JOHN W BRANTUK, San Clemente
One of our candidates for city council is touting that he has been “endorsed by the Orange County Republican Party” (OCGOP), also known as the OC Republican Central Committee.
This may sound good to those who are unfamiliar with how such endorsements are doled out, but the process used by the OCGOP is critically flawed; sadly, one might even say corrupt.
I was a delegate (voting, elected member) to both the L.A. County Central Committee (for more than 10 years) and then the OCGOP for close to a decade (until 2014). The stated purpose of the Central Committees is to “raise money and get out the vote,” as per the California Election Code.
Since I finished my term in the OCGOP in 2014, not one person who actually lives in San Clemente has been or is a member/delegate to that body. With no local input, how, I sincerely ask, can they therefore determine who could best serve our town?
The process for gaining an endorsement is as follows: Fill out a questionnaire and then answer questions from the Endorsement Subcommittee. This subcommittee then votes amongst themselves to make a recommendation to the full Central Committee. Then the full Central Committee votes and, more often than not, just rubber-stamps the subcommittee’s recommendation. Remember, none of these people voting live in San Clemente.
Regrettably, the subcommittee and the Full Central Committee are often subjected to determined lobbying from non-members who have their own agendas as to who should receive (or not receive) the OCGOP endorsement.
In the case of San Clemente, there are two outside individuals who have undue influence. The chairman of the OCGOP personally informed me not long ago that our local outlet mall developer is the “single largest financial contributor to the OCGOP.”
The other influencer is a long-time political operative who also happens to be both an owner of, and a lobbyist for, more short-term lodging units in our town. The chairman told me that this person is “one of his oldest and best friends.”
Are these are the people we trust to tell us for whom we should vote? I think not.