2006 was another bizarre year in CAGOP Politics. It was a bad year for the CAGOP marked by losing every statewide partisan office except for the nimrod Governor Arnold.
At the direction of Steve Schmidt, Arnold’s campaign adviser who had millions in bonuses riding on the percentage victory in that race (this was a widely known and believed axiom in CAGOP politics then), Arnold dissed the rest of the ticket – including attacking Tom McClintock, who was actually within striking distance of winning the Lt. Governorship. In 2002, McClintock lost the Controller Race. In 2003, he was the third wheel in the Recall Election. McClintock had a ton of statewide name ID.
One of many early conversations I had with Kirk Uhler was about when Tom McClintock worked for Lew Uhler – during a brief period when McClintock was between stints in office. Some of my political instincts were formed by that conversation and eventually when I was able to start separating the “Conservative” from the “Character” of the person, it was because Kirk Uhler was one of the few people I knew that was an unassailable conservative who observed serious stuff about the character of people in office. It took several years for this blogger, but eventually the character of a candidate became a larger metric than the conservative bona-fides.
I also remember a few long conversations with Kirk about Arnold. Neither of us liked him very much.
In 2006, I got elected to Placer County Republican Central Committee in District 2 in the June Primary, but I had to resign before taking my seat. Why? On July 4, 2006 I went out on a real date for the first time in nearly 10 years. 14 weeks later I married my wife on October 22nd, 2006. (we just celebrated 13 years!) She lived in Sacramento, and I moved from Lincoln in to her condo.
In 2006, Kirk, myself (as the President of the Placer CRA) and a host of political leaders helped clear the field for Ted Gaines to run to replace Tim Leslie who was finally termed out of the legislature due to Proposition 34.
At the same time, the backdrop of my brother getting messed over by Sam Aanestad was eclipsed by the spectacle of Arnold strip-mining the CAGOP in 2006, leaving a rotted carcass.
Ted Gaines was sworn in to the State Assembly in December of 2006. He hired Steve Davey over the objections of a lot of people, including Kirk Uhler. Davey would get fired by the Assembly Rules Committee for his abhorrent conduct a decade later, as Ted would not fire Davey himself. Just months later, Ted Gaines turned on his political mentor and benefactor, Congressman John Doolittle who was wrongly tied up in the Jack Abramoff Scandal.
The scum that infest the DOJ would “investigate” John Doolittle for 7 years and leak like Robert Mueller did to their willing whores in the press. The Sacramento Bee attacked Doolittle dozens of times, back when the print media had some influence left. Doolittle ultimately was exonerated, but people like Ted Gaines helped run him out of office. In the summer of 2007, Gaines pulled an exploratory committee against John Doolittle, just 10 months after being sworn in to the Assembly. There was also a major personal and health toll suffered by Mrs. Doolittle that she has not recovered from to this day.
The official Ted Gaines Logo
Despite the close relationship the Uhler family had with the Gaines family, that ended when Kirk told Ted he was not going to join him in betraying Congressman Doolittle. Their relationship was never the same afterwards. This told me volumes about who Kirk Uhler is as a person. At the time John Doolittle was very unpopular, and it would have been expedient to abandon him, but Uhler refused to.
Kirk Uhler had been appointed in December of 2006 to replace Ted Gaines as the Placer County Supervisor in District 4, so his position in the community was substantial and there was significant risk to making an enemy out of your local assemblyman. Remember, at the time there were 32 Republicans in the Assembly. (Currently, there are 19)
All throughout this time period, Kirk would share observations about substantial political figures in California. When juxtaposed with Tom Hudson, Steve Frank or others – Kirk’s observations rang true 95% of the time, while Steve Frank and Tom Hudson missed the mark frequently.
I helped Tom McClintock defeat Doug Ose in 2008, spending hundreds of hours blogging on a website called RedCounty.com in what was at the time the 2nd most expensive Congressional Primary in history. McClintock and Ose combined to spend about $11 million. In that race, everyone in local government save Kevin Hanley endorsed Doug Ose. Yet, none of them ever held any contempt for your intrepid blogger for going to war on behalf of Tom McClintock. I was paid very little in that tilt, but that was my first experience with being a paid operative.
I learned years later that Kirk Uhler stuck up for the Placer CRA and those of us in the group that stuck up for McClintock and defended our right to do so. At the time, Tom Hudson was the Chairman of the Placer GOP and we did something unprecedented – we endorsed Tom McClintock in a contested primary over another Republican opponent.
Kirk Uhler refused to betray Congressman Doolittle. He also refused to allow community leaders to hold a grudge against the Conservative activists that supported Tom McClintock. I would later recognize this as maturity in leadership. At the same time, Uhler was fighting to protect Placer County amidst several financial issues and budget battles where the State Government would go 60-90 days without paying its’ bills. Even then, Kirk Uhler was often the only Placer Supervisor that would stand up against tax and fee increases.
One incident that stands out were a series of $1 Fees the board sought to add to Car registrations two of which Uhler was able to forestall and he also led an $11 reduction in the tipping fee at the county dump.
In late 2008, it would still be nearly 2 years before I met Suzanne Jones for the first time.
In late 2008, little did I realize that just a few months later, Kirk Uhler’s prognostications to me would get proven right once again…
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