Monday, April 30, 2012

OOPS Part Two

See the first post HERE.

See the edited post HERE.


The following is a formal retraction of the claims made in a piece entitled, “Simpson, the Party's FinancialSavior?” The aforementioned piece was based on faulty information which proved to be incorrect.

Here are the facts as I now understand them:

Randy Kubosh was not involved with the introduction or passage of the speaker fees resolution.

Kubosh is not “Democrat-leaning,” is a member of the Republican Leadership Council, President of the Pachyderm Club, and tireless party supporter for many years. The Kubosh family has been engaged notably in conservative efforts to stop red-light cameras, thereby protecting the privacy rights of Houston residents, and have financially supported numerous conservative candidates and causes.

As far as it is known, the Kingwood Tea Party did not condition funding of the HCRP Senate convention on the admittance of Congressional contender Ted Cruz to speak The offer was made without restriction other than acknowledgment of donation. Printing this without multiple sources of corroboration was irresponsible.

Paul Simpson is not in fact causally linked to the resolution governing speaker fees, and the hasty connection of Simpson to this resolution on the basis of faulty information provided to me by Richard Dillon and Bill Kneer, is not a conclusion that is valid short of certain additional information. Both of these individuals provided the information underpinning much of my piece. I can only accept responsibility for my part. I do not wish to participate in a he said, he said form of mudslinging.

For those who briefly viewed an earlier draft of, “Simpson, the Party's Financial Savior?”, it must be noted that since I was not in attendance at the HCRP Executive Committee meeting in question, it is imprudent to discuss what did or did not take place between specific individuals. I withdraw those comments. And I do sincerely apologize to anyone I offended.

What was written in the referenced piece is entirely uncharacteristic of my typical modus operandi as a writer and a journalist. It is my sincere hope that all parties concerned will overlook my honest factual error.

John Griffing


Kudos to John Griffing for setting the record straight, and for doing it so gracefully.  And shame on Kneer and Dillon for misleading John.  It makes one wonder if anything they say can be trusted.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Politics in Harris County sure gets interesting, especially around primaries.


(See the original post captured here.)

And the post that went up to replace it:

See the second, replacement post here.

More soon.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

And the HCRP Fail Continues...UPDATED

It's worse than we thought.  This local Republican gang is in a downward spiral.  The latest is that the party is doing everything it can to avoid the grassroots.  This is especially hilarious when the HCRP "rapid response team" is out charging critics with not wanting to work with the party.

This just in from Kingwood Tea's website:

UPDATE # 2 - After THIS POST where I found two versions of the HCRP story, GUS FARIS updates us here:

UPDATE: Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Well, Mr. Griffing has struck out again. His new conspiracy theory is as bad as his last one. He claims that KWTP made the offer to fund the convention with the caveat that Ted Cruz speak at lunch. That is wrong on two points. KWTP did not make the offer; I did. And I never tied any requirement to it except that we be the sole sponsor and be recognized for it. (“We” are some TEA Parties and other conservative groups.) When Jared finally called back 8 days after the offer was made and we had a chance to talk, he mentioned the caveat that Mr. Cruz speak. I told him then that I had never said or implied anything like that and asked where he heard it. He said he got that information from Jeff Yates. I asked if he talked to Elizabeth Dillon and added that she is the person to whom the offer was made. Then I added that I don’t know Jeff Yates. I have never talked to him, and I did not know where he would get any information like that. Jared then said he never talked to Elizabeth. So this requirement is a pure figment of somebody’s imagination, sort of an outright lie. What was illicit and inappropriate was when Jared offered to take our money and use the other donations for other activities. I told him clearly that we wanted nothing to do with that. This was not a petulant position as described – we just did not want to participate in any activities that we thought might be illegal.

We did talk about other activities and possibilities for cooperation. We agreed to talk after the convention to explore those. We do have funds that might be used for some of those purposes, whatever they are, should they foster cooperation between HCRP and conservative groups – just like we attempted to do with our original offer. However, Mr. Griffing’s continuing attacks are taking a toll on our friendly attitude and desire to cooperate with all conservative Republicans defeating liberals in the upcoming elections. 

UPDATE - Apparently all this attention happened, and then Jared called.  Read the update here.

Local Grassroots Conservatives Offer to Fund Entire Senatorial Convention, but HCRP Never Returns Calls

On Monday, April 9, 2012, on behalf of the Kingwood and some other TEA Parties and 912 groups, we contacted Elizabeth in the HCRP office and offered to sponsor the entire cost for the HCRP convention on Saturday, April 21, 2012. We thought this was a reasonable offer since the HCRP would not be charging candidates to speak this year and they would be short funds for the convention. We did not ask for any control of any function of the convention, only that we sponsor the event solely and be recognized for doing so. We made the offer because we believe in the importance of having an open forum between voters and all candidates including those who represent our TEA Party core beliefs.
Elizabeth promised to contact Jared and ask that he call us to arrange how to get the money to the party. Jared never called, and Elizabeth quit taking my calls for the rest of the week. I am very sorry to have to report to you that our efforts seem to have been for naught. Today, we took the money off of the table because we can only assume that HCRP and Mr. Woodfill do not want our money or any association with our TEA Parties. We hope that their own fund-raising activities allow them to sponsor a fair and open forum for all the candidates, and we look forward to participating in that effort.
Submitted by Gus Faris, KWTP Director, 4/16/12 on behalf of Harris County Grassroots Conservatives.

Now ask yourself WHY would the party ignore a solution to the highly publicized financial issues that were highlighted (AGAIN!) at the last executive committee meeting?

Why would the office just stop taking calls regarding an offer to help?

Who could possibly benefit from the party ignoring an offer to pay for the entire convention?

And then I think you need to ask yourself whether this is the "solid conservative leadership" that we hear so much about.  

And ask yourself how in the world this short-sighted, insular thinking is going to get the job done in November.  

Ask how this ill-equipped, poorly-funded cadre on Richmond will launch any kind of effort against their ostensible opposition, when they are too busy fending off offers of help from within their own ideological branch.  

You could also ask "What are they afraid of" but I think the above example tells you all too clearly what they're afraid of.  

They're afraid of YOU.

Friday, April 13, 2012

HCRP Update - Convention Attention

The Harris County Republican Party Senate District Convention (say THAT three times fast) is happening next weekend, April 21st.  If you've been keeping up, you'll notice that the HCRP was forced to change the funding model for the convention at the last Executive Committee meeting, when the body pretty much revolted.  More detail on that appears here.  

(And if you don't know anything about the convention process and want to be a part, or need a refresher course, I'll be teaching Convention 101 this coming Tuesday evening on April 17th, so join us for "Dinner and a Movement." )

But the latest buzz is that candidates will not be allowed to "electioneer" in the hallways, but instead will need to be corralled into a "candidate room."  Maybe the leadership is afraid of frowns from a fire marshal or something, but this really takes the cake.  Apparently the candidates would be too much of a distraction, or get in the way and block the halls.  But by all means, even if we can't trust them to behave in the hallways, let's trust them with public office!

Isn't that #headdesk inducing?

Candidates are letting me know they are not happy with this.  And I know plenty of them who would love to say something publicly, but think it would ultimately be unwise to do so.  Well, the HCRP body spoke for them at the last meeting - I'll help speak for them now.

In lieu of a long story, I'll just gather all the latest links and let you do the reading at your own pace.  But before I do, I want you to think about one thing.

How many times have you complained about the RNC or the Republican Party Leadership?  Are you one of the people who refuses to give the RNC money, and sends it to candidates instead?  Why is that?  Do you feel the national party leadership is competent?  Did Michael Steele disappoint you during his term?  Did you ask yourself how we got these leaders?

Those leaders are chosen in part via the convention process.  At the state convention, the delegates vote on the state leadership and the RNC members from Texas.  Those RNC leaders end up voting for the national party.  It all starts at the district convention.

So if you agree the national party has had its problems, what gives you confidence the local party is any different?  Check out these two sites - Democrat and Republican - and tell me which informs people more, which helps people do political things with ease, which is messaging properly.  Then go check out the links below and tell me if you see a theme running through them.

And if you're as upset by all this as I am, consider whether it's past time for a new leadership model.

Randy Kubosh's Open Letter

Kelly Horsley's Big Jolly Letter to the Editor   

Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

"Pay To Play" Convention Covered on Breitbart

The Harris County Leadership Hole

From Randy Kubosh - On HCRP Leadership

This just came across my desk.  I offer it without any editorializing.  Just read it.


"Good is the enemy of great", a paper about the current state of the Harris County Republican Party

Many attribute this quote to Jim Collins the business writer.  In actuality it is an updated quote by Voltaire, which was “perfect is the enemy of good”.  Whichever version you prefer the point is clear, when we settle for mediocrity we are doomed.

Such is the case with the current state of the Harris County Republican Party.  While we have had some recent success, the truth is we have seen a steady decline. Most specifically in the last 4 years.  In 2008 we saw a near Democratic sweep of countywide race, while losing many good conservative judges in the process. While 2010 was a bounce back year, the results were more of a referendum on President Obama than a Conservative resurgence. Two years ago in the 2010 election the Democratic candidate for Governor won the majority of ballots cast in Harris County.  The very real and damaging result is that the Democrats will control the election judge position in all early voting locations in Harris County in 2012. This could mean loses in a close election. This slow slide into the abyss has not occurred without warning. But the entrenched leadership won’t allow dissent within the party structure, and those that sound a warning are called disloyal and their motives are questioned, meanwhile the questions themselves go unanswered.

The problems at the County Party are many and they are not new. Offices have been closed; calls go unreturned, longtime conservative activists are marginalized because they are not part of Mr. Woodfill’s team. This is not leadership; nor is it a way to grow a party.   You cannot make something better by staying the same. We have problems but we also have solutions.
Here is a partial lists of a few of the glaring problems.

 *The Party’s website is outdated, cluttered and ineffective.
Please don’t take my word for it, just go look for yourself at the Harris County Democrat party website, and then compare it to the Republican website. Communication has changed, Face book, smart phones, Twitter are instantaneous and cheap. The democrats have capitalized on this change. But the technology is not exclusive to them. There are many local Republican candidates who are doing a better job of using social media than the party itself.  We should look to them and use what works and improve where we can. The party has had many opportunities to do this; Mr. Woodfill has not acted upon these opportunities.

 *The full list of Precinct chairs is on the HCDP website and in a downloadable format, it's easy to navigate and for anyone wanting to get the information it is there. Unlike our own party’s website which you must click on one precinct at a time.  And even then, half the time the information seems to be outdated.

*Fundraising is anemic, party leadership recently failed to convince the Executive Committee to support their plan to pay for the convention.  Now they make panicked and desperate pleas for funding.  This is not leadership; it's panhandling.   The need for a county convention was not a surprise.  While it is true the exact date was not known until the Federal court issued its ruling; it was always a statutory requirement that the convention itself be held. Where was the planning, the foresight?

Additionally there are many unanswered question about how the party has spent its money. If there has been no wrongdoing then open the books, do an audit, if you have nothing to hide, then why are you hiding?

*The HCDP also has monthly brown bag lunches where Democratic Party leaders will meet with anyone that desires to attend. We can’t seem to get our own party chairman to show up at any club meetings.  Only now when the chairman has a primary opponent is the party is holding Senate District meetings where Mr. Woodfill does nothing more than reprocess outdated information and techniques on communicating to local voters.

*Where is the facebook, twitter, email suggestions? Why not mention the importance of communicating this info to members of non-political organizations one might be a part of? The party chair should be in constant and open communication with the clubs. It would not be difficult for the chair to meet once a year with Club Presidents. In fact this practice should be routine.

These are only a few of the problems; a complete listing of the problems would be too depressing.  We can do better, we have an option. There are many talented and dedicated conservatives who want to be a part of the solution. The fixes are there, why they may not all be easy, but most are quite simple.

 The change begins with a change in leadership. It’s time that we have a new party Chairman.   Let’s fix this before it’s too late and the democrats control all of Harris County.

Randy Kubosh
Randall D. “Randy” Kubosh
Life Long Republican and Pro-Life
Pct. 2 Chair; 2010, 2011, 2012
Ambassador Level RLC Member; 2010, 2011, 2012
Former Secretary of the HCRP Finance Committee; 2011

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Living With Romney?

I know, I know; a lot of people are bummed that Santorum dropped out of the presidential race.  Newt's still chugging away, but mathematically there's not much hope for Newt.  What the upcoming primary voters in states yet to hold a primary actually do is looking less and less important to the eventual outcome.

However, that doesn't mean that people should drop their favorite candidate in the primary and just vote for Romney.  Protest votes and sending a message are fine strategies, and I applaud and encourage them, and will engage in them when Texas votes.

But eventually, we'll get to the place where Romney has accumulated enough delegates to be the Republican nominee.  That's a prospect that fills few reform Republicans and conservatives with glee.  So then what?

Jimmie Bise Jr. has an answer.  Go to the site for his radio show "The Delivery" and download the podcast from April 4th.  Listen to the whole hour.  Jimmie rants about the Romney candidacy, and does it in a way that I find quite eloquent.  But Jimmie doesn't just rant.  Jimmie proposes a Grand Bargain.

I couldn't say it as well as he does:

"I've reached a compromise in my head with the Republican Party...

"I am going to extend some credit to the Republican party.  I am going to vote for Mitt Romney.  I am going to do my very best, consistent with my ability to keep my own intellectual integrity intact.  I am going to recommend to my friends that they vote for Mitt Romney... I want Mitt Romney to beat Barack Obama.  I will do whatever I have to do to drag this dead horse over the finish line.

"That's what I'm going to give the Republican party... Republicans, that what you get from me.  I don't want to do this, I don't like doing this, but I will do it.  I'll do it because, quite honestly, you have me behind the eight ball.

"But know this, Republican Party; after November, I am no longer behind the eight ball.  And I don't have to do anything else for you at all...

"So here's where the compromise comes in...  I'll drag his bloated ideological corpse where it has to be...
but I want something in return... You have dragooned me into doing something for you....

"I'm telling you, you're not going to have me locked to this oar forever... after November, you start paying me back...

"I will not do this again.

"No more, Republicans, I'm done with this.  WE are done with this.  All those tea party people that right now you think you have under your thumb, they're there till November."

Hear the rest at The Delivery, and tell me what you think.  I think I could live with this, the way Jimmie puts it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Other Places I Write

I write whatever I feel like writing here - sort of Fish unedited.  But sometimes I scribble things down somewhere else.

Other people run the following sites and do a remarkable job, in spite of the fact that they have a handicap - having added me to the list of contributors, past or present.

So please check out these friends and partners:

The Texas Conservative

U S Daily Review

Own The Narrative

Liberty Juice

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

HCRP 4/2 Meeting Recap

Last night's Harris County Republican Party Executive Committee meeting was... interesting.  As I wrote on HTPS this week, there were rumors of several resolutions being offered, and those were the talk of the meeting.  There's no way to know what motivated people, but attendance was the highest I can recall, both among precinct chairs, candidates, and visitors.

One highlight of unity before getting into the conflict: the Local Government Committee's report contained a resolution opposing the Houston Feeding Ordinance, which passed the committee unanimously, and which was adopted by the executive committee with their report.  So HCRP's MEMBERSHIP is on record as opposing the attempt to control efforts to feed the homeless in Houston.  The Local Government committee deserves props for making this issue part of their report, and the membership should be pleased to know that the resolution will be brought before Houston City Council today.  A lot of the time resolutions passed in these meetings don't appear to matter much, but this one does; it carries official weight of the party in opposing a bad ordinance.  That's all to the good.  Kudos, people; well done.

And what of the other resolutions?  


Randy Kubosh offered the resolution to ask for a monthly financial accounting, which was ruled out of order, since it would involve a bylaws change.  Changes to the bylaws require some notice ahead of the meeting, and thus this resolution truly was out of order.  Bylaws changes are proposed through the Rules Committee, which operates with a natural (and understandable) reluctance to propose a lot of changes to the bylaws.  That said, a member who wanted to increase reporting, or make changes to the accountability requirements would have to navigate Rules committee meetings, hope that the committee approved the changes, wait for the Rules committee to notify the membership of a proposed change with proper notice, and then wait for the meeting at which there was enough of a quorum in order to vote on a change to the bylaws.  

It's a little maddening, sure.  A lot depends on the members of the Rules committee, and whether they judge the change to be acceptable.  But making bylaws difficult to amend is purposeful - it ensures deliberation before changing rules or procedures that are already in place

  • so members have proper notice of structural changes to their organization
  • so that everyone knows ahead of time what is being proposed
  • so membership has time to digest the effect of the proposed change

Still, proposing some financial accountability on the floor of the Executive Committee meeting is one way to begin building support, but the members calling for this kind of accountability next need to begin drafting changes to bylaws and circulating them among the membership.  If the Rules committee sees a very large and passionate portion of the membership supporting this move, they will have a difficult time ignoring it.  Petitions from the precinct chairs, anyone?


In response to the news that the party would be charging candidates to speak at the upcoming April 21st convention, Ed Hubbard and other activists in the county challenged "the way we've always done things" and called for the leadership to request donations from those in attendance instead.  Ed went so far as to start a pledge drive to prove that the grassroots would indeed step up to the challenge and pay for the event.  A resolution to that effect was offered last night as well.  Most opponents felt that charging candidates from between $500 and $5,000 to speak was certainly a practice that should be stopped.

The short story is that, though there was no way to mandate that the party charge individuals an admission fee, the final amended resolution threw the issue back to the Advisory Committee (made up of the county's Senate District chairs) and scrapped the candidate fees.  Though Chairman Woodfill complained about it to the Chronicle, Hubbard's thinking here is sound:

  • since the candidate-funding model began, there has been an influx of new precinct chairs
  • those new chairs and activists are still learning how the party operates 
  • many have been brought to the party through tea party and grassroots efforts
  • many have ties to low-budget, grassroots candidates who would be at a disadvantage using the candidate-funding model

All that is important, because the arguments last night from those who wanted to keep the model were along these lines:

  • we've done it for a long time now, what's new?
  • this is a political stunt
  • candidates ASKED for this back in the '90s
  • candidates benefit most, why not have them pay?
  • tea parties charge candidates, why not the party?

You already know what I think of "We've always done it" thinking.  And as for a political stunt?  Is there any time that this resolution could be offered when leadership or its cronies would NOT say that?  Any hint of criticism of the leadership seems to bring out the same sad cast of characters, blustering and arguing that "the critics never do anything to help" and similar arguments.  As one who has seen over the past several years how very MANY of these critics of the party leadership have given their time and effort to work with and for the party, I'm disgusted with those old lines.  

If candidates indeed asked for this model back in the '90s, it would seem even then that forces in the party were hoping to keep low-budget (read: not backed by big money) candidates from reaching that audience.  No need to have an opportunity to critically assess EACH candidate, just the ones who can afford it.  Sure candidates, benefit, but so do the attendees, and shutting some out for not having a fat checkbook effectively favors candidates in an election, and should stop.

And the tea party charge?  Tea parties have charged for tables and booths, just as any other exhibitors would do.  What they have not been known to do is charge candidates to become part of a speaker roster.  If anything, tea party has given candidates more exposure, for less money, than any political party so ill-funded has been able to do.

This resolution was debated furiously; at one time opponents of the resolution attempted to table it into irrelevance, which the body refused to do.  It finally passed, and we will know soon what model will take its place.


Before the resolution to rebuke Gary Polland for his support of Mayor Parker in his Texas Conservative Review could be offered, a hasty motion to adjourn (well after normal meeting adjournment times, to be fair) was made, seconded, and passed.  It's no wonder EC members were weary after the prior measures, and were ready to go home.  It seems that resolution will have to be brought up in a future meeting; however timing was important on this item.  Polland's endorsements will be going out during this primary season, and the EC lost an opportunity to let him, and primary voters who receive his newsletter, know that he has lost credibility in Harris County.  

We'll see what happens at convention, in the primary, and at the next EC meeting.  Change is slow, people, but sometimes it does come.