Steve Greenhut, recipient, 1st annual Gil Ferguson Distinguished Service Award

OC Register Senior Editorial writer Steven Greenhut was honored by the Corona Del Mar CRA (CDM CRA) at their monthly CRA unit meeting last night. Prior to his presentation Steve was presented with the First Annual Gil Ferguson Distinguished Service award for his “no holds barred” coverage of the current story of Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona and Steve’s long standing fight to protect property rights.

One of the attendees, Karl Heft, a Vice President of the statewide CRA, provided a brief update of the recent convention and endorsement of Mitt Romney. In my questioning Karl I informed him that the combined population of Mission Viejo, Lake Forest and Laguna Hills is around 200,000 with a single CRA unit. However, the city of Carona created eight new units in two days for a much smaller population. I questioned if they created a unit for every street in the city. This was a clever, unquestioned, abuse to support Jeff Miller of Corona who is running against RSM Councilman Neil Blais, Mission Viejo mayor pro tem John Paul Ledesma and Irvine Councilman Steven Choi for the 71st AD seat currently held by Todd Spitzer. Karl said he acknowledges my concern and suggested that the By-laws should be changed.

While I didn’t wish to abuse this opportunity, and didn’t hog the conversation, I will provide some further details for CRA unit presidents and you the Juice readers.

Background of my angst. About 15 years ago CRA had a black cloud involving this same CDM CRA unit where carpetbaggers from outside the geographic area were registered to control a Unit vote. This was during the high profile fiasco relating to Assemblywomen Doris Allen. One would hope that as conservatives we would be extra cautious to avoid any future questionable tactics. I am not happy reporting that the system has again been corrupted.

I recently blogged that within a two day period CRA added eight new units just before a registration cut off to participate in the just concluded statewide CRA presidential endorsing convention in which Mitt Romney won by a single vote.
That post, which was emailed to the CRA president and a CRA VP requested that these new units, which may not have even held their first meeting, should not be permitted to participate in that convention vote. Note: I did not receive any response.

Based on total membership, these eight new units potentially had the ability to send 40 voting members to the Sacramento convention. Bear in mind that while only 220 to 230 votes were cast, governor Romney won by a single vote.

I am sending this blog post to the CRA and requesting that they call a Special Board Meeting to remove any unit where the members, and specifically the unit president’s, do not live in the community which their unit is to serve.

What is troubling is that an email was sent out to higher level CRA members who were asked to approve the unit membership applications. How were five new units approved for basically the same city followed by three additional units one to two days later? Where was oversight of this Corona stacking the deck to level or tilt the playing field solely to block Neil Blais, John Paul or Steve Choi, the Orange County candidates for the 71st AD seat?

Where was the challenge to these last minute applications by Membership Secretary Peggy Mew? In addition to her many years of service at the CRA Peggy served as Chief of Staff for Senator Dick Mountjoy and his son Dennis.

Having just received a Press Release that Dick Mountjoy endorsed councilman Jeff Miller for the 71st AD may explain the failure to block these new units. Up until two months ago, the city of Carona did not have a single unit and in two days creates eight.
And to think that CRA By-laws does not mandate that the Board live in the community is an embarrassment. When you serve on a city council, the Assembly or State Senate, you must reside in the District you represent. In that earlier blog story I listed CRA unit presidents who do not live in the Carona unit(s) area. How did we fail to mandate this as a By-Law prerequisite is beyond me. Creation of these new units being compliant to the CRA By-laws, perhaps. Unbiased acceptance, I don’t think so.

As stated previously. To date Larry Gilbert has not endorsed or selected his choice for either of these two races.In my view, this conduct tarnishes every endorsement by the CRA until this oversight is corrected.

Sorry to co-mingle two stories in one report.


About Larry Gilbert