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Chairman of Libertarian State Leadership Alliance, Brett Bittner, Resigns

brett bittner

For background, please  read this article .

Brett Bittner

3:37 PM (2 hours ago)

to LP-State All,

I am saddened by the recent actions and reactions that ground down action and discussion about REAL politics, taking up the valuable time that many of us invest in advancing Libertarian ideals. I am saddened that petty personal politics have obscured the view of a Libertarian future to continue to focus on one state’s internal squabble that has occupied far too much of my (and others’) time.

I will not waste yours with an accounting of the many times this issue has been before me, but it exceeds a single hand’s counting ability.

Today, we saw the news that the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Georgia decided it best to withdraw from the Libertarian State Leadership Alliance. I withhold my opinion of that action, the discussion with the state leadership that precipitated the vote taken, and my personal opinion of what is the right action to take.

I believe that the mission and direction of the LSLA is one that adds value to the state affiliates and their leadership and enjoy the company of those with whom I’ve worked in my varying capacities since joining the Executive Board in 2012. I’m proud of the activities undertaken to meet that mission and direction, especially with our efforts at the 2013 annual meeting and conference in Colorado in May.

I also believe strongly in doing what is right, even when what I believe to be wrong tacks an “easier” path. Further, I believe it is wrong to have someone in leadership of an organization that cannot maintain the membership from the people that person represents. The Chairman of Georgia acted to withdraw Georgia’s participation, and I cannot stand in opposition or defiance of that decision.

It is with regret that I inform the state chairs and the Executive Board that I must relinquish the Chairmanship to do what I believe to be right. Simply put, I cannot serve as Chairman of an organization in which my own state terminates their participation, regardless of my personal desire or commitment.

Live Free,

Brett C. Bittner
brett.bittner@lpgeorgia.com

Executive Director
Libertarian Party of Georgia

Chairman
Libertarian State Leadership Alliance

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” — Thomas Jefferson

About Post Author

Jill Pyeatt

Jill Pyeatt is a small-business owner and jewelry designer from Southern California. She currently serves on the Judicial Committee of the Libertarian Party of CA. She can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

24 Comments

  1. Wes Wagner Wes Wagner January 16, 2014

    I wish Bittner the best and hope that he will continue to focus all of his attentions on Georgia. It is an excellent state organization with incredible potential to accomplish even more. He and the team there have done great things and I expect even better.

  2. George Phillies George Phillies January 16, 2014

    A wise and tactful statement. Well said!

  3. Stewart Flood Stewart Flood January 16, 2014

    This brings up an interesting prospect: if California were to leave the LSLA, would Mr Starr no longer be eligible to be a member of its board?

  4. Dave Terry Dave Terry January 16, 2014

    The greatest test of loyalty since Robt E. Lee resigned from the U.S. Army
    three days after his home state of Virginia seceded from the Union.

    Was it courage or cowardice? The jury is still out!

  5. Wes Wagner Wes Wagner January 16, 2014

    How large of a cash donation would California like to make this happen?

  6. Stewart Flood Stewart Flood January 16, 2014

    Of course I was joking. By leaving the LSLA, these two states have abdicated their right to vote in the election of a new board in June.

    Whether that will be a factor is unknown at this time. There is certainly the possibility that other states will leave, which will mean that there could be two competing leadership alliances holding elections at the convention.

    Ground Hog day continues…

  7. Wes Wagner Wes Wagner January 16, 2014

    Well I figured it would just be deliciously ironic to go throwing money around in California in order to influence their politics there like I was important enough to be doing that and it was perfectly fine and ordinary.

  8. Nicholas Sarwark Nicholas Sarwark January 17, 2014

    Of course I was joking. By leaving the LSLA, these two states have abdicated their right to vote in the election of a new board in June.

    I’m pretty sure that’s incorrect. As I posted in another comment thread, LSLA membership is definitional in their bylaws, so all state chairs of LP affiliate parties are voting members.

    This brings up an interesting prospect: if California were to leave the LSLA, would Mr Starr no longer be eligible to be a member of its board?

    Alas, there are no qualifications in the LSLA bylaws for membership on the executive board, so it doesn’t matter if one is a state chair or not, nor does it matter if your home state is an active participant.

  9. Stewart Flood Stewart Flood January 17, 2014

    But if a state votes to leave the LSLA, how can their chair vote? The chair of that state affiliate would be going against the wish of the organization that he or she is a leader of.

  10. Steve M Steve M January 17, 2014

    if all the states leave then who is the lsla leading and what is its value?

    and no it isn’t like two competing state parties because the lsla doesn’t have ballot access. (something that has value)

    the lsla’s value is when it provides useful services and when it’s services aren’t useful then it is a negative value added.

    Wes would argue that with respect to the Libertarian Party of Oregon the LSLA’s services were a negative value.

    This leads up to the concept of brand name value. Is the brand name of the LSLA have positive value? if it does then it might be worth trying to elect a board that provides positive value services. But you could also argue that leaving the LSLA brand to a keep a few people busy and stripping it of its perceived powers is a better use of a damaged brand.

  11. Bruce Alexander Knight Bruce Alexander Knight January 17, 2014

    Whatever. The LSLA has given the Oregon party nothing but trouble, and we will have nothing more to do with it.

  12. Mark Axinn Mark Axinn January 17, 2014

    Brett Pojunis (NV) and I have each urged Brett Bittner to reconsider, but his mind is made up.

  13. Steve M Steve M January 18, 2014

    I think the Libertarian Party of Georgia is correct and that Brett Bittner is doing the right thing by leaving and thus taking away support. The LSLA needs to correct its behavior or disappear.

    I guess I am going to for the second time send my dues in to the Georgia LP even though I don’t live there. They get my vote.

  14. Nicholas Sarwark Nicholas Sarwark January 18, 2014

    The LP GA leaving the LSLA prompted the resignation, the LP GA coming back to the LSLA would probably prompt Bittner’s return.

    The LSLA recognizing the chair of the LP OR would cause the LP GA to return to the LSLA.

    So all Mssrs. Axinn and Pojunis have to do is convince the LSLA to recognize the chair of the LP OR.

  15. Steve M Steve M January 18, 2014

    I don’t think that just recognizing the current LP of Oregon is sufficient. That would not acknowledge the damage that the LSLA has done in the past to the Oregon LP.

    The leadership of the LSLA has to acknowledge the roll that they have played and take responsibility for any harm that they have done.

  16. paulie paulie January 18, 2014

    From: Geoffrey Neale Date: Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM
    To: statechairs@lp.org
    Cc: lnc-discuss@lp.org

    I have directed staff to establish a new discussion list called lsla@lp.org

    I have requested it to be set up exactly the same as statechairs@lp.org.

    The new list has been created, but I will be requesting that Aaron Starr verify that the new list is functionally identical to statechairs@lp.org. Once this is verified, administration of the statechairs@lp.org will be handled by LPHQ staff exclusively.

    I have made this decision because we seem to be lacking in any written policy or agreement between the LNC and LSLA, and the lack of an agreed upon policy is problematic. By establishing two lists, staff can limit access to those affiliates recognized by the LNC, and the LSLA can control who is on their distribution lists.

    This does not answer the question over whether or not the LNC should be hosting a distribution list for an outside entity, but will provide an interim solution until the LNC as a whole can decide the questions concerning the LNC and LSLA relationship. Additionally, I do not know to what degree the LSLA has granted their board the authority to negotiate an agreement. It may well be that a policy decision on the part of the LSLA may need to wait for a decision of the body as a whole, which might not happen until June.

    It might not be a pretty solution, but it does not hamper the ability of any affiliate to communicate. In this case, it seems to me that cutting the baby in half was the best choice available.

    Geoffrey Neale

    Paulie) Thank you Geoff. This makes sense. LSLA should not use LP.org servers at all if they do not agree to recognize all the same affiliates as LNC at all times, but in the meantime this will be good for at least having announcements from HQ, the Secretary, etc go to the correct set of people. As yet unadressed,to my knowledge:

    1. LSLA running the vendor booths at the national convention again?
    2. LSLA using convention meeting space
    3. LSLA meeting being promoted in official convention promotion materials as a quasi-part of the convention
    4. LSLA appointing members of affiliate support committee

    I remain hopeful, but still pessimistic (although somewhat less so) that the LNC will not allow any organization that as a matter of both fact and policy does not now and always recognize all the same affiliates as the LNC does to be their state affiliates as well to remain officially affiliated with the LNC in any of the above ways.

    From: Scott L.
    Date: Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 12:17 PM
    To: lnc-discuss@hq.lp.org

    I don’t have any problem with the above move by the Chair. Given the circumstances, it was necessary for him to do “something.”

    However – think about how this discussion will look to a rank and file LP member when they are looking at this thread on Starchild’s LNCDiscussPublic e-mail list.

    We are suffering from one of the biggest power grabs by a President in the history of this country; the Republican Party is basically impotent; and here we are creating new e-mail lists because of a food fight between two groups of disgruntled Oregonians.

    Paulie) I share Dr. Lieberman’s frustration that the LNC has not been able to get more done to make the LP as a whole more effective in the larger political world. I wish I shared the optimism about the Republicans being basically impotent, but I’m afraid they are still very much a dangerous and persistent nuisance to America and the world, and not only to those stuck in hours of traffic created for reasons of political revenge around the George Washington Bridge (I used to live just a couple of blocks from its other end in NYC). However, I don’t think it’s OK for a group that is officially recognized by the LNC in the above named ways to pick and choose which of our affiliates they recognize and which ones they replace with groups of their choosing. It’s even less OK that we would use such a group to make announcements intended to go to all state chairs. Although I believe it would be irresponsible for us to not deal with that issue as LNC, I do hope we can find more time to discuss and hopefully implement more ideas for making the LP more effective in the world at large. It is unfortunate that we have to deal with such minutia from a larger perspective, but someone has to and we are the ones who have volunteered to be the ones to do it and been elected to do so.

    Paulie)It’s also a bit late to protest our attention being diverted from the global stage when big chunks of the LNC’s time this term have been taken up by matters like how we address each other, meeting cost, reimbursements and locations/changes, list confidentiality, internal audits, numerous policy manual changes, etc. etc, etc. I too wish such things just took care of themselves and we could do more important things that make us a stronger organization. But they don’t, and we aren’t. So, how will this look on the reflector? Better than a lot of what we do, unfortunately.

    SL) If we aren’t spending a significant majority of our time coming up with ways to help our affiliates elect more Libertarians to public office, then we are not doing a good job as a governing board.

    Scott Lieberman

    Paulie) We do need to be more effective at enacting libertarian ideas into policy, by, among other things as listed in the purposes section of the bylaws, electing more Libertarians. And we do need to be better at serving affiliates. It certainly doesn’t serve them to have an official relationship with an organization that does not recognize all the same affiliates that we do, however.

    ———-
    From:
    Date: Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 12:23 PM
    To: Geoffrey Neale , Statechairs , statechairs@lp.org
    Cc: lnc-discuss@lp.org

    Chairman Neale, et al –

    I have asked Brett to put this on the agenda for the next LSLA meeting, assuming he decides to stay on. If not I’ll be making the request of the Vice Chair.

    Paulie) I thought he already resigned?

    KM) Personally I believe it makes sense for LSLA and LP.org to be separate, as I have previously expressed to various individuals. I’m over-cautious when it comes to FEC stuff.

    If there are other statechairs who would like to chime in, now is the time.

    Ken

    Paulie) Good point on FEC.

    ———-
    From:
    Date: Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 2:22 PM
    To: scott73@earthlink.net
    Cc: lnc-discuss@hq.lp.org

    Scott.. To me this is not about a food fight between two people….but who is acknowledged as our official chair of a state…..National needs to ensure they are fair but once a decision is made…only one person should be called chair of a state… Doug Craig

    Paulie) I agree!

    ———-
    From: Brett H. Pojunis
    Date: Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 4:27 PM
    To: lnc-discuss@hq.lp.org, lsla@lp.org, State Chairs

    LNC & Statechiars…

    I think this is a complete waste of time. We need to focus on building the Nationally Party as well as each State Party. The purpose of having the LSLA and the Statechairs IMO is to collaborate together and share ideas.

    Paulie) Unfortunately that can’t be the case when we are not all on the same page as to who our affiliates are and are not. That should be a given between the two organization.

    BP) In Nevada, I took over a huge mess that myself and the new Ex Com have been cleaning up.

    Paulie) Thank you. I believe you are off to a good start there.

    BP) have never been a Statechair and I hope that I could rely on other Statechairs to assist us when we have questions or need advice.

    Paulie) I believe you will still have that ability.

    BP) I think the LNC doesnt need to have a list for the Statechairs until they actually provide real affiliate support, otherwise I dont need to be communicated by them on anything in Nevada. So once real value is being created from National to the states (other than ballot access) there is no reason for them to be part of the conversation.

    Paulie) We do have official communications that go from HQ staff and the chair, secretary etc of the LNC that need to go to state chairs and they can’t go to a list that is different from the chairs recognized by LNC. That is just not OK. Recent examples of such communications include reminders to send news to LP news, information about LP News advertising, and delegate allocation at national convention.

    BP) The LSLA should have a Statechairs list that should be active and people should be working together. I feel there should be better communication and collaboration among the states and the LSLA should be in the middle of it. With that said, I would like to see additional value from the LSLA as well. In lieu of just a annual convention we should be working on training and supporting the affiliates.

    Thoughts?

    Best,

    Brett H. Pojunis

    Paulie) Someone certainly needs to do it, LNC, LSLA or both. Maybe someone else. But someone does. I can help but I can’t do it alone.

    From: mark axinn
    Date: Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 5:09 PM
    To: Brett Pojunis , “lsla@lp.org” , LP-State Chairs

    Hey Brett–

    As you know, I have been a state chair for the last four years. The purpose of the state chairs/lsla listserve is so we can all communicate with each other about our successes, ideas, problems, issues, etc.

    Here is what statechairs/lsla list is not for: deciding who is the chair of any affiliate. Thankfully, that is decided by others, not by us.

    Paulie) It would stop being a problem if LSLA would agree to recognize the same affiliates as LNC. It can do so now by agreeing to recognize Wagner, who will still not join your list because he wants other preconditions. The only practical effect would be to remove Burke (and Reeves, who rarely ever posts anything if ever) from the list. As you know this is the course I have recommended and will continue to recommend. You should amend your bylaws at the next meeting so this never becomes an issue ever again. You may also want a bylaw that LSLA exec comm members should be current members of state leadership in their states.

    MA) We are here to support each other, as many of us have faced the same issues before and as some of us (like you) have good knowledge in areas where others (like me) don’t (BTW, what is a facebook and is it something I should know about?).

    Paulie) It is too late for some of us but those who have not yet been sucked in should save yourselves while you can! More seriously, yes, it seems to be where a lot of communications take place nowadays. But it can also be dangerously addictive.

    MA) Many states are underfunded and struggling. Some like mine have good volunteer organizations with several active local chapters but little money. Too few have offices, ED’s and a few bucks so they can be more effective.

    I really don’t care how we can all communicate so long as that objective remains in place. Otherwise we are 51 people running around in the dark.

    Mark Axinn
    New York

    Paulie) Not recognizing the same affiliates as the LNC at all times takes LSLA away from serving that goal. It also distracts the LNC and other people. So it should no longer be an option.

    Paulie
    ALT 7 LNC

  17. Nicholas Sarwark Nicholas Sarwark January 18, 2014

    I don’t think that just recognizing the current LP of Oregon is sufficient. That would not acknowledge the damage that the LSLA has done in the past to the Oregon LP.

    From my reading of Mr. Craig’s original email withdrawing from the LSLA, it would be sufficient for LP GA to come back to the LSLA, and thus for Mr. Bittner to rejoin the LSLA Executive Board (should he wish to do so).

    The leadership of the LSLA has to acknowledge the roll that they have played and take responsibility for any harm that they have done.

    I strongly doubt any public contrition will be forthcoming from any of the players involved. I’m happy to be wrong about that, but I doubt it.

    In any event, this is politics, not beanbag. If you get wrapped up in apologies and acknowledgments (what people say), as opposed to actions such as getting the LP OR chair on the LSLA list (what people do), you’re doing it wrong.

    Sadly, there are many in the LP who can’t accept victory with grace and then move on with the business of advancing freedom.

  18. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt Post author | January 18, 2014

    It’s interesting that Scott Lieberman thinks this is just a food fight between two disgruntled groups. I think it has to do with whether the LSLA is a credible organization or not.

    I believe I’ll see Dr. Lieberman today at our Southern California conference, as well as Kevin Takenaga. I will attempt to talk to Kevin about this and ask him to take a stand for Georgia and Oregon.

  19. Steve M Steve M January 18, 2014

    SM: The leadership of the LSLA has to acknowledge the roll that they have played and take responsibility for any harm that they have done.

    NS: I strongly doubt any public contrition will be forthcoming from any of the players involved. I’m happy to be wrong about that, but I doubt it.

    I don’t think it will happen either. (so much for individuals taking responsibility for their actions) I also think the LSLA brand is has been damaged by this and may cause harm to those who continue to associate with it. It comes down to repairing the damage or dumping the organization. If those in the LSLA don’t work on repairing the damage, which they don’t seem inclined to do, then the choices are to change the leadership or bail from the organization.

  20. Steven Wilson Steven Wilson January 18, 2014

    The LSLA, and all other national organizations within the LP, should be shut down. There is no need to verify listings or protect information if there is no central format. All of these problems are self-inflicted.

    By now, it appears the Vegas convention never took place.

  21. Andy Craig Andy Craig April 24, 2015

    I don’t know if it’s been posted, but Bittner has been named the new head of Advocates for Self-Government. The World’s Smallest Political Quiz will be featured on Stossel tonight, along with Gary Johnson. I couldn’t find for sure if Bitner will be on the show, but I think somebody from Advocates will be since Stossel is promoting their link to the Quiz.

  22. paulie paulie April 24, 2015

    I forwarded that to IPR writers, but I’m not sure if it was mentioned in the comments. I think it did get mentioned on the LNC list.

  23. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt Post author | April 24, 2015

    He’s been listed that way on the LPEX site, also, and has for a few weeks at least. It didn’t realize it was new news.

  24. Jill Pyeatt Jill Pyeatt Post author | April 24, 2015

    Paulie, I’m not getting IPR notices on my new email account yet. My old one gets shut down April 30th.

    Here’s my new address: jcpyeatt@hotmail.com.

    Do I need to contact Warren about that?

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