Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

For the last week or so, the Columbian has been waging a campaign against Jeanne Stewart on behalf of her opponent for Clark County Commissioner, Craig Pridemore. The argument that the County’s former paper of record is peddling to any of their shrinking readership that will listen is that Republican PCO Clyde Holland and County Commissioner David Madore are in cahoots on a scheme to buy Jeanne Stewart’s candidacy for their own nefarious purposes. At the center of their conspiracy theory is the fact that the Washington State Republican Party, and Stewart’s campaign have reported in-kind donations totaling $89,000 to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission. Apparently, the WSRP paid for some media buys on behalf of Stewart’s campaign, and they both dutifully reported the transactions to the PDC.

A few observations:

1. The WSRP is a ‘bonafide political party’ as provided for in numerous RCWs. According to the PDC website the limits for contributions to various county offices are set at $.95 per registered voter per election cycle. This means that, according to the laws governing political party contributions, the WSRP could donate in excess of $230,000 to any Clark County race. Our current political system is specifically designed to accommodate just such a donation as is under discussion. Why are there bonafide political parties? To fund candidates, among other things.

2. The Columbian has made much of the WSRP’s decision to dedicate such a large amount to Jeanne Stewart’s campaign, particularly given the large donations that Holland, and to a lesser extent Madore, have made to the state party. While I would never expect the prejudiced editors to do this, I ask you as the reader to imagine you are the leaders of the WSRP in charge of distributing funds to various candidates statewide. Imagine that one of your biggest donors every year is Clyde Holland from Clark County. He donated $90,000 this year and at least $70,000 in 2012. Where would you choose to distribute most of those dollars? The Columbian would have us believe that the only proper thing to do would be to give it all to a school board race somewhere in Okanogan County. Doesn’t it seem reasonable that if you want to maintain that fundraising relationship with a major donor, then you are going to support races from his county?

So now, look at the races in Clark County. Where are Republicans really hoping to make gains? The two main races, as I have identified months ago in other posts, are County Commissioner (Stewart) and 17th LD State Representative (Lynda Wilson). These are the two races where Republicans have a strong chance of gaining seats and investment will actually increase chances of winning. Lynda Wilson has already received $86,500 from various elements of the Republican party, including the House Republican Organizational Committee, the 17th Legislative District Republican Committee, and the Clark County Republican Party. So who is left to help if you are the WSRP? Lynda Wilson, whose fundraising has already eclipsed $270,000, or Stewart, who had raised less than $50,000 up to that point? The choice is pretty obvious.

3. The Columbian would have us believe that the WSRP simply handed funds over to the Stewart campaign. This is not the case. I spoke with a representative of the Stewart campaign who made it very clear that they had absolutely no control over the expenditure or input regarding the content of the ads. While people may object to the campaign funding structure currently in place, this is how both Democrats and Republicans do it every single election.

4. If Holland was really trying to find a candidate on the take that he could buy, Jeanne Stewart is the worst investment he could make. This is a woman who formerly supported the CRC and then changed her mind after identifying numerous problems. Her act of conscience cost her a seat on the C-Tran board after Mayor Leavitt and the rest of the city council quickly replaced her, and ultimately, it cost her the seat on the Vancouver City Council that she had occupied for years. The idea that she can now be bought simply doesn’t fit the profile that her years of public service have demonstrated. The more likely explanation is that Republicans are supporting someone who has already demonstrated a similarity in values. Stewart is a known quantity, and her work has earned her the respect of the Republican party at all levels.

5. Where was the scrutiny from the Columbian last year when the slate of pro-CRC Vancouver City Council candidates nearly all tripled the fundraising of their conservative counterparts, including Alishia Topper raising $56,519.43 to Jeanne Stewart’s $19,331.16? It seems odd that they would remain silent on that gross funding disparity, and yet, all of a sudden, they launch into a frenzy when a Republican slightly outspends her opponent so far this year. The headlines about ‘Who Owns Jeanne Stewart’ are really over the top in light of last year’s Democrat spending spree, which resulted in a clean sweep for the pro-CRC slate. It reminds me of a scene from my favorite movie:

The Columbian is very often the beneficiary of ad buys for local county races. Is it possible that their main beef is that Republicans are spending less money with them and more with the Reflector, whose influence and readership has gained ground significantly in the last two years?

As with most ‘October Surprise’ attempts just before an election, I expect a lot of public gnashing of teeth and threats of ethics violations filings that play well in public, and then nothing will happen after the election because everything was actually done exactly the way it is supposed to work according to the current legal structure. Political parties exist for a reason, their unique status in terms of fundraising is provided for in Washington law, and they are used for this purpose all the time by both parties. While a great case can be made that too much money from rich people is going into our political system, it is ridiculous of the Columbian to only squeal and scream when Republicans are the beneficiaries. Any pretense they may have had about objectivity in reporting is gone at this point. They are on a mission to help Democrats and Establishment Republicans win, and unlike Jeanne Stewart and the WSRP, they refuse to report their media-related in-kind donations to the PDC. Who knows, but maybe we can find a former state senator to file an ethics violation.

Greg Jayne, the editor for the Columbian’s editorial page, apologized today for what he termed an ‘egregious oversight’ in allowing a letter to be published before it was properly vetted for accuracy. The letter , penned by Kevin J. McCann of Vancouver, appeared on the Columbian’s website and in their print edition on October 13th. In it, McCann alleges that Clark County Republican Operations Director Christian Berrigan and another local political activist “publicly threatened to “fillet” and harm those who dared to disagree with them.” Neither McCann, nor the Columbian offered any evidence for the claims.

Greg Jayne

When questioned about the Columbian’s unfortunate decision to publish McCann’s false accusations, Jayne responded that “We do inspect letters for factual errors and often make changes. In this case, the letter accurately quoted another person as making threats, and we erred in allowing them to include Mr. Berrigan in that accusation. It was poor editing on our part. We should have checked our archives to confirm the accusation, and we failed to do that…we are deeply sorry for this egregious oversight. We have removed the letter from our Web site and will publish a correction in our print edition. I also have spoken with my staff about this and will work to improve our procedures regarding such letters.”

McCann, a 70-year-old resident of the 49th District, continues what now seems an established pattern for the left of attempting to sully the name of activists in the revamped local Republican party. As has been documented here, both local Democrats and the Columbian have been waging a campaign to defame and insult anyone who dares to pipe up about the local establishment agenda and the resulting costs to the common citizens of Clark County. I credit Mr. Jayne for the prompt removal of this letter from the Columbian website as soon as its dishonest nature was pointed out, but I still wonder how it ever made it into print in the first place. If I posted a letter to the editor stating that Lou Brancaccio was actually being paid by Tim Leavitt and Steve Stuart to continue his daily attacks on David Madore, does anyone think it would make it to the print copy? Someone, somewhere made a decision to print lies about a Republican PCO and board member for a reason. I appreciate Jayne’s apology, but I also expect the trend to continue. Prove me wrong, Columbian.

Last month, I brought to your attention that LD 49 State Representative Jim Moeller spent a sizeable portion of his CVTV speech talking about Republican PCOs and how terrible these representatives from every precinct in Clark County are, and how he was unable to ‘reach across the aisle’ as much as in former days because of the unbearable influence of these average citizens on their Republican representatives. It seems that this has become the new talking point of the left, as evidenced by recent posts from both the Columbian and left-leaning anti-Madore facebook group C3G2 .

The Columbian’s post, entitled “Herrera Beutler, charter spurned by Republican PCOs” appears to be an attempt to attack PCOs for not rushing to endorse Jaime Herrera Beutler in her bid to retain her congressional seat at the recent Republican Central Committee meeting. While there is certainly a strong backlash against Herrera Beutler for her votes to expand government control on a wide number of issues, the fact that one PCO was trying to bring up an issue that wasn’t even on the agenda for the meeting and was never mentioned there seems somewhat less than newsworthy. We all understand that the Columbian likes nothing better than to stir up dissention among Republicans, but even by their standards, this seems to be grasping at straws. NEWSFLASH! LOCAL REPUBLICAN PRECINCT COMMITTEE OFFICERS DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT ONE OF THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES!” It just doesn’t feel like a real story somehow.

Meanwhile, this facebook group, Clark County Citizens for Good Governance, whose existence I only recently became aware of, and whose population bears a striking resemblance to the peanut gallery in the Columbian’s comment section, appears to be taking issue with your humble servant’s description of the aforementioned PCO meeting. While most of the comments resemble the standard fare that we have become accustomed to from people who know nothing about our actual ideology or background, I must admit to chuckling as I watched some of the manifestations of cognitive dissonance surrounding the application of the phrase ‘rent-seeking’ to their own beloved light rail project. Why does rent-seeking not apply to those on the left who are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to lobby local officials for a public works project that many of them have and will personally financially benefit from, but that doesn’t do the average Joe Lunchbucket who drives across the river to work a bit of good, even though he is the lucky demographic that gets to pay for it? Because Koch brothers, that’s why. Check your privilege and pay up, Joe.

In general, I take the increased notoriety of local Republican PCOs as an encouraging sign that we are having an effect locally. If they were happy with us and not screaming like stuck pigs, I would wonder if our attempts to curb the growth in size and scope of government and corruption were actually doing any good. It appears that folks who were never accustomed to resistance in their plans to plunder the public coffers are now recognizing an organized hindrance to their efforts. Keep at it, PCOs.

Post-Meeting Recap and Notes

Posted: August 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

A few observations from last night’s meeting of the Clark County Republican PCOs:

1. Kenny Smith is an amazing chairman. The tone he set with his refusal to ignore factional issues, his praise of individual PCOs making an effort (while also prodding us all to expand our activity), and his self-deprecating humor before any voting got underway really allowed this meeting to sail through some very difficult business with astonishingly little vitriol and contention. Make no mistake; this doesn’t happen by accident. There has been a decided change in the way these meetings are run since he took over the helm, and the environment Kenny has created at these meetings has dissipated a lot of the mistrust that was manifested in the early days of the new leadership.

2. Efforts by individual PCOs are on the rise. Encouraged by the grass roots-orientation of this new board, PCOs are writing resolutions, leading campaigns, communicating with the body and getting opportunities to express concerns like never before. Last night I saw a mild-mannered PCO that never ran for office before get up and champion an anti-Charter resolution in the face of serious opposition from old-guard Republicans, including a very influential public official, and the resolution passed overwhelmingly, causing that public official and much of his entourage to beat a hasty retreat to the nearest exit. I saw a friend of mine who nobody outside of the Liberty camp ever heard of before last year get up and give an impassioned speech against an anti-gun bill (I-594) that earned his resolution enthusiastic passage from the crowd. I even saw Katja Delavar introduce a resolution against Common Core that passed UNANIMOUSLY among a super-quorum of PCOs from every faction. When I think back to the lofty goals that we had when we formed the PCO Liberty Alliance two years ago concerning empowering PCOs, I cannot but think that they have been in some way successful, and I hope there is much more to come.

3. The argument that pro-Charter people are making that somehow this charter is prescribed by the Republican party platform is quickly unraveling. The truth is coming out that because the State Republican party cancelled the 2014 convention, the most recent platform dates back to March of 2012. That platform was ‘passed’ by a small group of Establishment leaders after the convention ran on so long that it was ended before the delegates could reconvene to consider any platform. In all probability, it was copied and pasted from the 2010 platform. To argue that this old provision in the platform for Home Rule in general is somehow a vote in favor of this particular charter that was formed by a phalanx of pro-light rail, anti-Madore rent-seekers is really grasping at straws. Last night’s vote made it very clear how the party views this charter, and the community can be very confident that the local Republican party strongly opposes handing the county government over to a dictator, benevolent or otherwise.

Also of note was that the Central Committee finally had its first vote on Core Principles, and can now proudly claim to be in favor of the Sanctity of Life and limited government, among other things. Hopefully, candidates will feel encouraged to manifest those principles as well, knowing that they are among the prevailing values among the vast majority of the party.

There appears to be more than the usual amount of interest in tonight’s meeting of the Clark County Republican Central Committee. Among several resolutions that will be before the PCOs is a vote on whether to reject as a body the proposed county charter that will be on the ballot in November. This resolution from Republican PCOs has drawn the attention of the pro-light rail, anti-David Madore facebook group C3G2 as well as County Auditor Greg Kimsey, a strong proponent of the charter who is also rumored to be very interested in the ‘county manager’ position that the charter would create. The county manager position would be unelected, and according to the interpretation of many who have studied the charter, would wield most of the executive power in the county, in much the same way that a school district superintendent rules the roost on most school boards.

This evening, Kimsey sent a last-minute email to select PCOs urging them to table the anti-charter resolution. I was not among the original recipients, so many thanks to LD 18 PCO Kevin VanGelder for bringing this to light. The email reads in part:

Good evening,

If you attend tomorrow night’s PCO meeting you will be asked to vote on a resolution in opposition to the Clark County Home Rule Charter that will appear on this year’s general election ballot…It is my hope that before we make a decision to oppose the Charter that we have an opportunity to also hear from those who support the Charter.

I ask you to support “tabling” the anti-charter resolution until after a “Pro Charter” committee and a “Con-Charter” committee have been formed and those committees have presented their findings at a subsequent PCO meeting. A vote in opposition or in support of the charter should be taken after both sides of this important issue are presented.

Regards,

Greg

The facts and context surrounding this resolution are as follows: A group of a few PCOs who are not on the executive board authored and distributed the resolution back in July. All PCOs in the county received an email notifying them about the resolution on July 29th, almost a month ago. Rumors have been swirling for a few weeks that Kimsey was attempting to author his own resolution to combat this grass roots effort. It is now the day of the meeting, and he has yet to produce this counter-resolution. From this email, one can safely deduce that he either never got around to writing it, or he knows it will never pass, so he didn’t bother. His next option then, is to try to make sure the anti-Charter effort doesn’t pass. He is clearly afraid of an up-or-down vote, so he is resorting to an old Establishment trick. In attempting to ‘table’ the resolution, he will accomplish two things: 1. A ‘motion to table’ is not debatable, so no discussion will be allowed before a vote, which means that the argument in his email about ‘referring it to committee’ will never have to be specified, and 2. if the meeting ends with no vote, it is likely that it will not be revisited before the election, since meetings of the Central Committee are quarterly, and there is none scheduled before November. So in effect, ‘tabling’ means never having to see it again unless a special meeting is called, which is very unlikely during an election season just to pass one resolution. The opinion of the PCOs will remain unexpressed and irrelevant. That is Kimsey’s clear objective.

If Kimsey actually wanted to have committees and discuss the merits of the charter, why did he not do so in the over three weeks before the scheduled meeting? Because he doesn’t actually want a vote by the PCOs. He will have every opportunity to speak against the resolution during the debating period before the vote, but it is the vote itself that he is trying to avoid.

This is a great example of why leadership in the CCRP had to change. The grass roots puts forth a great effort to be heard, and the Establishment uses parliamentary procedures to shut them down without discussion or an up-or-down vote. If Kimsey and his friends were still in charge of the party, this would have succeeded as a matter of course, and the authors of the resolution would have been left dazed and wondering what just happened, much like so many of us were after the Kimsey-chaired convention in 2012 was called to a close without having finished voting and without electing the delegates. This is what the Establishment does again and again when they don’t have the votes.

Whether or not he succeeds tonight will be dependent on how alert the leadership and those favoring the resolution are. Hopefully the will of the body will prevail over the political aspirations of one man. If you are a PCO, please attend tonight, and please vote to allow this resolution to be voted on.

In the wake of last week’s primary election, a couple of articles came out in local papers covering the PCO races (seen here and here ). In both articles, the headlines trumpeted that the ‘moderate’ or ‘mainstream’ Republicans had been victorious over their grass roots counterparts. A sampling:

Moderate Republicans win primary round at precinct level

Grass-roots control of local GOP to continue?

The battle for the future of the Clark County Republican Party has been waged in neighborhoods across the county in the past couple of months. In this round of the ongoing war, the establishment Republicans declared victory. ” – Lauren Dake, The Columbian

and this:

“Mainstream” Republicans hold on to most PCO seats

Mainstream” Republicans largely beat back more conservative contenders in this week’s election of the Cowlitz County precinct committee officers (PCOs), according to unofficial primary results. Just seven of the 25 competitive candidates backed by PCO Liberty Alliance won a spot on the grassroots steering committee of the local GOP.” -Brooks Johnson,The Daily News

After reading these articles, one might easily come to the conclusion that the efforts by such operatives as Mary Graham, Apollo Fuhriman, and Team Herrera-Beutler to recruit PCOs and return the party safely to the Establishment fold had been successful. One might expect that in December, Ed Lynch and other rent-seeking Chamber-of-Commerce members would emerge and start donating money to a more light-rail-friendly CCRP leadership again, one that Jim Moeller would happily ‘reach across the aisle’ to work with, and this business of writing resolutions warning Republicans to stick to the party platform of small government and less spending would finally be just a bad memory for the Moderate contingent. It would be forgivable if anyone were to draw this conclusion from Lauren Dake’s piece. It would also be dead wrong.

Since there are only two or three readers of this blog, and since I know you can all keep a secret, I can tell you that despite Ms. Dake’s confident assertion that “the establishment Republicans declared victory”, the moderates did not win the primary. The ‘bulk of Republican contested PCO seats’ were not won by the Establishment, and their only victory is that they get to continue to participate in a welcoming party that calls more than one meeting a year, and doesn’t pick favorites in primaries, or use party funds in excess of $5000 to pay for mailers in favor of some PCO candidates over others. So in that way, I guess maybe the moderates won after all?

In reality, the Clark County primary elected about 190 Republican Precinct Committee Officers. The vast majority of these, over 140, were uncontested and therefore ‘deemed elected’ without appearing on the ballot. So while the 42 races were interesting to mark in terms of results, they were really less than 25% of the actual PCO election, and though they came out fairly close to even for both sides (there are always a few unknown candidates in the middle who are not attached to a particular group), the other 75% was NOT CLOSE to even. The real story, the one that should have been printed, is that this movement toward a more PCO-centered party has some serious legs and doesn’t look to be in danger at all. In fact, it may soon be spreading to a neighboring county.

Cowlitz County Party Leaders Getting Nervous?

In Cowlitz County, a new chapter of the PCO Liberty Alliance has sprung up to challenge the moderates who have a choke-hold over the county Republican party. The situation is so bad there, I have been told that a conservative Republican, David Steenson, was effectively shown the door by the party, despite the lack of a Republican in the race, so he ran instead as a Libertarian. The party chairman has also reportedly refused to allow PCOs to elect legislative district chairs in the 19th and 20th Districts, despite the fact that it is required by RCW 29A.80.061 .

Upon seeing the PCOLA campaign being manifested there, party leaders took out an ad in the local paper, complete with a listed slate of PCO candidates that they wanted people to vote for. The same paper then boasted in their post-primary report that ‘just five of the 29 candidates endorsed lost their elections’. While this may be good advertising for their newspaper, it didn’t give a very accurate picture of the situation in the Cowlitz County Republican Party. Once again, the uncontested races were a majority of the total races, and PCOLA’s populist, grass roots appeal allowed them to out-recruit their Establishment competition. The totals are closer than in Clark County though, and they set up a very interesting Organization meeting in December. Expect the old guard running the meeting to give themselves every advantage going into the vote. This is a story we plan to follow and hopefully get a report on, so stay tuned.

As I was reading these articles from separate counties with nearly identical headlines (just a strange coincidence, I’m sure), I was reminded of our local political sage who blogged about the results of the PCO Liberty Alliance campaign two years ago:

Looks like reality and an abysmal, laughably inept performance…has set in as the massive waste of time, effort and money resulted in no real change in the GOP landscape and, well, we’re back to business as usual

The only time it really matters is Re-Org… and there will be a mass turn out then that will dwarf the Paulbots… and any effort to change the bylaws will be met the same way…. since there has to be several weeks notice given to any such effort (no surprises allowed). For these guys, they’ve managed to confuse motion with action. They are distinctly different… as they will come to find out.

Well, our somewhat antagonistic (but loveable) blogger friend was half-right anyway; there was record-setting turnout. Fortunately for PCOs and friends of grass roots candidates everywhere though, we were able to change the bylaws and the leadership that December to reflect a more populist approach to local Republican politics, giving far more control of the party to the only folks actually elected by voters, the PCOs. In fact, the vote on the new bylaws was 160 to 3, so I guess ‘half-right’ might be too generous. The only thing that victories by former party leaders in PCO races netted them was a front-row seat as the turning of the guard unfolded (regrettably, that blogger was not there to witness it, and had to read about it from some ‘moronically named site’).

And that is why you come to this blog (both of you), because journalists and sour ex-State Party Executive Directors don’t always get it right.

Yesterday, I was sent this text of a recent facebook post from a Very Respected Member of the local Republican party. It was, of course, not the first time I had heard rumblings about the Grand Paulbot Scheme, but I thought it was so articulate and specific in terms of laying out the secret plan, that it deserved a re-post:

“This needs to be said and the time is now. The current Clark County Republican Party leadership consists of at least 99.9 per cent Paulbot activists. Having acquired the vast majority of PCOs (by any means necessary), they now control the dispensation of funds and the ability to enhance the prospects of their chosen candidates in the upcoming primary election. BE WARNED!!! These people who call themselves Republicans support ONLY other Paulbots.”

Naturally, I was alarmed upon reading that our Executive board was only supporting their friends to the detriment of everyone else. We had, after all, taken great pains to pass new by-laws forbidding party participation in primaries after years of the old CCRP using their resources against us, e.g. paying $5000 of party funds to support certain PCO candidates over others, allowing only their candidates to speak at Lincoln Day Dinners, shutting down conventions and refusing to fill incomplete delegations when their anointed Presidential candidate wasn’t winning, etc. I would really hate to have done all of that work with the PCO Liberty Alliance, only to find that our new board was doing the same things as the old board.

I decided to investigate this claim. Having received secret information from my mole at CCRP headquarters (she made me take out the garbage first), I can now confirm what many have suspected, that the Paulbots (and the other board members who, as it turns out, never voted for Ron Paul) are giving away alarming amounts of party money to candidates. Some of this info is very recent, the Executive Board having voted to distribute funds only a few days ago. What follows is the entire list of CCRP donations year-to-date:

1. Jeanne Stewart (County Commissioner): $8500
2. Lynda Wilson (17th LD Representative): $7000
3. Anson Service (49th LD Representative): $3500
4. Liz Pike (18th LD Representative): $1000
5. Scott Weber (Clark County Clerk): $1000
6. Lauren Colas (Clark County Treasurer): $1000
7. Peter Van Nortwick (Clark County Assessor): $500
8. Josie Townsend (Clark County Prosecutor): $500

Now, I know what you are thinking as you read these names: “Wait a minute, none of those people who received money have ever voted for Ron Paul!” That was my thought as well. In trying to uncover the Secret Paulbot Agenda, it seems like this part didn’t fit. Not only did the board give $23,000 to candidates, significantly more than the $14,850 that the old board did in all of 2012, but they didn’t give a cent to anyone in a contested primary, even to the lone Paul supporter running as a Republican for office in Clark County. So what gives? Is the Secret Paulbot Agenda so nefarious that it is undetectable to the naked eye? Are they using invisible ink and disks that self-destruct in five seconds? I mean, we know the people telling us about the plot are credible, right? They would never just make things up out of thin air would they?

As I continued my investigation, looking for clues about the Grand Paulbot Scheme, I was able to come up with some possible signs that the new leadership is ruining the party. For example, they are sending increasing numbers of PCOs out into neighborhoods to bother people about politics and they litter neighborhoods with more signs and literature from candidates. They even abandoned the old headquarters, the party’s only contact with the at-risk population at Highway 99 and Hazel Dell, in favor of a newer office in the middle of the county, so that more of these ‘Republicans’ might actually use it. I also hear they are secretly planning on having a convention in 2016 that elects all of the delegates, but that may be just wild speculation. So there is evidence of change that even people like Rep. Jim Moeller have noticed and have every right to publicly condemn.  As we already established in a previous post, Moeller would like the Republican party to go back to the way it was before, and apparently, some Very Respected Republicans agree with him. Perhaps this is what Moeller means when he talks about his efforts to “reach across the aisle”?