Massachusetts, Missouri Libertarians resolve versus convention fee

The executive committees of the Massachusetts and Missouri Libertarian Parties, meeting in their respective states on Sunday, passed resolutions opposing payment of a registration fee as a condition on delegate floor access or voting rights at the party’s upcoming national convention.

The Massachusetts resolution passed with unanimous support (per George Phillies, by email):

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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts 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.

The Missouri resolution passed with one audible “no” vote from among the 11 members in attendance (the author of this article is a member of the Missouri LP’s executive committee and was present by teleconference at the meeting):

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 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, until and unless the national Libertarian Party’s bylaws are changed by the delegates in convention.

N.B. Because the Missouri resolution was amended in teleconference, there’s a possibility of transcription error by this article’s author. The language added in amendment consists of all material following the final comma in the last sentence.

22 thoughts on “Massachusetts, Missouri Libertarians resolve versus convention fee

  1. Don Lake ........... ??????

    So no one’s over head light has clicked on ???? So no one sees that the LP and it’s ‘Infinite Debating Society’ and ‘Pickie/ Peculiar White Dudes’ and ‘Splinters of Splinters’ image are being further perpetuated in the 21st Century ????????

    Counter Productive recruiting tools!

  2. Morey

    The LPNH handled it slightly differently. The excom voted to request that our regional rep vote down the floor fee at the next LNC meeting.

  3. AroundtheblockAFT

    1. No fee for delegates to attend business sessions.
    2. If the LNC is worried about free riders attending other sessions, then clear the floor and have door monitors keep out those who don’t have the requisite badges.

  4. Scott Lieberman

    Notice how the California Republican Party makes it very clear that EVERY delegate has to pay a Registration Fee for this year’s Convention. Also notice that the amount is not the usual $20 to $30 that has been suggested by some Libertarian Party members as a “fair” amount for the 2010 Libertarian Party National Convention.

    And they also make it clear that the “extra events” cost extra money.

    https://secure.repweb.net/cagop/forms/convention/

    (hat tip to Bruce Cohen for the link)

  5. Carolyn Marbry

    There are still some of us in the LP still who do NOTconsider ourselves Republicans.

    So really, what the GOP does is not the model upon which I believe we should build our party.

    In the resolution I presented to the CA excomm, it specifically says that extra events should be self-sustaining. There is no reason why someone paying $99/49 for the basic package should have their money going to fund the banquet for those silly enough to want to see Neil Boortz speak. After all, TANSTAAFL, right?

    Let those who would attend the banquet pay for it since it is NOT tied to party business and is absolutely voluntary. But party business is a responsibility, not a privilege, and as such, we should not require people to pay to execute it.

  6. Scott Lieberman

    “In the resolution I presented to the CA excomm, it specifically says that extra events should be self-sustaining. There is no reason why someone paying $99/49 for the basic package should have their money going to fund the banquet for those silly enough to want to see Neil Boortz speak. After all, TANSTAAFL, right?
    C Marbry”

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

    Ms. Marbry – what you are asking for is PRECISELY what the Convention Committee is doing with the pricing for the Basic Registration Fee for the 2010 National LP Convention.

    The cost per delegate figure to the National LP for the cost of the Convention Hall ONLY is $80. When you factor in the slightly higher price for LP Delegates not staying in the Convention Hotel, and the lower, after-rebate amount for those who do stay in the Hotel, the Convention Committee prices are just about break-even for the costs solely connected with the Convention Hall.

    As to the Republican Party of California example – I have also posted links to 2 other political parties that charge mandatory Registration Fees for their Convention Delegates.

    IOW – charging a mandatory Convention Registration Fee for all Delegates is not unusual – it is the norm for United States Political Parties. I agree that that does not mean the Libertarian Party should AUTOMATICALLY charge such a fee, but I have to ask why a political party that is in favor of “user pays” would suddenly reject that principle for our own Conventions.

    And – just as an aside, I would bet there were at least 500 people in the meeting room where Neal Boortz spoke at the 2004 LP Convention in Atlanta – at 8am no less.

    Do you consider those 500 plus people to all be “silly”?

  7. Brian Holtz

    I agree with Ms. Marbry: TANSTAAFL. My position is: there should not be cross-subsidies between different categories of conventioneers, and between conventioneers and non-conventioneer dues-payers. If the delegates in St. Louis vote to pass on to LP dues-payers any of the per-delegate costs of the basic meeting facilities, I for one will be donating back to the LPUS any rebate to me resulting from such a vote.

  8. B4Liberty

    If the LP would like a short lesson on how to plan and execute a profitable convention they should –

    A: Hire the folks that managed to organize the 2008 Convention in Denver with a profit while requiring NO floor fees for delegates to vote.

    B: Learn from a small volunteer group of un-schooling moms that put on a week-long conference for 375 families with NO Registration or Conference fees. Four days filled with speakers, Low room rates ($99.00), included daily admission to the world’s largest indoor water park and additional bonus freebies. The details of all this are still available on line.
    http://www.ugo.unschoolgathering.com/

    The LP leadership boasts several well educated folks. I think they could do so much better.

  9. Scott Lieberman

    Okay, Mr. or Mrs. B4Liberty:

    I went to the Unschool Gathering web site.

    This is from their FAQ page…

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

    Q – “Can we attend the conference and hear Gatto and the others, without having to stay overnight at the Kalahari Resort?”

    A – “NO. Only those registered with the Resort through our UWWG group, will be allowed to partake in any UWWG event – NO EXCEPTIONS! All UWWG registered guests will be given the same colored wristband upon check-on. Only those wearing our designated colored wristband will be allowed entry in any UWWG event, talk, or funshop.”

    ****************************************’

    So- technically – there is no “Registration Fee.” But no one can even ATTEND the conference unless they stay at the Official Event Hotel. I am sure that would go over really well with Libertarian Party Convention Delegates. And the most inexpensive room is $99 per night. So – I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out the mandatory minimum “fee” required to attend the Unschool Gathering.

    Plus – I kind of doubt that that Resort has a meeting room that will accomodate 500 to 800 people in classroom style seating.

    I am certainly willing to look at alternative ways of holding Libertarian Party National Conventions that make the Convention as affordable as possible. However, one must keep in mind all of the requirements that our Delegates seem to demand for their Conventions. For example – we could use smaller meeting rooms IF our delegates are willing to forgo having tables in front of them. And so on.

  10. B4Liberty

    I do not recommend a water park as the site for an LP convention. The Kalahari does however have over 100,000 square feet of meeting space.

    I recommended the ORGANIZERS of the event because they have created a week-long, event with speakers, activities, and water park admission with NO registration fees and room rates of LESS THAN HALF the hotels normal price. It was a huge bargain without the conference.

    Just FYI – Requiring that attendees stay at the resort was explained by the organizers as follows: “Otherwise, we could be bombarded by literally thousands of nearby homeschooling families partaking in our events, filling our seating space for our featured speakers, dropping their kids off in our funshops, using our supplies, etc.. ”

    The LP could only dream of having local folks trying to sneak in to hear our speakers!

  11. Scott Lieberman

    “B4Liberty // Feb 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    I recommended the ORGANIZERS of the event because they have created a week-long, event with speakers, activities, and water park admission with NO registration fees and room rates of LESS THAN HALF the hotels normal price. It was a huge bargain without the conference.

    Just FYI – Requiring that attendees stay at the resort was explained by the organizers as follows: “Otherwise, we could be bombarded by literally thousands of nearby homeschooling families partaking in our events, filling our seating space for our featured speakers, dropping their kids off in our funshops, using our supplies, etc.. ”

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

    Sounds just like the Libertarian Party of California’s Convention that was held on a cruise ship. The overall cost of THAT Convention was the same or a little cheaper than the cost of the Gold Packages plus accomodations at the previous 1 or 2 LP of California Conventions 🙂

  12. Mike Seebeck, past convention organizer

    The people who ran Denver were the Ryans, BetteRose and Tony, and BetteRose’s sister Michelle Poague.

    Tony is currently on the LNC, BetteRose used to be on the LNC, and all three have been on the LPCO Board at one point or another, including Tony with me, and BetteRose is a former LPCO State Chair.

    The BetteRose Cookbook is what they used in Denver, and what we always used in CO, with no floor fees and profits usually made, including the one I helped organize in Colorado Springs in 2003.

    Yet I seem to recall them getting blasted in an Executive Session a while back before the convention because of Shotgun Willie’s, aka to Colorado folks, the Glendale Ballet, as a sponsor–a welcome institution at LPCO events for years (Proving once again that no good deed goes unpunished…).

    When I heard Denver was doing the convention, I asked one question: “Are the Ryans doing it?” I was told yes, and immediately booked it, because I knew that things were goign to be done right, and I was most definitely proven right.

    Moral of the story for you floor fee advocates: IT CAN AND HAS BEEN DONE WELL WITHOUT THEM, which means your planning sucks, and that’s the core of the issue.

  13. B4Liberty

    Seebeck:
    “Moral of the story for you floor fee advocates: IT CAN AND HAS BEEN DONE WELL WITHOUT THEM, which means your planning sucks, and that’s the core of the issue.”

    Thank you for helping to clarify what I was trying to say. 😉

  14. B4Liberty

    Scott:
    “Sounds just like the Libertarian Party of California’s Convention that was held on a cruise ship. The overall cost of THAT Convention was the same or a little cheaper than the cost of the Gold Packages plus accommodations at the previous 1 or 2 LP of California Conventions :-)”
    (spelling corrections mine)

    One difference of the CA cruise convention was that there was not an over 50% discounted fare – and a one night stay was prohibitive.

  15. David F. Nolan

    @7 – Boortz drew 500 people because Atlanta is his home town and he plugged his appearance on his show. I believe people who did not partake of the breakfast paid only $10 or so to hear him. They might even have gotten in free; you could check. In any case, I have suggested to the convention committee that he be made the breakfast speaker once again, as we need a rah-rah partisan as our banquet speaker and Boortz ain’t it.

  16. Scott Lieberman

    “David F. Nolan – Boortz drew 500 people because Atlanta is his home town and he plugged his appearance on his show. I believe people who did not partake of the breakfast paid only $10 or so to hear him. They might even have gotten in free; you could check.”

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

    Mr. Nolan – I was there. The overwhelming majority of the audience was sitting at tables, eating breakfast. I seriously doubt the Neale’s would have let people eat that breakfast for free, or for $10. You are welcome to get Geoff or Nancy to post here and tell us the correct details about that breakfast.

  17. Robert Capozzi

    ms: Moral of the story for you floor fee advocates: IT CAN AND HAS BEEN DONE WELL WITHOUT THEM, which means your planning sucks, and that’s the core of the issue.

    me: I’m NOT a floor fee advocate, but it should be obvious that your logic here is tortured. I haven’t seen ANY floor fee advocate disputing that past conventions haven’t had them, so you employ a strawman argument, perhaps inadvertently?

    It also doesn’t follow that the planners’ planning “sucks,” although at least that’s an opinion, not a fact. It certainly looks like the planners are trying to raise revenues in a time when the LP needs funds especially badly. It also appears to be motivated to address intra-party cross-subsidization.

    Personally, I think springing the fee this late in the game was a mistake. Some delegates were selected BEFORE this fee was announced, layering a fee onto this subset of people strikes me as especially unfair.

  18. paulie

    It also doesn’t follow that the planners’ planning “sucks,” although at least that’s an opinion, not a fact. It certainly looks like the planners are trying to raise revenues in a time when the LP needs funds especially badly

    If so, their planning strategy could use some improvement.

    A reasonable estimate of planned attendance is 300-500. Averaging that down the middle let’s say 400.

    The numbers that I have seen are that 10-15% typically don’t buy packages. Let’s average that at 12.5%

    Doing this in my head, at $100 a pop that means the revenue that may be raised this way is $5,000 or so.

    On the other side of the ledger:

    * Premium packages have been discounted by about $100 as a result

    * It is likely that some people will not attend at all – either because the cost is make or break for them, or out of protest. And that means they won’t make any contributions they may have made once there.

    * Others may still attend, but only buy a basic package (even though they could have afforded a premium package) out of protest/solidarity

    * Some people – whether they would have attended or not – will not renew, or scale back their involvement in the party, in protest. How much will all that ill will cost?

    * Young people – who could have been the next generation of party leaders, lifelong donors, candidates, activists – will be most discouraged from attending and getting more involved. How much long term opportunity cost does this represent?

    * For anyone watching on CSPAN, youtube, etc., the party will appear even less diverse, exacerbating an existing problem and reinforcing unfortunate stereotypes and misconceptions about our motives.

    * How much LNC, state committee, possibly Judicial Committee, conceivably legal counsel (note: I am NOT recommending anyone pursue that), and party activist time will be wasted just debating the issue, regardless how it comes out? That alone is probably worth more than 5k.

    Now, the argument may be made that a more unanimous LNC, free of its radical dissenters, and a party with fewer radicals involved will be able to recruit/retain disgruntled Republicans more easily.

    I don’t believe the data so far bolsters this argument, but we may yet see.

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