Libertarian National Committee is discussing filling At Large vacancies before next face to face meeting

(Posted by Paulie)

Per telephone conversation with region rep Doug Craig, the LNC is considering filling two At Large vacancies in the near future, rather than waiting for the next meeting in April. The vacancies on the committee were created when party (co-)founder David Nolan passed away in November, and when Bill Redpath was appointed Treasurer after James Oaksun resigned.

Among the people likely to be considered for the At Large vacancies: John Jay Myers and Pat Dixon (both of Texas) and Rebecca Sink-Burris of Indiana, as well as Judge Jim Gray of California. All four came relatively close to being elected as At-Large representatives at the most recent national convention,

Dixon- 168
Sink-Burris 167
Myers 159
Gray 153

Ms. Sink-Burris was elected Region Rep, but effectively resigned her position when she missed two LNC meetings in a row – one before the November 2010 election, one after it. Pat Dixon has said that he is willing to serve, but if the committee has to choose one or the other, he would prefer they select John Jay Myers. Myers and Sink-Burris are both interested; I haven’t heard whether Judge Gray still is or not, as far as I can remember.

One of the issues that LNC members are looking at is what state possible new members come from. Currently, the LNC has 3 members from California (Chair Mark Hinkle, Regional Rep Daniel Wiener and Regional Alternate Scott Lieberman), 3 members from Indiana (Vice Chair Mark Rutherford, Regional Rep Andy Wolf and Regional alternate Sam Goldstein), and 2 members from Texas (At Large Rep Mary Ruwart and Regional Alternate Guy McLendon).

Of the people discussed above, selecting Myers and Dixon would make it 4 members from Texas, 3 from Indiana, 3 from California. Selecting Judge Gray or anyone else from California plus either Dixon or Myers would make it 4 from California, 3 from Texas, and 3 from Indiana. Selecting Sink-Burris and either Dixon or Myers would make it 4 from Indiana, 3 from California and 3 from Texas. Selecting Sink-Burris and Gray would make it 4 from California, 4 from Indiana, and 2 from Texas.

Theoretically, if two people from California were selected, it could be 5 from California, or if two people from Indiana were selected, there could be 5 from Indiana. In addition to Judge Gray, one Californian whom the committee might consider could be Aaron Starr, who was a very active (and controversial) committee member in previous terms including the last one, and continues to participate actively in LNC meetings as a non-member. I don’t know whether he is interested in an At-Large appointment.

In my conversation with Doug Craig, he mentioned one other possibility, Randy Eshelman of Nebraska, who is currently a Regional Alternate for Region 6 (Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin). Only by selecting at least one person who is not from California, Indiana or Texas could the committee keep any state from having more than 3 members. If they select Mr. Eshelman and someone from either California or Indiana, there would still be a state with 4 LNC members.

It is entirely likely that other people may be in the running that I am not aware of at this time.

See numerous previous comments on the following topics for prior discussions of the LNC At Large vacancy question:

Liberty for America February 2011 issue is out

Discord Abounds On Libertarian National Committee

Libertarians write letters in support of John Jay Myers for LNC vacancy

48 thoughts on “Libertarian National Committee is discussing filling At Large vacancies before next face to face meeting

  1. paulie Post author

    Reprise of my comments from last time: I don’t believe adding both Myers and Dixon gives Texas too many votes. It would give Texas 4 votes; adding just one from CA or IN would give them 4 votes, and unlike with CA or IN, none of the 4 from Texas would be Chair or Vice Chair if there were four Texans.

    I know that many on the committee don’t believe that factional issues should be discussed, but I believe it is fair to say that Mr. Myers is the closest thing we can get to Mr. Nolan, who of course can’t be truly replaced.
    David Nolan recruited JJM into the chairs race last year and nominated him for At Large.

    Texas has been running more candidates, raising more money, etc., than other states; I don’t think it would be excessive to let them have four LNC members (including one alternate and no officers). If it’s deemed to be not OK for Texas to have 4 reps, it should likewise not be OK for California or Indiana either.

    I don’t think 4 reps is necessarily too many for either CA or TX. My first choice out of the people discussed would be Mr. Myers. For the other position I would most like to see Mr. Dixon. I would also be fine with Myers and Judge Gray, although that would give California 4 LNC members.

    I don’t believe Ms. Sink-Burris should be selected as At-Large rep right now. Nothing against her, or even necessarily against 4 members being from Indiana, and she ran a very active race for US Senate, which was why she missed one of the meetings. However, one of the meetings she missed was after the election, and many other members were also running active campaigns for public office. If it is not against the party bylaws for her region to appoint her again, and if both she and the current rep want to do that, I’d be perfectly fine with that.

    Dixon and Myers are the two “next in line” in terms of votes if Ms. Sink-Burris is not included.

    I don’t know enough about Mr. Eshelman to comment.

    I don’t know if Mr. Starr is interested in, or being considered for, one of the At-Large positions, so I won’t comment on that yet.

  2. paulie Post author

    Would like to hear other people’s opinions.

    Doug wanted me to post this so as to get an idea of what non-LNC members are thinking about this.

    Of course LNC members are welcome to share their thoughts if they wish.

    If you commented on the old threads linked in the post, please repost or elaborate on your previous comments here.

  3. George Phillies

    Of course, someone could ask the chair to conduct a straw poll to determine which two candidates have the most support, and the chair would then inform the LNC that it had a preference for the nominees.

    Bill Redpath has proposed a motion two put two people on the LNC, but it does not yet have four sponsors. There is nothing to keep, say a supporter of Judge Gray or Barack Obama–if their agreements can be obtained–from offering a motion to elect them, and seeing if they can get the four sponsors before the Redpath motion gets its four sponsors.

  4. paulie Post author

    Bill Redpath has proposed a motion two put two people on the LNC,

    Who are they?

    There is nothing to keep, say a supporter of Judge Gray or Barack Obama–if their agreements can be obtained–from offering a motion to elect them, and seeing if they can get the four sponsors before the Redpath motion gets its four sponsors.

    OK then; LNC members, please put forth a motion for John Jay Myers and Pat Dixon. My reasoning is above.

  5. Starchild

    I don’t think the LNC should be filling its own vacancies. There ought to be a more bottom-up process for filling vacancies.

    Preferably, we would have a national convention annually rather than bi-annually. In the meantime, the idea of basing the choices on the results of a straw poll conducted among members sounds like a good suggestion.

    Failing the adoption of this or some other means of filling the vacancies that reflects the will of the membership, John Jay Myers would be my top pick of the names mentioned for being appointed to one of the vacant slots on the LNC. He has impressed me as someone who favors the Libertarian Party being a strong voice for libertarianism, and has demonstrated himself to be a hard-working candidate/activist for our cause.

    For the second slot, I think it would be excellent if we went beyond the “usual suspects” and brought in a younger activist who supports more outreach to youth, more bottom-up, outside-the-box thinking, and the other key values of the Grassroots Libertarians Caucus (see http://www.groups.yahoo.com/groups/grassrootslibertarians)

    I feel compelled to add that I’m strongly opposed to former Treasurer Aaron Starr serving in the national leadership. While Starr is likewise a hard worker and I believe him to be sincere in doing what he thinks is best for the LP, I also think his priorities and agenda tend on the whole to be a disaster for the party. I believe they would weaken our party’s commitments to libertarianism and bottom-up governance, taking us in more of a conservative direction — due as much to the kinds of structural changes and approaches he favors as to any ideologically conservative bias, although Starr is a major supporter of Wayne Allyn Root which speaks for itself in many ways.

  6. paulie Post author

    Starchild, thanks for commenting.

    I don’t think the LNC should be filling its own vacancies. There ought to be a more bottom-up process for filling vacancies.

    I would prefer we focus on the current situation at the moment. I think your suggestion would have to be considered as a bylaws change at the next convention, it’s not just something the LNC could implement on its own?

    Failing the adoption of this or some other means of filling the vacancies that reflects the will of the membership, John Jay Myers would be my top pick of the names mentioned for being appointed to one of the vacant slots on the LNC. He has impressed me as someone who favors the Libertarian Party being a strong voice for libertarianism, and has demonstrated himself to be a hard-working candidate/activist for our cause.

    I agree.

    For the second slot, I think it would be excellent if we went beyond the “usual suspects” and brought in a younger activist who supports more outreach to youth, more bottom-up, outside-the-box thinking, and the other key values of the Grassroots Libertarians Caucus (see http://www.groups.yahoo.com/groups/grassrootslibertarians)

    I agree, but I don’t think this is a plausible possibility with the current LNC being the ones making the decision. Under the circumstances, I think the best that those who think like you and me can realistically push for is Myers and Dixon, unless I learn something new that I don’t know yet about the choices being considered.

    As I said previously, I don’t know whether Aaron Starr is either interested or being considered – that was just speculation. So, I will not say anything about that until I learn more.

  7. George Phillies

    @5 the motion is

    We move to appoint Rebecca Sink-Burris and John Jay Myers as At-Large Representatives to the Libertarian National Committee for the remainder of the 2010-2012 term.

  8. paulie Post author

    OK, so now that we are down to that:

    Why is 4 Indianans, including an officer, less of a problem than 4 Texans, including no officers?

    Someone coming from that perspective, please explain.

    I’m not trying to be an ass, just genuinely curious.

  9. Matt Cholko

    I don’t understand why it matters what state people are from. I don’t care if the LNC is comprised 100% of people from Iowa. If the delegates elected them (or in this case, gave them the most votes among prospective appointees), then they should get the seat(s).

    As for Sink-Burris, if she has already vacated a seat on the LNC, she should not be appointed to a different one. Her region can keep her on the LNC if they choose to do so.

    To be fair, I understand that things can change over 10 months, and the results from the 2010 convention can be weighed against other factors. I just think the will of the delegates should be the PRIMARY factor in the selection process.

  10. Matt Cholko

    As to Starchild’s comments, I basically agree that it would be preferable for the LNC not to select its own members. However, I’m not sure that this is a realistic wish. An annual convention doesn’t sound bad to me, but I wonder how many people would show up. If the number of attendees was pretty low, would you really have a more fair process than having the people elected by the (relatively) large number of delegates a bi-annual conventions doing the selection or replacements?

  11. LNCWatcher

    I don’t understand why it matters what state people are from.

    The most likely explanation is that someone came up with this as a reason not to have 2 people from Texas, and no one noticed that even 1 person from Indiana or California would have the same result (4 seats).

  12. paulie Post author

    Folks….we’re talking about what may possibly be a short term decision…let’s try to get additional people to comment, we can discuss the annual convention idea later, that is not going to be decided right now.

  13. paulie Post author

    As for Sink-Burris, if she has already vacated a seat on the LNC, she should not be appointed to a different one. Her region can keep her on the LNC if they choose to do so.

    To be fair, I understand that things can change over 10 months, and the results from the 2010 convention can be weighed against other factors. I just think the will of the delegates should be the PRIMARY factor in the selection process.

    Agreed…..

  14. John Spivey

    Register another two ‘votes’ for John Jay Myers and Pat Dixon. Agree with the comment from Paulie on trying to align with a person close in philosophy to Nolan. I’ve found Dixon to be an outstanding State Chair…

  15. LibertarianGirl

    WWND?? he’d pick John Jay for sure , he woulda endorsed him for Chair but was already endorsing Hinkle.

    i like him and Judge Gray , lets face it the respectability that comes with a Judge like him could benefit us. Plus hes a freakin icon in Drug War reform circles , he could bring us members.

    Plus I personally would like a player whose big issue is the drug war and at the same time be taken seriously by others.

  16. Steven Wilson

    The requirement is not location, but devotion. I have heard Myers speak at the Missouri convention and online. If there is another who can draw from the platform the way he does, I have not heard from them.

    The LNC is close to being irrelevant. A single person who can be clear and explain themselves will make a difference.

  17. AroundtheblockAFT

    Perhaps just change by-laws so that those who narrowly fail at winning an At Large seat become the first runner-up, second runner-up, etc. and will serve if vacancies occur.

  18. paulie Post author

    LG, Judge Gray would be a good choice as well. I think you make a very good case for the Judge. I haven’t heard for a fact whether he is still interested.

    Dixon has worked extensively with Wes Benedict, and he’s been on the LNC before. Dixon and Myers are the two runners up in votes if Sink-Burris is eliminated, as I think an effective resignation due to non-attendance this term should demand.

    Either Dixon or Gray would be a better choice than Sink-Burris at this time IMO. Nothing against Sink-Burris, if her region is allowed to appoint her again and wants to do so I have nothing against that, but I don’t think she should be At Large at this time.

  19. MarcMontoni

    Paulie said:

    If you commented on the old threads linked in the post, please repost or elaborate on your previous comments here.

    So below are the relevant comments I made on this subject on February 8.

    The Execomm did have some discussion about whether it had the authority to appoint Redpath. Read the meeting minutes. I think the situation is an emergency (due to the requirements of FEC law), so the Execomm was definitely within its authority. Even if not, the LNC can ratify the decision (or overturn it) at its next meeting.

    The LNC members I talked about this with deny that such a balance of power should be a consideration. It seems to me that it should.

    I agree, it should. With two vacancies on the At-Large roster, the LNC has a real chance to assuage the concerns of a substantial cohort of LP members with a very judicious appointment of replacements. However, given the LNC’s frequent unwillingness to appear even-handed, I expect convincing them to do the right thing will be difficult.

    It would be appropriate for the LNC to ask the top two “also-rans” from the 2010 convention if they would be willing to serve. Pat Dixon of TX was in 6th place in the At Large race, with 168 votes (9 behind Kevin Knedler), and John Jay Myers, who was in 8th place and had 159 votes.

    [Note: Reading the convention minutes, one might wonder why I skipped over Rebecca Sink-Burris, who was in 7th place with 167 votes. The reason I skipped over her is that she was elected to a region seat but de facto resigned from the LNC due to non-attendance, two meetings in a row.]

    If the LNC were to appoint Pat & John, that would be a solid choice acceptable to many.

    [I also think long-time LP activist and regional alternate Carl Vassar would make an excellent choice for one of the At Large seats.]

    A side note: I have seen one opinion by an LNC member that the Alternates are ‘required’ by the bylaws to attend LNC meetings also. However, a study of Robert’s thoughts on the subject will clarify that alternate representatives are not required to attend unless 1) the primary representative provides notice that he can’t attend; or 2) the bylaws specifically refer to the alternate and define that duty. Alicia Mattson correctly alluded to the difference at the May 2010 meeting: “Ms. Mattson noted that the Policy Manual requires three LNC ‘members’, and members and alternates are not equivalent.”

  20. paulie Post author

    Marc, thanks…

    For those who only read short comments, I would summarize/excerpt Marc’s comment:

    “[G]iven the LNC’s frequent unwillingness to appear even-handed, I expect convincing them to do the right thing will be difficult.

    It would be appropriate for the LNC to ask the top two “also-rans” from the 2010 convention if they would be willing to serve. Pat Dixon of TX was in 6th place in the At Large race, with 168 votes (9 behind Kevin Knedler), and John Jay Myers, who was in 8th place and had 159 votes.

    [Note: Reading the convention minutes, one might wonder why I skipped over Rebecca Sink-Burris, who was in 7th place with 167 votes. The reason I skipped over her is that she was elected to a region seat but de facto resigned from the LNC due to non-attendance, two meetings in a row.]

    If the LNC were to appoint Pat & John, that would be a solid choice acceptable to many.

    [I also think long-time LP activist and regional alternate Carl Vassar would make an excellent choice for one of the At Large seats.]”

  21. paulie Post author

    I agree with Marc about Dixon and Myers, and also with his reason for skipping Sink-Burris, as noted above.

    The objection I have heard is that they are both from Texas. See the article itself and comments above for why I do not think that is a valid concern in this case.

    Dixon and Myers are indeed both willing to serve, although Dixon would defer to Myers if it’s one or the other.

    So, going by the next in line approach, if we skip Sink-Burris for reasons stated, it would be

    1) Dixon and Myers
    or
    2) If for some reason they keep claiming that CA or In can have 4 places but TX can’t, Myers and Gray.

    Either of those would be better than the current motion. I would most prefer choice #1 but would also be happy with choice #2.

  22. MarcMontoni

    By the way, I have no clue why what state one is from matters. There was a time when the LNC was dominated by Virginians, and besides a few jokes about the “Virginia Takeover”, it didn’t matter.

    Ideology and performance matter. Where one hangs his underwear does not.

  23. paulie Post author

    @25 I think LNC Watcher explained that particular issue @ 13-14.

    The issue is not that there would be too many people from Texas, but that some people don’t like those two particular people.

    Nevertheless, I decided to address that objection on its own terms, since I have heard it raised by more than one LNC member in telephone conversations.

    Even if this was a valid concern, If 4 seats for Texas and no officers is too much, why isn’t 4 seats for Indiana (including an officer)?

  24. Bruce Cohen

    It’s not about Texas or not.
    It’s about hard work or not.
    It’s about good manners or not.
    It’s about being inclusive or not.

    Clearly, there are two groups of people here.
    The grownups/workers/pragmatists and the
    idealogues/children/radical/slacker/purists.

    The slackers always screw things up for a few years, say for example the California LP, and then when it’s so broken they can’t fix it, they walk away, leaving the broken pieces in the middle of the room.

    This is what Mark Hinkle will do at National, and this is what the current CA Chair has already accomplished.

    Good job Radicals!

    LOL

  25. paulie Post author

    Bruce,

    The California LP grew tremendously while Hinkle was chair there. You might say that had more to do with national, but the people running national at that time were “idealogue/radical/purists” by today’s standards.

    It’s wrong of you to equate “idealogue/radical/purists” with “slackers/children/bad manners.”

    Lots of “idealogue/radical/purists” are hard workers and have better manners than many others in the party.

    It’s wrong to equate “pragmatists” with hard work.

    Mark Hinkle is doing a fine job as LNC Chair, relative to what has been going on the previous several terms, and Wes Benedict is doing a great job as Executive Director.

    Meanwhile, due to the work he started in Texas when he was Executive Director there, they are running hundreds of candidates and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Great job Texas! More states should be doing that.

    So, just as when “idealogue/radical/purists” were heading up National and Mark Hinkle was California chair in the 1990s, Texas is doing great work now. And that time in the 1990s was the period in the party’s whole history when we had the largest numbers of dues paying and active members and the largest number of candidates for office.

    Now, having said all that, I’m trying my best to keep the discussion focused on actual possible candidates for the LNC vacancies, since this may be a short term decision for the LNC, and several LNC members may be reading these comments to get input.

    So, does anyone have anything else to say about that specific question – as in what names you would choose and why?

  26. Gains

    What does the LNC do for you?

    Yeah me either. I cannot think of a less useful body.

    Outside of whom is appointed. Starchild brings up an excellent point but I think that it could use a little more rational examination.

    The practice of the LNC to appoint replacement members has been a long running failure in trust. The mechainism is simple:

    1. The members elect a set of representatives.

    2. The Thanatological oriented on the LNC then threaten, abuse or disrupt the lives of elected representatives that are not in their cabal causing them to quit, resign or be expelled.

    3. The cabal replaces empty seats with people more likely to follow their whim.

    This mechanism exists because the committee is allowed to stack itself which is the opposite of what one would consider a good structure for a representative of trust. It creates a paradigm in which in-fighting is more prevalent than business.

    I would like to see Mr. Meyers of Texas and Mr. Takenaga of California in those seats. They both seem well dedicated to empowering the party.

  27. paulie Post author

    What does the LNC do for you?

    I think LPHQ does a number of useful things. I’ll get into that some other time. Right now I’d like to stay focused on the immediate question.

    I would like to see Mr. Meyers of Texas and Mr. Takenaga of California in those seats. They both seem well dedicated to empowering the party.

    Mr. Myers is interested, and is being actively considered. In fact the information I have heard is that his chances are good.

    The other seat is more up for grabs.

    You are suggesting Mr. Takenaga…is he interested?

  28. Gains

    p @30: “You are suggesting Mr. Takenaga…is he interested?”

    I have no idea. I was suggesting the person for the job based on representational alacrity.

    The LNC and the LPHQ are not synonymous. The LNC represents membership and they ride herd on LPHQ. That is it. All the in-fighting I think is a symptom of narcissistic authoritarians, thinking that the LNC has some “power”. When they get elected, and find that it does not, they turn on those around them and make up for the feelings of inadequacy with psychotic behavior.

  29. Observer

    Brce Cohen @ 27: “It’s about good manners or not.”

    Bruce Cohen talking about good manners is a little like the Pope explaining sexual techniques: you gotta have knowledge of them before you can explain it to others.

    LOL, Bruce!

  30. paulie Post author

    The LNC and the LPHQ are not synonymous. The LNC represents membership and they ride herd on LPHQ.

    How would you suggest LPHQ function… without an LNC? Would the conventions vote on LPHQ employees directly? What about in between conventions…what if LPHQ employees did something that warranted correction or even removal – how would that work?

  31. paulie Post author

    a little like the Pope explaining sexual techniques: you gotta have knowledge of them before you can explain it to others.

    Given all the sex scandals in the Church, I would not assume the Pope is unacquainted with sexual techniques.

  32. paulie Post author

    Oops. Sorry, I’m setting a bad example.

    I am suggesting for this discussion that we stick with discussing names for LNC to consider and reasons for doing so.

    I would further suggest that if possible, we stick with people who actually want to be At Large LNC reps right now, if there is any way to find out.

    These are of course voluntary, not mandatory, guidelines.

  33. paulie Post author

    John Jay Myers because he’s a positive force who would bring a new energy to the Libertarian National Committee!

    Agreed completely. Who would you pick for the other vacancy if you were on the LNC?

  34. David Colborne

    I’m okay with John Jay Myers. I don’t know enough about the rest of the list to say anything intelligent about them. I’m also remarkably indifferent about where they come from – considering everything Texas has accomplished as of late, I think the people behind their efforts have every right to “stack” the LNC.

  35. paulie Post author

    I’m also remarkably indifferent about where they come from – considering everything Texas has accomplished as of late, I think the people behind their efforts have every right to “stack” the LNC.

    Good point….especially since it would be no more “stacking” than the current proposal by Mr. Redpath, which would give Indiana 4 spots, or the one involving Judge Gray, which would give California 4 spots.

    Moreover, one of each of those (CA, TX and IN) is an alternate, but CA and IN have the chair and vice chair. So the “stacking” for Texas would actually be less of a stacking than the one for Indiana (or California).

  36. Gains

    P @34&40:

    As a representation of the membership, the LNC should reflect the membership geographically even if that population distribution is not even. More people from Texas and/or California is not unreasonable, so I do not have a lot of concern there myself. More representation for other states should happen when those states garner more membership and mobilize them for convention not because the LNC is purging and filling with favorites. Any old excuse will do for that behavior and I am afraid that geographic filtering is one of those arbitrary decisions that could be used for nefariousness.

    I did not indicate that the LPHQ should operate without the LNC. I think I tried to express the opposite however. The LNC is a representational body that periodically meets to act for the membership in oversight. They approve budgets and plans, but in reality, they are not the workers that carry those tasks out, except that they choose to adopt a second role in the organization and do work also.

    Should we expect representatives to do this? Yes, well… sort of. What I would expect is that our best representatives that we choose are also at some level activists that set good examples. But, the cause and effect should be that we elect representatives that are also workers and they work as a part of their nature; not that we elect representatives and then get mad that they don’t work on another’s pet project.

  37. Pingback: Update: LNC source says At Large vacancies will not be filled before next regular meeting | Independent Political Report

  38. Pingback: Update on LNC At Large Vacancy-filling process | Independent Political Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *