Libertarian Party Judicial Committee Upholds Convention Registration Fee

From Bill Hall, Chair of the LP Judicial Committee:

The Judicial Committee voted 4-3 to deny the appeal and uphold the decision of the LNC.  Written opinions will be forthcoming.

Opinions will be linked from this article when they are released.

Update 23 Apr: the opinions and briefs for the case are available here.

170 thoughts on “Libertarian Party Judicial Committee Upholds Convention Registration Fee

  1. Seebeck

    Cowards. Love to hear the bullshit reasoning on this one.

    Time to have a mass negation at the convention.

  2. Thomas L. Knapp

    Kind of a conundrum for those who oppose the “There Is Such a Thing as a Subsidized Lunch” delegate tax.

    They could pay the subsidy/tax, then try to reverse it with refunds and/or prohibit it in the future, on the floor.

    Or they could convene in a separate venue (with subsidized delegates to the other event invited, of course), conduct business, and appeal to the state LPs to recognize the outcomes of their legitimate convention instead of the outcomes of the extortion/subsidy/redistribution gathering.

  3. Thomas L. Knapp

    An alternate approach, for delegates from states in which the Voting Rights Act’s poll tax ban still prevails, would be to consult their states’ election authorities as to whether parties that violate that ban are eligible for ballot access.

  4. Jill Pyeatt

    So, there will be a couple contentious things to take time on, on the convention floor.

    Dose anyone know if we vote on Judicial Committee members this year?

  5. Mark Hilgenberg

    Some how the Utah LP was able to put on a great convention without charging anyone a dime. We took care of business, had 4 great speakers and had a lot of new faces show up, including a local radio station.

    I guess it will be time to make a stink at the convention.

  6. Nicholas Sarwark

    @Jill: all seven positions on the committee are up for election at this convention. Candidates must have been sustaining members for more than four years. IIRC, Mr. Holtz is not seeking to return to the committee, so there will be at least one seat not contested by an incumbent, possibly more.

  7. Jill Pyeatt

    I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be on the Judicial Committee, however. What a thankless job.

  8. paulie

    Dose anyone know if we vote on Judicial Committee members this year?

    I’ve heard rumblings that the timing of that vote is such that it may be pushed off the calendar past the close of business (or due to a lack of quorum), so the new LNC may elect them instead.

  9. Jill Pyeatt

    Well then, that’s all the more reason to elect the proper new people to the LNC.

  10. Thomas L. Knapp

    Paulie,

    “I’ve heard rumblings that the timing of that vote is such that it may be pushed off the calendar past the close of business (or due to a lack of quorum), so the new LNC may elect them instead.”

    In 2000, the Judicial Committee election didn’t happen because the national convention adjourned sine die on a quorum call.

    My recollection is that, the bylaws being silent on what happened in that event, the LNC simply assumed the members of the Judicial Committee would simply continue in office until the next opportunity for an election.

    Have the bylaws been modified since then to provide for the LNC to choose the Judicial Committee themselves if they can contrive to prevent an election?

  11. paulie

    In 2000, the Judicial Committee election didn’t happen because the national convention adjourned sine die on a quorum call.

    My recollection is that, the bylaws being silent on what happened in that event, the LNC simply assumed the members of the Judicial Committee would simply continue in office until the next opportunity for an election.

    That’s probably what I meant. I am not a bylaws expert and have no interest in becoming one.

    If that happened and vacancies occur, would they remain unfilled? What happens if there is an even number of people, a case is brought and results in a tie?

  12. Brian Holtz Post author

    the LNC simply assumed the members of the Judicial Committee would simply continue in office until the next opportunity for an election

    Although I don’t currently plan to run for JudCom again, I’m willing to serve until the next JudCom election.

    “The remaining members of the Judicial Committee shall appoint new members if vacancies occur”.

    Tie goes to the defendant/respondent.

  13. Thomas L. Knapp

    I guess the question is “if an election is not held at the appointed time, do the existing terms expire, creating vacancies which the LNC may then fill, or do the existing terms continue until such time as an election is held?”

    In 2000 — once again let me stress that this is my recollection and might not be accurate — the decision was “the election got stopped by a quorum call, so the existing terms will continue to the next convention.”

  14. Phillies for Treasurer

    Note that the convention schedule has been modified slightly to allow LNC elections to begin on Saturday, meaning that the Judicial Committee is much more likely to be elected by the delegates.

  15. Starchild

    This is unfortunate. It will be another major blow to the party if we can’t get these floor fees thrown out.

    This is kind of like the Supreme Court — without having heard who voted how, I’m pretty sure I already know:

    Brian Holtz – Uphold the fees
    Bob Sullentrup – Uphold the fees
    Bill Hall – Uphold the fees
    Jim Gray – Uphold the fees

    Lee Wrights – Reject the fees
    Nick Sarwark – Reject the fees
    Rob Latham – Reject the fees

    So sad we didn’t have one more committee member voting in favor of a bottom-up party that treats its delegates like the volunteers they are rather than as cash cows.

    On the bright side, I’m optimistic that most delegates will agree with the 250 petitioners and see what a bad idea a floor fee is, as they did in 2008, and hopefully this time get the bylaws changed so there is no longer any ambiguity that charging delegates is prohibited.

    The Libertarian National Committee also needs a good housecleaning, and LNC members’ votes on the floor fee provide a good barometer of who should be reelected and who should be tossed out.

  16. Ruth E. Bennett

    The Convention Oversight Committee is hoping that the presidential nomination will be finished SAT morning, then we can go right into National Chair and other officers on SAT afternoon leaving just At-Large and Judicial Committee for SUN morning rather than the entire LNC and JudCom as has been done in the past.

    That being said, it is up to everyone attending to know that the Convention is scheduled until 2P on SUN afternoon as it is every time, and to make plans to be available for the business of the Convention.

    Also,please remember that time is precious during the entire Convention and not to waste it if you want to finish business and elections of LNC early on SUN.

    As always, the Delegates have a fair amount of control over the times of the Convention. For instance, business is scheduled to end at 4P on THU and 3:30P on FRI. Should the Delegates decide to extend business until 5P, that is their right. The only real limit is on FRI when the Presidential Debate is scheduled at 6P in the same room and we need to accommodate CSPAN if we want their coverage.

  17. Brian Holtz Post author

    So sad we didn’t have one more committee member voting in favor of a bottom-up party that treats its delegates like the volunteers they are

    Right, because the Judicial Committee exists to correct policy mistakes of the LNC, and not to (say) ensure that the Party’s rules are followed.

  18. Seebeck

    No, it’s cowardly to not follow the Bylaws. I know perfectly well what they say, and they do not nor ever have authorized any floor fee. Cowardly for the COC to not follow the Bylaws either in imposing the fee in the first place. Cowardly to expect the delegates to subsidize the COC’s poor planning yet again. Cowardly for the LNC to pass the buck instead of properly representing the membership. Cowardly after the members spoke rather loudly about this, rejecting it in 2010 and they were ignored.

    I think that Starchild has this predicted accurately as to who voted which way.

    I also predict right here and now that the majority opinion will not only be faulty, but loaded with bad logic, reasoning errors, and will set a precedent that the LNC can now do any damn thing it wants to, Bylaws be damned, by simply passing off the authority to a committee and claiming the committee is exempt from the Bylaws. I hope I’m wrong, but I fear I’m right.

    And you wonder why the LP doesn’t get a damned thing useful accomplished? This is why: a fundamental disconnect as to how a political party is run and what working for the membership actually means.

    Throw them all out.

  19. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    If the Judicial Committee was interested in ensuring that the party’s rules were followed, it would have placed maximum weight on the facts that 1) neither the party’s bylaws nor RONR authorize, 2) nor do the party’s custom and precedent include, a floor fee.

  20. Brian Holtz Post author

    Those in a JudCom majority should not publicly argue the merits of their opinion after the votes have been cast, as doing so could undermine the principle that a JudCom decision is final and binding. The majority opinion should speak for itself.

  21. Wes Wagner

    BH is correct on this — this is the process and the process is not at all broken. The membership votes on who is on the Jud Comm, has an opportunity to evaluate its composition every 2 years, has every capability to act, has a meeting scheduled in a few weeks.

    If the membership has particular umbrage at these results, they can take action there to change the bylaws and fix it. If not, then not.

  22. Brian Holtz Post author

    Initially-credentialed delegates should be ready with a list of delegates they wish to seat via amendment to the first Credentials Committee report. They also need to be prepared to debate whether it’s in order to seat unregistered delegates. Delegates whose credentials are in question are not allowed to vote on seating themselves, so you will have to persuade a majority of the initially-credentialed delegates who are on the floor for the first CredCom report. It probably won’t help their cause if unregistered delegates disrupt the proceedings or try to vote before being credentialed.

  23. Michael H. Wilson

    I have heard more than one story about the work of the Convention Committee and I think it is important to get an understanding of the work and how it was done with this committee and how the committee came to its decision on the floor fee before people start assigning blame. The fee is money that I could use elsewhere, but for now lets get the facts.

  24. Marc Montoni

    Michael, I corresponded directly with COC chair Ruth Bennett shortly before all this became a tempest.

    The facts are this:

    1) Mark Hinkle is a supporter of the floor fees.

    2) Ruth Bennett is a supporter of the floor fees.

    3) Mark and Ruth have known each other for a long time, and Mark appointed her to the COC knowing she would implement floor fees.

    4) Bennett is a long-time insider in the national LP, and has learned to manipulate at least a few events so the outcome will conform to her preferences.

    5) Once installed as COC chair in late 2011, Bennett had already made up her mind. The evidence for this is the extremely late convention announcement — she timed everything to make a challenge difficult.

    6) She announced the Gold package well in advance of all the other packages.

    7) She kept mum about charging a minimum floor tax for a long time, and didn’t answer any questions about any other packages other than Gold.

    8) By the time she disclosed she was setting a floor fee, it was very late in the season. The natural assumption is that she felt at a certain point that the momentum for the floor fee was in her favor.

    I supported her for chair in 2008, with some reservations.

    Now, she has joined a list of a dozen or so people I will not support for any leadership position at any time in the future.

    The LP really needs to recruit some better management.

  25. Jill Pyeatt

    It seems to me the only difference between the TANSTAAFL and the Bronze package (besides $201) is the Saturday night banquet and the Wednesday welcome event. Am I missing something?

  26. onlooker

    You guys are arguing about nothing.

    Outsiders have no idea, and who gives a crap?

    If you don’t like the fee, don’t attend, and that will show them what you really think.

  27. Seebeck

    How the JudCom, with two lawyers and a retired judge on the panel, could get this wrong is inexplicable, except for Marc’s statements that imply the fix was in from day 1. However, they also missed this little piece of binding law:

    Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516 (1945)
    ?
    Held:

    (c) A requirement that one register before making a public speech to enlist support for a lawful movement is incompatible with the guaranties of the First Amendment. P.

    Because registration is required under RRONR, and the Bylaws defers to RRONR of the issue, that the case is moot, because where law and Byalws are both explicative, the Bylaws trump. While the latter point is entirely true, the conclusion is not, because no organization may require its members to implicitly waive their individual rights; those rights remain intact within the organization unless explicitly waived, and the LP has not, as a condition of membership, required any such waiver. As such, a member retains their First Amendment rights, as a resigtration restriction may not infringe upon them–including requiring a convention fee by the organization to engage in exercising said rights, as exlpained above, especially as a sanctioned activity or the organization.

    That and since I’m very familiar with both the arguments of Mr. Ploeger and Mr. Moulton, and they are both correct in context and reasoning, it’s pretty obvious that the JudCom committed a colossal screwup.

    It’s also obvious from above comments that Holtz voted with the majority.

  28. Thomas L. Knapp

    If nothing else, this case points up at least two reasons why the delegates should get rid of RONR as their parliamentary authority and replace it with something else.

    Between the defects in RONR itself (such as its minor unelaborated allusion to a generic registration fee being treated as authorization to levy such a fee), couple with its authors’ willingness to sell any “opinion” a client’s willing to write a check for, make its continued use dangerous to any organization.

  29. Brian Holtz Post author

    How the JudCom, with two lawyers and a retired judge on the panel, could get this wrong is inexplicable

    As I said above, JudCom has three attorneys plus a retired judge.

    Whenever people disagree with me, I assume they know they’re wrong and are just conspiring against what’s right. Then I add them to my enemies list. These practices save me from a lot of thinking.

    No party or JudCom member offered any arguments based on the First Amendment. I disagree with any theory that the First Amendment precludes the LP from having rules that authorize a registration fee — or, in general, that the First Amendment restricts how private voluntary groups freely associate.

  30. Thomas L. Knapp

    Oh, and I hate to be Mr. Obvious here, but it should be obvious that when an organization’s board of directors feels compelled to hire no fewer than two attorneys, using the members’ money, to defend itself from those members, said board is at war on the members and needs to be replaced ASAP.

  31. Jill Pyeatt

    Brian Holtz said: “Whenever people disagree with me, I assume they know they’re wrong and are just conspiring against what’s right. Then I add them to my enemies list.”

    So now I know.

  32. Jill Pyeatt

    Tk said: “…board is at war on the members and needs to be replaced
    ASAP.”

    For sure! And I’ll pay the $94 fee for the privilege of doing just that.

  33. Brian Holtz Post author

    “Let’s you and him fight”, saith the non-members.

    The LNC would claim it’s defending the resources of the majority of the Party from the demands of a vocal minority that the membership subsidize the process by which that minority exerts its preferences on the resources and policies of the Party.

    My policy preference is that the cost to exert one’s policy preferences at convention should be significantly more than just the $25 sustaining member dues, and that this cost should be optionally payable with in-kind donations of volunteer effort. However, I didn’t run for JudCom to exert my policy preferences.

    Perhaps Mr. Obvious can identity for Jill the two targets of the sarcasm she quoted.

  34. Harry Heyoka

    Who can doubt, now, that the national LP has been thoroughly corrupted?

    If the LNC isn’t serving state parties and members, what good is it? It looks like time to flush and start over.

  35. Brian Holtz Post author

    Who can doubt, now, that the national LP has been thoroughly corrupted?

    Anyone who doesn’t see conspiracy behind every disagreement.

  36. Jill Pyeatt

    Brian Holtz said: “Anyone who doesn’t see conspiracy behind every disagreement.”

    So, should I assume this is sarcasm as well?

  37. ATBAFT

    So, who should pay for the convention base costs? Those who attend or every member of the Party? Under TANSTAAFL, then the attendees should pay. Or if one looks at typical corporate annual meetings, every stockholder pays whether they attend or not. Which model serves the LP and its principles best? Before you answer, recall, too, that shareholders get to submit their proxy vote for their Board even if they don’t attend.
    This is something the LP should consider too if it moves to having the entire membership pay for convention costs.

  38. Robert Capozzi

    Around, the only thing about your analogy is that the LP is not a stock corporation. (In many ways, thankfully, given what’s going on with Cato in recent months!)

    In some ways, the LP is a confederation of state LPs. If that’s so, then perhaps the state LPs should pay to seat its delegates…

  39. ralph

    The big lie here is that the convention business meeting itself costs nothing except the costs the LNC itself created.

    It’s the speaker conference that costs.

    My recollection was the first thing we ever accepted was an eternal ban on such fees. We understood they would be manipulated to keep activists out and put extremists and government moles in.

    Where’re the minutes of the first convention?

    Get ready for very large member fees to keep a few in control in the name of ‘capitalism.’

  40. Brian Holtz Post author

    Jill, you should take my response as seriously as you take the comment it responded to.

    My threshold for “thoroughly corrupted” is a little higher than Heyoka’s. But I’d concede it’s been crossed if the LNC were to admit on tape that they didn’t have sufficient member support even as they dissolved the Judicial Committee; appointed themsleves to new terms; banished a category of dues-paying members that conveniently included political enemies; diluted by 99% the voting power of remaining members by declaring as members thousands of people who had never subscribed to the Statement of Principles, had never attended a Party meeting, and had never paid dues; invoked the State as their authority to do all this; and denied that the State’s courts could review any of it.

    And speaking of the LPOR coup that Heyoka apparently supported, his charge of “thoroughly corrupt” is especially ironic to those who know that half the votes to uphold the registration fee came from JudCom members who earlier voted to void the LNC’s refusal to recognize the LPOR junta.

  41. paulie

    ATBAFT,

    We’ve been over this but it’s simple. The business portion of the meeting is a core party function and should be paid out of basic dues, much like the party HQ/office, salaries etc. Delegates still have significant costs to attend, unless they happen to live in the convention city or very close to it and not have to work those days. And even then there is a significant expenditure of time.

  42. Robert Capozzi

    p, while I don’t support the notion of floor fees, is it the case that all who attend the convention have paid dues to the LNC?

  43. paulie

    If they have not paid dues to the LNC it should not matter, if their states select them as delegates. As far as I know LPHQ employees are not required to be members, although I could be wrong. Delegates are doing business on behalf of the party, not on behalf of themselves. As for proxy votes I have seen that at the Green convention in person and the CP reported here the last few days and I can’t say I’m much of a fan. Maybe in the future a secure online/telephone vote with one vote per party member number could be considered as an alternative.

  44. Robert Capozzi

    P, OK, do all the states pay the LNC, then? The business meeting expenses may not be all that significant, but it does seem self-evident that the burden should be shared equitably. If some pay and others don’t without floor fees, that strikes me as inequitable, yes?

  45. ATBAFT

    Paulie, I agree the business portion is a core function of the LP and should be paid for by all members. A for-profit corp. has all shareholders pay for the annual meeting to elect directors. The thing is, shareholders all get one vote per share whether or not they attend. Another thing, the cost of the meeting is spread over perhaps millions of shareholders. In the LP’s case, costs would be spread over 12,000 and would amount to a “signficant” increase in dues. So I say TANSTAAFL and let those attending pay, or add $5 or whatever to the dues and send out
    proxies to members before the convention which allow them to vote for officers and directors by name or give their proxies to others who may or may not have solicited them. The proxies would be mailed to an independent counting authority so there was no”monkey business.”

  46. Robert Capozzi

    r: It’s the speaker conference that costs.

    me: I’ve not seen the spreadsheet, but I could imagine that the cost of an AC hotel casino for having a musical act perform there could “lose” money as a means to drive more traffic to its casino. Similarly, having good speakers at an LP convention may attract the marginal convention-goer. Ditto for staging the convention in a desirable place. It’s a business judgment.

  47. June Genis

    I have no problem paying for services rendered. As a delegate I will receive a package of information that allows me to perform my delegate duties in an informed manor. I am willing to pay for that but would like to see other alternative, like being able to load a copy of those materials personal pc. Unlike the D & R conventions, LP delegates have to do more than stand on chairs and wave signs.

    Having organized a state convention myself I know that it should be possible to negotiate for free use of the meeting hall as part of the hotel contract. Of course, the committee could also decide they prefer to negotiate lower room rates to get larger attendance.

    Personally I would like to see just how much money we are really talking about here. Is the committee counting on making money from the floor fee or are they just trying to cover real costs incurred in serving the delegates? It seems to me that as libertarians we should support the right of the committee to recover expenses, whether it is by charging a fee to delegates or to the National Party. The bylaws are silent on how delegate cost should be recovered and therefor I don’t find it strange that the Judicial Committee could differ in opinion.

    I do not have sympathy for those who can afford the floor fee but just don’t want to pay it. I am willing to contribute to a fund to pay the fee for delegates who truly can’t afford it. I believe that the two old parties have numerous ways of subsidizing convention expenses to allow for a broad economic cross-section of participants. I don’t see why we can’t do the same.

  48. Robert Capozzi

    around: A for-profit corp. has all shareholders pay for the annual meeting to elect directors.

    me: This is not true in any meaningful sense. By owning a share in a stock corporation, one gets to: 1) vote for the board IF one holds the share on the record date; 2) collect apportioned dividends, if paid; 3) theoretical claim on earnings; 4) to sell the shares and take a gain or loss. That’s about it. It doesn’t entitle the shareholder to sit in on any management or board meetings or make any decisions at all.

    A shareholder may hold shares in a publicly traded stock for many years. There is no ongoing expense to the shareholder. The cost of staging the Annual Meeting is trivial on a per share basis, probably far less than a penny.

    Yours is an apples-to-oranges comparison, IMO.

  49. Brian Holtz Post author

    Delegates are doing business on behalf of the party, not on behalf of themselves.

    Really? If delegates are not preference-exerters but rather are directed workers like LPHQ staff, then the “thoroughly corrupted” charge turns out to be spot-on. Perhaps my marching orders from LPHQ — about what officers, candidates, bylaws, and platform planks to vote for — were lost in the mail. I guess I’ll find them in my delegate binder.

    If delegates really are just workers, like envelope-stuffers or data entry clerks, then as good free-marketeers we should bid the financial arrangement with them down to market-clearing rates. Instead of subsidizing/compensating their alleged toil, I bet we could get the same amount of toil done for free — or maybe even charge them for it. Let each prospective delegate submit a bid indicating his lowest acceptable subsidy — possibly even negative, i.e. pay-to-toil — and then determine what rate clears the market.

    Any other technique for hiring delegate-toilers is a waste of party resources.

  50. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC,

    “OK, do all the states pay the LNC, then?”

    The states receive delegation apportionment based on:

    1) How many people in their state pay the LNC; and

    2) How many people in their state vote for the LNC’s presidential ticket.

    And that’s pretty much the crux of the matter. The bylaws apportion delegates on that criteria. The convention committee is adding a third criterion unmentioned in the bylaws:

    3) How many multiples of $94 above and beyond the dues of the members counted for delegate apportionment, and above and beyond the money spent procuring votes for the presidential ticket, the states or their appointed delegates, are willing to fork over.

  51. Robert Capozzi

    tk, it would be interesting to see that math laid out. Based on what you say, it’s conceivable that a state LP’s delegation is being “subsidized” on the strength of its presidential vote vs. a low LNC contribution rate.

    Perhaps the JudComm’s decision may clarify this situation further.

  52. Jill Pyeatt

    I still don’t understand why anyone would pay the Bronze package price of $295 (assuming it hasn’t gone up yet), rather than the $94 TANSTAAFL, when the only difference seems to be the Saturday banquet, and the Wednesday night event. If there’s added value to the Bronze package that I don’t know about, can someone please correct me here? I’ve been asked by quite a few people.

  53. Brian Holtz Post author

    Bob, the shareholders pay for the annual meeting, because the meeting is financed by funds that would otherwise belong to the shareholders as either dividends or retained earnings.

  54. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC,

    “it would be interesting to see that math laid out. Based on what you say, it’s conceivable that a state LP’s delegation is being ‘subsidized’ on the strength of its presidential vote vs. a low LNC contribution rate.”

    The math at present (the delegate apportionment formula is laid out in the bylaws, which can and have been modified), each state affiliate gets one delegate per 0.14% of total sustaining LNC members in the state, and one delegate per 0.35% of the total number of votes cast nationwide for the LNC’s previous presidential ticket.

    So yes, hypothetically a state could get delegates far out of proportion to its number of sustaining members. As a hypothetical, if Gary Johnson is nominated and if 35% of the votes he gets nationwide come from New Mexico, New Mexico will rate 100 delegates above and beyond the number allotted for its pro rata percentage of sustaining LNC members at the 2014 convention.

    That hypothetical points up one possible wrinkle in the scheme:

    The idea underlying the scheme is that state affiliates “contribute” to the LNC by promoting the presidential ticket and getting votes for it, and that higher numbers reflect a better job of doing so. That additional delegate apportionment is a reward, but it’s also something else. The implicit assumption is that states that do a great job of getting votes for the presidential ticket should get more representation because they’re doing things right and will bring that right way of doing things to the convention’s business.

    But a well-known “favorite son or daughter” might do very well in a state on his own strengths, regardless of whether or not that state’s LNC affiliate does a good job of promoting him or her.

    I wouldn’t say it’s a major flaw or anything, but it might distort representation some, and not necessarily for the better.

    Personally, when I was in the LP, I supported delegate apportionment on the same basis as the electoral college — two delegates, plus one delegate per US House district, per state affiliate (with state affiliates not represented in the US House receiving delegates pro rata to the number of districts their population would entitle them to).

    No great moral arguments for that way of doing things, just practical ones:

    It would reduce the number of delegates from the present maximums, making more venues acceptable for the convention (and, at least absent extra-convention circus activities of the type 2012 delegates are being swindled to subsidize, would make the convention cheaper to put on).

    Both the states and the convention committee would know years in advance how many delegates to expect, instead of finding out a few months before the event, making planning easier.

  55. Darryl W. Perry

    @Holtz “My policy preference is that the cost to exert one’s policy preferences at convention should be significantly more than just the $25 sustaining member dues, and that this cost should be optionally payable with in-kind donations of volunteer effort.”

    Then why not advocate for a larger membership fee and/or eliminating the lifetime membership?

  56. Here's a radical idea

    $25 sustaining?
    #1 I hear that it barely covers the “LP News” and staff work.
    #2 Not everyone that attends the national convention pays $25 to national.
    #3 Wouldn’t we have to raise the minimum from $25 to say $50 in order to cover the fixed office expenses and those of the convention.
    #4 Comparing a state convention of 25 to 75 people vs a national convention of 600 to 900 people? Could the national party save money by doing away with stages, large screens, all the AV support and just expect everyone to force their way to the front to see the small screens on the computer ?

  57. Robert Capozzi

    BH, I see your point EXCEPT that the terms of the entire arrangement rests on the entity having this required annual meeting. It’s not subject to negotiation. It’s part and parcel wiith the entity and is, in this sense, non-allocatable. There are no dividends without it, for there is no entity without it.

    The alternative is partnership.

  58. Marc Montoni

    You know, there’s no real discussion going on here.

    I’ve suggested many times how to pay for convention costs with corporate donations, which is entirely legal.

    Those in favor of floor fees ignore it.

    I’ve mentioned many times how hotels usually comp meeting rooms if a certain number of hotel rooms are contracted.

    Those in favor of floor fees ignore it.

    What jacks up convention costs are the auxiliary rooms for breakout sessions and speakers. And banquets. At a place like the Red Rock, the main banquet is likely to be around $75 to $100 all by itself. It has been pointed out many times that these auxiliary events are where most of the expense of the convention is generated. It has been pointed out many times that these events have nothing to do with the Business Session required by the Bylaws.

    Those in favor of floor fees ignore all of this.

    The fact of the matter is that the Business Session meeting rooms cost the convention committee very little, maybe even nothing. If that’s somehow NOT the case, then someone was extremely naive at the negotiating table.

    Just once, I’d like to see a convention put on that consists of only the Business Sessions. I’d be willing to bet any half-decent organizer could get the entire week for free as long as two or three hundred rooms are sold for the duration. Oh but of course we can’t have that, because then the jig would be up. Auxiliary functions could still be held — just someone would have to organize them separately, and charge for them — and the convention committee would have to eschew the “no competing events” clause.

  59. Jill Pyeatt

    Thanks, Daniel, but I understood from Ruth last week that the TANSAAFL package also entitles the convention-goer to attend not only the break-out sessions, but the presidential debate.

  60. John Wayne Smith

    well, I read all of the comments above and all said and done I have clarified as to whom I will vote for and campaign against at the convention.
    I will be at the convention to vote my preferences.

    First I will vote against all those that I can who voted for the convention to be at the Red Rock for any position including “Dog Catcher”. Second I will vote against any one who identifies themselves with the “New Libertarian Majority”

    I also believe that Tom Knapp presented the best arguments here. There were others who spoke well.

    I have worked for the growth of the Libertarian Party US for 38 years. I have spent thundered of thousands of dollars and have been a candidate under the LP label 9 time. Served on the state committee 15 years and have other wise been involved in party building at least 10 hours a week the whole time. I even was one of the seven people who reorganized the LP in Florida in 1986 after it was decertified in 1984. And I still have to pay $94.00

    I suggest that real Libertarians and other libertarians abandon the LPUS and start anew.

  61. ATBAFT

    Mr. Capozzi is right, and agrees with my poiint that most corporations can spread the cost of an annual 2 hr. meeting over a million+ shareholders.
    It is hard for the LP to compress its business session into a 2 hr. meeting that the convention venue may throw in “free” in exchange for X number of room nights. So, I ask, is it better to increase the annual dues by, say, $10 in order to pay for a limited number of members being allowed to attend as “delegates,” or to ask those chosen as “delegates” pay their own way, or at least give every member a proxy he or she could use to
    vote for officers and at-large natcom members? I belong to several non-profit corporation charitable orgs that have about the same number of members as the LP: neither one charges a fee to attend the brief business meeting but each sends out a ballot/proxy about two months in advance of the meeting.

  62. Marc Montoni

    @ATBAFT, a 2 hour meeting is not what I am talking about.

    I’ve organized convention venues for fraternal organizations and other bodies before, and I know something of what I say.

    Let’s say we want a meeting hall for 500. Just as a “for instance”, the hotel will say, OK, if you will guarantee 250 people will rent rooms, you can have the meeting room for the entire day. OR, if 250 people buy the lunch we provide, the room is free. OR, some combination of the two.

    If we have a four-day convention, the hotel will comp meeting rooms every day for which we guarantee offsetting revenue — rooms, meals, or some combination of the two.

    To say that if we buy, say 250 rooms, but we’d only get the meeting hall for a couple of hours is just not the way it works.

  63. Marc Montoni

    My policy preference is that the cost to exert one’s policy preferences at convention should be significantly more than just the $25 sustaining member dues, and that this cost should be optionally payable with in-kind donations of volunteer effort.

    Interesting. I’ve been advocating higher dues + the option to “pay” them with in-kind service for about ten years or so now. Here’s an example. When I suggested doing exactly that on one of the blogs about five years ago, the individual quoted above belittled the idea.

    DP said:

    Then why not advocate for a larger membership fee

    He just did.

    … and/or eliminating the lifetime membership?

    I really hope you’re not suggesting that the LP no longer recognize lifers who have already paid. In that case, absolutely not. Lifetime members have been given a promise, and the LP should keep to its promises.

    If you’re saying to continue honoring past lifetime members, but not offering any more, then my answer would still be “no”.

    Having a Life category is a good way to get dues in advance. If you allow only annuals, then after a few years, the people who might have sprung for a life membership will drift away like most people do. Even life members eventually drift away — the get busy, they retire, they get a vacation home in Florida, they have kids — and they’re not as active either as donors or as volunteers after a while.

    With life memberships, the LP gets their dues equivalent of 40 years @ $1,000 (now 80 years at the new life level — $2,000 is it?).

    The lifetime dues amount should keep up with the corruption of the money supply (inflation), but otherwise, it’s a good way to get dues up-front. The trick is to account for them properly — if the average lifer lasts 17 years after payment, for example, a portion of his advance dues should simply be set aside and docked only once a year.

  64. Brian Holtz Post author

    Darryl, I’m agnostic about what’s the best way to have delegates prove they have more skin in the game than just $2.50/mo dues. Marc has some good ideas on this front.

    MM: I’ve mentioned many times how hotels usually comp meeting rooms if a certain number of hotel rooms are contracted. Those in favor of floor fees ignore it.

    Marc, the CoC details their $58K “common costs” for Vegas in their brief available at http://marketliberal.org/LP/JudCom/2012Ploeger/. They note that this does not include the 1,125 hotel room nights required to get the convention hall comp’d — which it was. (I wish they’d have diverted some of the $5K decoration budget into free wi-fi on the floor. BTW, I heard that they’ve already met the room commitment which will ensure the hall is free.)

    Bob, that a corporation’s annual meeting is mandatory doesn’t mean that any costs paid for it don’t come out of dividends and/or retained earnings. Even if the corporation owns a hotel with meeting facilities, there is an opportunity cost in not renting out those facilities during the meeting.

  65. Daniel Wiener

    Marc Martoni: We already get the meeting rooms at no additional charge based on satisfying certain minimums for hotel room nights and/or food. The banquet and meals and speakers are extra charges, which are what the convention packages (priced in excess of the floor fee) cover. Corporate sponsorships would be nice, but the reality is that (unlike the Republicans and Democrats) the Libertarian Party has very little leverage or favors or other inducements which would attract significant corporate sponsorships. (But I’d be happy to be proven wrong about that.) The floor fee amount was arrived at by Ruth Bennett and the Convention Oversight Committee based on their calculation of the cost of various common convention costs, above and beyond the meeting room space.

    People obviously disagree on what a political convention should consist of and what its purpose is. Yes, we could have a bare-bones convention which is cheaper than what is normally put on. In fact, we could conduct all our business over the Internet at extremely low cost and just forego a physical convention. But the Libertarian Party is a political party, and part of the rationale for holding a convention is not just to conduct business sessions but to exchange ideas among ourselves and to market our ideas to the general public. Politics is part show and part persuasion, not just an exchange of philosophical screeds among the true believers.

    My opinion is that putting on a “proper” convention is important to accomplishing our political purposes. And those delegates who choose to attend the convention should share in the common costs of the convention. My own analysis of our Bylaws convinced me that establishing a floor fee was within the authority of the LNC, and I’m happy that the Judicial Committee was similarly convinced by the excellent briefs which were subitted on the LNC’s behalf (especially the superb brief by Thomas Balch, one of the authors of Robert’s Rules of Order).

    Now that the precedent has been firmly established and validated by the JC ruling, those who are opposed to floor fees are free to try to amend the Bylaws at this or future conventions or to elect LNC members who will not establish such fees for future conventions.

  66. Marc Montoni

    As an aside, if requiring delegates to be members is important to you, then you should start by asking your state LP to require all of its delegates to be national members.

    In Virginia this year, we added a provision that anyone who wishes to serve as our delegate should be a member of **both** the national and state LP’s, at least from the time of our state convention through the closing gavel of the national convention.

    I strongly supported the requirement.

    If there was a move to require delegates to the national convention to be at least Sustaining Members of the national LP, I would support it.

    I used to say that if the delegates offered a motion to charge a floor fee, I might support it; however, these days I am more interested in seeing the Party get better at fundraising and would prefer to require future convention committees to seek corporate donations — as long as they are still legal.

  67. Brian Holtz Post author

    When I suggested doing exactly that on one of the blogs about five years ago, the individual quoted above belittled the idea.

    If you’re talking about me, what I wrote there was:

    A convention is a public good insofar as the benefit to LP members of having LP business conducted is both non-rival and non-excludable. It’s amusing to hear an anarchist advocate that a public good be financed by what in this context amounts to taxation.

    Thus I didn’t belittle the idea of spreading convention costs across all dues-payers. What I belittled was anarchists advocating this justification for what in this context amounts to taxation.

    Note that this idea is not the same as what I advocated this morning: My policy preference is that the cost to exert one’s policy preferences at convention should be significantly more than just the $25 sustaining member dues, and that this cost should be optionally payable with in-kind donations of volunteer effort.

  68. Michael H. Wilson

    Does anyone know if the itemized costs for previous conventions are available on line?

  69. Brian Holtz Post author

    Bylaw 11.5.d had not been mentioned in the case before the majority wrote its opinion. If it had been, here is what I would have proposed to add to the majority opinion:

    11.5.d does not prescribe a process for registration that replaces the default processes in Robert’s Rules. Rather, it prescribes a condition under which the registration process may not even be attempted — namely, if an affiliate missed the deadline for submitting its delegation list. Since the process of registration is still nowhere described in the Bylaws, the allowable steps for it remain those described as “normal” in Robert’s Rules.

    “If the bylaws authorize certain things specifically, other things of the same class are thereby prohibited.” The Bylaws authorize only accreditation and registration as barriers for being a delegate, and no others. Robert’s Rules authorize only four allowable steps for registration, and no others. Any other barrier to being a delegate would indeed be prohibited.

    The other arguments of the dissent are all addressed in the majority opinion.

  70. JT

    Marc: “I’ve suggested many times how to pay for convention costs with corporate donations, which is entirely legal.”

    Which corporations do you think will pay for the Libertarian Party convention? I don’t think even Whole Foods, whose CEO is a self-identified libertarian, would pay for it.

  71. Marc Montoni

    Corporate sponsorships would be nice, but the reality is that (unlike the Republicans and Democrats) the Libertarian Party has very little leverage or favors or other inducements which would attract significant corporate sponsorships.

    As I’ve said before, we haven’t raised corporate cash before because no one has tried. And I’ve *never* suggested we’re going to get the quarter-million-dollar checks the D’s and R’s get. If that’s what you have in mind, then you’re just introducing a straw man argument.

    Read this for what I regard as the first target audience to solicit.

    Read this for to see my suggestion on how much I think can be raised fairly easily.

    I would think it incumbent upon the COC to find a fundraiser who is experienced with soliciting sponsors, who is willing to try it for us.

    (But I’d be happy to be proven wrong about that.)

    Then hire a fundraiser to do it, and he’ll most likely prove you wrong. Then you’ll be happy, as you say.

    The floor fee amount was arrived at by Ruth Bennett and the Convention Oversight Committee based on their calculation of the cost of various common convention costs, above and beyond the meeting room space.

    $6,000 for speakers is not a common cost. I didn’t ask for them, and for the most part at past conventions I’ve attended I’ve found them not useful to me. A few have been entertaining, but I am far more entertained at the antics of my fellow libertarians at the parties at night.

    I could pick apart several of the other line items, but I realize it won’t do any good.

    Oh, and by the way, convention floor time could be shortened considerably if the LNC-appointed Bylaws and other committees would just stop trying to fill every available moment of scheduled floor time with time-consuming bad ideas.

  72. Marc Montoni

    Lest anyone try to claim that we can’t raise convention cash, please remember this

    Incidentally I’d be willing to try my hand at raising corporate cash for the 2014 or 2016 convention; however that is not among the fundraising methods I have experience in. If I raise at least $10,000, there’d be a price over and above my commission — but probably more than those in favor of floor fees would agree to pay.

  73. Thomas L. Knapp

    On the bright side, the Judicial Committee’s decision creates several opportunities for entrepreneurs.

    Ribbons (“Yes, I Paid Your Fucking Poll Tax”)!

    Buttons (“LP National Convention 2012: Laissez FUBAR”)!

    T-Shirts (I actually recommend against buying that one — it’s a three-minute design job just for fun — but feel free to grab the idea)!

  74. ATBAFT

    A lot of Libertarians remember the 1996 25th anniversary convention at a very nice downtown DC hotel at the height of tourist season – reasonable room rates, reasonabile packages, minimal floor fee ($10?), great stage, lots of meals, banquet orchestra, tons of speakers, great CSPAN coverage.
    Great time had by all and the frugal s.o.b.s running it negotiated their butts off with the venue and were rumored to make a profit of $80,000. Successful future convention bids should start with a schedule of reasonable package prices which,if the bid is successful, are written into the contract.

  75. Brian Holtz Post author

    ATBAFT, there was a ~$10 floor fee in 1996? Various old-timers have been saying that nobody can remember there ever having been a floor fee before.

    From the JudCom opinion: “In the absence of reliable evidence about this alleged custom, the Party of Principle should be governed not by lore but by the text of its rules.”

  76. Nicholas Sarwark

    I’ll bet $100 that the $10 fee in 1996 was not required to get on the floor to vote, but was more like a suggested donation, same as 2010 in St. Louis and every other national LP convention I’ve been to. Charging a fee is not new, barring delegates who don’t pay it from voting is.

  77. B4Liberty

    Just FYI – t-shirt shoppers:
    http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/products/120101/merch16156/index.html

    Order by the 28th. At $4.99 you can order a different t-shirt message for every day of the convention! You might have to put a rush on the order to get them in time. 😉

    Is it possible to make a motion to change the agenda? Put the election of the LNC board and judcom on Friday or Saturday morning and bump the bylaws to Sunday?

  78. John Wayne Smith

    Nicholas Sarwark says: I?ll bet $100 that the $10 fee in 1996 was not required to get on the floor to vote,

    _____________

    Nick you are absolutely correct. When I was on the platform committee in 2004 I did not pay anything and was not ask to.

    However, that is not why I am writting this. Dean Ahmad, a former member of the LNC said in 1987 that he and his wife Frances Eddy had not paid anything in 5 years. Both of then kept their badges from year to year and used them over and over. They may be at this convention and you may be able to confirm this for your self.

  79. Jim Duensing

    For all this talk of economics and principles, what is being overlooked is that the LNC – without explicit authority from the bylaws – and in contravention of them according to rational interpreters – has implemented a Participation Tax.

    It costs the average LP member nothing to have the work of the convention done for them. They can sit at home and benefit from the work of others – without paying a dime. But, those who spend their time and money traveling to and attending a convention are taxed for the privilege.

    The 600 or so delegates were voted on by their states and are attending as representatives of those states. They are doing the work of the party. If anyone is to be taxed, shouldn’t it be those who are not participating. Wouldn’t that institute the kind of incentives that the LP needs; favoring participation and disfavoring sitting at home and complaining about how the Libertarians elected another Barr / Root ticket.

    Participation doesn’t have to be subsidized, but the convention has lots of bells and whistles that are not related to the business of the convention. The entire LSLA cost 8,000 at the Sunset Station in Vegas in 2008 – and we had two days with 4 breakout rooms, a Presidential Debate, and everyone got meals with their $100 fee. Even if you double the cost, it’s 20,000. The LP should be able to raise enough money to pay for its convention and have organizers who can work within budgets and make their bells and whistles profitable.

    The convention committee implementing a fee in violation of the bylaws while complaining about free riders when they have so obviously mismanaged the planning of this convention is like the pundits on Fox Noise blaming the poor for not being able to afford their mortgages while ignoring the Ponzi scheme nature of the Federal Reserve’s unConstitutional fiat money system that is responsible for the economic crisis in the first place.

    In Liberty, with Eternal Vigilance,

    Jim Duensing
    http://www.VoteForAChange.US

  80. Robert Capozzi

    bh, maybe this is a Hayek/Friedman thing, but I don’t think so. An opportunity cost involves opportunities, where option A can be avoided for option B. Annual meeting costs are unavoidable for DE public companies. They MUST pay to play, like paying listing fees to the NYSE or NASDAQ. I would concede costs above the minimum cost could be an opportunity cost. But things like annual meetings and other IR activities are designed to lower a corporation’s cost of capital. Like other forms of marketing, precise quantification is elusive, yet arguably pivotal.

  81. Robert Capozzi

    More…

    Iow, there are no dividends or retained earnings from a public company without an annual meeting because there’s no public company. Chicken, egg?

  82. justwondering

    I always find it laughable that self proclaimed former Libertarians like Thomas Knapp, Mike Seebeck, Jim Duensing (have I left anyone out) spend so much time commenting, kibitzing and expressing their moral outrage over the affairs of the party they quit.

    They are “former”party members. I see it this way, if you have left the party, your opinion means little to me or nothing to me. If can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, get out. But once you have left, quit telling us party members and activist that are trying to right the ship, what to do.

    This is wrong, That’s not fair, I am outrage. Calling the people who have stuck around and volunteering their time as cowards, douche bags, df’s.

    To quote a line from one of my favorite movies Heartbreak Ridge, “Don’t go away mad, just go away!”

  83. Daniel Wiener

    To justwondering says:

    While I often disagree with Thomas Knapp, Mike Seebeck, and Jim Duensing, I have no complaints about their “kibitzing”. Regardless of whether they are current LP members, if their criticisms are constructive, then it’s valuable to at least listen to them. Contrawise, it’s easy to ignore non-constructive criticisims.

    Name calling, invective, insults, and ad hominem arguments from people who disagree with me provide an excellent filter which makes it easy to shift them into my mental spam folder. That separates them from the people who present reasonable arguments which are worth considering, even if I ultimately conclude they are incorrect.

  84. Seebeck

    ““Whenever people disagree with me, I assume they know they’re wrong and are just conspiring against what’s right. Then I add them to my enemies list.”

    Well, considering that Holtz is wrong much more often than he is right, his enemies list must read like War and Peace now.

    $58K for Red Rocks, nowhere near the Strip or the airport? What a ripoff.

    I presented a proposal to the LNC for Ontario CA for the Convention Center in 2010 for $28K, with 11 hotels and 15 restaurants within walking distance, 5 minutes from the airport, 15 minutes from Greyhound and Amtrak, and the LNC completely ignored it. They went with the St. Louis mistake instead (where I got a room 2 blocks away for half the price of the overpriced and underserviced Renaissance Hotel, who didn’t even have their own Wi-Fi and convention hall lacked enough tables and zero power supplies except along the wall.

    This is what I mean by subsidizing poor planning, folks.

  85. Seebeck

    “I always find it laughable that self proclaimed former Libertarians like Thomas Knapp, Mike Seebeck, Jim Duensing (have I left anyone out) spend so much time commenting, kibitzing and expressing their moral outrage over the affairs of the party they quit.”

    Laugh all you want, but we invested quite a bit of time, money, sweat, and tears into the LP, and as such we have a vested interest in it even after leaving.

    As for being self-proclaimed, I think it’s fair to say that our party resumes stand on their own. We also have the strength of our convictions to tell it like we see it and use our own names.

    Whether you like it or not is irrelevant. We’ve earned the right to have our say, whether you think so or not.

  86. Seebeck

    “The floor fee amount was arrived at by Ruth Bennett and the Convention Oversight Committee based on their calculation of the cost of various common convention costs, above and beyond the meeting room space.”

    IOW, they are still using a flawed model and poor planning. Go talk to the Ryans and see how it is done for zero business session fees AND making a profit.

  87. Seebeck

    Opinions read. The majority opinion (written in Holtz’s writing style) is pure garbage, based on zero in the Bylaws and RRONR. It also throws said Bylaws out the window and makes them nothing more than toilet paper. Sullentrop’s concurring opinion is pure bloviation of the long-debunked subsidy argument. I wonder if Carling ghost-wrote it for him.

    The dissent has it correct. But we knew that going in.

    I’m disappointed in Gray on this. Everyone else came down as I figured they would.

    And people criticize why I left? It’s simple: the organization, IMO, is no longer worth any involvement. It’s no longer about the membership or effecting any political change. It’s about a select few people trying to be a big fish in a draining pond instead of growing the pond into a lake and adding more fish.

  88. Thomas L. Knapp

    Michael,

    “This is what I mean by subsidizing poor planning, folks.”

    Actually, it’s not poor planning.

    Holding the convention in an expensive hotel with as few nearby, less expensive options as possible is intentional.

    The more expensive the hotel rooms, the more the planners can get “back” in “extras” (event room slots, etc.) for filling a given block of rooms.

    The more isolated the hotel from less expensive alternatives, the more delegates can be buffaloed into paying the expensive rate into being on site.

    The point is to make it as hard as possible for delegates who are only interested in the actual convention to avoid subsidizing the preferences of others for expensive dog-and-pony side shows.

    They’ve always done a pretty good job of milking the delegates for that stuff, even before getting brazen enough to just flat stick out their hands and demand “$94 to cover the floral arrangements at our banquet tables, or we won’t let you do the party’s business.”

  89. Seebeck

    “They are “former”party members. I see it this way, if you have left the party, your opinion means little to me or nothing to me. If can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, get out. But once you have left, quit telling us party members and activist that are trying to right the ship, what to do.”

    Well, maybe if you actually DID something to right the ship instead of complaining about those of us who tried, then just maybe something would get done. Considering that you lack the courage to use your real name, we have no idea if that’s the case, and you have offered no evidence of such.

    Knapp has done his share for the LP over the years. Me too. You complain about heat in the kitchen, well, we were in the kitchen cooking (or at least trying to) while others were simply complaining about the soup being cold. You think we built up names and influence within the LP by doing zero? I don’t think so. I don’t always agree with Knapp nor him me, but I respect his opinion and his work, and I’d like to think that’s reciprocal, but he can speak for himself.

    What really pisses you off is that I don’t go along to get along, I tell it like it is, and if people don’t like it, tough shit. The advantage I have always had, and used, is that I don’t kiss anybody’s ass, I play the way I feel it needs to be played, which is that the organization is about the members of it first and the bureaucratic stupidity second, I tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear, and I worked within that bureaucracy to make it more useful and member-friendly. I sure as hell didn’t serve on three counties and two state boards in separate states, not to mention the Lights of Liberty Triathletes, the radio show, the campaigns, the parades, several thousand road miles, convention planning and execution, the committees, the Top Two fight in CA, RMLWA, and the national involvement based on my looks, that’s for sure. I got elected and volunteered for those slots because *I got stuff done*. My departure was based on real life taking precedence over politics, which certainly happens, and the growing understanding that there were certain individuals within the party ranks that nor only don’t get it, but never will, and as such will perpetually hinder those of us that do get it. My departure from the LP doesn’t make me any less libertarian, just fed up with the LP bullshit. If the LP actually focused on real politicking instead of this pointless and unnecessary procedural bullshit that was does nothing useful except continue to sidetrack the LP from ever being useful, then maybe it might be worthwhile again. So I sit back and watch to see if that will happen, and I comment on it as desired. But I’m not holding my breath on it, either. If “justwondering”, whomever that is, doesn’t like it, they are free to do so, but they better have something constructive to offer instead of just criticism of the critics. IOW, they need to put up or shut up. I’ve put up, so I don’t have to shut up.

  90. paulie

    The thing is, shareholders all get one vote per share whether or not they attend.

    That would be fine if they can be real time votes cast by the members themselves with access to CSPAN, internet video, twitter feeds of proceedings etc, and linked to one vote per membership ID number.

  91. paulie

    Delegates are doing business on behalf of the party, not on behalf of themselves.

    Really?

    See Chuck Moulton’s analogy to attending a wedding in a previous thread.

  92. Seebeck

    Tom,

    It may be intentional; I’m not certain of it. But I know from experience that any convention planning, of which I have done a few, like any event that involves attendees, such as my past catering career, has taught me, that anything which hinders involvement or makes attendees unhappy, uncomfortable, or simply unsatisfied, is a failure or at least a problem to be solved and improved on, and 98% of the time, barring freak accidents, it’s due to poor planning and/or execution, either intentional or not. And yes, I’ve laid an egg or two in that department as well.

    Because they make it nor about the membership, I call it poor planning, because IMO that is not where their priorities are as they should be.

    You may be entirely correct, But I think your reasoning on the actions does agree with mine as well; just slightly different labels. 🙂

  93. paulie

    $25 sustaining?
    #1 I hear that it barely covers the “LP News” and staff work.

    Many members contribute more than 25. However, given inflation, it may well be time to raise that 25 to whatever it would be now from when it became 25 in today’s dollars.

    #3 Wouldn’t we have to raise the minimum from $25 to say $50 in order to cover the fixed office expenses and those of the convention.

    While 50 may not be unreasonable for other reasons, are you saying that 10k + members x25 (that’s over 250k FRN) is needed to cover the convention …over and above what package buyers voluntarily pay?

  94. paulie

    better to increase the annual dues by, say, $10 in order to pay for a limited number of members being allowed to attend as “delegates,”

    That still sounds too high. Say it’s 13k members. That would be 130k.

    Even if the convention costs that much, a lot of people *want* to buy packages well above minimum that pay for much of it. Room commitments pay for a lot of it also. By the time you get down to floor fee vs no floor fee there is a lot less left. Then you have to look at the other side of the ledger, as Chuck Moulton outlined in a past article.
    Those fees come with costs too, which takes away from the bottom line. In fact those costs might even outweigh whatever money they bring in.

  95. paulie

    In fact, we could conduct all our business over the Internet at extremely low cost and just forego a physical convention. But the Libertarian Party is a political party, and part of the rationale for holding a convention is not just to conduct business sessions but to exchange ideas among ourselves and to market our ideas to the general public.

    That can all be done online too.

  96. Brian Holtz Post author

    his enemies list must read like War and Peace now

    Sarcasm that bystanding snarkers don’t get: sweet. Sarcasm that sails over the head of its target: priceless. Missed phonebook analogy: lagniappe.

    analogy to attending a wedding

    My wedding guests didn’t get to vote on naming our first-born or what bumper stickers to put on the family car.

    Really?

    Nice selective quoting of my still-unanswered argument. At least you didn’t invoke bathroom supplies. 🙂

  97. paulie

    Which corporations do you think will pay for the Libertarian Party convention? I don’t think even Whole Foods, whose CEO is a self-identified libertarian, would pay for it.

    They don’t have to be big corporations with names you’d know. Small corps owned by LP members could donate varying amounts that could add up, as could others if they got to advertise or if they are just asked.

  98. Marc Montoni

    So $10,000 would cover the amount of money projected to be raised by the floor fee?

    I think it was Shane Cory who said that at past conventions typically only about 10% of the total in attendance (so, about 30 out of the 300-odd who went to Portland 06, ~50 for Denver, ~85 St Louis 08…) were non-package-buying delegates. So if there are going to be ~700 in attendance this year, that would mean about 70 people would attend who would desire no package. Let’s be liberal and say 100 people this year wanted no package. Rounding to $100 a pop, 100 x 100 = 10,000.

    But like I said, I would only agree to raise money for the convention under certain conditions. And those conditions would be personally costly for the individuals who advocate floor fees, so I wouldn’t expect them to agree to those conditions.

    Laziness and incompetence at raising funds on the part of the LNC and COC does not constitute an emergency the rest of us have to pay for.

    In case no one has noticed from year-over-year fundraising, the LP has lost a great deal of its former fundraising skill. Revenues have declined fairly steadily for over a decade. The same individuals who have fiddled while allowing our revenue to continue falling, answer with “floor fees”.

    If floor fees are the answer, it was a stupid question.

  99. Thomas L. Knapp

    Mike,

    OK, I see it your way. It is indeed poor planning if the goal is to put on a convention in the most fiscally responsible, participatio-encouraging way possible.

    If the goal is something else — for example, holding the convention business hostage to a demand that hundreds of people merely interested in doing that business subsidize the preference of dozens of people for a swank venue and extensive entertainment selections that they’re not willing to bear the full costs of buying for themselves, even at the additional expense of the organization’s long-term solvency — on the other hand, they’ve actually done a bang-up job of planning, especially this time. Right down to pretending to be the subsidizers, even!

  100. Major Opinion

    The majority opinion is pure garbage, based on zero in the Bylaws and RRONR

    Article 11, Section 3(a) of the Bylaws explicitly distinguishes between “accreditation” and “registration”: “At all Regular Conventions delegates shall be those so accredited who have registered at the Convention.” The Bylaws thus mention “registration” but do not describe it.

    Robert’s Rules describes “registration” in detail and says it “normally” includes “paying the registration fee.”

    Article 16 of the Bylaws says: The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern the Party in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order adopted by the Party.

  101. Robert Capozzi

    tk: …I supported delegate apportionment on the same basis as the electoral college…

    me: Reasonable. Or just population. And then state LPs would finance the national conventions by some pro rata, equitable basis, meaning no floor fees of delegates.

  102. paulie

    Marc,

    I’m for that. I even brought it up to LNC members and at least one told me that it is supposedly something we can’t do due to our FEC status or something similar. Anyone have an idea what that is about?

  103. Robert Capozzi

    mm, “finance” means “seed money.” If other sources of revenue can offset/exceed expenses, cool.

  104. Major Opinion

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=robert%27s+allusions+of+order%2C+newly+revised

    Your search “robert’s allusions of order, newly revised” did not match any products.


    Roberts discusses a registration procedure (viz., when to stop accepting registrations) that it says has to be overridden in the Bylaws for the default process not to be in force. This reinforces the conclusion that the detailed “normal” registration steps need not be reiterated in the Bylaws in order
    to be authorized.

    “Signing the list of registrations” is also not reiterated in the Bylaws, but Petitioners would not dare argue that delegates may not be required to sign the delegate list in order to receive their credentials.

  105. Marc Montoni

    I’m for that. I even brought it up to LNC members and at least one told me that it is supposedly something we can’t do due to our FEC status or something similar. Anyone have an idea what that is about?

    Who knows. I’ll bet that came from the same flapping lips as the claim that it would be “illegal” for one person to pay another person’s dues.

    (The FEC doesn’t care who pays whose dues as long as the organization *reports* the payment as coming from the person who wrote the check — they don’t care if political orgs have “gift memberships” or whatever as long as the money trail is reported truthfully).

    The truth is even when the rules say you can’t, other rules say you can. One learns to live under the rules that allow you to live.

  106. Sane LP Member

    25% of attendees didn’t pay any registration package at the St. Louis Convention. Good thing the convention was stripped down and void of any seminars, extra speakers, extras.
    It barely broke even. . . and it was boring.

    Up until that point, many people though that you had to buy a package to get on the floor. That is how it was spun, but in fact you didn’t have to buy anything to get in.

    That 28% could have been much higher this time. Why should anyone buy a registration package if you don’t have to, in order to get on the floor of the convention.

    Of course, it doesn’t matter now. Everyone pays that gets on the floor.

  107. ATBAFT

    OK, I managed to find the program from the 1996 LP Convention. It doesn’t give package prices, but it does say: Everyone attending the convention WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER AND LP DELEGATE BUSINESS SESSIONS must purchase at least the Bronze registration package.” Apparently there was also a low-priced ‘Delegate Package” that included “all main ballroom speakers and the 25th anniversary party, and a ticket to a breakout speaker of one’s choice.

    So if you were a delegate and only wanted to attend business sessions, there was no charge.
    Barebones convention? No, there are 44 speakers listed with their bios! The organizers put up their own seed moneyand later reported to the LNC that the profit from the event exceeded $80,000.

  108. Robert Capozzi

    Just throwing this out there…a lot of public interest groups (501c4)’s have affiliated charitable foundations (501c3)’s. Donations to C3’s are tax deductible.

    Is there any reason that the LNC couldn’t have a c3? That might create a lot of opportunities to shift and offset costs to a c3 entity.

  109. Thomas L. Knapp

    SLPM@126,

    “Good thing the convention was stripped down and void of any seminars, extra speakers, extras.”

    That’s the case of each and every LP national convention, because seminars, extra speakers, etc. are not part of the convention.

    The convention is the business meeting, and that’s all it is. “Cocktails with the Ghost of Ayn Rand” or whatever is no more part of the convention than the hot dog stand outside the hotel door is part of the convention.

    Some people like “Cocktails with the Ghost of Ayn Rand” and so forth, but apparently not enough people to make those events self-financing. Thus the attempt to force people who are just there for the convention to subsidize those non-convention events with a “floor fee.”

  110. Robert Capozzi

    130 tk, this may be another forest/trees situation. In a narrow sense, you are of course correct.

    Pull the lens back a smidge, and recognize that the convention is an event. To illustrate, imagine if the LNC booked the Convention at the Best Western in Nome, AK. That might satisfy the narrowest of the fiduciary responsibilities, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that few would attend.

    Penny-wise pound-foolishness is an important truth here in the Matrix. The Nome Best Western might have been the cheapest venue, but the cheapest is very often sub-optimal.

    Certainly the business meeting is the mission-critical piece of the event. 127 Around seems to suggest that at least one convention/event WAS self-financing.

  111. JT

    Capozzi: “Is there any reason that the LNC couldn’t have a c3? That might create a lot of opportunities to shift and offset costs to a c3 entity.”

    Yes. 501(c)(3) entities can’t fund or participate in any political activities. In terms of politics, they can conduct public policy research, but that’s about it.

  112. Robert Capozzi

    132 JT, c4s do politics. Their affiliated c3s do research and hold conferences.

  113. Thomas L. Knapp

    RC@131,

    You’re completely missing the point.

    I am not suggesting that there’s anything at all wrong with a nice convention venue or with piggybacking non-convention entertainment events onto the venue and timing of the convention.

    All I’m saying is that there are reasonable limits to what should (or per the LNC’s bylaws, can) be done to get people who are only interested in attending the bylaws-required business meeting to subsidize “beyond the minimally acceptable” venues and extra-convention activities.

  114. JT

    Capozzi: “JT, c4s do politics. Their affiliated c3s do research and hold conferences.”

    Yes, those are political lobbying organizations. You specifically said a 501(c)(3). The LNC itself is a 527.

  115. Nicholas Sarwark

    @131:

    Pull the lens back a smidge, and recognize that the convention is an event. To illustrate, imagine if the LNC booked the Convention at the Best Western in Nome, AK. That might satisfy the narrowest of the fiduciary responsibilities, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that few would attend.

    Actually, there’s a pretty hard floor of 400-500 delegates who will attend a convention no matter how inconvenient the location. High priced packages and floor fees don’t discourage them, they discourage the other potential 500-600 delegates. E.g. my father and stepmother attended Anaheim as delegates, but haven’t attended a convention since. Location and cost were attractive for them since they live in Phoenix, but that combo hasn’t been present since. (Location’s good this time, but cost is not)

    As a policy choice (regardless of the bylaws issues already dealt with), I support pushing convention costs down as far as possible without being so low that people don’t see the value. That allows for new people to be delegates, not just the same hard core.

    And as a policy matter, I think it’s best to have a completely free business session for the foreseeable future. If we ever fill all the delegate slots or come within 5% of that, I’m willing to reconsider.

  116. Robert Capozzi

    tk 134, I’m not sure who’s subsidizing whom. Cost accounting has a lot of art in the science. What “reasonable limits” might or might not be seems to’ve been at least partially settled by JudComm. For reasons of fairness and inclusiveness, I don’t think floor fees are a good idea, though.

    135 jt, so, to the best of your knowledge, a 527 can’t have an affiliated c-3. Thanks…just a thought. I was daydreaming about the LP convention (business meeting) happening in tandem with something like the Future of Freedom conference.

  117. JT

    Nick: “As a policy choice (regardless of the bylaws issues already dealt with), I support pushing convention costs down as far as possible without being so low that people don’t see the value. That allows for new people to be delegates, not just the same hard core.”

    I don’t know how elastic it is in this case, but I do know that people who attend any convention tend to be hardcore into that organization as well as repeat attendees. Traveling to and spending any significant amount of their own money on a convention isn’t something that people with a mid-level interest do. In order to boost attendance, organizers will sometimes even pay for prospective buyers to attend a convention & trade show if those buyers meet with a certain number of suppliers.

  118. Robert Capozzi

    136 ns, makes sense to me that there’s probably a floor, and I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise. “Floor” is probably a better word choice than “few,” although…400 to Nome…dunno…maybe.

    Your policy choices sound abundantly sensible to me.

  119. JT

    Cappozi: “35 jt, so, to the best of your knowledge, a 527 can’t have an affiliated c-3.”

    To the best of my knowledge, no. But even in the case of a 501(c)(4) that has a 501(c)(3), the contributions to each can’t be shifted back & forth for lobbying or educational activities.

  120. Robert Capozzi

    140 JT, oh. Back in the day, I helped to found a c3/4 combo, CSE. We had to allocate our time and various variable costs between the 2 orgs. I might have allocated 75% of my time to the c3, 25% c4.

    Not sure it’s still done in that world that way, but it did allow the c4 to leverage c3 contributions….

  121. JT

    Capozzi: “Not sure it’s still done in that world that way, but it did allow the c4 to leverage c3 contributions….”

    I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “leverage” the c3 contributions. But given how complicated the tax code is (and the fact that I’m not a tax attorney), I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some way to legally transfer funds between the two entities that I don’t know about.

    If individuals donate to an organization solely for educational or charitable activity (c3), then it just seems strange to me that the IRS would permit their money to go toward political lobbying or campaign activity (c4), or vice versa.

  122. Robert Capozzi

    142 jt, the IRS doesn’t permit that. The c-3 is where research is done. They write a “white paper” on the subject, for instance, making the case for policy X. That researcher then takes her “researcher” hat off and puts on her “lobbyist” hat. She “bills” the c-3 for her research and the c-4 for time on the Hill.

    At least, that’s how it worked back then and I think still does to some extent…

  123. Alan Pyeatt

    Seebeck @ 102: “’Whenever people disagree with me, I assume they know they’re wrong and are just conspiring against what’s right. Then I add them to my enemies list.’

    “Well, considering that Holtz is wrong much more often than he is right, his enemies list must read like War and Peace now.”

    From his post @ 42 (“Perhaps Mr. Obvious can identity for Jill the two targets of the sarcasm she quoted”), I believe BH meant this as sarcasm. Yes, I know, with him it’s awfully hard to tell when the inflated ego stops and the sarcasm begins, and at first I took it at face value, too.

    This might be a concern for most people, but judging by his post @ 114, Mr. Holtz apparently thinks it is a sign of wit. As a result, he will probably miss the obvious clue that it’s time to re-evaluate the way he interacts with people.

    Oh well, winning firends and unfluencing people. Or something like that. 🙂

  124. Alan Pyeatt

    Seebeck @ 107: “I sure as hell didn’t serve on three counties and two state boards in separate states, not to mention the Lights of Liberty Triathletes, the radio show, the campaigns, the parades, several thousand road miles, convention planning and execution, the committees, the Top Two fight in CA, RMLWA, and the national involvement based on my looks, that’s for sure.”

    Trust him on this, people. Trust him. 🙂

  125. Jill Pyeatt

    Brian, I’d like to give you a gentle suggestion:

    If you think this thread is showing everyone how smart you are, you might want to think again. Many of your comments don’t make sense, and they’re kind of just making you look silly. Maybe sarcasm isn’t your thing. FYI.

    Now go right ahead and insult me. I don’t care. I’m just trying to save you from further embarrassment.

  126. Brian Holtz Post author

    If you think this thread is showing everyone how smart you are

    Nope, my goals so far in this thread are to 1) defend the LP’s rules and 2) shame the uncivil (“garbage”, “toilet paper”, “inflated ego”, “you look silly”) without stooping to their level.

    I repeat to you my questions to Alan @146, though I suspect neither of you will answer. At long last, is there no point at which the hypocrisy/selectiveness identified there gets palpable enough?

  127. Jill Pyeatt

    BH @ 148: Nah, I’m not gonna answer you, simply because I don’t want to, and I have more important things to do. I’m giving a talk on Executive Orders tonight, and that’s a far better use of my time.

  128. Robert Capozzi

    148 bh: …shame the uncivil …

    me: In my experience, when things turn ugly with personal attacks, communication and understanding become impossible. No one wins a pissing contest, there’s just a lot of piss on the floor. 😉

  129. Alan Pyeatt

    BH @ 146: “So the question now is: will you re-evaluate your suggestion to re-evaluate?”

    Re-evaluation complete, and I’m still o.k. with it. At least 3 people on this thread took your statement at face value. The problem is not with our sarcasm meters.

  130. Brian Holtz Post author

    At least 3 people on this thread took your statement at face value. The problem is not with our sarcasm meters.

    For those too busy to scroll, the sarcasm these people couldn’t detect was this:

    Whenever people disagree with me, I assume they know they’re wrong and are just conspiring against what’s right. Then I add them to my enemies list. These practices save me from a lot of thinking.

    Readers can decide who this non-detection says more about, me or the non-detectors.

  131. Seebeck

    Holtz, we all know you can’t stand me. Why is your problem. Maybe it’s simply because I don’t buy into your bullshit. Your little link is old news, and it backfired the last time you tried that stunt in Long Beach. I got elected anyway. You’d think you’d get the message, but you’re so dense you clearly didn’t.

    We also know that you engage in excess label-making and obscure, meaningless drivel around those labels when you have no argument. Frankly, nobody gives a shit about your junk.

    We also know that you usually lack much of a clue, and why you got elected to the JudCom in 2010 by one vote not made. I even know who that vote was.

    Fact is, while I was busy trying to help build up the LPCA in the south, you disappeared in the North.

    And you have the nerve to get on my case, Mr. AWOL?

    Trust me, you ain’t fit to carry my political water bottle, and you never will be, either. It’s people like you that keep the LP from every accomplishing anything. Remember what I said about big fish in little ponds? Well. you fit the bill, but you’re just a puffer fish.

    Here’s a lesson from a superior, Mr. Obvious Labelmaker: If you want to be sarcastic and it isn’t obvious because you are obscure and unintelligible, there’s this marvelous thing called a “hashtag” that you can use to make it obvious.

    It goes like this example:

    Mr. Holtz is an incredible waste of food and oxygen. #truthisbluntandirrefutable

  132. Seebeck

    Now THAT was not obvious sarcasm. It was obvious snarkasm, which is a step beyond sarcasm in its devastating yet entirely true critique.

  133. Seebeck

    Tom,

    “If the goal is something else — for example, holding the convention business hostage to a demand that hundreds of people merely interested in doing that business subsidize the preference of dozens of people for a swank venue and extensive entertainment selections that they’re not willing to bear the full costs of buying for themselves, even at the additional expense of the organization’s long-term solvency — on the other hand, they’ve actually done a bang-up job of planning, especially this time. Right down to pretending to be the subsidizers, even!”

    I can agree with that.

  134. Seebeck

    Major Defect @118:

    None of that authorizes any floor fee. The argument is still garbage.

    Unless the Bylaws and RRONR state EXPLICITLY that a floor fee is authorized, it is not. Go read the dissent for the binding RRONR citation about prohibited activities.

  135. Seebeck

    Sane @126:

    All that showed was that St. Louis was poorly planned out the COC was unable to adjust for the change that happened in Austin prior to that. I was at both. In Austin the LNC did the right thing in the face of a losing battle with that JudCom. In St. Louis the convention was poorly planned and poorly executed (the lack of enough tables, the Carling “voting judge” fiasco”, no wiFi, overpriced rooms and food, etc.) and it showed.

    Contrast that to several state models that charge no floor fee and do fine. Colorado is one of those examples.

    It can be done. The COC just either doesn’t want to do it, as Tom alluded, or don’t know how, as I have alluded. Either one of us or possibly both of us are right.

  136. wolfefan

    “Sarcasm is not the rapier of wit its wielders seem to believe it to be, but merely a club: it may, by dint of brute force, occasionally raise bruises, but it never cuts or pierces. ”

    Rex Stout (as Nero Wolfe)

  137. Matt Cholko

    I don’t know Mr. Holtz, but I do know that I disagree with him quite often here on IPR. However, it was pretty damn clear to me that he was being sarcastic with that comment. I mean, come on people, lighten up a little bit!

  138. Brian Holtz Post author

    You can tell the uncivil have been successfully shamed when they double down on their incivility.

    I’ll let the Pyeatt team of counselors address Seebeck’s rudeness, since they were so eager to offer me etiquette advice. In keeping with my policy of not stooping to the level of the uncivil, I’ll just address the few pseudo-facts that Seebeck tried to muster.

    Your little link is old news, and it backfired the last time you tried that stunt in Long Beach. I got elected anyway.

    My compilation of your crude gaffes was titled “Mike Seebeck – Your Voice On The LNC?”. You were crushed in the LNC race 49-26 — mission accomplished. You limped into the figurehead “Southern Vice Chair” job as an appointed incumbent who barely won a 27-23 squeaker against the embattled right-hand man of a guy who had just nearly gotten expelled from the LPCA over his child molestation conviction.

    you got elected to the JudCom in 2010 by one vote not made

    You’re ignorant about at least two delegates: my brother had already left, and my wife was off the floor watching the kids. I hadn’t bothered to whip their votes as I assumed I had no chance against a field full of LNC and JudCom veterans, but I finished ahead of several of them. The only candidate who got more votes than I without being a JudCom or LNC vet was Judge Jim Gray — the judge who just joined a majority opinion that I mostly wrote and that you just called “garbage”.

    I was busy trying to help build up the LPCA in the south

    I’d love to hear what results you accomplished in doing so.

    you disappeared in the North

    You’re ignorant of which elected Libertarian in California got his town to pass an incentive-based alternative to the state’s onerous 30-page default water-conservation ordinance. You’re ignorant of which elected Libertarian in California has been the vanguard of a libertarian/small-government takeover of the government agency he helps lead. And you’re ignorant of which elected Libertarian in California has been planting the seeds for privatizing the government agency he is now President of.

    It’s me.

    But you’re ignorant of that, because while you went from LPCA ExCom to Southern Vice Chair, you and your team failed to resuscitate the LPCA newsletter that had been canceled because of its ludicrous $20K/yr cost. I left ExCom to make available a free online version and a printer-ready version as well, at zero labor cost compared to the $12K/yr that had been showered on Team Sipos. The sparse and semi-broken LPCA “Project Freebook” blog apparently hasn’t posted a single article about the work of elected Libertarians in its 2-year existence, while I published about a dozen during the 10 months of my pilot project. (They were all about others; I was too modest to write articles about my own work in elected office, and I didn’t want to report publicly on what I was doing until after I’d gotten the City Council to pass my ordinance.)

    you ain’t fit to carry my political water bottle

    I’ve corrected your facts above, but I don’t share your need to desperately self-vouch for IPR readers. If they want to read about my many other accomplishments, they can visit http://libertarianmajority.net/bh-lp-activism

  139. Major Opinion

    MS@156: Unless the Bylaws and RRONR state EXPLICITLY that a floor fee is authorized, it is not.

    Article 16 of the Bylaws says: “The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern the Party in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order adopted by the Party.”

    Robert’s Rules describes “registration” in detail and says it “normally” includes “paying the registration fee.” “Signing the list of registrations” is also not reiterated in the Bylaws, but Petitioners would not dare argue that delegates may not be required to sign the delegate list in order to receive their credentials.

    Go read the dissent for the binding RRONR citation about prohibited activities.

    “If the bylaws authorize certain things specifically, other things of the same class are thereby prohibited.” The Bylaws authorize only accreditation and registration as barriers for being a delegate, and no others. Robert’s Rules authorize only four allowable steps for registration, and no others. Any other barrier to being a delegate would indeed be prohibited.

  140. Carol Moore

    So who is going to be broadcasting the whole convention realtime, in case CSPAN finds most of it too tedious?? Want to watch it from my rocking chair anyway.

  141. LibertarianGirl

    people , if time is running low i say we pull out whatever we can to force a judicial committee election…. Im nominating Tim Hagan , you probably dont know him but hes been around 20 years. He is quite literally the fairest person I know and beholden to noone, not me , NOONE. when i know my emotions or other bullsit is clouding my judgement he is the man i turn to for advice and guidance. He literally has noone that could say a bad thing about him.

  142. LibertarianGirl

    unfortunately , we cant overturn the fee unless enuf people pay it and vote it down. Im paying 3 peoples fees rather than buy a friggin package , and im pissed about it. I wont be able to afford the Pres debate now…anyone with an extra ticket need a date??

  143. Jill Pyeatt

    LG: The TANSTAAFL package INCLUDES rthe presidential debate. I verified that with Ruth Bennett last week.

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