GOP Boot Camp, Aug 21-22

So far this looks like a trip down memory lane. Maybe we can find some veterans of the last Deukmejian campaign. This is the problem with Republicans…they are stuck in the past. While the Democrats are campaigning using 21st century organizing methods the GOP is still running Reagan’s Morning in America Ads.

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The Republican Party at every level—federal, state and local is dying. Obama and the Democrats have the GOP completely encircled with all escape routs cut off.

As the Republican Party is cut off and starving, they have been whittled down to their true believers (the bad hair conservatives) who are actively working to purge all moderates from the party. Meanwhile the Democrats, headed by President Obama, are taking every moderate Republican they can into their administration or welcoming them into their bigger tent, so to speak. 

I have never seen the Republicans so demoralized. Locally they are diminished to weird fundraisers like their recent Bread Line Ball or phony accounting reports. Now they have a new venture. They are bringing back that old time religion. Come one come all on 08/21-22/09 to the Contra Costa GOP Boot Camp. Yep throw your saddle over your horse and get  in the game boys and girls. The Contra Costa GOP is going to show you how to win 1980’s style. 

Lets go through the highlights:

Dealing with the Media: Lisa Vorderbrueggen, Political Editor Contra Costa Times,
Tom Del Beccaro, CRP Vice Chair, Founder FirstAmendmentNow

tom-del-beccaroWhy Lisa Vorderbruggen would want to address this crowd beats me because they cannot stand her. They must be the last subscribers to the newspaper. She can give them good advice like don’t call supreme court appointees or any one else a racist!

As far a self promotion, Machiavellian politics and dealing with the media  for self promotion—who better the Tom Del Beccaro? He can talk about how to try to become a local pundit and spin the media while his sycophants in the local party grovel at his feet while you continue to get crushed every year at the polls.

Public Speaking: Lynne Leach, Former Assemblywoman, 15th AD;

lynne-leach-not-paying-attentionWhat can I say; Leach is the last of her kind. They call her their Beloved Lynne Leach. She can pump up a right wing crowd like no other. I am sure she will have something very bright on because, as she has told me, that is how you get attention when you are speaking. That said I wonder what kind of message she will deliver to the folks in attendance? I mean, Republican speakers are like Hummer salesmen in a gas shortage. Nobody wants what they are buying. So I wonder if there is anything different she is going to sell them on.

Effects of Campaign on Family: Mary Piepho, Contra Costa County Supervisor:

mary-piephoPlease… Like any politician running for elected office gives two shits about their kids other than to use them as props. If they did care, they would spend time with them and not other politicians. Just look at how Sarah Palin has exploited her children. It is disgusting. Of course I think a better subject for Piepho would be how to beat your political opponent without a college education. She gives many drop outs hope. After all, President Andrew Johnson made it all the way to the presidency without any formal education.

Fundraising: Heuter & Associates

Well here is a bright spot. This woman is a star fund raiser. She does all the big Republicans. So what is she doing here? Maybe it is a sign of the times, like waters that are over fished, there are not big  any Republicans left in the Bay Area to raise money for. I love her restaurant in Dublin!

Organizing Volunteers: Jean Meredith

Lets bring back the 70’s. Meredith was a Reagan delegate to the 1976 Republican National convention in Kansas City, MO. She has some nice stories about the convention. Like how the Reaganites crushed President Ford and set the stage for his 1980 election. She is a long time Republican veteran of conservative politics. She is a long time grass roots organizer for many Bill Baker and Lynne Leach campaigns. As the folks who worked for Dean Andal learned last year, the Bill Baker method of grass roots organizing can be a real turn off. You are either a true believer or you get off the team. 

So here we are. I can only hope that there will be other speakers willing to share modern campaign techniques. How about organizing on Facebook or using Twitter? How about blogging, Web pages etc.

So far this looks like a trip down memory lane. Maybe we can find some veterans of the last Deukmejian campaign. This is the problem with Republicans…they are stuck in the past. While the Democrats are campaigning using 21st century organizing methods the GOP is still running Reagan’s Morning in America Ads.

The wilderness years continue.

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Guys and Dolls for Hospice, Jul 30

Purchase your tickets now for a performance of Guys and Dolls, benefiting Hospice of the East Bay , on Thursday, July 30th, at 8:00 pm, at San Ramon Valley High School Performing Arts Center, 501 Danville Blvd. , Danville .

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Purchase your tickets now for a performance of Guys and Dolls, benefiting Hospice of the East Bay, on Thursday, July 30th, at 8:00 pm, at San Ramon Valley High School Performing Arts Center, 501 Danville Blvd. , Danville .

You will have the opportunity to meet the cast at a reception immediately following the performance.

This fast-paced, hilarious show features bright and brassy music, taking you from the heart of Times Square, to the cafes of Havana , and even the sewers of New York City. This funny and romantic story makes Guys and Dolls a celebration of the absolute best American musical theatre has to offer! The show features wonderful music, exhilarating dance numbers and a cast of exciting characters.

For further information and to purchase tickets call (925) 943-7469.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A1HWEub0hg

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Can ordinary folks fix California?

A new study from the New America Movement says 400 ordinary citizens should be randomly selected to act as delegates to a Constitutional Convention to fix California

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A groundbreaking report released today by the New America Foundation and Repair California (www.RepairCalifornia.org) recommends that a constitutional convention in California be comprised of citizen delegates.

“As California grapples with a crisis of historic proportions, it is time to draw upon the genius of what has always been the Golden State’s greatest resource – Californians themselves,” concludes the report, “A Citizens Constitutional Convention for California: How to Avoid Partisanship and Special Interest Influence” written by Steven Hill, director of the Political Reform Program at the New America Foundation.

California has been called an ungovernable state, plagued not only by systemic gridlock but also by bitter partisanship, special interest influence, and incumbent self-interest. Californians are calling for reform, with one of the options on the table being a constitutional convention.

The Bay Area Council has called for a convention composed of 400 “citizen delegates,” randomly selected to form a scientifically representative sample of average Californians. But would non-experts have the ability to propose complex public policy? Or, as one skeptic put it, “How can a room of dummies do something smart?”

If you were about to ask, ‘If 400 people selected randomly can be put in a room and straighten out California, why on earth do we need legislators?”

That’s a great question that oild farts will bring up just to be grumpy and complain. But such a harrumph observation only has value if the same old farts seriously consider the role and value of representative democracy.

Leaving aside this new iteration of the romaticized myth concerning the rustic nobility of American natives can be set aside, perhaps for just a second, so that we might posit a more critical question,”should unelected representatives of any kind determine law and public policy for millions of Californians?

Does a random draw truly represent a polity? It’s been asked before. Since 500 B.C. political communities have struggled with this question as societies evolved from agricultural elites, to urban trades and finance plebes; from the roiling masses to the tyrant.

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MCP broadens services

The Monument Community Partnership (MCP), located in Keller House off Concord Ave., is the focal point for a number of service organizations including its own that serve what is called the Monument Corridor.

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In its 10th year, the Monument Community Partnership (MCP), located in Keller House off of Concord Ave., is the focal point for a number of service organizations including its own that serve what is called the Monument Corridor.

Its current staff of 12 assisted by 50-75 volunteers spread out and return from the sprawling district that reaches from the Concord Police HQ on Galindo to HWY 680 and out Oak Grove Road to the BART tracks at Minert/David.

With the exit of City staff from Keller House due to downgrading of capacity at the municipal level, the MCP solicited interest from other non-profit groups providing services in the community for the opening of office space. Based on replies, MCP anticipates sharing space and increasing its collaboration with Catholic Charities and Brighter Beginings. Additional service providers expressing interest include Stand Against Domestic Violence and Community Violence Solutions.

According to Bryan Balch, the new Executive Director, the contraction of government services it has caused an increase in the demands on MCP as residents’ needs are increased due to the economy. Concurrently, and most fortunately for the area, there has been a greater penetration of the neighborhood by the growing cadre of leadership and community outreach people typified by their ‘Community Listeners’ program and their Neighborhood Action Teams (called NATs).

There is a wide service network that meets once or twice a month in a conclave at Keller House hosted by MCP for the benefit of the neighborhood. Amongst the things that they have been doing are

– The First Five program for youngsters and their parents.
– Helping Senior Residents with yard clean up.
– Creating an urban gardening/farming group to get vegetables in small plots throughout the area.
– Mentoring youth on leadership development.
– Bringing service providers and residents together by acting as a channeling vortex
– Setting up a transportation advisory group that gave ideas to the City staff on improvements,
– Acting as a conduit for such government programs as Lead Removal Program from residential homes, funded by H.U.D., via the City of Concord.
– Helping people deal with the web of services out there when there are personal crisis that would otherwise overwhelm families.
– Providing direction and volunteers for a Nursing research study.

Balch stated additional service expansion in the near future will include helping seniors with yard clean up, collaborating with agencies such as SeniorHelpLine. Volunteers can call on isolated seniors on a regular basis, and longer term goals of providing local transportation to seniors and individuals with disabilities. ANother goal is the creation of a community center close to the center of the Monument Community.

Balch concluded that an immediate focus is being placed on getting the residents to support the local businesses and, in turn, the businesses help support the organization. It takes everyone to make the community whole. With MCP fostering partnerships between residents, businesses, and the service providers, the end result will be a greater cohesive community.

There are no restrictions on the people that they help. Even when people leave the Monument area, they come back as they make transitions to their new locales because of the excellent staff and support provided here.

The experienced staff is familiar with the great diversity of the area including its high concentration of residents of different status combined with the whole range of issues that come with any economic area that is hurting.

Kathy Renfrow, the Business Manager who has had to confront many of the issues, commented that many people think that these things are very simple.

“However the complexities of legal residence let alone lapses can be very stressful and frustrating to those who are trying to help, let alone to the individuals who get caught up in a bureaucratic paper tornado while trying to feed their family at the same time as caring for a sick kid or an elderly relative.”

In addition to the 300 plus families assisted through First Five, the MCP directly has worked with 500 or so cases of families in need. The raising of awareness of the community to local issues is hard to judge but the recent Concord City Council meeting on the Monument Street Redesign Plan saw a surprisingly large cross section of the neighborhood organizations and ad hoc groups turn out. Much of this could be attributed to the communication network by the Listener group to get the word out to businesses as well as groups like the Soccer League and the Cambridge School group concerning potential opportunities to improve the Community.

What is astounding is that this network is maintained with a budget of $480,000 most of which is from corporate and major donors such as Kaiser Permanente and John Muir Hospital, in addition many smaller donors that help keep the lights on.

With a little luck and the continued hard work of all concerned the Monument Community will weather the current storm of darkness in the economy and emerge even more united with the greater city of Concord as a vibrant force for community directed action.

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CD-10 candidate forum, Aug 7

The Contra Costa Council & the Bay Area Council will host a 10th Congressional District Candidates Forum, August 7, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located at 45 John Glenn Drive, in Concord-Calif.

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The Contra Costa Council & the Bay Area Council will host a 10th Congressional District Candidates Forum, August 7, from 7:30 a.m.. to 9:30 a.m., at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located at 45 John Glenn Drive, in Concord-CA.

Costs is $35 for members and $45 for non-members. Register by August 3 at: www.ContraCostaCouncil.com

The event is hosted by Chevron and sponsors: AAA of Northern CA, NV & UT, Mechanic’s Bank, Safeway, and will be moderated by Lisa Vorderbrueggen, Political Editor, Contra Costa Times.

Photo Courtesy Mark DeSaulnier for Congress Facebook Photo Page.

CD-10 Candidate Forum

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Who is Claudia Bermudez?

We suspect that the smart money is on Republican Jerry Salcido to pull out the big win in a close election that has the possibility of not only sending a defeated Bermudez into retirement, but maybe even causing a few R.I.N.O.s to go along with her.

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The nominations have already been made. The two candidates to be the next Chairman of the Alameda County Republican Central Committee are Claudia Bermudez of Alameda, and Jerry Salcido of Fremont.

The former Chair, Karen Wind of Pleasanton, resigned back in March after only serving three months as the elected Chair. The committee has already held one election between Bermudez and Salcido, back on May 19th, which ended in a 16-16 tie vote.

Next Tuesday, at the monthly meeting the final vote will be held and a new Chairman will be elected to lead the Central Committee for the remainder of the 2009-2010 term. At this point it’s any body’s call. While Jerry Salcido, 31, is a relative new-comer to local politics, Bermudez is not. Her name may be recognizable to some Bay Area Republicans since she has already ran, and lost badly in two separate local races, one for Congress in 2004 and the other for State Senate in 2008.

In both campaigns Bermudez was expected to lose and lose she did; compiling only 12% of the vote in the election against Democratic Congresswomen Barbara Lee, and only 15% against Democratic State Senator, Loni Hancock. Republican voter registration numbers were nearly identical to the percentage of the vote that Bermudez received in both of her elections, showing that Bermudez’s campaigns have failed to appeal to the all important Decline to State demographic, which is crucial for Republican success in any election.

Will Bermudez, 56, finally reach the winner’s circle in her bid to become the next Chair of the Alameda County GOP? Assistant Treasurer, David LaTour, an Elected Member from Alameda County’s largest Assembly District (AD-18) expressed some doubt about Bermudez’s leadership abilities. “To lead, you need to be present! Claudia Bermudez made no effort to attend committee meetings up until she was convinced to run for Chair. Before that she was a no-show. Her candidacy was a surprise to many of the members on the committee. The truth is, we need a leader that’s there with us, who’s heart is in it because we have a lot of work to do.”

salcidoLaTour has endorsed Salcido who he says, “has shown the commitment as well as the energy that we need in the GOP now more than ever.” Salcido has also received endorsements from the majority of the leadership on the Executive Committee, which includes the Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Assistant Secretary, along with LaTour. It would appear that Salcido won’t have a problem fitting in if he were to be elected as the new Chairman.

But what about Bermudez? Can she unite a divided committee where legal actions are more common than political action? According to Parliamentarian, Dick Spees she can. In his endorsement email to fellow committee members, Spees wrote, “We are fortunate to have someone of her stature, experience and proven ability…” Some of the other members, however, were unaware of Bermudez and her hidden talents due to her lack of involvement with the committee ever since she assumed office as an Ex-Officio Member back in July of 2008. “I met Claudia [Bermudez] through the pdf file that she emailed to the committee announcing her candidacy for Chair. Before that, I knew nothing of her.” said 15th Assembly District Elected Member, Casey Fargo, who also supports Salcido for Chairman.

Dick Spees was vague, at best, in describing Bermudez in his endorsement email to fellow committee members. One can only question the legitimacy of a claim that touts Bermudez as someone with “experience” and “proven ability” when taking a look at the facts of the matter. Spees, however, is not the type to let the facts get into the way when making political decisions, or endorsements for that matter. Reflecting on Bermudez’s track record, it would appear that she is experienced in loosing local elections in landslides, and has demonstrated a proven ability to be consistent in doing so.

Is this more of what Alameda County Republicans need, repeats of 2006 and 2008 where Republicans put their names on the ballot only to run empty campaigns? Depends on who you ask. Local Democrats may be supportive of the lack of competition? They have already shown that they have Bermudez’s number dialed in, which is an undeniable fact that can’t be ignored, even by left-of-center Republican In Name Only, Dick Spees, who in the past has officially endorsedDemocratic Congresswomen Barbara Lee, who was responsible for crushing Bermudez back in 2004.

For real conservatives, this should be tough to swallow. What kind of Republican endorses Barbara Lee? Well, the same type of Republican that endorses Bermudez of course! It should be considered to be a major problem in the Party when there are Republican leaders that are willing to sacrifice principle to play pal-around with the elected majority in an effort to be popular? Is it any wonder that the GOP is in such bad shape? The Party is in desperate need of principled leaders, not followers looking to be Democrat-lite!

Ask Bermudez a simple question, and she’ll recite her favorite talking-point about her late father Enrique Bermudez, who was a military official under the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua that would later be installed by the CIA as the Contras’ top military (puppet) commander of the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN). Bermudez will tell you that her father was a key figure during the fight in the United States-led foreign interventionist nation-building excercise against Nicaragua’s Sandinista Marxist government but, she might fail to mention his involvement with drug smuggling into the United States in order to finance the anti-Sandinista operations back at home in Nicaragua.

In fact, Enrique Bermudez, according to sworn testimony, recruited Los Angeles drug kingpin Danilo Blandon, a Contra middleman, that sold cocaine to South-Central’s crack dealers in late 1981 to raise money in California for the Contras.

rinoDon’t ask Bermudez too many direct questions though, you might not get a straight answer, if any answer at all. According to Project Vote Smart: “Ms. Claudia Bermudez repeatedly refused to provide any responses to citizens on issues through the 2004 National Political Awareness Test” during her first campaign against Lee. 

Apparently, “Bermudez refused to provide this information when asked to do so by: Major News Organizations and key national leaders of both Parties including, Republican Senator John McCain.” If Senator McCain received the cold shoulder from Bermudez, what are we to expect? Well, not much different. After numerous attempts for the past four days, we were unable to get Bermudez to return our telephone calls for comment.

Who is Claudia Bermudez? Bermudez is Disappointment!

I guess some things should never be expected to change. When asked about her fund raising plan by a voting member at the May 19th meeting, Bermudez chose not to reveal her top-secret plan at that time, but did suggest that she had one ready. Eyes rolled as a “that figures” type of feeling circulated throughout the room.

Alameda County Republicans might want to get comfortable with the silent treatment from a non-responsive, do-nothing leader if Bermudez were to win Tuesday’s election. She seems to represent business as usual in the Party, and shows that the GOP doesn’t really have any new blood with any new ideas, just some more of the same ‘ol same. And we all know… that just isn’t going to cut it!

Who is Claudia Bermudez? A better question might be, Who Cares Who Claudia Bermudez Is?  We suspect that the smart money is on Republican Jerry Salcido to pull out the big win in a close election that has the possibility of not only sending a defeated Bermudez into retirement once and for all, but maybe even causing a few R.I.N.O.s to go along with her. The Alameda County Republican Central Committee would be a better place, and undoubtedly more conservative.

Let the re-building begin!

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