This is the Most Wonderful Time of Year
The season begins with leaves changing their color and the weather turning crisper and cooler. The obscene dry heat is a thing of the past and the air just smells better. In California, we begin our hopes that we will get rain. Anticipation grows as several holidays and celebrations approach.
Perhaps my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It reminds us to be grateful for everything we hold dear and for our good fortune. A joyous feast is the center piece of the holiday where we consume great quantities of comfort food with family members. During our food coma, we play games, exchange stories, and enjoy each other’s company. We flashback to the difficulties faced by the earliest settlers and their perseverance that led to the formation of the greatest country on earth that provides the freedom and liberties we all enjoy every day of the year.
Christmas sneaks up on us next. It always seems to arrive too quickly, but it is a wonderful journey. We attend several parties, mail Christmas cards to our friends, reach out to persons that we don’t see regularly, and make lists for gift shopping and check it twice. We start scheduling the timetable to watch our favorite movies, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, “Frosty the Snowman”, “Miracle on 34th Street”, “A Christmas Carol”, “How the Grinch stole Christmas”, and “Elf”, to name a few. And it all culminates with another family gathering where gifts are exchanged, and another delicious meal is shared.
New Years Eve is a late but festive evening and morphs into parades and football bowl games on January 1st. Another time for friends and family to gather and make our resolutions for the year. And of course, more food.
I love the Holiday Season. Let the diets begin.
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:
- Email a flyer with information 2 weeks before our general meeting
- Phone call reminder to members 7 days before our general meeting
- Email meeting details & last month’s minutes five days before our general meeting
- Email newsletter two days before our general meeting
- 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: email@example.com
© 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.