Open Thread for Questions for Geoffrey Neale and Nicholas Sarwark, Candidates for Chairmanship of LP

nicholas sarwarkgeoffrey neale

At this time, there are two gentlemen who have announced that they’re running for the position of Chairman of the Libertarian Party, Geoffrey Neale and Nicholas Sarwark. Mr. Neale is the incumbent. The choice will be made by delegates at the National Convention , which will be in Ohio on June 26 to 29. Here is an open thread to ask questions, which will hopefully then be answered by both candidates.

146 thoughts on “Open Thread for Questions for Geoffrey Neale and Nicholas Sarwark, Candidates for Chairmanship of LP

  1. Kevin Knedler

    The same invitation offered to both candidates for chair. Come visit the Ohio delegation. You might want to consider that Ohio and the great Hoosier state of Indiana have 100 confirmed delegates which will range from 15 to 20% of the total convention. Bring your “A” game with the vision and plans for driving the LP brand forward. We are all business and don’t have time for the drama, internal squabbles, and inner focus. We need to get some people elected. Thank you and good luck to both of you. Kevin

  2. Mike K

    Kevin,

    Is it true that LP Ohio took money to increase membership, thus increasing delegate counts?

    Please explain the process.

    Thanks!

  3. LP Observer

    So the topic will change from the focus on moving the party forward and electing the natinoal chair to something that frankly is permitted? Surprised that other states haven’t thought of this. Better than telling people they can’t sit in their own home state delegation with family and friends.

  4. Wes Wagner

    Question for both candidates:

    When do you believe is the most appropriate time to pass the torch of leadership on to the next generations and how do you propose to do so?

  5. Geoffrey Neale

    Mr. Wagner,

    That is an excellent question!

    I think the time depends upon the person. Some people are ready to assume the role of leadership earlier than others. Some on the current LNC should have passed it along long ago. Some people keep a young perspective longer than others. Some people die at 18 and are buried at 65.

    One aspect of leadership is giving younger people the chance to lead, and I would welcome this. Half way into this term, I proposed putting different people on the EC, and was not well greeted. It’s not that the current EC members are bad, but maybe there are better people waiting for a chance. Why not give them that chance?

    Personally, I have always chosen to take breaks from the LNC. I have never served more than two terms consecutively, because I need to “recharge”. Term limits? I have no problem with the concept.

    For me, it is not this term, but it is not far in the future. In order to do this, I want an LNC with an average age around forty, not approaching sixty. Maybe the regions should consider this too. Send lots of young people, and I will give them opportunities to lead.

  6. Nicholas Sarwark

    Kevin,
    Thank you for the invitation, I will take you up on it and happily answer any questions from the Ohio delegates (and any others).

    Wes,
    The appropriate time to pass the torch is when someone else steps up to take the torch and the delegates agree that it’s time for someone new. I think that time is now and I think that next torch-holder is me. We will see in Columbus if the delegates agree.

  7. Starchild

    Geoff,

    As you know (though other readers may not), the Libertarian National Committee just concluded voting on a motion by Norm Olsen, co-sponsored by Arvin Vohra, Brett Pojunis and myself, to limit the ExCom to acting in cases where there is not time for the entire LNC to vote:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    “Whereas the primary purpose of the LNC in delegating its authority to an Executive Committee is to enable the Executive Committee to respond promptly to events and conditions which require immediate and/or urgent attention; and

    Whereas the membership of the party is entitled to know how all of its officers and representatives stand on all matters concerning the operation of the party, and especially the disbursement of funds, to the largest degree reasonable;

    Therefore, it is resolved that section 1.01, sub-section 3, of the Policy Manual is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph to the reference sub-section:

    This delegation of authority is made solely as a means for the LNC to act promptly in such cases that immediate action is necessary to reduce or avoid a potential harm or to gain or enhance a specific benefit. Unless otherwise specifically excepted elsewhere in this manual, the Executive Committee shall not conduct business:

    * for which there is no need for immediate or urgent action, or

    * which could have otherwise been considered by the entire LNC without potentially incurring harm or losing benefits.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Although as chair you often choose not to vote on motions, you voted against this motion.

    As you know, I’ve often pushed during the past term for us to make the party’s leadership more open, transparent, and participatory.

    My perception has been that you have for the most part not been a voice in favor of this.

    In fact you have repeatedly given me a hard time about advocating for more bottom-up governance and transparency, which have been my main objectives during my term on the Libertarian National Committee, and the kind of changes that would encourage and enable more non-insiders to get involved.

    You have further declined as chair to appoint me to a single LNC committee, despite my repeatedly expressing an interest in serving, and it is my impression that this refusal is directly related to my championing of transparency.

    I wish you were more consistent in wanting to give non-insiders more opportunity to lead.

  8. Starchild

    I’m guessing George Phillies’ comment (June 6, 2014 at 6:56 pm) that “The opposite of passing the torch is four year terms, locking matters in for too long” is in reference to a recent op-ed piece by Geoff Neale printed in the Libertarian Party’s newspaper. As noted on the LP Radicals email list by Marc Montoni:

    “In the April issue of LP News, Chairman Neale made his case for a By-Law change which will be proposed at the Columbus Convention. The specific By-Law addressed proposes to change the term of LNC officers and At-Large representatives from two years to four years.”

    I share George’s implicit criticism that this would move things in exactly the opposite direction of the idea of term limits which Geoff claims to “have no problem with” (in his comment above at June 6, 2014 at 4:38 pm).

    Such a Bylaws change would clearly tend to decrease turnover in the party’s leadership, and in my opinion, contrary to being about any kind of positive change or reform, amounts to a de facto attempt to further strengthen the power of the leadership at the expense of party members, by eliminating half of the membership’s opportunities to throw those leaders out of office when meeting as delegates in convention.

  9. Mark Axinn

    I spoke with Geoff Neale last in April, before he declared for a second term, and with Nick Sarwark last night.

    We are truly blessed to have two truly-dedicated Libertarians who both recognize the tremendous amount of work being National Chair entails, and who are each willing to put in the time and effort to move the LP forward. Neither appears to be running for his own self-promotion. Both of them have many friends and very few enemies.

    Two excellent choices for the delegates to choose from. I look forward to hearing more from both of them.

  10. Geoffrey Neale

    Starchild, I am not seeing questions for Nick and myself in your post.

    I will presume that you are first asking why I voted as I did, then asking my position on participatory involvemnt, openness and transparency, in that order.

    As to the motion, I wrote: “I might vote for just the new inserted Policy Manual language, if it also specifically excepted directives from the LNC to the EC that are not in the Policy Manual – like what the LNC voted for in December. Without that language, I cannot.”

    You are correct that I often do not vote, but this is a case where the new language missed a most important exception – when directed by the LNC. I see that as a fatal flaw, and voted that way. By the way, I wrote the above BEFORE the motion was formally submitted. The motion was not amended to address my legitimate concern, but it could have been. Then I would have voted in favor, and early.

    My major objection to participatory democracy on the LNC is that I think this kind of change should be in the Bylaws. That would mean that the delegates would choose to mandate this. If they do, then I would not object, but I think the arguments against it would make it very difficult to pass. First is that I believe the vast majority of members want the LNC to take the time and make decisions, because they do not have the time to make informed decisions, or do not want to make the time to make informed decisions. I could be wrong, but either way, I will follow the dictates of the delegates. The second reason is that I strongly believe that you underestimate the costs in enacting something like this. After all, in order for members being able to vote, we would have to figure out how to credential each member who votes. We also would have to consider quorum. I do not think that our members would like a system where a minority of un-elected members cast deciding votes. In order to be binding, I think that quorum ought to be 50% + 1 of the members, and I do not foresee where that many people will choose to actually vote.

    As to openness, I have been and continue to be in favor of more of it, and have been more open than past LNC’s have been. When we replaced an at-large rep, and the Secretary, and in our elections for Platform, Credentials and Bylaws, I actively promoted these openings on multiple lists so that the LNC could choose from as wide a list of candidates as possible. I do not, as a practice, like “back room deals”. That being said, I have no doubt that I have also chosen expediency over openness on occasion, but I’m working on breaking old habits.

    Then we come to the magic word – transparency. I am glad you have moderated your language to “more transparency”. I wish you had worked for that, rather than total transparency. We might have made some real progress this term.

    We cannot have total transparency, because there are inherent conflicts between transparency and confidentiality. Total transparency would mean that we should publish all donor and member information, including credit card and bank account information, and of course no sane person would advocate that. If it was not for the FEC regulations, we would NEVER publish any donor information without their explicit permission. We are bound by Federal code to keep certain employee information confidential, and we cannot afford to pay the fines associated with violating Federal statutes. Attorneys will not deal with us or counsel us if we do not respect the client attorney privilege. We most certainly could publish the user id’s and passwords to the LNC bank accounts, but that would be stupid. Because we cannot be totally transparent, we should decide how transparent we will be. In other words, the LNC should set a transparency policy, so we are all playing from the same set of rules. No one on this committee proposed such a policy.

    However, there is an associated cost of transparency. If we decided to publish all invoices and receipts of all transactions online, someone would have to perform that act, which would cost time for staff, which would take them away from politics and other administration.

    I still have no objections whatsoever to crafting a policy for transparency. However, must it be me that crafts the proposed document? Why not you?

  11. Nicholas Sarwark

    Geoff asked:

    What is your vision of the proper role of the LNC?

    My answer:

    The LNC provides direction and vision for the national Libertarian Party.

    It speaks on national issues.

    It assists those state affiliates that need assistance, it engages in political activity that advances the Libertarian Party nationally.

    It ensures that ballot access is secured in as many states as possible and also engages in strategic litigation, lobbying, and public relations to change onerous ballot access laws.

    It focuses relentlessly on growing the Libertarian Party, with no tolerance for sniping or petty infighting.

    It solicits Libertarian activists to work on its committees to bring in voices and ideas from the trenches, and requires LNC members to roll up their sleeves to do work as well.

    One day, we will have so many robust state affiliates that the LNC will no longer be important. It is the role of the LNC to hasten that day.

  12. Mark Axinn

    Starchild–

    Is four years too long to be Chief Executive of the United States?
    Is fourteen years too long to have a term on the New York State Supreme Court?
    How about life terms on the federal bench?

    I believe there is much value in the concept of a staggered Board with four year terms (I would not want them all ending simultaneously), and welcome more discussion of Geoff’s proposal. A clean sweep every two years is not necessarily beneficial. The first half of the new term is learning curve and the second year leaves very little time to implement any real change, if that is what is desired.

    To get back on point, perhaps Geoff and Nick can address this subject.

  13. Starchild

    Geoff Neale did, as he says (June 6, 2014 at 4:38 pm), propose putting different people — well, one different person — on the LNC’s Executive Committee. He suggested in February of last year that one of the three non-officer members, Bill Redpath, Jim Lark, or Dan Wiener, might be voted out or agree to step down in order to bring some “young talent” into rotation.

    I supported his idea, and said so at the time. In fact, reaction to the proposal was not that negative — of the several LNC members who commented in response to Geoff’s proposal, only Dianna Visek clearly came out against it. John Jay Myers said we “shouldn’t vote for people because of their race, sex, or age,” but I think he was mainly responding to Dianna’s touting Alicia Mattson’s bid to be appointed LP secretary.

    In any case, Geoff apparently did not push the idea any further after initially suggesting it.

  14. Starchild

    Mark – Given the current condition of the United States, I would say that the turnover of the chief executive position could not happen too frequently! And yes, I think judges’ terms are far too long. Like diapers, politicians should be changed frequently, and for the same reason!

    While the circumstances of the Libertarian Party are not (yet?) quite that bad, I think it would definitely be a big mistake to move in the direction of longer terms for party leaders. If delegates want Geoff to serve a 4-year term rather than a 2-year term as chair, they will have the opportunity to reelect him in Columbus.

    I’m not sure there’s ever been a clean sweep of the LNC in the party’s history, and I would be quite surprised (though not greatly disappointed) if it were by some fluke to happen this year.

  15. Nicholas Sarwark

    I don’t have a problem with four-year, staggered terms for the LNC. I don’t think the delegates will vote for longer terms until the LNC has earned sufficient trust with a record of positive action.

    At present, if you want your preferred LNC member to have a four-year term, you have to show up at the interim convention to re-elect him/her. Given how uncommon that has been lately, I don’t see the idea of making four-year terms automatic as being popular enough to pass.

  16. Geoffrey Neale

    Starchild, in my “Chair’s Column” where I wrote about the proposal to go to four year terms, I wrote: “My first thought on this is that it will be met with significant opposition, because many will argue that it’s a “power grab”. This reason alone is why I was reticent to cast a vote in favor of this proposal, because of this perception, but the benefits that such a change would provide convinced me that the delegates need to consider this change.”

    Nowhere in that column did I actually endorse it. I still have mixed feelings, one of which is whether or not I would still be a candidate for Chair if this Bylaw proposal passes. Committing to four years is a big deal. I wrote about this for two reasons – I’m expected to write a column for every issue, and I already mentioned another proposal that I pleaded for, not just endorsed, that being able to hold electronic meetings. This seemed like an appropriate topic for a column.

    I also believe in being open, and not hiding a proposal that is potentially this contentious in the middle of a document that few will actually take time to read before the convention. Also, I knew that we would be polling the members before the convention, so the Bylaws Committee can choose to drop this if the opposition is high. Instead of sneaking this in, I went public. I think that exemplifies openness and transparency.

    I also think your position is extremely valid, but I have found in my terms on the LNC that the members that need throwing out are just as often regional representatives and alternates that cannot be thrown out by the delegates, and terms limits would address that. It’s also why it is unlikely to ever get a required vote of the delegates.

    You can consider this as self-serving if you wish, but wouldn’t it have been more devious and effective to try to hide it? You see, I think that controversial changes should be considered. I do not believe in just repeating past patterns. I’m in favor of trying new ones. Also, some changes need to be mulled over, sometimes for years.

    I say let the delegates decide.

  17. Mark Axinn

    Excellent responses, all.

    Thanks.

    Next question for the Chair candidates:

    How do we increase exposure for the Libertarian Party beyond our tiny pond?

    Related question:

    How do we counter the “extremist wackadoos who just want to smoke pot and not pay taxes” depiction that the statist mainstream media loves to utilize?

  18. Starchild

    Geoff,

    I have never been for the kind of “total transparency” that you seem to accuse me of. I don’t want or need to know about your personal life, or what you ate for breakfast (unless the Libertarian Party was paying for it, in which case I want to know how much it cost!).

    Regarding party employees, I have never suggested that we should disclose their Social Security numbers or any other personal information about them that we are legally prohibited from disclosing!

    When it comes to LNC business, I have said that I am okay with secrecy of limited duration in cases where transparency would put individuals or the party as an organization at risk of being victimized by unjust government laws, or where the premature disclosure of some strategy would really do grave harm to the party or the movement.

    And of course I am not suggesting that we publish passwords to our bank accounts for the world to see! That’s so absurd I can’t believe you mentioned it.

    Nevertheless it’s absolutely true that I think very little of what the Libertarian Party leadership currently keeps secret actually needs to be kept secret. Certainly much of what we have discussed in “executive session” this term (the euphemism for secret meetings) does not.

    Furthermore:

    • I do not think what we pay LP staffers should be kept secret.

    • I do not think the terms of contracts that the party enters into should be kept secret. Possibly there might be some hypothetical exceptions, but I can’t immediately think of any.

    • I do not think that discussions among members of the Libertarian National Committee discussing party business should be kept secret.

    No, that last point doesn’t mean that I’m going to write up and publish the contents of every single conversation relating to the party that I have with anyone else on the LNC. It would take far too much time, and few people would care. But if someone did choose to write those conversations up and publish them, I would have no objection.

    And absolutely I do not think what we talk about on our official LNC-discuss email list should be kept secret!

    If you don’t know what your representatives are doing, you can’t hold them accountable. And if you can’t hold them accountable, then you’ve lost control of your organization.

  19. Starchild

    Geoff Neale writes (June 7, 2014 at 8:51 am), “Starchild, I am not seeing questions for Nick and myself in your post.”

    If you spent more time here Geoff, you’d be familiar with the fact that’s not how IPR works! There weren’t any questions to you or Nick in that post. Commenters on this site routinely deviate from narrow topic descriptions, and within a few very broad and liberal constraints, pretty much say whatever they want.

    It’s a beautiful thing. 🙂

  20. Steven Wilson

    To both candidates.

    1. Do you believe that ballot access is the sole domain of the LNC or do you believe this is the domain of the particular state? Both/Combination?

    2. If you believe that the LNC should deal with ballot access financially, then how would you deal with fundraising for petitioning for signatures? Top down?

    3. If ballot access is the domain of the LNC per each state, then should the LNC have the right to credential the candidates running for that state for the election cycle in which the LNC funded ballot access or should that remain with the state party?

    4. If a state party went rogue or seceded from the national LP, but wished to keep the LP logo and keep its principles the same as the national LP: what would you do for that state party? Punishment?

    5. As chair, do you believe that donated funds for general operations should be spent on specific races on individual candidates?

    6. As chair, would you support a matching fund mandate for federal candidates? By this I mean, if a candidate got $3,500 dollars for their campaign, would you support them by matching them dollar for dollar ($3,500 from the LP)? Specific races? Minimum amount of funding? Source of candidate funds?

    7. As chair, please list the top five reasons/utlity for having a permanent office for the national LP.

    8, As chair, would you be open to internet based LNC meetings or do you maintain the present course of rules for meetings?

    Thank you for your time. I wish you luck on your candidacy.

    Steven

  21. Geoffrey Neale

    Two good questions, Mark

    The first is one that I have given considerable thought to over many, many years. I think it is essential to run visible campaigns for public office, but by doing so, we must acknowledge that we are attacking where our enemy is strongest.

    My strategy is inspired by Sun Tzu: Appear at points which the enemy must hasten to defend; march swiftly to places where you are not expected.

    For 25% of the two year election cycles, the airwaves are filled with campaigns, the roads are filled with campaign signs, and it’s hard for our candidates to get noticed. However, for 75% of the time, the only noise is from elected officials,

    I want to run many, many ads promoting the LP OUTSIDE of campaign season, where the ad costs are lower, and there is no competition. We can be the only message on the airwaves. By ads, I mean any kind of ad – tv, facebook, etc. I have developed a plan to do this using the theme “You might be a libertarian”. The concept was approved by this LNC, but it will take resources. If we can get sufficient volunteers, we can make it pretty cost-effective. I estimate that we should be able to start running spots in test markets for around $50K. IMO, this needs to be the next step for us. The objective is not to immediately get members, or donors, but to create a presence where we have none, and motivate people to get in touch with LOCAL libertarians first. By the way, I want the tone to be fun, snarky, youth-oriented – not educational.

    The second question is more difficult. How do we promote being an organization that welcomes diversity, yet still wants to appeal to mainstream America too?

    I have never favored mandatory dress policies, but everyone who shows up at LP events is in effect the poster child of the LP. Of course the media will choose the most outlandish, non-mainstream member to make our unofficial poster child. It’s in their interest of protecting the status quo.

    Now to be real, from what I just wrote, many LP members are seeing an image of Starchild in their mind. I find his choice of dress at LP Conventions to be amusing and entertaining, and the only problem I have with his dress is precisely that the media chooses to interview him and show him as the poster child of the LP, where he really should be viewed as the poster child for our inclusiveness,

    But he’s not the only one. At the last Texas convention, there seemed to be a measurable Duck Dynasty contingent. That’s not mainstream America either.

    I am not willing to give up my libertarian principles to try to force people to change. Perhaps the only hope we have is enlightenment. Perhaps if our poster children realize that they are presenting the opposition with gifts rather than threats, they will choose to not give free guns and ammunition to the enemy to use against us. I certainly hope they do.

  22. Geoffrey Neale

    Starchild,

    I am a “put it in writing” kind of guy, because it’s much easier for everyone to play from the same game plan if there is a game plan. No progress has been made on transparency because it never went beyond discussion. The LNC can only act on motions. As Chair, I cannot dictate anything to the LNC – it’s the other way around. Anyone on the LNC could have proposed a motion at an LNC meeting, yourself included.

    I am troubled by the Executive Sessions. If re-elected, I will be making a Policy Manual change proposal. If not, maybe someone else will take this forward.

    Currently, we can go into Secret Meetings with a vote of the LNC, but the only way to leave, since it’s not a meeting, is by some kind of “feeling” that it’s gone on too far, which it always does. My proposal is that the LNC may not be in Executive Session for more than one hour. When an hour is up, the Secret Meeting ends. The LNC may then vote to go back into Executive Session again. Since it would require a majority vote to move into Executive Session on any cycle, it will then be clear that the majority feel the need to continue.

    Is this a game changer? Well, it certainly ought to cut down the time in Secret Meetings. That’s not a bad thing.

  23. Starchild

    Geoff, you ask (June 7, 2014 at 8:51 am), “I still have no objections whatsoever to crafting a policy for transparency. However, must it be me that crafts the proposed document? Why not you?”

    In fact I did write a partial transparency policy in 2012, and you undermined it. I wrote a Bylaws amendment which was adopted at our last convention providing that “Any person may record the National Committee’s proceedings while in open session, or subscribe to a read-only email list on which LNC votes are recorded.”

    You subsequently managed to comply with the letter but not the spirit of that bylaw by creating a second, separate LNC list for votes and motions — previously both official business and discussion were posted on the same list.

    It was my intention that LP members be allowed to subscribe to that list and read both the official actions and the discussion, and given the fact that there was a single LNC list at the time the amendment was adopted, I think it’s reasonable to assume this to have been the intent of the delegates as well.

    The last time you suggested I write something up — regarding the $50 “delegate package” which advertising for the convention had misleadingly made it appear that delegates were required to buy, at a minimum — you totally disregarded the language I came up with in response to your request, and instead wrote up your own statement that bore no resemblance to mine and which attempts to guilt-trip delegates into buying the package and does not recognize the sacrifices they are already making to attend the convention.

  24. Geoffrey Neale

    Steven, thanks for your questions, All good ones too. It will take a lot of time to answer every one, so I’ll address them one by one.

    8, As chair, would you be open to internet based LNC meetings or do you maintain the present course of rules for meetings?

    I am fan number one of internet based meetings, We are living in 2014. I regularly participate in business meetings with people across the country and around the world effectively, Why can’t we?

    However, I have some caveats. These meetings must be available to anyone who wants to watch (through streaming), and they must be visibly posted with sufficient notice to all members,

    In fact, when the LP passed the provision that committees of ten or more must meet in person, I think we took a giant step backwards.

  25. Geoffrey Neale

    Starchild, you wrote:

    • I do not think that discussions among members of the Libertarian National Committee discussing party business should be kept secret.

    I think this is too fuzzy of a statement. Certainly discussions in meetings, forums, etc. are reasonable. However, nothing the LNC or LP can do will be able to force two LNC members to disclose a private conversation about party business. Regardless of your opinion about whether or not the members have a right to know what two members talk about outside of a meeting, I see no way to achieve your implied objective, without contracting with the NSA.

  26. Geoffrey Neale

    Steven, I’d like to make a statement that I hope addresses multiple questions.

    I believe that the LNC should consider donating to campaigns that meet certain criteria.

    My opinion is that the LNC should not invest in any race as the first dollar, and only in races where we can be the last dollar – the difference maker. That would imply two considerations: will the LNC contribution help the candidate win, or would the LNC contribution help the candidate exceed a ballot access threshold.

    By the way, I also feel that the LNC should only give funds to partisan races.

    If we set the standards of support too low, which would also include matching funds on any Federal race, the current resources would be spread too thin. Winning any Federal race today is a $1 million proposition,

    I do not want the LNC to be in the position of picking its favorites to support. Support, when written as a check, has mostly been viewed negatively, especially when we do not win.

    I would prefer to spend those same funds on strengthening our affiliates and services from the LNC first.

  27. Geoffrey Neale

    Steven, on ballot access.

    We spend a lot of resources on ballot access, but there is strong support from our donors for ballot access. Having our POTUS ticket on the ballot in as many states as feasible supports a stated objective in our Bylaws.

    I do think that every affiliate should do what they can, and I think the LNC should step in where it must. Therefore, I do see this as a “combination” effort.

    Some think we spend too much in some states, at the expense of states that do not have ballot access problems. However, much of the leadership of states where ballot access is easier support what we are doing. When it comes to ballot access, I think the LNC should respond to the wishes of its members and donors.

  28. Starchild

    Geoff, you said (June 7, 2014 at 10:29 am) that my statement “I do not think that discussions among members of the Libertarian National Committee discussing party business should be kept secret” is “too fuzzy”.

    There was further language below that sentence elaborating on what I meant, but let me try to make it even clearer:

    Party leaders should not be taking active steps, such as preventing ordinary LP members from subscribing to the LNC-discuss email list, or refusing to talk to other members outside of meetings, to keep their discussions about party matters secret. (You have told me that you will not take my phone calls as a fellow LNC member because you’re afraid I might publicize something you say!)

  29. Geoffrey Neale

    Starchild, you wrote:

    In fact I did write a partial transparency policy in 2012, and you undermined it. I wrote a Bylaws amendment which was adopted at our last convention providing that “Any person may record the National Committee’s proceedings while in open session, or subscribe to a read-only email list on which LNC votes are recorded.”

    You subsequently managed to comply with the letter but not the spirit of that bylaw by creating a second, separate LNC list for votes and motions — previously both official business and discussion were posted on the same list.

    You should not infer evil intent where there was none. I create the business list so that anything related to business was segregated from discussion due to the signal to noise ratio. Many people were having trouble finding the business.

    As to spirit versus letter, while it was your intent that everything be public, was that the spirit that was understood by the members? I don’t know. Why was the language so specific, if the intent was otherwise?

    We have had multiple lists on the LNC for a very long time. I didn’t create the concept.

  30. Geoffrey Neale

    Starchild, I did indeed say I wouldn’t take your calls – to make a point. If you and I cannot discuss our feelings and thoughts and differences without “big brother” in the room, I have to always be the politician, instead of just connecting as individuals. I cannot play devil’s advocate and make arguments I don’t necessarily agree with if everything I say is communicated. I will not live that way. If you’re not willing to have an “off the record” conversation with me, then I don’t know why we need to talk – except through a public forum like this.

    I see no need to advertise where either you or I are wrong, if we come to some consensus on what is right. It’s not where we start, but where we end that matters.

    Besides, you basically stated that your opinion was right, that the members have a right to know anything and everything I ever said to you, in whatever venue, and I do not agree. I think that kind of transparency is a different form of tyranny. For me, rule number one in negotiation is “if given a take it or leave it proposition”, always “leave it”. You were not willing to negotiate. Why should I let you have your way? There is a reasonable middle ground that you chose not to pursue. The ball has always been in your court..

  31. Starchild

    Geoff, if you were simply trying to make it easier for LNC members to separate the business from the discussion, and it was not your intent to undermine the Bylaws provision, you could have very easily supported opening the LNC-discuss list to our members to subscribe to on a read-only basis.

    Instead, when I took action to fulfill the spirit of the Bylaws provision myself by forwarding the LNC-discuss emails to another list to which any LP member could subscribe, you made comments like the following.

    On Jun 19, 2012, at 6:24 PM, Geoffrey Neale wrote (in part):

    I worked in Germany when the wall came down, and I knew several people who lived in East Germany. One of my best friends grew up in the Soviet Union. What we have on the discuss list reminds of what life was like in the East – no one shared anything in public, because everyone knew that someone was listening, and even innocent words could have dire consequences. No one trusted anyone, and no one helped anyone. The parallels are a little
    disconcerting to me. Starchild – the thought that comes to my mind is that you’ve become Big
    Brother, and the rest of us are self-censoring because of it.”

    While I realized when I got elected to the LNC that not everyone in the party’s leadership wanted more transparency, I had certainly never expected to be compared to Big Brother or the East German secret police for trying to keep our membership informed of our discussions as a committee of their representatives!

  32. Nicholas Sarwark

    How do we increase exposure for the Libertarian Party beyond our tiny pond?

    By reaching beyond our comfort zone to talk to people who aren’t like us. When I took Don Gorman’s candidate training many years ago, he taught us to talk to anyone, how to be comfortable talking to people who don’t agree, and that you go where your voters are, rather than your home turf.

    How do we counter the “extremist wackadoos who just want to smoke pot and not pay taxes” depiction that the statist mainstream media loves to utilize?

    By being nice. By engaging in our communities. By pointing out that the real extremists are those who are willing to accept destroyed lives, critically injured babies, and dead dogs in a futile quest to stop people from getting high. By pointing out that the real extremists are those whose answer to failed government programs are to increase taxes to throw more money at the failed program.

  33. Geoffrey Neale

    Starchild,

    I have run statistics on how many people have posted to LNC Discuss. You, myself, Paulie and Scott Lieberman are at the top. At the bottom are some very prominent libertarian leaders.

    People act differently when they are being watched. Some play to the audience, as both you and I do. Some choose to be vary sparing in what they say, Others choose to stay virtually silent.

    The fact that you distributed the LNC-Discuss list postings altered how people participated. In that regard, it is no different than being in East Germany. People do not feel free to openly debate, for fear their words will come back to haunt them.

    This should be of great concern to our membership. Is this total transparency of the discussion list getting us to where we want to go? I’m not sold, but neither you or I will change, regardless of the policy or Bylaws, because neither of us is shy. What about the others?

    How many times have I asked for feedback from the LNC and gotten mostly crickets in response?

    I am a collaborator by nature, and an analyst by training. I never think I have the best solution, and always think there’s room for improvement.

  34. Nicholas Sarwark

    1. Do you believe that ballot access is the sole domain of the LNC or do you believe this is the domain of the particular state? Both/Combination?

    Both.

    2. If you believe that the LNC should deal with ballot access financially, then how would you deal with fundraising for petitioning for signatures? Top down?

    When a ballot access drive is undertaken, there should be a budget and a plan. There should be a commitment from the state affiliate to a level of effort as well as from the LNC. Fundraising should be done from both levels and should tell donors exactly how their money will be spent.

    3. If ballot access is the domain of the LNC per each state, then should the LNC have the right to credential the candidates running for that state for the election cycle in which the LNC funded ballot access or should that remain with the state party?

    Absolutely not. The LNC only has approval power over the Presidential ticket. All other candidate decisions are made at the state level.

    4. If a state party went rogue or seceded from the national LP, but wished to keep the LP logo and keep its principles the same as the national LP: what would you do for that state party? Punishment?

    I’m having trouble unpacking this question. If they want to keep the same principles and logo, what are they seceding from? An LNC that is prohibited from interfering with the autonomy of the affiliate? If they aren’t violating the Platform or Bylaws, a state affiliate can choose to have nothing to do with the LNC. If they are, I would move to disaffiliate.

    5. As chair, do you believe that donated funds for general operations should be spent on specific races on individual candidates?

    If funds are donated for a specific purpose, they should be used for that purpose unless the donor gives explicit permission to redirect the funds. If they are a general donation to the party, the use of the funds is entrusted to the LNC and the LNC has the duty to spend those funds in the way that most effectively benefits the Libertarian Party. If the LNC fails in that duty, donors will cease to donate.

    6. As chair, would you support a matching fund mandate for federal candidates? By this I mean, if a candidate got $3,500 dollars for their campaign, would you support them by matching them dollar for dollar ($3,500 from the LP)? Specific races? Minimum amount of funding? Source of candidate funds?

    I would support the idea in principle. My vision for the LNC is to assist the affiliates and candidates in growing the Libertarian Party. If a candidate has raised $3,500 and an extra $3,500 from the LNC would make the campaign much more effective, I would support providing that funding. If the extra money would not be effectively used or have much benefit to the Libertarian Party, I would oppose providing that funding. I would also work closely with the LNCC to identify candidates who would benefit from extra funding, since that’s their core mission.

    7. As chair, please list the top five reasons/utility for having a permanent office for the national LP.

    We have an office. That decision has been made. As Chair, I will try to get as much value for the Libertarian Party out of that decision. I will not engage in theoretical discussion over whether it was a good idea.

    8, As chair, would you be open to internet based LNC meetings or do you maintain the present course of rules for meetings?

    I’m open to them. I don’t think they can replace in-person meetings entirely, but they could be a tool to enable the LNC to get more done. I am committed to this LNC getting more done.

  35. Nicholas Sarwark

    I’m going to answer a question nobody has asked. As Chair, I will open the lnc-discuss email list to subscription by any sustaining member of the Libertarian Party. If the LNC wishes to override that decision, they may do so, but it’ll be done by a roll-call vote.

  36. Geoffrey Neale

    Nick, I’ll answer your unasked question:

    I have not and will not oppose a motion from the LNC to “officially” publish the Discuss list. I will not vote against such a motion. I think that this is a policy decision that should be made by the LNC, not unilaterally by the Chair.

    All substantive votes MUST be by roll call vote. I know – I wrote, proposed and argued for the Bylaw change in 2006.

  37. Starchild

    Geoff Neale writes in response to me (June 7, 2014 at 11:09 am), “You were not willing to negotiate. Why should I let you have your way? There is a reasonable middle ground that you chose not to pursue.”

    Geoff, I have always been willing to negotiate and talk out issues where we disagree. My comments above correcting your misperception (which I feel like I’ve already done repeatedly before) that I want to publicize ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING to the world should make it clear that I do see a middle ground on the transparency issue.

    For instance, do I think you should put your personal phone number on the website for LP members to be able to call up their chair and ask questions, voice concerns, etc.? Yes. Am I trying to require you to do it? No. That’s a compromise on my part.

    For my part, I feel that you have sometimes been unwilling to negotiate and take a middle ground with me.

    For instance, I’d prefer to see all our conventions held in less expensive, non-hotel venues, with a significant outdoor component, to make them more like the Free State Project’s Porcupine Freedom Festival (see http://www.PorcFest.com). I think making our conventions more affordable by offering camping and foregoing upscale amenities, and more exciting by having more music and outdoor events, will attract more young libertarians and people of different backgrounds and temperaments who haven’t found our traditional convention format appealing. You obviously disagree. But while I’ve repeatedly expressed a willingness to compromise on the issue, you’ve mocked and mischaracterized the whole idea with comments like “I’m not interested in a repeat of the ‘let’s have our conventions in a pasture’ type of scenario” (something you wrote in an email on Nov 8, 2013, at 9:32 PM).

    Can you compromise on this issue? Are you willing, for instance, to include looking at non-hotel venues as part of the Convention Site Selection Committee’s standard operating procedure, and for that committee to share all their search data with the LNC, so that others can verify that due diligence is being done and a wide range of possible venues being looked into?

  38. Geoffrey Neale

    Starchild,

    I will repeat my position on my personal phone number on the website. The answer is no, I am not willing to do so. I have clients that need access to me 24×7, even when I’m on vacation. My elderly parents live seven time zones away from me. I travel more than I’m home, and want my wife to call me whenever she needs something. My phone is only off when the FAA requires me to turn it off. If staff or an LNC member really needs me, I am available – anytime.

    However, there may be a workable compromise that I have been researching, which is to utilize our VOIP system where a message will be taken when I need sleep or time to make money, but forward to my personal number when times are good for me. This I find an acceptable compromise that does not require me to publish my personal phone number. I see little value in pursuing this in depth at this time, but intend to make it a priority if re-elected. I would also see what the costs would be to expand that functionality to the entire LNC.

    I am open to alternative convention facilities, but think the first step should be to poll the members about the issue. I see no point in doing so if the members like what we’ve been doing. While I enjoyed camping when I was very young, I do not anymore. Additionally, I am not convinced that alternative venues are necessarily less expensive, and would actually like someone to suggest some to consider and price. So far, only George Phillies has suggested one. That said, I think this upcoming convention is too expensive, and we should be more cost conscious, regardless of the venue or location.

    Our objective should be to make the conventions so attractive that every affiliate fills their delegation.

    The next LNC will have to take up the 2018 site selection almost immediately, but this LNC inherited one written and signed contract, and a second where the costs are far better to our delegates.

  39. George Phillies

    Readers curious what the LNC Discuss list is like should read the above. There are other pieces than the Geoff and Starchild pieces, but they are just as effective* at advancing our party. If you want to see for yourself, you can read the monthly digest files on the LNCDiscuss yahoogroup. Warning: The concept of trimming messages in threads has not reached the LNC; expect to read the same thing many many times.

    Oh, the convention site I found was a real convention center, near Valley Forge, PA, opposite the Mall at King of Prussia. There are a dozen nearby hotels. (There is also a much smaller center nearby at which the LPPA sometimes has its conventions.) Readers interested in details should search out the Historicon game convention.

    *”just as” is a comparative. It does not mean that there is effectiveness.

  40. George Phillies

    Having said that, perhaps one should ask what the candidates think of a functional budget in which most of the spending is not buried as administration and staff expenses.

  41. Geoffrey Neale

    Starchild,

    I should probably shut up, but neither of us are very good at that, are we?

    When it comes to conventions, I have my preferences, and they are different than yours. That being said, I think both of us can agree that “pricing the delegates” out of the market by doing things like holding conventions on cruise ships is a bad idea. I like luxury, but am usually too cheap to want to pay for it. I find “middle of the road” accommodations to be sufficient for me, but have no wish to camp, even in a motor home.

    Perhaps what we should agree on is that our members should be in the drivers seat, and we should ask them (in a completely fair and open manner) what they want.

    Perhaps we might both be surprised at what we learn. Regardless, if our members want to hold a convention in a park, and it is more cost effective, I can always stay in a hotel of my choice and drive to the park. I will respect their input, and act accordingly.

    I will not, with good knowledge, go against the wishes of the members. They are the boss.

  42. Starchild

    Geoff Neale writes in response to me (June 7, 2014 at 11:29 am), “The fact that you distributed the LNC-Discuss list postings altered how people participated. In that regard, it is no different than being in East Germany.”

    Geoff, it seems to me that there are many factors which alter how people participate on the LNC list, and that you have been very selective in which ones you choose to be concerned about.

    One member of the LNC (not yourself) has frequently made virulent outbursts directed toward numerous other members of the committee. I will not post examples here at this time, because some of them are so outrageous that I think it could easily derail this entire thread into becoming an argument about that member’s behavior. But you know exactly who I’m talking about, and how inappropriate some of the remarks have been.

    After holding my tongue at these outbursts on numerous occasions, and making some effort to broach the matter off-list, I made a direct on-list plea that he try to be nicer to people, mentioning in that message to him that “I’ve even had another LNC member who rarely ever posts here cite a comment of yours as an example of why.”

    (The member’s on-list comment in response to my mentioning another LNC member telling me they rarely ever post on LNC-discuss because of posts like a previous one that he had sent was, “Goody for you. I could not care any less.”)

    But even after you were requested off-list by yet another member (neither me nor the person who sent me a personal email about his behavior) to “rein in” (your words) the offending member, your approach in this case was not to chide him for violating every rule of basic decorum and exercising an intimidating influence that was altering people’s participation, but to basically say, hey, he’s just being himself, and there’s nothing I can do about it anyway, we don’t have any rules here. In fact you even went so far as to opine that you actually prefer his approach “because it’s honest, even if it occasionally offends some or all of us”!

    You don’t have a problem with the “honesty” of clearly offensive language, and yet you have a problem with the honest openness of LP members being able to read what LNC members are saying in their own words on the LNC’s official party-run discussion list, even after delegates adopted a Bylaws change aimed at allowing precisely that?

  43. Geoffrey Neale

    George,

    As we talked in Florida, I am familiar with the area, and I think it is definitely worth considering, but with all of the current convention business at hand, I have not directed anyone to check it out yet. As we talked, it has pluses and minuses, just as any site does. That being said, the libertarian in me really likes the idea of having a convention at Valley Forge.

    Alternative methods to budgeting? Definitely open to that. Better cost accounting is always beneficial to any organization.

  44. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Sadly, there are TWO members of the LNC (besides Mr. Neale) who are consistently rude to Starchild, often for no reason, and they happen to be from the same state (mine). I do believe I know who Starchild is talking about, however,and I cannot underscore enough how damaging that behavior has been to that individual. The best thing the LNC Discuss public list did was expose the true personalities of some of our elected committee members. I have very little power in the party, but I do speak my mind on the Internet and will not support this individual ever again, specifically due to his arrogant and insulting manner.

    We all have people in our lives who drive us nuts for a variety of reasons, but basic civility should be the only behavior acceptable for elected officials in a situation like this.

  45. Geoffrey Neale

    Starchild,

    I have read so many postings on the LNC Discuss list that I find offensive that I struggle to know how to make any meaningful distinctions. Certain members have made statements about me that I find offensive.

    I’m a big boy. I can take it. I really do not know what you expect me to censor, What if someone uses a term that I find accurate, but you’re offended by it? Is there a difference between saying “you’re not telling the truth” and “You’re a liar”?

    What is clear to me is that I can not, as a libertarian, expect you to live by my standards, just as you cannot expect me to live by yours. The LNC has NOT decided upon any “rules of decorum” upon which to base my actions. Is it appropriate for me to set those standards? I don’t think so. I will continue to think so, because I am not a dictator.

    Some have chided me for not exhibiting leadership in this regard, but these are the same people who want me to act as a proxy for their hurt feelings. Really? Is that libertarian leadership? Asking someone else to do what someone is not willing to do themselves?

    As to the public nature of the LNC Discuss list, it is public, since any LNC member can forward it to anyone they choose, but it cannot currently be subscribed to. Since the LNC is complying with the letter of the Bylaws, it is up to the LNC to decide on that. I differ from Nick in that regard. I’m fine with it being public, but it’s clear to me from some very extensive conversations, most notably at the LNC meeting in Las Vegas 2012, that the LNC is not in accord.

    By the way, I was not on the floor during the arguments and debates surrounding the current language in the Bylaws. I do not know the intent, but I can read the language.

  46. Geoffrey Neale

    George, thank you. Actual venues that are known to people are a fantastic starting point. To date, during this entire term, the only site that has actually been suggested was by you.

  47. Mark Axinn

    King of Prussia…What a great idea! Less than a day’s drive from a majority of the states and membership in the LP. Suburban to the birthplace of the Declaration and Constitution, and one terrific city. Superb idea.

    One negative that comes to mind: Just as I resented having so many conventions west of the Mississippi in the past decade, it is not fair to our friends from the western portion of the country to have three conventions in a row on the East Coast*, so maybe King of P. is better for 2020 than 2018. (*I do not really consider Ohio to be East Coast, but it’s close enough.)

    But we digress.

    Location of 2018 Convention is not the topic of this thread and Geoff and Nick are providing spectacular answers to our questions.

    So next question:

    How can we step up fundraising to attract some decent money from some more affluent donors? I am not expecting David Koch to return to the LP tomorrow and John Allison is pretty committed to CATO, but there are plenty of others we need to attract (and to woo away from the Republican Glub for Growth crowd).

    Any concrete plans for raising real serious money?

  48. Mike K

    @Geoff – above.

    “I have never favored mandatory dress policies, but everyone who shows up at LP events is in effect the poster child of the LP. Of course the media will choose the most outlandish, non-mainstream member to make our unofficial poster child. It’s in their interest of protecting the status quo.”

    This might actually be the best thing that ever happened to the LP. I know a lot of people in the LP say “We need to dress to impress if want to be serious”. I wholeheartedly disagree.

    People have been lied to by men in suits for years, their money taken, and laws passed to restrict their freedom. What better to break out of the mold than by sending a bold statement and saying “We are the party of principle – we don’t tell people what to do and how to live their lives!!!!!!!!!!!!”..

    I plan on wearing casual clothing to the convention.

    -Mike

  49. Mike K

    Additionally,

    I feel that all LNC business communications should be open and transparent. And only things that really need to be done in EX COM should be done there.

  50. Geoffrey Neale

    Good question, Mark.

    Major donor fundraising is an art. To get more major donor money, we have to up our game. We have to improve our image. We have to OWN our image.

    First example:

    We have bought space at FreedomFest over the past years, and some have questioned how many members we got, or how much money was raised, as if the attendance at a single event must always generate an offsetting cost. I don’t know how much the net worth of attendees at FreedomFest is, but it is in the BILLIONS! We can be more appealing to the BIG MONEY at FreedomFest if we break from our prior practice of using booth displays like a cheesy vinyl banner attached with bulldog clips (no joke). A simple professional display can cost as little as $600. It does not cost a lot to improve image. Is it worth it? I have no doubt. Will I come home with a big enough check to justify it? Maybe not, but we have to start being more long term in our vision.

    Another example is seeking out opportunities for our leaders to talk with other organizations. I spoke as part of a panel at a regional CPAC conference last year. I was very well received. I tried to be consistently libertarian, but not confrontational.

    Many people came up to me afterwards to tell me they considered themselves libertarian.

    These are the kinds of things we must do in order for large donors to be receptive enough to write big checks.

    We’ve got to plant seeds,and give them time to grow.

  51. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I am of the opinion that one’s appearance makes a difference in the impression that others get, so it would be nice if everyone at a convention presented well. In addition, I found Mr. Neale’s
    comment about the “Duck Dynasty contingent” to be quite humorous. In the great scheme of things, though, I think that looking like we’re different than the Republicans and Democrats is maybe a good thing. What bothers me much more is the lack of diversity in our audience: a bunch of white guys with a few women and a very few minority group members interspersed. I won’t even pose this as a question to either candidate; it’s just a comment on my part.

  52. Geoffrey Neale

    Jill,

    I too am concerned about our “angry old white guy” image. We actually have less women on the LNC now than we did twenty & thirty years ago. We are open and receptive to all races, genders, religions, etc. Why the dearth of diversity?

    Maybe we should take an idea from Don Gorman that Nick proposed – step out of your comfort zone and talk to people different than us.

    Myself, being a leftie libertarian (former hippie socialist), feel especially drawn to many of the social concerns for which government is most definitely NOT the answer, but more likely the problem.

    I think now would be a great time to attempt to leverage to whatever degree we can from Ralph Nader’s latest idea, of a libertarian / liberal coalition. I am not advocating a coalition, or softening our approach, but perhaps he has opened a door for us that we can take advantage of.

  53. George Phillies

    I have looked in New England. The largest site that I can find that I view as acceptable in NH is totally too small. While there is a local site in Worcester that should be adequate (Worcester, where the last Grateful Dead world tour launched), hotel and travel arrangements would not work well. You would need to fly to Providence, Boston, or Manchester. Boston would work, and travel would be fine, but it would not be cheap.

  54. Stewart Flood

    Having lived in King of Prussia, I can say that I’d probably never want to go to a convention there. Maybe in downtown Philly, but my memory is that there is nothing in K of P but a huge mall and an intersection that handles almost more cars a day than exist in the state I currently reside in (South Carolina). Granted, I moved from there 28 years ago, but it can’t have improved that much…

    But to the topic of the thread:

    A question for both candidates that is submitted as two questions since there is a slight difference in the use of “will you” versus “would you” and supporting comments that are spread across both paragraphs.

    Mr Neale, if re-elected will you allow the LNC to continue to hold Mr Starr in a position of near-membership of the LNC? Although a member of the audience, he is frequently recognized and permitted to speak. My understanding is that he is also included in some EC business as well as some executive sessions — where I would hope that he is permitted only because he absolutely must be present. Mr Starr appears to be given the opportunity to influence the committee in excess of other members of the party who attend LNC meetings, most of whom do what is expected: observe silently and wait to speak in the opportunity for public comment at the beginning and end of the meeting.

    Mr Sarwark, if elected would you continue the current practice? Please keep in mind that nearly 3/4 of the delegates at the 2012 convention voted to not return Mr Starr to the LNC and that his practice of openly handing notes to LNC members with the text of motions for them to read shows a clear control of a number of the members who represent regions he does not reside in.

    I certainly understand that Mr Neale may respond that he has no choice in the matter, but if so I would hope he could give an indication of how this situation could be ended if he is opposed to what is going on.

    Yes, this was obviously a “push question” but I believe it is important. I do not mean it to be taken as a hostile question by either candidate, but I believe it must be asked. I am almost certain the subject will be brought up again at the convention by myself as well as others.

  55. Michael H. Wilson

    I have not had a chance to read all of this but I will do so in the near future. Here are two questions. Years ago the LP had some decent handouts on issues for the membership to use. We even once had a book that was titled something like “Libertarian Solutions for Local Problems”. What commitment will you make to update the brochures and perhaps produce other tools on issues for the membership to use?

    Question # 2: I have frequently encountered officers or others in the LP who have no idea on how to run a meeting or do many of the basics necessary to build an organization. What commitment will you make to develop such material? If I may be so bold, I will suggest that this being a regular column in LP News.

    Two points if I may. I have been in the LP for some 30 plus years and have been bitching about this since Bill Redpath was chair and so far I have seen little or no action in either area. Most of the time I don’t even receive an answer. And Mr. Neale it is only fair that I let you know that part of this has already been addressed by Mr. Sarwark.

  56. Chuck Moulton

    Mark Axinn wrote:

    King of Prussia…What a great idea! Less than a day’s drive from a majority of the states and membership in the LP. Suburban to the birthplace of the Declaration and Constitution, and one terrific city. Superb idea.

    One negative that comes to mind: Just as I resented having so many conventions west of the Mississippi in the past decade, it is not fair to our friends from the western portion of the country to have three conventions in a row on the East Coast*, so maybe King of P. is better for 2020 than 2018. (*I do not really consider Ohio to be East Coast, but it’s close enough.)

    King of Prussia would make a great convention location — as would downtown Philadelphia, but for different reasons. The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania put together a serious bid for the 2012 convention. That bid was sabotaged when staff deliberately solicited high room rates and made no serious attempt to book a hotel for a LNC meeting, moving the meeting to another city.

    To be most convenient to drivers, an east coast convention in the NYC to DC corridor makes sense (given where most of the population is concentrated). Ohio will not be an east coast convention. Orlando will not be an east coast convention convenient to drivers, nor was Atlanta. We haven’t had an actual east coast convention catering to drivers in many, many years.

    Geoff Neale wrote:

    I’m fine with [the LNC Discuss list] being public, but it’s clear to me from some very extensive conversations, most notably at the LNC meeting in Las Vegas 2012, that the LNC is not in accord.

    There was also a LNC meeting in Las Vegas in 2013. Will we ever get to find out what happened that meeting? It’s been 11 months with no draft minutes sent to the LNC.

    Geoff Neale wrote:

    Perhaps what we should agree on is that our members should be in the drivers seat, and we should ask them (in a completely fair and open manner) what they want.

    Perhaps we might both be surprised at what we learn. Regardless, if our members want to hold a convention in a park, and it is more cost effective, I can always stay in a hotel of my choice and drive to the park. I will respect their input, and act accordingly.

    Geoff Neale wrote:

    I am open to alternative convention facilities, but think the first step should be to poll the members about the issue.

    The platform committee has a survey out to the membership right now soliciting input on the platform report. I have a bylaws committee survey ready to go out to the membership next week (after platform). Setting up such a a survey is trivial. (The time-consuming, tedious part for me was translating all the bylaws proposals into HTML.)

    If you want me (or someone else) to setup a survey about convention preferences, just say the word. I think the time spent pontificating on this exceeds the time that would be required to get actual data.

  57. Geoffrey Neale

    Mr. Flood,

    You pose a difficult question to answer. Mr. Starr does often add significant value. His audit uncovered a lot of “sloppiness” at staff. Others may use different terms – you can change the term to one of your choice.

    All in all, I would prefer that those who submit motions crafted by Mr. Starr would at least give recognition to the author.

    I am perfectly good with the LNC choosing someone other than Aaron Starr to be on the Audit Committee, which provided him the access and voice in many of the meetings. Aaron has provided value, but there is open hostility between him and staff, which I cannot attribute entirely to staff. All it takes is some willing candidates and enough votes.

  58. Geoffrey Neale

    Mr Wilson,

    As to question number 1, we have a huge repository of brochures and other literature that has been developed over forty years. None of it is available online. It is buried on hard drives, or in paper files.

    The first thing I would like to continue doing is to drag this stuff into the light of day, on a wiki. Staff has been working on building a wiki for affiliate support, and I consider this to be a part of that.

    This does not mean that we can use the old literature, but I think we will find that there is much that can be re-purposed or updated.

    As an example, Wes came across an affiliate chairs handbook developed by Ron Crickenberger many years ago. He says it is still mostly very good, and does not need much updating.

    What would speed up the process is volunteers to scan and load these kind of things into the wiki.

    In other words, we are already moving in the right direction, IMO.

    Did I also answer question 2 as well? It seems the affiliate chairs handbook fills at least part of that need.

  59. Starchild

    IMPORTANT CORRECTION – Chuck, the Platform Committee does not have a survey out.

    It is unfortunately possible that committee chair Alicia Mattson has put out a platform survey without the authorization of the committee.

    But no proposed survey has been posted to the Platform Committee list, nor was there ever any decision made to publish a survey, beyond her floating the idea and receiving a mixed response, as she reports below.

    Alicia posted the following message to LP2014PC@yahoogroups.com on Thursday, saying an “invitation” had been sent out (to view a proposed survey?) to some members of the committee:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    On Jun 5, 2014, at 5:58 PM, Alicia Mattson agmattson@gmail.com [LP2014PC] wrote:

    I got mixed feedback from only two of you about the survey, so I have
    proceeded with the survey on our committee report. Some of you may
    have already received the invitation, and the rest will receive it
    shortly.

    I previously misunderstood an email from Chuck Moulton and thought the
    bylaws survey was ready to go before ours. As it turns out, they
    weren’t ready yet. I was able to get ours assembled and ready to go
    first.

    Then the office staff moved into the new building in Alexandria last
    weekend, so they have been in chaos this week, and it understandably
    took them a few days to get the computer systems they needed back up
    and running.

    To leave a little more time for the bylaws survey to run without
    overlapping the two, the invitation to our survey notes that I will
    only leave the survey open for 1 week. This is a shorter time window
    than in previous years, but we should still get enough feedback to
    help us discern relative support levels.

    -Alicia
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I responded to the above message a few hours later that same day, objecting to any survey being sent out unilaterally without committee approval. So far I’ve heard nothing back, and have not seen any invitation.

    (Am giving this update in my capacity as a Platform Committee at-large alternate.)

  60. Geoffrey Neale

    Mr. Moulton,

    We have had conventions on the West Coast in 2000, 2006 and 2012 (I consider Las Vegas to be west coast enough). We have had midwest conventions in 2002, 2010 and will this year. We were in Mountain zone in 2008, but this is by far our least populated area. There has only been one convention in the South, in 2004. The only area less served than the NY/DC corridor is New England. I think Philadelphia would be a good candidate for 2018. However, I have to also put in a plug for Texas, which has not hosted a convention since 1974.

    If you are volunteering to put together a convention poll, I will gladly take you up on your offer. Please give me a call so we can discuss.

  61. Starchild

    Geoff – I believe Chuck may have been responding to your suggestion that we poll the membership on their preferences about what kind of convention/venues they prefer.

    You wrote in response to me (June 7, 2014 at 1:03 pm):

    “When it comes to conventions, I have my preferences, and they are different than yours. That being said, I think both of us can agree that ‘pricing the delegates’ out of the market by doing things like holding conventions on cruise ships is a bad idea. I like luxury, but am usually too cheap to want to pay for it. I find “middle of the road” accommodations to be sufficient for me, but have no wish to camp, even in a motor home. Perhaps what we should agree on is that our members should be in the drivers seat, and we should ask them (in a completely fair and open manner) what they want.”

    A “fair and open” survey of the membership on this matter would be excellent, and I agree that the members should be in the drivers seat. If Chuck is willing and able to prepare a survey, let’s work together to come up with some fair and impartial language and methodology that we can both agree on. Sound good?

  62. George Phillies

    There is something that claims to be a Platform Committee Survey out. I willed out most of it. Then I discovered that it was not at first appeared an anonymous survey, and it was unclear what would be done with the data. Now it turns out that it was not a Platform Committee survey at all. Thank you, Starchild. I hope that the members re-elect you to the National Committee.

  63. Joshua Katz

    I have a few questions.

    1. Libertarian feelings and anger with the government have gone up, while this party has not grown. How do we harness the ongoing libertarian moment, particularly among the youth and unaffiliated? I know both candidates have said we must, but my question is how to do it.
    2. Will you commit to more volunteer and non-LNC involvement, and in providing more opportunities for people who aren’t friends with LNC members to find their way onto committees, by having a more open and transparent process for committee selection?
    3. What should be the future of the regional arrangement process?
    4. Should we, as Marc Rutherford argued, “act like a major party” or should we recognize our differences from those 2 parties and try to harness them?
    5. What will you do to ensure that we provide better support, encouragement, and opportunities to our elected officials and candidates running in realistic, winnable races? Will you commit, for instance, to preventing elected officials from being asked to choose between participating in a panel about campaigning and doing their jobs as delegates from their states? Similarly, will you commit to having more elected officials speak at the convention?
    6. How can we make conventions more inclusive and educational? We can’t expect youth to attend events filled with stuffy and expensive “meals with speakers” and I myself, despite my affiliation with Mises, will not pay more than $300 to have lunch with Jeff Tucker, nor will I pay $150 for a ‘grand banquet.’
    7. Do you agree that the next POTUS will not be a Libertarian?
    8. If you said yes to 7, then would you consider not running a candidate, or running a fusion ticket with other small parties?
    9. How can the LP participate in a left/right coalition regarding our basic civil liberties and personal freedoms? What are some innovative ways our candidates can reach out to the left?
    10.How will you ensure that the LNC remains a governance body rather than taking on management roles?
    11.Do you agree with my claim that the LP cannot expect to convince people that we can run our country on libertarian grounds if we will not run our party in a libertarian manner?
    12.Is it appropriate, when speaking last in a chair’s race, without your opponent having an opportunity to respond, to use your speaking time to insinuate financial malfeasance by your opponent several years in the past? In particular, if you have such suspicions, do you agree that you should bring them up at the time, not when they can be used for political purposes – and if you don’t, then do you agree that making such a claim during a campaign is inappropriate?

  64. Eric Sundwall

    Will good and long standing members of the Libertarian Party continue to be denied the ability to participate in debates for POTUS by the current “token” system implemented during the 2008 LNC session?

  65. NewFederalist

    “IMPORTANT CORRECTION – Chuck, the Platform Committee does not have a survey out.

    It is unfortunately possible that committee chair Alicia Mattson has put out a platform survey without the authorization of the committee. ”

    Well drat! I actually spend a lot of time answering it!

  66. Geoffrey Neale

    Mr. Katz:

    1. Libertarian feelings and anger with the government have gone up, while this party has not grown. How do we harness the ongoing libertarian moment, particularly among the youth and unaffiliated? I know both candidates have said we must, but my question is how to do it.

    The short and simple answer is to be much more appealing choice to the disenfranchised, which starts with everyone being welcoming. No purity police until the third visit, please. Find common ground.

    2. Will you commit to more volunteer and non-LNC involvement, and in providing more opportunities for people who aren’t friends with LNC members to find their way onto committees, by having a more open and transparent process for committee selection?

    Yes, but that will in most cases involve Policy Manual changes.

    3. What should be the future of the regional arrangement process?

    Whatever the delegates choose.

    4. Should we, as Marc Rutherford argued, “act like a major party” or should we recognize our differences from those 2 parties and try to harness them?

    Yes.

    5. What will you do to ensure that we provide better support, encouragement, and opportunities to our elected officials and candidates running in realistic, winnable races? Will you commit, for instance, to preventing elected officials from being asked to choose between participating in a panel about campaigning and doing their jobs as delegates from their states? Similarly, will you commit to having more elected officials speak at the convention?

    I do not know how we can choose a convention date that does NOT conflict with active candidacies. If you can suggest something, I’m open.

    6. How can we make conventions more inclusive and educational? We can’t expect youth to attend events filled with stuffy and expensive “meals with speakers” and I myself, despite my affiliation with Mises, will not pay more than $300 to have lunch with Jeff Tucker, nor will I pay $150 for a ‘grand banquet.’

    Making conventions more “educational” is best accomplished by multiple tracks. Finding more cost effective venues and contracts is one way to reduce the cost of meals, as is enhancing overall attendance. Many of our costs are fixed. It costs the same for A/V for 100 guests or 500.

    BTW – it will not cost $300 to hear Jeffrey Tucker. There will be an a la carte option available, and it should be posted soon.

    7. Do you agree that the next POTUS will not be a Libertarian?

    I honestly do not know. I hope so, but the odds are long.

    8. If you said yes to 7, then would you consider not running a candidate, or running a fusion ticket with other small parties?

    It is the decision of the delegates as to whether or not we run a candidate, or join a fusion ticket.

    9. How can the LP participate in a left/right coalition regarding our basic civil liberties and personal freedoms? What are some innovative ways our candidates can reach out to the left?

    I’m open to your suggestions.

    10.How will you ensure that the LNC remains a governance body rather than taking on management roles?

    I actually would like LNC members to take on project management roles, because we do not have the staff to do everything the LNC wants staff to do. Additionally, according to the Bylaws, the Chair is the CEO.

    11.Do you agree with my claim that the LP cannot expect to convince people that we can run our country on libertarian grounds if we will not run our party in a libertarian manner?

    Yes.100%

    12.Is it appropriate, when speaking last in a chair’s race, without your opponent having an opportunity to respond, to use your speaking time to insinuate financial malfeasance by your opponent several years in the past? In particular, if you have such suspicions, do you agree that you should bring them up at the time, not when they can be used for political purposes – and if you don’t, then do you agree that making such a claim during a campaign is inappropriate?

    Of course you must be talking about me, and I did not insinuate malfeasance. I stated what happened, the minutes of the LNC meeting support it, and this is politics.

  67. Geoffrey Neale

    Mr. Sundwall,

    Will good and long standing members of the Libertarian Party continue to be denied the ability to participate in debates for POTUS by the current “token” system implemented during the 2008 LNC session?

    Yes, they will – until the delegates change the Bylaws. BTW – this rule was put in place after a candidate got on the stage and spoke hateful antisemitic rhetoric. He ended up with one vote, but it was on national TV.

    Was he a “good” LP member?

  68. Geoffrey Neale

    Mr. Sundwall,

    My apology for not grasping what you were asking, but the token method is specified in our current Convention Rules under Rule 7 Paragraph 1. The LNC does not have the authority to change this rule. I assume that you meant to say the 2008 Convention rather than the 2008 LNC session. I honestly do not recall when this was actually instituted, but it could well have been at the 2008 Convention.

  69. Geoffrey Neale

    Mr. Katz,

    I’d like to revise my answer to the following. After reading it again, I find my answer is not appropriate, so:

    5. What will you do to ensure that we provide better support, encouragement, and opportunities to our elected officials and candidates running in realistic, winnable races? Will you commit, for instance, to preventing elected officials from being asked to choose between participating in a panel about campaigning and doing their jobs as delegates from their states? Similarly, will you commit to having more elected officials speak at the convention?

    I think that in order to respect the autonomy of the affiliates, we must first recognize that the primary job of this is the affiliate themselves. I have already put in several directives to staff to ensure that they do not go around the affiliates. We need to further enhance that relationship. If the affiliate wishes this, I’m not opposed, but what we can do is limited by resources. By the way, I’m not in favor of providing support for non-partisan races. The affiliates can, but the LNC should not.

    I’m not really sure how I can, or whether I should, commit to not scheduling elected officials and candidates to be on panels that do not conflict with the floor business, unless their panels would also conflict with meals, or other events. In order to do so, we would need time where there is no business, and nothing else scheduled anywhere else. At the least, we would have to either extend our convention time, or cut down on business. We are working towards providing main stage time during down time for things like tabulation.

    As to more speeches from elected officials, I will wait until I get some kind of feedback from our delegates that they want to hear more from elected officials. If attendance is to be maximized, we need to be market-driven to some extent. As a capitalist pig, I will work to deliver whatever the attendees want. The polling that Chuck Moulton is putting together can further inform us on this topic.

  70. Been There, Done That

    “I have already put several directives to staff to ensure that they do not go around the affiliates.”

    It’s not working. Maybe you should tell everyone again. Whatever those directives are about, they obviously need to be more specific.

  71. paulie

    Thanks Geoff and Nick for participating in the Q and A and to others, for the questions. I will try to think of some good ones, but I am pretty much tired and busy all the time (after some brutal last days trying to qualify Alabama and a 28 hour bus ride, I am now running around in Virginia in the last few days before the deadline trying to qualify Robert Sarvis for the ballot as well as an uphill battle to qualify a last-minute US House candidate in the 5th district).

    While I wait for my sauteed brain to click into gear (it is more likely that a wave of exhaustion and sleep will arrive first), I would like to expand the topic by repeating my question for NOTA supporters to explain their rationale.

    The two NOTA supporters I know of are Sam Goldstein and Scott Lieberman, but I suspect they speak for a sizeable contingent of other people.

    My question is why support NOTA rather than recruit an additional candidate or candidates to announce ahead of the convention while there is still time to do so?

    The push for NOTA at the last convention was because efforts to recruit a different candidate ahead of time failed. Are those pushing for NOTA now having similar difficulty? Or, do they have a stealth candidate? If the latter, do they believe that their candidate can only win if Geoff Neale and Nick Sarwark are eliminated first? Do they prefer not to have their candidate answer questions like Geoff and Nick are doing here (or be called out for refusing to answer questions)?

    If they do not have a candidate, are they trying to persuade someone who has told them no to change his or her mind?

    Or, do they want the LNC rather than the convention delegates to choose the LNC chair?

    I suspect that some NOTA supporters are reading and that they know the answers to these questions – IE that there is a strategy of some sort – but that they will not answer. However, I would like to give them the opportunity to reply just in case one or more of them are willing to do so.

  72. Shane

    Wow, this is all so “inside baseball” it’s disturbing.

    Geoff, your concern about image is very irrelevant.

    The rule if politics is “define or be defined.”

    Defining the LP starts with reaching people — which the LP does only on a tiny scale.

    To both Nick and Geoff, what strategy will you deploy to define the LP?

    Hint: there is only one correct answer and it does double-duty in growing the LP.

    Last Q: if looking at the LP as a product, how do you differentiate it from the other parties?

  73. Steve Scheetz

    Regarding the choice of speakers at the convention. I find myself not wanting to spend the money for the convention packages that involve speakers, because I am mostly not interested in listening to the speakers chosen. I would have liked to have spent time over a nice meal during the banquet of the convention, but instead, I will be looking around town for a decent restaurant. My suggestion for future conventions is to separate the speakers from eating events. Let the people decide whether or not to go and listen to a particular speaker instead of being trapped by the idea that if they wish to eat with fellow Libertarians at the convention, they will have to either listen to the speaker, or finish eating and then leave after spending too much money for dinner.

    I live in the Philly area. I was amazed to learn that it would be cheaper for me to fly to Columbus than it would be to drive, AND, I have much better uses for my time than to drive that particular drive.

    In addition to being chairman of the LPPA, I am also chairman of Montgomery County… (yes King of Prussia is in my back yard, Montco was responsible, largely, for the 2012 convention bid, and yes, I WAS involved with the bid for the 2012 convention, though to a much lesser degree than others in my county organization. Anyway, my take-away from that little adventure was that people put into the position of selecting a site for a convention will choose whatever they wish to choose based upon their own needs not necessarily what makes the most sense. However, I am digressing a bit.

    Like other east coasters, there are very few places where I believe that it makes sense for me to drive to a convention, and everywhere else, I will be flying.

    My suggestion is to stop with all of the “fairness” in selecting a city, and simply go to a place (or places) that is / are nice, has great services, is reasonably priced, does not have an aggravating airport and just plan on that site / those sites moving forward. This way, people will not be wasting their time trying to put together a bid for something that they have no hope in winning due to some republicratesk type of internal politics. Does that make any sense at all?

    Finally, and this is to the candidates. NOT A QUESTION, merely a comment. Nicholas Sarwark has demonstrated a good bit of vision, and his answers indicate that he would be returning to the core principles and values we as Libertarians hold dear. Geoffrey Neale has earned a bit of respect by demonstrating an ability to “herd cats.” I am learning, every single day, how to be an effective chairman of a Libertarian organization. I thought I knew as Chairman of a county, right up until I became chairman of the party for the entire state! I learned that I knew next to nothing. However, working with my fellow county chairs, and some really great people on the LPPA Board, we have managed to do a bit of good, and we are continuing to work toward the goal of growing and strengthening the party in every way possible.

    This is an ongoing challenge, and both of you, Nicholas and Geoffrey, moving forward, whomever wins this election, it is imperative that you listen to those around you, and do your absolute best to do the following:

    1. Make sure everyone feels that his/her opinion has been heard
    2. Do your best to incorporate everyone’s ideas (in some way) in every thing that is done.
    this will help to motivate everyone to continue to come up with good ideas that work, and it will also discourage any future backstabbing.

    Best of luck to both of you going into this convention. Don’t read anything into whatever I happen to like on facebook, or what order I write candidates in a statement, the reality is that I still have not made up my mind, but if, after I chat with both candidates at the convention, I believe NOTA is the best option for the party, I will ABSOLUTELY say so! (gotta keep you gentlemen honest)

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  74. Joshua Katz

    Thanks for your answers Geoff. Two points:
    On 5 – the easy way to have the panel not conflict with floor business is to have less speaker breakfasts, speaker lunches, and other such fundraisers, and use some of that time for the panel, or ask the LSLA to do it pre-convention. It could also replace the ‘keynote’ since that’s not a part of business. Or it could be done to conflict with the banquet so people can choose if they’re more interested in learning about successful campaigns or hobnobbing with minor celebrities, rather than between being delegates and learning how to run successful campaigns.

    I didn’t mean to suggest, by the way, that the LPUS should provide any active support for candidates or officials. I’m referring only to treating elected officials better within the party.

    Also, the ‘capitalist pig’ argument (I’m a free market anti-capitalist, for what it’s worth) cuts both ways. You’re using it to refer to getting people to come to the convention – I only want people there who want to do the party’s business. However, the same profit motive/incentive argument can apply to getting people to run serious, winnable races. If people know there are speaking slots for our elected officials (the purpose of a party, by the way, is to elect people to office, FEE, Mises, and others do a great job at education) then maybe that will provide a small, marginal incentive for them to run and win.

    On 12 – “that’s politics” – we’re supposed to be better than that, and better than that answer. The LP needs to get over the ‘wasted vote’ hump, and we only do that by showing that we’re not about politics as usual. “That’s politics” doesn’t fly with me, as it shouldn’t with most libertarians.

  75. Joshua Katz

    Steve – I agree, and I’d add that Vegas should be a common site, as it’s central, nice, accessible, and has tons of cheap options other than staying in the official hotel.

  76. Steve Scheetz

    On a side note, Paulie, it is difficult to recruit solid candidates for this sort of job. It is NOT an easy gig, and there does need to be a bit of respect for those running.

    I tried to recruit candidates for Governor here in PA. Everyone who was considered to be a solid candidate had too much on his/her plate already, and everyone else was not as good as what we have. In short, in most cases we settle and come up with a candidate who is “good enough” because the best are busy doing other things.

    NOTA is an option based upon the above statement. If we were able to recruit the best of the best candidates, we would not be talking about NOTA at all.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  77. paulie

    On a side note, Paulie, it is difficult to recruit solid candidates for this sort of job. It is NOT an easy gig, and there does need to be a bit of respect for those running.

    Certainly agreed on all the above.

    NOTA is an option based upon the above statement. If we were able to recruit the best of the best candidates, we would not be talking about NOTA at all.

    Of course NOTA is an option. I like it that NOTA is an option.

    What I would like to know is why those who are supporting NOTA this time are doing so while there is still time for them to convince someone else to run.

    I’ve offered up some speculation. I’m open to other theories, or to an explanation from those actually backing NOTA for chair right now. There could certainly be reasons I have not yet thought of.

  78. Chuck Moulton

    Starchild wrote:

    It is unfortunately possible that committee chair Alicia Mattson has put out a platform survey without the authorization of the committee.

    George Phillies wrote:

    There is something that claims to be a Platform Committee Survey out. I willed out most of it. Then I discovered that it was not at first appeared an anonymous survey, and it was unclear what would be done with the data.

    I don’t know about the platform committee, but the bylaws committee discussed sending out a survey and there was general agreement about doing so (though this was not a formal motion or noted in the minutes). I don’t recall anyone objecting to sending out a survey and it was implicit in all discussions about having a style committee within the bylaws committee (if we didn’t have to send out a survey sooner, we could have waited until the next meeting to approve changes to introductory language as a full committee).

    As for anonymous vs. attributed, Alicia Mattson mentioned this briefly to me in discussions about setting up the surveys. There is an option to limit each IP address to only take the survey once. Alicia ruled this out because sometimes families who share a computer (or broadband connection) have more than one LP member in the household. Also some networks have dynamic IP addresses which could result in people from distinct households having the same IP address at different times. A second way to prevent duplicate submissions is requiring people to identify themselves. This was the method she chose. At the present moment I plan to use the same method.

    It’s possible identified survey information could be misused once collected. That won’t be the case with bylaws committee survey responses. One could argue that the identification information requested exceeds what is required to combat duplicate submissions (only requiring name or email address, but not both — and not address, phone etc. — would be sufficient). That’s probably true. People are used to providing contact information though and asking a bit extra may further discourage duplicate submissions.

    I’ve asked the bylaws committee for feedback on the survey before I send it out, and I’m open to switching to one submission per IP address (instead of asking for identifying information) or reducing the contact information requested if the bylaws committee thinks that would be prudent.

  79. David Colborne

    Joshua Katz:

    In the sense of air travel and cheapness, not geographically.

    That’s because Las Vegas is an airline hub (Allegiant and Southwest both use it as one). Phoenix, Dallas, Atlanta, Minneapolis, and several other cities also serve as airline hubs, however, and thus also have direct flights.

    Don’t get me wrong, as a resident of Reno, the drive to Las Vegas isn’t bad (7 hours or so, give or take), and as an LP Nevada Executive Committee member, I’d certainly be failing in my duties if I didn’t encourage the national LP to hold their conventions here as often as physically possible, but calling Las Vegas “central” to anything is a bit of a stretch.

    My sense of humor thinks Salt Lake City could potentially be far more entertaining, though.

  80. paulie

    Why the dearth of diversity?

    Maybe we should take an idea from Don Gorman that Nick proposed – step out of your comfort zone and talk to people different than us.

    Myself, being a leftie libertarian (former hippie socialist), feel especially drawn to many of the social concerns for which government is most definitely NOT the answer, but more likely the problem.

    I think now would be a great time to attempt to leverage to whatever degree we can from Ralph Nader’s latest idea, of a libertarian / liberal coalition. I am not advocating a coalition, or softening our approach, but perhaps he has opened a door for us that we can take advantage of.

    Excellent points!

  81. Andy

    “Maybe we should take an idea from Don Gorman that Nick proposed – step out of your comfort zone and talk to people different than us.”

    This is something that I’ve been advocating for a long time. First off, there is not nearly enough outreach being done by Libertarian Party members, but second of all, what little outreach that gets done tends to be either to computer geeks, or to conservatives.

    Libertarians sometimes do outreach at gun shows, which is fine and I’m all in favor of it, but there are a lot of other groups/people out there who do not go to gun shows. Libertarians will pay for a table at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, but what about paying for tables at events where a majority of the people there are not conservatives? How about get a table at some left leaning events? How about get a table at some non-political events, when you can reach out to probably the most important groups that the LP needs to reach out to, and that is independents and non-voters?

    If all the party does is what it has always done, then we will keep getting the same results as we’ve always gotten, which frankly, is not good.

  82. Andy

    I think that there could be an opportunity to put some of this talk into action while in Columbus, OH for the national convention. The convention is being held just a few blocks away from ComFest, which is a huge festival in Columbus. It stands for Community Festival.

    I gathered petition signatures for the Libertarian Party of Ohio at ComFest back in 2007. It was a great event, and I really “kicked ass and took names” at Comfest. The LP of OH had rented a booth at Comfest, and they had volunteers there doing outreach and gathering petition signatures. I handed out lots of LP pamphlets and fliers there myself while I was gathering signatures.

    Is the LP going to do anything at ComFest this year, or is the LP just going to congregate together inside a hotel and nobody at ComFest will even know that the LP is having its national convention just a few blocks away?

    How about Libertarians go to ComFest with big signs or banners that say things like, STOP NSA SPYING ON AMERICANS, or LEGALIZE MARIJAUNA, or whatever else people can think of that would generate a big, positive reaction with a majority of the people at ComFest? Libertarians ought to go the event with pamphlets, fliers, and sign up sheet to get contact information from anyone we encounter who is interested in the LP. Heck, invite people who are interested to walk over to the hotel where the convention is being held so they can check it out.

  83. Starchild

    Some lengthy thoughts and concerns here regarding the Platform (particularly) and Bylaws Committee surveys, in response to Chuck Moulton’s posting (June 7, 2014 at 11:06 pm):

    I don’t know about the platform committee, but the bylaws committee discussed sending out a survey and there was general agreement about doing so (though this was not a formal motion or noted in the minutes). I don’t recall anyone objecting to sending out a survey and it was implicit in all discussions about having a style committee within the bylaws committee (if we didn’t have to send out a survey sooner, we could have waited until the next meeting to approve changes to introductory language as a full committee).

    Questions as significant as whether to send out these surveys, how they are worded, whether respondents are anonymous, and who gets access to the survey response data really should be handled by formal motion and voting in my opinion. But I’m glad that at least general consensus to send out a survey was obtained with the Bylaws Committee prior to acting to do so, even if there was not a formal motion. As I noted, there has been no such process on the Platform Committee and therefore the current survey that is out which apparently purports to be from the Platform Committee (I have not yet received a copy or seen it myself, which is kind of nuts in itself, since I am on the committee, whereas it apparently has been seen by numerous people not on the committee!) should be treated as illegitimate and people should not send in responses unless they just want to do so for fun.

    As for anonymous vs. attributed, Alicia Mattson mentioned this briefly to me in discussions about setting up the surveys. There is an option to limit each IP address to only take the survey once. Alicia ruled this out because sometimes families who share a computer (or broadband connection) have more than one LP member in the household. Also some networks have dynamic IP addresses which could result in people from distinct households having the same IP address at different times. A second way to prevent duplicate submissions is requiring people to identify themselves. This was the method she chose. At the present moment I plan to use the same method.

    What is crucial here is that information personally identifying survey respondents (names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.) should either be available to everyone, or it should not be seen by anyone.

    The problem with some in-between approach is that if some party members (e.g. only members of the Bylaws and Platform committees) have access to information about which individuals gave which views and feedback, it gives them an advantage over other members in terms of things like Bylaws and Platform debate, deciding whom to support for party office in order to advance their agendas, etc.

    I urge anyone filling out an LP survey in which you are required to give personally identifying information (name, email, etc.) to make it clear in your responses (use one of the comment boxes) that you want your full responses made public, and not viewed only by committee members or other insiders, so as to reduce the possibility of your information being used for unfair political advantage. (And, obviously, don’t mention anything in the survey comments that you don’t want made public.)

    It’s possible identified survey information could be misused once collected. That won’t be the case with bylaws committee survey responses. One could argue that the identification information requested exceeds what is required to combat duplicate submissions (only requiring name or email address, but not both — and not address, phone etc. — would be sufficient). That’s probably true. People are used to providing contact information though and asking a bit extra may further discourage duplicate submissions.

    It is indeed possible that survey information could be misused once collected, and given the nature of the possible misuse — people with access to the information, even if they only look at it and remember it, rather than retaining a copy, using it to gain a political advantage not available to others — there is only one way to avoid this, and that is for everyone in the party to have the same level of access to the data collected.

    Again, ether no one should be able to see the identities of survey responses (i.e. they are anonymous, or use only non-personal identifiers like IP addresses), or everyone should be able to see the identities of survey responses.

    I’ve asked the bylaws committee for feedback on the survey before I send it out, and I’m open to switching to one submission per IP address (instead of asking for identifying information) or reducing the contact information requested if the bylaws committee thinks that would be prudent.

    I’m glad you haven’t sent the Bylaws survey out yet, and hope you will follow one of the practices recommended above.

    Another key point with these surveys is that to be fair, valid, and accurate in providing a picture of delegates’ views, they should not include “push polling”.

    As an example of what I’m talking about, the 2010 Platform Committee survey did not merely show respondents a proposal, ask whether they support or oppose it, and solicit their comments. It also included statements describing the “purpose” of the proposed changes, statements which were typically not neutral, but rather took the form of editorializing in favor of the proposed changes.

    For instance, the very first proposed change listed in that survey is preceded by the following statement:

    Purpose:? This amendment improves readability, protects our candidates from accusations on many subjects where we make no distinction between young children and adults, and removes the discussion of foreign affairs policy from a plank regarding Personal Liberty. Note that the non-initiation-of-force concept is already addressed in the 3.0 Securing Liberty plank.

    This is problematic for several reasons:

    (1) Survey respondents were clearly given a positive lead-in to the proposed change, biasing them to vote in favor of the proposal

    (2) This push-polling casts the legitimacy and accuracy of the survey results in doubt

    (3) The statement that the proposed change “protects our candidates from accusations on many subjects where we make no distinction between young children and adults” is highly controversial and debatable. It implicitly presumes that our platform should be about “protecting our candidates from accusations” rather than being about stating what we believe.

    (4) The inclusion of leading and biased statements may have impacted not only the survey results, but voting during the Platform debate itself based on delegates’ opinions having been influenced by the survey, which in turn would undermine the legitimacy of the very democratic process by which the Libertarian Party makes changes to its Platform!

    I hope everyone reading this thinks about the above, and sees why the wording of these surveys of party members is so important!

    Alicia Mattson, the chair of this year’s Platform Committee, was also the chair of the Platform Committee in 2010, and her name appears on the biased survey that was sent out that year and thus is presumably responsible for it, although others may have had a hand in creating it as well. She has also been committee chair other years — I don’t recall how many times. I believe surveys sent out in some of those other years have also had similar problems to those noted with the 2010 survey above, but again I do not recall for certain without more research. Perhaps others can chime in here with data or recollections.

    Some people (including Alicia) have objected to the idea of making the identities of survey respondents public. Clearly we should not do this in cases where people have been promised anonymity or led to expect their responses will be kept private. HOWEVER, we should not be promising anonymity or giving expectations of privacy in the first place, unless the respondents’ identities are also kept secret from those (like Alicia) who are collecting the surveys!

    For these reasons, I am very troubled that Alicia as chair of the 2014 Platform Committee apparently on her own and without committee authorization has created and sent out a survey purportedly on behalf of the committee, after I had previously raised concerns as a committee member that we make sure any survey is conducted in an unbiased and transparent manner!

    In conclusion, I recommend the following approach for sending out Platform, Bylaws, and other surveys to party members:

    (1) Make it clear to survey recipients that all the data from survey responses will be made public (shared with all party members)

    (2) Give respondents the option of responding anonymously (using IP address) or openly (using their names, email addresses, phone numbers, or other identifying info), with the caveat that no more than one anonymous response per IP address will be allowed in order to prevent duplicate voting.

    (3) Do not include any explanatory language about committee proposals, only the proposals themselves! (Recommended approach.) Or, if explanatory language is included, ensure that language written by a supporter of a proposal explaining the reasons or justifications (i.e. arguments) for making a change, is accompanied by language of a similar length written by an opponent of the proposal, giving the arguments against making the change.

  84. Starchild

    Andy asks (June 8, 2014 at 1:01 am), “Is the LP going to do anything at ComFest this year, or is the LP just going to congregate together inside a hotel and nobody at ComFest will even know that the LP is having its national convention just a few blocks away?”

    Terrific question, Andy! This kind of thing should always be considered a critical part of the convention planning process. If I’d been given the opportunity to be involved in that process this year, I would definitely make ComFest an issue.

    “How about Libertarians go to ComFest with big signs or banners that say things like, STOP NSA SPYING ON AMERICANS, or LEGALIZE MARIJAUNA, or whatever else people can think of that would generate a big, positive reaction with a majority of the people at ComFest? Libertarians ought to go the event with pamphlets, fliers, and sign up sheet to get contact information from anyone we encounter who is interested in the LP. Heck, invite people who are interested to walk over to the hotel where the convention is being held so they can check it out.”

    Exactly! I’d like to see organizers set aside time (say an hour or so during a time when ComFest will be busy) in the convention schedule for our attendees to parade over there and do exactly as you suggest. This is worth cutting a speaker slot for.

    Passing up an opportunity like this would be the height of folly.

  85. Chuck Moulton

    I sent the bylaws committee a link to your IPR comment with concerns and welcome their feedback on anonymous vs. identified.

    Starchild wrote:

    The problem with some in-between approach is that if some party members (e.g. only members of the Bylaws and Platform committees) have access to information about which individuals gave which views and feedback, it gives them an advantage over other members in terms of things like Bylaws and Platform debate, deciding whom to support for party office in order to advance their agendas, etc.

    Last time a survey was used, responses were made available to the bylaws committee afterward in anonymized form. Results were 166 pages long.

    Starchild wrote:

    Another key point with these surveys is that to be fair, valid, and accurate in providing a picture of delegates’ views, they should not include “push polling”.

    As an example of what I’m talking about, the 2010 Platform Committee survey did not merely show respondents a proposal, ask whether they support or oppose it, and solicit their comments. It also included statements describing the “purpose” of the proposed changes, statements which were typically not neutral, but rather took the form of editorializing in favor of the proposed changes.

    I share your disdain for leading introductory statements. I seem to be in the minority on that though. Scrapping or modifying introductory statements would be above my pay grade.

    Just including the amendments themselves could make it hard to follow what the proposal actually does (one of the proposals is more than 5 pages long). Having opposing views may be unwieldy — first because some proposals were reported out unanimously, second because there may be more than 2 perspectives on a proposal, third because introductory text can balloon the size of proposals immensely, fourth because even getting introductory text written was a long herding cats process and doing that for many viewpoints would take that much longer. If we want to change introductory language to include oppositional statements, that should have been done far earlier in the process. It’s something the next bylaws committee can consider.

    Unlike you (apparently), I have strong faith in libertarians to sniff out bias, see through leading statements, and form their own opinions. I’ve found overly biased introductory statements often make delegates angry and solidify opposition for proposals anyway. The percentage who approve / disapprove in the survey is an interesting statistic, but debate on the floor is what really matters.

  86. Kevin Knedler

    There will be NO LP Ohio booth at the Comfest this year–wasn’t last year. The event organizers decided they don’t want political parties in the event as vendors. Funny, but the LP Ohio folks of Franklin County were in that event for many many years. Maybe the fact we are getting a lot of press in mainstream news and we are getting bigger made them take notice. No idea. But, the event is free and anyone can walk three blocks to the event. FRIDAY night will be the big kickoff down there, with music and more.

  87. Geoffrey Neale

    Joshua wrote:

    The LP needs to get over the ‘wasted vote’ hump, and we only do that by showing that we’re not about politics as usual. “That’s politics” doesn’t fly with me, as it shouldn’t with most libertarians.

    If bringing up the voting record of an opponent is now out of bounds, which is what I did, then I see no point in running campaigns at all. It is one of the best things our candidates can do.

  88. Nicholas Sarwark

    How can we step up fundraising to attract some decent money from some more affluent donors? I am not expecting David Koch to return to the LP tomorrow and John Allison is pretty committed to CATO, but there are plenty of others we need to attract (and to woo away from the Republican Glub for Growth crowd).

    Any concrete plans for raising real serious money?

    People give money to do things they want done. If we do more things, we have more hooks to raise money. As an example, the $300K spent in support of Robert Sarvis in his last run in Virginia didn’t come from some better script or way of asking, it came from him doing something that the donor wanted to support.

    If we aren’t effective with the money we have, donors will not give us more of it. If we are, they will. Rich people didn’t get that way by spending money without an effective return.

  89. Nicholas Sarwark

    Mr Neale, if re-elected will you allow the LNC to continue to hold Mr Starr in a position of near-membership of the LNC? Although a member of the audience, he is frequently recognized and permitted to speak. My understanding is that he is also included in some EC business as well as some executive sessions — where I would hope that he is permitted only because he absolutely must be present. Mr Starr appears to be given the opportunity to influence the committee in excess of other members of the party who attend LNC meetings, most of whom do what is expected: observe silently and wait to speak in the opportunity for public comment at the beginning and end of the meeting.

    Mr Sarwark, if elected would you continue the current practice?

    LNC members are free to receive counsel or notes from anyone they’d like. Only LNC members may participate in meetings unless the LNC votes to allow someone else to address the committee. If Mr. Starr has particular information of value to the LNC or some kind of committee assignment that requires his participation, he would be allowed to address the committee. If not, not.

  90. Nicholas Sarwark

    Years ago the LP had some decent handouts on issues for the membership to use. We even once had a book that was titled something like “Libertarian Solutions for Local Problems”. What commitment will you make to update the brochures and perhaps produce other tools on issues for the membership to use?

    Question # 2: I have frequently encountered officers or others in the LP who have no idea on how to run a meeting or do many of the basics necessary to build an organization. What commitment will you make to develop such material? If I may be so bold, I will suggest that this being a regular column in LP News.

    Two points if I may. I have been in the LP for some 30 plus years and have been bitching about this since Bill Redpath was chair and so far I have seen little or no action in either area. Most of the time I don’t even receive an answer.

    If elected Chair, I will establish a committee, with you as Chair, with the task of reviewing and updating the outreach literature, as well as tying the outreach literature to more expanded information on the LP web site. There’s no better way of getting something done than to put the person who most wants it done in charge of it.

  91. Nicholas Sarwark

    1. Libertarian feelings and anger with the government have gone up, while this party has not grown. How do we harness the ongoing libertarian moment, particularly among the youth and unaffiliated? I know both candidates have said we must, but my question is how to do it.

    Focus on messaging and issues where we are on the side of young and unaffiliated people and the old parties aren’t. Engage them in issue campaigns, then follow up to solicit more money and involvement.

    2. Will you commit to more volunteer and non-LNC involvement, and in providing more opportunities for people who aren’t friends with LNC members to find their way onto committees, by having a more open and transparent process for committee selection?

    Yes.

    3. What should be the future of the regional arrangement process?

    Whatever the delegates want it to be.

    4. Should we, as Marc Rutherford argued, “act like a major party” or should we recognize our differences from those 2 parties and try to harness them?

    Yes. 🙂 We should learn what we can from the old parties and recognize those things that don’t apply to a new(er) and smaller (for now) party.

    5. What will you do to ensure that we provide better support, encouragement, and opportunities to our elected officials and candidates running in realistic, winnable races? Will you commit, for instance, to preventing elected officials from being asked to choose between participating in a panel about campaigning and doing their jobs as delegates from their states? Similarly, will you commit to having more elected officials speak at the convention?

    Scheduling a multi-track convention will always have the situation of people having to choose which sessions to attend. I would encourage future convention committees to try not to schedule two things against each other where there’s likely overlap between who would want to attend. As to speakers, I’ll commit to directing the convention committee to bring in the speakers who are most likely to drive high attendance and engagement.

    6. How can we make conventions more inclusive and educational? We can’t expect youth to attend events filled with stuffy and expensive “meals with speakers” and I myself, despite my affiliation with Mises, will not pay more than $300 to have lunch with Jeff Tucker, nor will I pay $150 for a ‘grand banquet.’

    Scholarships for people who volunteer at conventions, some number of scholarships that students are eligible to apply for. An extra day for workshops, or possibly an off-year educational event. Some people like meals with speakers, some people don’t.

    7. Do you agree that the next POTUS will not be a Libertarian?
    8. If you said yes to 7, then would you consider not running a candidate, or running a fusion ticket with other small parties?

    It’s not likely, but I would not support skipping a Presidential cycle or a national fusion candidate. Delegates can do as they like at the nomination convention, but you asked what I would consider.

    9. How can the LP participate in a left/right coalition regarding our basic civil liberties and personal freedoms? What are some innovative ways our candidates can reach out to the left?

    We can reach out. The Libertarian Party of Colorado was active in the coalition to legalize marijuana, something neither the Colorado GOP or Democrats did. Start a conversation with groups who agree with us, publicly support their efforts. It’s not complicated.

    Reaching out to the left is a matter of choosing which issues to highlight. Focus on immigration, ending the drug war, and reducing corporate power over government and the concomitant corporate welfare are good choices. Also, be nicer. We have a reputation (deserved or not) of being heartless assholes who want to kick poor people off welfare. We’re going to have to try a little harder if we want to shake that reputation.

    10.How will you ensure that the LNC remains a governance body rather than taking on management roles?

    I’m not sure I understand this question. The LNC sets direction and authorizes broad action. The staff execute at the direction of the Chair. LNC members do not direct staff except in circumstances authorized by the Chair.

    11.Do you agree with my claim that the LP cannot expect to convince people that we can run our country on libertarian grounds if we will not run our party in a libertarian manner?

    No. The average voter could care less how we run our party internally. However, failure to hew to our principles internally will alienate principled activists. I would try not to do that without good reason, and I would explain why to any interested member.

    12.Is it appropriate, when speaking last in a chair’s race, without your opponent having an opportunity to respond, to use your speaking time to insinuate financial malfeasance by your opponent several years in the past? In particular, if you have such suspicions, do you agree that you should bring them up at the time, not when they can be used for political purposes – and if you don’t, then do you agree that making such a claim during a campaign is inappropriate?

    I don’t think this one is for me.

  92. Nicholas Sarwark

    Will good and long standing members of the Libertarian Party continue to be denied the ability to participate in debates for POTUS by the current “token” system implemented during the 2008 LNC session?

    The LNC giveth, the LNC taketh away. If it’s a problem, elect new or different LNC members.

  93. Nicholas Sarwark

    Wow, this is all so “inside baseball” it’s disturbing.

    Geoff, your concern about image is very irrelevant.

    The rule if politics is “define or be defined.”

    Defining the LP starts with reaching people — which the LP does only on a tiny scale.

    To both Nick and Geoff, what strategy will you deploy to define the LP?

    Hint: there is only one correct answer and it does double-duty in growing the LP.

    At last count, there’s 558 delegates. It’s a race to run the Party. Everyone asking questions is an insider. There’s going to be some inside baseball.

    In answer to your question, I’m probably going to take your one correct answer and run with it, once you tell me what it is. 😉

    Last Q: if looking at the LP as a product, how do you differentiate it from the other parties?

    Focus on the issues and areas that the other parties won’t or can’t address.

  94. Mark Axinn

    Jill–Excellent thread.

    Geoff and Nick–Thank you both for taking so uch of your limited time to seriously answer the many questions raised herein. My guess is that you both will be doing a lot of similar work over the next couple of weeks. 🙂

  95. Marc Montoni

    We are all business and don’t have time for the drama, internal squabbles, and inner focus.

    Ironic, coming from the reigning King of internal Squabbles. I can’t wait to see what kind of temper tantrum there’s going to be this year. If Knedlerizing the 2012 convention wasn’t enough, let’s Knedlerize the 2014 convention too.

    I’m bringing popcorn.

  96. Nicholas Sarwark

    Marc, in fairness to Kevin, one outburst does not make a pattern. All of my other interactions with him and reports of his work in the party indicate that that outburst was very much out of character. I doubt this convention will need much popcorn, assuming we get through credentialing without controversy.

  97. Geoffrey Neale

    Marc,

    I truly wish we could step away from the drama and internal squabbles. As a free market kind of guy, I wish we would stop arguing about doing A or B or C, when the right choice for me is do what you want, do what you can, as long as it’s consistent with our principles, and you don’t try to sabotage the other guy. People who are passionate are better spending their time and energies on what they’re passionate about, as long as it’s not taking down someone else, or taking away choice, or . . .

    I think we need a lot more people who say “what can I do – what do you need done?”, and already have enough saying “why don’t you” or “we ought to do” or “I will help you if you do it my way” or “I will do it if you pay me” or . . ..

    As to inner focus, if we’re talking about avoiding spreading the word outside our walls, I agree. Our focus as a movement must be to MOVE!

    But we have too many internal issues that are operational, or support, or organizational, or communication to ignore.

    I could say “Keep your eye on the prize”, or I could say “Take care of the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves”.

    To me it’s always going to be both.

    My prime example for this LNC term is that “sloppiness” was brought to light by our Audit with our internal accounting. We found cases where staff had not been following the Policy Manual, or good accounting practices. Some of these went back many years. We’re fixing it. My message to staff, after spending who knows how long researching, and arguing, and “reconstructing” documentation was simple – “If you’d done it right, you wouldn’t have wasted so much of everyone’s time. Do it right. Take the time. It saves time and money in the long run.”

    This is inner focus, and lack of it wasted a huge amount of LNC time, energy and outwards focus.

    We will always need appropriate inner focus. Always.

  98. Geoffrey Neale

    Nick,

    The delegates should vote for me if they think I’m the better candidate, and you if they think you are the better candidate. If they prefer NOTA, they should vote for NOTA.

    For those included to support my campaign, please go to:

    https://www.lp.org/contribute

    That way, no matter who wins, they will have more resources to work with.

  99. Michael H. Wilson

    Someone mentioned something about working with the left. I don’t know if this qualifies but here in Washington State we took on this issue and maybe it fits in that spectrum. This is from the state news letter of April 2014.

    “The Legislature Watch: by M. H. Wilson
    First allow me to thank everyone who helped in this effort to protect the rights of the people.

    Washington State is one of thirty-one states that do not have a law to protect rape victims from harassment by their alleged attackers if the victim becomes pregnant from the rape and delivers the child. When this was noticed last year members of the party in Olympia became active in trying to close this loophole in the law so that the victim and her child would be protected.

    Debbie Johnson, Ed Pole and I went through the state code, read law review and news articles and exchanged emails with members of the legislature. A couple of meetings were held with
    Representative Roger Goodman on the issue and as a result Rep. Goodman offered to introduce legislation to fix this problem. Unbeknownst to us at that time Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles was already working on similar legislation on the Senate side.

    In early December Ed Pole and I drove to Seattle to meet with Rep. Goodman, Rep. Tina Orwall and Senator Kohl-Welles. Out of this came HB 2559 and SB 6364. Sen. Roach also wrote a bill but it didn’t get far. HB2559 and SB6463 both were heard in committee but were held up because of questions concerning the term clear, cogent and convincing which is used in family court to terminate parental rights or beyond a reasonable doubt which is used in criminal court. Hopefully things can be worked out between session and we can come back next year with a solution.”

    Then there is a article in the Dec 2013 LP News on Health care alternatives on the next to last page where I specifically mentioned the benefits of midwifery to Native-American and African-American infants. http://www.lp.org/files/lp_news/2013-4_LP_News.pdf.

    Pardon me for bragging, it is rude, but some of us are trying to reach out to others outside the usual groups but we need a team or maybe an army behind us.

  100. paulie

    Jill–Excellent thread.

    Geoff and Nick–Thank you both for taking so much of your limited time to seriously answer the many questions raised herein.

    +1

  101. David

    Vegas was an excellent location for most of us. For some of the smaller states Columbus can be a little expensive travel wise. Downtown Austin Texas would make for a great convention and I’d make a push for having a convention in one of our smaller states like Billings Montana. Billings has hotels that can seat 1000 people, which is large enough to hold a convention. The last time the LNC was out in Billings Montana was around 1982, I believe. We could make either of those two places work.

  102. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I also appreciate both Geoff and Nick for participating, especially since a few of the questions have been a bit difficult. I’d like to see a thread like this for Hinkle and Vohra. Does anything think they would participate if I set one up? I’m inclined to think not.

  103. Mark Axinn

    In fairness to Mark and Arvin, you may want to contact first off list first to let them know.

  104. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I won’t start a thread without both of them agreeing to it.

  105. Steve Scheetz

    Mike K, yes and yes…

    Question for the candidates. In 2008, the delegates voted that Bob Barr be the presidential candidate for the LP, and Gary Johnson in 2012. Both were voted in an attempt to gain more votes by massaging people’s opinions over what the LP stands for, and in that regard, the plan worked.

    NOW, many people view the party as “A group of Republicans who like to smoke pot” In the mean time, the Libertarian Philosophy is not something that fits neatly into that sort of generalized box.

    Given that the LP will NOT field a candidate who will win the election, would either of you support a candidate who embodies the Libertarian Principles that we state that we live by when we join the party?

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  106. Kevin Knedler

    Hey Montoni, find some new material as your tape is getting old.
    LOL
    Meanwhile an offer of a beer or a soda in Columbus is on the table–yes I will buy.
    Kevin

  107. Steve Scheetz

    On a side note, If the LP is not allowed to set up a booth, maybe the LP should just simply VISIT the event and mingle with the people of Columbus… Who needs a booth when it is so much more effective to go to the people instead of waiting for the people to come to us…

    Just a thought…

  108. Andy

    “Steve Scheetz June 8, 2014 at 9:47 pm
    Mike K, yes and yes…

    Question for the candidates. In 2008, the delegates voted that Bob Barr be the presidential candidate for the LP, and Gary Johnson in 2012. Both were voted in an attempt to gain more votes by massaging people’s opinions over what the LP stands for, and in that regard, the plan worked.”

    I disagree that that plan worked. Barr got something like 520,000 which may sound “good” by LP standards, but it really was not god at all. The potential in 2008 given the upsurge in the popularity of libertarianism in 2008 due to the Ron Paul r3VOLution should have meant that the LP Presidential ticket would have received a lot more votes than it got. Ralph Nader was in the mix in 2008 for the minor party and independent vote, however, by that point in time a lot of people were sick of Ralph Nader, as he had already run in 1996, 2000, 2004, and by 2008, I think that the LP candidate for President could have finally gotten more votes than Ralph Nader, and I believe that the LP candidate would have, if not for the fact that the majority of delegates at the 2008 convention had not voted for Bob Barr and Wayne Root to be the LP’s ticket. There were others problems that year, such as gross mismanagement by LP national, but the main problem was that the Barr /Root ticket made it look like the Libertarian Party had “sold out” by nominating a couple of cast off Republicans who really were not that libertarian. It is pretty pathetic that Ron Paul looked was more libertarian in the Republican primaries than the LP’s 2008 Presidential ticket was. The Barr / Root ticket alienated a lot of the libertarian base in this country. I have talked to many big “L” and small “l” libertarians around the county who told me that they did not vote for the LP ticket in the Presidential election because the LP nominated Barr / Root, and I did not vote for them either. It should also be pointed out that the most important criteria when judging vote totals is the percent of the vote received, and going by that standard, the Barr / Root ticket comes in 5ht place in party history, behind Ed Clark / David Koch, Gary Johnson / Jim Gray, Harry Browne / Jo Jorgensen (1996), and Ron Paul / Andre Morrou.

    The Gary Johnson / Jim Gray ticket did better than the Barr / Root ticket for two reasons:

    1) They had a better campaign and managed to not piss off as many people as the Barr / Root ticket did.

    2) There was no higher profile minor party or independent candidate in the race.

    Frankly, Johnson and Gray are not hardcore libertarians, but at least they had a campaign that did a better job of reaching out across the political spectrum than the Barr / Root ticket did, and Gary Johnson is certainly a better public speaker than Bob Barr, and he’s got a better track record as an elected official than Barr. Johnson also managed to not piss off the Ron Paul r3VOLUtion crowd, and the libertarian base in general to the degree that Barr did.

    The Johnson / Gray vote total of over 1.2 million votes is the best in party history in terms of number of votes, but it still did not surpass the percent of the vote record set by the Ed Clark / David Koch ticket back in 1980.

    I think that the potential was there in 2012 for the LP Presidential ticket to have done even better than it did, but at least it was an improvement over the Barr / Root ticket.

    I’d like to see a more hardcore Libertarian Party Presidential ticket in 2016, so having a rerun of Johnson / Gray is not my first choice.

  109. Andy

    ” but it really was not god at all.”

    Should read, “but it really was not good at all,” but it was not god at all either.

  110. Andy

    “if not for the fact that the majority of delegates at the 2008 convention had not voted for”

    Should read, “had voted for…”

    I really have not be wild about any of the candidates for the LP Presidential nomination in 2008 or 2012. There were a few that did a decent job spouting Libertarian philosophy, but they had other problems as candidates.

    I hope to see better candidates emerge in 2016.

  111. Geoffrey Neale

    David,

    I live in Austin Texas, and it has so much to offer. Also home of a very vibrant libertarian party. I have no doubt that convention attendees to Austin would love everything about Austin.

    Except!!! It’s become so damn popular that the hotel costs are VERY HIGH if you come at low season, and stupid if you come at high season. If you come during SXSW or ACL or the Formula 1 race, the downtown Super 8 rooms go for as much as $600.

    I don’t see it happening..

  112. Geoffrey Neale

    I will not speak, as Chair, about my preferences for 2016, because I don’t think it is proper.

    I can speak about who I HAVE supported in the past. I was Mary Ruwart’s Presidential campaign treasurer, and Michael Badnarik’s Chief of Staff/Operations Manager.

  113. Nicholas Sarwark

    Given that the LP will NOT field a candidate who will win the election, would either of you support a candidate who embodies the Libertarian Principles that we state that we live by when we join the party?

    If I am Chair, I will support whichever candidate the delegates choose. As a Party member, I have always supported the candidate the delegates chose. The delegates are who you have to persuade, not me.

  114. George Phillies

    “Given that the LP will NOT field a candidate who will win the election, would either of you support a candidate who embodies the Libertarian Principles that we state that we live by when we join the party?”

    In the context of a Presidential campaign, the only choice that fits your description is a Libertarian candidate.

    From the latest issue of Liberty for America

    Editorial
    Your Vote Does Count Twice!

    For decades, our position on voting has been:

    Your Vote Counts Twice.
    Once for your candidate.
    Once for her stands.

    Your support counts twice.
    Once for the candidate.
    Once for his party.

    There is no stronger argument that no vote is ever thrown away. Every vote counts twice. Every vote advances the party for which the vote was cast.

    Now we want to make that same rationale, in the opposite direction. All too often we encounter Libertarians who want to support some Democrat or Republican. Perhaps that Democrat or Republican takes a few Libertarian stands. Perhaps the candidate is a nice person.

    The same principle applies. And from the record of the last decade, it is clear what that support means.

    When You Support a Republican,
    you are supporting torture and war crimes.

    When You Support a Democrat,
    you are supporting war crimes and torture.

  115. Joshua Katz

    My proposal for 2016: No Libertarian will win the election. No Green will win the election. No Peace and Justice candidate will win the election. No Socialist will win the election (although that’s the most likely non-R or D, if Sanders runs.) I could go on. The LP has a major weakness (among others) – it’s a party based on a rigid ideology which is very much “whole package.” If a person disagrees with one issue, they’re pretty much not a libertarian, and likely won’t vote for a Libertarian candidate. Many of the small parties suffer from the same thing. The R and D parties don’t really stand for much of anything, making it easier for people to vote for them. We also suffer from wasted vote syndrome.

    How to get around that? A united opposition ticket. Here’s what I would propose. Each party follows its usual procedure for choosing candidates. All parties can then choose to participate in a unified opposition ticket, or not. Among participating parties, each party will receive 1 point for each state in which they are the only participating party with ballot access (without petitioning), .5 point for each state in which they are one of two parties with ballot access, etc. The candidate of the party with the most points will be the unified opposition candidate. In each state, parties with ballot access will continue to run their own candidates – but it will be publicized that, in the event that any participating party wins in a given state, their electors will vote for the unified opposition candidate.

    To participate, a party must agree to require their candidate to campaign on the following issues (in addition to any other they wish to campaign on):
    1. Abolishing bailouts
    2. Restoring privacy and abolishing domestic spying and the TSA.
    3. Abolishing the Fed, either in favor of greenbacks, 100% gold reserve, or free banking.
    4. Ending all wars of aggression and bringing the troops home.
    5. Restoration of civilian control of the military, eliminating mercenary armies, and an end to CIA black-ops.

    Any of these can be dropped in favor of a more radical version – for instance, 5 could be dropped in favor of eliminating the military, or all could be dropped in favor of anarchy, and that party would still qualify for inclusion.

  116. Marc Montoni

    Hey Montoni, find some new material as your tape is getting old.

    I could say the same about you. Apparently you learned little from 2012. Instead of contrition and humility, this time you’re doubling down and using Starr money to buy memberships, to load the convention with Ohio delegates. Sure, it’s legal, both under federal laws and LP bylaws.

    But it also isn’t an organic form of growth.

    I must say, internally, it’s a brilliant strategy. Here I’ve been busting my hump on practically a weekly basis putting membership applications in front of people, when all I really had to do was drop a few dollars on renewing members who weren’t motivated enough to do it directly.

    Genius.

    Too bad the only real object of the exercise is enabling internal manipulation.

    I am somewhat curious. A few years back, a bunch of hack factionalists claimed someone else paying Lee Wrights’ dues was not allowed (even though state parties had been doing just that for decades), justifying their attempt to shove him off the LNC. Now, the same crew is paying dues for hundreds of members in Ohio, in order to increase the delegate count.

    My question is: Do you guys *ever* run a consistent line on anything?

    Meanwhile an offer of a beer or a soda in Columbus is on the table­yes I will buy.

    I’d rather be reimbursed for my time which your 2012 tantrum cost me.

    But thanks.

  117. Mark Hilgenberg

    Nick,

    I see that you would like to focus on attracting the unaffiliated youth to the LP.

    Do you have any plans to try and re-work some of our outreach language, especially our frequent use of only focusing on what we are against, not what our vision of a libertarian society could be? If so, do you have any examples?

    Geoff,

    This question is for you also.

    Thanks,

    Mark

  118. Nicholas Sarwark

    I want to leave behind the angry, macho flash, Libertarianism that has been tried and found lacking. In answer to Mr. Wilson, I indicated that I would establish a committee to review and update all the outreach literature and a more positive tone is something I think we need.

    My favorite example of getting the tone right is The Kind Libertarian.

  119. Michael H. Wilson

    Thanks to both Geoff and Nick for answering. I hope the LP can get this off the ground. Our members need the tools and training in order to do their job. And for the record. Mr. Wilson died in 1992. I am Michael or Mike. Whatever is most convenient. Thanks again to both of you.

  120. Andy

    “Nicholas Sarwark June 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm
    I want to leave behind the angry, macho flash, Libertarianism that has been tried and found lacking. In answer to Mr. Wilson, I indicated that I would establish a committee to review and update all the outreach literature and a more positive tone is something I think we need.

    My favorite example of getting the tone right is The Kind Libertarian”

    Nicholas, how about doing something like this? Have a contest for who can design the best outreach material. The best designs get posted as free downloads on the http://www.LP.org website.

    I’ve been saying for years that the Libertarian Party needs to update its outreach material (as in pamphlets, fliers, etc…). Lots of the current stuff is out of date, and there are issues which are now more in the public eye which the party does not even have any outreach material to address, such as NSA spying on Americans.

    I’d have done this myself by now if I had better design skills.

  121. Nicholas Sarwark

    I’d be happy to debate. Friday evening would make the most sense and it appears that there’s a tentative blocking of time for it on the convention schedule.

  122. Marc Montoni

    With regard to the BEST Coalition, I have to say goal #1 is very problematic.

    Libertarians are amateurs and as such few seem to acknowledge that our races aren’t about the candidates — instead, they are about recruiting more people into the LP.

    One of the things that annoyed me greatly about a few of the partisans for Gary Johnson in 2012 was that many of them seemed to feel entitled to every resource the LP had available — even before the nomination — yet the campaign did very little in the way of recruitment in exchange.

    Did Johnson *ever* share his list with the LP?

    Harry Browne and Andre Marrou both understood the absolute necessity of bringing new recruits into the Party. They both merged their database with LPHQ’s — with the immediate result that the instant the campaign found a new supporter, the LP also had immediate access to that supporter and could introduce them to the Party.

    The record with Badnarik, Barr, and Johnson has not been nearly so good.

    The results have been pretty obvious: donor levels flat or declining, ever since 2000.

    So if I were writing goal # 1, it would be to make it crystal clear that the presidential campaign is expected to be a recruitment tool, and as such, it is the campaign that should ensure good information flow *to* the LP.

  123. Andy

    Marc Montoni June 13, 2014 at 12:17 am said: “So if I were writing goal # 1, it would be to make it crystal clear that the presidential campaign is expected to be a recruitment tool, and as such, it is the campaign that should ensure good information flow *to* the LP.”

    I agree.

  124. Geoffrey Neale

    Regarding the BEST coalition, I support it (with minor caveats), for two reasons:

    It provides an opportunity for our delegates to tell the LNC what it ought to be doing, and it’s narrow enough to provide focus, while being broad enough to encompass multiple efforts.

    My caveats are that we cannot ignore regulations and laws during the efforts, and that without specific goals or targets, it’s difficult to decide two years on whether or not the LNC has succeeded. Some of the objectives should be incremental and ongoing across any time frame.

    I have no problem with #1 (as I read it), because the next LNC has already achieved that objective, since there will be no POTUS team until the 2016 convention. In the meantime, the LNC should show no favoritism towards any candidate, but should instead focus on giving the same level of access to the process to all hopefuls.

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