Ruffalo: Troubles mount at Placer County Republican central committee

Looking Behind the Scenes
By: Jim Ruffalo
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He’s baaaaack! Just because the common voters had the good sense to reject Tom Hudson’s bid to remain on the Placer County Republican Central Committee last summer doesn’t mean he’s gone. In a less-than-unanimous vote Wednesday night, the PCRCC decided that Hudson was the perfect choice to replace the departed Jeffrey (not James) Allen on the executive committee. Of course, Hudson’s supporters first had to perform some machinations to grease the way, including turning down a rational proposed amendment which would automatically place whomever garnered the next-highest number of ballots from the electorate. Sounds almost democratic, doesn’t it? Naturally, that wasn’t good enough for the Hudson minions, who immediately whipped the necessary number of votes into place Wednesday night, first to defeat the amendment, then to resurrect Hudson as an exec committee member. Now, this is not my fault. I’ve said repeatedly that the assumed demise of Hudson was nothing more than wishful thinking. And make no mistake; there will be a next time this guy is shown the door, only it won’t be just wise and experienced Republicans performing the needed surgery. Now, the tea party is involved. Yes, the Liptonites have taken notice, no doubt because many of them are from the Lincoln area which is downwind from the PCRCC meetings. According to a March 7 press release from the NorCal Tea Party Patriots, there is “concern” over what the PCRCC has been doing under Hudson’s — shall we say — leadership. The release points out that the local tea party thinks there’s something not quite right with the PCRCC’s relationship with the Headquarters Partnership, a lash-up which is way too cozy with some candidates. Others claim it’s nothing short of a money-washing scheme for political purpose. Paraphrasing the release, the local tea party feels there’s the appearance of a conflict of interest when executive board members are also principals of HQP. Specifically, the tea party wanted to know why (Treasurer) George Park was writing PCRCC checks to HQP when he is a member of both. Good question but, and as usual, no answer. Despite his political failures here and at Contra Costa County, Hudson apparently still doesn’t understand that the more political conflicts of interest you have, the less the voters are interested in the conflict. There are interests appearing to be conflicted other than just the checks being written to HQP. This latest involves Hudson’s hacks and John Allard, the Republican city council member from Roseville, who was a candidate in the special election for the vacant 4th Assembly District seat. During Wednesday’s treasurer’s report, it was learned that the PCRCC had written a check to pay for utilities for what was supposed to have been a vacant office. Turns out the office wasn’t all that empty because it was being utilized by the Allard campaign. Nothing illegal there, except that if the PCRCC paid the phone bills and for the electricity to power the computers, then by all aspects of the regulations, it gifted Allard with an in-kind donation. It will be interesting to see if that’s listed on Allard’s final contributions statement. Treasurer Park was soundly questioned about that disbursement, as well as who gave the Allard camp the keys, and who authorized payment of the bills. His answers reportedly were so incredibly vacuous that the matter was tabled until next month’s meeting. The problem is that the problems not only never get solved over there, but continue to mount. Granted, some of the elected officials represented on the PCRCC are starting to take notice. A prime example is the Congressman-Tom-McClintock-submitted- — through other members — amendment to clean up the mess. Some of it passed, some didn’t, but it’s a start. Also, now Hudson’s forces will eventually have to deal with Ted and Beth Gaines, because the de facto support of Allard will be long remembered. Hudson will eventually go away. It’s just that a lot of us hoped it would be sooner than later. Jim Ruffalo’s column runs on Sundays. To contact him, e-mail