Janurary 25, 2017 –Terror Links to Silicon Valley
Terry Turchie expresses no doubt that Silicon Valley is rich with potential targets for terrorism. High-tech businesses, local airports, utility infrastructure and even agricultural land were identified as possible targets by Al Queda as early as 2003, he told the audience at the Jan. 25 meeting of the Silicon Valley Association of Republican Women.
Turchie is the former Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI. He led teams that eventually identified and apprehended letter bomber Ted Kaczynski (the “Unabomber”) and Eric Rudolph, who planted at bomb in a park during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He has co-authored books about terrorism including “Hunting the American Terrorist: The FBI’s War on Homegrown Terror” and “Unabomber.”
Working on those two cases gave Turchie a unique look into the mind of lone offenders, who act independently but claim affiliation with a larger cause, such as ISIS.
As Turchie explained, “ These people, all their life, they wanted to belong to something greater than themselves, a cause. They were never able to find that cause, or group.” ISIS’s goal of a global caliphate provides the cause these lone offenders seek.
“Today we have ISIS, which is heavily into social media. They are using that to find these lone offender mentalities.”
He described the current situation as a “dead-on collision between international terror and domestic terror.
What do the lone offenders want? They want to be part of a group. That’s what ISIS provides and they never have to meet.”
Turchie also explained how crucial the public is to solving crimes and identifying potential terrorists.
“All of the cases come together when people like you see things, hear things, get suspicious, and decide to pick up the phone and call someone.”
It’s important to trust gut instincts and not try to rationalize away those feelings, he said.
December 7, 2016–Christmas Luncheon — Installation of Officers for 2017
A festive crowd gathered on Dec. 7 to celebrate the holidays and support a good cause at SVARW’s annual Christmas luncheon, which this year was held at A Bellagio restaurant in Campbell. The SVARW board had chosen the Salvation Army to be the annual charity. Salvation Army representatives shared information about the organization’s founding on the streets of London and its growth into a modern global ministry that serves millions.
In addition to the Salvation Army, SVARW sponsor RealOptions Pregnancy Medical Clinics provided a round-up of its 2016 successes and made its Giving Tree available for members to support the pro-life clinics.
Greg Von Gehr and Major Gaylene Yardley from the Salvation Army shared information about the organization from its founding in 1865 by London minister William Booth. Booth took his message of Christian salvation to the city streets where he reached the poor, homeless and hungry. Today the Salvation Army operates in more than 100 countries, staffing 440 homeless hostels, 252 residential addiction dependency programs, 182 children’s homes, 200 homes for the elderly, and 47 mother and baby homes.
One of the recipients of the Salvation Army’s services told the SVARW crowd how she had been helped by their local addiction program and was able to get her life back on track. Each Christmas season, she rings a bell for the Salvation Army at one of its Red Kettle donation sites. She urged others to sign up for a two-hour shift of bell-ringing, explaining that the time passes quickly and the experience boosts one’s Christmas spirit.
The Christmas luncheon also included the installation of SVARW’s Executive Board for 2017. Members are Jan Soule, President; Rosa Brown, First Vice-President; Debra Janssen-Martinez, Second Vice-President; Sherrill Martinez, Recording Secretary, Susan Calderon, Corresponding Secretary; and Lisa Seago, Treasurer. County Supervisor Mike Wasserman administered the oath of office.
November 16, 2016 Meeting –Ways to Advance Conservatism
Republican women have tremendous power to influence others and affect elections. At the Nov. 16 SVARW brunch meeting, guest speaker Jim Brulte, chairman of the state GOP, gave concrete examples of how members can advance Republican principles. Before hearing from Brulte, however, the overflow crowd paused to raise a champagne toast to President-elect Donald Trump.
“Don’t underestimate your power to influence others,” Brulte said. “It was a Republican woman who in 1966 invited a 10-year-old boy to get involved in a campaign for a man named Ronald Reagan, who was running for governor.” The 10-year-old Brulte helped paint the campaign office and paste bumper stickers on cars. Since that first foray into politics, Brulte has worked for three American presidents, served as the minority leader in California’s State Assembly and Senate and now serves as chairman for the state party.
When asked for specific advice, Brulte said, “You can start by telling all of your friends that it was actually a Republican woman (Kellyanne Conway) who successfully managed the (Trump) campaign.”
He also urged members to renew their memberships in SVARW for 2017 or to join for the first time and invite others to the meetings. “Join and invite someone to be part of this revolution.”
Brulte delineated the qualities that make for a good candidate. In California, any Republican seeking elected office must be “right on the issues, able to raise a lot of money and inspire a lot of people to volunteer,” he explained. A candidate who lacks just one of those characteristics will not be a good candidate in Democrat-dominated California.
October 19, 2016–A Taxpayer Prospective on Ballot Propositions and Measures
Pete Constant, former two-time San Jose City Councilman and Vice President of the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association
Most propositions get ‘no’ vote
There’s little to support among the 17 state propositions on the Nov. 8 ballot, former San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant told the overflow crowd at the last SVARW general meeting on Oct. 19. With a 224-page voter guide and issues ranging from legalizing marijuana to banning the death penalty, voters face a daunting task of sorting through the often-confusing language and intent of the propositions.
Constant helped clarify many of the key issues that voters will decide at the polls next week. Overall, Constant urged the SVARW members to reject any tax proposals, revenue bonds, and new fees, which means a “no” vote on nearly all the propositions.
There were a couple of propositions that garnered Constant’s support, however. Those include Prop. 53, which would require voter approval for any revenue bonds in excess of $2 billion, and Prop. 54, which would require the state legislature to make public the text of bills at least 72 hours before voting.
He also urged voters to reject local school bonds and parcel taxes. “Every time you vote for a parcel tax or bond, you are reinforcing bad behavior in the state house,” Constant explained. The state won’t take responsibility for fully funding education as long as residents keep approving local measures, he said.
Constant also recommended “no” votes on Santa Clara County Measures A and B, and San Jose Measures E and F. Measure A would issue $950 million in bonds to pay for construction of housing for low-income individuals, the homeless, seniors, veterans, the disabled and those with mental illness or substance abuse problems. Measure B would create a half-cent sales tax for the county transit agency. San Jose’s Measure E would prohibit employers from hiring new workers until after they offered additional hours of work to current part-time employees and Measure F increases pensions retroactively to retired city employees
September 21, 2016 — Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen
District attorney shares data on crime, incarceration rates
Putting more people in prison for longer terms doesn’t necessarily equal a drop in crime. What does help is smarter and better policing, says Jeff Rosen, Santa Clara County District Attorney, who spoke to the SVARW general meeting on Sept. 21.
Rosen said he has examined historical crime rates looking for trends. In particular, he compared Canada to the United States. The crime rates paralleled each other, rising and falling in sync through the decades. Since the 1990s the United States has vastly increased the rate of incarceration and experienced a decrease in the crime rate. But those two events are not necessarily related, Rosen said. Canada’s crime also decreased but the incarceration rate didn’t change.
The challenge for San Jose right now is the drop in the number of police officers on the force. Just six years ago the city had more than 1,200 officers. Today there are about 800. Rosen said that just the presence of an officer in a high crime area drops the crime rate to zero while that officer is present.
The District Attorney’s office files about 40,000 criminal cases per year, with 30,000 of those being misdemeanor charges. More than 90 percent of those cases are resolved before coming to trial.
March 16, 2016 — Law enforcement and terrorism in Silicon Valley
The Silicon Valley isn’t immune from terrorism and just as in the rest of the world, soft targets such as store, schools and churches could be targeted, March speaker Jess Guy told the SVARW members gathered for brunch on March 16.
“We’re all vulnerable,” said Guy, a former special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. “It is a threat whether it’s radical jihad or some nutcase.” ISIS, he said, is just the latest name for a group of radical Islamists whose goal is to establish a caliphate.
“For 600 years radical Islam has been trying to wipe out the west,” he said.
Guy was one of two speakers in March to discuss threats to personal safety. Steve Brown, owner of Echelon Security, spoke about the challenges to law enforcement presented both by terrorists and others.
Brown explained a concept called the “impression of control,” the image that the government and law enforcement has control over a chaotic situation. If a felon escaped from San Quentin Prison and was spotted in San Jose, police officers would stop responding to routine calls in order to focus on finding the felon.
“The system cannot survive with all of us our here believing the system doesn’t work,” Brown said. “It starts to crumble apart when we look at a convict, a criminal who’s out on the streets, who’s escaped.” The escape gives the impression that our most secure facilities, prisons, cannot contain the criminals, he explained.
Brown said the government has been adding tactical weapons and vehicles to local law enforcement agencies in order to be ready to heighten the impression of control in the event of natural disasters or civil unrest.
December 16, 2015 — Christmas Luncheon and Installation of 2016 SVARW Officers
Our SVARW December 16th Christmas Luncheon held at California Café in Los Gatos was a great way to end our year and kick off 2016!
Our program for the day began with the installation of SVARW officers for 2016. Performing the ceremony was Supervisor Mike Wasserman representing Santa Clara County District 1. SVARW appreciates the long standing support of Supervisor Wasserman. Prior to administering the oath of office to our incoming officers, Supervisor Wasserman provided an update on some of the ways this lone Republican on the Board of Supervisors has been able to make a positive impact on local government efficiency.
Taking the oath of office for 2016:
- President Jan Soule—Responsible for the overall direction of SVARW
- First Vice President Jane Kearney – Responsible for securing speakers for our monthly programs
- Second Vice President Debra Janssen-Martinez—Responsible for PR and coordinating a call-to-action for each meeting
- Recording Secretary Sherrill Martinez—Responsible for taking the minutes at each board meeting
- Corresponding Secretary Susan Calderon—Responsible for correspondence from SVARW
- Treasurer Lisa Seago—Responsible for tracking SVARW’s funds and paying our bills (although she does a lot more!!!)
In addition to Supervisor Wasserman, SVARW was pleased to introduce other office holders and candidates including Dev Davis and Steve Brown who are running for San Jose City Council, Margaret Metcalf representative to the RNC from Guam and our longtime friend, former US Congressman Ernie Konnyu.
As SVARW has done every December since our founding, we featured a local charity as our speaker and focus for our Christmas meeting. This year Carol Patterson, Vice President of City Team was our guest.
Cityteam was founded in San Jose, CA in 1957 and provides a variety of life changing programs that help people truly change their lives out of poverty, hunger and addiction. From its inception in San Jose, City Team has grown with locations in San Francisco, Oakland, Portland, Philadelphia and 51 international countries.
Without accepting any government assistance, San Jose, Cityteam serves over 650 hot meals a day. Carol invited members to consider volunteering one day in the preparation of the meals. Cityteam also provides safe shelters for the homeless, showers, clean clothing, youth mentorship, and long-term recovery for men, women and children. The generous guests at our luncheon donated over $1700 to help Cityteam continue their local efforts!
August 15, 2015: Conservatives Turn Out for Fun at Stars and Stripes
Over 100 Silicon Valley Conservatives turned out on August 15th to enjoy an evening of dinner, dancing and meeting office holders and candidates. The event began with appetizers as guests met and mingled with the top two candidates for the Republican nomination of U.S. Senate, Duf Sundheim and Tom Del Beccaro. It was encouraging that both of these men, who have previously served as Chairman of The California Republican Party, emphasized that they understood why Republicans are dishearten by most of the current Republicans in the US Senate.
Office holders in attendance included:
- Ernie Konyu—Former US Congressman
- Mike Wasserman—County Supervisor District 1
- Michael Snyder—Campbell Union Elementary School District Board Member
- Van Le—Eastside High School District Board Member
- Marilyn Liebers—Morgan Hill City Council
- Members of Central Committee-Chuck Page (Finance Chair), Lisa Marshik, Gail DeSmet, Alternate Debra Jansen Martinez
- Bob Nunez—Chairman of the Santa Clara County Republican Party
And….California Assemblywoman, Catherine Baker. After dinner, Assemblywoman Baker, a longtime friend of SVARW, talked about the challenges she faces in the Democrat dominated legislature. Representing the 16th Assembly District that spans from Alameda to Contra Costa County, she is the ONLY Republican representing the Bay Area in Sacramento. Assemblywoman Baker’s election to the legislature stunned Democrats and deprived them of the two-thirds majority that they needed to raise taxes at will. Needless to say, the Democrats are gunning for her seat and she definitely needs our support!
Hoping to join Assemblywoman Baker in the Assembly is Eastside High School District Board Member, Van Le. Van has been a member of SVARW for a number of years and we certainly want to encourage her efforts in 2016.
SVARW was proud to introduce our sponsors:
- Valerie and Jerry Hill—Real Options Pregnancy Medical Clinics
- Valerie and Jess Guy
- Gloria Sheridan—Real Estate Broker
- Elizabeth Adler
After dinner guests enjoyed an array of desserts and dancing to the big band sound of the Sons of Jubal. Where else in Silicon Valley can conservatives have fun, meet office holders and candidates and not worry about being politically correct??
Many thanks to the SVARW Board for their many volunteer hours spent putting this event together!
May 20: Speaker details regionalism’s threats
A trend toward regional government must be stopped because it will severely limit personal liberties and property rights, speaker Debbie Bacigalupi told the SVARW members at May’s meeting at the Three Flames Restaurant. Drawing on information from the United Nations, local government agencies and historical events, Bacigalupi explained how American communities are being crafted to dramatically change how people live, work and travel.
In particular, California is serving as a pilot program for regionalism, a means of governing an area that transfers power from elected city council and county boards to regional entities, such as the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). The underpinning political philosophy to regionalism is sustainable development, a planning process that emphasizes public transit and high-density housing while discouraging suburban and rural housing.
Bacigalupi criticized sustainable development, which is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (source: “Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future,” also called the Brundtland Report, after Gro Harlem Brundtland, the commission’s chairwoman and former prime minister of Norway).
Sustainable development can encompass concepts as wide-ranging as economic justice, environmental justice and climate change. California’s current water shortage is partly a result of the state’s unwillingness to build new dams for water storage, a concession to environmentalists, Bacigalupi said.
She urged SVARW members to fight the regionalism efforts and to stand for our republic.
“What’s happening with liberty and freedom? It is disappearing,” she said. “America was founded on dreams. America was born to win.
“It was based on God’s creation, natural law, individual rights. That’s what makes America worth fighting for. Regardless of how tired you are. Regardless of how sick you are. Regardless of how poor you are. This is the most important battle of our lifetime,” she said.
April 15: Permission society restricts freedoms
Americans are losing their liberty as the government expands its efforts to force people to ask permission before engaging in behaviors that previously required no government approval. At SVARW’s April meeting, attorney Timothy Sandefur of the Pacific Legal Foundation spelled out a chilling vision of how the progressive approach to governing is encroaching more and more into areas that America’s founding fathers considered God-given rights.
“We’re replacing the free society with the permission society, a society where you have to ask privileges from the government instead of being allowed to exercise freedom,” Sandefur said. “What changed? The answer is the progressive era.”
He continued, “Progressives have radical new ideas for how the government ought to operate. All that stuff in the constitution and the declaration, that’s old out-dated superstitious nonsense.”
He said that a key idea of progressives is that, “Rights are permissions that government gives you for the government’s own purposes.”
The brilliance of the U.S. Constitution is that it gave rights to the people and government has to ask permission of the people in order to govern. Progressives turn that idea upside-down.
“As we drift away, farther and farther, toward the permission society, I am afraid that we are abandoning the principals that we hold dear,” he concluded.
In the question and answer session, Sandefur explained that “Most of the laws under which you live your life are not written by elected officials. Most laws are written by hired bureaucrats at administrative agencies. These agencies exercise a wide variety of powers that we really don’t pay much attention to.” Through his work with Pacific Legal Foundation, Sandefur attempts to overturn these laws that restrict liberty and freedom.
Learn about the Pacific Legal Founation at www.pacificlegal.org
March 18: GOP pragmatism endangers party’s future
Pragmatism and moderation will kill the Republican Party’s relevance, Kevin McGary told the audience at March’s regular meeting at Three Flames Restaurant. Republican candidates and party members must be willing to stand for social issues such as the right to life and traditional marriage, he said.
McGary, chairman of the Frederick Douglass Foundation of California, provided an historical perspective on the party’s rich background in standing up for justice. The party was founded on a social issue: abolition of slavery. Principles of justice should remain the bedrock of the GOP, he said.
But many Republicans want to leave social issues out of the party’s platform. That is a mistake, he warned.
“We have real issues about what holds us together as a party,” McGary said. “The survival of our party requires principles. Pragmatism will absolutely kill our party. … If we say that homosexual marriage is the law of the land, the Republican Party goes away in regards to its relevance.”
Those who don’t want to deal with social issues, but are fiscal hawks, are really conservative Democrats, in the model of JFK, McGary said.
Today’s progressives often talk about “economic justice” and “social justice.” This is an opening for conservatives to educate them about the founding fathers’ views of justice.
“Fundamentally justice begins in the womb. Our founders were brilliant. The first principle was life,” he said. The Constitution is a contract between citizens and their elected officials, who must be held accountable to that contract, McGary concluded.
Frederick Douglass Foundation of California: www.fdfca.org
February 18: U.S. needs to support Chinese people
Mr. Nan Su enlightened our enthusiastic SVARW crowd at the February general meeting. A charming and self-effacing gentleman, he gave a view on China that could only be presented by an immigrant who fled China’s repressive government for America’s opportunities and freedoms.
Su highlighted the great 5,000 year old history and culture of China with roots in Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and later, Christianity in the 18th and 19th centuries. Those traditions value loyalty and fealty to one’s family first, fellow humans second, and government last. Su recalled that the Chinese Cultural Revolution destroyed the people’s religious practices and symbols, along with their rich arts culture, replacing them with loyalty and a duty to the state and its repressive human bosses.
During the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of people were killed, starved and tortured in order for the communist regime to wield complete power over the people, their land and their wealth. China was turned inward and isolated from much of the West until President Nixon initiated relations in the 1970s. With growing trade bringing prosperity to China, the people began to demand more freedom and opportunity, culminating in the 1989 Tianamen Square Protests and government crackdowns on the dissidents.
A key point Su made is that an escalating number of organized protests, approximately 180,000 this year, are bringing to the world’s attention the Chinese people’s unhappiness with their government. The protests are costing the government nearly as much as it spends on the military to suppress. Greater freedom to travel, Western business, tourism, and the internet let Chinese people know there is another world, offering freedom and opportunity. With the loosening of Chinese cultural and religious practices, the government seeks to restore the Chinese people’s fundamental human desire for God, family and freedom. It hopes to buy the people’s favor with at least the appearance of restoring their ancient culture, arts and values.
Su is disappointed that the U.S. government doesn’t seem to support the Chinese people’s freedom movement, or those in Iran or Russia, for that matter. He sees our support of those movements as an effort to secure Western freedoms though avoiding war. Our maintenance of a strong national defense and enforcement of our own trade secret and patent laws is the US’s best defense against Chinese elite kept in power by a corrupt system and international reluctance to push back against them.
He offered a video of a 100 percent American-scripted and produced multimedia show, Shen Yun, which is shown in most of Asia (except China) and the West, which reinforces China’s rich cultural history and invites its viewers to support the Chinese people’s freedom movement.
January 21, 2015–Assemblywoman Shannon Grove Fires up Audience
Our first meeting of 2015 on Jan. 21 drew a big crowd as conservatives came from miles away to hear from California Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, a Republican representing Kern County. They were not disappointed. Her message to the audience was to stand up and be the party of Reagan. We can win without becoming the “Democrat-light” party.
“The best poverty program we can give anyone is a job,” she told the audience, spotlighting key conservative values of hard work and self-sufficiency.
Grove urged Republicans to get back to the party’s roots.“We are the party of morality. We are the party of ethics,” she said. “Our party was built because we abolished slavery.We were the ones talking about integration.”
Yet the GOP has failed to put up candidates who will stand for solid conservative values, she said. Grove urged members of the audience to get involved and work or campaigns or seek office themselves.
You can keep up with Assemblywoman Grove by visiting her website, and then signing up for her newsletter.
Attendees enjoyed SVARW’s new meeting location at The Three Flames restaurant on Meridian Avenue in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood. If you missed the January meeting, don’t miss the Feb. 18 speaker, Nan Su. You also will enjoy a great hot breakfast, including eggs, bacon, sausages, toast and fruit, prepared by Three Flames staff.
December 3, 2014 — Christmas Luncheon
Fisher House serves vets and their families
SVARW members gathered at the beautiful California Cafe in Old Town Los Gatos on Dec. 3 for the annual Christmas celebration lunch. Betsey Striebel, manager of the Palo Alto Fisher House, addressed members about the role of the Fisher House in serving veterans’ families.
Started by philanthropists Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher in 1990, the 64 Fisher Houses across the United States provide free housing to the families of veterans while the vets are receiving care at nearby military hospitals. Striebel said there is no limit to how long families can stay at the Fisher House and this service helps support vets by keeping loved ones nearby.
The Fisher House was SVARW’s 2014 Christmas was charity and more than $2,400 was donated at our luncheon. To donate, contact Striebel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 650- 493-5000, ext.60384.
Also at the December meeting, Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman swore-in the SVARW 2015 executive board members.
November 19, 2014–Monthly Meeting
Speaker offers ways to confront global jihad
Popular guest speaker Charlie Self returned to SVARW on Nov.19 to address how we can confront a rising movement of Global Jihad. Self, also known as “Dr. History” to listeners to KSFO’s Brian Sussman radio talk show, always shares a big picture perspective, teaching and enlightening the audience. His talk combined the context of Islam’s imperative to spread its religious message with the realities of geopolitics and economic and social frictions facing our nation today. He thoughtfully analyzed how Judeo Christian and secular democracies can push back against an increasingly conflicted and violent radicalization of Muslims everywhere, including in the U.S. Self was encouraging, saying freedom of mass communication, travel, education and economic prosperity are the most potent antidotes to oppressed people who are encouraged toward violence and jihad, which destroys the innocent of all faiths and forms of governments.
July 26, 2014–Summer Patriot Party Raises Funds for Candidates
Guests gathered in the lovely home of Tom and Martha Snodgrass to meet and mingle and raise money for SVARW endorsed candidates: Chuck Page (California Assembly), Peter Kuo (California Senate), Phil Reynolds Jr. (Campbell City Council), Pete Constant (West Valley College Board of Trustees), Dr. Richard Fox (US. Congress), and Matt Harris (Judge Superior Court).
Over $3500 was raised!!