Kitsap GOP approve delegates after brief, but testy, drama

Kitsap Republicans will have a full slate of delegates and alternates when they go to the state party convention on May 31 in Tacoma.

County party members met for a second time on Saturday and completed the voting process that stopped prematurely on April 21, when a nominating process ran into conflict with a commitment to be out of the Klahowya Secondary School building.

State party officials informed county party leaders they could reconvene and get approval from the state convention rules committee to seat the five-dozen-plus delegates in total. If, for whatever reason, the committee were to decline, the county would be represented by 14 people. The head of that committee, however, gave assurances earlier that the full delegation would be seated.

Speaking of sitting, that the full delegate slate will be seated doesn’t sit well with a “Daily Paul” poster with the moniker staobrof who wrote, “Because of the unorthodox reconvening and the rules violations, the state convention will have to rule on whether Kitsap County’s delegates can even be seated at the convention. From the strongarm tactics I saw at the convention, I don’t think they should allow them to be seated.”

Hamilton, in his statement following the convention, makes no mention of what appears to be a brief, but boisterous, moment of dissension that was videotaped. Hamilton thanked those who attended both events. “Your sacrifice of time, energy, and money are greatly appreciated. In addition, your willingness to actively participate in our political process (with all it’s warts and glory) set you aside from most voters. As those of us who have spent far too much time chasing dreams of political success know, you are no longer a ‘normal’ person,” Hamilton wrote.

The video, which apparently is against county party guidelines, shows the videographer being told to stop taping. He eventually yells that he’s being assaulted. There’s more attempting to get him to stop taping while Kirby Wilbur, state party chairman, attempts to talk to the rest of the delegates. Wilbur tells someone to “Sit down and shut up,” but I can’t tell from the video who he was addressing.

As the delegates begin dispersing to their three different caucuses the videographers get a variety of comments sent their way. One woman says, “Hey video this,” then tells them to take their anarchy somewhere I couldn’t decipher. Another convention delegate tells the filmer “Hey, you’re cool man. Good job.”

A final critic offers a condemnation that makes little sense to me, only because I’m assuming the videographer is a Ron Paul supporter. “What part of the Communist Party do you belong to?” the man yelled. That insult gets lobbed all the time at Democrats, but not at libertarians.

Many commenters to the video operate under the illusion that the party has to allow filming. It doesn’t. A political party is not subject to state open meeting laws, because those only apply to governments, and political parties are not governments.

The state attorney general has a page on this, which gives broad explanations of when a meeting must be public. Note that “political subdivision,” which is mentioned on the page, refers to a smaller government, such as a city or county, that is subject to state law. In fact, not all government bodies are subject to open meeting laws. The Legislature wrote in exceptions for itself and for the courts. Even the government entities that are subject to the law are allowed exceptions, such as when they meet to consider a legal action or real estate transaction.

Whether it’s a good idea to prohibit filming at a political event is another question. Any time someone attempts to stop it the resulting footage provides better public relations fodder than anything the videographer might have otherwise caught.

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