The following is the unedited speech that Richard Finegold, a candidate for the State Convention Rules Committee representative, was prepared to give on April 28th, 2012, at the King County GOP Convention. In a clear violation of the governing Robert’s Rules by Michael Young, they refused to let him address his own nomination. Here is the speech they didn’t want you to hear.
Hi, everyone! It’s a nice day, isn’t it? A sunny day, just like 4 years ago, when we met at Green River Community College. Ah.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been to a lot of caucuses, about one a week. And I’ve seen things.
The first one I went to was the 36th District Caucus, in which, for reasons still unexplained, KCGOP voting sheets were taken away shortly after the Permanent Chair was elected. Interestingly, such a DISRUPTIVE move, which surely must have been either ordered by the County Chair or happened in disobedience to the County Chair, actually made for a very open process. There were around 20 people counting ballots, and I didn’t see any paper jams, and there were no limits on who could observe the counting. I heard some say that it was the most honest election they’d seen in King County in decades.
The next one was the Pierce County Convention, at $40 per guest. They had a rule that counted abstentions in determining a majority. ABSTENTIONS! Can you believe that? Saying a blank or nonexistent ballot is a vote is like saying an atheist has a religious persuasion!
The one after was the 41st District caucus. Ah, my district. The County Chair, a member of my district, had, in previous district meetings, recommended me as the go-to person for any questions on rules. She recommended that I be the computer operator. In the caucus, I was a little taken aback by the PDF I was asked to display on the projector, as I hadn’t seen that addendum elsewhere. I saw the proposed rule against video recording and audio recording, thinking that it probably violated national rules, but felt too glued to my chair to do anything about it. I felt slightly responsible for it, as I’d told an attorney named Lee in Pierce county about Standing Rules on page 18, but I surely didn’t expect it to cause people to go against the RNC’s wise choices.
After the first ballot voting took place, the Tellers Report wasn’t read, in violation of Roberts Rules, although I didn’t realize it at the time. At the third ballot, I did get a sheet with vote tallies and offered to put them on-screen. And the Chair actually personally hushed me, although I don’t know why he was so opposed to having totals being viewed. I do know better now; I can’t count how many times I’ve looked at page 417.
But I do have to mention that it was a big ego boost to learn that Tricia Richards had cordoned off 6 rows of chairs in front, for exclusively Romney preferers, just to watch me. Wow. 6 Romney rows, just for me. I wish I’d recognized it at the time. I’d love to propose a resolution honoring and thanking her for that, but this isn’t a 41st District meeting, so now is not the time for that.
The weekend after that… Well, I was a bit tempted to go to Benton County, and watch the picketing due to all the people being turned away, but I figured that they wouldn’t have room. Heh. Well, at least I had another fun option. Doing taxes! Something in which breaking rules can have much more, shall we say, dire consequences.
Next up was a long trip to Yakima. The county chair, a lame duck, decided that making up rules was the best thing to do, as he wasn’t planning to run again, so he could burn any bridge he liked without consequences. It ended up that at least two rules were broken: the 3pm adjournment, with the chair claiming the clock didn’t match his watch even though they’d started on time, and the last rule, which stated that State Convention Meeting members would be determined by majority voice vote. There was no voice vote, he unilaterally dictated the right to appoint.
Finally last weekend was Whatcom: Their Rules committee presented a Rule 5 that said they’d reject ballots “that contain more than one vote below the number of positions to be filled”. Even the chair rejected this, saying this conflicted with state Rule 29, changing the wording “may” to “must”, and asking the delegates whether they agreed with his interpretation. They did, and that rule from the Rules Committee was struck. Curiously, they nominated from the floor collectively for all 3 commissioner districts, which took some time to run in a somewhat arbitrary order rather than in parallel. An expected byproduct was that someone in one commissioner district nominated someone in another commissioner district, and they suddenly realized that they needed to go back and review all floor nominations. That wasn’t quick!
And now we’re here, with this bizarre language at the top of page 3 of the proposed rules. They say that, now that the legislative district meetings are done, we can change them retroactively. Yes, retroactively. [Hold up rules and point to them.] It says 2012 right on it. Hold up your hand if that sounds reasonable to you. [Pause a couple of seconds, then try to point out via body language that few, if any, hands are raised.]
[Read excerpt if Rules aren't easily available to delegates: "These rules are a portion of the report of the Rules Committee to the County Convention and are in effect unless changed at the County Convention."]
To sum this up, I feel that rules are important, and I would help ensure that any ridiculous rules, and by that I mean objects of ridicule, don’t make it into the final state rules.
Thank you for your vote for me, Richard Finegold.