Avens O’Brien on facebook and in IPR comments:
To start, I’d like to reassert my interest in the actions I’m reporting on: I’m the former Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire, and a current member of the Libertarian Party of Nevada. I paid my dues to the party and paid a fee to attend the annual convention on April 27, 2013. I received notice 5 days before the convention that it would be indefinitely postponed due to a claim of the Executive Committee of National LP and a member of the party allegedly “interfering” in the outcome of the upcoming leadership election. I was refunded my attendance fee.
As someone involved in party leadership in the past, I consider myself reasonably capable of keeping an open mind regarding disagreements between factions within the party. So I immediately engaged in trying to understand the mechanics behind this decision by the Executive Committee as well as quickly resolve whatever issues were in place, as I do not wish to see myself or other party members disenfranchised in our right to vote on our leadership.
The Executive Committee did not appear interested in engaging in conversation regarding when a new convention would be held, why such a drastic course of action was taken, or what they intended to do leading up to the postponed convention. Communication was limited, as well as, in my opinion, unprofessional. They did not answer concerns. They did not provide leadership.
On Wednesday, April 24th, 2013, Brett Pojunis, who is both an LNC Representative and the party member accused by the Executive Committee of “unethical behavior”, invited the party membership to attend a Meeting set for the same time and date of the original convention, with the intention of discussing the direction of the party and the needs of the membership. As many members had already arranged travel and schedule plans with the intention of originally attending the Convention, a number of people elected to attend this meeting to find out exactly what was going on.
For the record, I decided to attend this meeting to observe the behavior of the coordinators and the attendees. After arriving and learning the mission of this meeting, I decided to stay and participate. There were 26 state party members in attendance, as well as a member of LPCalifornia who came to observe. There was video recording as well. There were apparently twelve more people interested in attending and participating who could not due to other plans made after the initial cancellation.
To begin, Brett was quick to explain that this was not a convention. There is a very specific set of bylaws pertaining to the promotion and action of a convention, and this would not be one.
There was some discussion about the reasons for choosing to postpone, and conversations about when a new convention may be held. Brett and his slate of nominees for Executive Committee provided a professional and comprehensive binder titled “2013 Strategic Operations Game Plan to Effectively Develop and Build the Libertarian Party in Nevada.”
The bulk of the meeting was spent on an activity that every member in attendance had an opportunity to participate in. We drafted a petition to the Libertarian Party of Nevada and to the Libertarian National Convention, listing a number of points:
Firstly, a list of the bylaws violations committed by the current Executive Committee of LPNevada. Each list item was addressed, debated, supported with dialogue and approved by those in attendance.
Secondly, a list of questionable actions taken by the current Executive Committee of LPNevada. Each list item, again, was addressed, debated, supported with dialogue and approved by those in attendance.
Thirdly, a list of membership grievances was compiled. Each list item, again, was addressed, debated, supported and approved by those in attendance.
Lastly, a list of requests was brought forth – they stipulated conditions of convention – from impartial witnesses to the future convention, also requesting a newly scheduled convention date and transparency in the process. We also included a date by which we wish these conditions to be addressed/met, so there was a clear indication of expectations.
This petition was signed by all members in attendance.
The exact content of this petition will be released shortly, the final draft is not in my possession, otherwise I would do so.
After the petition we discussed our courses of action not as the official Libertarian Party of Nevada, but as a group of Liberty activists who wish to increase the number of people involved in the party, the movement, and in leadership roles.
At this point we were informed that the members of the current Executive Committee were presently meeting at the original site of the now-postponed convention. I have no knowledge of how we received this information, but I do know that the group decided collectively to drive over to the Suncoast Casino and see what was going on.
There were 27 of us who walked into the convention center area of the Suncoast Casino. There was a table outside a door and a number of members of the Libertarian Party of Nevada standing inside or outside the room. As we walked down the hallway, the lights were shut off, then turned back on, and someone began yelling “Security!”. The 27 people were quiet, orderly and simply inquiring as to the nature of the event which was being held at the exact place and date (albeit a few hours after) of our original convention.
The answer that was given was “the Free Speech Coalition” and we were escorted out by security. I hung back, simply because I was able to, security didn’t seem to notice or mind me, and I readdressed the people at the table. Fil de Noto was one of them. We exchanged brief words, in which I simply stated that as a member of the LP I just wanted to know if this was an LP event, if the treasury of the Libertarian Party of NV was paying for it, and why it was not open to everyone if it was. I was told it was simply the Free Speech Coalition, and I thanked them for the [incomplete] information and left.
The group of us decided to meet for lunch and socialize for the next couple of hours, which was an enjoyable experience.
I do not have the information nor cause to speculate as to what exactly various members of the current Executive Committee were doing at the Free Speech Coalition gathering which was so coincidentally timed and placed. I do not have any interest in accusations of conspiracy on either side.
I do know that today, a group of 26 members of the Libertarian Party of Nevada met to discuss the actions and future of our party. This was not an activity of anarchy or even rebellion – this was simply a chance to address the issues facing our party, spell out the problems, and try to find the solution. I was very impressed with the entire slate of hopeful Executive Committee members in organizing this event, hearing everyone out, and coming up with realistic expectations and requests.
In conclusion, I am very glad I was able to be a part of it, and thank the organizers and attendees for restoring my hope in the effectiveness of a group of Libertarians to come together against abuses of power.
Thank you for reading.
Former 1st District Vice Chair
Libertarian Party of New Hampshire