Dear Readers: I have an update from my “Operation Steadfast” series. Sadly, it seems that the Board of the national organization, Tea Party Patriots, recently fired Dawn Wildman (co-founder of San Diego’s SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition and hard-working citizen activist). Even more upsetting to me is that the reason for this firing stems from the fact Dawn was working hard to course-correct a group that seems intent on heading into the super-massive-black-hole of destructive Beltway insider politics. However, what really infuriates me is this:
NATIONAL TEA PARTY PATRIOTS HAS DICTATED THAT DAWN CAN NO LONGER BE A VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR FOR TEA PARTY GROUPS.
There is only one word that adequately defines this tactic:
Tea Party Patriots doesn’t pay any of the California Tea Party coordinators one damn dime for the HUNDREDS and THOUSANDS of man- and woman-hours spent trying to promote ballot initiatives and citizen activism in this state. Dawn and Brad Roltgen have invested a lot of blood, sweat and tears both creating and sustaining a “California Citizen’s Network” that has achieved many tea-party-inspired successes (Stop SB810, Defeating Prop 1A).
We have achieved these wins without a whole lot of help from any national organization, including Tea Party Patriots.
So, I ask Jenny Beth Martin (President of TPP), Debbie Dooley, and the rest of the TPP Board: What gives YOU the right to come in and dictate who volunteers and how they volunteer? Because, quite frankly, you only have the power WE choose to give you — and none of us have chosen YOU to decide who can volunteer with us and who can’t.
In an attempt to see if other Tea Party Coordinators were thinking along the same lines as Sarah Bond or myself (the other SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition Co-founders), I talked to two outstanding and effective Tea Party volunteers: Marc Harris of the Tea Party of North Orange County and Terry Crumpley (who has been with Tea Party in the Hills in Placerville for almost three years and am now co-founding a new group, Sierra Foothills Tea Party: Citizens in Action, in Cameron Park). Both organizers indicated they do not intend to lose focus on the goal: Fixing the Golden State.
“We don’t have time for these distractions,” said Terry. “Local politics is the most important; policies that impact your own backyard. Dawn’s been there since the beginning. She has been working really hard. I am planning to work with her or anyone else who is working for a better future in California”.
Marc concurs: “We have got a lot to accomplish by November. We need to focus on what we need to do, and how to fix what is broken. I am going to work with anyone who helps me fight against the common enemy — big government.”
Marc noted that his group is promoting STOP SPECIAL INTEREST MONEY NOW (a ballot measure that will decouple union dues from the political donation process and the ELECTION INTEGRITY PROJECT (the California equivalent of True-the-Vote, fighting the toxic effects of voter fraud on our democracy). Terry is working on a wide variety of rural-based matters, including fighting-back on Agenda 21 (The government directing all land use, which even some Democrats find objectionable).
Marc is deeply concerned that his worst fears about the national-level Tea Party group has been realized: It has been infiltrated with Beltway insiders who serve their own ambitions and those big-money interests who ultimately pay them. “The moment you start taking money from special interest groups is the very moment you stop listening to your grassroots constituency. This time, we grassroots aren’t going to stick around and take it silently.”
Marc explained that he tried to arrange for a private meeting with Jenny Beth Martin, the National Coordinator of Tea Party Patriots. He wanted to express his personal concerns about the direction the group was heading. It seems that Jenny Beth is A-OK meeting with well-connected establishment elites now heavily involved with TPP (Scot Crockett, Ernest Istook and Ken Campbell) privately. However, she wouldn’t meet with Marc, despite the fact he has been a citizen organizer since the very beginning of this movement in 2009 and has personally known her for nearly as long.
(MUT Note: Reading up on Istook a bit, I wanted to share a CRONY CAPITALISM WARNING — Istook received $29,000 in campaign contributions from Abramoff and some of his clients. Istook wrote letters urging the Bush administration to reject a casino proposal that Abramoff’s clients opposed. On January 9, 2006, Istook announced he would give $23,000 in Abramoff-related money that was donated to his re-election campaign or his PAC to the Boy Scouts of America. Also, this gem on Crockett: A long-time beltway political hack who has played both sides of the fence at the DCI Group, one of Washington’s oldest political-advisory-to-the-highest-bidder firms in DC. )
You know, if these political poo-bahs were so HOT, then why is this country is such trouble?
At the present time, I am given to understand that National Tea Party Patriots intends to undermine Dawn at every turn — despite the fact she is volunteering to help maintain a network that has benefited our state tremendously and will continue to be a force though the 2012 election season. Though I am not at liberty to disclose all that is happening at this point, if I were a member of Tea Party Patriots, I would seriously consider not donating any more money until I saw the group demonstrate substantially more respect for the local grassroots organization.
And, please stop by the Shrine for regular updates, which I will provide as I get them.