Tom Knapp: A note on the 2010 Libertarian National Convention

Posted at Kn@ppster:

As most readers of KN@PPSTER probably already know, the Libertarian Party‘s 2010 national convention will be held in St. Louis over several days spanning Memorial Day weekend.

As some of you have probably gathered, I’ve started a blog, St. Louis on the Cheap, with an eye toward making it cheaper for Libertarians to attend that national convention.

I’ve heard from several sources that the subject came up at the Libertarian National Committee’s meeting in Nashville, Tennessee earlier this month, and that Admiral Michael Colley (USN-Ret.), an at-large member of the LNC and its convention point man, expressed a worry that my little project might hurt the convention hotel’s bottom line.

While I don’t think that worry is warranted, I also don’t think it’s unreasonable — it deserves a considered response. Here’s how I see it:

My main purpose in pursuing this project is to allow people who would otherwise not be able to afford to attend the convention to do so. If that’s the main effect the project has, then it should enhance, rather than harm, revenues for both the LP and the convention hotel. More convention packages (possibly the lower-priced ones, but more in any case) will be sold. More attendees will drop money at the hotel bar or the attached Starbucks coffee shop, and so forth.

Let me repeat myself: My project is aimed at people who simply won’t attend the convention if they aren’t able to cut the costs of doing so. That may or may not include: Staying at a cheaper hotel; eating at a fast food place down the street instead of at the hotel’s pricier restaurant; grabbing mass transit for $4.50 instead of blowing $40-50 in cab fare to and from the airport or paying a sizable daily parking fee at the hotel; etc., etc. Spending several days in a city away from home is expensive. I’m just trying to make it less expensive so that more Libertarians can afford to do it.

If these additional people attend the convention, they will bring money with them, and they will spend some of it in the convention’s environs. Not as much money as the people who have no problem ponying up for the deluxe package, renting a suite at the convention hotel for five nights, and taking each meal in the convention hotel’s well-appointed restaurant, but every dime they bring will be a dime that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

Yes, there will be some people who would and will attend whether I was helping them find cheaper ways to do so or not, and they may also make use of some of my money-saving tips. I understand that this may result in the LP and/or the convention hotel taking in a little less money here and there than would otherwise have been the case.

I don’t have a problem with that. I hope no one else does, either. While it’s obviously a good thing for the LP to stay “in the black” for its convention, and for the convention venue’s operators to be glad they had us as guests, it’s also a good thing for Libertarians (like everyone else) to find, and get, the best deals they can on the things they want and need — that’s the free market, ladies and gentlemen. And while I can’t guarantee that the hoped-for additional attendance will more than balance that possible effect out and produce a net financial benefit for the LP and the convention hotel, I think there’s a good chance that it will. Hopefully this will be at least a minor win for everyone.

71 thoughts on “Tom Knapp: A note on the 2010 Libertarian National Convention

  1. Ralph Swanson

    A little entrepreneurship.

    I’ve run or helped large conventions that not only offered off-venue rooms (we got paid for the referral), but arranged free ones for strapped activists. The last one was praised as national quality by the LP Director. We made a good profit that went to outreach.

    The Admiral is mistaken.

  2. Aroundtheblockafewtimes

    There certainly were lots of cheaper alternatives offered nearby in Denver- housing, food, etc. – and plenty of delegates took advantage. How did that convention do financially? Hotels are hurting right now due to the economy. Perhaps the LNC should go back to the St. Louis hotel and re-negotiate for fewer or cheaper rooms.

  3. libertariangirl

    According to Aaron Starr we lose money at every convention , just because people opt to not use the rooms at said convention site and for not buying packages that include meals.

    I think thats one of the reasons he’s proposing a delegate fee. Conventions are expensive and we should get as much of that expense back as possible . If you can afford to please stay at the hotel and buy meals from the convention.

    Everyone wants to villify him for suggesting a delegate fee , but I think the dude is just trying to get us closer to breaking even instead of losing tons of money.

  4. Michael H. Wilson

    Maybe Aaron Starr is wrong. If my recall of what John Famularo said in the past the party has seen profitable conventions.

    But that is almost beside the point. If you have a product that is not selling then in most cases it is because of one or more of three things.
    1. People don’t know what you have to sell.
    2. People know about your product but the price is too high.
    3. Or there is no need for your product.

    I don’t know what the costs were of the Denver convention nor do I know the outcome but I have been told that the Portland convention in 2006 lost money.

    Anyone planning that one should have seen that coming before they even started. Across country convention in an off year is not the most promising. Location is a big issue with those attending. The location has a big impact on travel costs. And of course low turnout means the media folks will be less impressed.

    The LP might take a loss on a convention where 1500 attend but gain media exposure whereas the LP might make money on a convention with 500 but not gain any media.

    There are trade offs. Maybe we need to look at conventions as our form of a trade show where it costs to put it on but we gain media exposure if we do it right.

  5. paulie Post author

    One of the few times I disagree with LG.

    I understand the money loss problem, but there needs to be another way to fix it.

    We need to make our conventions more, not less, welcoming to young people who have a lot of energy but may not have a lot of money.

    No one (including Knapp) disagrees with “If you can afford to please stay at the hotel and buy meals from the convention.” The point is that for those whose choice is between staying off-site and eating off-site or not going at all, they should have the first option. And a floor fee does not help here.

    A floor fee is also possibly against the party bylaws. I am far from a bylaws expert, but that is what a lot of people are telling me.

    It may even be against the law, although I personally would want to have nothing to do with having the courts involved.

    Here’sa good article from Steve Gordon from 2005 on this subject


    Povertarians: The Final Solution
    Filed under: LP Politics – Flash @ 11:11 pm

    There has been talk of the Californication of the Libertarian Party for some time. Considering the actions taken at the latest LNC meeting, perhaps a new descriptive phrase needs to be established.

    The attempts at secretive votes combined with a dues increase and a corresponding decrease in UMP payment percentages are indicators of what is going on within the party. As I see it, a certain faction is trying to gain control of the Libertarian Party. Like many Republican and the Democratic power players, they are not above using dirty tricks to turn their fiefdoms into overall control of the party. In order to succeed, they must drown out the voice and influence of other groups within the Libertarian Party.

    Let me make something clear. I am not opposed to a $50 or even a $50,000 dues level if it works as a fundraising gimmick. We have successfully had $50 dues in the impoverished state of Alabama for years, but we go to great length (using sensitivity, too) to ensure that no one is excluded from the process for financial reasons. To force people to pay for the right of political expression is little different from the poll taxes which were once implemented in the South to keep black people from voting!

    I am opposed to what was done by the LNC, the way it was done, and the intent behind it!

    A common factor of most of members of most of the groups in opposition to the self-appointed elitists who mismanage the LP is that they earn less money. The common word used by the elitists to describe most members of these groups is “povertarian”; a word which many of the elitists use quite openly:

    Hinkle went on to inject an element of class warfare into the debate, saying, “If the povertarians only contribute $25 per year (as a loss leader) and never, ever, contribute anything more than that, why keep them on the roles (sic)? Keeping them means someone else has to subsidize the expenses associated with that membership, to the detriment of other projects & goals. Drop them.”

    But they do contribute more – both in dollars and in time. I had no problem collecting a lot more than $50 from many (most?) of these folks during the Badnarik campaign. It was no problem because we showed them exactly how their money would be used. And the time, energy, and ideas they generously provided were worth considerably more than the money. But is seems the ideas and energy are things many in party leadership roles would suppress.

    To gain control of the party, it will be necessary for the elitists to shut down a sizable portion of the activist base. Since the “povertarians” earn less money, the powermongers will gain control if they are successful in their attempt to boot them out of the party.

    It gets worse. At the California convention, they made people who didn’t pay a floor fee run around with name badges reading “subsidized” in a glaring red box. This harassing and perhaps illegal attempt to shame and embarrass “povertarians” is reminiscent of how the Nazis treated the Jews. Perhaps making the activist base wear Stars of David on their outergarments is next on the elitist agenda. But I get ahead of myself.

  6. Michael H. Wilson

    paulie when did Steve and where did he post this piece?

    p.s. maybe there will be a protest with signs outside of the next convention if something like this takes place.

  7. Bruce Cohen

    Actually, nobody wore a ‘subsidized’ badge.
    That was a suggestion, not actually implemented.

    And, it certainly is ‘legal’ according to ROR and our bylaws to charge such a fee.

    I personally think we have to consider all the aspects of price versus result, and this does not
    have a clear answer.

    On the other hand, it is true that if we give ‘free’ admission to anyone, it does mean the dues paying members and the paying attendees are underwriting the ‘free’ riders.

    Aaron is not one to disenfranchise anyone, despite the false portrayals of him by those who’re scared for some reason, of the man.

    He’s bent over backwards to include folks
    when he was Chair, and I saw it happen.
    And he NEVER bragged about it, either.
    He just did it.

    As well, on all of the Conventions I helped
    out with, from the Ontario/Lightfoot one, to the San Jose/Hinkle one, to the Carling/Los Angeles one, any person who came to us and asked for help, we got in.

    PERIOD.

    The fact is that Libertarians ought to believe in personal responsibility.

    And if you attend an event or Convention, it costs money for the organizers, and you ought to take responsibility for some of those costs.

  8. B4Liberty

    Thanks Tom.

    St. Louis on the Cheap is a great site.

    Your efforts will certainly help to fill the convention floor with delegates.

    MHW – having an area for vendors is a great way to ensure a convention breaks even. In Denver the vendor area was excellent.

  9. wolfefan

    Hi –

    Is the “Hinkle” quoted in the article the same one that’s running for LNC chair? If the quote is accurate, that’s not much of a recommendation for him. Most party chairs believe the party exists to serve andseek to expand the membership base, not limit it to those affluent enough to benefit the party.

    There’s been a lot of talk of the LP cooperating with some of the populist “tea-party” movement. Tell the tea-partiers that the LP is not interested in those who can only spare $25 a year and see how that goes over.

  10. paulie Post author

    And, it certainly is ‘legal’ according to ROR and our bylaws to charge such a fee.

    I would not say “certainly.”

    Not my area of expertise, don’t feel like scouring my emails or asking what I may publish or what I may not, but the cases I have seen made by several people to me in correspondence that it is not seem to make sense to me as far as I can tell.

    Some of those same people do also comment on IPR so hopefully they will detail their reasoning here more than I could.

  11. Robert Milnes

    There is a possibility I could attend. Either go to St. Louis & return to NJ or go on to CA for the summer. Either way I will need some support because my too little too late small inheritance is set to come in June. So, any supporters of mine out there go to my websites & volunteer &/or donate. I would like to go to MA & campaign for the libertarian Independent in the special election Jan 19. I could, again with support, go there from Jan 2-19. Presently I need volunteers, a laptop & a motorhome/campaign vehicle & solar panels.

  12. Aroundtheblockafewtimes

    Why does the Party lose money on conventions? John Famularo, one of the owners of the 1996 convention, reported a profit of more than $80,000! The hotel was jammed with all contracted rooms (plus some more) taken, about 1000 attendees showed up, there were tons of speakers and workshops, convention prices were lower than for most previous conventions.

  13. Michael Seebeck

    Bruce @10:

    Sorry, but you’re wrong on that one. I know of at least three people at LPCA 2005 who wore those Nat Hawthorne-inspired badges: me, my wife, and Gene Trosper. We deliberately removed the scarlet letters because of the insult.

    Whether it’s legal or not is a matter of dispute. On the issue, Bylaws are silent, which does not necessarily imply consent to do so as some indicate. In fact, in the spirit of limited government that libertarianism implies, the opposite is more likely true.

    The subsidy argument was destroyed years ago and bringing it back up accomplishes nothing.

    Floor fees are simply a result of poor planning throughout the year, including setting aside a portion of the dues to cover convention costs. It can be done, and it has been done in other states. Why the LNC doesn’t do it (or any other state, IMO) is beyond me.

  14. Thomas L. Knapp

    Let’s get the whole “subsidy” question out of the way.

    If there’s any subsidizing going on, the bottom line is that the “subsidy” is being demanded from the “povertarians” and to those who want the national convention to include a long weekend in a luxury hotel and a three-ring circus for their entertainment.

    Holding a biennial business meeting is one of the core functions for which the national LP exists. That, LP News, and a phone that gets answered “Libertarian Party” are what our dues should be paying for.

    Rental of a meeting hall, a PA system, and some folding chairs for a few days every other year shouldn’t be a problem. If we have 10,000 members, then $1 per member per year budgeted for venue rental would yield $20,000 every two years. If the LNC can’t figure out how to budget for a meeting hall (hint: Drop the “prestige” office space @ $10,000/month and rent something reasonable), then screw it — we can raise the dues to accommodate their inability to properly handle money, or we can meet in a public park. How about a convention on the DC Mall?

    Everything beyond securing an appropriate venue in which the party can get its business done is extra. If having that meeting venue surrounded by $130 per night hotel rooms and $25 per meal restaurants and exciting lectures is something someone wants, fine … as long as they are willing to pay for it.

    When they start trying to tap all the people who would just as soon rack at Motel 6 and eat at Hardee’s for a $50 “floor fee” to attend a business function that’s already paid for with their dues, what they’re saying is that the regular delegates should subsidize the special people’s desire to raid the minibar and order in foie de gras in between business sessions.

    Well, fuck that noise.

    I’ve attended four national conventions now, and I don’t recall that I’ve ever whined about the over-priced hotel venue or the fact that the bars and restaurants around it price their food and drinks as if they were liberally sprinkled with pure 24-karat gold. But I do draw the line at popping an extra $50 for the “privilege” of providing that optional environment to those who actually want it.

  15. Michael Seebeck

    One last thing: there are really two reasons why there’s a floor fee:

    1) shut people of supposedly less affluence out. Exhibit A is the LPC Titanic 2006 convention with its $400 floor disguised as a cruise ticket, which reared up again last year for 2010 before being shouted down as ludicrous. Starr again.
    2) Starr is a lousy treasurer who pisses funds away. Exhibit A is how he took a $100K surplus in CA in 2005 and wasted it on hare-brained schemes by 2007. We’re still picking up the pieces from that fiasco even now.

  16. Michael Seebeck

    And Tom is dead-on, too.

    For the LNC: line-item 20% of dues ($5 per) to go to convention costs only. Problem solved, simply, efficiently, and transparently, with none of this perpetual garbage.

  17. Thomas L. Knapp

    Michael,

    I agree that a known portion of dues should be budgeted and banked for convention expenses.

    What that number should be, I don’t know — and I’m not opposed in principle to a dues increase to make it happen (although I’d like to see some efficiencies in spending achieved, anyway).

    It’s just important to me that we be clear on who’s subsidizing whom here.

    Everything beyond actual meeting facilities is optional. The idea that the delegates who are fine with any meeting place that doesn’t have standing water and exposed electrical wires should pay an additional “floor fee” so that the meeting can be held in a posh environment is a demand for a subsidy. Either the luxury environment sustains itself with those who are willing to buy into it, or it’s a bad deal.

  18. David F. Nolan

    I think the question of who’s subsidizing whom can be argued either way, but it’s secondary to the central issue: Can the LNC (or its appointed subcommittee) impose additional requirements on duly elected delegates to a national convention, in order for them to be eligible to participate in the party’s official business? I’d see nothing unreasonable about imposing an admission fee on non-delegates, but if someone is chosen as a delegate by his or her state party, it would seem that the national organization is bound to accept that person as a delegate.

  19. George Phillies

    Convention fees clearly violate party By-Laws.

    I call your attention to the Party Bylaws:

    “3. There shall be no more than one state-level affiliate party in any one state. Each state level affiliate party shall, in accordance with its own Bylaws and these Bylaws, determine who shall be its delegates to all Regular Conventions.”

    “Delegates:
    a. Delegates shall be required to be members of either the Party or an affiliate party. At all Regular Conventions delegates shall be those so accredited who have registered at the Convention. At all Non-Regular Conventions, any person who wishes to attend may do so.
    b. Any federal or state law to the contrary notwithstanding, delegates to a Regular Convention shall be selected by a method adopted by each affiliate party; …”

    Therefore:
    a) The State Affiliate determines who its delegates are.

    Not who they might be if the convention lets them, in, but who they *are*.

    b) Delegates…shall be selected by a method adopted by each affiliate party.

    In particular, the national party has no authority to impose additional selection methods, such as ability to pay, in order to prevent a legitimate delegate from registering.

    With respect to “At all Regular Conventions delegates shall be those so accredited who have registered at the Convention.” “register” is reasonably interpreted to mean ‘tell us you are here so we know how many people are here, because we have a reason to need to know that number’. However, all you need to carry out that rule is a count.

    @20, @21: This is the Massachusetts budgeting plan, in which money on arrival is assigned to concrete operations.

  20. Michael H. Wilson

    From what I read the Denver convention was budgeted at $10,000 but costs were roughly $35,000 or $2 and change per member assuming 15,000 members. The Portland costs don’t seem to available at the moment or at least I can’t find them.

    What bothers me is why the difference between costs and actual expenses in Denver! The treasurer should have the expense figures at his finger tips so to speak to compare convention costs from year to year.

  21. paulie Post author

    Convention fees clearly violate party By-Laws.

    If they are imposed anyway, and if this is true, who or what can do anything about it?

  22. paulie Post author

    Sorry, but you’re wrong on that one. I know of at least three people at LPCA 2005 who wore those Nat Hawthorne-inspired badges: me, my wife, and Gene Trosper. We deliberately removed the scarlet letters because of the insult.

    I was given one but never wore it as far as I can remember.

  23. paulie Post author

    Is the “Hinkle” quoted in the article the same one that’s running for LNC chair?

    Yes.

    However:

    Personally right now, of the announced or known likely candidates I think Hinkle is the best

    He’s also the best at working across faction lines, which I think is necessary and important.

    That does not mean that I do not have substantial disagreements with him.

  24. Marc Montoni

    The Democrats and Republicans do not charge a floor fee. They get by without doing it because they actually know how to raise external cash. “The Republicans do it”, and “the Democrats do it”.

    If the majority on the LNC had any management acumen, it would be exploiting the convention-cash “loophole” to pay for our national conventions, too. No, we’re not going to get companies like Microsoft and Wal-Mart in on the act for $250 large, but there are Libertarian business owners or CEO’s (perhaps a few on this list) who might be willing to throw in some cash for our convention expenses, perhaps $500 here and $1,000 there.

    I don’t think it would be beyond reasonable to seek $10,000 to $15,000 in convention cash. It’s do-able, but the LNC would need to get on the stick and set it up.

    Recruit $10,000 in convention committee donations, and the “Libertarian Party Delegate Tax” Starr wants to make everyone pay wouldn’t be needed.

    If the delegates themselves decide there should be a floor fee, that’s entirely reasonable. In fact I would probably support it (although I would prefer to raise dues to a reasonable level and bring back UMP – more about this in my next comment). But as an LNC decision, it is not legal under any interpretation of the Bylaws or Robert’s Rules.

  25. Thomas L. Knapp

    Marc,

    You write:

    “as an LNC decision, it is not legal under any interpretation of the Bylaws or Robert’s Rules.”

    You should have inserted the word “reasonable” between “any” and “interpretation. Keep in mind, some on the LNC have special Humpty Dumpty copies of the bylaws and RONR, copies which mean “just what we choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

  26. Michael H. Wilson

    @25 I wrote “What bothers me is why the difference between costs and actual expenses in Denver! ”

    That should have been budget projections and actual expenses.

    I guess the dufuss bug was about.

  27. Marc Montoni

    You should have inserted the word “reasonable” between “any” and “interpretation. Keep in mind, some on the LNC have special Humpty Dumpty copies of the bylaws and RONR, copies which mean “just what we choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”

    Yes, I meant to insert that word before I submitted.

    But “special Humpty Dumpty copies of the bylaws and RONR”!! That’s great — can I use that?

  28. Mik Robertson

    @30 The D’s and R’s also know how to get public funds allocated for their conventions.

  29. Marc Montoni

    The annual convention costs should indeed be budgeted for with a $5 set-aside for bylaws-required costs, as should other “benefits” such as LPNews. Basic dues should cover THE BASICS! All donations in excess of basic dues should be directed at ballot access and other things.

    The average contribution per member per year was about $76, at least as recently as 2003 or so. It may have fallen since as fundraising skills have been lost.

    Personally, I think the LP should position itself on dues at about the same level as the average nonprofit: $70 to $100 per year (see the “National Council of NonProfit Associations)”. Minimum dues for voting rights should be something of an investment.

    HOWEVER….

    I also believe that either volunteer time (also known as an “in-kind contributions”) or money should count towards those required dues.

    I could even go higher. I don’t think it’s right for those of us who put our hearts and minds into the LP to only get as much voting authority in the organization as someone who does nothing other than signing a form and paying $25. Every year, I spend well over a thousand dollars of my own money on various LP projects, such as buying a computer every few years on which to write new member/prospect letters and maintain the local database) and I don’t know how many hours every week putting together meeting notices, newsletters, entering address corrections, etc. I don’t believe in one-man-one-vote; I believe that the organization should be run by “those who run it”!

    $10 or even $25 makes it look like we can be bought cheap. It’s true — a theoretical neonazi could sign up ten of his friends and take over one of many state LP’s for an investment of less than $100. In some states where the LP has ballot access, this would be a really cheap investment towards stealing away that status. As the takeover price begins to approach the $700 to $1000 range for those ten neonazi friends, it starts making less sense.

    I realize that if dues were raised to $100, there are those who can’t afford it — but they are really very few. And even so, the “completely broke” individual can afford to invest $100 worth of their time! Otherwise they can be accommodated with “Associate Membership” or “Student Membership” for $5 or $10, which would get them various mailings and allow them to be counted as “members”, but wouldn’t get them the power to vote at Party functions.

    For those truly destitute who can’t work, state committees should have the option of granting them some sort of honorary membership.

  30. paulie Post author

    Thanks, paulie, for your insights.

    Happy to be of service, although I think others here have contributed more substantially.

  31. Starchild

    The politically-motivated proposal to charge delegates a “floor fee” to attend business sessions is based on two major false assumptions.

    False Assumption #1:
    The Libertarian Party is doing delegates a favor by providing a venue for them to meet and vote on its platform, bylaws, officers, etc.

    Actually, the delegates are doing the party a favor by volunteering their time to come and conduct the party’s business! Charge for meals, receptions, souvenirs, speakers, sure (although ideally most speakers would be free and promoted to the public, in order to better spread our message). But the practice of charging delegates to attend the cost of the room in which they conduct business sessions is no different than charging staff members the expense of renting the Watergate office suite in which they work. The view of people like Aaron Starr and Bruce Cohen of delegates who don’t bear this expense as being “freeloaders,” etc., shows their fundamental contempt for and devaluing of volunteers, and indeed for the party’s bottom-up democratic processes. I suspect some in their faction would secretly be happy to have things like bylaws, platform, etc., determined solely by committees, with the delegates as a whole cut out of the process entirely. And indeed that is (sadly) the direction the party has slowly been moving. Time to turn it around!

    False Assumption #2:
    The Libertarian Party has no choice but to hold its conventions in hotels where meeting space comes at a premium.

    Actually, using hotels is and always has been a choice, not a requirement. We could hold our conventions at a campground in the summer, as the Free State Project’s PorcFest does (that event, which is relatively new, already attracts about as many people as LP national conventions do). Or we could potentially meet on university campuses, in parks, etc. The practice of meeting in hotels is tailored to the preferences of generally older, more well-heeled delegates who want a certain amount of luxury. If anyone is being “subsidized,” it is these folks. Nothing against them, but in case anyone hasn’t noticed, the LP is in desperate need of new younger members. I say let the folks who insist on having conventions in hotels pay for the costs associated with their choice, instead of imposing them on generally younger and poorer party members who would be perfectly happy with less expensive alternatives.

    Thanks, Tom Knapp (@19) for also voicing some of the points noted above.

  32. libertariangirl

    by all means if you cant stay at the hotel or afford convention meals , you should still come . and im not saying I agree with delegate fees either , but I am saying a can understand the need/want to quit losing money like a knife wound and to explore all potential fixes to that.
    I mean the conventions cost a ton of money and TANSTAAFL .so…..

  33. paulie Post author

    Thanks LG.

    I did in fact tell several people earlier today that they should not presume ill intent on Aaron’s part, and I stick by that.

    But I also stick by what I said in my other comments above.

  34. Robert Milnes

    paulie@28, yes, there are some Milnes supporters out there in cyberspace. several volunteered on my campaign site last year. If you read IPRcomments, which you do, you’ll note some support. & often commenters will say something that could’ve been critical of me & was not. Phillies is one. he has had ample opportunity to criticize me & has not. The Nolan also. Starr has commented negatively about me which I’ve tried to reply in kind lol. No, you are about the only one who jerks his knee negatively at the mere mention of my name. so, Milnes, Milnes, Milnes. lol.

  35. Thomas L. Knapp

    LG,

    I agree, it should not be about, or against, Aaron Starr or his motivations. It should be about encouraging, rather than discouraging, participation in the party.

    If the LNC wants to select luxury hotel complexes as convention venues, okay — there may be some attraction there for a certain demographic, and that demographic may be important. The demographic I’m thinking of is the relatively well-off party members who can afford to drop several thousand dollars on an event they like, and who may be amenable to being pitched for additional contributions to the party while there.

    That’s fine. No problemo.

    BUT!

    Above and beyond a luxury venue and entertainments that cost money to put on (and that the convention organizers want to make money by putting on) and so forth, there’s the simple imperative of getting the party’s business done.

    The choice of venue and the extra-business activities are fine, but they should pay for themselves without requiring delegates who aren’t interested in, or can’t afford, those things, and who are simply there to do the party’s business, to subsidize them.

  36. Michael H. Wilson

    Not everything the party will do is going to pay for itself. Example from the world of retail if I may: most retail department stores are open seven days a week but Monday thru Thursday are not profitable days for the most part. It is usually only Fri, Sat. and Sun. that the stores make money during the week and then that is sometimes doubtful. For many of them the companies make the profit only when the Christmas season arrives.

    I once worked at one store that had been open twenty years but never made a profit. The company kept it open to have a presence in the neighborhood.

  37. paulie Post author

    Comment on the original article on Tom’s blog:

    I fear that this appeal to the lower class will deter the type of people who really count from attending the convention. What self-respecting millionaire Republican wants to associate with poverty stricken dope-smoking peaceniks dressed in their hobo clothes?

    No good will come of this effort to attract the riff raff.
    Thurston Howell III

    ROFL

  38. libertariangirl

    Can anyone point out where else we could hold a convention besides a big hotel?? i dont think every hotel motel , has the size of the facility that we need.

    someone above posted “hey just get some folding chairs and a PA system”

    ru kidding me , so much more goes into planning and pulling off a convention.

    lets say we didnt have the event at a hotel , instead a convention hall that wasn’t at a hotel ( if those exist??)the bulk of people would be staying different places , then have to find transportation to said convention site. Im pretty certain this would hurt the bottom line concerning having a quorum and/or overall participation in business.

  39. libertariangirl

    I read it ,and no offense to Starchild , who is obviously a hippie and I love hippies ( and I miss my dredlocks ) but::
    having it in a park is ridiculous. How the hell would u do a P.A . what if it rained , what about if it was too hot and cold , what about bathrooms , what about speakers and the things they need like power , a PA , projectors , presentation facilitys.The free state gathering was more like a rainbow gathering, and fun with lots of stuff going on , Ive been to many( rainbow gatherings)
    but not exactly feasible for conducting mass business. where would we get 1,000 chairs to take to a park , how would we get them there.
    Pulling off a convention is a monumental task and so much planning goes into it , i think starchild is being overly simplistic.

    a Library , a real big one , might work , but it would have to have a huge main meeting hall , then separate big rooms for other business. Then your still talking about folks from out of town having to find their way there from all over , people that fly would have to rent cars , and Im certain this would affect the particpiation bottom line.

  40. White Power Libertaryan

    I just received this email forward to me, this need to be stopped. The lp party will be sabatage and make a bad name for the rest of the LP party.

    I can’t make this stuff up.

    Folks…
    If you don’t want your stomach to turn and to get a terrible
    headache, please delete this mail right now and don’t read.

    On the other hand…
    If your morbid curiousity forces you to read on, I will
    keep it short and to the point.

    More information is coming out about Matthew Barnes.
    Above and beyond the multiple convictions for being a
    serial child molester of little boys 12 and under.

    It appears that the rumors of him being the leader
    of a mind-controlled cult is actually true.

    One of the escapees is in contact with me at this time
    and is hopefully going to give me more information
    about the inner workings of this cult.

    How is this relevant to you?

    As I understand it, 30 of them are going to the Long
    Beach Convention, in matching clothing, to take
    over things, including the Judicial Committee and
    to take as many board seats as possible.

    There are several journalists working on this, NONE
    of which I have been in contact with, despite what
    Takenaga is saying and Tom Knapp is writing.

    Please, please, think about what this all means
    to the LP and the LPCA.

    Current board members are primarily protecting
    Matthew and covering up for him.

    That’s all I can say at this time, but there is very
    very bad news going to come out soon.

    And, worse, if nobody stops them from taking
    over in Long Beach.

    PS Terry Floyd and Don Cowles are furious at
    me for saying bad things about Matthew.

  41. White Power Libertaryan

    Sieg Heil Libertaryan kameraden!

    These povertarian untermenschen must be purged by way of a final solution.

    While a poll tax, like our confederate kameraden put on the schwarze untermenschen in the Southland is a good step in the right direction, I think we should go further towards a Final Solution to the povertarian problem, such as a cruise ship.

    Perhaps we can “subsidize” some of these vermin, like Matthew Barnes and his mind controlled identical t shirt wearing scheissen, and then dump them overboard, ja?

    Here is an email from one of these shitboils that was linked on the deplorable “Libertarian Peacenik” blog. Libertarian Peacenik….what a contradiction in terms if I have ever heard one, ja, kameraden? And the poor dumkopf can’t even spell Libertaryan!

    Look how this maggot abuses our glorious leaders….

    http://www.mail-archive.com/libertarian@yahoogroups.com/msg06431.html

    [Libertarian] The Libertarian Party is Dead

    Paul
    Mon, 27 Feb 2006 23:31:10 -0800

    Over the years, the LP has had one thing that made it better than all
    other parties. It’s the one thing that made it stand out, and which
    made it the only viable option for making peaceful change in America
    and that thing is our libertarian principles.

    Last weekend those principles were sold out. There was a transparant
    plan on the part of a small pro-war minority in the party to take over
    and toss our principles out the window. They planned this cruise to
    exclude as many real libertarians as they could and to outnumber us
    and outvote us. They succeeded and now the LP is dead.

    M. Carling and his little bitch Aaron Star refused to seat delegates
    who filled out the membership application, signed and dated the
    pledge, and who paid their membership to not one, but 2 members of the
    Ex-Com acting in their official capacity as representatives of the
    Libertarian Party of California. Aaron Star said that their
    application wasn’t valid because it wasn’t “postmarked” as if that
    mattered. There was no written rule requiring a post mark. These
    people were told that they were members by an official representative
    of the party and bought tickets to the convention based on this, and
    the fact that they were told that in the history of the Libertarian
    Party of California, no member has ever been refused a seat as a
    delegate. M(idget) and Aaron said that they weren’t members for 90
    days so they couldn’t be seated. They ignore the fact that Gail
    Lightfoot’s son (who wasn’t a member before) registered on the spot at
    the last convention and was allowed to be a delegate.

    These 2 people were the youngest in the room and were among very few
    who weren’t white. I suspect both racial and age descrimination, and
    not seating them specifically because they were with me.

    They will be taking the LP of CA to court to sue for re-imbursement of
    the money they spent on membership, and the more than $400 each they
    spent to take the cruise, and I will be a witness for them. This is
    another story though.

    John Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible,
    make violent revolution inevitable.”

    I agree with this and since the door has been closed for peaceful
    change by the scummiest, dirtiest, most worthless people ever to join
    the LP, I will use the only option I have left. Any blood spilled
    will be on their heads.

    I have a lot of respect for Rodney Austin, but a lot of this was his
    fault. He was on the judicial committee and he allowed this
    anti-libertarian cabal to violate our bylaws which state the
    convention must be within the state of California or in another state
    (aka within the USA) with the involvement of the LP in charge of that
    region. Since there is no International LP, having the convention in
    International Waters invalidates the entire thing. If Rodney had
    actually stuck to the bylaws, they wouldn’t have gotten away with
    this… and trust me, they still might not get away with it.

    I’m running for Congress, and right now I am considering dropping out.
    But before I drop out, I am very tempted to do something so
    outrageous and horrific during a televised interview, it would give
    the California LP a black eye it might never recover from. I’d rather
    see the LP destroyed entirely than to see it misused and have its
    principles tossed out the window.

  42. Thomas L. Knapp

    LibertarianGirl,

    There’s a difference between a “big hotel” and a “luxury hotel.”

    For that matter, there’s a difference between luxury hotels.

    Since we’re talking about St. Louis, let’s explore the difference:

    – The very luxury chain (Renaissance) that we’re working with for this convention operates TWO hotels in St. Louis.

    The one we’re having the convention at is downtown, surrounded by other expensive hotels and expensive restaurants, with a base room rate of $155 per night (we’re getting a group rate, of course).

    The other one is within walking distance of the airport (they probably have a complimentary airport shuttle, too), surrounded by other, less expensive hotels, with a Waffle House across the parking lot, a Denny’s across the road, etc. … and a meeting hall that seats 1,100. Its base room rate is $108 per night.

    Non-luxury: The St. Louis Airport Marriott — not a luxury hotel, but it is a nice one, and we have a history of dealing with Marriott — has a base room rate of $89. Its largest meeting room seats 1,400.

    Now, keep in mind … I am NOT complaining about the choice of venue. But I certainly will complain if the choice of venue is such that the LNC feels they have to assess credentialed delegates a fee for access to the floor to do the party’s business. The membership has ALREADY PAID FOR THAT FUNCTION with its dues. Any extra/extraneous/gratuitous stuff, like having the business session surrounded by a more expensive venue, should pay for itself, not be subsidized by delegates who aren’t interested in it.

  43. Brian Holtz

    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.

    If a state affiliate wants to be represented by a delegate who cannot afford an equal share of the minimum cost of the facilities needed to conduct convention business, then that state affiliate should subsidize that delegate, rather than asking all LP dues-payers to subsidize him.

    Does even one person agree here with Starchild that a convention could be held without paying for facilities either directly or indirectly?

  44. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    Nice try, but I’m the one advocating AGAINST subsidies of stuff that DOESN’T fit under the heading of “convention business” by those who have already paid for the conduct of real business.

    The basic definition — the working minimum — for a national convention is sufficient meeting space to accommodate the delegates, with adequate equipment (sound system, etc.) to conduct the business meetings.

    That biennial meeting is called for in the bylaws — the same bylaws that define membership in the party and provide for the delegate allocation formula (which is based on dues-paying members), etc.

    To put it a different way, providing for the conduct of that meeting is an obligation owed by the LNC to the dues-paying members as part of what they are buying with their dues.

    The “subsidy” question enters into the discussion when the LNC decides that instead of budgeting for the rental of meeting facilities, they’d prefer to surround the business meeting with other stuff.

    If they want to do that, fine, but that other stuff should be paid for by those who want it, not by a tax on all delegates.

    I doubt that anyone agrees with Starchild “that a convention could be held without paying for facilities either directly or indirectly,” since he said no such thing.

  45. Barney the gay purple dinosaur

    On the Steve Gordon Tea Party thread, some wacko who calls himself a “white power libertarian” (WTF is that?) says….

    “Bruce Cohen was my friend and gay lover in Canadian prison, where he was doing time for cocaine smuggling. It was a time in my life I will always look back on fondly.

    Later on, I introduced Bruce to Joe Cobb at a gay ecstasy party/orgy. and the rest is history, as they say.”

    Odd, that.

    What’s Paul Ireland doing these days?

    Is he the real power behind Matthew Barnes?

    Back in 2006 Paul Ireland wrote

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Over the years, the LP has had one thing that made it better than all
    other parties. It’s the one thing that made it stand out, and which
    made it the only viable option for making peaceful change in America
    and that thing is our libertarian principles.

    Last weekend those principles were sold out. There was a transparant
    plan on the part of a small pro-war minority in the party to take over
    and toss our principles out the window. They planned this cruise to
    exclude as many real libertarians as they could and to outnumber us
    and outvote us. They succeeded and now the LP is dead.

    M. Carling and his little bitch Aaron Star refused to seat delegates
    who filled out the membership application, signed and dated the
    pledge, and who paid their membership to not one, but 2 members of the
    Ex-Com acting in their official capacity as representatives of the
    Libertarian Party of California. Aaron Star said that their
    application wasn’t valid because it wasn’t “postmarked” as if that
    mattered. There was no written rule requiring a post mark. These
    people were told that they were members by an official representative
    of the party and bought tickets to the convention based on this, and
    the fact that they were told that in the history of the Libertarian
    Party of California, no member has ever been refused a seat as a
    delegate. M(idget) and Aaron said that they weren’t members for 90
    days so they couldn’t be seated. They ignore the fact that Gail
    Lightfoot’s son (who wasn’t a member before) registered on the spot at
    the last convention and was allowed to be a delegate.

    These 2 people were the youngest in the room and were among very few
    who weren’t white. I suspect both racial and age descrimination, and
    not seating them specifically because they were with me.

    They will be taking the LP of CA to court to sue for re-imbursement of
    the money they spent on membership, and the more than $400 each they
    spent to take the cruise, and I will be a witness for them. This is
    another story though.

    John Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible,
    make violent revolution inevitable.”

    I agree with this and since the door has been closed for peaceful
    change by the scummiest, dirtiest, most worthless people ever to join
    the LP, I will use the only option I have left. Any blood spilled
    will be on their heads.

    I have a lot of respect for Rodney Austin, but a lot of this was his
    fault. He was on the judicial committee and he allowed this
    anti-libertarian cabal to violate our bylaws which state the
    convention must be within the state of California or in another state
    (aka within the USA) with the involvement of the LP in charge of that
    region. Since there is no International LP, having the convention in
    International Waters invalidates the entire thing. If Rodney had
    actually stuck to the bylaws, they wouldn’t have gotten away with
    this… and trust me, they still might not get away with it.

    I’m running for Congress, and right now I am considering dropping out.
    But before I drop out, I am very tempted to do something so
    outrageous and horrific during a televised interview, it would give
    the California LP a black eye it might never recover from. I’d rather
    see the LP destroyed entirely than to see it misused and have its
    principles tossed out the window.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hmmm, maybe instead of doing something himself, what he did was get Matthew Barnes recruited to replace him as San Bernadino County Chair?

  46. bubba gump

    A big tent party ought to get together in a big tent, kind of like an old fashioned revival meeting.

  47. Michael H. Wilson

    Stupid question time. Having planned a couple of conventions allow me to ask some questions here. For the record I have no problem with the present choice. Let’s do it and move on. However did anyone price the convention center or ask if Washington University had any facilities we might use?

    Last time I planned a convention I probably physically looked at 20 or more places in town after I had gone thru a book from the Visitor and Convention Bureau. It takes leg work.

  48. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 55 BH writes “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.”

    Brian when I walk into Safeway and buy something at 5 a.m and there are no other customers in the place am I being subsidized by the later customers and do we suggest that the price they pay for their goods includes a tax to support my 5 a.m. purchases?

  49. paulie Post author

    did anyone price the convention center or ask if Washington University had any facilities we might use?

    Good question.

  50. paulie Post author

    A big tent party ought to get together in a big tent, kind of like an old fashioned revival meeting.

    Just as long as that big tent does not tilt too far to the right. Because what you get then is a bunch of crushed clowns and elephants.

  51. Thomas L. Knapp

    Michael,

    You write:

    “However did anyone price the convention center or ask if Washington University had any facilities we might use?”

    The convention hotel is right across the street from the convention center, and I suspect that the actual business hall may be at the center rather than at the hotel (I didn’t take the facilities tour that was part of the St. Louis LNC meeting).

    Washington University is an interesting idea, but probably not very practical. The nearest hotels are several blocks away, I think, and our convention timeframe is usually during their off-time, when we wouldn’t have students to approach and when they’d have to spend extra money on facilities that would normally be shut down for the summer break. St. Louis University (which, like Wash U, is a private college — Mary Ruwart used to teach there) is closer to downtown and the hotels and such.

  52. Michael H. Wilson

    Hi Tom. I haven’t been to St. Louis since I was a little fart, maybe three.

    The reason I suggested the university is because I have seen other schools host similar types of events during their off time. I believe that the Atlas Society had an event at Portland State University last year during the summer. Much like Starchild I believe we need to be thinking about different venues for the conventions.

    Maybe someone will read this blog thread and remember the points we make some year down the road.

  53. Rachel H

    I urge everyone who *can* afford to stay at convention hotel to do so. There are SOOOO many reasons to do so . . . hanging out with people who share your values, ideals, etc; partying, running into people you know (or want to know) in halls and facilities, partying, impromptu get-togethers, etc. Oh, and did I mention partying? :o) Room parties, getting invited to a suite, many things like that can happen in a flash.

    The Gold package is another great idea – you get ALL the benefits of the convention (all speakers, all meals), and be the recipient of all kinds of incredible glory and kudos.

    And if you haven’t donated $1000 since last May, I think that making that milestone before convention will get you Torch Club. WooHoo! You can have some big ol’ party with the rest of us big ;o) spenders. And I won’t have a date. (I should be Torch Club, Hugs is not.) :o(

    Like Kn@pp – I want you THERE! If you buy hotel, package, or both, I’ll be ecstatic. If you can’t, then do what you CAN do. Share rides, share rooms, crash on Kn@pp’s couch. ;o)

    Just BE THERE. And bring your friends.

  54. Irv Rubin lives

    “As of 11:39 am, Pacific Time, Bruce Cohen, and as of 8:07 pm, Pacific
    Time, Matthew Barnes, have had their memberships in the Libertarian
    Party of California suspended for cause.”

  55. Don Lake .......... More Liars with Dems and GOP

    Irv Rubin and the Lib Party by Eric Garris

    “I was recently taken aback when I read this item in the national Libertarian Party News: Jewish Defense League leader signs up with LP.”

    “I was shocked. They couldn’t be talking about Irv Rubin, could they? Unfortunately, that is exactly who they were talking about.”

    “Irv Rubin is the International Chairman of the Jewish Defense League (JDL).”

    [In 2002 he and an associate were arrested for terrorism by the FBI, held in custody and both died under suspicious circumstances …….. He was respected by Citizens For A Better Veterans Home and literally adored by founder John Dennis Coffey, POB 2258, Barstow 92312-2258, 760.253.2371 ]

  56. Bruce Cohen

    Irv was pushed off a balcony and over the rail when he was in jail awaiting trial.

    He landed on his head.

    Irv was very much a Libertarian, and many Libertarians liked him and supported him.

    This would include me, Sandor Woren, Wayne Lusvardi and others I won’t mention.

    Irv was clearly framed for political reasons.
    They had no physical evidence worth admitting to, and the audio tape only showed entrapment by the police, I am told.

    What’s shocking about Irv being in the LP?
    Why is it unfortunate?

    I understand there are many anti-semites in the LP who hate Jews and Israel.

    There is one current Member of the LPCA board who has white supremacist affiliations, and I won’t get more specific here, but can elaborate.

  57. Mark Seidenberg

    Bruce Cohen,

    I note that the American Independent Party my
    be a place to go. The AIP registration is over
    382,000, while the CAL – LP is just over 67,000.

    I have known Irv Rubin since the mid 1960′.
    In fact he was with me at the Cow Palace in
    San Francisco for Barry Goldwater in 1964
    (when we were both teenagers). At that time he
    was a “Student of Objectiveism”. He was big into
    the books of Rand. We were both active members of the Los Angeles County YR’s.

    My own interest in LP activites ended for the
    most part in mid-1972, when I saw that certain
    leaders in the LP were “pro-choice baby killers”,
    The idea that babies in utero were not given
    equal rights to the mother, by LP leaders caused
    me to look elsewhere. I found a home in the
    American Independent Party. In fact I am its
    Vice Chairman.

    I would like to read about “anti-semites” in the
    current LPCA board. To me, I can not see how
    a person can be “libertarian” and a “anti-semites”
    since Ludwig von Mises was also Jewish. In the
    AIP, Human Action has been read by almost all of the party leadership. Botton line, some of the party leader in AIP were active in the California Libertarian Party in the past.

    If it gets to bad in the Libertarian Party and you
    believe that the unborn babies has the same rights to life as the mother, you can find a home
    in the AIP.

    Sincerely, Mark Seidenberg, Vice Chairman,
    American Independent Party

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