President’s News

Secrets of Success from the Best in the West


by Peter Coe Verbica,
California Congress of Republicans

Each month and without fail, the California Congress of Republicans (“CCR”) has a board conference call.  In attendance are executive board members, Regional VPs and chapter officers throughout the Great State of California.  The call is a wonderful time to hear concerns and successes of chapters throughout the State.  And, the meeting gives like-minded Republicans a chance to discuss how to make our grassroots organization even better.  A lot of great ideas are shared — what businesses often describe as “best practices.”  One of the most vibrant chapters of CCR is the Republican Club of Ocean Hills.  I asked John Murphy, its Second Vice President of Membership to weigh in on how his chapter has continued to blossom. 

Secrets of Success from the Best in the West:

Notes on Building Membership

by John Murphy
Second Vice President, Membership
Republican Club of Ocean Hills (a Chapter of the California Congress of Republicans)

One step back and three steps forward! 

This article was written with a simple objective: to share our secrets of success so that you, too, can be the best in the West.  The Republican Club of Ocean Hills, in North San Diego County, has always had a strong member base. A majority of our 116 members lived in a retirement community called Ocean Hills Country Club when I joined in July of 2019. Since then we have lost 16 members who have moved from our area or quit the chapter due to health issues. However, in the last 14 months we have gained 48 new members.  One step back and three steps forward!

There was a need for a more renewed electronic presence, updated membership file and a way to reach out to potential new members. We focused on improving our website and Facebook page. More frequent updates to our online presence created a base from which members and nonmembers could get an update on our activities. Improvements to our website included an online form for new membership. Anytime someone submitted the form online they got an automatic generated email from the website welcoming them and giving them more information on how they could be active in our Chapter. Our Director of Membership and Chapter President also received an email with all of the information about the new member. With these changes we could reach out to prospective members and make becoming a member more seamless. Our President Barbara Hazlett challenged us to start a prospect list and include them in our monthly communications. Many board members would bring in new members or add to our prospect list.

Our monthly communications to members and prospects included:

  1. Email a flyer with information 2 weeks before our general meeting
  2. Phone call reminder to members 7 days before our general meeting
  3. Email meeting details & last month’s minutes five days before our general meeting
  4. Email newsletter two days before our general meeting
  5. Email meeting agenda one day before our general meeting

This communication schedule keeps our members informed and in touch with their club’s schedule.

Reaching out to Potential Members

The single biggest impact on our membership came from the many ways we reached out to potential members. We were able to get a list of emails from a candidate for local office that included all Republicans and Decline-to-States in our area. We added to that list anyone who liked a comment or post on our Facebook page. An introductory email to them got us a 10% increase in membership.

Fine wine from Sour Grapes: Origin of the “Freedom Flier”

Finally, we had a neighbor and member of our club whose property was stolen or destroyed, dog feces thrown in his driveway and his car was vandalized with what we think was a golf club all for flying a TRUMP flag.  Clearly, this was a case of sour grapes from the radical Left, but our members were determined to convert them into fine wine.  Several of our members were very upset; some were fearful they could be next.  Michael Richardson, our longtime member and member of the board, suggested it could not go unchallenged. After much discussion and a board split on our suggested action, we decided to distribute a “Freedom Flyer” to everyone in the 1,600 home community.  The flyer asked point blank “Are our rights guaranteed under the Constitution under attack in our community?”  It went on to describe in detail the property damage that was designed to intimidate, spread fear, and eliminate freedom of speech. “Not in our community, not in our state, not in our Country,” we pledged. We suggested a “Support Your Candidate” day encouraging residents to fly flags, banners, or yard signs for whoever their candidate was,  or fly an American Flag to show your support for residents’ freedom of speech.  The flyer offered to deliver Trump signs or signs for any local /state office to any home that wanted one. We delivered over 70 signs. This particular initiative increased our membership by 25% over a 3-month period!

By beefing up our core responsibilities of membership tracking, communications, and the new way of submitting a membership form, we were prepared for the surge in membership our outreach programs brought in.  All during this crazy pandemic lock down that would suggest membership would decline or stay stagnant.

A Team Effort

The success of our club would not be what it is without those board members who delivered great speakers each month, kept the minutes, reached out to current members with hand-written birthday and get well cards, managed the team who reaches out to 148 members via phone, writes our newsletter every month, keeps track of our finances, arranges for hospitality and our Chapter President for her leadership in challenging us to grow the club and increase our impact on local, state, and federal elections.  Clearly, our club members are involved in a team effort.

You can grow your club, too!  I wish the best of luck to you and your chapter in your search for increased membership. If you have any questions I can be contacted at:

The Sunsetting of the First Amendment

The Sunsetting of the First Amendment

(Original source: Getty Images.  Modified with Moku Hanga app by P. Verbica.)

On Notice:
The Sunsetting of the First Amendment

© 2020 by Peter Coe Verbica

Granted, I am still learning after nearly six decades on this planet.  For example, before this week, I knew nothing of another’s late mother and her past time in Missouri: she would carefully tie the legs of June bugs with sewing thread.  Her children would subsequently watch in delight as the insects flew in perfect circles.  I was dumbfounded by the novelty of the story.  But, those were the days when families made their own ice cream, girls knew how to play piano and boys shot rabbits for supper. Entertainment was a luxury then and I suppose we can view with some compassion the creative and inventive souls who came before us.

Over the past few years, despite the warnings of close friends, I’ve written on wildly unpopular topics, including the federal debt and danger of currency devaluation, the ghosting of the older white male by corporate America, how decades of underbuilding housing supply due to regulatory abuse affects how people vote, real examples of heroism by those who stand up to Communist tyrants versus those who take a knee on a football field, and more.  In our era of blacked-out bread trucks and buses filled with thugs intent on burning down small towns, I suppose it was only a matter of time when I would have to once again pick up a pen.

Leftists and the “Cancel Culture” have been busier than a trusted librarian cutting out etchings from rare books to put kids through college.  Statues are ransacked and police stations defaced as mayors check opinion polls before deciding whether the Rule of Law should be honored.  State flags are under revision, and barracks, bases and battleships are to be renamed.  In the 1930’s, German extremists and their Austrian pals piled up books as fuel for pyres.  Perhaps this trend will be next, but with digital storage books needn’t be burned to the detriment of the environment.  Like Hao Haidong’s social media account followed by millions, texts will simply be erased.  Gone is Rushdie’s exhortation about the importance of debate in free society.

As I say, I’m still learning new things, including renewed assaults on a fragile First Amendment.  Facebook, the social media leviathan, currently valued at $850.459 Billion[i], posted the following notice on September 1, 2020:

Update to Our Terms

Effective October 1, 2020, section 3.2 of our Terms of Service will be updated to include: “We also can remove or restrict access to your content, services or information if we determine that doing so is reasonably necessary to avoid or mitigate adverse legal or regulatory impacts to Facebook.”

The announcement arrived just in time to relieve me of the PTSD from California’s wildfires; evacuated like many others, our family bivouacked indoors in a futile attempt to avoid the toxic, smog-ladened air.  Antiquated practices — such as controlled burns, the maintenance of fire roads, selective timber harvesting, intelligent grazing of public lands, and increasing firefighting inventories — are passé in our burnt-out State; decades of decisions by desk jockeys rather than farmers or ranchers took their toll; luckily, electric vehicles are still vogue here, to the delight of rare earth miners and Millennials.  And so, the helpful Facebook announcement (just days after I had finished sweeping ash off of our roofs and decks) afforded heartwarming proof that the geniuses at 1601 Willow Road in Menlo Park toil ardently onward for the sake of humanity.

Toni Morrison, the renowned novelist, wrote about knowing why the caged bird sings; as a Republican in California, I can attest to knowing why birds, caged or otherwise, don’t sing.  By way of example, in the town of Ocean Hills, several senior citizens who placed American flags and political signs in their yards had their properties vandalized.  The outcome for many California Republicans, who value their personal safety, is self-censure.  One remarkably talented IP lawyer currently looking for employment quietly explained to me her preference of employment over a Bill of Rights’ liberty.  The First Amendment right to speak freely is one thing.  But, to be able to work and put food on the table are another.  Such is the Realpolitik.

If for some reason, my opinions are stripped from the pages of Facebook in the future (rather than merely throttled or blocked[ii]), I do have the alternative of standing on a corner with a cardboard sign which reads: “Honk if You Love the First Amendment!”  I realize that in the not-to-distant future, self-driving cars may damn me with silence, but forgive me the indulgence.

The debate at hand is whose First Amendment right is it?  The content publisher’s or the content creator’s?[iii]  If you really want to raise the ire of social media behemoths, you might accuse them of being a substantial monopoly and treat them as public utilities.  Conservatives aren’t keen to the idea, because it could result in governmental overreach, where the cure is worse than the malady.  Jim Geraghty of the National Review warns:

“Facebook has a lot of flaws, and it’s earned much of the criticism it’s received. But there’s little reason to think that some sort of federal Facebook Utility Commission would fix what really has people upset with the platform, and every reason to think such a commission would worsen the things people like about it.”[iv]

The controversial Steve Bannon on the other hand, is willing to take the risk and argues the converse.[v]  In the meantime, while the debate continues, if your posts on social media become censured, you can’t say that you weren’t put on notice.  Some may wonder: where is Teddy Roosevelt when we need him?


[i], 9/2/2020, 9:39 am, PDT.





Take a Knee for Hao Haidong

Take a Knee for Hao Haidong

Hao Haidong
(Getty Images.)

Take A Knee for Hao Haidong

(What a Real Hero Looks Like)
© 2020 by Peter Verbica

Before yesterday, I confess to not knowing much about Communist China’s top goal scorer, Hao Haidong.  As a child, my family attended Stanford Indian football games, rather than soccer games.  Every year, like millions of Americans, we watched the Super Bowl.  Granted, I know little about the striker’s personal life.  This I do know.  Yesterday, Haidong unequivocally put his own life, and perhaps the rest of his family’s, on the line by criticizing the CCP.  Shortly after his condemnation of his country’s totalitarian rulers, his social media account with millions of followers was summarily erased.[i]  With a simple keystroke.  Gone.

In the US, we have historically taken Freedom of Speech for granted; reports of censure by Facebook, Instagram (bought by Facebook in 2012), Twitter, and Google’s wholly-owned YouTube, remind us of this sacred right’s fragility.[ii]  While Americans are preoccupied with civil unrest and social injustice, two of the world’s main sovereigns, Russia and Communist China, have a very real history of silencing their critics.  If you believe news reports, the practice is often permanent.  Beijing, according to Arch Puddington, Distinguished Fellow for Democracy Studies at Freedom House, holds the dubious distinction of being a “global leader in political prisoners.”[iii]  Many of Putin’s critics, such as Lesin, Litvinenko, Politkovskaya, Estemirova, Markelov, Baburova, wind up assassinated.[iv]  If taking a knee honors Haidong’s heroic criticism of an autocratic regime, then count me in.

Haidong’s courage is a reminder of the Unknown Rebel’s indelible heroism seen at Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989, when students stood in front of tanks.[v]  As the specter of the CCP overshadows Hong Kong, Taiwan and the South China Sea, and the United States of America’s Exceptionalism is seditiously divided from within, the world needs heroes like Haidong who stand up to the genuine tyrants.  As the Kinks song recites, “this is Captain America calling.”  The looters and rioters who set fire to a firefighter’s Minneapolis bar and slay a policeman in Oakland are a heinous contrast; they are “the hollow men,” “the stuffed men,” the “empty men,” of which T.S. Eliot writes.[vi]  Meanwhile, the world may never learn the truth of what transpired at the CCP’s classified lab in Wuhan, now run by Major General Chen Wei.[vii]  Most Americans remain blissfully unaware of the Communist Chinese string of heavily fortified underground military bases, including the Bombay Reef in the Paracel Islands[viii], Djibouti at the Horn of Africa[ix] and an “extensive tunnel system for nuclear weapons” on the mainland.[x]

So, if you’re a virtue-signaling opportunist who prefers to take a knee rather than saluting the brave, I invite you to take a knee for a genuine contemporary hero.  One fearless man who stands against totalitarianism — unlike faceless baristas with bricks.  If you must take a knee for diversity, consider taking a knee for diversity of ideas, such as “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” and take a knee for Hao Haidong.











The Balancing of Rocks

The Balancing of Rocks

© 2020 by Peter Coe Verbica

A few years back, I sat down in Hon. George Shultz’ office at the Hoover Institution to seek the US Marine’s advice.  His office included photographs which evidenced his close and lifelong friendship with Ronald Reagan, our 40th President.  Along with the myriad of books which lined his workplace, I noticed the rectangle of paper currency in a small frame.  The bill had an image of balancing rocks as its center piece.  I recognized the large denomination immediately, as I had a similar one in my collection.  I wasn’t surprised to see that Secretary Shultz also understood the irony and consequences of fiat currency issued with capriciousness.  In addition to serving as Secretary of Labor, Director of the OMB, Secretary of State, Shultz also held the office of the 62nd US Secretary of the Treasury.  Though the reserve note stated a value of “One Hundred Trillion Dollars,” I knew that its significance was for its novelty, rather than any backing by its original issuer, the government of Zimbabwe.  One of Shultz’ favorite sayings is “Trust is the coin of the realm.”  Since he had the unenviable responsibility of decoupling the US Dollar from the gold standard during the Nixon administration, I can understand why it would be of profound relevance to the Secretary.

While we are on the topic of trust: many students, especially those who have studied economics, are familiar with the ill-fated consequences of the Weimer Republic inflating its currency to a point where wallets were replaced by wheelbarrows.  The policy was a response to Germany’s being saddled with post-WW I debt reparations, but France also used the same strategy when it was saddled with debt during the late 1700’s.  After nationalizing land which had been formerly held by the Church, the French government decided to issue paper currency to satiate its borrowings.  While gold and silver coins had some intrinsic value associated with their alloys, the new paper money would be guaranteed by the good faith of the French people and the wise stewardship of its government.  Andrew D. White wrote about how lofty ideals met with ugly consequences in his 1882 treatise, Paper Money, Inflation in France, How It Came, What It Brought and How It Ended:

“The truth which it brings out with great clearness is that doubling the quantity of money or substitutes for money in a nation simply increases prices, disturbs values, alarms capital, diminishes legitimate enterprise, and so decreases the demand both for products and for labor; that the only persons to be helped by it are the rich who have large debts to pay.”

The more recent supernova example of hyperinflation and currency devaluation is the country of Venezuela.  Despite its being resource rich (reportedly ranking number one in oil reserves and having cash crops such as cocoa and coffee), its citizens have been ground down into abject poverty under the heel of an autocratic Socialist.  The country’s hyperinflation would confound most handheld calculators and strains the imagination.  In 2019, the International Monetary Fund pegged the projected inflation rate at 10,000,000%.[i]  Resourceful street vendors in Bogota and elsewhere have determined a higher and better use for the near-worthless currency: women’s handbags.  One enterprising vendor, who learned the technique of making textiles out of paper in prison, praises the valueless Venezuelan banknotes’ qualities of durability and water repellence.

Is concern about such ephemeral esoterica such as the U.S. national debt best left to conspiracy theorists and wearers of tinfoil hats?  With the estimated U.S. national debt clocking in at $23,692,367,201,235 at 10:03 am this morning on April 3, 2020, perhaps the rest of us should begin to ring alarm as well.  Additional metrics show the U.S. debt ratio at 109.37% to the GDP; to put things in perspective, it’s more than double the figure of 53.05% in 1960.  Debt per taxpayer weighs in at $191,172.[ii]  Valentin Schmid warns, “This means that everyone who wants to protect their savings must become a financial speculator, as simply holding U.S. dollars will lead to a guaranteed loss of purchasing power.” (“Inflation, a Hidden Tax,” Epoch Times).  Adding to the current monumental debt burden, bipartisan leaders in DC have burdened their printing presses even further with the hasty passing of a $2 Trillion Dollar Coronavirus Stimulus Package.  Cash may have once been king, but in today’s sick world, it could very well end up the joker.




Sage and Saddles: CCR Profile of Tom Wilson

Sage and Saddles: CCR Profile of Tom Wilson

by Peter Verbica,
CCR President

Tom Wilson leads Hemet-San Jacinto Congress of RepublicansAnyone who grew up on a farm or ranch gets instant credibility in my book — especially since I wrote Hard-Won Cowboy Wisdom (Not Necessarily in Order of Importance).  So, when interviewing Tom Wilson, the President of Hemet-San Jacinto Congress of Republicans, I was ecstatic to learn that Tom grew up on Rancho Pavoreal, located in a rural part of Hemet known as “Sage.”  There’s nothing like loading hay, cleaning stalls and tractor work to teach life-long lessons.  Tom is a living testament to this principle.  He shoots straight.

Rancho Pavoreal was part of a suite of holdings which made up the empire of Pennsylvania billionaire, Benjamin Coates.  The sister ranch, Rancho Guejito, in San Diego County is reported to be one of the few remaining intact Spanish land grants.  While the ranch that Tom grew up on may not have been as famous, it does have a more entertaining name.  Those who speak Spanish will know that “pavoreal” translates to “peacock.”  Visitors of the Wilson family would be greeted by 30 peacocks and guests always loved collecting the beautiful feathers.  More traditional activities such as farming alfalfa and raising Herefords and hogs helped pay the ranch’s bills.

Tom met his wife, Louise, when they attended San Jacinto High School, home to the Tigers.  He played football as a lineman and a defense end.  Tom jokes that his wife must have been near-sighted, but it is obvious that they make a great team.  This year, they celebrate 47 years of marriage.  Their children, Matt and twins Laurie and Kristy attended Hemet H.S. and then all bounded off to college.  Matt studied biology at UC San Diego and his sisters went off to “The Farm,” also known as Stanford.  Both ladies went on to get law degrees and now they have successful careers in the credit counseling business.  The Wilson tribe continues to grow with their seven grandchildren.  And, while Tom describes himself as “car nut” (Jeeps and Corvettes), Louise makes sure he expands his horizons with trips to Europe and an upcoming trip to Israel with a church group.

The Hemet-San Jacinto Congress of Republicans has had a long line of terrific presidents, including current CCR Board Member, Sharon Durbin, and former CCR President Robin Lowe.  Tom maintains this tradition and brings a wealth of experience; he served for eleven years as a California State Legislature Field Representative for Congressman Paul Cook, Senator Bill Emmerson, Senator Mike Morrell, and Assemblyman Chad Mayes.  He has also served as a Riverside County Republican Party Delegate.  His civic involvement is extensive as well, including Kiwanis, CASA, Valley Health System Board, San Jacinto Education Foundation, San Jacinto Valley Action Group and more.  His professional life is just as impressive.  He’s been a successful small business owner for seventeen years, helped by his previous experience as store manager of several different Safeway and Liquor Barn stores.

The long and short of all this?  Under Tom Wilson’s leadership, Hemet San Jacinto Congress of Republicans will continue to be a Republican rock in the river.  CCR tips its hat to Tom!

Happy Horse Pucky – First the Indians, Now the Cowboys

Happy Horse Pucky – First the Indians, Now the Cowboys

By Peter Coe Verbica

This week, I met a forty year old woman who despises cowboys.  At first blush, she seemed sane enough; there weren’t any flames shooting out of her ears, nor was she wearing a tin-foil hat. But, these are weird times and an errant way of thinking has taken over even well-educated minds across the country.  We were in California but she was dressed more like a New Yorker.  That should have given me a clue, perhaps.  We attended the same expensive Cambridge school, but apparently I had been reading the wrong textbooks. Other than her propensity to swear in her first sentences upon meeting me (and expressing sincere frustration with her ailing father), I had no real clue what ire was in store.

I treated her to a coffee and seated her like a gentleman.  (Call me old-fashioned; I still hold doors open for women and wish friends a “Merry Christmas.”)  But, when she began telling me that the word “cowboy” was gender insensitive, I shifted weight to the balls of my feet and checked for the location of the doors in case I needed to make an exit.  I wasn’t sure if she meant her offense was because “cow” refers to the female of the species.  I was also told that images of white men holding Winchesters was “racist.” When I explained that the painting was from the taking of San Juan Hill and a reference to Teddy Roosevelt and Cuba, she looked at me with a benign vacancy.

Now, my grandmother was part Native American, and unless I’m illegitimate, so am I.  Not nearly enough blood to be on the tribal roll, but enough to keep me interested.  I have a badge to prove it.  My wife also has Native American blood and my mom spent her final years in the Capitol of a tribal nation.  So, I suppose it’s odd that I do my best to defend cowboy culture which appears to be under assault.  I did grow up on a commercial cattle ranch.  But, anyone who has studied history knows that cowboys came from a myriad of ethnicities.  I display postage stamps of Black and Hispanic cowboys to make the point to the ignorant.  (God bless Gauchos and Vaqueros.) I explained to this new acquaintance that Bill Pickett, a Black American featured on a US postage stamp, was the first to introduce bulldogging; she asked what that was and I explained that it was a rodeo sport which evolved into steer wrestling.  I also explained the role of Sephardic Jews and others to cowboy culture.  These facts were of little interest to her.

Yes, I get it that Columbus got his nomenclature of an indigenous culture wrong because he got lost.  And I know he was a merciless brute.  But, I happily remember when Stanford’s mascot wasn’t renamed a tree by sanctimonious students and Prince Lightfoot proudly danced over each yard line.   And, despite the opinion of certain students, not all Native American students or alumni agreed with the name change.

When I proposed that America was better off being owned by Americans, she found the concept to be “jingoistic.” Apparently, Gandhi’s ideas of booting out the Brits and being self-sufficient wouldn’t have gone over well with her either; she explained that she could care less if property was owned by the Chinese, the Saudis or the Russians, as long as she got a small piece of the pie.  She said, in effect, the more foreign money the better.  I suppose that’s the kind of Realpolitik which brings tears of joy to Kissinger’s eyes, but I’m of the opinion that if you don’t own your dirt, you’re headed towards serfdom.  If I chronicled how many cities have flipped from a majority of owners to a majority of renters, you’d understand the real underlying cause of why America is evolving into Amerika.  Property rights have been throttled to where owners can no longer build to higher and better use; to heck with free market economics: Wise Bureaucrats Know Better.

My new acquaintance also railed about the lineage of old white male US presidents and took comfort in taking them down one at a time, a bald reference, I suppose, to the multi-racial Obama being elected, and perhaps a nod to Queen Hillary being robbed from her rightful throne and to the sputtering and mad-capped rise of Elizabeth Warren.   Color of skin and age were the real issue, it appeared, not whether a President had the character of Abraham Lincoln or the reputation of Richard Nixon.  If they were old white men, all, apparently, were cut from the same cloth.

To lighten the conversation, I asked her about her children and was told the number; then, I asked their genders and was told that the youngsters currently “identified” as boys.   My first reaction was with a mother like theirs, I had an unequivocal charitable duty to take them hunting so that they could pee on trees and breathe in some helicopter-parent free air.  But, as I say, these are the oddest times, when the Boy Scouts of America are now just the “Scouts” and rural students are no longer allowed to bring their .22 or .410 shotgun to school so that they can go hunting afterwards.

But, these are the times which try men’s souls, where up is down and down is up.  I had received a cajoling corporate email pleading with me (“Count Me In!”) to opt in with respect to questions about my gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, personal pronoun choice and military service.  In addition, a barrage of communications have invited me to celebrate certain months of race and genders and to be an “Ally” to those with different lifestyle preferences.  Gone is the simple concept of diversity being about different ideas; gone is true debate in American culture; taking strategy from the Communist playbook, label, divide and conquer.  PC Amerika and its comrades plow forward: first the Indians and now the cowboys.