Photo by Harald Zechner
Jose Castaneda is on the left. Ted Brown is on the right, and is running for Chairman of the CA LP.
Sent to me by Mr. Castaneda for publication here on IPR
I am running for state Party Secretary. Sadly the Libertarian Party of California (LPC) has been going in reverse and the Party leadership seems to have no clue as to the way to reverse the decline and as the way forward to success.
Proof of the decline is easy to see. Examples:
• From the 1980’s to the 2000’s the LPC (Party) regularly had 100+ candidates every two years. The last two elections the Party only had about 10 candidates. This is a drop of 90%. I feel so strongly we should have candidates I ran for State Board of Equalization District 3 last year and assisted two others get on the ballot.
• From the 1980’s to the 2000’s the Party regularly had five candidates for state wide office. Last year we only had one candidate (He ran ran for Attorney General.). This is a drop of 82%.
• From the 1970’s to 2000’s the Party had attendance at Party conventions of 100+ delegates. The last six years attendance has dropped and last year only 46 delegates attended the convention. This is a drop of 54%. Last years convention was the worst attended convention since conventions held in the1970’s
• In September 1998 membership was 5,848. Currently membership is about 800. This is a drop of 86%.
• In the past the Executive Committee had four meetings a year. The last six years the Executive Committee under the current Chair has had on average, one meeting yearly. This is a drop of 96%.
Who is responsible for the decline? Our current leadership. The Party operates with a lack of transparency, lack of communication, and lack of trust. The lack of transparency, communication, and trust flows from the Chair, other officers, and Executive Committee Reps down to the region officers and membership.
As I have visited regions I have been made aware of the disconnect between the region membership and the Executive Committee of the LPC. Region officers have asked for help from the Party Chair, Treasurer, and other Executive Committee Reps and their requests for help are not responded to. Members of the Executive Committee have been asked questions by region officers and questions are not answered. I have been told by region officers that because of the lack of communication and lack of customer service from the LPC and lack of success of the LPC the state Party is irrelevant.
The use of executive session (closed session) by the Executive Committee has increased and been abused. Once the Treasurer threatened to resign if the budget was not discussed in executive session. The Executive Committee then decided to discuss the budget in executive session and members attending the meeting were required to leave. Meetings will be open to all members. I will end the abuse of the use of meeting in executive session. Meeting in executive session will be reduced.
Officers of the Party who have attempted to use the LPC office have not been allowed to. The previous Secretary attempted to use the office and she was not allowed to. I will end the policy of having the office only used by the Chair and office manager. When delegates trust someone to hold Party office they should be allowed to use the office. Officers will be allowed to use the office.
Last year there were requests of the Executive Committee by candidates for assistance in getting on the ballot. The requests were denied. I was told by some from the Executive Committee it is not important if the LPC has candidates and the LPC does not need to have candidates. I will end this practice. The Party will have candidates and the Executive Committee will assist and support candidates.
More examples of the lack of Communication, Transparency, and Distrust
Questions have been asked by members as to the process used to select the city for the state convention and the reason that city was chosen and those questions go unanswered. Questions have been asked as to how many members have registered to attend the state convention. These questions are not answered. Requests have been made for region membership lists by officers of regions and there have been delays in getting the region membership list to the officers. The requests have been caught up in the bureaucracy of the Executive Committee. Assistance has been asked of the state Party by county officers concerning county web-sites under the control and ownership of the state Party and no assistance is given.
In the classic business best-selling book In Search Of Excellence Lesson’s From America’s Best-Run Companies Peters and Waterman discuss successful companies as being transparent, communicative, and trustworthy. They say:
“We see that time and again in the excellent companies. They are obsessed about widely sharing information and preventing secrecy [between management and employees]. They willingly trade any marginal loss of competitive information for the added commitment [by employees].”
The current officers of the LPC and Executive Committee operate under the opposite principle than that stated by Peters and Waterman. The current Executive Committee seems to be obsessed with not sharing information, not communicating, and keeping their activities and decisions a secret. The Executive Committee’s current practice of operating in secret must end. I will end it.
Candidates- The LPC will have many candidates. I, other officers, and Executive Committee reps will assist in this effort. Having only 10 candidates is unacceptable.
Conventions- Conventions will be held in major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco. Having conventions in those locations will help increase attendance. Decisions concerning the location of Party conventions will be made at least one year in advance which is not the current practice.
Customer Service / Communication– I, other officers, and Executive Committee Reps will improve customer service to regions, members, and public. We will communicate with region officers and members which has not been happening recently. We will answer their questions, respond to their
concerns, and assist them as needed. Meetings that include the Party chair and region chairs will be started, will be conducted via electronic means, and will be held as needed.
Meetings- Executive Committee meetings will be held at least four times a year and will be open to members. The use of executive session will be reduced. Between regular Executive Committee meetings the use of meetings via electronic means will be started and will be held as needed.
Newsletter- The LPC has not published a newsletter in many years. This will change. The LPC will publish a newsletter every month. During the election season extra newsletters will be printed or a special election newsletter will be published and the extra newsletters or special election newsletter will be used to communicate to members and for outreach to voters.
Visiting regions- I believe officers of the Party should visit regions (counties) as part of their duties. As one of my duties as Los Angeles County Vice-Chair and Chair I have gone and visited region meetings. Visiting regions gives me an opportunity to talk to members, officers, and public. I communicate and hear their concerns, requests, ideas, and so on. I will continue to visit regions and I will share what I hear with the Executive Committee.
Web site- The website has information that is out of date. The web site will be updated and information useful to the regions, members, and public will be added. Links will be added that will allow members and public to communicate via E-mail with officers and Executive Committee Reps.
And we must paint a picture of a California that stood for something noble once and that can stand for something noble again. We must communicate that the Libertarian Party is the organization that will return us to those noble times and will return us as a state to greatness, liberty, freedom, peace, . . . these are the concepts we must be known for.
As Secretary I will insist on a culture of transparency, communication, and trust. Such openness will help lead the LPC to growth, success, and victory and will reverse our decline. Customer service will improve, membership will increase, we will again have candidates, attendance to our conventions will increase and we will again have 100+ delegates, the number of meetings held by the executive committee will increase, and communication between the executive committee and region officers and members will improve. I ask for your support. Together with your help the LPC will grow and achieve a new era of success.
The convention will be in Las Vegas on May 31, 2015.