Aug 242017

Disclaimer: The accounts of this post are based on a variety of sources that include Capitol Staff, District Staff, Actual Assembly Members, Lobbyists, Political Consultants, Donors and “Third House” employees. While some were on the record, most were not and therefore all are off the record.

In my 20 years of Republican Politics, this is the first time I was ever engaged in a leadership battle in either house of the legislature.

I got a call on 7/18 asking me if I would participate in an effort to take out Chad Mayes after he led the legislature in to the Cap and Trade debacle. I was going on vacation on 7/20, but a sense of duty and another call from California Republican Party National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon convinced me to get my political battleaxe for the 1000th time in my 20 years. I allowed my vacation to be frequently interrupted with calls about the mayhem going on in the wake of the Cap and Trade vote in California.

For the first time, traditionally “establishment” figures were enraged. While I have gone in to detail about what I believe to be the nexus behind the cap and trade vote, the string of events leading up to the cap and trade vote, and a very pointed and personal expose’ on what I believed to be behind the despotic behavior of Chad Mayes, this was the most unique movement in my 20 years.

The pattern of Chad Mayes’ behavior in the last week solidified my belief that he is indeed a real narcissist beyond any of the nearly meaningless uses of the word in modern politics. And in just the last week I learned:

  1. Some have feared that Chad Mayes is going to burn everything to the ground on his way out. I do not believe his colleagues will allow that. I will go in to detail why, but I do believe that they agreed with my diagnosis (but not my solution) and took steps to stop Mayes from going on a Narcissistic Rampage.
  2. I was told that Mr. Mayes did not come to the realization that he was not going to survive as leader until 2 days before the first caucus. Let that sink in. The State Party and his home county set fire to him and it still took a couple days later for reality to finally arrive. What did his fellow Assemblymembers do to cause Chad to think he could still win? What other enablers did Chad Mayes have?
  3. I have been told that Mayes had threatened to resign completely (thus taking his fundraising with him) if not re-elected and had narcissistic rage episodes frequently as his bullying started to lose its’ effectiveness.
  4. Mr. Mayes believes that he picked his successor, thus assuaging his gigantic ego. What I am learning in the hours since suggests that there were deals cut.
  5. Mr. Mayes endorsed Mr. Dahle, not because of anything Mr. Dahle did or said – but because Brian Dahle was not Vince Fong, Melissa Melendez or Jay Obernolte, all of whom challenged him publicly. It was a revenge motive.
  6. Mr. Mayes is still leader until the September 15th end of session, even though the appearance has been created that he is out. This will further cement in Mayes’ mind for the rest of his life that he was a victim and was wronged.
  7. Mr. Mayes is still holding fundraisers with the donors he has sold his soul to. See this flyer for his 8/28/2017 event. Those Donors were a major factor in the foibles of the last 72 hours.
  8. Mr. Mayes will go to his grave believing he did the right thing and the rest of us were wrong.

What I learned is a frightening view of how lowly regarded the grassroots are by those in positions of power and by their staff. It does not matter that Joe Turner, Arthur Schaper or others flew off the handle, that is an easy smokescreen to cover up the contempt.

What I learned is how far the Republican Volunteer Groups have fallen, and the swamp knows it.

What I learned is that social media has killed activism, and the swamp knows it.

What I learned is that our current Assembly Republican Caucus as a whole has been moved quite far left by both staff and the donors that spend big to elect them (part of the swamp).

What I learned was a laboratory for the widespread anger that Donald Trump tapped in to in order to take over the Republican Party Nationally and get nominated for President. There are few or any leaders in partisan elected office and those that are there are usually too nice to swing the sword. This is why Melissa Melendez was retaliated against by Chad Mayes, when one person stands out, it is easy to shoot them. People are desperate for leadership, I saw a ton of #EPICFAILS of leadership in this saga.

I saw leaders worried far more about appearances than dealing with the gaping wounds and chaos created by Mr. Mayes.

It is the incredible weakness of the grassroots as a whole, when coupled with a lack of courage from elected leaders that empower legislation like Cap and Trade to pass. Then the circle is completed when the grassroots rebel furthering the contempt and suspicion that has always existed.

I ascertained a better reason for why several people in government hate me with a purple passion, it is not as much that I torch people, it is that there are few people like me with the guts or the platform to be effective at it. So, when Joseph Turner re-emerged after more than a decade away from politics hurling B-52 loads at Chad Mayes, people naturally assumed we were connected and working together professionally. I do pay a price personally for the stuff I do, but I made peace with that years ago. I don’t delude myself in to thinking I am perfect as I likely made a few new enemies and lost a few more friends and had I chosen my words or actions differently, might not have quite as many new fans or ex-friends.

I am not justifying all of Joseph Turner’s actions either, but his anger and passion are not unique and people in office need to stop drinking the third-house kool-aid and reconnect with their districts. I hope there are dozens of Joseph Turners that emerge from the ash heap of the California Republican Party, because until our partisan electeds listen to the pulse of the people in their districts, these sorts of painful, public disasters will occur.

Watching the gyrations and the maneuvering for 72 very long hours including Congressman Kevin McCarthy intervening and helping thwart a vacate the chair vote on Monday, members switching allegiances, watching Jay Obernolte’s supporters dessert him, seeing a different breed of swamp creatures rise up behind Vince Fong hoping to take over the bowels of government and the deals that led to Brian Dahle getting elected Assembly leader confirmed many of the worst conspiracy theories I’ve ever heard at a Tea Party.

I am going to follow up with an open letter to Brian Dahle as I hope he succeeds. (I actually was on his side against the establishment in 2012 when he first won election and I will tell that story in that follow up post) I am extremely concerned after I have begun connecting the dots.

Suffice to say I have damn near lost hope for the California Republican Party due to what I have seen. I am not ready to declare that the grassroots have achieved a pyrric victory with the take down of Chad Mayes, as that will be determined by Mr. Dahle, but the rest of the package has been like re-living my first 180 days of sobriety borne out through what I have seen and observed.

Aug 232017

What is known is that Chad Mayes has been taken down. He has endorsed Brian Dahle to succeed him.

What will Jay Obernolte Do? He is the swing vote here, literally. I will not be choosing between Dahle and Fong until I hear from Jay. I do not abandon friends on the field of battle. I am not sure what happened to the 10 votes Jay had assembled, but that appears to have reduced by half or more. Update: Jay Obernolte is reputed to have signed an endorsement of Brian Dahle, waiting for a confirmation.

Melissa Melendez is not being mentioned in any conversations at all – even after she got run over with a truck by Chad Mayes. Update: Melendez endorsed Vince Fong as reported to me by her staff

I am being told that Vince Fong could have as many as 13 votes.

And, I am being told that Brian Dahle could have as many as 13 votes.

Get where I am going? This thing is far from over.

I was contacted by “Third House” people and a legislative chief of staff telling me that Brian Dahle had wrapped this whole thing up. Apparently not.

I am also unsure if what I have been told about my arch nemesis David Stafford Reade is true. (as in he is lining up for the high paying caucus advisory jobs)

I’ve also been told that Mitch Zak and Jeff Randle are behind Fong and are attempting to re-assemble the old Pete Wilson money machine behind Vince Fong.

I’ve been told that Fong is receiving support from Congressman Kevin McCarthy who is calling for him.

Does Dahle fire the staff brought in by Kristen Olsen and retained by Chad Mayes if he wins? Does he go more conservative? What does Fong do?

The current mess the Assembly GOP finds itself in was the creation of Staff recommendations and unprincipled leaders. It does no good to replace bad staff with other bad staff?

I am confused as I proudly supported Brian Dahle over the “Munger Machine”. Dahle pulled of a stunning victory and won his primary. Now, Dahle is the so-called moderate and the choice of the donor / lobbyist community.

The world looks backward. I will keep investigating further as the vote will not be happening until 8/29/2017.

Aug 232017

I had written a few things previously about this, apparently the following are true:

I had diagnosed that David Stafford Reade wanted a larger paycheck in order to spike his government pension and to get more power and control. I had incorrectly stated that Reade wanted Joe Justin’s Job, it is actually the Caucus Chairman Richardson’s Job.

Congressman Kevin McCarthy has been making calls on behalf of Vince Fong, who is David Reade’s meal ticket to his spiked pension.

Vince Fong’s people, including David Stafford Reade are eviscerating Brian Dahle in an attempt to try and stop him from winning as I have been told by people in the know.

I am not sure where this leaves my friend Jay Obernolte or Melissa Melendez who bore the full wrath of Chad Mayes.

This thing is developing and is completely fluid.

If Vince Fong loses the leadership battle, it is likely that David Stafford Reade’s stellar reputation in the capitol was a factor.

Aug 222017

Disclaimer: I have about a dozen sources, all of whom are in and around the capitol. I will not go any further than this description in order to protect their identities, most all talked to me off the record. Therefore, all will be off the record. The conversations have given me the rest of the perspective I needed and if the accounts of this post contradict a past post, it is because I believe what I have learned in the last 12 hours to be the most accurate information I can come by.

I had originally believed that I was going to tear in to the Membership for their arrogance against the grassroots or their cowardice for avoiding conflict as I have seen both many times. Instead, it is more related to anarchy in a small group of people, some of whom meet the previous descriptions.

I have been searching for answers over the seemingly bizarre decision of the Assembly Republican Caucus to punt rather than taking a stand on Chad Mayes.

This is what I have been able to discern:

There were 18-20 votes to push the leadership vote to next Tuesday.

They chose not to vacate the chair because they needed to leave someone in place until they could resolve the replacement of Chad Issue. (this is a motive I deduced, not was told specifically) There was motion to vacate the chair that did indeed fail. A contributing factor may have been congressman McCarthy intervening.

There will be a secret ballot as voted on in today’s Caucus Meeting

In today’s meeting, a motion by someone stating if the caucus does not get to 13 for a replacement for Mayes has the effect of re-electing him also failed.

A San Diego Assemblymember, Rocky Chavez tore in to the Republican Grassroots and the San Diego Republican Party specifically about how they did not matter and “how dare they try to pick our leader” (paraphrased by me). He was either preceded or backed up by Jordan Cunningham who ripped in to the grassroots as well. (Apparently, he forgot about the dozens of people that drove to his out of the way district to help him). Cunningham’s incendiary comments included a rant about “who cares what they think, they did not help me at all”…

This anecdote buttressed my gut feeling about the absolute lack or regard or fear of the GOP Groups, Committees or State Party, originally, I believed it was wider-spread (as in caucus wide)… but is more specific to some of the members.

It is, however clear that the partisan electeds know that 90% or more of the GOP / Tea Party Groups out there are ineffective. I went in to detail in my “Burn it Down” series about how to fix that and the concepts in that series were referenced by more than half the sources I spoke to. (It is hard to get people to listen when you don’t have the right voice – I will write about that subject later)

Yesterday, Marc Steinorth demanded the cell phones of all of the members and put them on a table in order to prevent people from recording, texting or tweeting about the meeting. He also blew his stack over leaks in the caucus enabling the unwashed masses to know who to target in their efforts to unseat Chad Mayes.

This has led me to deduce that Chad’s remaining support is Baker, Chavez, Cunningham, Steinorth and himself.

The following people are running for Minority Leader: Jay Obernolte, Melissa Melendez, Brian Dahle, Vince Fong and Frank Bigelow.

IN addition, the Assembly Caucus will be using a “collapsing ballot” for their leadership elections where the bottom vote-getter on each ballot drops off, meaning that the result could be unpredictable.

If your goal is to get Chad, the only monkey wrench is the caucus failing to come to a consensus on the replacement allowing Chad Mayes to slip through multiple votes.

Today, as well, Dante Acosta went one step further than Marc Streinorth, labeling other members as “traitors” for identifying to people (like this blogger) who other activists should target with their contact.

Personal side notes – I called Mike Zimmerman a Cockroach in a heated exchange with the wife of a legislative staffer on facebook. I’ve been a friend of this staffer for many years and know his wife less well – I do not apologize for being upset, but I do apologize for calling Mike Zimmerman a Cockroach. Zimmerman is just wrong for the Republican Caucus and I should have left it there. It has been difficult to not destroy friendships in this argument amongst family.

Also – I’ve asserted that David Stafford Reade wanted Joe Justin’s Job. I was actually referring to the Caucus Chair job held by a man by the name of Richardson. I’ve been told that Mr. Reade is not seeking that job. So I missed on two accounts, and while I have the issues I have with Mr. Reade, I should at least be accurate when I light him up. UPDATE: Reade is indeed seeking the Caucus Chair Job and sees Vince Fong is his meal ticket to that job.

Lastly, should Mr. Reade end up with either Zimmerman or Richardson’s Job, it would be a major upgrade for the Republican Party as Reade is a Conservative who would never run a cap and trade drill.

The following is the complete contact list of the members of the Assembly, as this is now a wide open deal:

Assemblyman Dante Acosta
(916) 319-2038

Assemblyman Travis Allen
(916) 319-2072

Assemblywoman Catharine Baker
(916) 319-2016

Assemblyman Frank Bigelow
(916) 319-2005

Assemblyman Bill Brough
(916) 319-2073

Assemblyman Phillip Chen
(916) 319-2055

Assemblyman Steven Choi
(916) 319-2068

Assemblyman Rocky Chavez
(916) 319-2076

Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham
(916) 319-2035

Assemblyman Brian Dahle
(916) 319-2001

Assemblyman Heath Flora
(916) 319-2012

Assemblyman Vince Fong
(916) 319-2034

Assemblyman James Gallagher
(916) 319-2003

Assemblyman Matthew Harper
(916) 319-2074

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley
(916) 319-2006

Assemblyman Tom Lackey
(916) 319-2036

Assemblyman Brian Maienschein
(916) 319-2077

Assemblyman Devon Mathis
(916) 319-2026

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez
(916) 319-2067

Assemblyman Jay Obernolte
(916) 319-2033

Assemblyman Jim Patterson
(916) 319-2023

Assemblyman Marc Steinorth
(916) 319-2040

Assemblyman Randy Voepel
(916) 319-2071

Assemblywoman Marie Waldron
(916) 319-2075

And here are their twitter handles:


And their official government-staff-maintained Facebook page handles:


Marie Waldron

Aug 222017

Anyone who has been in politics for any length of time knows politics is an ego game. When you add buckets of big donor money, you get a frustratingly bizarre metric that people outside struggle to understand.

I’ve also watched a simultaneous social media driven degradation of volunteer politics to the point where it has been rendered useless and ineffective.

This is why you need to look below the surface of what happened yesterday and the news reports to understand the underlying meaning of what happened.

The Media only reported there were 10 (out of 25) votes to “Vacate the Chair”. What they did not report is that there were as many as 8 Abstentions (some say 2). Other outlets reported 11-14. AS we get more information, the media did not even report the motion correctly, it was a motion to CONSIDER Vacating or hold the election later. Hold the election later carried. This is clear evidence that liberal media supports Chad Mayes.

The motion to vacate requires an “absolute majority” of 13 in order to carry. This means that an abstention is like voting no.

So, why abstain? It is to send a message that you do not support Chad Mayes for Assembly Minority Leader, yet oppose a “coup”. (Remember, this is their thinking, not mine)

Now do the math. No matter what there are more than 13 when you total up the Yes votes and abstentions.

There was no obligation to schedule a leadership vote for next Tue. If Chad Mayes was secure in his position, then they would have just driven on.

The question becomes, is it Jay Obernolte? Is it Melissa Melendez? Or will it be Vince Fong (who reportedly joined other Mayes opponents in abstaining)? Or will Chad think that the result of yesterday means he still has the votes to stay put?

The donors and “Third House” community reputedly love Chad Mayes and this metric was one of his strongest anchors to power. I’ve been told that repeatedly by several people and some of his hardest defenders tell me that the only function of a Permanent Minority Leader is raising money and Mayes does that well.

Knowing the breed as I do, they were trying to split the baby and figure out some way to let Mr. Mayes down easy, because it is clear he won’t resign (see also my psychoanalysis of him). The Republican leadership avoid conflict at all costs syndrome is at play here once again. They don’t want to shoot him politically.

In the backdrop of this – Kings and Calaveras County Joined in the call for resignation. Also in the backdrop of all of this, the wishes of the party and grassroots seemed to be subordinated to the desire to maintain the sick dynamic of Sacramento. We’ve learned that the members of the legislature do not fear the county parties, the state party or the grassroots.

While it is clear to me that Mr. Mayes is done as Permanent Minority Leader next week, it is also clear to me that the Party itself is no longer effective.

I wrote a 5-post series entitled “Burning Down the California Republican Party”, it was a primer on effective leadership and grassroots organizing.

Feedback I received from deep inside the building indicated that the members received few, if any phone calls. The overwhelming majority of the communication was email, with still more via facebook. We may as well have been standing on street corners waiving campaign signs and attending a meaningless rally at the capitol.

While I am irritated at people like Phillip Chen and Kevin Kiley for reputedly abstaining rather than voting to vacate the chair (or whatever actual motion was made), after a night to sleep on it, I am not angry. I get it. I get their reasoning, and I understand the team failure that necessitated their decision in their mind. I personally would swing the sword (imagine that). I do believe that those two along with a few others will vote for leadership change next week.

Were the Grassroots more effective, we’d have toppled Chad Mayes outright last night and would not be in a position were we have to sustain an attack for another 7 days in order to ensure that Chad Mayes is not pulling another dirty trick. (deceptive tweets, lying to party officials, lying to constituents, shutting down official email accounts, bullying volunteers, throwing Melendez in the Dog House, running a drill to avoid leadership votes in caucus and the like…)

Think it through folks. If we don’t learn a lesson for ourselves (aka us little people) out of this mess, we will succeed in de-throning Chad Mayes, but will be in the same morass that we were in before our ineffectiveness and their lack of fear of us contributed to their decision to run Cap and Trade in the first place.