Whispers on the Wind have relayed to your chronicler...
That the residents of the Cottage Grove Place senior living area discovered during the recent city election that their 2016 Republican County Caucus will NOT be in the usual venue in their neighborhood.
They are NOT pleased.
Traditionally, Iowa Caucuses were assemblies of neighbors gathered together in their neighborhoods, where they decided who their representatives would be in the local party structure.
It seems now to have been altered into a media event for the glorification of a few members of the local party.
The precinct that Cottage Grove Place is in has quite a few elderly Republicans.
They prefer these events to be in their own precinct, as they do not like doing a lot of driving at night.
They also do not feel safe downtown at night.
Now, some may dispute this attitude and claim downtown is "in no way unsafe."
However, the possible truth of that claim cannot alter the fact that many of these people do not feel safe there. Nor does it alter the fact that their feelings were apparently neither sought nor taken into account.
In the past, we have had no problem organizing individual Caucuses in almost all of Linn County's 86 precincts. (There is a case for consolidating a few that don't seem to have as many registered Republican residents.)
But the current Linn County Republican Central Committe Chair and Executive Committee saw fit to purge the people who previously were heavily involved in the Caucus process, and replace them with their own allies.
For those who might be interested in how this will affect them, I have obtained the proposed Precinct Caucus locations, which have not, as of yet, I'm told, been reviewed by the Chair, so they are "preliminary."
You can see them HERE. I am sorry that the first page is almost illegible, but this was the best sample available.
Maps of the County and Precincts can be found HERE.
(And, if you need to know your local precinct name, you may find that information HERE.)
At least we did not end up with their original plan, which we understood to be all precincts in one location.
Having heard that the original plan would have surely cost a lot more than we have in the treasury, my understanding is that they have adopted a modified plan that will, by comparison, only take almost everything we have in the treasury.
Then, in addition, there was the rumored desire to link all the sites together with closed circuit TV for a media event.
Last word was that a closed circuit TV system would cost an additional amount almost equal to everything we have in the treasury...so that might not pan out.
Another function of our caucuses is for those who wish to be delegates at our county, district, and state Republican conventions to sign up and pay their delegate fees to the county.
Our county is allocated 167 seats at the District and State Conventions at $50 a seat.
We have to pay for ALL the seats, or NONE of the delegates from Linn County will even be seated at the District and State Conventions, let alone have the opportunity to speak or vote.
So, REGARDLESS of how many people sign up at their Caucus to be delegates at the Conventions, and regardless of how many pay their convention fees, the Linn County Republican Central Committee will be required to remit $8,350 to the Republican Party of Iowa for convention fees.
If Linn County does not have the funds to pay, the largest county in the district, and the 2nd largest county in the state, will NOT have representation at District and State Conventions.
Previously, that would not have been a problem. When the present Chair, Cindy Golding, took over from the previous chair, we had an attendance at meetings of about 200.
She and the present Executive Committee have, since that time, managed to alienate and/or disenfranchise about 90% of the previous membership.
This has resulted in about 40 attendees at our meetings, split almost 50/50 in opinion.
They, of course, label anyone pointing out these facts and their attending consequences as "divisive;"
When the truth is that THEIR "divisive" practices and tactics have virtually destroyed what was a very effective and active County Central Commitee.
At least, it was very effective and active until they got their hands on it.
In any event, we are facing interesting times.
Most people show up for Caucuses at the last moment.
I cringe to think how getting them checked in is going to work out with the few remaining volunteers who have not been driven away.
I mean, we are, after all, talking about a chairperson who once had a screaming fit at a volunteer who was putting more than 5 mints on each table before an event.
Such practices do not encourage volunteer involvement .