What’s Going On With the Libertarian Party of California?

I received this letter from Dana McLorn, a member since 2009 CA LP logoof the Libertarian Party of California’s Executive Committee. During some of that time, he was on the Operations Committee, and was Chairman of the Convention Committee in 2012. In addition, he is the immediate past chairman of Ventura County. He has asked that I post this here. Disclaimer: I am a member of the Libertarian Party of California, but haven’t been involved with the Executive Committee since 2010. I served as an At-Large Member at the same time as Mr. McLorn in 2009 to 2010.

Also, Kevin Takenaga, current Chairman of the Libertarian Party of CA, was asked to respond and has declined at this time.

 

With great disappointment I must tender my resignation from the LPC executive committee. For many years I have dedicated my time, passion and funds to the LPC in order fight for liberty in California. It has been my honor to serve with other patriots with equal levels of passion and dedication. With the deteriorating state of leadership, vision and funding, it is no longer worth dedicating my time and funds, with no hope of return on this investment. This is especially disappointing because there has never been a greater opportunity to build a pro-liberty political party in California. But we cannot take advantage of this with a Chair and executive board that refuse to even do the basic operations required of any organization. We cannot hope to build a party when we don’t do basic operations like contacting our membership, fundraising and issuing press releases. Our Party has a history of avoiding the work needed to become a relevant, functioning party. But this year we have hit a new low. The time has come for the party to decide if it has an interest in being a functioning political party, that elect’s members to public office and changes public policy. Or would it like to lobby and promote issues? If so a PAC would be a much more effective vehicle. Or would we like to hold dinner party’s and become a forum for discussing issues? Then we should look into becoming a not for profit group. At this point I cannot in good conscience recommend friends or members of the public join or donate to the Party. This is the least libertarian organization I have ever been involved with. We spend the majority of our time passing rules and regulations to control the leadership and membership. We hold regular conventions where people demand that I pay for them to attend and pass rules to control me and my ability to act. You have all heard “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Well if a party elects no one and has no public voice, does it make a difference? The answer is a resounding no! If the LPC wants to become a functioning political party, there is no secret formula. It requires a clear mission statement, an achievable plan, attention to the needs of our customers[voters] and lots of hard work! If the party continues to refuse to make that effort, please end this charade and free up these resources for the many liberty organizations that are making a difference. So many of our freedoms are in danger in California. I would simply ask that our officers and members stop being obstacles in the fight for those liberties, and assess for themselves if they want put in the time and effort required to make a difference in that fight. After many years of dedicating my efforts to the fight for liberty, it is now time for me to focus on my health, career, finances and the relationships that I have neglected during my time with the party. If anyone is serious about getting involved in real politics, I would be happy to share the experience and training I picked up during my time in politics. Although I will not be actively involved in any liberty organizations on a day to day basis, I will never stop fighting for liberty and hope I will continue to see my see my libertarian friends at liberty events in the future.

Dana T. McLorn

112 thoughts on “What’s Going On With the Libertarian Party of California?

  1. Mark Herd

    Very true and unfortunate. Hopefully those that run for office will understand their responsibilities and have the time and will to accomplish their objectives. Membership growth needs to be a top priority and we need to keep existing members more informed via the internet and email outreach. There many dedicated Libs in Cali and the potential for success is here. Lets hope the new leaders have specific goals and plans to move us all in the right direction. Control, censorship and ignoring the will of the membership cannot work.

  2. Andy

    Note that in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the LP had over 3,000 dues paying members in California. The LP of CA had a budget of $350,000. The LP of CA had a full time Executive Director. The LP of CA had more candidates and more people elected to local offices.

    The LP of California is now a shell of what it was in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

    What went wrong?

  3. Andy

    “Matt Cholko

    February 5, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Well, in fairness, the LP as a whole is much smaller, in terms of members, than it was during that late 90’s – early 2000’s period.”

    Yes, this is true and it shows the failure of the LNC over the last 15 years. California has been hit particularly hard though. So there has been more at play in the LP of California to drive it downhill than just an overall decline in the national party.

  4. Mark Herd

    Im not 100% sure but I believe the lib party of cali has fewer members than 15 yrs. ago but more registered voters than ever. Its the internal organization that needs tweeking. When guys like Beau Cain make back up convention plans in Reno, clearly he doesn’t care what the overwhelming majority of the membership wants and needs. Excom appears to be like minded other than Brian and a couple others. I support Jose Casteneda for Secretary, Janine for Chair, and whomever Jill P. supports.

  5. paulie

    Speaking of Jose, he recently posted this on another thread here:

    Jose C February 5, 2015 at 2:47 am

    I am the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Los Angeles County. Being Chair is hard work, not that I am complaining. It is hard work because ultimately the buck stops with me. I have realized that ultimately the membership looks to the person in charge for leadership. With out leadership the organization does not function effectively.

    In 1957 President Eisenhower showed leadership during the crisis at Central High School in the city of Little Rock when he called out the 101st Airborne Division to restore order and integrate Central High School. President Eisenhower did not have to act. He did not have to integrate Central High School. And yet Eisenhower felt he had a legal (Constitutional) obligation to act by supporting the rulings of the federal courts that called for the integration of the public schools in the South. He felt the obstruction of the orders of the federal courts by Governor Orval Faubus and citizens of Arkansas had to be dealt with and thus President Eisenhower acted.

    Currently in California the lack of leadership has been and is being shown by the Executive Committee in the way it was decided to have the Party convention in Las Vegas. Last year I spoke to a couple of members of the LPC convention committee. I was told the convention was going to be held in Los Angeles probably the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. A couple of months later I was told the convention was going to be in Ontario. I thought Hollywood or Ontario either city would be a good place to have the convention.

    As I visited the regions in Los Angeles I mentioned to the members we were going to have the Party convention in Hollywood or Ontario. I received a positive response to my message. Plans were being made to attend the convention in Hollywood or Ontario.

    One month ago the Southern Vice-Chair told me the convention was going to be held in Las Vegas. I asked, “What happened to Ontario?” I thought what happened to Hollywood? Sadly, and I mean no criticism toward the Vice-Chair, he had no answer. I heard the convention committee was abolished and the Party Chair decided the Party will have the convention in Las Vegas. The Executive Committee went along and approved the Chair’s actions.

    Last year in 2014 I was an alternate member of the LPC Executive Committee. We (Executive Committee) held an Executive Committee meeting in Bakersfield at a hotel where we were going to have the convention. We were told the convention was going to be held in Bakersfield. I left Bakersfield with plans to attend the convention in Bakersfield. Soon after I received a message the convention was not going to be held in Bakersfield but was going to be held in northern California.

    At the convention in northern California we had the lowest attendance to a convention since at least 1984 when I started attending Party conventions. Mark Hinkle during the questing period of officers asked the Chair, “Why is attendance so low?” The Chair said the question was out of order and he would not answer it.

    And so it is 2015 and our Party convention is being held in Las Vegas. At the last Executive Committee meeting of the Libertarian Party of Los Angeles County a guest who was visiting to find out about our views, the Libertarian Party of Los Angeles County, and our meeting. During the meeting we talked about the convention in Las Vegas. After the meeting was adjourned our guest mentioned he liked what he had heard and was going to become a member. He also commented on the situation concerning the convention being held in Las Vegas.

    What do I tell him? Do I say we are an organization that does not follow our own rules? That we make it a habit of having our conventions in another state? Do I tell him that we are an organization that requires a $130+ floor fee for members to attend the business sessions of the convention? Do I mention officers do not like answering questions given to them by the delegates?

    In the beginning I talked about leadership and gave an example of leadership in action. It is 2015 and I ask, “Leadership, where is it?” Sadly it seams to me in the LPC leadership is lacking.

  6. Jed Ziggler

    “Im not 100% sure but I believe the lib party of cali has fewer members than 15 yrs. ago but more registered voters than ever.”

    Because people believe that in order to join a party, you simply have to register with the party. Which I believe is how it works for the Dems & GOP.

  7. paulie

    Note that in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the LP had over 3,000 dues paying members in California.

    Over 7,000 at one point and about 500 people at some state conventions. The last convention had under 50, and of course the membership and budget is a fraction of what it was, as are the active meetings and people coming to them. They do have a few elected Libertarians in CA though.

  8. Andy


    Mark Herd

    February 5, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Im not 100% sure but I believe the lib party of cali has fewer members than 15 yrs. ago but more registered voters than ever.”

    Libertarian Party voter registration in California went on a downward spiral for several years, however, it picked back up a few years ago, and is now back up, and probably a little higher, than it was 15 years ago. This upturn in Libertarian Party voter registrations has had little to do with anything that the Libertarian Party of California has done. More of it has to do with people like Ron Paul, Andrew Napolitano, John Stossel, and a few other relatively well known people. Another factor is that a law was passed in California that allows people to register to vote online. Since a lot of libertarians are computer geeks, this is another factor to explain the increase in LP registrations in California (in spite of the dysfunction and lack of activity from the state party).

  9. paulie

    Nationwide LP voter registration has been growing – from about 100,000 in 1992 to about 400,000 now. CA has grown as well, (although as Andy says it did dip at one point); CA was 77k and change in 1996, when we were at 163 and change nationally, and is up to 120k and change now. So nationally we are growing faster in regs than in CA, although that may be because it is an option now in a larger number of states.

    Dues paying membership in CA is now down to 1,500-something, so maybe a little over 20% of its peak. Nationally we are at maybe 35% of our peak in dues paying membership, which was in 1999.

  10. Smart Alex

    I’m a long-time Los Angeles LP activist, yet neither you, Andy, nor Mark Herd ring a bell. Are you new to the Party? I thought I knew just about everyone.

  11. Andy

    “Smart Alex

    February 6, 2015 at 1:01 am

    I’m a long-time Los Angeles LP activist, yet neither you, Andy, nor Mark Herd ring a bell. Are you new to the Party? I thought I knew just about everyone.”

    I was active in the Libertarian Party in Los Angeles County from the late 1990’s until sometime in 2005. I traveled a lot for work and ended up moving out of the area.

  12. Mark Herd

    I was the Libertarian candidate for Congress vs Ted Lieu last yr. No worries Smart, Ive never heard of smart alex either. Btw Paulie, my understanding is we had 700 members in Cali as of the last state mtg report/minutes. Very low number. Information needs to get to the membership quicker and in a more informative way if we are going to grow this party, place candidates on ballots and fight successfully for causes like jury nulification, 2 party elections etc. Thats why Im not only building a better website for the LA County Libertarian Party, http://www.lplac.info but will soon be building one for the state as well. Ive already reserved the url http://www.lplac.info for 3 bucks!

  13. paulie

    Btw Paulie, my understanding is we had 700 members in Cali as of the last state mtg report/minutes

    That’s probably LPCA dues paying members. I was referring to numbers of national LP members who live in CA. It does get confusing with all these different membership measures, LOL. I agree that the numbers should be a lot better no matter what measure you use.

  14. Mark Herd

    I think this party in California is going to change quite a bit this yr. If the discussions about future convention locations, information transparancy, proper posting of mtg announcements, social media, websites, events, recruitment, and other issues continues, and if solid solutions to our challenges are explored and found then there’s no limit to how far we can take this party. I’ve been censored, criticized, and literaly torn a new oriface, but I will not stop pushing until we are no longer the 3rd largest party, and become at least #2. And I will not tolerate censorship by Beau Cain. That issue will be settled soon if those who censor understand that censorship goes against every Libertarian principle and can only result in more animosity, wasted time, wasted resources and wasted energy. Times a waiting, we’ve got websites to build, mtgs. to attend and most importantly members to recruit. Censoring hard working volunteers as Beau is doing to me right now is a nothing but a stain on this parties shirt.

  15. Mark Herd

    Paulie thats good info and Alan P. is working on a great vision plan for the party. Those statitics could be very useful in setting up measurable numbers and goals for each region or county. Where can we look at them, and thank you for it.

  16. Mark Herd

    And lasly, since I can’t post this on fb, If ANY Libertarians of ANY Libertarian County party in CA want a new website similar to our new one in Los Angeles ( http://www.lplac.info ), please do 3aaz things: 1. Search to see if your favorite or an appropriate url is available ie lpsf.info or lpsd.com. 2.Go to goddady.com and pay 3 to 10 bucks to have that url. 3. Email me @ mmh2002x@gmail.com and let me help you and your county produce an informative website that will help bring more members into the fold rather than leaving them in the dark. I was motivated to do this when I started doing research on the California Convention back in January and couldn’t even find an agenda for the dec lpca exec mtg. on the lpca website.

  17. Andy

    “Mark Herd

    February 6, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I think this party in California is going to change quite a bit this yr. If the discussions about future convention locations, information transparancy, proper posting of mtg announcements, social media, websites, events, recruitment, and other issues continues, and if solid solutions to our challenges are explored and found then there’s no limit to how far we can take this party.”

    Outside of internal party dysfunction, a big part of the problem is that in June of 2010, the Top Two Primary was passed into law. The Top Two Primary law makes it extremely difficult for any minor party or independent candidates (other than candidates for President, who are exempt from the Top Two Primary) to appear on the general election ballots, so this is something that is really holding the Libertarian Party and other minor party and independent candidates back in California.

    Top Two Primary is not the sole reason for the decline of the Libertarian Party of California though, because the party was already in decline before Top Two Primary was passed. If the LP had been in better shape in California in June of 2010, it is quite possible that Top Two never would have passed, because the party would have been in a stronger position to fight it.

    I see Top Two Primary as a major obstacle for the Libertarian Party of California even getting back to the size that it was back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, much less surpassing that level and becoming a major force in California politics.

  18. paulie

    The Washington State LP is figuring out ways to succeed despite the pernicious Only Two law. California could learn from that.

  19. Smart Alex

    The problems in CA go deeper than top-two, and will much harder to repair than just building a new website. This resignation letter seems to be discussing other things. some of which I know about, and some I do not…

  20. Smart Alex

    And what’s the deal with your problem with Beau Cain? He hasn’t even been in CA during much of the last couple years. Censoring? Nah.

  21. ATBAFT

    State organizations seem to wax and wane, depending on the abilities and enthusiasm of those who lead them. Remember when Iowa was in the top tier under the Olsens? Vermont used to have a kick-ass party. Burn out seems inevitable, esp. when the goal of electing officials keeps getting rejected by 98% of the voters. So, the burn-outs eventually go back to real life and the party falls into the hands of big frog in small ponders and those who enjoy the social life of being around (and arguing with) other libertarians.

  22. Mark Herd

    Agreed Andy. I think the 2 party deal was a shady idea produced by the parties of tweedle dee and tweedle dum. Politics can be tough and these clowns sit in almost every major position of power. Our country has been infiltrated and taken over by greedly little power grabbing scumbags who could care less about democracy and those they represent. Unfortunately Central Bankers got into politics in the 16th and 17th century and democracy has really taken a back seat to the special interest groups and money power since then. All 3 Presidents who took on the Central Bankers were shot. Andrew Jackson survived but Kennedy and Lincoln, who both knew what a fiat currency was, were assassinated.

  23. Smart Alex

    Now, maybe some members of the CA LP can talk about the problem, instead of a bunch of out-of-staters?

  24. Smart Alex

    I just got off the phone. Someone called me to tell me who this Mark Herd character is. He is NOT one of us. He showed up on FB last month, calling people TERRIBLE names, and pretending like he knows what’s going on. He’d so bad that every FB CA Libertarian page has blocked him. He particlularly likes to pick on women. It’s the Nazi troll come to life!

    Hahaha!

  25. Mark Herd

    Smart Alex, maybe you didn’t know this but yes Beau IS censoring me and who else I dont know but many in this party have set up other fb pgs. Ive joined many and Im not alone on this censorship atrocity. To many good members are on the sidelines in other Lib fb rooms and if the convention comes to a more populated area IN California more Libs will membership up, go to the convention and vote for leaders that clearly have our best interests at heart. Like Jose Casteneda, the guys a winner, Jill P.s group, winners, lplac, winners, lpsb winners. These folks are busting their tails in socal and I’m impressed. Beau however seems to be busting his whatever to make Reno convention back up plans, censoring potential candidates and leaving our state website in dyer need of more info. Im just sayin.

  26. Andy

    “”Smart Alex

    February 6, 2015 at 11:51 am

    Now, maybe some members of the CA LP can talk about the problem, instead of a bunch of out-of-staters?”

    First of all, it is in the interest of all Libertarians across this country that every Libertarian Party state affiliate be as strong as possible. So what happens in the Libertarian Party of California is of interest and importance to Libertarians everywhere.

    Second of all, I am actually in California right now, and I have been in California since November. I am probably not going to stay here much longer, but who knows? Regardless, I am technically not an out-of-stater right now when it comes to talking about California.

    Who in the hell is this “Smart Alex” character? I would not be surprised if this person is a troll posting under a fake name with an IP anonymizer.

  27. paulie

    First of all, it is in the interest of all Libertarians across this country that every Libertarian Party state affiliate be as strong as possible. So what happens in the Libertarian Party of California is of interest and importance to Libertarians everywhere.

    I agree.

    Who in the hell is this “Smart Alex” character? I would not be surprised if this person is a troll posting under a fake name with an IP anonymizer.

    Nope, not from an anonymizer. I won’t tell you who it is or confirm or deny any guesses, on or off IPR, except to tell you that Smart Alex is in fact involved in LPCA politics.

    Unlike some people here I have nothing against posting anonymously per se, but it’s ironic to do so and at the same time post comments such as “I’m a long-time Los Angeles LP activist, yet neither you, Andy, nor Mark Herd ring a bell. Are you new to the Party? I thought I knew just about everyone.”

  28. Mark Herd

    Thank you Andy. Im always a little skeptical when people criticize those they know nothing about and do it anonymously. You were right, there are some in this party who prefer to start crap instead of building a stronger party. Call me, Im in Venice with Mark. lets all go grab a bite. I’ve got good news on several fronts. Things are getting better here in socal too, and I think between Jills crew, Jose Casteneda and a few more good folk, this might be a great yr for the party. Discussions have been heated but I think it shows people really do care about the success of the party long term. Alex doesn’t know me and I hold no anger towards him.

  29. paulie

    Not sure if that first “you” in the Smart Alex comment referred to me or to Andy. If it referred to me, I’m all over the US all the time, have spent several years on and off in CA, attended two LPCA state conventions (2005 as a delegate and 2008 as an observer), have been to many local LP meetings all over CA, know many people involved in LPCA personally, have posted and discussed many articles about LPCA and its candidates, and have registered more California Libertarian voters than the vast majority of people reading this thread. The last time I actually voted in a government election was in California.

    As for the national LP, I started voting that way in 1992, joined as a dues paying member in 1994 (my current membership says 1995 because they misspelled my last name the first time), have been a dues paying member continuously since then, and a life member since 2000. I was on the LNC as an alternate from 2012-2014.

    This is only for the benefit of other people who may come along and read this later, since Smart Alex actually knows exactly who Andy and I are (I don’t think I am revealing anything about who Smart Alex is by saying that, since lots of people know who we are).

  30. Andy

    I don’t know if the decline of the Libertarian Party of California has been due to incompetence/laziness, or sabotage, probably a combination of both.

    I personally suspect that foul play has been part of the reason. Consider this, if you were in the government and you wanted to make sure that the Libertarian Party was not successful, wouldn’t destroying a state party make sense, particularly if it is in one of the high population states?

    California is the most populated state in the country, with over 38 million people. If the Libertarian of California was a successful state affiliate, it would have thousands of dues paying members. If it had 6,000 plus dues paying members 15 years ago, just imagine how many dues paying members it could have today, if the party had continued on its growth trajectory?

    California could potentially be a fundraising monster for the Libertarian National Committee, and for the Libertarian Party candidate for President (these are the two things that Libertarians are most likely to donate to outside of their state). Just imagine if the Libertarian Party had say 6,000 additional members in California, and let’s say that they all donated the minimum $25 per year to the Libertarian National Committee. This would be $150,000. $150,000 would make a big difference to the LNC. Now let’s say that the average donation was $50. This would be $300,000 to the LNC, which would make an even bigger difference.

    Now let’s imagine that the LP of CA did not go through years of internal dysfunction and decline, and let’s say that back in June of 2010 when Top Two Primary was placed on the ballot during by the California state legislature, that Libertarians in California had been better organized to fight it, and let’s say that they had received more help for the Libertarian National Committee to fight it, and let’s say that Top Two Primary had not passed in California.

    Now let’s imagine a Libertarian Party of California in 2015 that has 10,000 dues paying members. Let’s say that the average donation to the LNC were $50 per year. This would mean $500,000 coming from California to the Libertarian National Committee.

    Remember, California is the most populated state in the country, with over 38 million people. 10,000 dues paying Libertarians does not even scratch the surface of the potential that exists in California. More Libertarian Party members in California means more people from California donation to the Libertarian National Committee, and more potential donors for Libertarian Party candidates for President.

    I believe that every Libertarian Party affiliate is important, but if some group (like the government) was looking to sabotage the Libertarian Party, then California would be a prime target, given that it has the potential to be a fundraising monster for the Libertarian Party nationally.

  31. Andy

    “more people from California donation”

    Should read, “more people from California donating…”

  32. redphillips

    How much of the decline might be related to demographic change in CA? A lot of the LP’s core demographic has moved to other states.

  33. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Well, that’s a good question, Red. I’ve been alarmed that my region, Pasadena, has dropped in the number of people who come to meetings last year. I know that many of them have simply left the Los Angeles area, or even have left CA. I cannot attribute that to the decline across the state, though. There are several reasons, but I do believe lack of strong state leadership is a good part of it.

  34. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I’d also like to see our core demographic be expanded, which has been problematic for reasons that have also been hard to pinpoint. For the record, I believe my region would benefit by having a new chairperson. For the past two years, I’ve tried to get someone else to be region chair, since I’ve done it for a few years and, you know, keep doing it the only way I know how to. I’m sure someone new could bring new ideas, but, so far, no one has stepped forward to do that.

  35. paulie

    I don’t think any of it has anything to do with demographics, nor do I agree with the apparent assumption of what our “core demographic” is. We’ve had strong Democratic and strong Republican states which have had relatively strong state LPs as well as “purple” states. In Texas, Wes Benedict found that precincts with a majority of Latino names had better vote results for the LP than precincts with a majority of Anglo names. We are not even close to tapping out any demographic anywhere ever. 100% of any issues we have anywhere are organizational.

  36. Gene Berkman

    The number of California voters who register as Libertarian is higher than ever, indicating popular interest in the Libertarian alternative. We have always had a problem with the organization of the LPC. It has been inbred, with little outreach either to the registered Libertarians or even to local activists.

    When the Libertarian Party was founded in 1972, there were not enough activists with a thorough grounding in Libertarian principles and their application to keep it going, and now years later we find that there are few people capable of communicating the libertarian message and bringing in new people to be active. The vacuum has too often been filled by people who have a particular ax to grind, but who may have views at odds with more mainstream libertarians.

    The 2006 campaign for Governor which began on a promising note of opposition to taxes and redevelopment, then went off the rails into a campaign against illegal immigrants, for one example.

    Also, the LPC in southern California has been hurt by negative publicity centered in a county which will not be named, but is close to the county I am active in.

  37. Andy

    The most important factors are lack of outreach and lack of membership prospecting/recruiting.

  38. George Phillies

    Hiding the state convention in remote areas is a bit odd. This is, however, better than holding it on a location where a passport is required to enter, but not by very much.

  39. Martin Passoli

    Room-NIGHTS, spread out over 3 or 4 nights, and I believe the number I saw was actually 550.

  40. Martin Passoli

    Hmmm… I expected more people to jump in this thread. Jill, have you been promoting it to your CA friends?

  41. Stewart Flood

    “and let’s say that they had received more help for the Libertarian National Committee to fight it, ”

    I was able to get $20K (or was it $25K?) from national to help. Most of the LNC (including me) were not aware of it until near the end. Top Two was a disaster and should have been fought with everything we could spare. If I thought I could have gotten the votes for it, I would have asked for more. We should have helped sooner.

    California was hurt badly by Top Two. I would guess that many of the internal struggles they are dealing with now are being greatly amplified by the oppressive election laws in California.

  42. Steve M

    Burn out in any organization is likely when you have the same leaders year after year. Those sitting in leadership positions need to train their replacements and then move aside on a continual rotating basis. Doing so helps develope new leaders and broaden the organizations depth and capabilities.

    Charging dues and floor fees is a major hinderence to people like me who continue to be too busy work wise to attend but find them reprehensible when they keep less wealthy activists from participating. I refuse to pay the extortion fees.

  43. Andy

    Stewart, you are 100% right about Top Two in California. The Libertarian Party of California had internal problems before Top Two came along, but Top Two has made the situation much worse. It is hard to re-build a political party when they can’t get their candidates on the general election ballot (except for President, which is exempt from Top Two, and non-partisan local offices to which few people pay attention).

    Stopping Top Two Primary in California should have been made a much bigger priority than it was.

  44. Gene Berkman

    All the parties in California opposed Top Two. That is part of why it won. Voters wanted to show their rejection of the leadership of all the parties, especially the Democrats and Republicans, so they voted against the position of the party leaders.

  45. Andy

    I would say the main reason Top Two Primary won in California was due to a well financed, slick, and deceptive advertising campaign, and poorly organized and financed opposition to it.

  46. Root's Teeth Are Awesome

    I think it was more than that. Many voters liked the idea of being able to vote for whichever candidate, in whichever primary, they wanted.

    I heard that radio host — who’s sometimes known as Mr. KABC and sometimes as Mr. KFI, depending on which station he’s on — promote Top Two. He’d apparently wanted to vote for McCain in the GOP primary, but couldn’t (because he’s not a registered Republican), and he thought it was unfair that he was denied that right.

    I guess many people don’t like the idea of having to register back and forth between parties, depending on who they like. Or they might like to vote for a Republican primary candidate for one office, but a Democratic primary candidate for another office, in the same election.

    I don’t think many Americans see the parties as private institutions. They see ALL the primary candidates as being the full range of choices, and want to be able to pick from that full range.

  47. paulie

    No, not after Mark Herd hijacked the thread.

    I don’t think one person posting in the thread should have any bearing on what other people may want to discuss here. If anyone wants to dispute anything Mark Herd said and doesn’t want to make their name public feel free to post an anonymous comment, or use an IP anonymizer for extra privacy. You can also email me (my contact info is in the IPR about page linked at the top of the screen)
    and I’ll post your comments as relayed to me by an anonymous source.

  48. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Also, we don’t seem to be gaining in helping others to realize how harmful Top-Two has been to CA. Websites like Indepent Voter Network help to perpetuate a myth that these new rules have helped, despite commenters providing evidence that hasn’t been the case. People just don’t get it unless we take the time to explain what really happen.

    Alan and I attended a Cannabis Event in December, and a young man was there getting signatures for something, although I don’t recall what. We started talking to him, and he eagerly told us he was libertarian and had helped to put Oregon’s top-two bill on the ballot. We informed him that it had experienced a large loss, and then explained how it would have harmed the state by pointing out some realities in CA. He was a smart enough kid, and I’m glad we had the chance to educate him.

    The recent adverse court decision against alternate parties is another example of profound failure.

  49. Jonny Stryder

    Hi, I am Jonathan Jaech, LPC Southern Vice Chair and treasurer of its LA County affiliate (LPLAC). I sometimes write under the name of Jonny Stryder (the WordPress account I am commenting under happens to be under that name), but don’t hide behind the pen name. I encourage any libertarian who knows they can do a better job than the present officers to join the central committee of your local affiliate, attend local meetings, make friends, put together a campaign, and come to Las Vegas in 2015 to run for office. If you can’t do those basic things, and win the confidence of a majority of the delegates, you will not be successful leading the LPC either. If you can, I wish you all the best!

    As a full time lawyer, family man, homeowner/handyman, and aspiring blogger/author, there are a lot of things I would like to do as a volunteer for LPLAC and the LPC that I just can’t find time to do. I would be happy – overjoyed, actually – to step aside from any office I hold, and let somebody who has demonstrated they have the right stuff to run unopposed the next time an election comes up. Nor would I be bothered if the executive committee asked me to resign so somebody better equipped for the office could take over. Until one of those things happen, I expect to be soldiering on for as long as I am able, no matter how disappointed I am in my own limitations or in the limitations of others. Resigning merely because others have not lived up to my expectations would not accomplish anything positive.

    Officer positions come with responsibilities but no perks. Officers may not be as effective as you like, but they do spend considerable unpaid hours at the job, some more than others. That said, it is unwise for any officer or member to neglect health, career, finances or family relationships in favor of party activism. Your fellow members do not require that of you. A balance should be struck that allows continued activism without harming yourself or your loved ones. Find your niche.

    The Libertarian Party is a dissident party aligned strongly with basic human rights that, unlike any other organized political party in the U.S., opposes initiation of force for political or social goals. Anyone who thinks dismantling the apparatus of dominion through peaceful means will be quick or easy has failed to understand history, human nature, or the strength of the opposition. Liberty is by nature defensive. Hence its primary mission is to endure attacks, and survive. It can grow and spread only by peaceful persuasion, one mind at a time. Progress will be slow, issue by issue. Progress requires not only that we teach, but also that we listen.

    I actively opposed the proposal to hold the 2015 convention in Los Vegas, but I believe that those that supported it did so without ulterior motives because they sincerely thought it was the best option this year. Now that the decision has been made, I will direct my energies towards supporting its success. Hope to see you in Las Vegas! Anyone wanting my endorsement for Southern Vice Chair please contact me at jonathan@jaech.net.

  50. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I agree with Jonny/Jonathan that, now that the convention has been booked in Las Vegas, I will promote it as much as possible. I have expressed my objections and concerns, and from this point on will try to keep them to myself. We do plan to go, hope to engage in business Sunday, but will hopefully have some fun that weekend as well.

  51. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Also, anyone who wants to know why Mark Herd seemed to stop conversation, the only thing I’ll say is that he just showed up and really hasn’t been part of the state or county party, so I believe his understanding of our problems is limited.

  52. Andy

    What exactly did Mark Herd say on this thread that was not correct, or that was rude? I do not see what the problem is.

    I just spoke to Mark Herd yesterday, which was the first time I had spoken to him since before the last time I spoke to Jill (which was maybe 3 weeks ago, or something like that), and Mark Herd told me that he issued an apology for making offensive comments online, and that he took down the offending comments. So assuming that this is true, what is the problem now? Can’t everyone just “play nice” now?

  53. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    You know what Mark did, Andy, and THERE HAS BEEN NO APOLOGY. The truth seems to be something Mr. Herd has no interest in talking about. Please don’t bring conversation about him here. He’s already caused enough harm.

  54. Andy

    I do not know everything Mark Herd did because I am not signed up for Facebook, and I was not on the Facebook pages where any of this stuff happened.

    Like I said, I spoke to him on the phone yesterday, which was the first time I had spoken to him in several weeks, and he told me that he posted an apology on an LP of CA Facebook group, where he had signed up under a different name, although he did identify himself, but then somebody took the post down. He also said that he took down the previously offending material.

  55. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    He did not remove most of the offensive stuff. Andy, this man is not and never has been a member. We are all in damage control mode. Please don’t bring this stuff up.

  56. paulie

    What exactly did Mark Herd say on this thread that was not correct

    I’ve been told by a couple of people on email that his county web page is not authorized by the party. Can anyone clear this up?

    or that was rude?

    He made a bunch of accusations about Beau Cain over things that Beau Cain may have had little or nothing to do with. I’ve been told that he did the same thing to a bunch of people on facebook, focusing especially on women, calling them names and presuming that they had been the ones that had done various things without actually knowing what he was talking about. He also allegedly claimed to have raised a million dollars for the LP. When and where? I have seen claims that he has sent threats to people and created facebook pages to mock various people that are still up. I’m not taking any sides here, just reporting what I have heard from various sources.

  57. Andy

    “Jill Pyeatt Post author

    February 7, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    He did not remove most of the offensive stuff. Andy, this man is not and never has been a member. We are all in damage control mode. Please don’t bring this stuff up.”

    I will talk to him again, but he led me to believe that he took down all of the offensive material and issued an apology.

    If you look at the posts made by Mark Herd above, it sounds like he is SUPPORTIVE of you, because he said that he’d support candidates who Jill P. is supporting, so he must have confidence in your ability to pick good candidates.

    Mark Herd is registered to vote as a Libertarian, and he ran for office as a Libertarian Party candidate last year. He said that he has not joined as a dues paying member, but does plan to do so. He said that he would have already joined as a dues paying member if not for the internal party dysfunction.

  58. Andy

    “paulie

    February 7, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    ‘What exactly did Mark Herd say on this thread that was not correct’

    I’ve been told by a couple of people on email that his county web page is not authorized by the party. Can anyone clear this up?”

    He made a new website that he wants the LP of Los Angeles County to officially adopt (as in he wants it to go to a vote, and for it to become the new official website). He said that he thinks that the current website sucks.

  59. Andy

    Paul said: “He made a bunch of accusations about Beau Cain over things that Beau Cain may have had little or nothing to do with. I’ve been told that he did the same thing to a bunch of people on facebook, focusing especially on women, calling them names and presuming that they had been the ones that had done various things without actually knowing what he was talking about.”

    I met Mark Herd back in October during the petition drive in Nevada. I talked to him some in Nevada, and then I worked with him during some petition drives in California. During the course of interacting with him, we got into some long political discussions. One of the subjects brought up during these long political discussions was the decline of the Libertarian Party of California, internal dysfunction in various Libertarian Party state affiliates (California, Oregon, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Florida, etc…), and I also got into my theory about government plants sabotaging the Libertarian Party (I DID MAKE IT CLEAR TO HIM THAT THIS WAS MOSTLY A THEORY, although I did provide him with evidence of the government spying on the Libertarian Party and other pro-liberty activists, and I also told him about those FOIA requests that were done years ago (which I have only heard about) that indicated that there were government plants in the Libertarian Party (the names were of course redacted, so it was never proven who these plants were)), and etc…). I went online and showed him the FOIA request that showed the government spying on Anti-War.com, and I also showed him the articles about the ACLU law suit against the Denver Police Department that showed that the Denver Police Department was keeping spy files on the Libertarian Party. I showed him articles about the Department of Homeland Security spying on pro-liberty activists in Pennsylvania, and also the admission for the Homeland Security Fusion Center in Arkansas that they spy on “anti-government” Americans.

    We talked about a bunch of other political stuff. I told him about the right of jury nullification, which he said that he’d never heard of before I told him about it. He said that he is very interested in jury nullification, and expressed a willingness to hand out jury nullification information to the public. He said that if he had know about it while he was in Las Vegas, he would have handed out jury nullification information while he was gathering signatures on the marijuana petition.

    Mark Herd said he wanted to get more active in the Libertarian Party in California, and that he wanted to help build the party. He expressed an interest in doing field activism, especially while in the process of working on petition drives, which is a theme that I have been harping for a long time. If there is one thing that this party needs (besides more money of course), IT IS MORE FIELD ACTIVISTS. Field activism is seriously lacking in this party, and it is one of the reasons that we are not more successful. So if I meet somebody who appears to understand and advocate libertarian philosophy, and they express an interest in engaging in actual FIELD ACTIVISM, I am interested, so I wanted to give the guy a chance.

    I want to make this clear, however, I DID TELL HIM NOT TO RUN OFF “HALF COCKED” AND TO NOT GO AROUND MAKING ACCUSATIONS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. I told him that if he wants to get involved, the best thing to do is to officially join the party as a dues paying member, and then to get active building the party. I told him that if he could start bringing in new Libertarians (and I am talking new people who are REALLY libertarians, as in they really understand, agree with, and advocate the philosophy), and start making the party more active in California, and in the Los Angeles area in particular, that he’d naturally start winning over existing party members. I advised him to not come in with a combative attitude, but rather with the attitude of, “I’m new to the party, and I want to help make it grow.”

    He appears to be a guy who can be brash, and well, abrasive at times. I can’t say that I had any problems with him during the petition drives, nor am I aware of any other petitioners having a problem with him, He does seem to “mouth off” sometimes, so I could see how he could rub some people the wrong way. He said that he has Scottish ancestry. He kind of reminds me of a cross between the Johnny Drama character on the show Entourage (played by Kevin Dillon; I don’t know if he has Scottish ancestry, but in an episode where they went to a U2 concert he referred to the band as his “Irish brethren”), and the pro wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (who was of Scottish ancestry and wore a kilt, and was very brash and “mouthed off” to people), or perhaps the William Wallace character played by Mel Gibson in Braveheart (I could see him charging into battle with a sword or an ax or something like that).

    So yeah, I could see him “flying off the handle” and offending people. I advised him to “tone it down.”

    “He also allegedly claimed to have raised a million dollars for the LP. When and where?”

    I doubt he said this. What he probably said or meant was something along the lines of, “The LP of CA should be raising a million dollors.” or, “I could raise a million dollars.” I seriously doubt that he said that he already raised a million dollars.

    “I have seen claims that he has sent threats to people and created facebook pages to mock various people that are still up. I’m not taking any sides here, just reporting what I have heard from various sources.:”

    I never signed up for Facebook, so I have never seen any of this stuff, but I’ve heard some of it. Like I said, I advised him to “tone it down,” and he told me in a phone conversation earlier today that he had taken the offending posts down. If he has not taken them all down, I will call him and once again ask him to take all of the offending posts down.

    It appears to me that if he wants to be involved in a political organization that he ought to be more diplomatic.

  60. Andy

    “admission for the Homeland Security Fusion Center”

    Should read, “admission of the Homeland Security Fusion Center..”

  61. Andy

    Also, just to be clear, I never urged Mark Herd to start trouble with anybody, and I in fact told him that Jill and Alan Pyeatt were two of the best Libertarian activists in California.

  62. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I saw the comment about the money, too. He bragged how he had raised $1,000K for the Libertarian Party, and although several of us asked for clarification several times, we never got it. He also claimed to have been endorsed by the LP when he was a candidate, but will not tell us who endorsed him.

    I don’t know anyone who came into contact with Mark Herd who was not offended by him, with the exception of Jose Castaneda. To my knowledge, that’s his only supporter.

  63. paulie

    I would say the main reason Top Two Primary won in California was due to a well financed, slick, and deceptive advertising campaign, and poorly organized and financed opposition to it.

    Exactly, Mainstream media coverage was also very biased.

    Good thing it went down 2-1 in Oregon.

  64. Andy

    “Jill Pyeatt Post author

    February 8, 2015 at 1:00 am

    I saw the comment about the money, too. He bragged how he had raised $1,000K for the Libertarian Party, and although several of us asked for clarification several times, we never got it. He also claimed to have been endorsed by the LP when he was a candidate, but will not tell us who endorsed him.”

    He could have meant that he raised $1,000 for his campaign as a Libertarian Party candidate.

    “I don’t know anyone who came into contact with Mark Herd who was not offended by him, with the exception of Jose Castaneda. To my knowledge, that’s his only supporter.”

    He did run for US House as a Libertarian Party candidate last year. There are clips of him as a candidate on YouTube.

    He also got elected to the Neighborhood Council in the Westwood/Venice Beach area, but this was before he became a Libertarian (or realized that he was a Libertarian as he might say).

  65. Andy

    Here is a video of Mark Herd as a Libertarian Party candidate for US House in California last year:

  66. paulie

    He could have meant that he raised $1,000 for his campaign as a Libertarian Party candidate.

    There’s a big difference between $1,000 and $1,000K (which means million).

    He did run for US House as a Libertarian Party candidate last year. There are clips of him as a candidate on YouTube.

    Yes, he was in the primary and his self-chosen ballot description was Libertarian. That does not say anything about whether or not the party endorsed him, since as of the top two only law the party has no control over who uses its name to run in the primary.

  67. Andy

    Maybe I am wrong, but I was under the impression that Herd was endorsed by Jose and some others at some meeting.

    Regardless, he sounds pretty libertarian in that video above, as well as in the times I talked to him

  68. paulie

    “Maybe I am wrong, but I was under the impression that Herd was endorsed by Jose and some others at some meeting. ”

    I don’t know whether he was or not. That’s why I asked it as a question.

    “Regardless, he sounds pretty libertarian in that video above, as well as in the times I talked to him.”

    That’s different from being endorsed. The questions as far as that goes would be 1) did he make such a claim and 2) if he did, was it true?

    Notice that these are questions. I don’t presume to know the answers.

  69. paulie

    How is the video relevant? Whether he holds libertarian political opinions or not does not answer the questions of whether he claimed to have been endorsed by the party, if he did whether he in fact was or not, whether or not he falsely claimed to have raised a million dollars, whether or not he threatened people, whether or not he cursed and mocked people based on inaccurate assumptions, or any of the other questions being raised. If the question of whether he has libertarian political opinions was asked the video would be relevant, but I don’t see that question being asked.

  70. Andy

    I seriously doubt he claimed to raise $1 million. He probably is guilty of running off “half cocked,” coming on too strong, and “mouthing off” to some people.

    He needs to be more diplomatic in the future.

  71. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    No, Andy, I haven’t watched the video above because I don’t have sound on my computer at home (no one can figure out why), and I’ve been working on the vaccine project. I will not, however, because I’ve already lost a lot of time and energy over this new person who showed up, and did nothing but harm.

    Yes, he did use the name “Libertarian” on the ballot that ended last June. No one had heard of him before then, during the campaign, or until about a month ago when he showed up, decided he knew who the bad guys are, started calling people names, and took the time to make Facebook pages for the sole person of insulting this person, a woman, because apparently he decided she was on the Executive Committee, had helped in the meeting which resulted in the convention being planned for the convention, and was engaging in an egregious campaign of censoring his comments., zero percent of which was true.

    Jose may have personally endorsed Jose, but I don’t think he’s ever been endorsed in an offical way.

    Now, can we please stop talking about him? I had hoped this thread would open some genuine conversation about where we went wrong in CA.

  72. paulie

    I had hoped this thread would open some genuine conversation about where we went wrong in CA.

    It still could. Just invite CA folks who are not already here to join in.

  73. paulie

    Jill, he actually comes off pretty good as a candidate in that video. You should watch it.

    Once again, can we please move on to other issues related to LPCA?

  74. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Andy, let’s try it this way:

    I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT MARK HERD!!!

    I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT MARK HERD!!!

    I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT MARK HERD!!!

  75. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    And, in case you missed it, Andy:

    I DO NOT WANT TO TALK ABOUT MARK HERD!!!

  76. paulie

    So don’t. Just ignore him and talk about other things. I gather there are a lot of other issues going on in LPCA. What are some of them and who are some people who we can get to shed some light on them here?

  77. VeniceBeachPress.com

    Wow, I’ve haven’t seen this thread lately, so let me clarify a few things. 1000k is a typo. 1000 dollars is correct. 1000 is wkat I spent. 1700 was spent on ballot access etc. Two, when I ran as Lib for Congress I went to the Lplac mtg, met with them and got their endorsement, However, looking back I didnt know about the membership requirement. This is enough water cooler talk. Jill, I really am sorry and you are absolutely right, lets move on and work to support fellow Libs so we can grow the party.

  78. Andy

    Jill, looking at the above post from “Venice Beach Press” – which is Mark Herd, he is apologizing for his offensive behavior and saying that he wants to move forward and work to build the Libertarian Party.

    This sounds good to me. What do you think, Jill? Do you accept this apology or not?

  79. Mark Herd

    Here’s an idea that some have come up with in various forms. Its a membership incentive formula. The goals are 1. Increase membership 2. Employ Libs 3. Grow the general fund. Its sorta complicated but Im a math geek, just hope this makes sense. Ok for each new ca member that joins lplac, lplac gets 12.50 and lpca gets 12.50. The new member pays 25. Ok, now what if lplac paid a 5 dollar commission to the lib that brought in the new member. Then the lplac general fund would now only get 12.50 minus 5 equals 7.50 net. Ok now what if you bring a new member in and lplac gives the new member 5 dollars off 1st time membership. Now lplac only gets 7.50 minus 5 equals 2.50. ok. So to summarize, we can pay a 5 dollar commission to incentivize more recruitment, we can discount new members 5 to help incentivive new memberships AND we still grow the general fund by 2.50 per new member while lpca still gets their full 12.50 per member. Does that make sense or did I just confuse the heck out of ya.

  80. Mark Herd

    But Andy 50 aint cheap. The idea behind a lower price is to increase the demand. Price equilibrium. Right now we have no membership drive, so we need to start there. But if our current demand is low raising the dues raises the barrier to entry. If we can subsidize yet still grow the general fund, you have a formula that has economic (monetary) incentives with lower barriers to entry thereby producing increased (maybe in theory) membership growth. In others the cheaper the door fee, the more drinks we sell. And since we cant sell the Libertarian message without more Libertarian members, we need to lower the door charge to get more members in the door. Does that make sense or did I just confuse ya?

  81. Mark Herd

    Me I’m still waiting for my passport to fb, the beauracracy is holding up my paperwork, but I have filed. And I brought 2 new potential members to the last lplac mtg. As soon as they can believe lpca is the party of free speech and less govt, they too will membership up. The solutions are out there and we’ve got the talent in the party to accomplish whatever we set our minds to. Andy, if Cali lights up with 3 statewides, Im putting boots on the ground, housing them in Venice and we’re definitely going to reg Libs. Taking a registered Libertarian voter to a paid member is probably the bigger challenge BUT once we master that, we are on our way. I see the glass half full but there’s a pitcher of water on the next table and all we need to do is grab it and start pouring.

  82. Andy

    LP national set national party dues at the $25 minimum back in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s. There has been a lot of inflation since then. I checked it out on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, and in order for LP national minimum dues to have the same value today as they did in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, they’d have to be $50.

    I could see offering a discounted membership rate to students though.

  83. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I’m thinking people may want to talk about CA after the convention. There will be plenty of opportunities to discuss the state, starting with an announcement soon regarding someone running for chairman. And,there’s more fun with the convention planning. Apparently the Ex Com today spent time trying to decide what the floor fee will be.

  84. Mark Herd

    What’s going on with the Libertarian party? Well first off Jill I apologize. Sorry you didnt see the other 4 attempts I posted here and on fb as well as my open apology at the last lplac mtg. But you do have my deepest apology. I havent said anything negative about you in ages. Could you please reciprocate and have Jonathan Jaech and Beau Cain stop censoring this dedicated and hard working Libertarian, as I was told they would. I see clearly this party needs help and I’ve just finished building lplac a great new functional website. I intend on showing other county parties how to build their own free sites too, like the template I built at http://www.lplac.info. But censorship? This action is now holding up four new paid memberships, 3 were at the last mtg. How long does it take to understand members dont pay for censorship, they pay for freedom and membership to a party that believes in it. Censorship sends the WRONG msg and new potential members aren’t srupid. Second, there is NO NAZI. I saw that post. FYI that could have been anybody, maybe some guy wearing a black trench coat with white facepaint in front of a pc screen smoking crack in Zurich, WHO CARES! Whats wrong with the party is that when we focus on problems like nazi trolls and censorship we’re focusing on the problem, not the solution. In order to succeed, we need to focus on the solution. So ignore the nazi, stop censoring and at the next lplac mtg I will apologize again and lplac will grow by 4 new members (possibly the most new members at once in any ca county! Thats the only way to move forward, focus on the solution. Once again Jill, you have my deepest apologies and I’m just here trying to grow the party I love so we can put Libertarians in office and Libertarian policies into action. God Bless.

    Sincerely,

    Mark M. Herd
    Libertarian

  85. Seymour Results

    Who cares? The LP violates every strategic law that people like Dick Simpson, Morton Blackwell, or Michael Whouley ever listed. First and foremost, the LP is a disloyal organization. It’s comprised of the strategically incompetent and the philosophically overkilled.

    The LP is a joke for many reasons, but first and foremost because it does what can’t win. Bill Redpath and Scott Kohlhaas hire democrats and tell libertarians to hit the road. They must have attended the US Postal Service school of management.

    I wasted many years trying to lead the LP to viability. Not possible. For one, there’s no mechanism for assessing and rejecting failure. (For all we know the people who keep encouraging the waste and idiocy are FBI guys, doing for us what FBI informant Douglas Durham did to Russel Means and AIM.)

    Fuck the LP. I could start my own party and win ballot access and elections faster than the LP could win the sand elections with ballot access.

    Congrats on figuring that out, and cutting your losses, Dana.

  86. Andy

    “Fuck the LP. I could start my own party and win ballot access and elections faster than the LP could win the sand elections with ballot access.”

    One would have to be a billionaire to accomplish this.

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