Monday, June 20, 2011

Norco Dems' Vice Chair Resigns

Last July, before Northampton County Democrats reorganized to make Walt Garvin their new party boss by a resounding 46-41 vote, they first tried to excommunicate me. You see, I'm a Democratic Committeeman who supports as many Republicans as Democrats, including Charlie Dent and the Evil Ron Angle. There's no doubt in my mind that this probably does violate at least 20 or 30 by-laws, but I was unwilling to go gently into that good night because they never provided me with notice.

A vote was taken and sent to state party headquarters. Having never heard from the state, my guess is that their effort failed.

Last December, bossman Wally Garvin tried again. He handed me another sheet of paper all filled out and everything, which he was carrying in his little Bernie O'Hare file. It was my resignation. All I had to do was sign.

I declined, especially when he refused to let me read the by-laws.

So I may still be a committeeman, but Garvin never notifies me of upcoming meetings. Like the one last Saturday. I had been tipped off, but skipped it because it was my birthday, and I wanted a small break.

I should have crashed it. Vice Chair Kiki Schock resigned, echoing some of the concerns that I've raised here. "Parliamentarian" Charles "Don't Call me Charlie" walked out on her resignation speech, as did most of the pro-Garvin crowd.

Here's some of what she had to say:

"The Northampton Committee is not an effective committee, and wishing it to be while doing nothing is not a successful blueprint to becoming effective. Our function as a committee is to recruit, promote and raise money for Democrats, therefore having successful candidates who reflect our ideals and can enact them by taking and maintaining office. We have yet to accomplish any of this; instead we have been reduced to nothing more than dysfunctional imitation of our most visible adversary, the conservative extremist. I see the same behaviors mirrored here that the tea party exhibits: the secrecy, the lack of transparency, the lack of respect for rules and proper order, the lack of respect for rights, the disregard to democracy, and the bully tactics that are used to repress.

"These issues need to be exposed and addressed, then hopefully resolved so that the Committee can be successful.

"We must ask ourselves why, why do we allow this behavior to continue?

"Why, when we claim we are the party that honors democracy, do we as a committee allow one individual to dismiss the rights of the entire committee and of those whom we represent and say nothing? And yet, we watched with disbelief the Wisconsin Republicans strip the union of the rights of the working class, and for them we were outraged, and the dismissal of rights of those of whom we represent went ignored.

"We need to ask ourselves why we were outraged when the last administration committed many obvious abuses and over reaches of power, violating the Constitution and laws at whim, and yet we allow the same lack of respect and adherence for rules and bylaws, and we passively go along with the sudden replacement of our bylaws in order to inhibit and stifle committee members.

"We need to ask ourselves why we are so outraged with the tea party tactics of going to town halls to shout down the people so their concerns and ideas aren’t heard when that has become the norm at our own meetings, where bully tactics are used to silence those committee members with ideas, concerns, and questions. Do the voters that voted for us not deserve better?

"Sadly, instead of embracing the diversity of opinion over how to best achieve our shared goals, that is strength of the Democratic Party, we have allowed ourselves to be divided into opposing camps to the benefit of absolutely no one, other than those who wish to maintain unitary control or preserve the status quo. Other than simply holding social events have we accomplished anything as a committee, coordinating any of our actions throughout the county to actually benefit Democrats in order to achieve our main objective for us being here…results.

"The hypocrisy of the Northampton Committee, the dysfunction, and the lack of respect for the rights of its committee members is putting this committee on the fast track to notoriety, as the antithesis of what we are supposed to represent. For those who support this status quo, my question is, are you sure that you’re in the correct party? For a true Democrat has revulsion to all these behaviors.

"Why do we insist on tying ourselves to 'precedent' and 'past practices,' as I have heard them described, which have led us to languish as a committee? I would like to point out that if 'precedent' has been to ignore and violate the rules and bylaws by which we are bound as a committee, they are clearly not practices we can or should be held to.

"Finally, we should ask ourselves why the present and previous leadership of our committee have made a point of publicly bad-mouthing certain county committees and area committees within our own county? Why, because they are active, hard working, and successful? We should study them, ask for their assistance so that we may replicate those successes in our own committee but instead they are bashed and berated with the most smug and arrogant of attitudes. Why, is their success so threatening that it prompts such juvenile behavior?

"The changes needed to make this committee the powerhouse it should be will require introspection on the part of its members. There are people who are just not capable of that, but my hope is that all of you are, so that you can help move this committee forward in a constructive way.

"After this meeting I will no longer be a member of the committee or your vice chair and cannot be part of the solution to these issues, for I will no longer reside in Northampton County. I do however suggest that you, as a committee, take the power that was meant for you all to have and truly represent those who voted for you, and to do this by operating as a democratic organization that is worthy of those whom we represent.

"I would like to close by thanking all of you for your commitment to our shared Democratic ideals, for the time that you donate, for the opportunity to serve with you, and for your patriotism, for I know you love this country as I do and are here in the belief of improving our country through our proud tradition of democracy. I wish for you and this Committee great success, in these and all future endeavors.

"Thank you."

Updated 10:55 AM: I've been informed by two committee members that George Treisner is the actual parliamentarian, and he walked out before Dertinger, calling Schock a "bitch." Treisner is Garvin's recommendation to fill Ken Kraft's spot on the Elections Commission.


Anonymous said...

Agree with her. This crowd of Long-lites that are now in charge are self-absorbed twits. They love to tell each other how smart they are as the party loses election after election.

The Dertinger effect is in full force and the party has suffered for it. these guys only want to hear each others voices, telling each other how great they are.

Anonymous said...

Democrat Committee is truly ineffective. they will cry and cry, but come November all county council republicans will be reelected, and one democrat will be replaced with another republican. the people have spoken, and the dems were silent.

Anonymous said...

George Treisner is the NORCO "parlamentarian", of Wallygee's choosing, of course. It was worse than you stated. Treisner actually called Ms. Schock a "bitch", and walked out about a minute into her resignation . He is so completely wrong for the position of "parlamentarian ". You really should attend a meeting and watch him in action when someone raises a point. At this last meeting he treated a West Easton Borough Councilman like he was an idiot for asking a simple question. Really uncalled for.

ks said...

Hey there Bernie,

Happy belated Birthday to you.
I agree with Anonymous posted at 10:52AM, in order to truly appreciate the issues that were addressed you need to attend the next meeting. I don’t know if you were provided with the entire speech, and I hope I’m not overstepping my boundaries but I would like to share just one more item from my resignation. Before I addressed the issues that for quite some time have plagued the committee, I lead with following:
“I take very seriously the responsibility of committee person as well as vice chair, although my effectiveness as vice chair was rendered to nothing more than a title. We are elected to be committee members, so that we may represent and speak on the behalf of the Democrats that elected us to our positions; this is an awesome honor for us all, and never to be taken lightly. Even though I resign, I do not resign the concerns I have with the Northampton Committee, which I will address, for I owe that to those who bestowed this immense honor to me, and this will be my final task as vice chair.
Orating these concerns is not meant to be an attack; its intent is to finally reveal the concerns that many of you have expressed to me and that I share, so that problems can be identified, addressed and finally resolved, and thus the Northampton Committee can cease to be the weak link, and evolve into the committee that other committees would like to emulate… To quote Socrates, ‘The Unexamined life is not worth living.’ “
The reason I am publicly sharing this with you is, it is important for me that it be known “for the record” it was never my intent to attack, I wanted to address issues that need to be rectified. We as individuals (I would like to think) throughout our lives at one point or another look within ourselves when we are not happy with our own lives, the lives of loved ones, our professional life, etc. The reason we do so is to see if we are exhibiting any behaviors that we need to change in order to be happy and more productive individuals, well, that was my intent for finally brining the issues to light within our committee, again it was not to attack.
In the past I personally as well as many other committee members have approached our Chair with these same concerns and for reasons never revealed to me these issues unfortunately were never addressed.
Thank you Bernie for providing the forum to us, the public, to express ourselves, although you and I may differ on some views, I am confident that there is a mutual respect for each other’s rights to have these differences. Personally, I would rather focus on the views we have in common which I believe there are many. I would also like to thank those who have reached out to me with their disappointment for the treatment I received and their concern… you are fantastic people, and I am so honored that I had the opportunity to work with you and to know you.
Kiki Schock

Dave said...

Wow...maybe I'm affiliated with the wrong party? This sounds all eff'ed up to me and I am all ears at this point. Can things really be this screwed up? Maybe we need a fourth party for conservative, sane Democrats. I can't see throwing in with the Tea party crowd or the R's but this crap is unreal. Help..

Dave said...

Let's restart the Federalist party..or the Whigs?

Anonymous said...

That Rs control council in this blue county is a testament to Long's and Garvin's effectiveness.

Anonymous said...

OMG!! I'm sure everyone hoped Walt would be different. Wow! How sad for Northampton County dems.

Anonymous said...

Ds have become the AFSCME-SEIU party. Labor used to one of several strong components of the D party. Now, labor is running the whole party like a thuggish union. Watch your back, Bernie.

Anonymous said...

Even some real labor unions are annoyed at the ineffectiveness of some of these new Dem's running Northampton.

Anonymous said...

You guys are all haters. Who can knock the Party that brought us Dertinger, McClure and Barron.

An appreciative Republican Party thanks you!

Donald said...

I'm sorry I missed this. I had a conflict and could not attend.

A little story about the former Vice Chair. At the original organization meeting last year she had not idea who Bob Freeman was. She thought he was the Dem. Nominee for Governor.

How could the Vice Chair of the Northampton County Democratic Committee not know State. Rep. Bob Freeman?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps because she lives in Walnutport and he is not her rep?

Anonymous said... your point that she was a poor choice for VP? Are you aware that she was personally asked to run for vice-chair by the man, the legend himself, Wallygee? Do you feel Walt's choice reflects poorly on him?
And really, how many people outside of Harrisburg, Easton, and maybe Bethlehem would know Bob Freeman from Adam.

Anonymous said...

Donald just gave you the reason for the Democratic party problems in this area. The Party is about personalities and not people. Heaven forbid she not know the great Bob Freeman.

So why doesn't his holiness go to a few committee meetings and tell people who he is. Is that beneath him. Outside of his District why should you know who he is anyway. Even party officials have to have the "gods" introduced to them on occasion.

In the current party the important thing is kissing the ass of the so-called gods.

Why do you think we are losing ground to the Republicans. They are more focused on candidates who are in sync with the area and talk about policies. Democratic leaders want people they like and think are flashy and cool.

Again the Republican Party is appreciative. Thank you Walt.

Donald said...

Wow - that was a pretty off the wall response out of far right field -I do not do pissing matches with anyone let alone people without the courage to tell us who they are. But really you think Bob Freeman is Flashy and Cool - Really? Have you ever had the honor of meeting Bob?

Anonymous said...

Democratic leadership in Northampton County is a kumbaya circle jerk.