After reading the responses to Ian Epstein’s conciliatory letter of Oct. 8, 2015 some of us thought it might be best if I made a personal attempt at reaching out to you because of my long history with the party. While I cannot claim to speak for everyone on our side of the issues which divide us, I am confident that I speak for most.
As we sit on the leading edge of a new election cycle, it would seem a good time to attempt a closure of the rift which still exists between Oregon Libertarians. In that light, I will share that we stand ready to work with you on many of the issues which set us apart. We are confident that it is possible to successfully address many of your concerns. Two examples:
1. LPO Dues. We know that this is a major issue for your supporters. We stand ready to discuss alternatives to requiring the payment of dues to establish and maintain LPO memberships.
2. Mail Ballots. This is another major issue. Among LPO members, there does not appear to be any strong opposition to using mail ballots for candidate nominations. There is common ground to be found here.
The point is that we are ready to work with you in good faith on substantive issues that have divided us concerning the governance and future of the LPO.
It is worth noting that the “Compromise LPO Bylaws” which our side adopted in 2013 addressed some of the other issues your supporters have raised. They include: 1) Explicitly acknowledging registered Libertarian voters as members of the LPO, 2) Removing ambiguity concerning who the county representatives are and how they get elected, 3) Ending controversies over where annual business conventions will be sited, 4) Making it difficult for any faction to “ram through” surprise bylaw changes which might not be supported by the general membership, while making it possible to pass changes quickly when consensus can be achieved. There are many such improvements, including a workable quorum clause.
Obviously there are still significant areas of disagreement. There is also a backlog of hard feelings and frictions among individuals. But we don’t think these are insurmountable if both sides are willing to make a serious effort to resolve this split.
It has been suggested to me that representatives of both sides meet together with the assistance of a neutral and objective mediator. This would be a person (or persons) who is acceptable to you, and who you would have good reason to believe would be fair and unbiased. Several individuals who meet those criteria have been mentioned as possibilities, although no one has talked to them and I do not know at this point if they’d be willing to involve themselves.
The goal of such a meeting or series of meetings would be to identify areas of agreement, areas of disagreement, areas of potential compromise, and to brainstorm possibilities for resolving the hard issues in a way that both sides could live with.
We are willing to meet and negotiate without preconditions, knowing it won’t be easy to find a solution, but also believing that doing so is preferable to the present impasse. We hope you will at least agree on that.
Richard P. Burke