Lapeer County Tea Party

Keeping the grass roots growing!!

    For anyone that is interested, I have added Cindy's response as I said I would do. Once again, let me make it perfectly clear that I speak for myself alone and in no way represent the Lapeer County Tea Party Patriots or any other group. I have many friends and know many wonderful patriots whose groups are among those who are participating in MI4CS and others who are not. Again, for full disclosure, my organization withdrew very early on. I wholeheartedly support the right of ANY group or groups to do anything they would like and that includes a straw poll. No group or individual in my view has the right to tell another private individual or organization what to do. That being said, the fact that MI4CS will not release the names of participating groups only marginalizes the impact which they are trying to achieve.

  Many are worried about this group speaking for the Tea Parties in general. We need to let them complete their endeavor. If, after they do their straw poll there is confusion about just who what the message is, any non participating group/s can issue a clarification or joint press release at that time if deemed necessary.

  For now I will put my trust in my fellow Patriots in MI4CS that they will present themselves with dignity and respect, as I would hope that ALL of us Patriots would do. Though we might be using different tactics, we are working ultimately for the same result - to retire one U.S. Senator.

  I have continued my emails with Cindy and though I might disagree with her on many points, I will continue to keep the conversation going in a respectful and dignified way. As I said in my email, I expect that we will be working together after the primary regardless of who the nominee is. While I certainly have a personal favorite, ANY of these candidates would be favorable to another 6 years with Ms. Stabenow. I for one do not believe that our country and state can survive another term of her and President Obama's liberal policies. Hopefully, my children will be allowed the opportunity to be blessed by our great nation, but if we do not fire those who wish to tear down all that which our Founders dreams built, they will have no such opportunity.  Wm. Gavette


Below is the updated exchange between Cindy and myself (It is with Cindy's permission that I post her response):



   Cindy – The bottom line is that we need to dump Debbie. I know that we can both agree on that. I have no doubt that we are NOT going to convince each other that we are wrong or incorrect in what we are trying to do or believe. I have tried to make sure that I always keep everything I am doing above board. That is why I made sure you were on the call to Max Pappas. As Jim Lefler will attest, I have been banned from several sites and groups,  and our conversation strings deleted when I have defended the MI4CS folks for absolutely having the right to do anything their members choose. I believe that you have a right to take any kind of straw poll that you would like, no matter what I or anyone else think.

 Forgetting the other concerns that I have, the number one issue for me is that there is no identifying the groups involved. I at no time said anything about identifying individuals. I understand why it is you do not want to put them out there. But since you mentioned the Alliance and other groups, if you will notice, ALL the member groups are listed along with their contact info and websites. There is no question about who it is or what groups are involved. The same is true or the Tea Part of West Michigan, and the Northern Michigan Liberty Alliance. They all list the organizations that are involved. That was all I was suggesting.

  If you and your groups do not feel the need to address this and put an identity of what groups are involved, that is your right, but you certainly will lose credibility. Most of the criticism of the MI4CS process has come from a lack of communications and information. I know that much of this was beyond your control, but there have been some major holes.

  As I said in my earlier notes, you did a great job on the debate, and the website. How ever your straw poll turns out, I wish MI4CS well.  My organization withdrew very early on because of our concerns over the process so how you run your endeavor is your business. If after the process there needs to be any “clarifications” on just who did what, it can be addressed then. I have no doubt that we will be working together after the primary to get rid of Debbie as there is NOTHING more important than giving out children a future, and keeping Debbie would be a major threat to that. I believe that we have one shot to get this right. I am tired of the disagreements from both sides which should be united and are not. It takes 2 to have a conversation, one to speak, and one to listen. Adults should be able to have conversations where there is disagreement without calling the other names. Way to many people on both sides are stepping over the line and it needs to stop.

  You have given explanations on the concerns that I have. I still believe even more that your tactic of not releasing the names of the groups is the wrong way to go as you should not hide from something that you feel convicted to do such as the statement of the straw poll. Our Declaration of Independence would look much different is it was just signed by “THE FOUNDERS”. We all must do what the good Lord demands us to. We can agree to disagree. Let us move on to more constrictive projects. Rest assured, I will support the winner of the primary whoever that is and God Willing, we will retire one  U.S. Senator in November.  Bill Gavette


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From: Cindy Gamrat [mailto:cindy@michigan4conservativesenate.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 3:21 PM
To: Gavette Bill
Subject: Response to your posting

 

 

 Hi Bill, 

 

Someone told me about the post you had up with a letter addressed to me.    You will find my response below.  Please post along with your letter.

It saddens me that you felt that his would be the right avenue to address your concerns with.  

 

God Bless,

Cindy

 

 

 For those who are not aware, there has been much discussion about the MI4CS (Michigan For Conservative Senate) effort to unite many tea parties behind one of the current candidates for U.S. Senate. While this effort and the groups involved have had the best of intentions, because of a few folks there seems to be some concern about exactly what this effort means. There have been many questions asked and there are many things that are still unclear. Since I believe in total transparency and accountability, I have sent an email to Cindy Gamrat. the director of this effort to get some information with my concerns as they seem to be concerns of many others.   As posts and comments are being deleted on Facebook and other websites, I will post here my concerns about the MI4CS effort. I will most certainly post any response from Cindy. I speak for myself alone and this is not a reflection of the Lapeer County Tea Party Patriots. Here is my response:

 

Hello everyone!  Sorry for the delayed response to Bill's post, however, although it was addressed to me it was not sent directly to me so I was unaware of this posting until I was told about it by a friend.  Bill, if you could send me letters that you post addressed to me in the future, I would greatly appreciate it:-)  I will put my responses in red.  This response is from me and I have shared this letter with some of the company mentioned above so they may be responding if they desire as well.

 

Bill, I did not receive this posting that you have hear on the website.  Below was the last email that you sent to me on January 14th.  There wasn't anything included that would lead me to believe that you had further questions or concerns that I should address, so I am surprised and saddened to see this posting.

 Great job on the debate. It looked great on USTREAM. Is it ok if I post the video around? I would like to post it on the Alliance site but I wanted to check with you first. There are several Alliance groups involved, and this is a great vetting tool. Thanks again.  Bill Gavette

 

 

Dear Cindy and company,

Congratulations on the well run and professional state-wide debate, my wife and I watched it on line and appreciated it very much. While the debate was nicely organized, I still have deep reservations about the overall MI4CS endorsement process and with your most recent email can remain silent no more.

I am very concerned that the upcoming tea party MI4CS “endorsement” will be misunderstood. These are my reasons: the MI4CS holds itself up as a vehicle to forge consensus and unity, but launching the MI4CS and and keeping the names of the participating groups secret have done the exact opposite. The MI4CS is causing dissent and disunity amongst tea party organizations and more importantly those who follow and are influenced by the tea parties.  

There has been no intent for MI4Cs to cause disunity, however, the opposite is true, we have went tried to be very intentional and have went to great lengths to bring unity through inviting all groups, making this all voluntary, not singling out any groups in any way, getting feedback from the groups around the state, and encouraging groups to respect the decisions of the other groups. I am aware of some who are not participating in MI4CS who are trying to mount an effort against MI4CS.  If you don't like that divisiveness (which I don't either), please join me in calling on all groups and patriots to respect each other's decision to participate or not with MI4CS.  

 

It is not fair to say MI4CS represents the unified voice of the Michigan tea party movement. No one has made such a claim, and I would agree with you:-)  I would hope that you would be more realistic with what you eventually send to the press.  You know there are several prominent tea party organizations that have pulled out, other groups are pulling out, and there have been many legitimate concerns that the organizers have not resolved,  this string being a good example. 

   

Prominent TEA Party organizations? - I am sorry Bill but I don't classify TEA Party groups the same way you do.  I look at groups that are big, small, or medium and thank God for each one of them!  Some of these smaller or medium size groups, that may not seem as prominent in your eyes, are in there fighting the fight and busting their butts for the same goals as the "more prominent groups".  It is because of these groups that are spread all around in the corners of the state, that we will move freedom forward in this country.  To see some groups as having more value and prominence than another is a mentality that I just do not share with you.  Each group has value and worth and I do not consider one more prominent or important than another.

Yes there are some groups who have decided not to participate with MI4CS, and that has never been hidden or a secret, nor have those groups been targeted or singled out in any way.   A 100% participation rate was never expected nor is it realistic.  

I think the MI4CS represents substantially less than a majority of tea parties in Michigan. I am sorry that is what you think, but that is not how the numbers add up.  Please, see my response below as to the numbers of groups.  It would be a shame to hold out the results of the upcoming convention on February 25 as the voice of Michigan’s tea party. There is no "Michigan's TEA Party" that I am aware of, the closest thing I can think of is the Michigan TEA Party Alliance, who are groups working together.  However, just as they do not speak for all the TEA Parties (even thought their name might lead some to believe otherwise), MI4CS does not speak for all TEA Parties as well.  So it seems that we are on the same page:-)  It would portray a false picture to the general public and numerous tea party activists across the state. It would be dishonest.  See above statement.  I agree, that is why we are not doing that:-)

 

We in tea party demand integrity and transparency from public officials and politicians. We are right to hold them accountable. I also believe we should be consistent in our dealings, and be transparent in all that we do. I would urge you and your group to reconsider your decision to not release the names of the participating groups, though from your latest email, I can see that it would be highly unlikely that you would.  

 

If this is the standard held to all TEA Party groups and organizations, than I would expect that you have also posted on your blog a similar request in asking the TEA Party of West Oakland County along with other TEA Party's who endorse to release the names of all of their members along with their endorsements.  I have yet to see this same request made of these other groups, although you say that your dealings need to be consistent.  This may be your standard that you hold groups to but everyone does not share that same standard.  For instance, I am aware that when an organization endorses a candidate, the endorsement comes from the organization.  I would not expect that the TEA Party of West Oakland or any other group should have to release the names of their members in order to feel like they are making a legitimate endorsement.  You are attempting to hold MI4CS to a standard that is not followed by other groups and organizations.  

The MI4CS endorsement comes from MI4CS, not from the groups.  The groups participate in a straw poll to tell MI4CS which candidate should be endorsed.

 

In the initial organizing phase of this effort, we were told that FreedomWorks! requires at least 70% participation for MI4CS to be considered a credible process. By most accounts, it seems the MI4CS is falling well short of 70%. 

I am not sure what your accounts are that you are using to make this statement, but it is inaccurate.  MI4CS is still well above 70%.  However, if that were not the case, MI4CS is not based on what FreedomWorks decides.  In fact, FreedomWorks is not even part of any of the Framework of MI4CS.  They are a group who has come in and supported the Hoosiers For Conservative Senate endorsed candidate in Indiana and when asked if they would do the same for Michigan they said yes (when they were asked before the Dewitt meeting).  Any one super PAC or group who wants to come behind the endorsed MI4CS candidate is certainly welcome, however, MI4CS is about TEA Party's having a louder voice in a national election, not about the voice of FreedomWorks.  

 

Per your last email in which you stated that "MI4CS has been entrusted with the private information of over 100 individual TEA Party and Liberty group members from the initial meeting in November of 2011.  That number has grown to nearly 200 since then." How can this number keep growing? We were told that at the meeting in Dewitt that as of that meeting, only those groups who were present that day would be allowed to participate. People and groups seem to be materializing and replacements seem to be filling in the void where other groups have left. This is NOT what was said in the beginning. The lack of accountability and transparency makes fact checking impossible. For someone who always makes verifiability a MUST when putting anything out to the public, this is very troubling. 

There are many inaccurate insinuations in the above statement.  Although every effort was made to invite every TEA Party group in the state to come to the initial meeting in Dewitt, there were some groups, long having been established and running, that because of scheduling and various reasons could not get a representative to come to Dewitt.  Communications continued with those groups through updates and district communication reps and other leaders reaching out to them as well.  Many of those groups have confirmed that yes, although they could not make it to the initial Dewitt meeting,  they would still like to participate and work together with the other groups around the state with MI4CS.  These groups met the same parameters as the other groups that showed up and therefore have been allowed to participate. 

In addition, more members of the participating groups have joined up with the various teams since Dewitt, such as the vetting team, writing team, research team, debate team, etc.  These members have been added to the email list as well so that they can receive the important updates that the leaders are receiving.  Lastly, some groups have requested additional leaders be added from their group so that they can also receive the updates to help their leadership board stay on the same page.  As far as brand new groups being added, which was discussed at Dewitt and also again by the Communication reps, only 1 recently formed group, (who started up their meetings around the time we met in Dewitt) has been officially added so far to MI4CS.  And they were only added through verification by multiple TEA Parties leaders who have been attending the meetings of this group in their area, as well as having requested the group to submit the names of their board members.  

 

As far as new groups go - we should be embracing them, not restricting them - we should be calling them up and saying, "Congratulations, I heard you just started a TEA Party group recently, it might be hard but stick with it, and if you need anything just holler, we'd love to help.  And by the way, if you'd like to work on a pretty big and exciting project with other groups around the state - we'd love to have you join us!"  We need new groups to help maintain and grow this wonderful grassroots TEA Party movement and should be encouraging them.  There are a few other newer groups that have been meeting for some months now and have also shown interest in participating with MI4CS.  If they meet the parameters set up for the rest of the groups and are verified so that we know they are not a group just forming to sabotage this effort, they will be welcomed just as all the other groups were.

So, yes, while some groups have decided not to participate, many others have decided to, and MI4CS has grown in many ways, entirely legitimately.  

 

In addition, the TEA Party leaders who I have had the privilege to work with with MI4CS have maintained integrity and honesty through this entire process, and it saddens me to see not just myself, but also these other leaders being unjustly accused. 

 

 

Beyond that 70% threshold, it is reasonable to ask what types of groups are participating. Many of the largest, most active, well established groups are not participating,  some because it makes no sense to give equal weight (two convention votes) to a 20-member club, and the same number of votes ( 2 votes) to, say, Rattle With Us which has 800+ members and is highly active. The current MI4CS process is not fair. It is not proportional. 

Before I address proportional voting, it is fitting to say here that there are large groups who are participating in Mi4CS who do not have an issue with having 2 votes per group.  This was not an issue in Indiana as well.  I spoke to a friend of mine in a large group down there and he said they recognized that they were stronger united as a multitude of groups around the state, than their 1 large group would be separated, and they felt that the U.S. Senate seat was worth coming together to fight for.

 

Proportional voting  is a question and suggestion that has been brought up and discussed multiple times between many leaders involved with MI4CS.  After all the discussion it continues to be determined that MI4CS simply does not have an accurate or valid mechanism in place to count membership and neither do many of the groups, so to base the entire voting process on this would be irresponsible at this point.  You mention fair, proportional, and membership.   I will use just a few examples to illustrate the difficulty with proportional voting at this time.  For instance, when you registered your group for the Dewitt conference, you put down your group's membership as 1100 members, however, on your website yesterday it showed 42 members listed with an additional 31 members on the group's facebook page.  Someone familiar with your group recently said that they recall you generally have anywhere from 50 to 200 people who show up to your regular meetings.  This is quite a huge discrepancy in numbers, how many votes should a group get in this situation?  Is it up to the groups themselves of how many votes they should get, or would some panel have to make that call?  Would the groups need to just take you at your word that you have 1100 members to give you additional votes, or would you need to release a list of your membership with contact information so that it can be verified?  If you would like to be taken at your word, can't you take MI4CS at it's word with how many members there are participating?  This is just one example of one group, multiply this issue with all the groups and it becomes even more complex.   

 

You mentioned above that  "verifiability is a MUST", the way MI4CS is set up is much more verifiable than what you are suggesting with proportional voting.  TEA Parties as a group are much easier to verify than members of a group.  You say MI4CS is not fair - is it more fair to give additional votes based on proportion when some of the groups count their members as simply the number of people who have entered their website or facebook pages?  Another illustration is the TEA Party of West Oakland who shows 600 members on it's website but when they registered for Dewitt, they said they had a group of 900 members.  How many votes would they get and who decides?  With the example you use above with Rattle With Us, you mention they have 800+ members.  When they registered they put down 750.  My guess is their group is growing.  TEA Parties are pretty fluid and grow and sometimes shrink, do we constantly keep changing the vote number to reflect that, and if a group all of a sudden gets a whole bunch of new members, would it be okay to question them like you have questioned MI4CS above?  If we start questioning some groups to verify their membership, shouldn't we make all groups verify their members?  What about the groups that count their members by how many actually show up and are active in their meetings, is it fair that they would get less votes than a group who just counts numbers based on who visits their ning site?   I am not saying this to question any groups advertised membership number, it is not my place to do so, but am saying it to illustrate to you just some of the many difficulties that arise by trying to move MI4CS into a proportional voting mechanism at this time.  And again, how are these members verified to give the vote credibility?  They could be active members, or just members who wanted to see your site, or members from other TEA Party groups around the state, or media visiting your site, or candidates and their campaigns, etc.. The way MI4CS is currently set up and the parameters that are in place for verifying groups, can give people confidence in exactly what kind of groups are participating and voting, in a way that proportional membership voting can not.  

 

Credibility and Verifiability - These are 2 very important aspects of MI4CS.  That is one of the reasons why proportional voting doesn't work as outlined above, the numbers of members and the members themselves cannot be verified to give a credible vote.  However, TEA Party groups can be and have been verified.  Posted on the website are the general parameters that groups participating in MI4CS fall under.  These parameters were used before Dewitt but were discussed amongst the District Communication reps and also among groups before they were reconfirmed by the district communication reps back in December.  These parameters give confidence to the vote as it is clear what types of groups are participating.  MI4CS is not a free for all designed for anyone or any type of group to participate.  It was designed for the grass roots TEA Parties.  It is important to have parameters for members because it adds the verifiability that you brought up earlier, as well as prevents an individual or group of individuals from trying to sabotage MI4CS by pretending to be something they are not.  I have been told that Michigan has already experienced this through some people setting up a "fake" TEA Party in the last election.  MI4CS has been proactive in this area to try and prevent such an occurrence. 

 

Others like us in Lapeer, though not necessarily happy with all of Mr. Hoekstra's record, certainly do not to alienate a man who has a better than 50/50 shot at being the nominee. No one has tried to alienate Mr. Hoekstra, he has removed himself from much of the process even though many from MI4CS have went to extra lengths to invite him and welcome him into the process.  

 

We heard Mr. Bishop and the gentleman from Freedomworks both say at the meeting in Dewitt and unchallenged by you, that it needed to be anyone but Hoekstra. This is not how you sold it the 1ST Alliance when you were at our meeting. We went in expecting that it was going to be a non biased effort to see who would be the "most electable" conservative. It has turned into something substantially different.  

What I stated at the Alliance meeting was exactly what I was aware of at the time.  I had spoken to Brendan from FreedomWorks (he was the one who spoke at their meeting in Indiana), and I asked if Michigan TEA Parties did something similar would FreedomWorks be willing to back the candidate picked by MI4CS as well, like they have in Indiana.  I was told yes, no qualifications were given to me at that time.  Until the phone conference call with Max Pappas, I had never heard of their 3 pillars and I do not recall them mentioning it or ever hearing it with their dealings in Indiana either.   There was an update sent out to all the MI4CS members after that conference call letting them all know about the 3 pillars for requirements that Freedom Works has before they will endorse a candidate.  Your implication that I was trying to "sell" something that I knew not to be true at the time is false.  It is still "non biased" as any candidate can win, the only bias will be whichever candidates the groups favor and vote for in the straw poll.  I also do not recall ever saying that MI4CS was about getting the "most electable" candidate.  The mission statement for MI4CS is and has all along been to replace Debbie Stabenow with a Constitutional Conservative who will take the voice and the values of the TEA Parties to Washington.  The purpose of the boots on the ground and the unity is so that we can be a force to make sure this candidate is not only electable but wins and is the next U.S. Senator for Michigan.

 

A few months ago, you and others said there were 100-120 tea party organizations in Michigan.   Last month I read that 55 tea parties were participating. Recently, I was informed the number of participating groups is dropping. 

This past summer, I had no idea how many groups were in Michigan.  I was told at the Alliance meeting by Steve Kuivenhoven and others there that there were 120 TEA Party groups in Michigan. When I finally received the "list of these TEA Party groups" from Steve, I quickly found that to be a completely inaccurate reflection of the TEA Party groups in Michigan. Many of the groups on this list were other conservative organizations such as Right to Life groups, Republican groups, women's groups, AFP, Michigan militia groups, etc.  Of the TEA Party groups that were included on that list, after months and literally hundreds of hours of trying to track them down to invite them to Dewitt, I found that many had since disintegrated, merged, or split.  Still others had changed leadership or locations of their meetings.  Some contact info was old, and some had only had 1 big public rally in 2009 or 2010 and were no longer active.  Some of you reading this have been involved in some of these mergers and splits and know exactly what I am talking about.  Out of the entire list and also through other leaders helping track down groups, there were found to be about 65 active TEA Party groups in Michigan at the time.  The total number of groups participating with MI4CS has slightly fluctuated at times, but has consistently stayed above 50 groups. This number does not reflect some of the groups that I have heard are "on the fence", so if those groups decide not to participate, it will have little effect on the overall number.

 

Your report from the debate said there were only 24 groups in attendance.  With this very low participation rate, you cannot claim the full voice of the tea party movement in Michigan is being taken into account by MI4CS.  

The CMU debate attendance in no way what so ever reflects the MI4CS participation rate.  The debate was streamed with a listen live link as well as ustreamed live.  Seating was very limited and many of the groups knew this.  In addition, many groups have already seen debates in their area and were satisfied watching it u-streamed live.  Over 20 others started out that morning and had to turn around because of the icy roads and bad accidents.  Again, to your other point, no one is claiming to be the "full voice of the TEA Party movement in Michigan".

 

I am not in any way marginalizing the work that you or your members have done thus far.  The website is a GREAT tool for vetting and I will surely do all I can to direct folks to it for research. The debate was great. I have posted it on our Lapeer site as well as the 1st Alliance site because it was done with care and the quality showed. For that, all who participated should hold their heads high.  

I am glad you found the website and the debate helpful.  Many members and groups around the state have worked very hard on both of those.  Some of these same people who should hold their heads high as you say, are the same ones that were insinuated above as somehow "materializing".

 

In previous emails, I offered to do anything I could to assist you in getting the message out when you were having difficulty. There are still things that are unclear to those who are participating, let alone the average person who is not necessarily informed on all things tea party. MI4CS is not for the average person, it is for TEA Party groups.  There are updates that go out on at least a weekly basis as well as a website with tons of information.  In addition, everyone has been sent the contacts of various leaders who are plugged in as a communication rep or on one of the teams, as well as having my email address.  Although we are not perfect, we have tried very hard in getting the information out and in.  Make no mistake, it was the people who sympathized with the tea party and our values of transparency and accountability that made 2010 possible (I am not sure what you are referring to here, the incredible wave of impact in the election that TEA Parties had across the country in the national races or the blow up that happened in Michigan?). The lack of both in this process I believe is putting our efforts to reach these people in danger and with it our biggest asset.  

I am unclear as to a how a whole bunch of groups deciding to work together, who put together an awesome website, and put on a phenomenal debate, is putting anyone or any effort in danger.  Working together and not against each other is our biggest asset in a national race.  Conservatives join TEA Parties for many reasons, one is because it helps to make their voice stronger and more powerful buy uniting with other conservatives.  The same is true when groups unite as well.   The danger comes when we fight against each other and distrust each other.

 As you undertake you next step, I hope that you do not in any way imply that you are speaking for the movement as a whole. If it is unclear in any way or could be misinterpreted as a representation of the tea party movement as a whole in Michigan, those of us who believe in accountability and transparency and have opted out of participating in the MI4CS straw poll may have to put out a joint statement with our concerns.   

As I have repeated earlier, MI4CS is not about speaking for the entire TEA Party movement, but about showing strength through unity to get a Constitutional Conservative candidate elected.  What is sad about this statement Bill is that you know many of the groups and leaders who are participating with MI4CS and that you feel that you have to look over their shoulders as big brother who will keep them in line if they so much as sway off your expectations.  That would be like me or other groups giving the same warning, if I may, to the Alliance groups, and looking over your shoulders to make sure that with the Alliance "if it is unclear in any way or could be misinterpreted as a representation of the TEA Party movement as a whole in Michigan, those of us who believe in accountability and transparency and have opted out of participating (with the Alliance), may have to put out a joint statement with our concerns."  This is ludicrous.  Although I may choose to not participate with the Alliance, I certainly don't feel I have the authority, nor do I have the inclination, to tell that coalition of groups how it should do things.  That is for the members participating with the Alliance to decide. This is not the way we should be treating each other.  If we want integrity within this movement, then we need to raise the bar and start with ourselves.   We also need to treat each other and each group with respect, giving each other the benefit of the doubt, grace, friendly suggestions, support and encouragement along the way.  We should not be watching over each other's shoulder waiting for the other to screw up, and ready to strike if they do.  This breeds distrust and the divisiveness you mentioned earlier.  

 

Instead, I compare the TEA Party movement to members of a team, each with different strengths and weaknesses but contributing nonetheless.  In any team sport, it takes effort from everyone and a willingness for everyone to work together for the common goal to win the game.  If one player considers himself more important than another, it could throw off the harmony of the entire team.  For instance, in volleyball, the hitter may get the glory of a kill, but they couldn't have hit the ball without a good set from their setter and the setter could not have given a good set without a good pass from the passer.  We are all in this together, if America goes down, we all go down with it.  Let's work together so that doesn't happen:-)

 

I am not suggesting any personal information of individuals be released, but only the names of groups who have individuals participating in the straw poll. Just because an individual might be participating, does not mean their parent group endorses MI4CS. This would allow for you to give some type of an accounting of the groups involved. To do any less is dishonest and is hypocritical. We certainly would not let this stand if it were our elected officials. Do as I say not as I do is not the way to show leadership.  

Bill, I am sorry you see it this way.  Each point in your final paragraph I have explained thoroughly above.  We have promised to all the groups way back before Dewitt that we would not release their information and we will not go back on our word, to go back on our word is what would be dishonest and hypocritical.  

 

Finally, I am disappointed that while we have people in office literally signing away our Constitutional freedoms with every chance they get, going over 1000 days without a budget, increasing the debt ceiling yet again, and appointing people unconstitutionally, here we are spending our time arguing what make and model of car we will buy to drive off the cliff in.  Instead we should be helping each other put up massive road blocks so that not only us but also our countrymen and future generations don't go off the cliff.  And it just so happens, that a lot of groups understand that and are willing to join forces to try and get that done, in this way and at this time, and I am happy to work right alongside of them:-)  I hope you can see it in your heart to not impede this honest and sincere effort of the participating groups.  As I respect and understand your group's decision, please respect the decisions of the participating groups as well. 

 

With Firm Reliance on Divine Providence, 

Cindy Gamrat


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 For those who are not aware, there has been much discussion about the MI4CS (Michigan For Conservative Senate) effort to unite many tea parties behind one of the current candidates for U.S. Senate. While this effort and the groups involved have had the best of intentions, because of a few folks there seems to be some concern about exactly what this effort means. There have been many questions asked and there are many things that are still unclear. Since I believe in total transparency and accountability, I have sent an email to Cindy Gamrat. the director of this effort to get some information with my concerns as they seem to be concerns of many others. As posts and comments are being deleted on Facebook and other websites, I will post here my concerns about the MI4CS effort. I will most certainly post any response from Cindy. I speak for myself alone and this is not a reflection of the Lapeer County Tea Party Patriots. Here is my response:

Dear Cindy and company,

Congratulations on the well run and professional state-wide debate, my wife and I watched it on line and appreciated it very much. While the debate was nicely organized, I still have deep reservations about the overall MI4CS endorsement process and with your most recent email can remain silent no more.

I am very concerned that the upcoming tea party MI4CS “endorsement” will be misunderstood. These are my reasons: the MI4CS holds itself up as a vehicle to forge consensus and unity, but launching the MI4CS and and keeping the names of the participating groups secret have done the exact opposite. The MI4CS is causing dissent and disunity amongst tea party organizations and more importantly those who follow and are influenced by the tea parties. It is not fair to say MI4CS represents the unified voice of the Michigan tea party movement. I would hope that you would be more realistic with what you eventually send to the press. You know there are several prominent tea party organizations that have pulled out, other groups are pulling out, and there have been many legitimate concerns that the organizers have not resolved,  this string being a good example. I think the MI4CS represents substantially less than a majority of tea parties in Michigan. It would be a shame to hold out the results of the upcoming convention on February 25 as the voice of Michigan’s tea party. It would portray a false picture to the general public and numerous tea party activists across the state. It would be dishonest.

We in tea party demand integrity and transparency from public officials and politicians. We are right to hold them accountable. I also believe we should be consistent in our dealings, and be transparent in all that we do. I would urge you and your group to reconsider your decision to not release the names of the participating groups, though from your latest email, I can see that it would be highly unlikely that you would.

In the initial organizing phase of this effort, we were told that FreedomWorks! requires at least 70% participation for MI4CS to be considered a credible process. By most accounts, it seems the MI4CS is falling well short of 70%. 

Per your last email in which you stated that "MI4CS has been entrusted with the private information of over 100 individual TEA Party and Liberty group members from the initial meeting in November of 2011.  That number has grown to nearly 200 since then." How can this number keep growing? We were told that at the meeting in Dewitt that as of that meeting, only those groups who were present that day would be allowed to participate. People and groups seem to be materializing and replacements seem to be filling in the void where other groups have left. This is NOT what was said in the beginning. The lack of accountability and transparency makes fact checking impossible. For someone who always makes verifiability a MUST when putting anything out to the public, this is very troubling.

Beyond that 70% threshold, it is reasonable to ask what types of groups are participating. Many of the largest, most active, well established groups are not participating,  some because it makes no sense to give equal weight (two convention votes) to a 20-member club, and the same number of votes ( 2 votes) to, say, Rattle With Us which has 800+ members and is highly active. The current MI4CS process is not fair. It is not proportional. 

Others like us in Lapeer, though not necessarily happy with Mr. Hoekstra, certainly do not to alienate a man who has a better than 50/50 shot at being the nominee. We heard Mr. Bishop and the gentleman from Freedomworks both say at the meeting in Dewitt and unchallenged by you, that it needed to be anyone but Hoekstra. This is not how you sold it the 1ST Alliance when you were at our meeting. We went in expecting that it was going to be a non biased effort to see who would be the "most electable" conservative. It has turned into something substantially different.

A few months ago, you and others said there were 100-120 tea party organizations in Michigan. Last month I read that 55 tea parties were participating. Recently, I was informed the number of participating groups is dropping. Your report from the debate said there were only 24 groups in attendance.  With this very low participation rate, you cannot claim the full voice of the tea party movement in Michigan is being taken into account by MI4CS.

I am not in any way marginalizing the work that you or your members have done thus far. The website is a GREAT tool for vetting and I will surely do all I can to direct folks to it for research. The debate was great. I have posted it on our Lapeer site as well as the 1st Alliance site because it was done with care and the quality showed. For that, all who participated should hold their heads high.

In previous emails, I offered to do anything I could to assist you in getting the message out when you were having difficulty. There are still things that are unclear to those who are participating, let alone the average person who is not necessarily informed on all things tea party. Make no mistake, it was the people who sympathized with the tea party and our values of transparency and accountability that made 2010 possible. The lack of both in this process I believe is putting our efforts to reach these people in danger and with it our biggest asset.  As you undertake you next step, I hope that you do not in any way imply that you are speaking for the movement as a whole. If it is unclear in any way or could be misinterpreted as a representation of the tea party movement as a whole in Michigan, those of us who believe in accountability and transparency and have opted out of participating in the MI4CS straw poll may have to put out a joint statement with our concerns. 
I am not suggesting any personal information of individuals be released, but only the names of groups who have individuals participating in the straw poll. Just because an individual might be participating, does not mean their parent group endorses MI4CS. This would allow for you to give some type of an accounting of the groups involved. To do any less is dishonest and is hypocritical. We certainly would not let this stand if it were our elected officials. Do as I say not as I do is not the way to show leadership.

Sincerely, William Gavette 

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Comment by Joseph (JLenardDetroit) Lenard on February 23, 2012 at 2:02pm

Marco Rubio is the example…. MI4CS is the way for MICHIGAN….

Why the simple, easy, first choices, are often people’s WORST mistake….

A Super-majority of TEA Party groups from across Michigan are meeting this weekend (Sat. 2/25) to determine who will be the next U.S. Senator from Michigan, at the Michigan4ConservativeSenate (MI4CS) Convention. MI4CS was created following a similar process from Indiana (Hoosiers 4 a Conservative Senate) and may (should?) be the next wave in TEA Party activism, across the country, to ensure REAL CONSERVATIVE Candidates make their way to GOP nominations (from BEFORE Primary elections and onto General election ballots) to thwart Establishment Republican control over the process. Informing/Educating the Electorate of REAL CHOICES and Candidates actual positions/records, before it is too late and we are stuck with them in a General Election as the only alternative to even worse choices of Liberal Democrats!

It is important to remind folks, that MARCO RUBIO was not the easy, simple, first choice of many people in FL for U.S. Senate. Many wanted Charlie Crist (like some in Michigan want to make a similar quick, easy, lazy, and) the Politically expedient option. Fortunately, real Conservative Patriots and the majority of TEA Party members in FL held out for a better choice and Marco Rubio is in the Senate today. Also, many people didn’t have Ronald Reagan as their first choice in 1980 also, thankfully, hard-work and people of principle won out and gave us the greatest President of our life-times. Some want to rush headlong into that mistake again with the Senate choice or even the GOP Presidential nomination this coming Tuesday!

People were also in a big hurry to jump of the “Bob Dole for President” bandwagon, or the “John McCain for President” band-wagon, and we see how well those options worked…. Other examples can also be given… Yet we see people running for the “he’s next in line” seemingly obvious, which should be obviously BAD choices (whether it be for U.S. Senate or this coming Tuesday’s Presidential Primary in MI), again.

A handful of groups want to toss the majority (50 other groups) under the TEA Party Express bus! They’d rather jump on the Political Expedience Express bus with the Washington insider (RINO) or the Party (RINO in-training) insider. Most, fortunately, recognize that this is Michigan’s MARCO RUBIO (Pat Toomey, Rand Paul, etc) moment and are making a stand.

More at:
(MI4CS) Michigan4ConservativeSenate.com

As always, Regards from JLenardDetroit from “NoMoTown (The MOTORless CITY)”
“Remember, Liberals – looking to do for America, what they’ve done to Detroit. – Destroy it!”
“I think, therefore I am Conservative”
“Conservative by choice, Republican by necessity”
“The more things ‘hope and change’ the more they stay the same”
“You can lead a Liberal to the Truth (Facts), but you cannot make them THINK!”
“Romney (No, not my first choice) does NOT have a MORMON problem. He has a, far too many Americans; these days; are MORONS problem!”
“No more Lawyers to DC, send Accountants!”
closing quotes attributable to (me) JLenardDetroit Bookmark and Share

Comment by Joseph (JLenardDetroit) Lenard on January 28, 2012 at 7:15pm

As I've said in my rebuttal post here (

http://lapeerteaparty.ning.com/profiles/blogs/another-rebuttal-to-m...

) at LCTPP, I don't agree with everything all the time with others in the MI4CS process - but I don't DEMAND it be "my way or the highway" - I/we focus on what we can agree and cooperate. There is a big difference between having discussions (as we are here) and those who are out there actively, willfully, purposefully, and with malice of forethought (to advance their own agenda - their 'one' candidate or 'no-one', advance their own little "thief-dom" and power, or whatever) undermining another TEA Party (MI4CS) movement. That is sad.

 

 

Comment by Joseph (JLenardDetroit) Lenard on January 28, 2012 at 6:43pm
William Gavette said (in http://lapeerteaparty.ning.com/profiles/blogs/another-rebuttal-to-m...):
Good post. Whether we agree or disagree, we need to keep the conversation going. Thanks for contributing to the discussion!

Same to you sir... On that (having, fair and honest discussion rather than some who are just attacking and out to undermine others for their own agenda) we agree, and as I said - I prefer we focus on the positive things we can agree ;-) lol. People have to weigh the pros/cons, the reasons things are the way they are versus the way they might otherwise be, and decide (while NOT perfect) if they are "acceptable" and "agreeable" enough. If we expect perfection before we ever act; or do something, or even vote for someone (NO such thing as a 100% perfect Candidate, we all have some minor differences); we'd never get anything done or anyone elected. WE MUST ELIMINATE LIBERALS (whether Socialist Democrats, or Progressive RINOs). Take Care ALL and God Bless.

Comment by Joseph (JLenardDetroit) Lenard on January 27, 2012 at 11:27pm

I have posted a rebuttal here: http://lapeerteaparty.ning.com/profiles/blogs/another-rebuttal-to-m.... I did NOT put it as a direct comment to your piece because of NING commentary limitations.

Regards,

JLenardDetroit

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