CAGOP Utilizes Karen England’s Playbook

The number three political party in California, the embattled California Republican Party (CAGOP), has taken a page from Karen England’s playbook and decided to raise money off the efforts of someone else’s ballot initiative. In this case, the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom. The only problem is that California’s Republicans have no interest in supporting either recall effort (there are two measures currently gathering signatures). Just like Capital Resource Institute did during Proposition 8 and other efforts during that era, the GOP is raising money off of the ballot initiative and diverting the money to keep their doors.

Here is CRA expat Steve Frank’s summary of the story. (Emphasis in original)

Meanwhile: The California Republican Party has sent a fund-raising pitch seemingly embracing an effort to recall Newsom.

GOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said money raised would go to the party, not the recall backers, the Sacramento Bee reported.

A long shot: Qualifying a recall for the ballot could cost $10 million. In its most recent filing, the California Republican Party had $1.6 million in the bank, and many legislative seats to defend.”

You read that right—“GOP Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said money raised would go to the party, not the recall backers, the Sacramento Bee reported.”

Will California Republican Party Help “Recall of Newsom” Effort? How?

Folks, I left the Republican Party a few years ago but I’m sure they never voted to support the recall of our Governor so how can they pretend differently; even if they are just feigning it. Surely, Chad Mays and those other gutless wonders at the “Bill Mill” would never stand for such a display of speaking truth to power; especially, when they covet the power more than their political or eternal souls.

Folks this recall effort is doomed before it gets started but the fact that the CAGOP is anywhere near it shows how out of touch their leadership really is. Perhaps if Republicans in California advocated answers instead of cheap gimmicks their registration numbers would stabilized. Sadly, they have yet to hit bottom. Charles Munger did a number on these guys and they couldn’t see it at the time or even now.

California Conservatives Stuck in Field of Dreams and Windmills

In the 1989 Kevin Costner movie, the lesson is that “if you build it, they will come.” Waxing nostalgic about the golden age of baseball might be magic for my grandparents—all of whom are deceased—but for the living, it’s a bygone era.

Time and time again we have seen Conservatives invoke the same belief in magic as the Costner character in this movie. A more realistic and therefore cynical view is that, for Conservatives, there is nothing left to believe in except tilting at windmills.


Windmill tilting is nothing new, it has been going on for most of my adult life; especially when it comes to social issues like abortion. I remember when Reagan was President, we thought Roe was one court appointment away from being overturned. Ditto when both Presidents named Bush were in office but it never materialized. Later, we fought the battle for marriage naively believing that our votes actually mattered only to be undone by activist judges as the other two branches of government did nothing. Talk about conversations with the naïve.

All the while we were hoping for the magic silver bullet that would end the controversy and let us go home and live our lives in peace. To this end, people claiming to represent us raked in millions of dollars from the faithful with little or nothing to show. As we learned later—especially in California—many of these causes were pretexts for fundraising campaigns not serious efforts at reform or change. The poster child for this during several campaign cycles was the Capitol Resource Institute (CRI).

CRI was guilty many times of running shadow campaigns parallel with real efforts. Prop 8 to define marriage as between a man and woman was one. CRI raised money they said was to support Prop 8 but they kept the funds, they were never given to the real Prop 8 organization. Instead, CRI put their own people on the payroll of their fake Prop 8 PAC and used up all the money.

In the years following, CRI did this time and again. They created signature gathering efforts for things that never got to the ballot. CRI had no ability to finish what they started in any of these campaigns. They adopted their version of the Costner motto, “if we do it they will come.” The reality was that they hurt the causes for which they postured. Their tilting at windmills backfired and hurt us all in the long run.

I’m picking on CRI because they never had the money to get anything on the ballot let alone fund a statewide campaign to get anything passed.

Historically, it takes about 3 million dollars to qualify a ballot measure and then an additional amount of $15-20 million to run a credible campaign. Back when Republicans ran for governor, the winning campaign was spending more than $50 million.

As a Christian group, CRI seemed really averse to follow Jesus’ advice to count the cost before doing something. Jesus says don’t start something unless you have the resources to finish it. It’s not magic, its common sense.

For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?

Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.

Luke 14:28-30

Jesus’ story says that to begin something that you know you can’t finish only results in others mocking you for being foolish with your resources; such a person is a dreamer not someone to take seriously.

California Conservatives’ Newest Windmill

So why bring up the past now? Because it’s happening again. Another Conservative effort with no prayer of success is underway which not only can’t succeed, it will embolden the other side to do even more crazy stuff without fear of consequences. Sadly, this is the legacy of CRI and others that tilt at windmills. They have no resources other than convincing the gullible to follow them over the political cliff. Their failure encourages the other side to double down on whatever social evil was the target of their ire.

The newest effort is recalling Governor Gavin Newsom. Yep, they want to take out the Gov. I’m not really sure why. Gavin is doing exactly what he promised and we knew he would do. Nobody is mad enough to dump him except maybe a few of his old girlfriends, yet somehow this brain trust of nuts down in San Diego thinks, if only we can get this on the ballot, people will rise up and rally to the cause.

California Governor and recall target Gavin Newsom

Here’s the details from a July 22, 2019 article:

A physician who twice lost bids for Congress is taking steps to launch a recall drive against Gov. Gavin Newsom, even signing up the treasurer of the successful effort to oust Gov. Gray Davis in 2003.

Dr. James Veltmeyer of La Jolla is using social media and email to collect “proponents” for a notice of intention to circulate a recall petition, said political consultant Andrew Russo on Monday.

“We’re in a process of setting up our committee,” said Russo, who also managed Republican Veltmeyer’s 2018 campaign against Rep. Scott Peters in the 52nd Congressional District. “We should have that by tomorrow.”

James Veltmeyer

But Veltmeyer felt it was time to launch a serious effort, Russo, 54, said in a phone interview. Online petitions are of “no value in something like this.”

On Thursday, Veltmeyer announced a recall website whose FAQ says: “We’ve set a goal of 2 million signatures to ensure we have the required number of valid signatures. We expect our deadline to be approximately February 1, 2020.”

La Jolla Doctor Plots Formal Recall Drive Against Gov. Gavin Newsom

The four gripes against Newsom are these:

  1. Healthcare for illegals
  2. Tax increases
  3. Homelessness
  4. Sanctuary Sate and Cities

A copy of the petition is located here

Ok, now this guy needs 2 million signatures but he doesn’t have enough fundraising ability to successfully run for Congress. I promise you he has no funding for this effort and there is no way, even with paid signature gatherers, that he gets anywhere close to 2 million signatures.

Look at the series of things needing to happen for this recall to be successful and you tell me what the chances are.

You need to collect enough valid signatures to get this recall on the ballot, run a campaign to convince a majority of Democrats and left leaning folks that Gavin–and by extension his Party–are wrong about these policies (which are common values shared by many Californians), then you need voters to pick someone that believes like a Republican, then without any shift in the Democrat supermajorities in both houses of our legislature, get them to voluntarily overturn the policies that they enacted so the new governor can sign them into law.

Veltmeyer has no money for this effort, no candidate that is electable and willing to enact said changes, and no hope the Legislature will be so intimidated by the Governor’s recall that they will unilaterally undo all the policies enacted in these areas and give him what he wants, even if he says, “Pretty please.”

Folks, this is the mother of all windmills but that is what Conservative people have been reduced to in California. Anyone give me odds that Veltmeyer is or was a CRA member?


Tilting at windmills is folly. It makes a mockery of whatever issue or perceived wrong that you are trying to correct as well as making a mockery and an object of scorn out its adherents. It emboldens those you oppose to do more of whatever you campaign against because it shows them that they have no fear of reprisal. Tilting at windmills makes things markedly worse than if you had never acted.

CRI Track Record of Failure Continues

As many of you will note in the news today, the transgender bathroom law is about to take effect in California. As burdensome, ridiculous, and unworkable as this law may be, many readers will ask about the supposed referendum effort to block this law.

Bad news, there never was a serious effort to block or repeal this law. Some financial backers of Prop 8 were interested in funding such an effort until it got hijacked by CRI (Capital Resource Institute). Once CRI interjected itself into the issue, the potential funders sat on the sidelines; only if CRI succeeded with the qualification of the referendum would they jump into the fray. CRI—the Karen England led conservative lobbying group—took this issue and turned it into another half-baked fund raising campaign for her organization.

This is at least the fourth such effort that CRI has made in recent years. They have a zero track record of success in anything they have tried to put on the ballot. In fact their efforts are so feeble that you can’t even find any trace of them on the California Secretary of State website for campaign finance reporting. The little money they have raised has gone to their staff payroll and CRI overhead and not to any signature gathering or other legitimate efforts to get anything on the ballot.

In a recent Sacramento Bee article, it was revealed that CRI got cross-wise with the IRS last summer and was in danger of losing their tax exempt status. I asked a politically connected friend about this article and his unsolicited response was, “I guess that explains why they were running the referendum campaign; to maintain cash flow.”

CRI is not only failing in their mission, they are actively hurting the few remaining conservatives left in California by emboldening our ideological opponents. By purporting to speak for all conservatives and failing miserably at every turn, CRI is creating the perception that nothing stands in the way of the looney Left agenda.

In recent years, CRI has lost their way. They spent much of their time fighting with conservatives and trying to take over the CRA and after that failed, they then expended effort trying to create an identical organization under their control (currently they have about two active chapters statewide).

Their fundraising often involves pretending to be part of someone else’s efforts to get something on the ballot or creating a parallel effort instead of supporting folks that are like minded on an issue. Prop 8 is the poster child for this behavior. CRI raised money from people that thought they were giving to Prop 8 when in fact they were giving to a CRI shadow organization that funneled money into CRI for the purpose of helping them make payroll. As is often the case with CRI, the money did not go to the purpose that donors were promised.

This referendum drill by CRI was a dismal failure. I knew it would be before they ever collected a signature. They never had a chance of success. The reality of politics in California is that such an effort typically requires about three million dollars just to get it on the ballot and an additional fifteen million or more to run a legitimate campaign. CRI ended up getting about half of the valid signatures required for qualification. Only paid gatherers could make up the needed shortfall. Why they would undertake such an effort when defeat was certain is mind boggling.

The reality is that we need CRI or a group like them at the Capitol but we also need an effective group. CRI has lost their way. The fact that Karen England is now residing in Nevada and commutes to Sacramento to work two days a week is not a harbinger that things are looking up for them.

Lest you think I am alone in this belief take a look at these articles:

CRI Exploiting Transgender Stupidity

World Net Daily today published an atricle on the lastest fundraising drill run by Capital Resource Institue. This one is supposed to overturn the transgender bathroom billed signed by Jerry Brown.
race on to overturn transgender bathrooms
Since CRI’s effort was presented as a serious one by the author of the story, I felt I needed to respond to him. Below is the letter I sent to him:

Mr. Unruh,

I just read your story “Race to Overturn Transgender Bathrooms”

I do wish CRI—Karen England and Tim LeFever—and others would mount a serious effort to overturn this law but that has not been their track record. The last few ballot efforts run by CRI have been fundraising gimicks to prop up CRI. Virtually none of the funds they took in actually went to getting anything on the ballot. In fact, England doesn’t even live in California, I have it on good authority that she actually lives in Reno Nevada and commutes to Sacramento where she works for CRI a few days per week. I know CRI has reduced much of it’s staff over the last few years.

It typically takes about three million dollars just to get enough signatures to qualify a ballot measure in this state and several times that to run the campaign to get it approved. England & LeFever don’t have access to that type of funding. When they start a campaign like this and fail, they give the other side confidence that they are the majority and CRI’s failure emboldens the Leftists and anti-christian people in this state. If you wish you can research how CRI pretended to be part of the Prop 8 campaign and used the money just to keep their current operation running or their failed Harvy Milk Day, or SB 48 initiatives. capitol resource institute

CRI fleeces the flock to keep running their organization but has little to show for it.

Then there was the time in 2011 that CRI and friends tried a hostile takeover of the California Republican Assembly.

CRI has no track record of success on any ballot initiative they have attempted. They have yet to qualify anything for the ballot in California let alone get it approved. This is the same kind of fundraising drill that some political consultants do in the name of the Tea Party.

“For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it”— Luke 14: 28

Reaction to SB 48: Tilting at Windmills

This week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Mark Leno bill that mandated that all California public schools must integrate instruction of lesbian, gay and bi-sexual people into their curriculum from Kindergarten thru high school. That Brown signed yet another stupid social engineering bill from Leno is no surprise, I was disappointed by the predictable reactionary response from some on the Conservative side of the isle.

As usual, our guys are suffering a loss of big picture. They want to reverse SB 48—which I think is a good idea—but they have no interest in not only reversing SB 48 but protecting our children from similar legislation that has been passed as well as any more stupid ideas that might be forced upon us in the future.

Clearly the quickest route to challenge bad legislation is through the ballot initiative process. But what kind of initiative? Do we simply just reverse SB 48 knowing that they will tweak it slightly and pass it again or do we try to reform the system in a way that such legislation is meaningless? If they both cost the same to bring before voters then which is the wiser course of action? Which will have the best possibility of success?

Yesterday I received an email that advocated a simple reversal of SB 48. This was my response.

This is not a strategic way of dealing with this issue. It would be better to do a ballot initiative to put curriculum decisions into the hands of local school boards. If local schools could decide textbooks and standards and not have these decisions forced upon them by legislators and the State Dept of Education, you would allow more accountability for education and protect children from these stupid mandates from people like Mark Leno.

Fighting SB48 head-on is a losing proposition. First it will rally the gays, unions and the Democrat Party against you. Second, we don’t have the money to fight this battle. Third, when we lose, it will embolden the other side to take this nationwide. In the end we will be worse-off for fighting on their terms. You need to redefine this issue in a way that advances favorable reasons why local control is better than these stupid and irrelevant (and politically correct) social engineering mandates.

California schools are in the bottom of the nation in terms of education. Arguing against Mark Leno and mandates for social engineering should be argued on the basis that our children and the teachers don’t have time for this B.S. when the children can’t learn the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic. Make SB48 irrelevant by placing curriculum control on a local level. This is both the Republican way and the way our Founders intended these decisions to be made.


Then last night I saw this on the KOVR TV website.

Group Begins Pushing Back Against Gay History Bill

SACRAMENTO, California (AP) – A family advocacy group is already challenging a new California law that adds lessons about gays to social studies classes.

Paulo Sibaja of the Sacramento-based Capitol Resource Institute said he started the process Friday for a statewide vote to overturn the bill signed by Gov. Jerry Brown a day earlier.

Brown, a Democrat, signed SB 48, making California the first state in the nation to teach about gays and lesbians in a public school curriculum.

Advocates say the new law will teach students to be more accepting in light of the bullying that happens to gay students. It also ensures that students are taught about the contributions of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender in social studies.

Conservatives opposed the law, saying it would teach children to accept homosexuality.

Then this morning I was sent the following:


The letter was sent all in capital letters which we all know is reserved for shouting. Will shouting at me do any good? Not likely.

Neither the author quoted above nor the Capitol Resource Institute has a proverbial “pot to piss in” so where do they think they will get the millions of dollars to qualify a ballot initiative or run the campaign necessary to win. To run a successful campaign they will need around 30 million dollars just to be credible. As they have defined it, this is such a narrow issue that they have no hope of winning.

Just look at the next election cycle. We have new legislative districts in all 50 states, Presidential primaries, congressional races, some important US Senate races and we are arguably in the midst of a depression (not a recession) and you want to wage this war against the gays, the unions and the Democrat Party. The public employee unions in California have over 250 million dollars to spend in the next election. Give these realities, where are you going to find the money from the private sector that you need to run a stop SB 48 campaign? What did you not understand about the stop AB 23 campaign? It was funded by businesses not a bunch of poor folks in churches and they lost badly. Why would the stop AB 48 campaign be any different?

Scripture and common sense both tell us not to start something that we cannot successfully complete. Instead of tilting at the SB 48 windmill why not do something that reforms the educational process and returns local control and accountability. If Leno’s stupid bill gets negated by the empowerment of local school districts then too bad.

I often say that we are playing checkers—usually badly—while the other side is playing chess. They are several moves ahead and we are marveling at what they are able to accomplish. Is it any wonder that we lose so badly? Not really! Strategic thinking in conservative political circles is a rare commodity.

Armed Police Forbid National Anthem at Capitol

When Bureaucrats Attack!

California politicians do really stupid things on a daily basis. Usually they get away with their actions because most media outlets ignore their actions. Unfortunately for us, journalists forgot what journalism was intended to be several decades ago and instead of keeping both sides honest, they chose sides.

As a result, journalists that cover the State Capitol don’t tend to work very hard. They go get their batch of press releases at their building on 10th and L Streets and use them as the basis for their next round of submissions to their editors. Usually their stories are paraphrases of the press releases in their “IN” box. They occasionally will get an additional quote from someone in their rolodex to round out their 700 word essay on the days’ news. The reason every newspaper and television station have the same stories is that they use the same press releases from the same sources. It’s not a conspiracy, its laziness.
During the last few days, the silence in the local media has been deafening with regard to the treatment of my daughter and her friends at the California State Capitol. My daughter attended the City on the Hill Leadership conference last week. This is a hands-on series of workshops on how government works. Part of the time is spent in the Capitol building meeting with legislators.

Following a meeting with Senator Tom McClintock, her group went into the rotunda portion of the building and decided to sing the national anthem and God Bless America. It has been a tradition each year to sing during their visit to the Capitol. This time however, the group was stopped in mid song by armed members of the security detail for the capitol (officers of the California Highway Patrol) and told that what they were doing was illegal because they did not have a permit! They were threatened with arrest!

A series of press releases was sent to parents and others notifying them of this government action. The irony of a group of high school kids learning the wonders of American democracy and being told that exercising their freedom of speech would land them in jail is rich. Liberalism allows freedom of speech only when it agrees with them. (Better they learn the lesson well in their youth.) Locally, Eric Hogue led his show with it today and featured it today. New media will boldly go places to old media cannot enter.