Discussion from The Leaders of the Libertarian Party: Geoff Neale to Starchild

You can read the thread at right here .

The latest exchange on the LNC is reported by Starchild to read:

> From: “Geoffrey Neale” > Date: March 30, 2013 8:21:27 PM PDT
> To:
> Subject: Re: [Lnc-discuss] Alternative convention sites
> Reply-To: lnc-discuss@…
>
> Starchild – I really do not know why I even try answering your stupid,
> stupid, stupid emails. Maybe it’s because I’m stupid. I probably am just
> going to start deleting your messages without reading soon. I’ll just
> create an automatic delete rule from Starchild.
>
> You are not asking Mark or me to do this research for you, but you think we
> should direct one of the Convention committees to do this. Who the hell is
> this “we” you talk about? The LNC? Fine – bring it on – MAKE A F###ING
> MOTION! If the motion passes, the LNC will be issuing a directive, because
> the majority of the LNC would be in agreement with you. If it fails, we
> will not, because the majority of the LNC would not be in agreement with
> you. So why haven’t you just taken the remedy that our Bylaws allows?
> Personally, I think it’s because you know you will lose the vote – by a
> landslide.
>
> By the way – the earliest convention that this could apply for is 2018 which
> is FIVE YEARS AWAY!!!!! What a colossal waste of time.
>
> However, if your motion passes, I predict that the Convention committees
> will either ignore the directive, defy the directive, or quit. Because what
> you are asking for is stupid.
>
> You claim that there are numerous members who would welcome alternative
> venues, yet I hear none of them volunteering to help you put together a
> coherent proposal. Perhaps your cohorts are as unskilled as you are.
> Perhaps they are just as lazy as you are.
>
> Why don’t you get off your ass and do the work yourself?
>

124 thoughts on “Discussion from The Leaders of the Libertarian Party: Geoff Neale to Starchild

  1. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I suggest the reader access the link and read it. There is ugly correspondence from Mark Hinkle as well. Hinkle has apparently forgotten that he and Starchild are of the same rank on the LNC. I can’t wait for 2014 to not vote for him (Neale, also).

  2. Oranje Mike

    Horrible response from a party chair. More tact is in order, for sure.

  3. Daddyfatsax

    This makes the party look bad. Can’t we be civil?

    Jason Smith LP Nevada nominee for Vice Chair…if we have a convention…nobody really knows.

  4. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Daddyfatsax–So I take it you weren’t surprised that the LNC didn’t help out in the Nevada LP convention dispute?

  5. Daddyfatsax

    Not surprised at all, after getting their ass handed to them by Oregon…I imagine the LNC is more a group of people who get together to argue, but accomplish very little. If ever there was a time to act, it is before dozens of active libertarians in arguably the most libertarian leaning state are forced to endure a tyrranical excom and chair who play their games with convention and high fees…and other barriers to attending convention…but maybe the LNC’s role is not to grow the party, support the party, or “do” anything. Yeah, I’m disappointed.

  6. ATBAFT

    There are many organizations that mail every member a ballot to vote on officers, even if they can’t attend the convention. Usually works fine when there this only one candidate for each officers position. Sometimes, the oppo will solicit votes too, but it hardly accounts for last minute candidates, nominations from the floor (who have a chance) etc. Sometimes you just give your proxy to a trusted soul who will be attending. Any thing like this would be better than holding a convention in Central Park or Golden Gate Park.

  7. Stewart Flood

    If you looked at the entire thread of this discussion, which goes back literally YEARS between Starchild and members of various administrations, you might have a different opinion.

    Starchild insists that we need another type of venue and that most of the members would rather meet in a park (outside) than in a building.

    He has never presented evidence of support for this idea, nor is he willing to investigate and determine how we’d even manage to run a convention outdoors!

    Hinkle and Neale are just finally getting fed up with his endless obsession with this idea. They want him to make a motion, which he knows won’t pass.

    Should the conversation have gotten this rude? Maybe not. But Starchild refuses to stop pushing the issue and he won’t take it to a vote of the LNC — or if he has tried he hasn’t managed to get it seconded.

  8. Sam Kress

    Regardless of being annoyed, LNC members should show each other more respect than this.

  9. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Today at work I have had a series of phenomenally rude, unhappy people. There’s clearly something in the stars today, and I definitely understand being pushed to your limit. I love Starchild, he knows I do, but I do know people get frustrated with him. He was elected to the LNC, though, and the others were elected also. If they can’t be grown-ups and respond appropriately, then they should a. ignore him until they can be civil, or b. resign or c. send him a private note, even if it for the 1oo millionth time asking him to stop wasting their time. For this to be public is awful.

  10. George Phillies

    @9 I have not noticed anyone generating data on this on either side. Do we have evidence that members want expensive central city hotels with no restaurant open the last afternoon of the convention, in a district in which all but one of the restaurants were closed that day?

  11. paulie

    We have evidence of a more limited fashion, that we can pull off the conventions we have been pulling off about as well as we have done them in the past. It’s possible we could do better, or worse, if we try something very different.

  12. Stewart Flood

    @13,

    We’ve actually been picking the less expensive hotels. The deal that Vicky and I got with the Rosen Center (which staff actually improved on!) was for $99/night in 2016 in what is a very nice hotel.

    They have places to eat open in the lobby very late — a few all night long. We checked. Food prices were not high.

    2014 is a different story. I voted against the location we picked. I did not like the other Ohio site either. The hotel we will be staying in has VERY LIMITED ELEVATOR SERVICE, a LONG WALK TO THE ROOMS, and, as expected, EXPENSIVE FOOD!

    We had several better options, but Ohio had the votes.

  13. Seebeck

    While SVC in CA, I suggested to Starchild that he put together a bid for the state convention in accordance with his tent-park model. Nothing ever happened.

    At least when it came to the national convention for St. Louis I prepared a competitive bid for Ontario CA, which had 15 hotels and 11 restaurants a parking lot away, airport shuttles, and everything needed to do it right, but the LNC never bothered to read it let alone consider it because they were committed to a Sullentrup Swan Song in the St. Louis downtown slum at the overpriced Renaissance Hotel. It’s only redeeming quality was that it was next to a light rail stop which made coming in from Lambert simple.

    BTW, I came up with that Ontario bid in seven days working alone. The LP Convention Committee takes months to years to do similar with inferior results for 2010, 2012, and likely 2014, and the LNC had member bashing the 2008 organizers who actually knew what they were doing and did it well. What does that say about them? Volumes, and little of it good.

    So, on one hand, the unresponsiveness of the LNC isn’t surprising.

    On the other hand, Starchild, when pressed to do this, has never AFAIK presented anything to back up the idea.

    On the third hand, both current and past LNC chairs need to know their roles and exercise some decorum instead of acting like brash assholes.

    So I feel no sympathy for either side, because the dysfunctionality is abundant in spades.

  14. paulie

    Starchild has said he is not a convention planning expert, so he wants those to look at the specifics of implementing his idea, not to do it himself.

    Your proposal for Ontario, while it may well have been good, got to the LNC Friday night before the Saturday meeting. There was no chance it would get read and considered in that time frame.

    I don’t think St Louis was bad. I liked it a lot better than Summerlin.

  15. Steve M

    lol…. as a colleague… a theoretical physicist… once put it…. when the data doesn’t match the theory…. to hell with the data….

    I would be curious… as I frequently am…. that given a specification for what the attendees would want can a proposal be made….

    One reason I kicked out the location in Oklahoma was because Oklahoma is so anti-third parties…. Imagine holding the LP convention there in say 2015 and getting significant local media attention… Imagine holding shooting contests at a local gun club… talking about hunting rights and other interests….

    So …. a venue that can handle the assembled national activists… in Oklahoma along with non political events that attract attention coupled with a low cost to the party activists.

  16. paulie

    The location in St Louis was fine for me, I don’t remember having problems with the hotel or its location. The convention itself was my favorite of the 5 I have been to (Anaheim 2000, Atlanta 2004, Denver 2008, Summerlin 2012 were the others). Perhaps because it was a non-presidential one, and the others were all presidential years.

  17. Nicholas Sarwark

    Starchild needs to find someone to do the legwork to propose a non-hotel venue, including the numbers and available accommodation, and refer it to the Convention committee. Until he steps up to do so, I’m all for dismissing his ideas out of hand.

    “Porcfest did it” is not an argument. “Here’s how we could do it,” is.

  18. David Colborne

    Starchild has said he is not a convention planning expert, so he wants those to look at the specifics of implementing his idea, not to do it himself.

    The fact that, after several years of pushing for this idea, nobody’s jumped in to make his vision a reality is a pretty strong data point against its feasibility.

  19. Matt Cholko

    I am not generally on board with Starchild’s park/parking lot/any other alternative venue idea, as I have no reason to think that it will make for an overall better convention. However, Neale comes off as an asshole in this e-mail. An absolute, total, fucking asshole.

    I’ll try not to judge him too heavily by this one e-mail, but it sure doesn’t help his reputation.

  20. Steve M

    Starchild is currently existing in Northern California where many startling ideas presented to the rest of the country are met with… you gotta be kidding….

    Yet they turn out to be right…..

  21. David Colborne

    @24: If I lived in the Bay Area, I’d think an outdoor convention during late Spring was a good idea as well. The weather is remarkably agreeable out there. However, for the vast majority of the country, an outdoor convention in April or May is just begging for trouble.

  22. Marc Montoni

    No one is arguing that there might be some advantages to doing things Starchild’s way. What Neale (and I) are annoyed with is Starchild’s constant, repetitive ad-nauseam demands that “someone” (the convention committee, the LNC, etc) do the footwork necessary to make **his** idea happen. If Starchild is so hung up about it, he should gather a couple of friends, form a subcommittee, and get some actual proposals put together.

    As Neale said, something the LNC could actually vote on.

    As things stand, Sarchild is making a case for something before a body which doesn’t have any **business** on the matter that it can actually address.

    Even more important, he should have some empirical evidence that an actual **LP** multi-day convention has been done his way, and successfully.

    He can’t do that, because HE HAS NEVER BOTHERED TO SET ONE UP HIMSELF.

    Even if he can’t sell the idea to the LPCA, I am *certain* there is a state party *somewhere* that would be willing to contract with him to set up an outdoor convention in a park.

    It won’t be Virginia. I can’t even consider that for a one-day convention with 100 people, much less 1000 people for four or five days.

    My idea of fun is not to sit in a sweltering tent for four or five hours and conduct the usual party business — then come back later that night after a short break — probably while a rainstorm is peaking — to sit down at some funky picnic tables to listen to the dinner speaker.

    The Virginia LP did just have a convention that was FREE. We held it in the city council chambers in Waynesboro VA. Go to the Virginia LP Facebook page and browse the photo album — the captions say it all.

    The clerk who booked the room for us likes us because she says we leave it much cleaner than do their local groups who use it. She also picks on me about the irony of a libertarian group using a city-owned building. In any case, all it cost us was the obligatory notification by mail (the value of which too many of you folks refuse to see in your mad rush to advertise events only via email and Facebook).

    I’m not a big fan of Neale. Even Neale can confirm it — when he was supporting Mary Ruwart in 2008, he said something along the lines of “I know I’m evil incarnate to you, but I hope you will support Mary’s campaign despite me” to me when I visited their campaign booth. He didn’t have to worry, I was full-on committed to a Ruwart run.

    But on many matters, Neale is correct, and this is one of those matters.

    If I were to give Neale any advice, it would be to simply ignore Starchild except within the confines of business. Starchild has the right to introduce motions, vote, and speak for or against them during consideration like anyone, and he has the right to be treated like any other LNC member — fairly — within a meeting. But his pronouncements about alternative conventions are not part of any business — and they can be ignored.

  23. Marc Montoni

    Just as it is incumbent upon the chair — an unpaid volunteer — to apply such etiquette, it is equally incumbent upon the other members of the LNC to do the same.

    Starchild is acting rudely, and while two wrongs don’t make a right, if he will not accept responsibility for his own actions, then he should expect to be treated rudely in return.

  24. Mike Kane

    I personally like Starchilds idea of having a different convention venue. One that would be considerably cheaper to attend than one at a large hotel.

    I think he should do the legwork in terms of submitting a proposal, but he does make a good suggestion that directing the convention committee to research alternative venues would be one option.

    Also, I’m somewhat disappointed with Mr. Neale’s approach but what gives, he doesn’t see eye to eye with Starchild on many things and it’s apparent that he was pretty frustrated.

    This isn’t the first time I’ve seen such messages on the LNC discuss list from Mr. Neale to Starchild with such a tone.

    For what it’s worth, Starchild is a huge advocate for transparency within the LP (Which is what the LP wants for any type of limited government they advocate before), and I truly appreciate his efforts.

  25. Thomas L. Knapp

    It’s “heads we win, tails you lose.”

    If someone (e.g. Starchild) asks that the convention committee, etc. consider doing things differently, it’s “get off your ass and do it yourself.”

    If someone (e.g. Seebeck) gets off his ass, does it himself and presents a proposal, it’s “that’s what we have a convention committee for, fuck off.”

    And if anyone suggests that perhaps doing the same things the LP has always done will get the LP the same results it has always got, the answer is “we got 1%! Hooray for us!”

  26. Steve M

    ahh think (always dangerous) Thomas that is the point of putting an alternative proposal together… let the LNC say fuck off…. but then we get the fun of putting through to the membership and making them swallow….

    Or we could do nothing……

  27. Marc Montoni

    I think the lesson is becoming increasingly clear:

    Delegates can’t keep re-electing the same people every time, or we’re going to see the same sort of dysfunction every term.

    While Vohra, Wrights, and a few others are actually making a positive contribution as LNC members, there are others whose main purpose seems to be arguing and doing … well, little that is positive.

    Perhaps every LNC member (other than Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer, since they already have real and time-consuming responsibilities) should be tasked with championing one aspect of the LP’s operations — Like Vohra with the LP Facebook page, Lark with his work to support student groups, and so on. Maybe some concentration on building something great would translate to building a better LNC.

  28. Steve M

    Allow me to applaud …. @32 and 33 yep time to do something new and creative….

  29. James Donovan

    Too many people on the LNC live in a small, confined world. They don’t have much of a view.

  30. Steven R Linnabary

    For what it’s worth, Starchild is a huge advocate for transparency within the LP, and I truly appreciate his efforts.

    Ironically it took a while for this to become public and now we are debating something that should have been a dead issue five weeks ago.

    PEACE

  31. paulie

    While you may say Starchild is rude in some ways which he may or may not be aware of, his words are always courteous, unlike many on LNC and IPR. As far as saying this publicly, Geoff didn’t want it to be public, although he was aware that it would be. He could have responded one on one, but Starchild would have responded to the list.

  32. Nicholas Sarwark

    I nominated Starchild and I support having him on the LNC. If he wasn’t on the LNC, we wouldn’t have the window into LNC business that we have. That doesn’t mean that his non-proposal for an alternative convention is going to get anywhere without him doing or delegating the work to show the feasibility. Maybe he could enlist the organizers of PorcFest in that regard, but I haven’t seen that happen yet.

    Whenever I have been in Party leadership, I’m always open to doing new things if a volunteer is willing to put the effort in to make them happen. We shouldn’t stand in the way of activists.

    The corollary is that people who only have critiques without action are given the respect they are due.

  33. Mike Kane

    @ Steve 39.

    Of course it took a few weeks, but before Starchild was around, we most likely wouldn’t have seen this exchange at all.

  34. Andy

    Mark Montoni said: “My idea of fun is not to sit in a sweltering tent for four or five hours and conduct the usual party business — then come back later that night after a short break — probably while a rainstorm is peaking — to sit down at some funky picnic tables to listen to the dinner speaker.”

    This is a good point, and it is one that I was going to make. I do agree with Starchild that the Libertarian Party ought to try to seek out convention venues that are at or near (as in a short walk) places which have lower cost accommodations for LP members who can not afford to stay at expensive places, or who could afford to stay at expensive places, but who prefer to not allocate their resources in that manner (as in they think that it is a frivolous use of money to stay at an overpriced hotel for a convention and eat their meals at the hotels overpriced restaurants) and would prefer to spend their money on other things. I think that having the conventions at venues where there were lower cost accommodations near by, that it could increase the level of participation of party members in the conventions.

    Starchild’s idea of an outdoor convention is really not practical, due to weather concerns (rain, sleet, snow, wind, too hot, too cold, etc…). Other concerns I’d have about an outdoor convention would be insects or possible noise from things that could be going on near the convention site.

    It is also a valid point that Starchild should make sure that some actual research is done before he submits a proposal to the LNC.

    Having said this, I think that there is validity to his overall point that convention venues ought to be chosen with the goal of more people being able to attend the conventions.

    “The Virginia LP did just have a convention that was FREE. We held it in the city council chambers in Waynesboro VA.”

    I attended this event and I wondered why they chose to have this convention in Waynesboro, which is not a major city or part of a major metropolitan area in Virginia. The fact that they got the room for free was a damn good reason to have the convention there.

  35. Andy

    “Marc Montoni // May 9, 2013 at 12:13 am

    I think the lesson is becoming increasingly clear:

    Delegates can’t keep re-electing the same people every time, or we’re going to see the same sort of dysfunction every term.”

    I’ve wondered if there should be term limits for LNC members. I could see pros and cons on each side, but it is something to consider.

  36. Andy

    “Starchild’s idea of an outdoor convention is really not practical, due to weather concerns (rain, sleet, snow, wind, too hot, too cold, etc…). Other concerns I’d have about an outdoor convention would be insects or possible noise from things that could be going on near the convention site.”

    Another potential problem with an outdoor convention could be LP members with allergies.

  37. George Phillies

    I have been attending National Conventions since 1998. For some time now, every two years I meet my tax accountant at the convention, and take her out to dinner. (I would take her boyfriend, too, if he have came to one of these.) So in 2012 I looked not for very long at the prices at the two hotel restaurants. Then we took a cab to and from a superb Thai restaurant in Las Vegas, $60 or so each way. (The shuttle schedule did not mesh with ours.) The tab was still less than eating in the hotel.

    This was better than St Louis, in which those of us flying back the next day after the convention ended discovered that the hotel restaurant was closed for dinner, and a long walk up and down the main drag finally found the one open restaurant (superb chili, by the way).

    There were also the places that did not have shuttles, and in which cabs to and from the airport were not cheap. Of course, I did have several nutters on the LNC tell me that there was a bus, as though I was going to haul two suitcases and a carryon up onto a bus and then walk for ten minutes to the hotel.

    I am *not* impressed with LNC convention hotel efforts. Florida 2014 sounds much better.

  38. George Phillies

    I am not sure that I remember. Several blocks off the main street, hidden in an unprepossessing shopping mall that included several definitely only in Las Vegas style businesses, outside far more modest than the inside. Good, and visible wine cellar. Does this sound familiar?

  39. Nicholas Sarwark

    @49: Yeah, that sounds like Lotus of Siam. Best Thai restaurant in North America. Just a hell of a cab ride from the Strip to a very sketchy strip mall.

  40. George Phillies

    It was walking distance for me — I will walk a mile and a half to work most days — from one end of the strip, but like 8 or 10 miles from the convention hotel.

    And “strip” mall is highly appropriate, given the large business establishment around the corner in the same mall.

  41. George Phillies

    That’s the place. I wouldn’t know on the other establishment in what is actually a large strip mall.

    Bring friends. The menu is huge.

  42. Marc Montoni

    I have been attending National Conventions since 1998. For some time now, every two years I meet my tax accountant at the convention, and take her out to dinner. (I would take her boyfriend, too, if he have came to one of these.) So in 2012 I looked not for very long at the prices at the two hotel restaurants. Then we took a cab to and from a superb Thai restaurant in Las Vegas, $60 or so each way. (The shuttle schedule did not mesh with ours.) The tab was still less than eating in the hotel.

    You must be kidding. I discovered Ed and Alicia Clark standing in the same restaurant line at dinner as I was in — which gave me a chance to thank them for what they did for me in 1980 — by buying them dinner.

    I don’t recall spending more than $40 for all three of us, plus I got to spend a few minutes with a hero of mine.

    Priceless.

    There were a lot more than 2 restaurants at the Red Rock.

  43. Mark Axinn

    I cannot opine about ersatz Las Vegas, which I avoided, but both Denver and St Louis were in great locations with plenty of other things to do within walking distance. (Like George, I walk 1.5 miles each way to work and so my definition of walking distance may be different from others.) In both cities, I found many, many restaurants and other entertainment, including a Mets/Rockies game in 2008 and going up the St. Louis arch in 2010. (They also had a great zoo and park, but that required a car to get to.)

    The hotel in Columbus is in a good location, a bit south of Ohio State and an incredible strip of fun bars and restaurants. Stewart is right about the sucky elevators, and I hope those will be repaired, but otherwise it’s a nice city convenient to an awful lot more Libertarians than Vegas is.

    The Rosen Center in Orlando will also be a great locale. Outside in the heat and the mud is a bit too Woodstock for me. I did Harvest Fest this year (with Judge Gray!) and that’s not really appropriate for a political party’s national convention.

  44. George Phillies

    I was referring to the quality restaurants, not the buffet places.

    Oh, yes, then there were the people who when asked about eating establishments start talking about food courts.

  45. George Phillies

    There were two very nice restaurants, the Italian place and the Steakhouse. I can’t imagine feeding three people a full quality dinner for $40 in either of them.

  46. Seebeck

    “Your proposal for Ontario, while it may well have been good, got to the LNC Friday night before the Saturday meeting. There was no chance it would get read and considered in that time frame. ”

    So IOW either the LNC are very slow readers or had closed minds and were unwilling to even look at a proposal outside of their pre-ordained result. Got it. My point stands.

    “If someone (e.g. Starchild) asks that the convention committee, etc. consider doing things differently, it’s “get off your ass and do it yourself.”

    If someone (e.g. Seebeck) gets off his ass, does it himself and presents a proposal, it’s “that’s what we have a convention committee for, fuck off.””

    Yup. About sums it up.

  47. Seebeck

    In a past and maybe future career I did catering, and one gig was for 5000 people on a 5K run fundraiser, in a public park, in the snow, hot food. The logistics were crazy but somehow we got it done–and that was just a proverbial ton of spaghetti, tomato sauce, breadsticks, and beverages.

    Now add in more elements besides food.

    To do a park convention one has to figure out tents for the main meeting and the side meetings, power and PAs to both, plus food and drink, seats, restrooms, and the supporting infrastructure for the delegates such as the credentials and registration, Internet, more power, etc. etc. etc. These are the details of an outdoor convention, and that’s just off the top of my head. Most of that stuff a hotel or convention center has built in, which makes the task a lot easier. That’s why the LNC goes that route.

  48. Tom Blanton

    I think a lot of people would rather have a convention at Chuck E. Cheese’s than outside. The pizza ain’t bad and there are games to play with cool prizes. Chuck E. Cheese’s used to sell beer and maybe they still do, but you can always go out in the parking lot to your car to get high or bang a hooker.

    By using video linked teleconferencing, folks could stay in their own hometown Chuck E. Cheese’s and have them all linked across the country. That way people could just sleep at home instead of staying in a hotel.

  49. Starchild

    Stewart Flood @9 – “Starchild insists that… most of the members would rather meet in a park (outside) than in a building.”

    That is incorrect — I have never insisted any such thing.

    Given a range of different options ranging from our traditional upscale hotel model to a festival-type event more like the Porcupine Freedom Festival (which still has some events indoors, btw), I really don’t know what kind of conventions our members might prefer. To my knowledge, we have never polled them on the question.

    Stewart further writes, “…nor is (Starchild) willing to investigate and determine how we’d even manage to run a convention outdoors…”

    Holding an outdoors convention is not the only non-hotel possibility. I’m simply asking that the party’s site selection process actively consider and investigate affordable convention locations other than hotels, and not automatically leave some options (such as a campground site like PorcFest uses) off the table.

    The LNC has a Convention Oversight Committee which “shall make recommendations for convention sites to the LNC” (LNC Policy Manual, p. 26 – https://www.lp.org/files/PolicyManualupdated12NOV2012.pdf ).

    I believe this committee should be formally tasked with giving due diligence and consideration to researching non-hotel venues as well as hotels when conducting its site searches.

    I volunteered to be on the Convention Oversight Committee, and would be happy to help do the work on a site search such as described above, but Geoff Neale has showed no interest in appointing me. My impression is that he and Mark Hinkle want to send me off to do the work on my own without it being part of any formal process, so that it will be easier for them to ignore or dismiss any findings and not have them on the record.

  50. Starchild

    James Donovan @36-38 cites several non-hotel facilities where large meetings can be held. I’m not sure a full-on convention center type place would be cheaper or offer many other advantages over a hotel, but the links he posts list a number of options.

    Other people have suggested college campuses, retreat centers, or community centers as possible locations. Remember, people don’t have to sleep in the same venue where the business sessions and other events will be happening, although it’s good to at least have accommodations nearby or readily accessible.

    Some of the notable problems with hotels, and why I’d like to see the LP consider other venues for its conventions, are as follows:

    • We cannot sell our own food and beverages. This could be a huge potential source of fundraising. Say 1,000 people attend an LP convention and each of them spends an average $50 per day on food and drinks. For a 3-day event, that would be $150,000 in revenue we’re missing out on. Now I realize it’s not quite as simple as just being able to pocket that revenue — we’re not in the restaurant or catering business, after all. But at a venue with looser rules about such things, we could have some limited food and drink sales from LP booths or hosted bars, and charge additional food vendors a fee to come in and operate on-site and vend to our attendees. I’ll bet we could easily net in the mid 5-figures. Wouldn’t it be nice to attend a convention where all the food and drink money you spent could go towards the cause of freedom?

    • We are invisible in the big hotels. They typically limit our ability to put up signage that would make us visible to people passing by their facilities. Even guests in the same hotels often don’t realize we are there! The hotels usually do next to nothing as far as advertising our presence or letting us effectively advertise ourselves on-site.

    • They typically require blocks of hotel rooms to be filled in exchange for allowing us meeting space. This discourages the party from actively trying to arrange for people to have affordable places to stay with local activists, in cheaper venues nearby, and so on.

    • They typically require expensive catered meals and no-host bar receptions as part of the deal. This drives up the prices we have to charge people to see our speakers and other events in order to get the same return. And it discourages the party from making other, less expensive competing events available, or publicizing those that are available.

    • The hotels are boring, sterile spaces with too many rules and regulations. Want to use the pool or hot tub at night, when you actually have time to do so after all the scheduled activities are over? Too bad. Want to put stuff up on the walls? Rules against that. Want to party after hours in your suite? Gotta make sure you stay quiet. And don’t let them catch you smoking anything.

    • Everything on-site is expensive. Unless it’s specifically negotiated for as part of the deal, or it’s built into the cost of your high-priced hotel room, everything you might want, from snacks to Internet to parking to business services typically costs more than it would most places.

    • Limited space for vendors. In the hotels, space is typically at a premium. Want another 1000 square feet? That will cost extra. The result is that LP convention planners tend to feel they can’t afford to let vendors come and set up without charging them a pretty penny, and not that many show up. If we had virtually unlimited space for vendors (as we might at some other types of facilities), we could invite tons of them to come and not charge them anything to have a table. Here in San Francisco, and I believe lots of other places, you often see large-scale trade shows and other events with lots of vendors where people pay $10 or $20 cover to get in the door, mainly just to have a specialty shopping experience. If we had tons of vendors at LP conventions, that in itself would be a draw that would boost attendance significantly. And of course some of the vendors themselves might purchase packages, buy food and beverages from us, listen to our speakers, etc.

    • The types of events we can have on-site are severely limited. Having a wider variety of activities attracts a wider variety of attendees. Festivals like PorcFest (see http://porcfest.com/schedule/), or the Harmony festival in Marin County California (http://www.harmonyfestival.com/attractions/index/Page-4.html), have all kinds of things going on. But if you want to have, say, an anarchists vs. minarchists softball game, or a firearms safety class, or a mini waterslide for kids, where are you going to do that at a hotel? Basically you’re not.

    No camping facilities. Camping is basically the cheapest way to go when traveling, because you bring your own tent and don’t have to pay for a room. It’s not for everyone, but many people enjoy it, and having it as an option can make the difference for some people between a convention being affordable, or not affordable. Hanging out in a campground at night, sitting around the campfire, etc., also has its charms, even if you’re going back to a room afterward rather than sleeping in a tent. Ask someone who’s gone to PorcFest. But is an upscale chain hotel like the LP typically has its conventions at ever going to have camping right nearby, let alone on-site? Fat chance.

  51. paulie

    I was referring to the quality restaurants, not the buffet places.

    Oh, yes, then there were the people who when asked about eating establishments start talking about food courts.

    There were mid range places too. Red Rock had a wide variety of different kinds of restaurant choices. I had a lot of other complaints about that place, but restaurant selection was not one of them.

  52. paulie

    “Your proposal for Ontario, while it may well have been good, got to the LNC Friday night before the Saturday meeting. There was no chance it would get read and considered in that time frame. ”

    So IOW either the LNC are very slow readers or had closed minds and were unwilling to even look at a proposal outside of their pre-ordained result. Got it. My point stands.

    It’s not that they are slow readers necessarily, but Friday night before the meeting they are socializing, discussing how they will vote, discussing what they think of proposals they have already read and thought about, coming up with motion text and parliamentary procedure strategies, and so on. Reading a brand new proposal is not part of the Friday night agenda. It doesn’t mean they have closed minds either, maybe some do, but I know several of them (at least if they were being honest) had a hard time deciding between Dallas and Vegas, even as the vote was taking place. Had you given them your proposal with enough time to consider it, I don’t think it would have been dismissed out of hand. You’ve been on state committees, so I’m sure you know about how Friday night before a meeting goes.

  53. Thomas L. Knapp

    Starchild @ 66,

    Those are all great points in the context of how LP conventions are currently planned and implemented.

    However, that context is precisely the problem.

    The Libertarian National Convention is a business meeting.

    That’s what it is and that’s all it is.

    Everything else around that business meeting might be cool or interesting or make the business meeting more attractive, but it is not the business meeting, and therefore it is not the convention.

    The LNC should take one of the two most direct routes to fulfilling its mission of putting on the convention. Those two most direct routes are:

    1) Renting a meeting venue with the attendant PA system, chairs and such; or

    2) Taking bids from contractors to provide said meeting venue for “free” in return for vendor and event rights in the surrounding space.

    It’s not the LNC’s job to make sure that hotel accommodations are ritzy enough. Or cheap enough. Or even available at all.

    It’s the LNC’s job to hold a fucking business meeting. Everything else is optional and the LNC should get out of the circus and dinner theater business.

  54. Todd Maxwell

    As interesting as delving into the meat of the convention ideas is, I don’t think that’s the real story here. Those discussions have been going for years here on multiple threads and it is unlikely anything new will be said, or that the LNC will be any more inclined to listen.

    The selection of who is on the LNC is skewed by who attends these conventions (for the reasons Starchild mentioned), by the fact that it costs thousands of dollars a year in travel expenses to be on the LNC, and by the fact that having these kinds of biases already inherent in who gets to be in party leadership means that those in the leadership have some sway over many things…speaker selection that attracts attendees or doesn’t, influencing the votes of delegates who are not as knowledgeable about the people running, and so on.

    That means that the cycle of having meetings in expensive hotels and selecting LNC members who have a bias for same is not likely to be broken regardless of what people say in IPR comments. And, the next two conventions are already decided, so this LNC may not even be deciding on another one anyway…and if they do, it’s not likely to be anywhere except at a high priced hotel.

    Thus, given that it’s somewhat of a moot point what we think about this, the issue of board decorum seems somewhat more timely, even though that hasn’t been the focus of most of the discussion.

  55. Marc Montoni

    Knapp has summed it up nicely.

    The LNC and the convention committee members they appoint have chosen to remain willfully ignorant of how the D & R conventions turn into big parties with lots of events and rock stars — without any cost to the participants, or the parties (other than getting there and finding lodging). It’s called using your Convention Host Committee to raise corporate unlimited cash.

    Several LNC members (and worse, convention committee members), say straight to my face that corporations won’t donate to the LP’s Host Committee because we have nothing to offer them.

    Which is pure BS based on speculation.

    The truth is no one has ever asked them.

    We have occupation/employer information on our database, and there are HUNDREDS of business owners including corporate CEO’s in it.

    Just asking them would be a start.

    The speakers, classes, breakout sessions, parties, etc have NOTHING to do with the Business of the convention.

    The Business meeting can be arranged extremely cheaply, even at fancy hotels.

    It’s just that LP leaders and most members don’t understand how to separate (mentally or financially) the obligatory vs the optional programming.

  56. Byron Long

    “Which is pure BS based on speculation.

    The truth is no one has ever asked them.”

    Well, what do we have to offer them? It can’t be access to influencing legislation, as with the larger parties.

    We have occupation/employer information on our database, and there are HUNDREDS of business owners including corporate CEO’s in it.

    These are primarily small business corporations, not the kind of large corporations that can blow hundreds of thousands of dollars sponsoring a party conventions, especially for a party that can’t do much for their business interests. It may be that small handful of large corporation CEOs are LP members, although I’m not aware of any of the top of my head. But even if there are, it doesn’t mean that they have unilateral power to spend huge amounts of their corporations’ money on convention sponsorships. They would probably have to take something like that to their corporate board, which is not likely to have a large number of LP supporters.

    You are right that this is speculation, but it’s based on logic.

  57. Darryl W. Perry

    I’m helping organize the first Keenevention this fall. The main organizer was able to work out a deal with the Best Western Sovereign Hotel in Keene to allow us nearly unlimited use of the conference room (8a-midnight) for 3 days for under $2,500! There was no agreement to fill up rooms. The only downside is that we can’t offer our own food. Though a local agorist cook is offering to host a shindig for the speakers & VIP’s at his house.

  58. Byron Long

    DWP @ 75 That’s good, but it’s unlikely that the Best Western would have a big enough meeting room for a national convention.

  59. Byron Long

    “Thus, given that it’s somewhat of a moot point what we think about this, the issue of board decorum seems somewhat more timely, even though that hasn’t been the focus of most of the discussion.”

    Yes, there should be some rules for that.

  60. Darryl W. Perry

    @77 – I don’t recall the capacity. Besides, my main point was that conference rooms CAN be booked at reasonable rates without the need to agree to fill up (a portion of) the hotel.

  61. Stewart Flood

    @73,

    There may be some LNC members who believe that corporations won’t donate, but I can assure you (as a member of the COC for two terms) that we did not ignore the issue.

    Several of us, including myself, lobbied to have the LNC form the federal committee that we are allowed to create and that must exist to have corporate sponsors.

    Debate of this issue goes back to long before 2006 when I first was elected to the LNC. In the six years I was on the LNC there were never more than about a third of the LNC (including myself) who wanted to seriously consider creating the committee.

    I ran a company for ten years that had a larger budget than the LNC (not that hard to do actually), and have served on boards of non-profits including two that I founded. I was certainly not the only LNC member on the board those three terms who understood what it takes to run an organization, but I can assure you that there were a number of LNC members who were clueless.

    No, the LNC has not ignored it. The delegates at the convention and the regions that are formed continue to elect just enough people who should NEVER be serving on a board to put the screws to actual progress.

    Yes, conventions could be done much better. We do not need to all be in the same hotel. Half of our delegates don’t stay there anyway.

    I was heavily involved in the selection process for 2016. So was Mr Knedler. Between us and the other COC members we made sure that 2016 was a great deal and what should be a great location.

    I was also involved in 2014, and I voted against the selection. It is a bad hotel and a bad venue. If — and I seriously mean IF — the hotel makes the improvements and changes they said were going to be done before our convention then it may end up being a “tolerable” convention.

  62. Starchild

    Darryl @75 – Do you think there might be a room available as part of that event for an LNC meeting (i.e. accommodate maybe 40 people or so)?

    Those meetings reportedly cost the Libertarian Party $2500 each, on average. I believe that’s total cost, not just the cost of the meeting rooms themselves, but it’s nevertheless an expenditure I consider unjustifiable and would like to see brought way down.

    It could also be great for LNC members to get a first-hand taste of what’s going on in Keene, don’t you think?

  63. George Phillies

    @81 Flood is right about corporate donations to convention costs being legal, if you have the correct legal parts in place. Unfortunately, the LNC is about the way he described it, too.

  64. Darryl W. Perry

    @Starchild – please contact me privately via email editor(at)FPP.cc and I will find out if we can accommodate. How long would the meeting last?

  65. Starchild

    Corporate donations are not without their risks. Large amounts of money being given by institutions may well come with strings attached, even if those strings are not immediately visible.

    Sadly, it’s not difficult to imagine Libertarian leaders making unacceptable compromises, or engaging in routine self-censorship or censorship of others, rather than doing something they thought might jeopardize a lucrative relationship with a big corporate donor. Especially if they happened to be the ones in charge of deciding where the money goes!

    I do think there are things we could do that would lessen those risks, such as implementing a solid crowdfunding or project-based fundraising approach that allows us to raise lots of money via this more bottom-up approach, adopting strong ideological standards for becoming a decision-maker in the LP, taking steps to disperse and flatten out power within our organization, and making sure that LP leaders (including powerful staff members) are rotated out of office regularly (perhaps via term limits), etc.

  66. Stewart Flood

    @86,

    Crowdfunding is certainly an option, but there are ways for corporations to sponsor without having strings.

    For example, some readers may not be aware that the LNC does not receive any of the money for vendors present at the convention. That is always out-sourced and the “profits” given away to another entity. There have been three different organizations running the conventions during the time I was on the LNC. In each case, more money could probably have been raised, and the money could have been used to defray certain convention costs if there were a federally authorized convention committee.

    You may want to “flatten out power”, but while that sounds good on paper, unless you also institute real qualifications and documented experience to even allow someone to seek the office you will only make matters worse.

    There are LNC members who consult astrologers before voting. Really. There are LNC members who vote the way they are signaled (or in some cases literally handed cards) from non-LNC members in the audience. There are LNC members who vote lock-step with the instructions given to them at the “secret” Friday dinners before each LNC meeting.

    These are facts, documented by online broadcasts of the meetings, “testimony” by former members who have attended the meetings, and by other members of the audience who have seen the notes handed out and in some cases literally read from at the table!

    And you want to “flatten out” power? Good luck.

  67. Todd Maxwell

    Reasons for large corporations to support major party conventions:

    1. Large parties with many seats in congress, governorships, state legislatures, and so on have the power to steer major contracts, custom tax loopholes and corporate welfare their way, or pass taxes and regulations to hinder them, or award benefits to their competitors.

    2. Those conventions are broadcast on national TV networks, allowing them many opportunities for advertising.

    3. Large numbers of members of their corporate boards are supporters of these parties.

    4. There are tens of thousands of people in attendance, including many reporters with national media networks that these corporations advertise with.

    Which of these reasons can the LP credibly sell to any significantly sized corporation? Put yourself in the role of an LP salesman as well as in the role of a corporate executive and do some Q and A.

    That does not mean don’t try, but the LP’s resources are limited; it’s not a likely proposition that anyone will put a lot of time into finding corporate sponsors absent some good reason to believe it will have some success. If Marc thinks he can do it, and is willing to try or find someone who will, I’m all for letting him take a stab at it.

    As a starting point, Stewart mentioned that some legal structure has to be in place first. Is the current LNC aware of the steps it would need to take to put such a structure in place? You may want to write all of the LNC members to inform them of such an option and what it would take.

  68. Stewart Flood

    They are aware of it. I believe that some may fear the committee could go rouge the way the LNCC has. And of course some just don’t get it. Or maybe their astrologer doesn’t.

  69. Todd Maxwell

    Maybe some of them are aware. I would not assume they all are, unless you specifically wrote all of them about it this term, given that there are many new members and others who have returned to the committee after several years absence and may have forgotten even if they knew. I don’t remember ever seeing it discussed on the reflector, so I would think at least some of the members of the current LNC have not been informed about it.

  70. Stewart Flood

    Another factor that you need to keep in mind is that while the LP wouldn’t get corporate sponsors at the same financial level as the D/R conventions, our convention doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as their’s — and probably never needs to.

    I believe that we’d get a reasonable number of small/medium size sponsors and we’d do just fine.

  71. Stewart Flood

    They are aware. Half of the LNC is not new. I just went through the list, and I am 100% positive that at least 13 of the 18 members know they can create a committee.

  72. Andy

    Starchild said: ” taking steps to disperse and flatten out power within our organization, and making sure that LP leaders (including powerful staff members) are rotated out of office regularly (perhaps via term limits), etc.”

    I also brought up the possibility of term limits being instituted as well. I can see the pros can cons on each side of the issue. What does everyone else here think about term limits for the LNC?

  73. Todd Maxwell

    Stewart,

    Maybe that many of them know, or maybe you are assuming that anyone who has ever been told knows. Some of them may have forgotten, since people have lots of different things to think about and limited memories and attention spans. A reminder wouldn’t hurt.

    Or maybe they do all know and remember, although I doubt it. Maybe some of them oppose the idea, for whatever reasons, legitimate or not. If the other 5 or however many are informed as well, maybe some of them will want to implement it, which will cause whoever does not want to implement to at least explain why not?

    Or maybe they would even win the argument if you manage to start one. Since I haven’t see any LNC members on record about this idea, how about getting them on the record? If you are unwilling to write them, please at least list the 13 full members and 4 alternates you say already know so someone else can write the rest.

  74. Thomas L. Knapp

    TM @ 88,

    A reason you left out for corporations (large or small) to support party conventions (major or minor):

    A political party of any significant size at all will have, as attendees at its convention, a certain percentage of people who are in a position to spend money on the things those corporations sell, and whom it would benefit those corporations to make a sustained and favorable impression on.

    What — you thought that Dell, Inc. sponsored that local charity golf tournament because they thought maybe the shop pro would help Michael Dell with his swing, or introduce him to Tiger Woods? No, they sponsored that local charity golf tournament because a certain percentage of the people playing in or attending that tournament may, at some point, have to decide what brand of computer to put on every desk in the new data center.

    To stay on IT as a corporate sponsor opportunity, my offhand guess is that any given LP convention, there a non-trivial number of people who are IT decision-makers or decision-influencers for businesses they own or are employed by, and who carry weight in the 5, 6 and even 7 figure range. And I doubt Michael Dell would think twice about popping five figures for what are usually called “the big TVs over the stage” to instead be prominently labeled “The Dell Jumbotrons.”

  75. Todd Maxwell

    Also, please explain exactly what it is they know (you alluded to it but did not fully explain it) so if someone else wants to write them they would know exactly what they are talking about.

  76. Todd Maxwell

    @97 was a continuation of @95; however TLK @96 makes a good point. Maybe LNC members are reading, and/or will get forwarded this discussion.

  77. George Phillies

    Consult an astrologer…I knew there was a scientific explanation for LNC behavior.

    Thank you, Stewart.

    We continue to await your revelations about the deep background of the LNC.

  78. Todd Maxwell

    At this point I have given up waiting and concluded that Stewart is most likely making things up or exaggerating them. I am quite open to being proven wrong, however – I will no longer assume he has anything all that shocking or damning until and unless he actually produces it.

    Boy, wolf, etc.

  79. Andy

    Stewart Flood said: “You may want to ‘flatten out power’, but while that sounds good on paper, unless you also institute real qualifications and documented experience to even allow someone to seek the office you will only make matters worse.

    There are LNC members who consult astrologers before voting. Really. There are LNC members who vote the way they are signaled (or in some cases literally handed cards) from non-LNC members in the audience. There are LNC members who vote lock-step with the instructions given to them at the ‘secret’ Friday dinners before each LNC meeting.

    These are facts, documented by online broadcasts of the meetings, ‘testimony’ by former members who have attended the meetings, and by other members of the audience who have seen the notes handed out and in some cases literally read from at the table!

    And you want to ‘flatten out’ power? Good luck.”

    Do you think that any of the individuals whom you are describing above are plants? If so, for whom do you think they may be working? What do you think their goals are?

  80. Michael H. Wilson

    May I suggest have people contact the local convention bureau in their town and get prices. We need a room for about 1000 to 1200 people seated at tables with audio visual equipment for 3 maybe 4 days.

    Just start asking. Then compare these prices with what was spent in Vegas baby.

    I’ll contact the Seattle bureau and just ask for a quick price. We don’t want people spending a lot of time on it because it may not work out. Tell them that and see what you get in return. Then submit the numbers here as itemized as possible. No one in any convention bureau should spend more than ten minutes on this quote.

  81. Stewart Flood

    No, I’m not making it up. I have given a summary of most of what took place. Dr Phillies wants details, which of course make for a better story for readers.

    There is a controlling group, which we sarcastically call the hooded key holders. Most of their leaders are no longer on the LNC, but they still influence votes from the sidelines.

    Quite frankly, I have been too busy trying to actually make some money the past year to worry about writing it. But I have NEVER deleted any of the email. I have the invitations to the dinners.

    At some point this year I will find the time to sort through and create the document that needs to be handed out at the 2014 convention. They know it is coming, so why give them lead time to respond?

    Ask Knedler if he attended Friday dinners where a quorum (50%+) of LNC members were present, and discussion and decisions on how to vote on issues took place. Ask Olsen. Both have mentioned it. Olsen was only at one dinner, because he left the room and started talking about the meeting to members who were not invited.

    Anyway, Phillies has some of it. Others have parts as well. But Phillies and others will not like all that I have to say since I did not always disagree with them. They were not always wrong.

    Remember, BOTH sides were in agreement on Oregon. Only a few members disagreed and their opposition was based on historical prejudice against other LNC members, not on the merits of the case.

  82. Andy

    Stewart Flood said: “There is a controlling group, which we sarcastically call the hooded key holders. Most of their leaders are no longer on the LNC, but they still influence votes from the sidelines.”

    Would you say that this “controlling group” of “hidden key holders” (as you refer to them) are plants/infiltrators? If so, for whom do you think they are working? What do you think their goals are?

  83. George Phillies

    @103 Hand out at next convention.

    That is too late. People will not read it and have time to digest it. There is a historical example of this at an LNC convention, a handout — not one of mine — that would have worked if it had been mailed reasonably in advance.

    I will be happy to read what you have to say. After all, I might learn something. This sort of history is not right or wrong, it is true or not so true.

  84. Stewart Flood

    No. I have no reason to believe that any of them are plants or infiltrators. I also have no reason to believe that their beliefs are not libertarian.

    This is a case of opposing factions of the party and their fight to control the way the party is managed.

    There is clearly a difference between libertarians who want to return government to the functions outlined in our Constitution and those who believe that there is no reason to have anything at all.

    That is a much larger discussion for another time, but it is clearly at the heart of the internal battle within the LP.

    Some people in the two factions hate the other side and detest their positions. I actually believe there are four factions, but again this is a larger discussion for another time. Neither “side” trusts the other to lead the party.

  85. Seebeck

    @69:

    “but Friday night before the meeting they are socializing, discussing how they will vote, discussing what they think of proposals they have already read and thought about, coming up with motion text and parliamentary procedure strategies, and so on. Reading a brand new proposal is not part of the Friday night agenda.”

    IOW, it wasn’t convenient to them to take a few minutes out of their drinking and cabal strategizing to read a 3-page proposal that they were informed in advance was coming. Got it. My point still stands.

    Excuses abound for their laziness, don’t they?

    If they truly represent the members, and a member gives them something on point and damned serious to examine, they better pull their heads out and examine it. Otherwise they aren’t doing their job, and I don’t care what time it is–it’s part of what they agreed to do. As a state party officer myself with a region with more members in it than most regional reps had, not to mention most states, when a member talked, I listened.

    I guess having that same expectation of the national leadership was too high of an expectation.

  86. Marc Montoni

    Todd, I share Stewart’s opinion, where he said:

    Another factor that you need to keep in mind is that while … the LP wouldn’t get corporate sponsors at the same financial level as the D/R conventions, our convention doesn’t cost anywhere near as much as their’s — and probably never needs to.I believe that we’d get a reasonable number of small/medium size sponsors and we’d do just fine.

    That is all I meant. I’m not so daft as to expect a $100 million extravaganza. However, raising $25 to $50k is well within reach.

    That’s enough to 1) get rid of the idiotic floor fee, 2) do a bit more external marketing, and 3) do more internal marketing to get more people to show up at the convention.

    Further, I do not share your concern that LP members who happen to be CEO’s who direct some of their company’s discretionary wealth towards the LP would be looking for some quid pro quo once we get elected.

    For one thing, they know damn well we can’t get elected at any level at which we can throw them some scraps yet (basically that’s state & federal); for another, I know a few of them and they don’t donate to the LP for any reason other than they support its aims.

    I have a somewhat higher opinion of my fellow Libertarians than some do.

    Now, where you said:

    That does not mean don’t try, but the LP’s resources are limited; it’s not a likely proposition that anyone will put a lot of time into finding corporate sponsors absent some good reason to believe it will have some success. If Marc thinks he can do it, and is willing to try or find someone who will, I’m all for letting him take a stab at it.

    Personally I wouldn’t lift a finger to do any such thing until such time as the LNC passes a permanent policy eliminating all floor fees for the Business Session.

    The LNC is well aware that the convention can be funded by unlimited and unreported donations. For the last three conventions that I know of, perhaps more, the LNC has chosen to **give away** the unlimited revenue available. I believe the 2012 revenue went to LSLA.

    After giving away the money that should have been used to offset convention costs, they then turned around and whined about how much the “free riders” cost the LP every convention — to justify their illegal imposition of a floor fee.

    Most of the people who have been supportive of this dishonest way of doing business are pat of the note-passing faction that still runs the national committee.

  87. Seebeck

    BTW, the night before state meetings I never engaged in that strategizing bullshit. Hell, in some cases I was at home simply sleeping prior to a morning flight up north day of the meeting. I always winged it, because it is logically impossible to schedule for the unknown, even if one can predict it. My purpose was not to play political Stratego but to get the damn job done right. That was what guided me, and I let the chips fall where they may.

  88. Todd Maxwell

    “That is all I meant. I’m not so daft as to expect a $100 million extravaganza. However, raising $25 to $50k is well within reach.

    That’s enough to 1) get rid of the idiotic floor fee, 2) do a bit more external marketing, and 3) do more internal marketing to get more people to show up at the convention.”

    Maybe so. But just as with Starchild, those of you who are pushing the idea don’t want to actively make it happen, or even find anyone that will. Hell, you won’t even tell us what the legal structure is that you alluded to that the LNC needs to set up for this purpose. The messages I saw on the reflector showed LNC members claiming they are not allowed to raise corporate funds no matter what. And it was not contradicted by anyone on that list as far as I remember.

  89. Todd Maxwell

    “Further, I do not share your concern that LP members who happen to be CEO’s who direct some of their company’s discretionary wealth towards the LP would be looking for some quid pro quo once we get elected.

    For one thing, they know damn well we can’t get elected at any level at which we can throw them some scraps yet (basically that’s state & federal); for another, I know a few of them and they don’t donate to the LP for any reason other than they support its aims.

    I have a somewhat higher opinion of my fellow Libertarians than some do.”

    That was Starchild, not me.

    It’s not impossible that some Rootatarians might steer the party that way, though.

    But generally I think you are right, at least at this stage of the game.

  90. Todd Maxwell

    “Personally I wouldn’t lift a finger to do any such thing until such time as the LNC passes a permanent policy eliminating all floor fees for the Business Session.”

    Chicken and egg.

    Some of them may genuinely believe it is the only way to keep the party from losing money on conventions, or keep a “free rider” problem from growing exponentially. If you prove otherwise, they will no longer have that excuse, whether it is genuine (and for some of them it may be) or not.

    “The LNC is well aware that the convention can be funded by unlimited and unreported donations. For the last three conventions that I know of, perhaps more, the LNC has chosen to **give away** the unlimited revenue available. I believe the 2012 revenue went to LSLA.”

    On the contrary, the claim I have seen them make is that they are NOT allowed to do it, so they HAVE to give it away to someone. I don’t feel like looking up the message(s) now, but I could.

    “After giving away the money that should have been used to offset convention costs, they then turned around and whined about how much the “free riders” cost the LP every convention — to justify their illegal imposition of a floor fee.”

    They may have seen it that way, or they may have lied. Either way you take away the excuse if you prove that you can raise enough to offset convention costs.

    “Most of the people who have been supportive of this dishonest way of doing business are pat of the note-passing faction that still runs the national committee.”

    Please define who these people are. Are Neale, Cloud and Hinkle part of the faction? Because I think they are all floor fees supporters. Yet they also claim to not be allies of Starr, Mattson et al, who are allegedly faction leaders. Can someone keep these factions straight for me please?

    Or better yet never mind the factions and lay the cards on the table – show the rule that says what procedure they need to follow to set up a committee that can raise money in this manner, and show that it can raise money in the range you are talking about, etc.

    Then you take away the excuse for floor fees, so you win. Otherwise you don’t do what you say that you can, they continue to have an excuse they would not otherwise have for floor fees, which get imposed again and again and become the new norm, and who wins?

  91. Marc Montoni

    Maybe so. But just as with Starchild, those of you who are pushing the idea don’t want to actively make it happen, or even find anyone that will.

    That’s almost a fair cop, but not quite.

    The difference is that Starchild has NO data to substantiate his claims.

    What I’m claiming is documented on the FEC website and in newspaper articles which I have referenced both here and to members of the LNC. The data has been presented but it is being ignored. Those who aren’t ignoring it are the ones who have engineered the funneling of money to the LSLA in 2012, for instance — they already KNOW unlimited donations — including corporate — can support the convention.

    They just choose to hand it over to other purposes than supporting the convention.

    Here’s my offer: I would happily be involved in an effort to raise corporate unlimited cash if they agreed to give up floor fees — with a contractual agreement that it will be permanent if the first round proves successful. I can help only once — due to health reasons, I may not be around for conventions subsequent to 2014 — so I’d want the result to be something durable.

    “Successful” means enough is raised to cover the alleged “povertarians” who supposedly “freeload” at the convention.

    Here’s a hint: The 2012 committee admitted (see the convention financial report) that the revenue given away to the Starr-controlled LSLA basically covered the revenue collected from the floor fee.

    Oh, and much of it was from corporations. Oh, and there were no limits on contributions to the LSLA’s convention activities.

    LNC members, in discussing convention funding, have repeatedly made public statements that “we” couldn’t take corporate contributions. That’s a true statement – the LP cannot – but it’s an answer to a question that no one asked. It’s their way of deflecting the FACT that they have deliberately chosen to give money away on the one hand, and then whined about “freeloaders” on the other.

    To me, that’s DISHONEST, and MANIPULATIVE.

    I’ve spent thirty years organizing events from two people to two thousand, both for the LP and for a few other organizations with which I have been involved. I have some idea on what it takes to bring people into a room, and how much it costs to do so. Both the LNC members who don’t understand convention host committee funding, and Starchild, need to work on their data-gathering skills.

    Hell, you won’t even tell us what the legal structure is that you alluded to that the LNC needs to set up for this purpose. The messages I saw on the reflector showed LNC members claiming they are not allowed to raise corporate funds no matter what. And it was not contradicted by anyone on that list as far as I remember.

    Well, I don’t need to supply that structure because a simple Google search reveals that the FEC has already supplied it, complete with instructions.

    Funding political parties ain’t rocket science, and neither is funding conventions. The other guys keep showing us how to get around limits, but we never seem to want to take advantage of the loopholes their six-figure-salary legal and consulting helpers find.

    Our loss.

  92. Marc Montoni

    Some of them may genuinely believe it is the only way to keep the party from losing money on conventions, or keep a “free rider” problem from growing exponentially.

    The “free rider” … “problem” has never gone beyond about 10-15% of convention attendance. I started going to conventions in 1985. I believe 1987 one was a Bennett one and there was a modest floor fee, but the ones after that were floor fee optional, until 2010.

    A former national director, Shane Cory, crunched the numbers a couple of times and outright said it wasn’t a significant cost factor.

    If you prove otherwise, they will no longer have that excuse, whether it is genuine (and for some of them it may be) or not.

    I do not believe it is genuine. Thus my reluctance to play in their rigged sandbox. I have much better things to do with my time than waste it on proving something that’s already been proven.

    On the contrary, the claim I have seen them make is that they are NOT allowed to do it, so they HAVE to give it away to someone. I don’t feel like looking up the message(s) now, but I could.

    I haven’t seen such a statement from any of these people, but I’ll take your word for it that one or more may have covered his obsession [for floor fees to keep out the riffraff] with such a statement.

    “After giving away the money that should have been used to offset convention costs, they then turned around and whined about how much the “free riders” cost the LP every convention ­ to justify their illegal imposition of a floor fee.”

    They may have seen it that way, or they may have lied. Either way you take away the excuse if you prove that you can raise enough to offset convention costs.

    Convention financial report. LSLA financial report. Who am I to argue with those?

    “Most of the people who have been supportive of this dishonest way of doing business are pat of the note-passing faction that still runs the national committee.”

    Please define who these people are. Are Neale, Cloud and Hinkle part of the faction? Because I think they are all floor fees supporters. Yet they also claim to not be allies of Starr, Mattson et al, who are allegedly faction leaders. Can someone keep these factions straight for me please?

    I used the word “most” to mean they are not all members of a particular faction. I said it to underscore the fact that as long as these people continue to be involved, there will be NO changes in attitude toward either floor fees or convention funding. I have NO worries that I will ever be taken up on my offer [to help raise convention cash as long as they agree to abolish floor fees permanently].

    Without such an agreement, well, I’m not going to raise money for these people — who would then cast their eyes upon it, look over at me and say “Oh, we were just kidding,” and proceed to throw it wherever they want. Like I said, I have better things to do.

    I am nevertheless free to speak out against behavior I believe to be dishonest.

    Then you take away the excuse for floor fees, so you win. Otherwise you don’t do what you say that you can, they continue to have an excuse they would not otherwise have for floor fees, which get imposed again and again and become the new norm, and who wins?

    I’m not so naive as to think the new norm hasn’t already been established. As long as these people keep getting elected, nothing will change. As long as nothing changes, I will continue to point to the holes in their excuses.

  93. Thomas L. Knapp

    The “free rider” problem with LP conventions is exactly the opposite of the problem posited by those who usually use the term.

    It is one of the LNC’s few clear and indisputable dues to put on a business meeting (a “convention”) every two years. That’s one of the things the LP’s sustaining members and contributors are paying for with their dues checks and additional contribution.

    Attending an LP national convention as a delegate to do the party’s business, with no desire to purchase tickets to concurrently scheduled speeches, concerts, circuses, freak shows, etc., or to rent the Zsa Zsa Gabor Honeymoon Suite to sleep in, is not “free riding.”

    Insisting that everyone who wants to attend the convention and do the party’s business — an event which THE PARTY’S MEMBERS HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR BEFORE IT OCCURS — must buy a “package” of extraneous crap in order to do so is the “free riding.” It’s demanding that everyone else subsidize your desire to be entertained as a condition of being allowed to do the party’s work.

    It’s free-riding bullshit, and using it in the opposite manner is Orwellian.

  94. Scott Lieberman

    Libertarian National Convention:

    St Louis 2010

    175/666 = 26% of the Delegates got in for free.

    That percentage is double what Mr. Montoni claims in his comment above.

    If you don’t believe me, ask Robert Kraus.

  95. paulie

    Scott, did you read the whole thread? I’m interested in your opinion of the idea Flood and Montoni are discussing for a host committee.

  96. Marc Montoni

    Paulie, he doesn’t give a rat’s ass. It’s useless even talking to him.

    He and the rest of the LNC already know damn well a convention host committee can support the convention — as stated, they voted to give away a wad of cash from vendor tables to the Starr-captured LSLA.

    They already *know*. All of them.

  97. paulie

    Well, I’ll try to broach the subject on LNC list and see what happens. But maybe not, I seriously need to go work more and waste time on the computer less. I’m supposed to be up for work in 3 hours, and I highly doubt that will happen.

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