LPNY passes resolution opposing national convention floor fees; controversy over possible resulting loss of ballot access support

According to a comment by Chuck Moulton, quoting a blog post by Tom Stevens:

The threat allegedly made at a LPNY meeting is interesting… read it for yourself, but it looks like the gist is: if your state opposes the floor fee, it won’t get ballot access money.

http://drtomstevens.blogspot.com/2010/02/lpny-risks-retribution-for-expressing.html

From the blog entry:

M Carling, who serves as LPNY Secretary and in a number of appointed positions on the national level, warned that although he will ask for national’s financial help with upcoming statewide petition drives both this year and in 2012, he fears his requests will fall on “deaf ears” if the LPNY expresses its opposition to the mandatory convention registration fee.


The full post from Dr. Stevens’ blog:

On Sunday, February 7, 2010, the Libertarian Party of New York passed the following motion opposing the institution of a mandatory convention registration fee imposed upon all elected delegates seeking to attend the Libertarian Party’s National Convention in St. Louis over Memorial Day Weekend:

MOTION: Whether or not the Libertarian Party’s National Committee has the legal right to assess a registration fee upon all duly elected delegates attending the LPUS National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri over Memorial Day Weekend, the payment of which is being treated as a mandatory prerequisite to the Credentials Committee seating said delegates, it is the opinion of the Libertarian Party of New York that such a mandatory registration fee should not be assessed for delegates who wish to attend and vote exclusively at the business sessions of the LPUS National Convention.

Dr. Tom Stevens, who serves as the State Representative of the Libertarian Party of Queens County, drafted and proposed the motion. During debate, he said: “putting aside the issue of whether the Libertarian Party’s National Committee has the legal right to assess a mandatory registration fee on duly elected delegates, the payment of which has become a prerequisite to the Credentials Committee seating said delegates, this motion merely expresses the opinion of the LPNY that such a fee should not be assessed for delegates who wish to attend and vote exclusively at the business sessions of the LPUS National Convention. While this motion will have no impact on the rules adopted for this convention, I hope that national takes our opinion into account when establishing the rules for the 2012 LPUS National Convention.”

Sam Sloan, State Representative of the Manhattan LP, supported the motion stating that “some of our most important activists make an extraordinary effort to simply attend the convention” and that “requiring a mandatory registration fee would effectively exclude these individuals from participation during the business sessions of the national convention.”

Blay Tarnoff, State Representative of the Nassau LP, in opposing the resolution called the language of the motion “bellicose” and stated that “a $25.00 mandatory registration fee” was acceptable to him. Joseph Dobrian, LPNY Vice-Chair, who spoke in favor of the motion stated, “there is nothing “bellicose” in the language of the motion”. Dr. Stevens then spoke again pointing out that the mandatory convention registration fee is $99.00, not $25.00. M Carling, who serves as LPNY Secretary and in a number of appointed positions on the national level, warned that although he will ask for national’s financial help with upcoming statewide petition drives both this year and in 2012, he fears his requests will fall on “deaf ears” if the LPNY expresses its opposition to the mandatory convention registration fee. In the end, Chris Edes, LPNY Chair, broke a tie and voted in favor of the motion. He will be informing national of the LPNY’s opinion on this issue.

Dr. Stevens stated: “It is important that the Libertarian Party of New York express itself on this issue. In my opinion, the LPUS can charge for its cocktail parties, for convention materials, for access to the vendor floor or even to hear speakers. However, it should not require a mandatory registration fee be paid before the Credentials Committee will seat a duly elected delegate. In my opinion, every duly elected delegate should be credentialed and should have the right to vote during the business sessions of the LPUS National Convention.”


1 comments:
Dr. Tom Stevens said…
Sam Sloan, MLP State Representative, recently posted to the LPNY_Committee Yahoo Group the following statement:

“…as to the quote, “M Carling, who serves as LPNY Secretary and in a number of appointed positions on the national level, warned that although he will ask for national’s financial help with upcoming statewide petition drives both this year and in 2012, he fears that his requests will fall on “deaf ears” if the LPNY expresses its opposition to the mandatory convention registration fee”.

I was there and this is exactly what M Carling said. If he does not wish to be quoted saying things like that, then he should not say them.

Sam Sloan

128 thoughts on “LPNY passes resolution opposing national convention floor fees; controversy over possible resulting loss of ballot access support

  1. AroundtheblockAFT

    TANSTAAFL, so maybe charge $5 for processing, name tag, whatever. But $99?
    This issue will so poison the well that whatever income is generated or not is hardly worth the bad will that will be generated. We want bodies and excitement on CSPAN at the convention, not sour faces and empty seats.

  2. M Carling

    There was no threat. I expressed a concern about a possible consequence. That was all.

    I’m disappointed that some libertarians are demanding that the national party impose collectivist financing of the convention rather than a libertarian policy of individual responsibility.

  3. volvoice

    Wait till cspan is out in the hall covering the protest of the floor fees. That will convince everyone watching that the LP has its sh*t together. LOL!

  4. George Phillies

    If elected National Chair, I will work vigorously to ensure that key races that actually enhance ballot access, such as the NY Governor race, get such support as our National Committee is able to generate in volunteers and money. Period. Full stop. That’s independent of which side the LPNY State Committee takes on the bylaws-violating floor fees.

    A National Committee that demands that state parties adhere to its positions on this sort of internal question, as the price for support on core political objectives like electing libertarians, is unfit to continue in office.

  5. Bruce Cohen

    What’s wrong with wondering out loud? Mister M didn’t do anything more than bring up a discussion point.

    What a bunch of whiney crybabies, all running to ‘mommy’ when they don’t get what they want.

  6. Michael H. Wilson

    M I agree with you on the “collectivist financing” issue. Heck I’m against that great big office in D.C. How about we get the people who want it to pay for it out their pockets? I also think the website is terrible. How about we get the people who want it to pay for it out their pockets? I’ll gladly help pay for a decent one.

    BTW how many state parties are you a member of these days? Last I heard you vote as a member in California, Oregon and New York. Am I missing any others? That sound a bit irregular to me.

  7. Robert Capozzi

    all services have some bundling of costs and prices. A flat-rate, all-you-can-eat buffet could be viewed as collectivist financing of heavy eaters over light ones, but that’s just silly. A voluntary transaction cannot be collectivist, IMO.

    My goodness, this is getting hysterical! Where is that “grip” so we can get one? 😉

  8. Gary Chartier

    @2: My sense is that those who’ve objected to proposed floor fees have done so on the basis that the LP’s own bylaws clearly don’t make room for them. The debate about whether they’d be fair or prudent in the absence of the bylaws is another matter, and an entirely appropriate topic for a discussion on the convention floor.

  9. TNSTAAFL

    I believe the solution that I and several others (some of whom are state chairs and have already implemented) is sufficient.

    Those states that want to pay the delegate fee for their reps that can not afford to do so themselves, should.

    Everyone else should shadup!

    Simple, I am a federalist and leave it to each state chair to decide what rules their state should abide by (just like some states say their delegates must be active members of national). If their state doesn’t believe in the principle of TNSTAAFL, then they can raise the funds and collectively pay for their delegates fees. If they believe each person should pay their own way, that’s fine too. If they want to wine and bitch and scream and pass meaningless resolutions, that’s fine too.

    So folks, if you do not like the fees, bitch to your state and ask them to pay. Enough said, move on, nothing more to see here.

  10. Gary Chartier

    @9: but your proposed solution presupposes that delegates can be required to pay fees in order to exercise their rights on the convention floor, and simply asks how those who can’t pay the fees can be enabled to do so. My sense is that the basic argument is that the bylaws don’t allow for the imposition of a floor fee at present, so meliorist options aren’t even on the table.

  11. Erik Geib

    MHW@6,

    “Heck I’m against that great big office in D.C”

    “Big” office? Have you ever been to it? It’s a tiny office on the 2nd floor alongside about 15 other offices. There are all of 5 rooms inside it.

    There are certainly arguments to be made against having an office in DC, but that it’s a “great big office” is not one of them.

  12. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #2

    Since Mr. Carling has no standing with the board (LNC) other than being a parlimentarian, it is sort of inappropriate for him to act as if he can bring anything to the board for approval. Since he is not a member of the LNC he cannot make motions for or against any measure; and, he certainly does not have a vote on anything we consider.

    Of course, like any other member he can make suggestions to the board, but it stops there, even if he does hold positions in multiple state affiliates.

    Just more bluster from someone that thinks a little too highly of himself, in my opinion.

    Lee Wrights, At-large

  13. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 11 Erik I was being sarcastic! If I walk into Safeway in the early morning they are not going to make a profit off of my sales. It costs more to keep the store open then they make with only one or two customers in their building.

    Every action is not going to make a profit. That is the nature of any business. And the cheap excuses others use along this line are just that. Cheap excuses!

  14. Bruce Cohen

    RLW@12

    Mister Wrights, I have not spoken with Mister
    Carling about this incident. I don’t think I’ve spoken to him since November of last year or so.

    However, based on the statements everyone has made, I think you are mischaracterizing the situation.

    You stated above, “him to act as if he can bring anything to the board for approval”.

    There is no way anyone could possibly misconstrue Mister Carling’s musings as a ‘threat to bring anything before the Board’.

    Please.

    What you are suggesting is no Libertarian can speculate, discuss, muse or postulate about internal politics.

    If Mister Carling, or any other Libertarian does something misleading or dishonest, be my guest, and frankly, I’ll back you up.

    Mister W, you are trying to infringe upon not only Mister Carling’s First Amendment Rights as an American, but as a Libertarian.

    Not to mention, you are doing the same to me and any other Libertarian.

    Please reconsider your reckless and emotional statement.

    Now let’s all get along and discuss policy and platform like NICE Libertarians, shall we?

  15. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #15

    I said nothing about threats. I was speaking of Mr. Carling suggesting he would try to get ballot access support for NY. In my opinion, his remarks were made to represent he has some sort of “pull” with the committee that he obviously does not have.

    I didn’t say. nor do I believe, his remarks rise to the level of threats of any kind, and your attempts to misrepresent me change nothing about my observations on this matter.

  16. Robert Capozzi

    rlw, it sounds as if you’ve got a problem with “pull.” If someone like M Carling, who is more closely associated with NatCom and its members, brings a matter to the committee’s attention, it’s more likely to be considered. Similarly, you might give more consideration to an idea advanced by, say, Susan Hogarth than a member whom you don’t know.

    This seems like classic human nature, politics, and sound economics. If person A is a known quantity, has a track record of being knowledgeable and credible about subject, etc., their suggestions are likely to be given more weight, yes?

    If person B has a track record of being unreliable, a prevaricator, hysterically overreacting, etc., their suggestions are likely to be dismissed.

    Information is vital to the functioning of an information society.

  17. Carolyn Marbry

    I must second what George said in #4. If elected as vice chair, I will do everything in my power not to allow the LNC to tie its support for candidates or ballot access nor really any other actual political activity to the states’ approval of actions we take on the LNC. Ballot access, candidacy, activism… THESE are the business of this party, and these must be come first, ahead of posh offices and expensive hotel meetings. Or petty nonsense like disagreements over administrative policy.

    I agree with Lee that M is implying that he has “pull” where he does not — or SHOULD not, let me put it that way. But let’s not shoot the messenger. M’s an insider with the current LNC leadership, so if in his judgment he’s expecting to see that kind of pettiness from them, I can only tend to believe him.

  18. Gary Chartier

    Carolyn @18: three cheers! Avoiding pettiness and a punitive attitude is crucial if we want to energize the party and ensure that state and county parts feel empowered and excited.

  19. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Does anyone know whether any other State Affiliates have formally passed resolutions against the Mandatory Convention Registration Fee or is the LPNY alone in this regard?

  20. Carolyn Marbry

    Dr. Stevens, California’s convention is this coming weekend, but as far as I know, no such resolution has been put forward. I plan to offer such a resolution from the floor, time permitting.

  21. Robert Capozzi

    rlw, yes, misrepresentation is dysfunctional. False and misleading accusations: ditto.

  22. Thomas L. Knapp

    The Missouri LP has the matter on its agenda for this month’s executive committee meeting. Here’s the resolution I expect we’ll be considering:

    ——
    Whereas, the national bylaws of the Libertarian Party set forth the qualifications of delegates to the party’s national convention; and

    Whereas, those bylaws do not provide for the assessment or collection of any fee from delegates as a condition of floor access or full
    participation in business sessions; and

    Whereas, the delegate apportionment formula specified in the bylaws is primarily based on the number of sustaining, i.e. dues-paying, national party members in each state;

    Be it resolved that:

    The Missouri Libertarian Party opposes in principle the assessment of “registration fees” or other charges to delegates for floor access and participation in the business sessions; and

    The Missouri Libertarian Party calls upon the Libertarian National Committee to adopt a policy of routine budgeting from sustaining
    membership dues for the provision of meeting facilities for its national conventions;

    The Missouri Libertarian Party calls upon the Libertarian National Committee to require that activities and facilities related to the party’s national conventions but not part of the bylaws-mandated business sessions be self-supporting on the basis of payments from willing customers or sponsors rather than on the basis of subsidies
    extracted from delegates.
    —–

  23. Carolyn Marbry

    Borrowed the last bit from Knapp’s resolution since I hadn’t included that in the one I was crafting. Mine looks something like this and is open to revision if anyone has any suggestions.

    Whereas delegates to the national convention are selected by the state affiliates, according to the national by-laws, article 11.3;

    Whereas the national by-laws neither require nor allow the national party to impose additional requirements upon these delegates to the national convention over and above their respective states’ requirements;

    Whereas, the delegate apportionment formula specified in the bylaws is primarily based on the number of sustaining (dues-paying) national party members in each state;

    Be it resolved that:

    The Libertarian Party of the State of California opposes in principle the imposition of a mandatory registration fee upon all duly elected delegates attending the Libertarian Party’s National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri over Memorial Day Weekend, the payment of which is being treated as a mandatory prerequisite to the Credentials Committee seating said delegates who wish to attend and vote exclusively at the business sessions of the Libertarian Party National Convention.

    The Libertarian Party of California calls upon the Libertarian National Committee to adopt a policy of strict yearly budgeting from membership dues received for the provision of meeting facilities for its national conventions;

    The Libertarian Party of California further calls upon the Libertarian National Committee to require that activities and facilities related to the party’s national conventions but not part of
    the by-laws-mandated business sessions be self-supporting on the basis of payments from willing customers or sponsors rather than on the
    basis of subsidies extracted from delegates.

  24. Aaron Starr

    Will members wanting to attend the Libertarian Party of California convention this weekend first have to pay the mandatory registration fee required to be a delegate at their state convention before they will have an opportunity to vote on the resolution in opposition to the registration fee to be charged at the national convention?

  25. Carolyn Marbry

    New improved lemon-scented resolution with some wordsmithing:

    Whereas, per National Party By-laws, article 11.3, delegates to the National Convention are selected by the state affiliates; and

    Whereas Party By-aws neither require nor allow the National Committee to impose additional requirements upon these delegates to the National Convention over and above their respective states’ requirements;

    Whereas, the delegate apportionment formula specified in the By-laws is primarily based on the number of sustaining national
    party members in each state;

    Be it therefore resolved, that the Libertarian Party of California opposes in principle the imposition of a mandatory registration fee upon all duly elected delegates attending the Libertarian Party’s National Convention in St. Louis, Missouri over Memorial Day Weekend, the payment of which would be a mandatory prerequisite to the Credentials Committee seating said delegates who wish to attend and vote exclusively at the business sessions of the Libertarian Party National Convention; and

    Be it further resolved, that the Libertarian Party of California calls upon the Libertarian National Committee to adopt a policy of strict
    yearly budgeting from membership dues in order that it may provide meeting facilities for its National Conventions; and

    Be it further resolved, that the Libertarian Party of California further calls upon the Libertarian National Committee to require that activities and facilities related to the party’s national conventions but not part of the by-laws-mandated business sessions be self-supporting on the basis of payments from willing customers or sponsors rather than on the basis of subsidies extracted from delegates

    ****

    Aaron, yes, CA delegates are going to be paying a floor fee to attend our own state convention. But the difference is that there is nothing in the by-laws saying that CA delegates are chosen by the county affiliates and ONLY subject to the requirements of those delegates.

    You want to be able to charge a floor fee, change the by-laws so National is not so precluded from imposing additional requirements on delegates.

  26. Carolyn Marbry

    *subject to the requirements of those AFFILIATES. Brain ahead of fingers typing, sorry.

  27. Aaron Starr

    At the 2007 convention we amended the LPC’s bylaws to change our conventions to an assembly of members, rather than delegates chosen by county parties.

    Our state bylaws now read, “Delegates to the convention shall be current State Central Committee members, and shall either hold
    public office or shall have been State Central Committee members for any ninety days prior to the convention.

    “Notwithstanding the above, each Executive Committee member may seat one current State Central Committee member as a delegate.”

    Of course, no where is there any mention of a registration fee in the California bylaws.

    The reason why the LPC can legitimately charge a registration fee is because of Bylaw 27, which states:

    “Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised (10th ed.) shall be the parliamentary authority for all matters of procedure not specifically covered by these Bylaws.”

    And Roberts describes the procedure of registration for conventions as including the collecting of a registration fee.

  28. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: #30

    I will ask the same question of Mr. Starr here that I have asked repeatedly on the LNC list:

    Where in Robert’s Rules does it say a registration fee is “required”?

  29. Carolyn Marbry

    CA’s by-laws do not allow any other body to choose who may attend the convention or impose any restrictions on them other than those listed, so CA charging a floor fee would not impose additional requirements that might violate the rights of the affiliates for representation. It’s a different thing entirely since the duty of choosing delegates is not on any other entity (like the states, in National’s case).

    Aaron, the RRONR point has been hashed out by the PRPs several times already and they can’t agree between themselves. So no, it’s not that clear.

    Besides, the by-laws trump RRONR anyway, so that’s a moot point.

  30. Steve Dasbach

    While I don’t object in principle to a nominal delegate fee to help defray the costs required to hold the business sessions, I believe that a Bylaws amendment is required. I don’t see how the LNC can claim that they have the authority to impose such a fee. The argument that this is somehow covered by Roberts is, IMO, utterly unpersuasive.

  31. Carolyn Marbry

    By the way, Aaron, who was chair when that floor fee went through in CA a few years ago, anyway? And what was the rationale for it? Was it the same as the rationale for the convention cruise?

    Seems like it was another attempt at keeping out the “unwashed masses,” just like this.

    If the states send their unwashed masses to be delegates, National needs to shut up and pull out the chair for them. Period. Full stop. Because delegates are CHOSEN BY THE STATES. It’s not National’s place to play salad bar with what the states send them.

    Folks, CA is your cautionary tale re: floor fees. Once it’s there, the organization becomes dependent on that income and the fees go up and up and up, and since it’s established by precedent, it’s almost impossible to get rid of it. Just like any other tax.

    Don’t let this happen at national. The by-laws are clearer at national about who gets to set requirements for delegates. Stick to it so they don’t stick it to us.

  32. Volvoice

    ….“Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised (10th ed.) shall be the parliamentary authority for all matters of procedure not specifically covered by these Bylaws.”….

    This is something that Ms. Mattson tried to insert into our State bylaws in Tn. I would encourage everyone to look at their state’s bylaws and if this type of lingo is in there….cull it.

  33. Michael H. Wilson

    I really don’t think many people at the top in the LP understand that the number of people participating in a convention is important. There is a link between the number of people who turn out and the media coverage.

  34. Dr. Tom Stevens

    The mandatory convention registration fee reduces participation in the Libertarian Party. The new proposed “conflict of interest” bylaw amendment will be used against troublemakers and will reduce the involvement of many activists. I will not be able to run for re-election to the Judicial Committee because of this new proposed rule but for now, I am still on the committee.

    WHY HASN’T A PETITION BEEN BROUGHT TO THE JUDICIAL COMMITTEE CHALLENGING THIS LNC DECISION FOR BEING IN VIOLATION OF THE NATIONAL BYLAWS?

    I take no position on this issue at this time but such a petition would clearly within the jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee.

  35. Carolyn Marbry

    #36, indeed. I would need to look at the numbers, but I imagine there’s a correlation between number of people attending a convention => media coverage => donations and new membership the following year. Seems intuitive that dwindling attendance at a convention will feed dwindling interest and activism which in turn will feed dwindling donations and membership which will then feed dwindling attendance at convention. That’s not really the direction we want to go. At least, that’s not the direction many of us want to go.

  36. Brian Holtz

    Bylaw 11(3) says “delegates to a Regular Convention shall be selected by a method adopted by each affiliate party”. It also says “At all Regular Conventions delegates shall be those so accredited who have registered at the Convention.” The Bylaws thus clearly imply that registration is a separate step beyond merely satisfying the conditions that make one entitled to register. However, our Bylaws say nothing about what “registered” means, so its meaning is to be sought in RRONR. On p. 593 we read:

    Registration — which normally includes these steps:
    a) Submission, by the member intending to register, of evidence that he is entitled to do so;
    b) Verification by the committee, or a subcommittee of it, that the member’s credentials are correct;
    c) Recording of the member as officially registered, upon his paying the registration fee (which is sometimes sent in in advance) and signing the list of registrations; and
    d) Issuing of the particular badge to which the member is entitled, the official program, and additional necessary information, such as time and place of individual section or committee meetings or workshops.

    This seems like a pretty straightforward and reasonable definition of “registration”. If someone thinks that this is not the language governing the definition of “registration” in the LP Bylaws, then can he please quote where the Bylaws provides an overriding definition? I can’t find it.

  37. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Brian – You make a good argument here.

    I have drawn no conclusion as to whether the LP National Committee had the legal right to establish a registration fee. That is why the motion I drafted (that the LPNY adopted) merely states that we believe that a registration fee “should not” be set for delegates wishing to exclusively attend and vote at the business sessions of the convention.

  38. Bruce Cohen

    We can argue about the rules all we want. The way I read it, as a non-Parliamentarian Member is that it can be done.

    What really should be discussed is what brings the best result.

    ‘Fair’ and ‘free’ are terms for socialists when we discuss outcomes.

    Someone comes to me with a zero admission cost Convention that makes sense, from program to budget, I’ll listen.

  39. Brian Holtz

    Michael @36, I’ll repeat my unanswered questions to you from two weeks ago:

    When was the last time an off-year LP NatCon ever got an interesting amount of “media attention”? A quick Google News Archive search suggests that our 2006 convention got only 3 mentions in the mainstream media: two local Oregon articles, and one Atlanta article about Bob Barr’s attendance.

    Politics is indeed a numbers game. I’d like you to estimate for us: how many extra delegates would you expect to get from delegates being able to attend without paying for a share of the conference facilities? How many extra media impressions would this extra attendance garner for the LP?

  40. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 42 Brian if you don’t try it is not going to happen. We have to create our opportunities. Simple as that. Just do it!

    BTW had someone asked I would have gladly worked to get more media coverage in Portland but I wasn’t invited to the party as they say.

  41. Andy

    R. Lee Wrights said: “Just more bluster from someone that thinks a little too highly of himself, in my opinion.”

    Hello pot. This is the kettle. You’re black.

  42. Brian Holtz

    Michael, one way for you to get invited to help the LP get more media coverage for an off-year convention might be to specify and justify your vague theory that free registration would result in X% more delegates which would result in Y% more media coverage.

    If you have any good ideas for our St. Louis convention to get more media coverage, I hope you’ll volunteer them. I’ve had both ideas that haven’t worked at all, and ideas that worked far better than expected, so the more ideas the better.

  43. R. Lee Wrights

    Re: 45

    The question is not about free registration. The question has been, and remains, can the national party use the fees as a stipulation for credentialing delegates? In other words, can the LNC place “extra” stipulations on seating national delegates? Since our By-laws specifically read that “only” the state affiliates determine national delegates “not” the national party the answer is clearly no.

    This is not rocket science and the By-laws are clear about who determines delegate status. The state affiliates. Therefore, the LNC cannot place restrictions of their own on credentialing national delegates.

  44. Thomas L. Knapp

    Lee,

    Don’t waste your breath.

    The subsidy seekers aren’t going to abandon their intellectually dishonest arguments just because those arguments have no basis in fact or reality. They’re just going to keep repeating the lie that the poll tax has something to do with “paying for a share of the conference facilities” in the hope that that repetition will carry the day.

  45. Starchild

    Kudos to the New York LP for speaking out against disempowering state affiliates and discriminating against Libertarians who are less able to help subsidize the preferences of those LP members who favor holding conventions in expensive hotels with higher overhead costs!

  46. Starchild

    Brian @39,

    Just because Roberts Rules of Order (RRONR) says registration “normally” includes certain steps, that does not mean that these steps are thereby automatically brought into existence in the Libertarian Party unless our Bylaws specifically provide for them, which they do
    not. Unless the party’s Bylaws are silent on a matter AND Roberts contains a rule on the matter), the fact of RRONR merely saying something is customary provides no authority under which party officials may act.

    I support the various resolutions that are accumulating against floor fees, and urge you to do so as well, whether you agree that it is illegal under party rules for the Convention Committee to charge delegates such a fee, or merely agree it is a bad idea.

    There are numerous reasons why floor fees are a bad idea, but one is that if national LP officials are allowed to influence, via adding extra registration requirements, who can be a delegate, then the ability of state LP affiliates to select their own delegations is effectively undermined.

    Floor fees have not been used at past national
    conventions, and I believe the political impetus for introducing them now is the desire to influence the makeup of state delegations by
    tending to exclude those whom some members of the more conservative-leaning faction of the party notoriously called “Povertarians” (i.e.
    less well-heeled Libertarians who might be deterred on the basis of cost from attending a convention).

  47. Robert Capozzi

    Perhaps it’s an inside-the-Beltway, TAAAList thing, but Dasbach 33 and I concur once again. Early on, I’d described a significant fee as “kinda creepy,” and I stick with that.

    With all this CA periphera, I’d add it’s an example of the “repetition compulsion.”

  48. volvoice

    Does anyone have the numbers breakdown of the number of delegates, at the last convention, that did not buy at least the basic package? What kind of numbers are we talking here?

  49. Aaron Starr

    “Just because Roberts Rules of Order (RRONR) says registration “normally” includes certain steps, that does not mean that these steps are thereby automatically brought into existence in the Libertarian Party unless our Bylaws specifically provide for them, which they do
    not. Unless the party’s Bylaws are silent on a matter AND Roberts contains a rule on the matter), the fact of RRONR merely saying something is customary provides no authority under which party officials may act.”

    Well, that’s an interesting and unique point of view.

    Since there are other steps listed on page 593 that are normal in the registration process (the collection of a registration fee being only one of them), to be consistent one would have to conclude that none of the steps in the registration process are valid without a bylaw authorizing them. In other words, there would be no process of registering delegates.

    It makes one wonder how so many organizations using RONR as their parliamentary authority are able to register at their conventions without have a registration process specified in their bylaws.

  50. Chuck Moulton

    Aaron,

    More to the point of this particular story:

    M Carling has told the LPNY that he fears requests for ballot access help will fall on “deaf ears” if the state affiliates express opposition to the mandatory convention registration fee. In comment #2 above he implicitly confirmed the quote (disputing only his intention, saying it was not meant to be a threat), so I no longer have to qualify this with “allegedly.”

    As LNC treasurer, will you hold a principled position opposing mandatory floor fees / registration fees against state affiliates when ballot access money is allocated?

    Or was M Carling misrepresenting the likely reaction of the LNC?

    Or is there a third possibility here I am missing?

  51. Pingback: Missouri, California, Tennessee, Nevada Libertarian Party members to introduce resolutions for their state parties to oppose national convention floor fees | Independent Political Report

  52. George Phillies

    @52

    Manage registration?

    Do you think it is because most organizations other than ours are run by people who can figure out what “credentialing” and “registration” mean without 670 pages of crib sheet?

    As Mary Ruwart has noted, our 17 pages of Bylaws are badly outnumbered by what is now 50+ pages of policy manual and 600+ pages of Roberts. Perhaps if the national committee spent less time expanding the Policy manual from 40 up to 54 pages, and more time trying to avoid shrinking party income (real dollars) by nearly three-quarters in ten years (the actual outcome) we would be better off.

  53. Brian Holtz

    @46, the claim that registration fees are illegal is precisely about free registration. Watch:

    1. Bylaw 11(3) mentions delegate registration as an extra step beyond accreditation by an affiliate: “At all Regular Conventions delegates shall be those so accredited who have registered at the Convention.”
    2. Nothing in the Bylaws defines registration.
    3. “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”.
    4. RRONR p. 593 says registration “normally includes” “paying the registration fee”.

    To claim that our rules require there to be no registration fee, you have to argue that at least one of the four statements above is false. So which one is it?

    “Normally includes” is not a requirement for a non-zero registration fee, and it’s odd for Mr. Wrights @31 to suggest that anyone is arguing otherwise.

    It’s debatable whether a $99 registration fee is a reasonable price for LPUS dues-payers to pay for the room, P/A system, electricity, A/V system, convention packets, and badges. But when someone tries to argue with a straight face that the Bylaws’ non-definition of registration “trumps” the clear definition in Robert’s, and that a $99 floor fee is OK at this weekend’s convention of the LP’s largest affiliate, then it smacks of opportunism to oppose a St. Louis “poll tax” as illegal.

    If you think $99 is too high, then make that case, but let’s not pretend that our rules say what they clearly don’t.

  54. Not a Bruce or Todd Troll

    I encourage every state affiliate to do what NY has done. A floor fee is just another way for Starr and his cronies to keep a hold of the LP and run things their way….they think the by-laws is just a god-damn piece of paper and can disobey it’s meaning at whim!

  55. Robert Capozzi

    cm, of course there’s a third, more benign interpretation. M said it’s a “possible consequence,” not a “likely reaction.”

    As a general proposition, if Party A establishes itself as “difficult,” there are a range of reactions, from the squeeky wheel gets the grease to punishment for not being a team player. But there are middle reactions. In this case, if the LPNY is the outlier, one could imagine that a future NatCom ON THE MARGIN will be less inclined to aid NY in ballot access matters. That could manifest as slightly less financial support, not returning phone calls, etc. NY could be viewed as “less strategic” than its size would otherwise indicate, and the stated rationale might be a conscious OR unconscious alternative reason, e.g., NY’s too liberal for the LP or NY’s permanent ballot access standards are “too high.”

    Things are not as dualistic as your comment seems to imply.

  56. Michael H. Wilson

    I realize that I am not contributing anything of value to this debate but I find it quite interesting that some people don’t seem to realize that the more people we get at the convention the more likely we will get better media coverage. With that said the LP should be working to make it easier for people to participate and not be placing barriers in their way.

    Last but not least it sounds like the committee should have worked out much of the costs issue last year and not this one.

  57. libertariangirl

    Id like to ask , perhaps Aaron or anyone else can answer , why the fee has to be so high?? I am all for everyone paying their own way , but a $100 floor fee seems excessive . IMO , $25 would have been sufficient.
    It is because of this , I have submitted a resolution against the floor fee to my excomm and I assume since our convention is next week , we will let the delegates , not just the excom decide.

  58. Robert Capozzi

    I’m still wondering why the state LPs could not subsidize their delegates who could not afford a more modest delegate convention fee…

  59. volvoice

    Bob,

    What this does is limit the ones with lesser money. Not just the ones that some people want to classify as ‘povertarians’. In Tennessee we hope to bring 8-10 college kids to the convention. We are talking about gas, food, and lodging for these guys, that in itself is a lot of money. Throwing a 100 dollar poll tax on top of that is unreasonable IMO. College kids do not have a lot of discretionary spending as it is. Are we trying to make this an exclusive party or an inclusive one? Here in our state there are no dues, but guess who the first guys on the front line are? That’s right, the college kids. They write letters, collect petitions, speak at TEA Party events, blog, Run OPH booths, and do a lot of other things that contribute to the Libertarian Party of Tenn. Issues like this tend to drive them away rather than encourage them to participate. I mean, really, are we trying to grow the LP or just keep it the party of middle age white people?

  60. LibertarianGirl

    @64 , um in NV we have bank account of less than $2500 dollars . Were flat ass broke , and I imagine many other states are too . to pay $1oo each for every delegate that cant afford it would be more than we could afford.

  61. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    Just calling it like it is. The LP’s membership has already paid for the biennial convention. To illicitly hold the delegates’ voting rights hostage to payment of a poll tax on top of that prepayment can of course be described in many ways.

    “Extortion” is one of those terms, and it’s an accurate one. It’s less elaborated than actually describing the subsidy-seeking motives of the extortionists, but those have already been discussed in detail, and I occasionally prefer to revert to shorthand.

  62. Robert Capozzi

    tk, well, Tom, that’s a novel way to look at it. While I find the facts and process for this fee dubious, it’s your INTERPETATION that the membership has “paid for” the convention. Seems like a big-time stretch to me.

    Members join. They pay dues. Some go to Convention and elect NatCon members. NatCon manages and directs the party’s activities, including revenues and expense management.

    Do the Bylaws anywhere state explicitly your claim?

    Most members don’t even GO to convention, so this particular revenue stream affects a very small percentage of the members at all.

  63. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob,

    If it seems like a “big-time stretch” to you, then you haven’t read the bylaws.

    Dues are directly related to convention representation (see the allocation formula).

    Convention representation is among the things the members are buying with their dues. They’re entitled to that representation because they paid for it. An attempt to shake their representatives down for an additional $100 or more each is extortion. Period.

  64. Carolyn Marbry

    LG 61, as I said above — WAY above — it’s not about the amount. This floor fee is a tax — a poll tax. And like any other tax, it has two defining characteristics. One is that it WILL go up. And up. And up. The other is that it will be almost impossible to get rid of once in place. The best way to fight taxes is to keep them from going into effect in the first place. Same with floor fees.

    The CA floor fee was originally not all that high, around $40, and for that reason, people didn’t fight it too hard. Then there was the cruise convention THE VERY NEXT YEAR that had a de facto “floor fee” of around $500 per person because it was held on a cruise. No “povertarians” that year.

    This year, it’s $99 (no rebate) — more than National. Why? Because the state is now dependent on that income, just as the State becomes dependent on taxes. Good luck getting rid of it now.

    That’s why I say, if it’s even so much as $0.50, it’s too much because it lets them run roughshod over the by-laws, and if they can do it this once, in this seemingly trivial matter, what’s to stop them from doing it when something more important or controversial comes up?

  65. Robert Capozzi

    tk, I’m not seeing a smoking gun in that bylaws language. Looks to me like the AFFILIATE PARTIES are the entitled ones.

    cm, sorry, it’s not a tax, since the LP is not a government and there’s no coercion involved. Public choice economists have suggested that a poll tax is in many ways the least injurious tax, since it’s closest to a user fee than any other tax.

  66. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 70 RC writes; “Most members don’t even GO to convention…”

    Robert it might help to ask the members why they don’t go and work back from there.

  67. Brian Holtz

    1. Bylaw 11(3) mentions delegate registration as an extra step beyond accreditation by an affiliate: “At all Regular Conventions delegates shall be those so accredited who have registered at the Convention.”
    2. Nothing in the Bylaws defines registration.
    3. “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”.
    4. RRONR p. 593 says registration “normally includes” “paying the registration fee”.

    The conjunction of these four assertions is very strong prima facie case that a non-zero registration fee is permitted by our rules. To claim that our rules require there to be no registration fee, you have to argue that at least one of the four statements above is false.

    So which one is it?

  68. Carolyn Marbry

    Registering is not the same as paying a fee. One may not vote without registering, and that registration does not include paying a fee.

    Requiring someone to be credentialed — present ID and sign in — is not the same as charging them for the privilege of carrying out their responsibility to vote on party business.

    Do any corporations charge a floor fee of their stockholders to vote? No, because they recognize that it is in their best interest to hear from ALL of their stockholders. Apparently the LNC doesn’t see things that way.

    RC, obviously it isn’t a government-instituted tax, but it has the same effect as a tax and the same characteristics.

  69. Bruce Cohen

    This sounds like circular doublespeak to me.

    The LPCA must charge a fee because they are addicted to it because of the evil people that came before them?

    But the LP – National Edition – THEY have to go ahead and NOT be addicted?

    Uh huh.

    As far as the ‘cruise convention’, it was actually, I think about $350 total, tax and tip included.

    We had full room service.
    Free. food and everything.
    We had fine dining in our choice of restaurants.
    Different buffets going all day and night.

    Conference rooms included because we had enough people. I’m trying hard to think of how to pay for that much food and that many hotel room nights for such a low cost.

    It was a great deal and a lot of nice people went.

    You can see their pictures here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/philosophygeek/105413265/in/set-72057594072362656/

    The San Berdoo LP, home of the most poverty stricken Povertarians managed to bring a couple of wagon loads of people.

    Yeah, whatever.

    It’s all a big conspiracy and those neocons are out to get you.

    Thanks for the help there, Carolyn.

    Check and see who’s face is at the link.

    Here it is again so you don’t have to scroll up.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/philosophygeek/105413265/in/set-72057594072362656/

    I guess Zander hates my writing style how I do it in columns when it’s email and try to right justify it all.

    That was part of his brilliant presentation to prosecute Matty B.

    Sorry.
    The Cruise Convention was a great deal.
    Everyone voted on it after a lot of discussion.

    King Naga and I both even brought our girlfriends.

    Doctor Sandor Woren and a lot of other folks who normally would not go to a Convention went because it was so inexpensive as a package.

    And you got to go on a cruise to Mexico on top of the food and the convention hall and everything.

    I even caught a few shows after business was over.

    Those steaks were good.

    Funny thing, too.

    The worst complainers about the cost, when they were actually on the cruise, were buying wine that costs $7.00 at the grocery store for $35.00 a bottle.

    Funny how those winnertarians suddenly have a lot of money when they are having fun.

    I even saw some of them pumping money into slot machines in the casino.

    This is too easy.

    OK somebody else pick up a clay and throw it when I say: PULL!

  70. Carolyn Marbry

    When you get near a point, BC, make it.

    So far, you’ve just supported what I said. $35 for $7 wine for a captive audience?

    San Bernardino made a point of subsidizing those who would otherwise not have gotten to go.

    It’s amusing to me that some members of National seems to think that delegates to the convention shouldn’t subsidize other non-paying delegates with their gold and silver packages but they’re perfectly okay with forcing the states and counties to subsidize their delegates to get adequate representation.

    That’s simply not right.

    Yes, Bruce, the CA state party established the floor fee and now depends on that income to pay for its conventions. I would prevent National from making the same mistake. That’s not circular at all.

  71. Carolyn Marbry

    By the way, I’m sure the cruise convention WAS fun. That isn’t the issue. It’s like those folks in the other thread saying that Barnes shouldn’t be removed from the party in spite of his past because their meetings are “fun.” What does that have to do with anything?

    Whether or not it’s fun is really beside the point. When you’re talking about the business meeting of a political party, business comes first, fun comes second. I’m all for making the convention fun. But not at the expense of disallowing those who are there to conduct business from attending.

  72. Chris Edes

    The legal issue really isn’t complicated. Membership is used to determine delegate allocations. The more money a state sends to national, the more delegates that state gets. The convention costs are already paid for thereby. The delegates to which the states are entitled as a result should not have to pay a floor fee. Doing so deprives the state affiliates of the representation to which they are entitled. A States’ Rights issue.

    That said, other issues are equally disturbing. I’m disturbed at both the empirical effect of floor fees, and some of the arguments used to advance them. As well, I hope the term “povertarian” is a provocation for the sake of argument and not in general use. One attitude we do not need to borrow from the conservatives is the idea that poverty is a moral failure.

    Such an attitude is short-sighted. Vincent Van Gogh (and many other artists) created enduring works of beauty while living in dreadful poverty. He was not valued in his time, and perhaps was not a good salesman, but he captured the beauty and pathos of human being like no other. In 1990, Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” sold for $82.5 million ($134.6 million in 2010 dollars). So much for our transient and narrow-minded judgments.

    Those who seek spiritual enlightenment often deliberately choose to live in poverty. Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi lived in poverty. So did Christ, Muhammad and Buddha. To judge the worth or “seriousness” of a person on the basis of wealth, is to exclude humankind’s greatest artistic and spiritual achievements. While our politics would disagree, I will be hard pressed this year to find any delegate on the convention floor who I respect as much as Gandhi. Even among those who buy the Gold package!

    I’m not arguing for equality of outcome. People who live farther away have to pay more for travel. We can’t underwrite every circumstance. That doesn’t mean we should make an unequal situation more unequal. Especially when it amounts to double taxation, as delegates are allocated on the basis of paid memberships. Consciously or unconsciously, we seem to be sticking it to the poor, and I find it shameful.

  73. paulie Post author

    @64 , um in NV we have bank account of less than $2500 dollars . Were flat ass broke , and I imagine many other states are too . to pay $1oo each for every delegate that cant afford it would be more than we could afford.

    same here

  74. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Chris – The term “povertarian” has been in general use in LP circles for many years. I first heard it used by some in the California LP who supported the convention cruise and who argued that it would effectively exclude individuals like Starchild, who they viewed as povertarians. The term may have been used before that.

  75. Scott Lieberman

    “Thomas L. Knapp // Feb 10, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Dues are directly related to convention representation (see the allocation formula).

    Convention representation is among the things the members are buying with their dues. They’re entitled to that representation because they paid for it. An attempt to shake their representatives down for an additional $100 or more each is extortion. Period.”

    *************************************

    Does this mean that right after the 2010 LP National Convention comes to order, Mr. Knapp will speak in favor of a Bylaw (or Convention Rule) that takes effect immediately that would require all Delegates to be dues paying members of the LNC, Inc?

  76. Bruce Cohen

    Starchild supposedly has a very exotic, high paying job, no?

    He can’t be a povertarian.

    In fact he booked the wrong boat, and then had to buy passage on the right one, so ended up with paying twice.

    I guess he could afford $700+ that day, no?

    Only one day’s ‘work’ for Starsky, no Hutch.
    Or, should I say ‘night’, since he’s a gentleman of the night?

    I guess he finally talked them into refunding his non-refundable fare on the one he didn’t take, or something like that.

    San Bee made it there, and they got the money, some how some way, everyone that wanted to go, figured out how to go.

    I’m all for doing Conventions in whatever fashion that makes sense.

    The way they are doing it in California and National from a financial perspective makes good sense.

    Leave it/them alone for this year and make your own bid proposal to the LNC.

    I want to see it.

    Or.

    We could just increase National Dues by $8.00 a month.

    Then EVERYONE GOES!
    WEEEEHAAAA!!!!!

  77. Thomas L. Knapp

    Dr. Lieberman,

    No, it doesn’t mean that — nor is there any reason why it should mean that.

    That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t consider the merits of such a proposal, though.

    Currently, the matter of the basis upon which delegates are allocated (on a formula including as its main factor the number of dues-paying member per state) is distinct in the bylaws from the matter of who selects the particular delegates (the state affiliates).

    There’s no particular reason that either of these two ways of doing things should be sacrosanct.

    I’ve proposed a different delegate allocation formula myself (i.e. mirroring the electoral college allocation formula).

    An up side to requiring national membership as delegate qualification would be that it would tend to attract delegates who value the national party per se.

    A down side would be that it would tend to reinforce certain elements of internal culture that are not necessarily best reinforced (for example, retention of the anarchist membership oath — currently, a delegate need not necessarily be pledged to anarchism; under this proposal, every delegate would have to be).

  78. Dr. Tom Stevens

    I can’t comment on why Starchild was referred to as a “povertarian”. Sam Sloan, who spoke to him in Denver got the idea he had limited funds and spoke of Starchild by name when arguing in favor of the LPNY motion against the mandatory floor fees.

    When I ran into Starchild at a recent convention, he told me he had to run in order to “raise the money” he needed to pay for his hotel room.

    Perhaps Starchild has all the money he needs and the reference to him as a “povertarian” was misplaced. I have no idea. But that is where I first heard the term used.

  79. Thomas L. Knapp

    Dr. Lieberman,

    Another down side to requiring that delegates be dues-paying members is the same down side to the current “floor fee” — it would likely not pass muster in the courts. Poll taxes are illegal.

  80. David F. Nolan

    It strikes me that there are several different issues here.

    First, is the imposition of a “floor fee” legal under the LP’s by-laws? That question now seems very likely to come before the Judicial Committee unless the LNC votes at its upcoming meeting in Austin to eliminate said fee. And whether it votes for or against such a fee, the decision should be made by a vote of the LNC, and not imposed arbitrarily by the Convention committee. The LNC needs to man up and address this issue head-on. No hiding behind a smokescreen of “that’s the convention committee’s decision.” It isn’t. The convention committee has no authority of its own; it is appointed by the LNC, and has only the powers the LNC gives it – which must be powers the LNC itself possesses.

    The second issue, legality aside, is whether imposing a “floor fee” is smart. And in my opinion, it isn’t. The LP needs to grow, and erecting barriers to member participation in our business conventions works against that. We need all the active, enthusiastic members we can get. And a $99 “poll tax” discriminates against people who have more energy than money — i.e. young people.

    If the convention organizers want to charge $99 – or $999 – for a package that includes meals and speakers, that’s their choice. The market will decide if their decisions are wise. But duly elected delegates and alternates should not be turned away at the door because they lack the financial resources to pay an extra $99 just to get in. It may (or may not) be technically legal, but it’s a counter-productive policy.

  81. Marc Montoni

    I work, have a fully-funded IRA, my wife and I have set up nest eggs for college for our three kids, I have a bunch of old cars, we have rental property and own a business, we have no debt other than mortgage, and I have collections of antiques and other items that are worth conservatively six figures.

    Obviously, I’m not a “povertarian”.

    However, I am considered to be one by at least one LNC member — because I spoke at the LNC meeting in Denver in 2008, asking the LNC to do its job and provide name tags and convention notebooks to “free” delegates (the “povertarians”). I also identified myself as a free delegate.

    My request was refused.

    The derision coming from two or three LNC members in the meeting was almost palpable — and it was pathetic.

    My long-standing rule about my LP activity is that the Party can have either my money, or my time, but not both. Ergo, when I’ve attended national conventions, it has been as a free delegate. The paid sessions have never interested me simply because many of the speakers I’d already heard; and many of the classes discussed things I’d long since done myself.

    I literally put in hundreds of hours every year into LP activities. If the LP insists that I must also pay to be able to sit down and vote, then I’ll just have to take some more duties off my plate to compensate. In January, I turned in a small pile of national & state memberships I’d personally recruited at a couple of meetings. Would you rather have my $99 floor fee or a bunch more members?

    I sent a message to all LNC members a couple of weeks ago. The essence was that the LP has much more serious problems than the 10 to 15% of delegates who have historically attended only the free sessions (and thus paid for no packages). I urged them to steer clear of insisting on making decisions that they very well knew in advance would anger substantial fractions of the membership, and instead concentrate on improving fundraising, membership retention, media hits, and other things. I told them I’m fine with a floor fee — as long as it is the delegates who impose it upon themselves.

    I received not a single constructive reply.

    I once believed libertarians were better than other kinds of people. But I keep hearing these tortured excuses that sound like the anti-Constitututional expansions of the “Commerce Clause”; or the old excuse-for-all-seasons line “this is allowed because it’s not prohibited”. It’s enough to give one some serious pause.

    Damn, just call it off for now and let the delegates decide in St. Louis.

    What is so hard to understand about this?

  82. Chuck Moulton

    Well said, Marc.

    I serve on the Bylaws Committee. At the Bylaws Committee set to take place at the state chair’s conference I’ll be proposing two bylaws changes: one to explicitly allow a floor fee and another to explicitly forbid a floor fee.

    If they pass the committee, the delegates will get to decide this issue for themselves. If they don’t pass the committee I’ll probably propose them from the floor.

    Allow – add new (c) to Article 11, Section 3:

    c) At the discretion of the Libertarian National Committee, all delegates may be required to pay a minimum registration fee before being credentialed.

    Forbid – add new (c) to Article 11, Section 3:

    c) Delegates shall not be required to pay a registration fee to be credentialed or to access the floor for business sessions.

    It’s really sad how many hours have been wasted arguing about this by LNC members and LP activists. And I fear we will have the same argument before every convention until the bylaws are made explicit in one direction or the other.

  83. what huh?

    How much could they save & therfefore knock off the floor fee by not paying the grotesque anti-liberty Neal Boortz to speak/blather/fulminate?

  84. Thomas L. Knapp

    Nobody’s going to mistake me for a Neal Boortz fan, but my recollection is that he has spoken at more than one national convention — gratis.

    As on previous occasions when he’s spoken, I expect there will be an alternate event organized by and for the libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party.

  85. what huh?

    They should knock the registration fee down to $20, and charge Boortz a dais fee to make up the difference.

  86. David F. Nolan

    Here’s a thought: Instead of a mandatory “floor fee” ask each delegate who registers for a voluntary donation of $20 or so to pay for the cost of his/her convention materials. I strongly suspect that the great majority of them would pony up; most of the people who are opposing the “floor fee” are objecting to it on principle and/or because they see it as way too high, and not because they are opposed to paying for the actual cost of materials. (The cost of renting the room is a fixed overhead cost, and should be borne by the national party as part of its regular budget.)

  87. David F. Nolan

    Another thought, slightly off-topic but relevant. It strikes me as grossly inequitable to give Wayne Root the Sunday Lunch speaking slot immediately prior to the election of officers. This is completely unfair to the other candidates for LNC Chair – currently Mark Hinkle, Ernest Hancock and George Phillies.

    Wayne is a dynamic speaker, and deserves a speaking slot, but it should be AFTER the election of the new LNC. My suggestion: Make Wayne the Banquet Speaker, and cancel Boortz. Nobody I’ve spoken to (except Bruce Cohen) is at all excited about hearing Boortz blather on about the “fair tax” yet again.

    The lineup of speakers (which includes me) is tilted too far to the right; dump Boortz and substitute someone like Scott Horton from antiwar.com

  88. David F. Nolan

    In case my last sentence above was not clear, my suggestion is to move Wayne Root to Sunday evening, and fill the Sunday Lunch slot with someone like Scott Horton. Wayne gets a prime speaking slot, and we are spared The Boor.

  89. Robert Capozzi

    cm, by your logic, membership dues are a poll tax, too. I’d lose the analogy…it’s very weak.

    ***

    The Nolan makes great sense to me in 89 and 96.

    Here’s another way to look at the fiduciary issues. IF the affiliate parties have “already paid for” the right of its delegates to participate in a business meeting at the convention, then proper accounting would require the funds to run the meeting to have been escrowed, or perhaps guaranteed in some other fashion.

    Has anyone on the LNC or the affiliate parties demanded that the funds be set aside in advance for running the business meeting?

    I suspect they haven’t. Not only not recently, but probably never.

    There has then been a tacit acceptance for decades that the convention, esp. the business meeting, would be funded from other sources. That’s a rather HUGE precedent. In fact, my guess is conventions are often cash-flow positive.

    There is a lot of precedence that the convention has been used as a fundraising and organizational retreat of sorts…a way to recharge the party in a number of ways, financially and morale wise.

    As the financial situation of the LP has degenerated, the need to raise additional funds has grown over the past year or 2, especially. The expense glide path is X, the income glide path is X-1.

    The CA experiments were apparently successful financially, so they’ve been proposed to be applied at the national level for the convention.

    For a host of reasons, I don’t think it’s a good idea (especially as structured), but unless someone can come up with a counter to my escrow point, the legal/fiduciary arguments from the assembled are weak.

    It could well be that the convention should have been skinnied down to a business meeting only, but I suspect obligations were contracted well in advance, making that basically impossible. Further, my guess is the convention budget is probably intended to BOOST the LP’s overall financial standing, which I suspect we’d all support.

  90. Robert Capozzi

    Financial analysis requires an understanding of trade-offs and opportunity costs.

    Recall the brouhaha over the Barr campaign’s having a line item that said “Limo services” or somesuch. People went ballistic over that, too, even though there was no line that said “Taxi services.” Unless people expected Barr to walk to engagements, the “profligacy” of limo services vs. cabs would have been a tiny number.

    Point is, what’s up with this “accuse first and ask questions later” propensity? Seems awfully stress and strife inducing….

  91. paulie Post author

    Do any corporations charge a floor fee of their stockholders to vote?

    The board of any company that did would end up in prison if they did, I imagine. And, again, I’m against going the lawsuit/legal action route. Hopefully the LNC (or failing that, the LNJC) will correct this.

  92. Morey

    Bruce, I usually skim past your comments. When you’re not engaging in childish attacks, or being flat out hypocritical (usually in the same post), you’re spreading misinformation or making false assumptions.

    You’re the radicals’ not-so-secret weapon. If you ever come around to our way of thinking, I hope you’ll continue to play this part that undermines the credibilities of the right/reformist/oligarchic agendas.

    Starchild didn’t buy a second ticket. He wasn’t at the CA titanic convention.

    As for whether anyone who protested the cruise, did attend and bought wine, I don’t know. But it would seem reasonable to me that if it were going to be your one vacation expenditure for the foreseeable future, you make the most of it.

    I personally didn’t think it was a good idea. The fact that I had the disposable income to not only go, but to drop a few bucks at the craps table has nothing to do with my feelings about maximizing accessibility to the membership.

  93. paulie Post author

    As far as the ‘cruise convention’, it was actually, I think about $350 total, tax and tip included.

    How in the world is that even remotely appropriate for being allowed to vote on party business? How about $3500? $35,000?

    And you have to have international travel permission from the US regime to go on a cruise, which also costs a significant amount of money – and is denied to some people.

    I don’t see how anyone can defend such shameful practices with a straight face.

    Or a hundred dollar plus (for those of us who can’t make travel plans well in advance or get our own room to ourselves at the convention hotel) floor fee, for that matter.

  94. paulie Post author

    The legal issue really isn’t complicated. Membership is used to determine delegate allocations. The more money a state sends to national, the more delegates that state gets. The convention costs are already paid for thereby. The delegates to which the states are entitled as a result should not have to pay a floor fee. Doing so deprives the state affiliates of the representation to which they are entitled. A States’ Rights issue.

    That said, other issues are equally disturbing. I’m disturbed at both the empirical effect of floor fees, and some of the arguments used to advance them. As well, I hope the term “povertarian” is a provocation for the sake of argument and not in general use. One attitude we do not need to borrow from the conservatives is the idea that poverty is a moral failure.

    Such an attitude is short-sighted. Vincent Van Gogh (and many other artists) created enduring works of beauty while living in dreadful poverty. He was not valued in his time, and perhaps was not a good salesman, but he captured the beauty and pathos of human being like no other. In 1990, Van Gogh’s “Portrait of Dr. Gachet” sold for $82.5 million ($134.6 million in 2010 dollars). So much for our transient and narrow-minded judgments.

    Those who seek spiritual enlightenment often deliberately choose to live in poverty. Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi lived in poverty. So did Christ, Muhammad and Buddha. To judge the worth or “seriousness” of a person on the basis of wealth, is to exclude humankind’s greatest artistic and spiritual achievements. While our politics would disagree, I will be hard pressed this year to find any delegate on the convention floor who I respect as much as Gandhi. Even among those who buy the Gold package!

    I’m not arguing for equality of outcome. People who live farther away have to pay more for travel. We can’t underwrite every circumstance. That doesn’t mean we should make an unequal situation more unequal. Especially when it amounts to double taxation, as delegates are allocated on the basis of paid memberships. Consciously or unconsciously, we seem to be sticking it to the poor, and I find it shameful.

    Well said, and very true!

  95. Morey

    @99 Haven’t past conventions been managed by a contractor? And haven’t they usually broken even or made a small profit in spite of the lack of floor fee?

    @100 I think the “brouhaha” was largely about the percentage of total funds expended under that line item.

  96. paulie Post author

    First, is the imposition of a “floor fee” legal under the LP’s by-laws? That question now seems very likely to come before the Judicial Committee unless the LNC votes at its upcoming meeting in Austin to eliminate said fee. And whether it votes for or against such a fee, the decision should be made by a vote of the LNC, and not imposed arbitrarily by the Convention committee. The LNC needs to man up and address this issue head-on. No hiding behind a smokescreen of “that’s the convention committee’s decision.” It isn’t. The convention committee has no authority of its own; it is appointed by the LNC, and has only the powers the LNC gives it – which must be powers the LNC itself possesses.

    The second issue, legality aside, is whether imposing a “floor fee” is smart. And in my opinion, it isn’t. The LP needs to grow, and erecting barriers to member participation in our business conventions works against that. We need all the active, enthusiastic members we can get. And a $99 “poll tax” discriminates against people who have more energy than money — i.e. young people.

    If the convention organizers want to charge $99 – or $999 – for a package that includes meals and speakers, that’s their choice. The market will decide if their decisions are wise. But duly elected delegates and alternates should not be turned away at the door because they lack the financial resources to pay an extra $99 just to get in. It may (or may not) be technically legal, but it’s a counter-productive policy.

    All true.

    Very minor nits: It’s $129, not $99 (unless you can make travel plans well in advance, and many of us can’t). And not everyone in the “more energy than money” category is young, although many are.

    Besides that – excellent points.

  97. paulie Post author

    How much could they save & therfefore knock off the floor fee by not paying the grotesque anti-liberty Neal Boortz to speak/blather/fulminate?

    Unfortunately, nothing.

    My information is that the aforementioned blather/fulmination is “free.”

  98. paulie Post author

    I like Neil.

    I don’t. Saw him speak once (not my idea, Chuck Moulton was giving me a ride from Auburn to Orlando and we stopped at a book store where Boortz was signing his FraudulentTax book). Boortz was boring and pretentious. I spent the time leafing through the Sports Illustrated swimusit edition at the magazine rack. The Fraudulent Tax fans lining up for autographs reminded me of zombies from Night of the Living Dead.

    The majority of attendees liked him in Atlanta and the protest against him fizzled.

    I didn’t end up protesting, as I found myself otherwise occupied. But that does not mean I wanted to hear him, and I didn’t.

  99. paulie Post author

    Here’s a thought: Instead of a mandatory “floor fee” ask each delegate who registers for a voluntary donation of $20 or so to pay for the cost of his/her convention materials.

    My understand is that even with the fee, the convention binders will not be included with registration this time; members are asked to print their own. I also understand that, outside of official channels, one or more people will be printing and selling them for anyone who did not print them in advance or bring a printer with them.

  100. paulie Post author

    Another thought, slightly off-topic but relevant. It strikes me as grossly inequitable to give Wayne Root the Sunday Lunch speaking slot immediately prior to the election of officers. This is completely unfair to the other candidates for LNC Chair – currently Mark Hinkle, Ernest Hancock and George Phillies.

    Wayne is a dynamic speaker, and deserves a speaking slot, but it should be AFTER the election of the new LNC. My suggestion: Make Wayne the Banquet Speaker, and cancel Boortz. Nobody I’ve spoken to (except Bruce Cohen) is at all excited about hearing Boortz blather on about the “fair tax” yet again.

    The lineup of speakers (which includes me) is tilted too far to the right; dump Boortz and substitute someone like Scott Horton from antiwar.com

    In case my last sentence above was not clear, my suggestion is to move Wayne Root to Sunday evening, and fill the Sunday Lunch slot with someone like Scott Horton. Wayne gets a prime speaking slot, and we are spared The Boor.

    Completely agreed.

    With all the floor fee controversy, has this ever been addressed?

    At one point I saw some responses that Wayne hadn’t announced for chair. We made clear that he did, but has any followup taken place?

  101. Scott Lieberman

    Those of you who are complaining about Wayne Root’s speaking slot position are telling your fellow Libertarian Party National Convention Delegates that you think they are so stupid that they will somehow change their vote for Chair at the last minute, assuming Wayne Root really does run for LNC Chair.

    I am very disappointed that so many of you Libertarian Party leaders consider your fellow Delegates to be mindless sheep that can be influenced by somehow seeing “The All Mighty Wayne Root” speak a few words to them.

    I think our Delegates are smart enough to resist any propaganda that Mr. Root might throw at them. Besides, if Wayne Root is as bad for the Libertarian Party as you say he is, his possible last-minute speech will probably lose him more delegates than it gains, if Root does run for LNC Chair.

    And all of this assumes that you know when the election for Chair will take place. I did not know that so many of you have psychic powers.

  102. paulie Post author

    Those of you who are complaining about Wayne Root?s speaking slot position are telling your fellow Libertarian Party National Convention Delegates that you think they are so stupid that they will somehow change their vote for Chair at the last minute,

    No, I am not telling anyone they are stupid. Many people may not have their minds made up, or may not be firmly committed to one candidate or another even if they do have a tentative preference. Others are, yes, persuadable. Persuadable =/= stupid.

    Would you have considered it acceptable, if, say, Mary Ruwart or George Phillies had a solo speaking slot before the presidential nomination? There’s a reason why things like that are generally not done, it’s not fair to the other candidates.

    assuming Wayne Root really does run for LNC Chair.

    There’s no assuming involved.

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2010/02/wayne-root-confirms-he-is-running-for-lnc-chair/

    And all of this assumes that you know when the election for Chair will take place. I did not know that so many of you have psychic powers.

    OK, that’s fair. What I had heard was that the speech was before the election. If that’s incorrect, please let us know as soon as possible, and if that ends up being the case I apologize for jumping the gun.

  103. Brian Holtz

    Mr. Marbry writes @77: “registration does not include paying a fee”.

    RRONR p. 593 says registration “normally includes” “paying the registration fee”.

    Nobody here has quoted anything from the LP Bylaws here that contradicts or overrides how Robert’s describes the registration process that our Bylaws leave undefined.

    There is one registration-fee critic who I trust to be intellectually honest in his opinion about whether the text of our rules supports a claim that any registration fee violates our rules. His name is Chuck Moulton. Chuck, do you still claim that a registration fee “implicitly conflicts with the bylaws”?

    As a reminder:
    1. Bylaw 11(3) mentions delegate registration as an extra step beyond accreditation by an affiliate: “At all Regular Conventions delegates shall be those so accredited who have registered at the Convention.”
    2. Nothing in the Bylaws defines registration.
    3. “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”.
    4. RRONR p. 593 says registration “normally includes” “paying the registration fee”.

    Let’s change the rules if we don’t like them, but let’s not pretend they say something that they don’t actually say.

  104. Chuck Moulton

    Brian Holtz wrote (@114):

    There is one registration-fee critic who I trust to be intellectually honest in his opinion about whether the text of our rules supports a claim that any registration fee violates our rules. His name is Chuck Moulton. Chuck, do you still claim that a registration fee “implicitly conflicts with the bylaws”?

    Yes, I believe it implicitly conflicts with the bylaws.

    Just because registration “normally includes” paying a fee doesn’t mean a fee is thereby authorized.

    Normal procedure is often a function of what the majority of organizations have in their bylaws and do by custom. There are many things that are normally done which are contradicted by bylaws in general and the LP bylaws specifically. The bylaws take precedence.

    I don’t believe our bylaws explicitly allow a fee or explicitly forbid it; however, the bylaws do implicitly forbid a fee by listing qualifications and not listing payment of fee as one of those qualifications.

    This is clearly a gray area because it is not made explicit. In interpreting, the implicit arguments have to be weighed against one another. In this case I would look at principles of interpretation and custom.

    Custom is straightforward. We have never charged a mandatory registration fee or a floor fee for business sessions in the LP’s 35+ year history. This leads me to the conclusion that for the purposes of our organization, registration does not “normally include” a fee.

    A principle of interpretation is on point. “If the bylaws authorize certain things specifically, other things of the same class are thereby prohibited.” RONR (10th ed.), p. 571, l. 24-25. In this case the bylaws list qualifications for being a delegate. Imposing other qualifications that are not listed in the bylaws is therefore prohibited.

    The right thing to do is let the delegates decide. It won’t be the end of the world if we punt 2 years and conduct this convention like all the other LP national conventions ever held and do not have a mandatory minimum registration fee. Let the delegates make this matter explicit by passing a bylaws change and make a decision for the 2012 convention based on clear unambiguous wording instead of tortured parliamentary procedure arguments that waste lots of time.

  105. Thomas L. Knapp

    Yes, RRONR says that registration “normally includes” “paying the registration fee.”

    The key word there is “the.”

    If the word used was “a,” perhaps with an appended formula for calculating such a fee, the section might reasonably be construed as authorization for the levying of such a fee (in the absence of bylaws language which supersedes RRONR).

    Use of definite article, however, “indicates that its noun is a particular one (or ones) identifiable to the listener. It may be the same thing that the speaker has already mentioned, or it may be something uniquely specified.”

    This section of RRONR does not create the authority to levy a registration fee. Rather it includes mention of “the” registration fee on the assumption that that authority has been conferred, and that that fee has been set pursuant to that authority, elsewhere.

    In the case of the LP, that assumption is incorrect. The bylaws plainly spell out the entitlement of the affiliates to send delegates, and the qualifications of those delegates. That is where the authority to levy such a fee would reside, if there was any such authority. There isn’t.

  106. Brian Holtz

    Chuck, Robert’s couldn’t be any clearer that “submission of evidence that [a delegate] is entitled to” register is the first step of the registration process, not the last. Both Robert’s and our Bylaws clearly imply that registration is an additional step beyond satisfaction of the criteria that “entitle” one to register as a delegate.

    “Paying the registration fee” is no more an extra “qualification for being a delegate” than is “signing the list of registrations”. Rather, those are just enumerated as steps that must be performed during registration by someone who meets the qualifications for being a delegate, and thus is entitled to go through the registration process.

    It’s very odd to say that if an organization’s Bylaws list any criteria for being a delegate, they must then also include as criteria all the steps Robert’s says are included in registration, because as soon as one criterion is listed, then Robert’s definition of the registration process goes out the window.

    And it’s even more odd in the case of an organization like the LP whose bylaws explicitly acknowledge the registration process but leave it undefined: “At all Regular Conventions delegates shall be those so accredited who have registered at the Convention.”

    Tom, the registration fee is indeed “a particular one identifiable to the listener” and is “uniquely specified”: it’s the registration fee defined by the people putting on the 2010 LPUS convention.

    By the logic you guys are using, the registration process cannot even require delegates to “sign the list of registrations”.

    Libertarians, of all people, should know that not everything stupid is — or should be — illegal. If a $99 registration fee is really so stupid, its stupidity should be all you need to make your case. When you trump up charges of Bylaws violations, you create opponents out of potential allies. And if among your potential allies there are a lot of sticklers for holding people to the rules they voluntarily agreed to, then such trumped-up charges are even more unwise.

  107. Thomas L. Knapp

    Brian,

    You write:

    “Tom, the registration fee is indeed ‘a particular one identifiable to the listener’ and is ‘uniquely specified’: it’s the registration fee defined by the people putting on the 2010 LPUS convention.”

    And “the people putting on the 2010 LPUS convention” have no authority to “define” any such fee.

    “By the logic you guys are using, the registration process cannot even require delegates to ‘sign the list of registrations’.”

    Only if you exclude language from logic.

    The bylaws require the delegates to register: “to enter one’s name or cause it to be entered in a register.”

  108. Sam Sloan

    It is noteworthy that the name of Starchild appears several times in this blog, because when this matter was debated at the Manhattan Libertarian Party convention, I specifically mentioned his name as an example of a Libertarian activist who might have difficulty raising the $99 floor fee (not to mention being insulted in view of all he has done for the party).
    When I mentioned Starchild, M Carling immediately interrupted and said that he has visited Starchild’s home in California and that Starchild lives in a very nice house and has a lot of money and will have no difficulty paying the $99.
    Is that true?
    Sam Sloan

  109. Michael H. Wilson

    Kinda interesting to read the comments on this issue. Some people seem to be more interested in splitting hairs over the bylaws than increasing the turnout.

    That sure does tell us a lot about priorities.

  110. Carolyn Marbry

    Whether or not Starchild can pay is irrelevant. Never mind that just because someone CAN pay a floor fee doesn’t mean they should have to.

    If we must use the argument from anecdote, there are plenty of other people who cannot afford an extra hundred bucks above and beyond cost of getting to St. Louis and having a place to stay, in this economy. But that’s simply not a good argument because, as you can see, those who are subject to falling for logical fallacy arguments are trying to invalidate the entire argument against the floor fee by proving that Starchild is not destitute, as if that changes the fundamental objection.

    The fundamental objection still stands. The by-laws don’t allow national to impose an additional requirement on the delegates apart from registration. Registration cannot be taken to mean anything beyond entering one’s name on a registry, as Knapp has pointed out.

    I don’t always agree with Starchild, but y’know what? I will give him this. He’s always looking out for people less fortunate than himself. Consistently. Even though he’s probably got more money than a lot of the LNC lootertarian types, you don’t see him playing these kinds of money games to try to keep people from voting.

    That no one knows how wealthy he actually is or isn’t speaks VOLUMES to the fact that he doesn’t wave his chequebook in people’s faces or try to buy off conventions to get his way like some members of the LNC have been known to do. That, in spite of his ability to pay a floor fee without breaking a sweat, he’s choosing, like so many of us who have money, to speak against it both at national and in CA also speaks volumes.

  111. Gary Chartier

    Agreed, Carolyn. Starchild’s attitude seems to be in stark contrast to those who want to treat participating in the governance of an organization of which you’re an undoubted member as a privilege to be conferred only after the payment of a fee.

  112. Marc Montoni

    I am helping set up the state convention for the Libertarian Party of Virginia. Our business session is free to all members. Period.

    We do charge for the “auxiliary”, or “nonessential” activities. We generally make enough on these to pay for the business session room rental.

    The *only* people who must pay to attend the Business Session are NONMEMBERS. The Libertarian Party of Virginia is not under any obligation to allow nonmembers access to our business meeting, so we do charge them an admission fee if they wish to attend & observe the business session. Nonmembers must also obtain the permission of the members to sit in on our convention. If a nonmember wishes to sit in and has paid the nonmember fee, the members are asked if they wish to admit that person.

    Alternatively, nonmembers can simply join and obtain all the privileges of membership.

    But in any case, a member of the Libertarian Party of Virginia is entitled to attend the business session at no charge. We verify membership status at the registration table, give each his voting credential and name tag, and off he goes.

    Here are my feelings about floor fees:

    1) We don’t need any more divisive decisions.
    2) The floor fee is divisive, and its proponents knew very well that it would be.
    3) Given the washout in attendance compared to the 1996-2004 period, perhaps the convention organizers should think about doing things to encourage attendance, rather than discourage it.
    4) The qualifications for getting onto the business floor are listed in the bylaws, and they do not include a floor fee.
    5) The delegates should be asked to impose a floor fee on themselves; it should not be imposed by fiat.
    6) It won’t hurt the LP one bit to delay the implementation of a floor fee for a few months until the delegates can make the decision for themselves.
    7) I would support a floor fee if it was agreed to by the delegates in convention.
    8) The alleged need for a floor fee to pay for convention materials and the room required could have been avoided with saner budgeting.
    9) I’d rather see substantially higher dues + in-kind credit for work towards dues, than a floor fee. Being allowed to muck about in the Libertarian Party’s business should require a rather large investment of either money or time.
    10) Most important of all, the D’s and R’s do not charge a floor fee, because they know how to raise money from outside sources. I have asked the LNC may times in the past to investigate the possibility of obtaining corporate sponsorships of our convention committee (entirely legal!), but the majority is so wrapped around the axle in their march to charge floor fees and eliminate the povertarians that they have apparently chosen to remain willfully ignorant about this legal source of money. Frankly I do not understand the insistence on keeping the LP mired in amateur hour.

    Some additional explanation of how corporations and other groups could help fund our convention is here.

  113. Michael H. Wilson

    @ 124 Marc writes; “9) I’d rather see substantially higher dues + in-kind credit for work towards dues, than a floor fee. Being allowed to muck about in the Libertarian Party’s business should require a rather large investment of either money or time.”

    Most of the convention planning needed to be settled a year ahead of time and that includes budgeting properly. That said a comment about the dues is in order.

    The party needs to look at the manner it charges dues and what the members get for them. I was reluctant to write a check for $25 last year. I’ll put my money to use at the local or state level instead of at national. Ask me for $10 and you probably will get it. Ask me for $120 at once and I doubt that I would write a check. All though I could. I am not pleased with what I have seen in the past few years coming from the office but it has been improving under Wes’. management.

    I also specifically use $10 as an example because the membership has been going down and that suggest to me that people do not see a value in contributing any more. The product is not worth buying!

    Maybe the LP needs to be asking people for smaller monthly contributions instead of the $30 it was asking last time I looked.

    Most importantly some have suggested that getting too specific on the issues drives people away. I recently spoke to a long time activist who left because the platform has been watered down and the party is too wishy washy on the issues. I’ll bet there are a bunch more out there.

  114. Marc Montoni

    Michael, I agree. Being in the position I am, I have seen first-hand a number of people decide to leave — many of them long-time, dependable activists; and in at least two cases, state-level monthly pledgers. And I mean monthly pledgers who had been contributing their $10 or $25 every month faithfully on the order of over a decade.

  115. Carolyn Marbry

    Shaking the dust off this thread to ask if LPNY has passed or is willing to pass a motion to direct their LNC rep to vote against floor fees in light of this resolution.

    If not, is there a way you can get an email vote to do so from your executive committee or appropriate body in time for Austin?

  116. Dr. Tom Stevens

    I don’t feel the LPNY has the power to “direct” our LNC rep to vote in any particular way. Our rep represents many states and while I can’t be certain, I am pretty sure he will support the imposition of floor fees.

    I don’t recall his ever asking for our opinion in the past on any issue. I could be wrong.

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