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Brian Koegle: Grassroots and chicken tortilla soup

Posted: January 8, 2009 8:45 p.m.
Updated: January 9, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Last week, I went to lunch with fellow "Right Here, Right Now" columnist Steve Lunetta at the Corner Bakery in Valencia, which incidentally has some of the best chicken tortilla soup in the Valley. During our lunch, the conversation - not-so-surprisingly - turned toward politics and how Steve and I might have an impact on the restoration of the Republican Party to its Reagan-era glory.

Both Steve and I agreed that in order to affect a successful and lasting change, the GOP has to get back to basics, the fundamentals of the party and recapture the hearts and minds of practical thinking, rational-minded conservatives and moderates. Republicans need to point out that "change" for change's sake is not necessarily a good thing. Steve and I also agreed the party's facelift must occur at the grassroots level in order to be truly successful.

Unfortunately for the Republican Party, over the last two or three years, the Democrats have been better on a national level of getting small, grassroots organizations off the ground and watching them thrive. While Steve and I agreed that we cannot have much of an impact on what happens at the grassroots level in Sioux City, Iowa (where Steve's family came from), or Columbus, Ohio (where I was born), we can have an impact here in the Santa Clarita Valley.

One of the basics of a solid grassroots movement is education. If the electorate is educated on the issues, passions will be ignited, more people will volunteer or participate, and the movement grows. So how do we educate the electorate? The Republican Party must provide voters with useful, practical and timely information.

Local Republican organizations have a number of monthly meetings, mixers, etc. that are specifically designed to educate its members and the general electorate on issues at the core of the Republican platform. The following is a brief list of the organizations, the contact information for each, and upcoming events:

* Group: California Republican Assembly, Santa Clarita Valley Chapter.

Contact: Michael Hildebrand,

Events: Monthly meetings on the third Thursday of each month, 6:30 p.m. at the International House of Pancakes, 24737 Pico Canyon Road, Stevenson Ranch. Jan. 15, 6:30 p.m.: City of Santa Clarita Mayor Frank Ferry will address a number of issues facing the City of Santa Clarita.

* Group: Santa Clarita Congress of Republicans.

Contact: John Green,

Events: Monthly meetings on the first Thursday of each month, 6:30 p.m. at a rotating location. Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m.: Mission View School, 20655 Soledad Canyon Road, Unit 12 (at Ruether Avenue).

* Group: SCV Republican Women Federated.

Contact: Jo Kruszewski,

Events: Monthly meetings on the third Tuesday of every month at 10 a.m. at the International House of Pancakes, 24737 Pico Canyon Road, Stevenson Ranch

* Group: The Lincoln Club of Santa Clarita.

Contact: Hunt Braly,

Events: Monthly meetings on the third Friday of each month at 12 p.m. at TPC, 26550 Heritage View Lane, Valencia.

These groups and others in the Valley are designed to organize and educate the Republican electorate and to encourage participation in the system. Please visit for more information on each of these groups, their target membership and missions.

Most battles, even modern ones, are typically won or lost on the ground. If the GOP is going to have the chance to regain control of the state and national legislatures and executive branches, the battle will have to be won on the ground, with an uprising of Republican "foot soldiers" willing to work hard, spread the word and educate the populous.

Steve and I will be out there pounding pavement along with scores of others dedicated to restoring the Republican Party. I would hope in the coming weeks, months and years, we will be joined by new residents of the Santa Clarita Valley to help us continue the momentum of this grassroots movement, even if I personally have to take each of them out for a bowl of chicken tortilla soup.

Brian Koegle is a local attorney. "Right Here, Right Now" runs Fridays in The Signal and rotates among local Republican writers. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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