I am the Recording Secretary for CRA and was present at the convention. I also know Sylvia Sullivan (not as well as you do) and have tremendous respect for her. When we voted on her being allowed to take pictures, I voted yes and was disappointed she was not allowed to do so.
But let’s set the record straight about some things.
Like most political conventions there was a Credentials Committee appointed by the President and confirmed by the Board. The job of a Credentials Committee is to make sure the people presented to be delegates are properly accredited as Delegates for CRA’s convention and no one is going to “stuff the ballot box” by getting more people into the convention who are not proper Delegates.
This means that the potential Delegates must be members of CRA and have been members of the Unit sending them for at least 30 days prior to the convention. That if they transferred from one CRA Unit to another one before the convention that they properly advised the Membership Secretary of CRA, the Unit they are leaving and the Unit they are going to when they transferred again 30 or more days before the convention. The vast majority of Units in CRA, unless their bylaws are written differently, require the Units to hold a meeting prior to the convention and elect their Delegates to the convention. O yes – they must also be registered Republicans! Also, keep in mind that under CRA’s bylaws for a statewide convention – the more members you have the more delegates you are allowed to send to the convention (i.e. the more votes you have there).
The Chairman of the Credentials Committee George Park (who was also a CRA Vice President) received many, many faxed in Delegate sheets on the last day allowed for Units to send them in (those sheets must be signed by the Unit President and Secretary to be valid – again pursuant to the bylaws of CRA). Some of them were suspicious. For example, in one instance their were four sheets for four Units faxed in the same evening from the same fax machine (pages 1 of 4, 2 of 4, etc.) all for Southern California Units from a 916 fax machine that belongs to a Sacramento political fund raising firm. And all in the same handwriting!
Mr. Park then turned to CRA’s then Membership Secretary Peggy Mew and asked her to send to the Credentials Committee a copy of these Unit’s rosters and their bylaws. This was to check and make sure the member lists were proper and more importantly that the Delegates (and Alternates if needed) were proper members of the Unit they were to represent. Also that if the Unit required an election of Delegates and that one was held (obviously to be determined by telephone conversations with the Unit Presidents).
Both prior to the convention and at the convention itself, Ms. Peggy Mew refused to give ANY of this information to the Credentials Committee. She offered no information whatsoever to the Credentials Committee to do its job prior to her leaving for an out of the country vacation just prior to the convention. Not being able to obtain this information from Ms. Mew, Mr. Park and his Committee went to the Unit Presidents and/or Secretaries and asked for this information. This was proper under CRA’s bylaws which state:
Section 10.07. Records. All records of each Republican Assembly shall be maintained by the Secretary and Treasurer of that Republican Assembly, available for examination by members thereof and by the officers of the CRA.
52 Units complied with this request. In those cases where the Units did not comply with this request, the Committee would not accredit them as Delegates.
At the convention each Unit and potential Delegate that was not credentialed was given the opportunity of making their case as to why they should be given a Delegate badge to the entire convention (not just the Credentials Committee). Once again Membership Secretary Peggy Mew (having just returned from her vacation) refused to give out any information to Mr. Park or his Committee. As each potential Delegate of each challenged Unit came and addressed the rest of the Delegates, none of them offered any reason why they did not supply the requested information to the Credentials Committee.
Many, many of these very nice folks could not name their unit president, did not know if the unit conducted an election to elect them to be a Delegate or if they bylaws of their unit required that or not. In some cases they needed to be reminded of the name of their CRA Unit. In one case the nice young woman arguing her case discussed at length the great things the San Diego Republican Party was doing until one of the Delegates reminded her this was the CRA not the official Republican party.
No potential Delegate could explain the four pages of four separate units sent in from one fax machine in Sacramento in the same handwriting. No one could explain why some potential Delegates were coming up on the voter roles as registered Democrats or Decline to State voters. No one gave an explanation about why come Delegates were listed on two separate Units’ delegate sheets.
Under these circumstances the Delegates present (with some exceptions) upheld the Credentials Committee’s findings and voted to not seat these folks as Delegates.
I know that people were angry that they were not seated as Delegates. Their anger should be directed at their own Unit Presidents who refused to cooperate with the Credentials Committee or comply with the CRA bylaws. The elected officials who were also denied a Delegate badge should ask their Unit President that question too.
No one in leadership at CRA nor any CRA member wishes to deny any properly credentialed Delegate the ability to participate and vote at a CRA convention. But if their Unit Presidents will not give even basic information to the Credentials Committee what is the Committee and ultimately the other members of the Convention to do? As much as everyone would like to see everyone seated as Delegates, no one wants voter fraud either.
By the way, Membership Secretary Peggy Mew was up for re-election. She was not re-elected – George Park was elected in her place.
I hope this helps give some clarity to the situation at CRA’s convention last weekend.
There is much, much more that could be and likely will be about this convention last weekend. That will have to wait for now.