On your way to your seat at the The King County Organization Meeting of 2010 you were handed literature that would make an untrained (or mistrained) Precinct Committee Officer think that the new King County Republican Party had inherited rules and bylaws and a Chair.
The meeting opened at 9:15 and the Chair that the literature made you think was in charge (Lori Sotelo) immediately began dictating agenda.
She decided there would be an invocation and simply announced it. Who could object to that?
She decided who should give it. No one would attempt to intervene in such an innocuous choice It was as she decided.
She announced the pledge of allegiance and its manner. Objecting would have been unpatriotic.
She announced the temporary officers. Bob Wooten would be Vice Chair, Jim Clingan Sergeant at Arms, Richard Derham Chair of Bylaws, Diane Tebelius Head Teller, and Michael Young Parliamentarian.
All these announcements were innocuous violations of law no one would ever object to, unless you actually knew the appointee’s political history and operational philosophy and objectives and those of the Chair and wanted to make yourself look like a fool. Weren’t they in charge?
So before any attempt at legal proceeding, Lori Sotelo had established a precedent that she had the right to unilaterally invent rules, dictate agenda, and that she had the right to run the meeting as she wished, without any one’s permission. At this point in the proceedings Sotelo had violated the law, making arbitrary decisions the authority for which she had never acquired, at least ten times. Imperceptibly. To the average person.
Suellen Roche stepped to the mic to announce the Credentials Report. This was the only legitimate business that had been conducted up to that point. She said 350 PCOs had arrived on time and had been allowed in. Sixteen had arrived late and were being kept out (in an unannounced violation of law). She made a motion to “credential” the 350, and held a vote on her motion, establishing, in the process, that she had some special authority. Who would object? Although her act in both making a motion and acting as chair by conducting a vote violated Robert’s Rules of Order, the fact is, Robert’s Rules of Order, not having been adopted, did not yet have authority in the meeting, anyway. But everyone believed it did and despite the widespread ignorance of Robert’s, they also had false confidence that its dictates were being followed (in denial of the facts). But, after all, weren’t the people at the microphone talking about things like “credentials” and saying things like “I move” and “the motion has been seconded”? That sounds like Robert’s Rules of Order to me.
Next, Suellen moved to let in (“seat”) the sixteen previously illegally barred. No one knew that the outgoing administration had no authority to keep them out. And now they magnanimously moved to let them in. What was the point? It established and confirmed the two falsehoods that everyone already believed, that the organization completely under the control of Lori Sotelo HAD authority to decide who could come in or not AND that they were being generous about it.
It was perfect.
After Suellen departed to “credential” the 16 and without any vote authorizing it, Lori Sotelo—who at that moment legally held no official position or authority—simply because she held the microphone, began a roughly 20 minute speech for her re-election. She was the only one among the three candidates for County Chairman given this time-unlimited opportunity to pass judgment on her own previous two years of administration. Her speech welcomed new PCOs as if she owned or was an authorized representative of the Party. (We estimated about 75 new PCOs when they raised their hands.) She praised her appointed staff and the appointed District Chairs that served at her pleasure. She praised her purchase of a robo-call phone system that functioned at her command. She praised the general election results achieved on her watch. She praised the “Tea Party.” And she finally got around to the financial (“Chairman’s”) report that was the ostensible purpose of her speech. It could have been expressed in a single sentence: The KCGOP took in 443 thousand dollars, spent 450 thousand dollars and has 22 thousand dollars left over.
Again, without any vote authorizing it, Richard Derham [for thirty years committee political strategist, attorney, and parliamentary expert for the Washington State GOP Establishment] who at that point ALSO legally held no official position or authority, but, simply because the Sotelo administration had commandeered the microphone, was given a time-unlimited opportunity to promote Sotelo’s private preference for meeting rules.
The Derham/Sotelo version of rules held no authority or position to even be considered as a proposal, but there was no way to tell it by anything written on the document or anything Mr. Derham said.
These rules were the “same as last time” he said, and had “worked well.” In fact, nothing worse than the election of Lori Sotelo and Michael Young and the adoption of bylaws with autocratic provisions empowering them, openly in violation of State Law had occurred, so I suppose, from Derham’s perspective, they HAD worked well. Derham himself, had personally authored illegal provisions of those bylaws.
Derham’s speech kicked off Rules discussion:
- A man from the 31st rose to query whether there were any PCOs admitted who were appointed (not elected).
- Lori said only elected PCOs were on floor.
- Donald Kells, from the 47th district, moved to change the order of business in the proposal, moving to adopt the ByLaws prior to electing officers.
- Arguments against the change included:
- the idea that the Derham/Sotelo order of business would, in some unspecified way, avoid an unnecessary floor fight [perhaps because it prevented discussion] and
- the assertion that electing officers is “more important” than the powers they acquire or duties they are elected to perform (and so, presumably should be decided first).
- Dan Thwing argued the latter.
There was a significant interrupting motion to admit ELECTED PCOs in the middle of rules discussion.
Michael Young, speaking from the position of illegally appointed Parliamentarian, said the rules had to be adopted before admitting more PCOs. His assertion was despite the nonexistence of any rules on that (or any other) topic and despite the fact that not even Robert’s Rules of Order had been adopted and despite the fact that he was directly contradicting STATE LAW by barring elected officials who had an absolute right to be in attendance for the rules debate. He was preventing them from performing statutory duties, and his ruling, based on nothing, was entirely fictional… but who knew?
But he was successful in barring the elected PCOs. Young’s nonexisting authority was nonobjected to and his violation of the RCWs was nonunderstood.
- Kells’ motion was defeated and the Derham/Sotelo rules adopted.
Suellen came back to report that the “16″ had been “credentialed,” and a motion to admit the two elected PCOs that Young had previously barred was approved, overwhelmingly.
Ms. Roche’s resulting third report, unfortunately, seemed to add the two new late arrivals to both the 1st Legislative District (which had had 6 in the first two reports and 8 in the third) and the 45th. When challenged, Suellen [and her assistant Shelia Hurst] claimed, erroneously, that the new two in the 1st had been added in the second report. But who would be so rude as to insist on a strict accounting by an elderly woman who is obviously sincere, obviously working at top capacity and obviously confused? What obstructionist would, under those circumstances, demand logic or legality? It would not be welcome!
There are 2,616 precincts in King County. Forty percent of the entire state. Only 759 of them have elected Republican Precinct Committee Officers, far fewer than in 2008. Suellen’s first credentials report said we had only 350 of the 759 in attendance. After her third report and the two motions to seat late arrivals there were 368. Fourteen percent of King County’s precincts were represented at the organization meeting.
Kirby Wilbur, high and exalted former radio talk show host and current candidate for Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, was elected meeting chair without opposition.
Lori Sotelo was nominated for the position of King County Chair of the King County Republican Party by self-described “progressive,” (and committed pro-abort) King County Councilman Reagan Dunn.
David Gage was nominated by King County conservative activist Craig Keller, the author of Initiative 1056 and former State Chair of Duncan Hunter for President, 2008.
Ruth Gibbs was nominated by Margaret Sackett, alternate Washington State (Huckabee) Delegate to the 2008 National Republican Convention.
At that time, in the “guest” portion of the room, Diane Tebelius began her attempts (chronicled below) to selectively ban filming of the event by only a single, specific, individual.
Then, despite the constant meme that we “don’t have extra time” (for things like discussing the bylaws the Party will operate under for the next two years) the body was treated to a speech by Attorney General (and committed pro-abort) Rob McKenna, because, you know, he has a busy agenda in his now six-year quest to be governor and had to be at the Pierce County Organizational meeting for the same purpose.
Former McChair for McCain, McAmnesty minion McKenna, McSpeaks
Rob urged support for our troops, said 2012 will be an enormously important year (like he pointed out to us about 2004 and 2006 and 2008 and 2010) and that it was the beginning of the 2012 election season“!” In obvious support of the current Establishment he said this is the 3rd straight election where we added Republican seats to the house & senate in Olympia. He did not mention the percentage of those seats that were filled with candidates that had actually been OPPOSED by the GOP Establishment, including Sotelo. He praised our candidates, praised “the victories” and praised his healthcare lawsuit appearing Dec. 16 in Federal District Court (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t rule sooner on the issues filed elsewhere ). No one voted to give McKenna the time for this important campaign speech, but then, you know, there had been no indication that the body actually wanted to make their own decisions unless those decisions were thrust upon them.
The Reign of Tebelius
- former WSRP National Committeewoman,
- former unsuccessful 2004 candidate for the 8th Congressional District U.S. House seat,
- former ½ term (2005) State Party Chair,
- former unsuccessful 2010 candidate for Pos. 1, 48th Legislative District State House of Representatives, and
- longtime Sotelo ally
had continued back-channel attempts to stop guest Michele St. Pierre from recording the proceedings with a camera. This actually would have been a good way to prevent any collection of evidence or objective observation of the proceedings. This, it appears, was important to leadership. But, to make a long story short, all Diane’s efforts, beginning with her unlawful order to a sergeant at arms and ending with a resoundingly-defeated vote on the floor, eventually came to nothing, as has become her career pattern. But, you know, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
The course of Tebelius’s quest to squelch Michele St. Pierre’s freedom was now brought to the attention of chair Kirby Wilbur. He began by announcing that he, personally “didn’t care,” (!!)
(It is interesting to note that Mr. Wilbur took the inquiry to be an inquest into his personal preference) but he said he would ask McKenna, the State’s top law-enforcement official (who, presumably, has extensive experience in the business of squelching freedoms) since he was
present and available, and also Young, the (illegally-appointed) parliamentarian who had already shown a talent for exerting nonexistent authority (see paragraph on rules debate, above). Both McKenna and Young (members of and speakers for “Mainstream Republicans of Washington” and high ranking McCain 2008 campaign officials) said “the body makes the decision,” but what they meant was that the body could help make Tebelius’s autocratic behavior seem less offensive in retrospect by passing a rule to legally do, after the fact, what she had attempted, illegally and covertly, by the unscrupulous pretense of legitimate authority. What followed tells you a lot about the character of the participants:
- Sotelo loyalist, Patty Mann, obligingly made a motion to ban filming, despite the fact that meeting rules had already been moved, discussed, amendments considered, rejected, discussion closed and rules adopted.
- Tamra Smilanich opposed the ban.
- A point of inquiry asked, “who is filming?”
- Lorraine Blacklock, former aparent conservative, now Sotelo loyalist, supported the ban.
- Gage’s nominator, Keller, opposed it.
- Someone manipulatively shouted “Call the Question!” with people still waiting in line to speak to the issue.
- Paul Welton tenaciously questioned Wilbur on the parliamentary appropriateness of ending debate, apparently arousing the ire of the Wilburforce.
- Kirby, as often happens when his omnipotence is questioned, assumed his magnanimous/sarcastic persona with a self-contradictory “tell you what I’ll do, I will LET you have your time to speak in favor of the motion and then we will go back to voting on whether to end debate.” (Notably, he did not consult the “Parliamentarian.”) There was no ruling on Welton’s point. If Welton was right, there should not have been a vote to end debate at all. If he was wrong he should not have been given any time to speak to a nondebatable motion, but… who knew? Not Kirby.
- The Motion to deny filming, that should have required a 2/3 majority to pass, was rejected by more than a 2/3 majority and Michele St. Pierre continued to film. The video is available.
Now perhaps you’ve forgotten, but before McKenna’s illegal gubernatorial speech and before Tebelius’s illegal attempt to squelch Michele St. Pierre’s freedom, the body had begun an election for King County Chair.
And if you’re like me you’re probably asking yourself….
Do David Gage and Ruth Gibbs get to make 20 minute speeches for their candidacy?
Did the King County Republican Party under Lori Sotelo rent the school cafeteria for a short enough period to successfully avoid a full discussion of their bylaws and what is hidden in them? and…
How many more public officials get to make irrelevant speeches on the crowded agenda?
Stay tuned, political junkies… We’ll find out in the next episode … and yes, there really will be an Episode 2.
Right here on www.TheReaganWing.com
Link to Episode 2: The Dance of Death