Monday, April 14, 2008

Phone Booth Republicans

How many Republicans can you fit in a phone booth? OK, I know, we don’t really have phone booths anymore, what with cell phones and all. But give it a thought. Just a handful, right? Well, a handful of Republicans is what some in Augusta County seem to want. A handful in power that is. If you haven’t heard what happened at the Augusta County Mass Meeting last week, read this article:

Kurt Michael (who lead the revolt against Senator Emmett Hanger) was running for re-election as Chairman. He was originally opposed by 5 others, but 4 dropped out leaving Larry Roller as the only opposition. Roller beat Micheal 141-103. That’s right. After the failed coup of Hanger, Michael and his allies lost the Chairmanship. You’d think they would get the message. But if it were only that simple.

It seems that the Temporary Chair of the meeting made several mistakes, one of which was failing to adjourn the meeting. After Roller and his supporters left, Michael declared the first meeting invalid, conducted a second meeting and “won” the Chairmanship on a 57-2 vote.

Anyone who has been involved in politics for a while knows that these mass meetings are never perfect. They are run by volunteers. Not professionals. As a party leader, Kurt Michael (and others) knew that mistakes were being made. Instead of acting the statesmen and offering to help, they waited until they could take advantage of the parliamentary technicality and defy the will of the majority. Some leader, huh?

So you ask, is this the way to build a party? Is this the way to heal old wounds? We all know the answer. But I’ve come to realize something. Michael and crowd don’t care. They never have. And they don’t really care about ideology. What they care about is power. And they will do anything, including the destruction of their own party, to get it and keep it. Sadly, the same power grab is happening in the Sixth District Committee, with Jim Crosby challenging current Chairman Fred Anderson for the top spot.

I attended Roanoke County’s Mass Meeting (my home County) on Saturday and things could not have been more different. Two people were vying for Chairman. Both were cordial and respectful of the other. Was the meeting perfect from a parliamentary standpoint? Of course not. But we worked through it and elected a Chairman.


Spank That Donkey said...

Former Senator Bell:
Your bitterness shows through with each and every post.

First of all four elected officials orchestrated the take over of the ACRC meeting.

Commissioner of Revenue Jean Shrewsbury rose to nominate a new temporary chair, a former chairman of the Augusta County board of Supervisors. The Current chairman of the Augusta County BOS was sitting in the front row, and called for a division of the house calling for a vote on the challenge.

Now let me get this straight, you have three elected politicians, hardly volunteers, backed up by a three term state senator Emmett Hanger, and they completely make a circus out of our meeting to suit their own purpose.

They knew they had to throw out the magesterial district model in our bylaws whereby they had to win 4 of the 7 districts. So then they moved to suspend the rules, and go for a majority vote, where North River, Emmett's district had more voters present than three other districts altogether.

The power grab sir, was by elected officials who should know how to run a meeting. They want a committee composed of public officials, by the public officials and for the public officials.

They will not stand for a committee composed of mere citizens who actually volunteer out of duty to party principles. Principles that you had forsaken, and cost you your Senate Seat.

I think this is the lesson to be learned from that meeting, if you are going to hijack a plane, you better know how to fly it!

Elected officials took over that meeting and turned it into one big black eye for the GOP in our county.

Had the elected's sat back and let the ahem, volunteers run the meeting, they would have saved all of us a bunch of embarrassment, and still had a good shot at winning.

Keep on taking cheap shots at the grass roots leaders like Dr. Michael and Jim Crosby, and see just how much you endear yourself to the rank and file.

I have volunteered a lot of my time for the party, and I will continue to do so. If for no other reason to make sure that the party represents the people.

It seems that once the electeds get in they feel they have carte blanche, and the party's function is only to serve them.

Wake up Sir, You serve the people and Party, not the other way around!

Carl Kilo said...

The minutes of the meeting are public. It is clear the people pointed out the mistakes being made and the Emmett crowd ignored them.
They have no one to blame for this but themselves.
If you think what Emmett did is gaining him support and respect among Republicans you a out of touch. That probably explains why you are former Sen Bell and not Sen Bell.

JohnMaxfield said...

"Instead of acting the statesmen and offering to help, they waited until they could take advantage of the parliamentary technicality and defy the will of the majority. Some leader, huh?"

I concur with Spanky and Kilo. Not only was the meeting ran and orchestrated by the likes of Beyeler, Shrewsberry, and perhaps Hanger himself, they provided the rope to hang themselves with--not Michael and his supporters. Your post makes it seem like there was a large time gap in which all Hanger's supporters had left the room, leaving only Michael's supporters to vote Michael in. The truth of the matter was that between the adjournment and Michael's election as Temporary Chair, less than 2 minutes elapsed and many of Roller's supporters had not even left their seats.

In regards to your above comment, the technicalities and improprieties were made know to Bailey and the rest of the Mass Meeting every time one came up. Without exaggeration, there were probably 20 or more "points of order" that were voiced--a majority of them ignored by the Temporary Chair. A number of them were voiced by Michael himself. There also was no defiance of the majority. The proper portion of the meeting began less than two minutes after Bailey improperly called the meeting to adjourn. The Roller/Hanger supporters left of their own volition. To say that Michael defied the majority is untrue. Hanger's majority left of their own free will and accord. They could have stayed. They chose not to.

I was sitting and observing this whole process on the sidelines, so I do have a right to comment. You sir, with all due respect, were not present, nor a voting member of the Mass Meeting, nor even remotely involved in this process.

Brandon Bell said...


You are correct I wasn't there. I read all the reports of the meeting including those who were there like Chris Green.

I'm sorry what you say concerning all the helpful points of order doesn't pass the smell test. It is impossible to believe that a friendly suggestion to require a vote to adjorn a meeting was ignored by those with the majority at a meeting doesn't pass muster with me.

I've been involved and run plenty of local committee meetings such as these. As my next post will attest RPV needs to come in and oversee a new meeting. You would agree wouldn't you.

JohnMaxfield said...

Well it should hold muster with you, because there is documented evidence of that exact fact. Michael even BEGGED Bailey to reconsider adjourning the meeting properly, TWICE. He was denied all times. Many, many other participants called points of order for the same (and other) reasons, and were either flatly ignored or given the same response--"I have adjourned the meeting." This simply cannot be disputed. Period.