Erik Viker Calls For LPPA Board Action Regarding Chair Tom Stevens

Colleagues,

This is a formal call for Board action on a violation of the Communications Policy perpetrated by Tom Stevens in his capacity as moderator of an LPPA communication medium.  On 3/27/13, I posted a question to the LPPA group on Facebook, which exists to allow members to communicate about the organization, asking for the latest membership totals in light of the potential impact of recruitment efforts advertised in LPPA channels for a parallel group called the “Pennsylvania Libertarian Alliance.”  The post requesting this information was deleted without explanation by the moderator, Tom Stevens.  I then posted a request for an explanation about which tenet of the Communication Policy was violated by my question.  That post was also deleted and I have been banned from the group.  We have seen a history of selective use of moderation power in which criticism and concerns about Tom’s actions are met with deletion and or banning, while Tom’s supporters are not banned after similar infractions.  As a Life Member of the LPPA, I am neither a supporter nor an opponent of Tom Stevens, instead finding all of the current factions distasteful and embarrassing.

The LPPA Policy Manual states “The Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Executive Committee shall have ownership of The LPPA website forum and every LPPA email list, and shall exercise moderation in accordance with this Policy at their discretion.  In the event of disagreements over a particular moderation activity, the full Executive Committee shall decide the issue by majority vote.”  This policy does not mention the LPPA Facebook group, but as it was adopted before the Facebook group existed, the spirit of the policy is clear that any LPPA communication avenues moderated by an LPPA officer would fall under the policy.  I would be satisfied with the two vice-chairs overriding the action of Tom Stevens, with my immediate reinstatement to the online group.   If Betsy and Jim are unable to agree to send Tom an e-mail advising that his decision was overruled with the result of immediate reinstatement to the Facebook group, I will require a vote of the Executive Committee on this matter as provided for in the policy manual.

 

Your prompt attention to this important matter of integrity may help the LPPA avoid another unpleasant and highly public spectacle.

Thank you,

 

Erik Viker

Chair, Libertarian Party of Snyder County

58 thoughts on “Erik Viker Calls For LPPA Board Action Regarding Chair Tom Stevens

  1. Krzysztof Lesiak Post author

    Whatever your position on LPPA fiasco is (and I admit to knowing very little about it), I think it goes without saying that fresh blood will be beneficial to the party. So I hope that Steve Scheetz wins the chair race, and the slate of candidates running with him wins their races for their respective offices (Ivan Glinski for Secretary, Richard Schwarz for treasurer and Ed Regan for eastern vice-chair).

  2. The where's Tommy game.

    He has been deleting posts, comments and banning people for awhile. Why call for this now? I guess it doesn’t matter unless it happens to you personally.

  3. Erik Viker

    Whoever @2, I have suggested Tom relax his moderator style several times and raised concerns about his behavior to the Board in the past. It would have been inappropriate to make a formal petition on behalf of anybody else.

  4. Dr. Tom Stevens

    For someone who just stated he could give a “flying fuck” about the LPPA and who doesn’t plan to attend the upcoming convention, you certainly seem completely invested in complaining.

    Your negatively and failure to give people the benefit of the doubt have been a theme in your posts. Previously, I have answered your questions and have tolerated you with respect since you are a County Chair.

    Since I will no longer be State Chair in a few weeks, I no longer need to tolerate you nor explain myself to you.

    If the Board feels I have done something wrong, by all means they should take action.

  5. Erik Viker

    Yes Paulie, two trustworthy Board members have advised that the concerns are being investigated.

    Tom, all indications suggest the upcoming “convention” (that is, tiresome litany of dull speeches and petty arguments at sketchy roadside motel) will fail to remedy the depths of divisive fiasco that has plagued the LPPA in the past ten months. When “benefit of the doubt” conflicts with “critical analysis” I will choose the latter. I have not survived leukemia and two high-speed motorcycle crashes to waste my time watching bureaucratic petty tyrants fight with anarchists, word-twiddlers, Paul worshippers, and rules fetishists. I no longer give a flying fuck about the LPPA but I
    do still give a rat’s ass about it, which is exactly the level of interest necessary to generate my petition to have your policy-violating moderation decision reviewed by more
    trustworthy people. It will be fun to see how you edit my words this year for your pile of character-defamation leaflets. Please note that the words “fuck you” are readily available for manipulation.

  6. Jill Pyeatt

    There’s always something going on somewhere with the LP, that’s for sure!

  7. Erik Viker

    I predict Roy Minet and Steve Scheetz will be nominated. Tom has made some you-never-know comments about possibly getting nominated and this may be staged to enhance the farewell drama, but if I was going to bet on the outcome, I would lean toward Steve Scheetz having enough support in the room to win the state chair.

  8. Nick

    I personaly want
    Chair- Scheetz
    East Chair- Besty

    The rest I have no preffrence as I think all would do a great job.

  9. Nick

    wasnt addressing ur question just throwing it out there.

    My prediction is no they all wont Besty will win re-election

  10. James Babb

    The majority of the LPPa members are coal miners and farmers with little time to do research. I’m even not sure if they have heard about the convention.

    I don’t have much confidence in a fair process, considering the heavy censorship and propaganda from the chairman and the flaccid board.

    The functioning county committees and candidates have little need for the LPPa, and have minimal interest in the central party.

    Although, who could pass up the legendary hospitality of the Danville Days Inn? So, we’ll see.

  11. Ed Reagan

    Nick @ 15

    Since the beginning of 2013 have attend:

    1 – Bucks County LP meeting
    1 – Berks Conty LP neetings
    2 – Chester County LP meetings
    3 – Montgomery County LP meetings
    2 – York County LP meetings

    I have seen the current EVC Betsy Summers at one county LP meeting, the Bucks County LP meeing in January 2013.

    The LPPA Bylaws read:

    “Two Vice Chairs, one each from the eastern and western portions of Pennsylvania, shall act as assistants to the Chair, with specific emphasis on the founding, development, and growth of county and local organizations”

    Help me understan how the Eastern Vice Chair can help with “…founding, development, and growth of th county and local organizations” if she does not show up for the meetings of the county and local organizations?

    The Eastern Vice Chair is responsible for founding and development of county and local organizations. Yet it has been reported that all the new county and local groups since the last convention are the fruits of Tom Steven’s labor

    In speaking with several LP county chairs who have asked Betsy to assist with the task of getting the list of LPPA members in their respective counties have not received or data.

    So why would you support an individual for re-election who had delivered on duites of the office?

  12. Erik Viker

    Excepting tbe assumptions about LPPA members’ careers, I agree with James Babb (and they’re serving snowcones in Hell). The state officers should be more clerks than commanders. The recent LPPA troubles began when the delegates chose a chair who wanted to do more than run meetings and sign papers. The state officers should have too little power to matter much at all.

  13. Sam Kress

    Everyone else too I guess, but Erik is neutral and lives there, so I am more interested in his predictions.

  14. NewFederalist

    Well, since I am a new member perhaps I should go to the convention and cast my vote. I joined the LP in 1974 but never joined the LPPA until this year before all this crappola hit the fan. The convention should be exciting and a wonderful place to relax and enjoy the company of like minded individuals in perfect harmony.

  15. Sam Kress

    Harmony or not, you should go cast your vote, the situation will not improve unless there is new state leadership in place.

  16. Erik Viker

    Sam @22, I am neutral because everybody annoys me in one way or another. I would support party officers who do what the bylaws require and not a damn thing more, but those sorts are hard to find. The need to be a hero/leader/visionary leads people astray. I have no predictions about the other officer positions because they are even less important than the unimportant state chair job. Anybody can take notes, balance a checkbook, and keep info on a spreadsheet.

  17. Jill Pyeatt

    Erik says ” I am neutral because everybody annoys me in one way or another. ”

    LOL I’m sure all of us feel this way from time to time, but it’s funny to see someone admit it.

  18. Sam Kress

    Well, let’s just hope that Stevens and his allies get what’s coming to them.

  19. Erik Viker

    It must be a slow news week in third-party politics for my note to the LPPA board to make IPR. But for those who care, I have not yet received a response from Tom Stevens explaining which Communications Policy tenet was violated and how it was violated. In the absence of proof otherwise, I will assume my infraction falls under the “Insightful Observation That Makes Tom Look Bad”
    clause. It must have embarrassed him to be called out for creating a parallel organization (that is, Facebook page for an imaginary
    hypothetical future PA Libertarian Alliance) while the LPPA membership numbers, which he promised to drastically improve as state chair, remain unimpressive for 2013.

  20. paulie

    It must be a slow news week in third-party politics

    It’s actually been a pretty busy week compared to the last several.

    LPPA membership numbers, which he promised to drastically improve as state chair, remain unimpressive for 2013.

    What are those numbers?

  21. Steve Scheetz

    Paulie, they have been and remain a secret. As has the list of county committees Recognized or not, along with officers’ names and contact information.

    The website has not been updated in years, the idea that information which, in any other organization, is considered public information, is somehow kept secret from the people who might actually want to become members.

    It does not matter what excuse the board uses, it is not Libertarian to keep communications channels closed and to deny the free exchange of ideas…

  22. Erik Viker

    Paulie @ 30, I cannot answer your question thoroughly because my request for current membership totals was deleted unanswered from the official LPPA group on Facebook, and I was banned from participating therein. The recent numbers historically have been 249 as of 12/31/10; 242 as of 12/31/11; and 308 as of 12/31/12. After much prompting, Tom reported at the beginning of this month “As of 3/1/13, the LPPA has 247 members who are either Life Members or who have paid through 12/31/13.” I am interested in what progres may have happened in the past thirty days, as up to March 1 the LPPA has seen no substantial growth this year, despite the hopes and plans of some.

  23. Young Libertarian Boys Club

    So the word in the street is the lppa board is calling a meeting before the convention. Apparently the good doctor said if the meeting was held he would stop working on the state convention and his committee would resign.

    Any truth to this? Is the good doctor now refusing to answer questions from the board

  24. Erik Viker

    The numbers above were pasted from comments posted on Facebook by Tom himself.

    If you are going to use the honorific Dr. in this context, I will ask that you refer to me by my earned titles as well. I am “Professor Councilman Former Blackboard Monitor Erik Viker.”

  25. Erik Viker

    As of three hours ago, the LPPA group on Facebook now has this description: “This is a Facebook Group for Pennsylvania Libertarian Activists. If you have pro-liberty events you know of, feel free to post them. If you have issues of interest to Pennsylvania Libertarian Activists, let us know what they are. This page is run by Dr. Tom Stevens.” In response to questions on that post, Tom commented that he owned the group and that he was tired of the “infighting” and complaints about the LPPA convention.

    The lolz keep coming.

  26. George Phillies

    @37 His GRace, the Illustrious Professor Councilman Former Blackboard Monitor Erik Viker has nailed this one on the head. The LPA group appears to have procured the LPPA Facebook pages.

    In this respect, the LPPA is now as unfortunate as the Libertarian Association of Massachusetts, which on at least one occasion had paid for the LPMA.org URL, only to find that the crony of the former LAMA leadership clique who owned the URL refused to turn it over to the organization when so requested.

  27. George Phillies

    When the Massachusetts Liberty Protective Association formed, they went to the trouble of setting up their own web pages, etc. But they are good people, mostly.

  28. Erik Viker

    The Pennsylvania Libertarian Alliance is another cardboard cutout propped up in front of Tom’s ego.

    George @38, thank you for using my proper honorifics. I left out “The Reverend” to make it easier for everybody.

  29. Erik Viker

    The name change resolves my complaint because the “group” is in the creator’s full control, according to the Terms of Service of Facebook, and while Tom created the group in his capacity as state chair the online service does not recognize “take my ball and go home” shenanigans. Technically, no Facebook page is officially an LPPA communcations medium because Facebook does not appear in the LPPA policy manual. But because Facebook is a ubiquitous communication medium in modern life, it’s foolish to ignore it, and all reasonable users understand that the spirit of the communications policy should govern any mass communications that have the LPPA name attached. There is still an LPPA “page” (less interactive than a group) on Facebook and I suspect Tom is a manager of that page. I suggested the Board may want to take steps to ensure it is not renamed “Tommy’s Liberty Angels” or otherwise used in a way that will cast the LPPA in a bad light.

  30. Quotes from the doctator

    “The Facebook Group under our control is named “Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA)”. It has 105 members and is at:
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/372949089446581/

    “In the last 4 days, ***(name removed) *** has added 376 individuals (out of the 497 members) to the counterfeit “Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania” Facebook Group.”

    “The bootleg, counterfeit “Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania” Facebook Group has been removed due to intellectual property rights infringement.”

    “New avenues of communication were set up for Board Business and Chapter Development. All LPPA officers and Board Members were invited to join as were all LPPA members, without exception. These groups have been functioning well.”

    “I don’t believe I ever said the conversation took place on an unofficial party list even though you said “The conversation you describe did not take place on an unofficial LPPA page”.”

    The members of that group should be notified that that group is no longer part of the LPPA. Everyone who joined that group did so thinking it was the “offical LPPA facebook group”.

  31. James Babb

    Here comes the slash and burn phase. Hell hath no fury like a…

    This is particularly amusing since the chairman shut down the previous FB page with threats of lawsuits against the owner, claiming that he was the only one authorized to have an official LPPa FB page. Many of us expressed concern at the time, but the board was silent.

    I hope someone is keeping an eye on the treasury. The board let him get control of everything. Now the party will reap the rewards.

  32. Dr. Tom Stevens

    Re: 46

    I do not make threats. Not my style.

    I was being sarcastic in response to Babb saying that an eye should be kept on the Treasury. Since I have no say-so or even the power to sign off on a check, my point was that Babb is a Boob, not Bright.

    Sorry if my comment was misinterpreted. I can assure you if I choose to act, I would do so, without making a threat first.

  33. paulie

    I can assure you if I choose to act, I would do so, without making a threat first.

    I thought you just said you have no power to act in any such way. Which would resolve the concerns, if you didn’t follow it up with that.

  34. Erik Viker

    Now a flurry of emails raises the possibility that there was not adequate notice made to members about the date and time of the LPPA convention business meeting.

  35. Ed Reagan

    I never received notice “by phone, email or postal service” from the LPPa for the original schedule, nor the recently modified schedule. After talking with many LPPa members it appears that anyone who has been vocal in regards to “Doctor” Tomfoolery Stevens did not receive notice of the convention.

  36. Erik Viker

    I sent this email today to the Board members and regularly participating LPPA members:

    “I have little respect for rules fetishists, but some rules are necessary for a functioning organization. One critical example is adequate notice for the most important event of the political party, the annual business meeting in convention. It has become obvious that as conference coordinator Tom Stevens failed to provide the 50-days advance notice to all members in good standing by email, telephone or U.S. mail as required by the bylaws. Members who were banned by Tom from the Yahoo email group did not get notice as required, and not every member in good standing was subscribed. As disappointing as it may be to some, the proceedings of an April 27 business meeting will have no validity and members will have no obligation to recognize any officers elected then. Any platform or bylaws changes will be meaningless. The painful but necessary solution is this:

    1. The LPPA Board meets to demand the immediate resignation of those responsible for this failing, or the removal from office of those persons. This may result in a vice-chair becoming temporary state chair, but will go a long way toward restoring confidence in the Board.

    2. The Board should set a date for the 2013 business meeting that allows for 50 days notice and enough time to make arrangements for a meeting room. The bylaws grant this responsibility to the Board, which has no obligation to check all sorts of people’s calendars first. Anyone who cares enough to be a delegate or run for state office will rearrange their calendars to attend. That is what 50-days notice is for.

    3. The Board should designate a person to secure a meeting space for the date selected, preferably in a central location. The borough of State College is very close to the geographic center of Pennsylvania and would have many options for a meeting of this size. Do not try to plan speakers or workshops. Secure a meeting space and refreshments for a four-hour event. Any decent hotel will suffice.

    4. Use the most current list of members in good standing to determine who must get notification of the annual business meeting.

    5. Designate a trustworthy person (we seem to lack a functioning secretary) to send a notice by U.S. Mail to all members in good standing, as this notification method will to avoid people missing a phone message or having an email go into a spam filter.

    6. Set an agenda as described in LPPA byways and convention rules, publish that agenda, and run that meeting. Let the healing begin.”

  37. Shave the Whales!

    I’ve heard claims that some county chairs are unable to obtain their county membership lists, which are only given to people Tom Stevens is on good terms with, allegedly.

    Regarding the suggestion that the convention be held in State College, some people have said that would be bad this year due to the Penn State child abuse scandal.

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