservative candidates; and

Whereas, the California Republican Party is a top down organization that does not follow its own bylaws in matters of candidate endorsement and chartering of volunteer organizations; and

Whereas, the California Republican Party has insulated itself from any accountability to rank and file Republicans by abolishing Party Primaries and Central Committee elections and failing to implement any system of binding input from the millions of registered Republicans in the State; and

Whereas, the California Republican Party has betrayed the core principles of traditional family values as stated in its Party Platform, and

Whereas, in top two races, the California Republican Party requires the CRA to support their endorsed candidates even at the expense of supporting candidates better aligned with our stated principles; and

Whereas, this incongruity between the values of CRA and behavior of the California Republican Party has become so divergent as to be irreconcilable,

Therefore be it resolved that the California Republican Assembly hereby severe its association as a chartered volunteer organization of the California Republican Party.

2015 CRA Convention Preview

The 80th Annual Convention of the California Republican Assembly begins one week from today. The good news is that Michael Reagan is the keynote speaker on Saturday night. The bad news is that the event—which should be a celebration of effectiveness of CRA—is instead poised to be the biggest circular firing squad assembled since Karen England tried her hostile takeover in 2011. Ironically, this convention is being held at the very same venue.

Already on the docket are Baron Knight and Steve Sarkis. Both men are appealing CRA Board votes concerning their suspensions. These votes are the result of the Anaheim Republican Assembly mismanagement under then Chapter President Sarkis.  Knight was given a five year ban from CRA and Sarkis was handed a lifetime ban. Both men have appealed to the full convention to hear their cases.

I think it is likely that both sentences will be overturned or severely truncated. While the order of appearance before the body may matter to the outcome, I just don’t think folks come all the way to Sacramento to burn fellow members at the stake…whether they deserve it or not.

The biggest likely winner in this dust-up is Tom Hudson. Hudson has emerged as leader of “the loyal opposition”. The biggest losers from this confrontation are sitting President John Briscoe and the Park brothers—George and Aaron.

Plans are afoot to change the number of high value targets on trial from a double header to a trifecta. If they get their way, Park, Briscoe and Park plan to paint a target on the Nevada County Republican Assembly and then go nuclear on them. By a four to three vote, the Charter Review Committee voted to defer sanctions on Nevada RA until a after the Convention. Nevada is slowly bringing itself into compliance—albeit, kicking and screaming much of the way.

The Parks are on Charter Review, and they are not happy that they lost on their motion to punish Nevada RA now. Please understand that they need a 2/3 vote to decharter Nevada RA, and already failed at the last Board meeting. In fact the January vote by the Board was either a tie or one vote over half depending on whose count you believe. How they think they have the votes at Convention is just insanity. In fact, they want to decharter Nevada RA on the first night of the Convention at the Friday afternoon Board meeting. Nevada RA could then appeal the vote to the full body on the following day. If Nevada wins there, they have defacto immunity for the rest of their existence.

If this were to unfold this way, I predict that John Briscoe will be defeated for re-election and Tom Hudson will emerge as the supreme leader of CRA. Furthermore, the Parks will quit CRA. Yes, they are that angry and taking all this that personally. Why Nevada has gotten under their skin like it has is just amazing.

To prevent this scenario, I have let it be known that if this topic comes up when I’m at the Board meeting, that I will motion to defer this matter to a Board meeting following the Convention. To employ the old phrase, “there are bigger fish that need fryin’”. Why the Parks are expending so much energy on a tangent like this is shortsighted.

At the January Board meeting, President Briscoe did everything that he could to disrupt and undermine the debate and vote on Nevada RA and now he lets it be known that he was for the action recommended by Charter Review?! John, your future in CRA might be dicey but you could always utilize your parliamentary skills as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The other adventure in bomb throwing and self-immolation at the Convention is my resolution to sever the relationship between CRA and the California Republican Party. CRA existed before CRP and is a private corporation but it also has subjected itself to the CRP because CRA is an officially recognized charter organization of the California Republican Party. Thus CRA must support the CRP endorsed candidate in the General Election even if a better qualified Republican is running in the race.

Some folks have said that we should wait to break with CRP until we see if the platform is lost. Newsflash; we lost the platform a week ago, 861 to 293. The proverbial pot is boiling; do the frogs stay or go? We will have the answer next week-end.

I foresee a high probability that I will be a Decline-to-State voter very soon if things continue as they are. Reagan said, “I didn’t leave the Party, the Party left me.” I’m feeling that way now.