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Monday, May 13, 2013
2006 Jeep Liberty Ignition Switch
Over all, I like my Jeep Liberty but I have had a few vehicle problems during my 106,000 miles. Some were manufacturer defects and a few were just wear and tear.
The first problem that I encountered was the tail lights. I used to go thru light bulbs as often as every three days. What I finally figured out is that the plastic inside the tail lights was touching the bulbs. The heat from the bulbs touching the plastic inside the light fixture caused the plastic to melt to the bulbs and they would break the bulbs—probably due to vibration—and the bulb would need replacing. Over a series of months, I used needle-nosed pliers to break out all the loose plastic inside the light fixtures. Once all plastic was removed, the bulbs worked properly.
The braking system was made using cheap parts. I had to replace rotors and pads after a few off-road trips. They go too hot and warped like crazy.
Also, the rear window motor on the driver’s side went out. The dealer charged $400 to replace it.
I have experienced the infamous key getting jammed in the ignition and not being able to remove it. This appears to be a frequent complaint of Jeep owners. I found many complaints on the Internet.
My latest adventure began with turning the ignition key and not being able to start the vehicle. Then the next time I would try, it would start right up. The last time this happened, my Jeep ran fine for two weeks before giving me trouble again. The only thing I noticed was that I had to turn the key as far as it would go and it would then start. The key movement was not right.
Well finally this week-end, it just died on me. I went to the local auto parts store and they advised me that intermittent problems—especially electrical ones—were the worst. The advice I was given was to bear with it until something failed completely and check the Internet for others experiencing similar problems.
Well, yesterday evening, the key mechanism failed completely. There was absolutely no resistance when I turned the key. Whatever happened, the break in the ignition system was no longer intermittent. When this happened, two lights on my dash board and the radio came on. I knew from reading the Internet that I needed to disconnect the battery until the issue was repaired.
I went only the Internet and found this entry. http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/ignition-switch-pin-actuator-repair-1378503/ The problem that I experienced was the actuator pin assembly was broken. The URL above described my problem and it includes a link to a video on how to remove and replace the broken part. The vehicle in the video, however is a PT Cruiser and not a Jeep. I would like to explain the differences between the video and the Jeep Liberty.
Broke Actuator Assembly—Metal Shard at Top—and Key Cylinder
First, the housing around the steering column is attached with two T-20 screws. They are recessed in two square holes on the bottom side of the cover, closest to the steering wheel. The top cover has some wires attached so it must be pushed out of your way.
Next difference from the video, the assembly for turn signals, wipers, etc. that is shown with T-20 screws in the video, just sits on top of two pegs on the steering column.
You need to remove three T-10 security screws to complete the disassembly. One screw is in the starter switch. This is the square box on the left side of the steering wheel with lots of wires running to it. The actuator assembly has two screws holding it in place. I found a small mirror came in handy when looking for the screws. I could remove them without crawling under the steering wheel.
Once I removed the assembly and inspected things, I noticed that the metal portion of the actuator was broken-off where it goes into the ignition switch. I required some needle-nosed pliers to remove a broken piece of metal from the switch. For some reason, I was unable to locate a second piece that was broken off of the actuator.
In total, it took ten minutes to locate the tools and remove the actuator assembly. I am writing this blog while waiting for the part to be delivered from the warehouse to my local auto parts store.
The part arrived from AutoZone an hour earlier than promised. Aligning the key cylinder with the actuator was a pain. It took several attempt to get it aligned. Once both pieces are inserted into the steering column, you do not get all key movements. You get both Off and a large, slushy On zone. After the ignition switch has been installed the movement gets better, but not until the actuator cover is screwed in place will you get all the proper key positions. Please note that the spring that must be installed with the cover must be correctly aligned or the cover will not fit over the actuator properly. Also, the tiny pin in the cover kept falling out and I had to hunt it down at least twice on the carpeting of the vehicle.
I hooked up the battery and the Jeep started just as it should. Then I had to program the radio and clock and now I’m back on the road. Cost of my part was higher than the Internet prices. Including tax, I paid $44.27. Elapse time was less than an hour.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Review: Ice Age Village
Ice Age Village, based on the popular movie franchise, is a fun way to waste hours on your phone or tablet device. It is a game that is fun for the whole family. Best of all, it’s free.
I’m running the game on both my Windows Phone and Kindle tablet. The Android version is a bit slow on my first generation Kindle Fire. The game has a slight lag and catching Scrat is difficult. The experience on the Windows Phone is smooth and the display allows you to see more of the village on your screen at one time.
You purchase or earn various little animated animal families or entertainment venues for the animals in your village to enjoy. Based on your village configuration, you earn revenue from each thing in your village except items that give you bonuses. A family is complete when you have two adults and two children. It is somewhat disconcerting that all animals reproduce from eggs in this game but it does allow for conversations with children when you explain that Pandas and Llamas don’t really lay eggs.
Windows Phone 8 Screen Capture
The Social Network portion of the game is buggy and does not work as it should. Also, if you get your village up to a Five Star rating in all areas, it will reportedly crash the game. Hopefully this will be fixed soon.
Getting acorns in the game is difficult and clicking on items that you can’t afford will take you to a screen offering to sell you acorns for cash. Password the ability to purchase via credit card before turning the gaming device over to your children.
Below are two links with further information and cheat codes to get some quick cash early on in the game.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
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.
Friday, April 26, 2013
The Empire Strikes Back: Part 5
Darth Vader exercised his will at CRA Convention
“Up from the grave he arose;
With a mighty triumph o’er his foes;”
Or so the old hymn goes;
Bob Haueter thinks he knows;
Why Park stepped on his toes.
Bob Haueter as you may recall was one of the problem folks named by George Park that was listed as a current member of the evil Santa Clarita CRA chapter. The only problem is that Bob moved to Texas many months ago and thus is ineligible to be a member of CRA. Anyway, Bob has done his best impression as a guest on “The Walking Dead” and fired-off a lengthy tome from beyond the CRA grave yesterday to give his side of the story. His “Tales from the Crypt” is an interesting read but falls short in many places.
In his letter, Bob makes many admissions against interest. He thinks they bolster his case when in fact they prove Park was right. Due to its length, I won’t go thru the whole thing but I will point out the contentions that caught my eye.
Bob opens with this salutation, “Greetings fellow CRA members”. This salutation is part of the problem, BOB thinks he is still a CRA member and so does his club. Since by his own admission, he resides in Texas, Bob cannot be a member of CRA. Sorry Bob but our Bylaws are really clear on that issue.
Bob laments that we are having an internal struggle and then says,
Is it any wonder there aren’t any state wide elected Republicans, or that the State Assembly and State Senate are controlled by Democrat super majorities and the State’s Congressional Delegation has been reduced to just 15 members out of 53?
So what’s the fight about? In reality it will be a battle of distinctions without differences. The real issue will be who controls, for their own narrow self interest the endorsement of the CRA.
OK; so it is all CRA’s fault that the Democrats have cleaned our clocks and own the State? No, it’s more complicated than that; however Barbara Alby and her followers are complicit in the decline we have experienced. (See my blog article on Gary North v Barbara Alby.) The current fight is the old Alby forces fighting for control v the post Alby membership.
The next paragraph is another admission against interest if you parse it just a little. “The real issue will be who controls, for their own narrow self interest the endorsement of the CRA.” The only contention of controlling endorsements for self interested reasons made thus far in this controversy is that Bob’s former employer, Congressman Buck McKeon and some fellow travelers in CRA leadership (Greig and Frank), have manipulated endorsements. Bob tells us more about what he and his friends have done in the past and how he really views CRA. CRA is to be controlled by the political elites to get endorsements.
Sorry Bob, I joined CRA so I could be the one endorsing the folks that I feel best represent my values not so I can grant legitimacy to candidates and consultants that try to buy CRA endorsements. I thought that is what we fought Karen England about two years ago. We purged many clubs funded by candidates and consultants but not all.
I joined the CRA in 1979. At the time our party was controlled by a group of go along get alongs. Unfortunately CRA was part of the problem, “The Conscience of the Republican Party” did not reflect the conservative values it was founded on. It took many years but we succeeded in returning the CRA to a Conservative organization that accurately reflected its heritage and one that we could be proud to be a part of.
Bob here displays the romantic view espoused by Alby that CRA was a conservative organization that she and others helped return to its conservative roots. The fact is that during its history, CRA has been on all sides of many issues. It has been liberal and conservative. It was founded as a “progressive” Republican group. It has been for progressive taxes, flat taxes, consumptions taxes, etc. CRA’s history is not one of principles that are the bedrock of its existence. This paradigm was given to CRA by Alby and her allies.
This weekend you’ll continue to fight amongst yourselves but instead of fighting for conservative values against moderate and liberals, you’ll be fighting against those that wish to use the CRA for a purely personal accumulation of power. A fight where the winner is rewarded with the power to decide who gets our assistance and endorsement and then reaps the rewards from that assistance.
Yet another admission against interest. The winner of the CRA Presidential election “is rewarded with power to decide who gets our assistance and endorsement and then reaps the rewards from that assistance.” OK, Bob first it is not “our assistance” because you are not a member. Second you are talking of a top-down organization not a grassroots one. The President does not decide who gets our assistance. We do not work for the CRA President, we work locally for local candidates that we choose to support, and whether the CRA leadership likes them is irrelevant. We are neither their slaves nor employees. Again CRA is a Grassroots group. Grassroots equals decentralized. Most in CRA do not work to “reap the rewards” unless you think more freedom, less government and, lower taxes is a reward.
Bob then thumps his chest to say how hard he has worked for various politicians. Then he laments,
I am saddened to see the depths that CRA has sunk to. Where personal attacks based on innuendo and manipulated emails are used to attack fellow members just so someone can achieve profit off our organization.
George Park is clearly in mind here. This is a false characterization of Park’s information campaign. Had CRA leadership done its job, Park would not have to go to the Internet to deal with these issues. They were not dealt with in 1998 as I have documented elsewhere on this blog and things got progressively worse. Two years ago was a corrective action but it was not a completed action. Everything Park put out publicly was documented and never refuted by Celeste Greig, Steve Frank or anyone else. Park only used a portion of the stuff that was available to him. It is worse than he stated.
That the day before the convention, Steve Frank has to get a former member from Texas to take up his cause is illustrative of how weak his defense really is. The only person that can “profit off our organization” is Steve Frank not George Park. Frank has a financial interest in the 25th Congressional district during the 2014 election cycle. More on this later.
This latest round of attacks against Celeste Greig and Steve Frank have set new limits…or better put…new lows. My gosh, Celeste and Steve, they are pillars of our organization with reputations beyond reproach. When people like Celeste and Steve are attacked its time to question the attackers.
Steve Frank threw Celeste under the bus three weeks ago and now Bob does us the favor of joining them at the hip again. If Celeste is so great why is the only press coverage that she gets for CRA related to rape and Todd Akin? Sorry Bob, no one is “beyond reproach”; ever read Romans 3: 23?
Unfortunately, many in politics build a good reputation early on in their careers and coast on that reputation for the rest of their political lives even when they act contrary to their reputation. We all know politicians that say one thing at election time in their districts and then vote the opposite way in Sacramento or Washington. Celeste Greig and Steve Frank acting contrary to their early reputation in CRA and that conduct is not unusual.
Bob then begins to tell his story about the formation of the Republican Assembly of the Greater Santa Clarita Valley (RAGSCV). This portion of his tome is worth an extended look. Here he is talking about how his faction lost control of the other Santa Clarita RA chapter and were later forced to form their own club.
Unfortunately there were some in town who wanted to control the CRA for its ability to endorse in local elections. Two of the leaders of this group were Wendy Albright and Alice Khosravy. They literally bought the election with Alice standing in the parking lot handing out cash to folks they had recruited to become members. This included folks who weren’t even registered Republicans. They won by 3 or 4 votes. We were so disgusted afterwards that we almost quit the CRA.
This is a rather pregnant passage as it once again tells us more about Bob than you might see at first glance. Bob makes Alice sound like some crazy ACORN member trying to buy voted from homeless people by passing out cash in the parking lot. He makes it sound like Alice gives people money, and then they charged into some nearby building and paid their dues, and then voted as instructed.
The only problem with this tale of fraud and woe is those stinking Bylaws don’t allow such conduct. Isn’t it funny that every time someone on Celeste’s side of the controversy says or does something the Bylaws keep getting in their way. Their lament reminds me of Democrats complaining about the Constitution being an obstacle to their utopian dreams.
All CRA chapters require that membership dues must be paid at least 30 days prior to a member being allowed to vote in officer elections. Some clubs even require members joining 60 days in advance. Furthermore, local CRA chapters can reject membership applications to their chapter. This action is subject to review by the State Board.
The irony of the charge of members not being registered to vote is that Bob’s righteous CRA chapter is the only one that lists members not registered to vote and membership of folks residing outside of California. The club he is complaining about is ten times the size of his group and has no such known violations. I know that Park has personally verified the membership of both groups looking for such problems.
The only conclusion that a rational person can draw is that Bob is telling a bald-faced lie that he hopes no one will notice.
Bob then recounts his version of getting his new Santa Clarita club chartered. He omits a few relevant facts but I wish to go on further into his letter as he begins has close. He begins with this premise, for Bob to be correct and Celeste to be righteous then George Park must be lying. Bob then asks why?
Again, within this statement you will find admissions against interest.
Well I can’t tell you precisely why but I can speculate. It’s been rumored that Congressman Buck McKeon, one of the highest regarded members of Congress and Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, may retire at the end of this term. I don’t know. What I do know is if and when Buck does decide to call it quits there’s going to be a mad scramble to fill the seat. We only have 15 Republican seats left and they don’t open up that often. So the CRA’s endorsement in the 25th CD will be important. Look at the units George is going after: Northridge, RAGSCV and Antelope Valley…all within the 25th CD. Then, add to that, George comes all the way down from Northern California to help Charter a new unit in Simi Valley…yep its in the 25th CD as well. That leaves just one question; what’s in it for George? Why the sudden interest in the 25th CD? What’s he get for making sure a unit that hates Congressman McKeon, the SCVRA, gets the power to control the endorsement in the 25th CD. Maybe you should ask him, or his new friends Alice and Wendy.
Buck McKeon’s name just keeps coming up in this controversy. Buck paid many of the dues for members in Bob’s beloved CRA chapter from his vast campaign war chest. (Didn’t Karen England get booted from CRA for facilitating such acts?) This is one of Park’s many complaints about McKeon. Not until this Tuesday’s article in the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle did Greig admit to any ties with McKeon when they reported that Buck has endorsed Celeste.
Bob then goes on to point out that Park has been going after RA chapters in northern L.A. County. Park says they are problems because they are not complying with the rules and Bob implies that Park has a financial interest in the 25th Congressional District.
Bob is missing the elephant in the room with his comments. The problem RA clubs that Park is trying to deal with are the ones geographically closest to where CRA President Celeste Greig and her colleague Steve Frank live. One would think that if Celeste is the dynamic Republican leader that she claims to be in her campaign literature then the clubs that she can interact with the most would be the fastest growing most dynamic clubs in CRA. The fact is that the opposite is true. Celeste no longer even has a local CRA chapter to belong to since her’s died of inactivity many years ago. Steve Frank is also a homeless CRA officer.
Bob also neglects to mention that there are other vibrant CRA clubs in the 25th but they are ones that don’t regularly interact with Frank and Greig; an important omission.
The foremost player in this drama with a financial interest in CD 25 is Steve Frank. Steve is pushing Tony Strickland as the natural heir to Buck McKeon at rallies and events throughout the district. Steve is a political consultant working for Strickland. Steve and Celeste need Bob’s bogus RA group and others like it to engineer the endorsement of Tony next year.
So there you have it. The last installment before the Convention begins at 4 p.m. today.
Contrary to recent claims by Aaron Park, my read is that Celeste thinks her re-election is a done deal. Whether she can do it on a straight up or down vote or needs Frank to go nuclear on the Credential Committee we will know soon.
Monday, April 22, 2013
The Empire Strikes Back: Part 4
Emperor Steve Frank has instructed his apprentice Darth Cardoza to cancel all diplomatic efforts to resolve the CRA credentialing process and fall back to the night of the Star Chamber. Frank has determined that only the cover of darkness can be used to wrest victor for certain defeat. Unfortunately for the rest of us, Frank has determined that victory is defined as the total annihilation of half of the CRA universe.
Of the 45 or so CRA chapters that are sending delegates to the CRA Convention that is just days away, Steve Frank plans to refuse seating any delegates from half these chapters for reasons that he has manufactured in his own mind. He has had to manipulate Credentials Committee Chairman Bill Cardoza to set-up this jihad. OK, manipulate is a strong word, Frank has simply withheld any instructions from Cardoza so Bill has failed to take any action.
Cardoza thinks he can convene a meeting Friday night, set up operating rules for the committee and then let Frank flood the zone with smoke and mirrors and then present a completed report to the body for approval by 9 A.M. Saturday morning. Only if Frank has staged a draft of the final report ahead of time could this be accomplished.
Any delegates not recognized by the report will be presumed to be invalid. Only a motion from the floor by a seated delegate can get the recommendations of the Credentials Committee overturned. Each chapter must then be approved by those previously hand selected by Frank and allowed to vote. In addition, this process assumes that the chair will recognize the person making such a motion. Worst case scenario for this part of the meeting is Steve Frank presiding over the meeting and Cardoza presenting the report.
This gambit should fail but I would be foolish to think this will be a fair fight.
Some members on the Credentials Committee think that if things go badly they can break quorum and stop the non-sense. I disagree, such a move would make Frank’s task easier. Frank, Cardoza & company would declare victory and present their prewritten report as the Committee Report and then all they need to do is ram it through on Saturday.
My recommendation is for George Park & his allies is put their report out first and then use that as the beginning point for any action of the Committee. Park has said that his presumption is that all delegates should be seated unless there is a compelling reason to set them aside for a harder look. Chapters not paying dues or delegate residency questions are the usual grounds for these problems. Park has reportedly resolved most issues except for about three clubs. One of the three problem clubs has no dues paying members but wants to send delegates. Clearly this is highly irregular and should be examined.
Park’s best move is the axiom, “he who frames the issue, wins the debate.” If Park goes until Friday without presenting his report and suggesting a framework for the committee to operate from then he will unnecessarily cede ground that will be costly to win back. In fact inaction might result in the dissolution of the organization. As Gary North is fond of saying, “you can’t beat something with nothing.”
To be continued…
Friday, April 19, 2013
Gary North versus Barbara Alby
Barbara Alby 1946 - 2012
Gary North wrote in 1983 that Christians are not ready to lead.
The second point is: American Christians have not thought about these matters for well over a century-not since the era immediately preceding the Civil War. They are not ready to lead. They are not ready to “throw out the humanists” and replace them in every area of life, from the police force to the physics laboratory.
At this point in the first Reagan term, North’s words were thought by most to be non-sense. Clearly Conservatives were in political ascendancy and we believed that we had a real opportunity to return our nation to its Christian roots and away from the Liberal folly of the 1960’s & 70’s. We were on the verge of overturning Roe v Wade; fixing the Supreme Court; abolishing the Dept of Energy and Education; defunding the NEA; and building the economy. The “Pax Americana” was laid-out as “a shining city on a hill” for the entire world to emulate.
Looking back over the last 30 years, it is clear that North was right and we were wrong. I would like to take a few minutes to talk about what failed and why. I won’t address every issue but I want to zero in on some aspects of why Evangelicals have failed in the political arena. The California Republican Assembly would be a great case study for a poly sci or theology doctoral candidate’s dissertation. What follows below is a thumbnail sketch for some areas of examination.
After Ronald Reagan left office, it was clear to many Conservatives that George Bush was not their best choice as a successor. Conservatives hoped for an alternative to Bush; some favored Jack Kemp while others supported Pat Robertson. Robertson’s base was mostly Evangelical, Dispensational, Pre-millennial Protestants. Robertson was able to mobilize much the same demographic group that was the base of Falwell’s Moral Majority.
Religious/Political movements like Robertson (and later Gary Bower) often established campaign organizations that later morphed into other political movements once the campaign was concluded. One such group in California that was left from the Robertson campaign included Barbara Alby.
Alby had been head of a group in the 1980’s called “Women’s Lobby.” Alby used this group to educate and energize women from evangelical churches and get them involved in state and local politics. Women’s Lobby was targeted at issues like abortion and education.
Thru the Robertson campaign and her experiences with Women’s Lobby, Alby saw firsthand the defects in the political process and the weakness of the Republican Party. She and likeminded individuals decided that they needed to capture the Republican Party of California. Their chosen vehicle to reshape Republican policy in California was thru the California Republican Assembly.
In 1988 (or 1987), Alby engineered a hostile takeover of the Sacramento-Sierra Republican Assembly. When this happened there were five active CRA chapters in Sacramento County; American River, Capital, Cosumnes, River City, and Sacramento-Sierra. (Sac-Sierra RA eventually became the Sacramento Republican Assembly.)
SSRA had a requirement that members must join 30 days before the December organizational meeting in order to be allowed to vote. Alby showed-up at the final SRA meeting prior to the election of officers with several hundred membership applications and dues checks in hand.
Just imagine how this looked to the existing membership of SSRA. They have been doing their work for local candidates and at the last minute some stranger shows-up with several hundred applications and dues from people that have never attended a single meeting. Most of these new members had never been involved in the Party prior to giving Alby a check. At the election, they ousted the existing leadership and elected their own slate of officers.
This hostile take-over was appealed and upheld by the State Board. This resulted in the existing members leaving en mass and forming the Republicans of River City. Joining with others booted out of CRA by other evangelical takeovers elsewhere in California, the California Congress of Republicans was formed in 1989.
Once Evangelicals took over CRA, they began consolidating power and setting their sights on taking over as many county central committees as possible. Controlling central committees was a vital step in taking over the California Republican Party. Once Alby & company controlled the CRP, they exited CRA and set it adrift. Alby went from nothing to control of the CRP and her own seat in the California Assembly in a decade. Her first slate of CRA approved candidates for CRP officers was elected in 1991.
Due to the way that Alby & company operated, they insured that anyone perceived to be a threat to their power was eliminated from the organizations that they controlled. Their tactics could be characterized as “scorched earth” power politics. Alby used evangelical terms and beliefs to portray her struggle as good versus evil. Most of her followers believed they were claiming these political institutions for God and his Kingdom. Those that were driven from CRA and later CRP were evil and needed to accept the Alby agenda or leave. The result of such thinking is not spreading the Gospel or displaying God’s Love but simply a justification for an “ends justifies the means” type of power politics.
Lest you think I exaggerate this claim, let me share a summary of a telephone conversation that I had with Greg Hardcastle. Hardcastle was Alby’s right-hand man and was not only President of her CRA chapter but later served as Statewide President of CRA from 1993-95. Some context is necessary before I can get to the substance of his phone call.
If you recall earlier, I had mentioned that Sacramento County had five CRA chapters when Alby first got involved with CRA in the late 1980’s. By the time of my involvement with CRA in 1989, Barbara’s chapter—Sacramento-Sierra Republican Assembly—had a membership approaching 700 members. American River and Capital stopped meeting by the early 1990’s. During the same period, River City and Cosumnes, surrenders their CRA charters. Alby’s chapter was the only active Republican Assembly in Sacramento County and the largest in the State.
In 1991, Alby took the dormant charters for American River & Capital Republican Assemblies and funneled people from her club and Operation Rescue into these paper clubs. These clubs were allies of Barbara and intended to give her superior numbers of delegates at conventions. John Stoos was President of the Capital RA. Jim Uli was President of American River. Jim’s wife was Treasurer. I was Secretary and Donna Worley was Vice-President. American River began meeting and had a regular attendance that was about 50 people a meeting. The attendance was close to the numbers that Alby was drawing but American River had one tenth the membership.
Later that year, a vacancy occurred in the 5th Assembly District when Tim Leslie moved from the Assembly to the Senate. This district was in the Roseville Area and included portions of Sacramento County. A young man named Mark Baughman entered the race. Baughman had been working for John Doolittle. He was able to receive the endorsement of every sitting Republican in the State Legislature. Alby had been rumored to be interested in running but when asked by Legislative members, she had denied any interest. A week before the end of the filing period, Alby finally jumped into the race. Governor Pete Wilson then recruited B.T. Collins to counter Alby. Collins filed the necessary paperwork after the deadline and had to get a favorable judge to let him on the ballot. CRA and Wilson hated each other and Wilson had his chance for some payback to Alby.
So the set-up was this, a special election in a Republican district with two Conservatives and one moderate (Liberal) on the ballot. As a newcomer, Alby needed the CRA endorsement to breakout beyond the evangelical community and make herself legitimate in the eyes of rank and file Republicans.
Candidate endorsement in CRA is via a special endorsing convention. In this case each club in the district was allowed two delegates. Candidates need a 2/3 vote to be endorsed. In her mind, Alby thought this was a slam-dunk; at least until they did a headcount. As it turned out, Baughman had support in Placer County and Alby in Sacramento. The swing chapter was American River. Two officers in American River wanted Baughman and the other two were solidly for Alby. The two of us that supported Baughman, favored a split decision with one vote for each which would result in no endorsement. The Alby forces would not stand for this.
Mark had declared early and had asked for my support. David Knowles was an Assemblyman that I knew and respected. He supported Mark because he was a good family man, a conservative and unlike Barbara he could get along with others that believed differently than he did. I agreed with David’s opinion.
A few days before this endorsing convention, Greg Hardcastle called me. The conversation lasted 45 minutes. He started off asking me why I was supporting Mark and not Barbara. Hardcastle then brought-up the fact that Baughman was LDS (a Mormon) and then he went on to tell me that it was God’s will that Barbara win this election. Baughman was not a Christian and thus did not deserve my support. Furthermore, he told me that if I did not support Barbara that upon his authority as an ordained minister in the Assembly of God denomination that I could not consider myself a Christian. I was deceived and my soul was in peril. I needed to reflect upon my life and relationship with God and get right with Him. Barbara was God’s candidate. Who was I to disobey God? Once it was established that I would not change my endorsement and was thus in danger of Hell, the call ended.
I have never been as verbally abused by anyone as I was during that phone call. I held my ground but was miserable for the experience. Not even Barbara herself could name one issue that she could foresee where she and Baughman would vote differently. Mark simply went to the wrong church.
The day of the endorsing convention, all four officers of American River met at the endorsing convention. Jim Uli had been persuaded by Barbara’s forces to make his wife the other delegate to the endorsing convention. You need to understand that when Jim was made President of American River by Barbara that he knew nothing about politics. He lived in Sacramento and didn’t even know the Mayor’s name let alone anything about the Assembly or Senate. Donna was the brains and backbone of the club and was responsible for the growth of the club. Jim was nothing more than the master of ceremonies at our meetings. For Jim to assert that he had the right to make this decision unilaterally was nothing short of mutiny. If anyone deserved to be a delegate it was Donna.
Wayne Johnson and John Stoos were overseeing the endorsing convention. Both were elders in the same church and were very politically connected. They were very big Alby supporters. Donna and I appealed to them in an effort to get Jim to change his mind. Stoos and Johnson said it was the President’s choice and we had no right to interfere. We had no one to appeal to.
Hardcastle, Johnson and Stoos had played political hardball with our little CRA chapter and then forgot we ever existed. Donna and I left the meeting and Barbara had her endorsement; Baughman subsequently dropped-out of the race. Alby lost the race against Collins but was eventually elected to the seat after Collins died in office two years later. Shortly after this event, American River RA ceased to exist and its territory was taken over by Sac-Sierra. I left CRA for several years before getting involved in the Yolo County Chapter. (The demise of Yolo County RA is documented elsewhere on this blog site.)
My point in telling this story is that Alby brought an “ends justify the means” philosophy to CRA. Power politics, paper clubs, elimination of potential rivals, manipulation of Bylaws, and litmus tests for purity have been the hallmarks of CRA since Alby joined in the late 1980’s. The disciples that she brought with her have emulated her example.
CRA has a history of vastly overstating their numbers. In its heyday CRA claimed to have over 100,000 members. Jon Fleischman was CRA president from 1995-97. Recently on his website Flash Report, he claimed during his term as President that CRA membership was 20,000. This is history revisionism and utter nonsense. I have friends that served on the CRA Publications Committee during this time and their numbers were that CRA had a paid membership of 4K with a newsletter circulation of 5K.
As best as I can determine, when Alby got involved the membership was likely around 7,000. When she had consolidated her control of CRP and kicked CRA to the curb in the mid 1990’s, paid membership in CRA was 3,500 to 4,000. Currently, statewide membership is less than 2,000 dues paying members.
Barbara Alby’s club, Sacramento-Sierra Republican Assembly, went from a peak of 700 members in the early 1990’s to less than 15 a decade later.
Lest you think that is a fluke, look at the CRP (California Republican Party). When Alby first got control of the CRP, the Party controlled the Assembly, had a sizable representation in the Senate and Republicans held several statewide offices. Virtually every chairman of the Party since 2000 has been the endorsed CRA candidate. (Prior to this time CRP had a tradition that the Vice-Chair would succeed the Chair & many of these VP contests were difficult fights for CRA forces.) Since Alby left the Assembly and Republican Politics in 1998, the CRP has imploded. By the time of her death in 2012, Democrats controlled every statewide constitutional office, the governorship and has super majorities in the Assembly and Senate.
Every political organization that Alby ran diminished soon after she released her grip on it. Women’s Lobby is defunct, CRA is irrelevant and CRP has faded away to insignificance. Because of the paradigm of good versus evil, Alby could not build coalitions and agree to disagree with occasional allies. Alby’s legacy is to dismantle not build.
Because she bayoneted the “farm team,” no leaders were mentored to grow the organizations that she was involved in. Power and control were the levers to advance her causes. Her “scorched earth” policies created dysfunctional institutions and tended to attract equally dysfunctional people in leadership. If Alby had trained leaders to manage the institutions with which she was involved and grow them in a healthy way, she would have been celebrated as the Republican Margaret Thatcher. Instead, we as Evangelical Christians are worse off than before we hitched our political wagons to Alby and her fellow travelers.
This brings us to the current situation in CRA. Celeste Greig, Steve Frank, Bill Cardoza and a few others are the last relics of the Alby revolution. This generation must pass away before CRA will have a chance to heal and regroup. My concern is that Steve Frank would rather go out in a blaze of glory yelling “Allah Akbar” than hand what is left over to a new generation of leaders.
Gary North has been vindicated and I feel poorer knowing that he was right.
“American Christians … are not ready to lead”—Tactics of Christian Resistance 1983
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Steve Frank, the only advocate for the re-election of Celeste Greig as CRA President, has noticeable shifted his tactics in the last few days. While he has never attempted to rebut any evidence or allegations against Greig, he has—up until recently—tried to discredit the message by smearing the messenger; George Park. Park has crushed Frank & Greig with a tsunami of evidence that both have failed to act in a professional manner and in accord with established CRA rules and procedures. What I have published on this blog is only a portion of the available evidence.
Now each time Frank’s candidate is hit with another email from Park, his reaction is to release a copy of his resume. This is damage control for Frank but does nothing for Greig but let her twist slowly in the wind. Frank is distancing himself from Greig and trying to rehabilitate his own reputation. He is like a political consultant that has successfully drained the client of their bank account two weeks before the election and then left them to fend for themselves; while he goes off to a help himself to someone else’s campaign loot.
This is not just a metaphor for Greig’s campaign for President; this is what consults regularly do ever two years to their clients. Now you know why our guys usually loose. Every two years, our party hires the same consultants and gets the same results, only the candidate names change, the rest of the apparatus remains the same.
Frank is currently in strategic withdrawal and trying to position himself to keep his reputation in tact so he can live to fight another day. Whether Celeste realizes that she is under the bus yet is a debatable point. I think behind the scenes Frank will try to narrow the margin of defeat for Greig via his games in the Credentials Committee but there are very few uncommitted players left on the board.
My other reason that I think Frank is done with a vigorous defense of his client is that he has outed two key moles—folks funneling information to him. Here is the account from Aaron Park:
I have not seen a campaign as bizarre as this one has been.
Recently, Steve Frank exposed Bill Cardoza as the source of some of his information when he responded to en email from Placer CRA President Ed Rowen by forwarding an email Rowen sent to Mr. Cardoza complaining about the prospect of Steve having access to Placer’s roster. The only way he could have received a copy of that email would have been from Mr. Cardoza.
Last night - I received a forward of an internal Briscoe campaign email from Steve Frank that was forwarded to him by CRA Board Member Steve Macias. Mr. Macias admitted that to me in a phone call then emailed me to say that he was not going to pull his endorsement of Celeste, thereby confirming that his forwarding of the email was a deliberate act.
Why Mr. Frank exposed the leak in our (Team Briscoe) campaign team is beyond me.
Both Cardoza and Macias have been sources of valuable information to Frank so why did he burn them? Cardoza was likely leaking data and had been accused of such but Macias was operating below anyone’s radar and funneling inside info from Celeste’s opponent. Whether coincidence or not, Macias has ties with John Stoos but I am not aware that Stoos has any current interest or involvement in CRA.
Steve Frank’s conduct in this whole mess is a mystery. Maybe for him all politics really is local and friendships transcend principle and common sense. Or maybe he has an economic interest in the outcome. However this election turns out, we are witnessing the last hurrah of people that Barbara Alby brought into CRA in the 1980s and 90s. I wish they would “go quietly into that good night” but they want one last bite at the apple. Perhaps Celeste’s motives to run for President are not too different than Jerry Brown wanting another turn at being Governor. I can hear Carroll O’Conner singing, “Those were the days.”
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Coffee, Tea and a Vote for Me
CRA Membership Secretary George Park has fired what could be his most devastating shot at Celeste Greig thus far. Here is the bulk of the email.
Contrast this with Chatsworth Northridge Republican Assembly (CNRA), a proported franchise of Congressman Buck McKeon’s just like the RAGSCV. This unit fits the classic definition of a “Paper Unit” or “Zombie”, as it seems to come to life at the most special time of year. (Hint, anytime that requires delegates) Twice in the last 13 months, it has been “reorganized”.
This is also CRA President Celeste Greig’s home unit.
CNRA was born in President Celeste Greig’s living room in 1991, with the help of Steve Frank (View the original minutes here).
The most recent “reorganization” appears to have occurred on March 18th in CRA President Celeste Greig’s living room. She notified me 9 days after the fact on March 27th, the same night she headlined the Buck McKeon RA (RAGSCV) fundraiser (View the invitation here) with guest Democrat Ed Headington (who ran against SCVRA member and current Assemblyman Scott Wilk).
Her email reads, “Last Week as the highest CRA member in Los Angeles County and statewide President, moreover as the founder of the Chatsworth-Northridge R.A. it has been painful for me that for the last few years there has not been any activity with the Unit, there for I called and attended a re-organization night meeting, on Monday, March 18, 2013, in Chatsworth, CA.” ( View President Greig’s email here)
By her own words, she acknowledges that the unit has been dead for a few years.
CRA President Celeste Greig also indicated that the reorganizational meeting did not result in a board of directors being elected. In addition, she indicates that two of the eleven alleged members were going to join sometime after Easter. Furthermore President Greig did not report whoever these members were to the CRA Membership Secretary. Where are the membership applications? Why is there no roster?
So why did the President of the CRA call a reorganizational meeting without notifying a single other CRA officer except Steve Frank and why were there no officers elected at this alleged meeting!? How can one hold a “reorganizational meeting” without electing a board? Exaclty what was “reorganized”? Another question that needs to be asked is this: Why does Congressman Buck McKeon view the CNRA as just another one of his “CRA franchises”?
There is a key issue that will play heavily in part two of the Greig-Frank Living room Dilemma – the By-Laws of the CNRA have a residency requirement. (They are linked here)
Re-read Celeste’s email, you will see that she does not know the by-laws of her own home unit as she has accepted the transfer of Steve and Leslie Frank on behalf of the non-existent officers of the CNRA. (See Link) (Click here to read Steve Frank’s transfer request.)
This email and linked attachments illustrates that Greig is indeed treating the CRA as her little Cub Scout Den. Just like the Democrats that Steve Frank keeps claiming that we should be fighting, Greig finds the rules she has sworn to uphold as impediments to doing what she wants. No wonder the CRA is such a mess; we want to hold the Democrats to a standard that we are not willing to uphold ourselves. This is hypocrisy of the highest order.
Look at this extended portion of Greig’s email which Park quoted above.
Last week, as the highest CRA member in Los Angeles County and statewide President, moreover as the founder of the Chatsworth-Northridge R.A.
It has been painful for me that for the last few years there has not been any activity with the Unit, there for I called and attended a re-organization night meeting, on Monday, March 18, 2013, in Chatsworth, CA.
I collected individual checks (which you accepted last year), all payable to CRA for the amount of $25.00 each.
My neighbors are also going to join and will be given me their $40.00 check when they get back from their Easter vacation, so I know that you’ll join on my excitement that the Unit once again is going to be alive, functional and ready to work hard to elect and re-elect Conservative Republicans in the area, moreover to increase voter registration.
However, at this time we do not have a Board yet, nor a checking account (there was none at least for the last few years that I know of), my goal right now is to get more members, we are planning to have another meeting early in May and then elect a board.
So at this time we have 11 members (including myself and Mr. & Mrs. Steve (Leslie) Frank who live about seven or eight miles from Chatsworth.
Walk thru this email and marvel.
Celeste is highest ranking CRA member in LA County but she can’t attend the reorganizational meeting in Ventura which is right in her backyard while us poor shmucks in Sacramento are on the road before 4 a.m. so we can attend! Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Celeste’s home CRA unit had no activity for last few years, so why is the club still on the books? Perhaps she has taken the same leadership skills used on her own unit and applied them to the State organization; after all it worked so well for Tom Del Beccaro in the CRP. Perhaps this explains Park’s assertion elsewhere that CRA has lost 1,000 members since the 2011 Convention.
Notice that the reorganizational meeting is noticed to others on the CRA Board only after it has taken place; contrast that with Ventura RA where about 90 Board members received multiple advanced notices.
Celeste then talks about collecting dues. This is the first of two mentions in the email where she admits to collecting dues from individual members. According to her account, she took them directly to the bank and deposited them. The good news is that she did make copies of the checks. The bad news is that she never had anyone complete membership applications because later she states,
“…therefore today I’ll be going to the nearest Wells Fargo branch and make the deposit for $200.00, I have make copies of the checks, and I’ll be sending them to our CRA Treasurer Mr. John Fugat for accounting purposes and send you a separate list, as I’m waiting for more of their information such as phone numbers and email addresses that are not on the checks.”
As quoted above, Park asserts that he is still waiting for the Chatsworth roster.
Then as Park points out, Steve and Mrs. Frank have a problem. They can’t be members of Greig’s phantom CRA unit because the Bylaws on file with the Membership Secretary require that Frank must live in Chatsworth-Northridge in Ventura County. This requirement dates back to model bylaws issued in the heyday of WordPerfect and MS DOS; it requires that members must be registered to vote within the boundaries of the local Republican Assembly; not eight miles away.
The bottom line is Celeste failed to revive her old unit with the necessary number of people to have an active CRA chapter. Technically this leaves both Frank and Greig as homeless in terms of a local chapter. They are members at large.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
The Empire Strikes Back: Part 3
As I sit down to write this blog, the next step in the Celeste Greig/Steve Frank campaign for continued control of the California Republican Assembly is underway. Credentials Committee Chairman, Bill Cardoza, is emailing every club roster one at a time to others on his committee and who knows who else. This is not simply names of members but home addresses, telephone and email addresses as well. As of this writing over 89 such mails have been sent.
Cardoza and his committee have no need to review this information. He is charged only with credentialing delegates. The Membership Secretary, George Park, is charged with verifying chapter membership. Chapter membership is what determines the number of delegates that a group can have. They should be complementary in nature not confrontational.
Clearly, Cardoza is positioning the Committee to nullify all work done over the last two years by Park and trying to re-invent the wheel. As I have stated before, I believe Park to be fair and conscientious in his work as Membership Secretary. This effort is the latest attempt to give Steve Frank a lever to try and find grounds to disenfranchise delegates not favorable to his slate.
Again, Steve Frank should resign immediately from all three committees to which he is assigned due to the inherent conflict of interest not only as a candidate in the upcoming elections but as the campaign architect on behalf of Celeste Greig. He is not an impartial and disinterested party trying to see that the rules are evenly enforced.
The other issue that I must raise is that Bill Cardoza is needlessly and wantonly exposing the CRA to both civil and criminal prosecution for this data dump of personal information. As I keep saying, the CRA is a California Corporation not a Cub Scout Den. Cardoza is making public, information that should be kept private. It appears to me that he is violating the Statewide CRA Bylaws by doing anything with this information. Only the entire Board has the authority to do what Cardoza is unilaterally doing.
• Does Cardoza know if he just compromised any information about an undercover law enforcement agent?
• Or a just handed some identity thief your private information?
• Did he violate State or Federal privacy laws just so Steve Frank could have more ammo?
He doesn’t know and he doesn’t care. I know that members of his committee have expressed these concerns and his only response is to continue emailing more personal information.
At the very least, he is a fool for not scrubbing the personally identifying information from these lists before making them public. He also, clearly does not have the technical expertise to operate Microsoft Excel or he could have reduced everything he is currently spamming into one file, password protected it and then sent it to others on his committee.
I know some people will think I’m harsh but I have been in, under, and around computers for twenty years. Cardoza is sending the information unsecured thru a public network to multiple public servers, to multiple computers that are not secured; furthermore, some likely have viruses and rootkits that enable other to view the contents of the hard drives. How many people that receive this info have unsecured wireless access to their data? How many will take their computer to their local Best Buy where the data will be backed-up and then viewed after the computer has been repaired? Public Wi-Fi at Starbucks? My point is that once all this has been released, he has no control where the info will go or to whom.
Cardoza’s unilateral actions are not good news for the Credentialing process. His Committee has still not met; even though the Convention begins in less than two weeks. He has released no reasons for this data dump. Several chapters have previously instructed Cardoza in writing not to release their information; but he did anyway. He has still not proposed written guidelines that will be used to perform the duties his committee. He appears to be out of his depth in his handling of the Credentialing Committee. He appears to be doing the bidding of others; following and not leading.
One Credential Committee member responded to concerns of this email tsunami raised by another member with the assertion that he couldn’t trust that Park’s info was accurate. My response is that Park takes his obligation as a Board Member seriously and knows that he has a fiduciary responsibility to be accurate. Park is a Board officer of a corporation. Park has the same responsibility for accuracy as the Treasurer does to make sure the bank balance is correct.
Lastly, if this release of personal information does go FUBAR, the CRA, its Board, and Cardoza (personally) will be held responsible in any judgment that is rendered.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Steve Frank’s Conflicts of Interest
I really tried to sit-out the email war today between George & Aaron Park v Steve Frank. However, the rhetoric has gotten to the point where I need to chime in again. Two issues surfaced today that deserve comment.
First, something I was aware of went public today in a big way. The Park brothers have been tracking the fact that Steve Frank is calling individuals to ask for their support in the upcoming CRA elections. It appears that Frank is working a list of delegates obtained by Bill Cardoza, the chairman of the Credentials Committee. This is based on two chunks of data: George Park didn’t provide the list to Mr. Frank and the persons contacted had requested to Cardoza that their names not be share with Frank.
The theory is that the only Board members with lists are Park and Cardoza. Park and Cardoza are both on the Credentials Committee. Cardoza is the Chair of the Committee. Park has the list due to his duties as Membership Secretary. Cardoza was going to work off info shared by Park but suddenly opted to request his own information. Cardoza has fumbled this task badly and kept requesting and countermanding information requests.
Please note that Cardoza has not called any meetings of the Credentials Committee and Cardoza is conveniently out of town for the next week on business. This leaves all the heavy lifting of the committee to be done at the last minute. Thus far, no materials have been shared with Committee members. They have not conducted any official business.
Many suspected Cardoza’s real task was to acquire lists for Frank to use to assist Celeste Greig. Some outside the Greig camp suspect that Frank would use data to find grounds to disenfranchise delegates using his powers on multiple committees related to the convention. Frank is on Bylaws, Credentials, and Rules Committees. He is also a candidate for one of the CRA Vice-President slots.
Is any besides me bothered by the obvious conflicts of interest bundled into Steve Frank? Frank can have his cake and eat it too. What a dream gig. He is both a candidate and a person able to select not only the people that can vote for him (Credentials); but the rules under which they can vote for him (Rules & Bylaws). He is not just a committee member but Chair of the Rules committee. One can’t help but utter the phrase, “Russian Election”.
Clearly the fact that Celeste Greig has to rely on Frank to fill three committee slots and be a candidate on her slate is proof the she either has a small bench of supporters or she needs Frank to keep his thumb on the scale to tilt things her way. You would think that a political operative of her vast experience would know to avoid such blatant conflicts of interest. Frank is reportedly an attorney and as such he knows to avoid such dilemmas.
The second issue today that is subtle but making a bigger splash is related to the Board vote on the Committee assignments mentioned above. Janine Heft, Corresponding Secretary, sent out a ballot for several committees that are related to the upcoming convention. These assignments were the choices made by Celeste Greig. The list was in the form of a consent calendar, it was up or down on the whole thing.
The vote via email provisions of the Bylaws require that a majority of Board members must vote or the motion is deemed to fail. As a result, many members purposely did not participate in hopes that this motion would be unsuccessful.
The rumor mill version of the voting was that with a day to go the measure was failing and the Greig team began calling in an attempt to get enough votes for the committee slate to be approved.
Heft reported that the measure had passed with 39 YES votes but what she never gives out is the size of the voting universe? How many people could have voted but didn’t? In this particular vote that is an important number. Yesterday Tom Hudson reported to me in the course of another discussion that the max size of the Board can be is 111. This number assumes that all 40 senate districts have both a director and deputy director.
Here are samples of this vote being discussed today.
First off, in an email Steve Frank revealed that I did not vote on the convention committee appointments. The only way he could know that is if the corresponding secretary broke with her long-time policy of not revealing how board members voted on on-line board votes and told him.
Aaron, what I said was you did not vote against me for the Credentials Committee. The Secretary announced that the vote was 39-0—NO ONE VOTED AGAINST ME. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that. Since no one voted against me, and you are a voting Board member, you could not have voted against me, since the vote was 39-0.
If the reports of lobbying for the vote had not happened, I think Park would have reacted differently to Frank’s comment. However, Aaron truly believes that since there were reports of members being lobbied to vote that Heft in fact did let someone know the vote was in trouble.
“…on the night of vote deadline I got two panicked emails from Celeste forwarded to me. She was demanding people from the board vote. The verbage in those emails indicated that less than a simple majority had voted on the appointments. Celeste could have only known that if she was given the information by someone who was tracking the votes.”
I don’t know what to make of this whole thing. I can see both points of view. I know that there is more information that has not been released publicly but I don’t see an upside to dragging Heft into the presidential sparring.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
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:
Subtracting Dates in Excel 2013
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.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
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.
Monday, April 08, 2013
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.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Happy Easter 2013
He is Risen
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”