Examiner Posts Results of Libertarian Party of Florida’s Convention

lpf
By Karl Dickey

June 7, 2015

Yesterday, June 6, 2015, the Libertarian Party of Florida (LPF) held its annual business meeting in New Port Richey, Florida. The convention will wrap up later today. Adrian Wyllie is the new Chairman of the state party and Lynn House is the new Vice-Chair. Wyllie ran for Florida Governor last year and was a prior chairman for the LPF. Wyllie is a 45-year-old small businessman from Safety Harbor, Florida and received over 223,000 votes in his run for Governor of Florida in 2014.

Activist Jo Ann Vaccarino summed up the mood of the convention perfectly, saying early this morning, “This event feels more like a family reunion than a convention. It’s so great seeing all my friends from around the state.” The convention included 99 delegates who could vote on party business and many others who were not qualified. There are approximately 18,000 registered Libertarians in Florida. The party has much larger membership numbers which continues to grow dramatically while the Democratic and Republican party numbers are falling.

The convention included national Libertarian Party heavy hitters such as Political Director Carla Howell and Executive Director Wes Benedict. It also included, as speakers, popularLibertarian figures such as Ben Swann, Adam Kokesh and Tony Stiles, Roger Stone, Jr.., among others. There were also a number of candidates seeking public office as Libertarians in the crowd. David Leavitt, Augustus Invictus, Matthew Schnackenberg, W. Stevens Edmonds, Jr. and Kenneth Willey.

The rest of the article, which includes a slideshow, can be read here.

 

44 thoughts on “Examiner Posts Results of Libertarian Party of Florida’s Convention

  1. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Wow, Gary Johnson and Ben Swann at the same convention! It sounds like a great day.

  2. paulie

    From Lynn House on FB

    From memory, here’s the people elected to the EC at the annual meeting, corrections appreciated.

    Chair: Adrian Wyllie
    Vice-Chair: Lynn House
    At Large One: Jared Jones
    At Large Three: Omar Recuero
    Region 1: Pete Blome
    Region 2: no one
    Region 3: Bill Wohlsifer
    Region 4: no one
    Region 5: Ken Willey
    Region 6: Michael Hamlin
    Region 7: Vicki Kirkland
    Region 8: Jd Pierce
    Region 9:George Lebovitz
    Region 10 Denise Vosburgh Smith
    Region 11 no one
    Region 12 Dawn Drellos-Thompson
    Region 13 Karl Dickey
    Region 14: Steven Nekhaila

  3. Vicki Kirkland

    Crystal Turner, a Libertarian who was elected to the City Council last year in the town of Hampton, FL was chosen Region 4 Rep.

  4. Joe Wendt

    Some people at the convention tried to remove the NAP requirement for membership, some acted inappropriately (as in childish or immature) to push that change through, and then some criticized others who denied them the 2/3 majority needed to remove NAP.

    Other than that, it was ok, would have preferred a convention on the beach instead of New Port Richey, but that’s my opinion.

  5. Andy

    Judging from what I saw online of his campaign for Governor last year, I think that Adrain Wyllie was a good choice for State Chairman, but I’m sure that we will see Joe Wendt throwing a fit over it soon.

  6. Starchild

    Joe – I’m glad to hear the attempt to remove the Non-Aggression pledge failed. Who was behind that?

    The ONLY requirement for voting membership in the LP (or holding party office, or being an endorsed candidate for public office) should be some kind of ideas-based certification, imho.

    What needs to be removed are requirements to pay money (membership dues or even worse floor fees) in order to vote. Operating as a “pay to play” organization undercuts claims of being the “Party of Principle”.

  7. Joe Wendt

    Starchild

    Off-hand idk, I would assume the usual suspects (that I usually complain about). Also, due to state law, there are no dues in Florida. You just have to be a registered Libertarian voter and sign NAP.

  8. Robert Capozzi

    Hmm, not that it’s a good or bad idea, but I’d think “pay to play” would not be inconsistent with the NAP, yes? No one’s forced to pay or play, so charging for a service seems well within the NAP bounds.

  9. Joe Wendt

    Andy,

    Why would I throw a fit? Certain individuals handpicked a convention site that would be favorable towards their preferred candidate, and made it clear that was “the pick”. That was the result they wanted, so why be surprised.

  10. Starchild

    Robert – I don’t think a pay-to-play approach is inconsistent with the Non-Aggression Principle, but I do think it is a bad idea for the Libertarian Party for other reasons.

    Joe – Interesting to hear the Florida LP cannot have dues because of state law, I did not know that. All the more reason, it would seem to me, that the party would want to maintain some kind of requirement that one must have some degree of libertarian ideology in order to vote on party business, if people can do so without financially supporting the LPF.

  11. Alex Snitker

    Once again Joe Wendt’s statements and the facts are not even close to the same thing. What the motion was going to do would make membership open to only registered Libetarians in the state of Florida. It would automatically make them a member. However, in order for a Libertarian to be a delegate at the convention, be a member of the EC, work on any of the state party committees or be a vetted candidate they would have had to sign the NAP.

    I believe that this would keep with the integrity of the NAP but also streamline the process for membership and remove the registered Republicans and Democrats that are currently considered members of the Libertarian Party of Florida.

    In addition, the allegations towards the selection of where the convention was held is an outright lie. The executive committee voted on it and Pasco won because that proposal included enough preplanning and detail to prove to the party that they could handle an event of this size. The Pasco bid also included the best slate of speakers.

    The convention was a great success and nearly everyone in attendance had nothing but complimentary things to say about the weekend.

  12. Joe Wendt

    Snitker,

    That’s still removing the NAP requirement for membership (which is exactly what I said earlier). No matter how horribly or ridiculously you try to sell or spin it, you are still attempting to remove the NAP requirement for membership. Making it easier to become a member isn’t a valid excuse to throw principle out the window. Completing two forms (voter registration and NAP) to become an LP member is still far easier than becoming a member of the GOP or Democratic Parties. In addition, the proof of how ridiculous the argument to change the membership requires is the fact the motion failed to pass. The arguments presented by you, Wyllie, and your minions couldn’t convince enough people to pass it.

    The allegations I made, let me see… the Convention Committee, Chaired by the LPF Vice Chair from Pasco County, recommended (which it never did before) the bid from Pasco County, which was a factor in the voting. mmm…Then the Pasco County sends out a mailer via constant contact thanking Mr Snitker for helping them secure the bid. mmm Nope, my allegations are still valid, even if it is just because he allowed the appearance. The appearance of any form of corruption or cronyism is unacceptable.

  13. Alexander Snitker

    “That’s still removing the NAP requirement for membership (which is exactly what I said earlier). No matter how horribly or ridiculously you try to sell or spin it, you are still attempting to remove the NAP requirement for membership.”

    You fail to tell the whole story but this is your little game all the time.

    As the motion clearly stated. You had to sign the NAP if you wanted to get involved in the party (the benefit of membership). Currently, Republicans and Democrats are able to have the same membership level in the LPF if they simply go to lpf.org and sign the NAP. It makes absolutely no sense to allow members of other parties to be considered members of the LPF.

    This change would have adjusted the focus of the membership committee to bring in more registered Libertarians instead of simply signing the NAP.

    “Making it easier to become a member isn’t a valid excuse to throw principle out the window. Completing two forms (voter registration and NAP) to become an LP member is still far easier than becoming a member of the GOP or Democratic Parties.”

    And if anyone wanted to get actively involved in the LPF they still would have to do that but why let the facts get in the way of your attack.

    “In addition, the proof of how ridiculous the argument to change the membership requires is the fact the motion failed to pass. The arguments presented by you, Wyllie, and your minions couldn’t convince enough people to pass it.”

    It required 2/3 and lost by about 6 votes. The majority was in favor of it. In talking to people who voted no afterword there were several reasons for their vote. Many of those people actually agreed with the thought behind it but but due to various reasons they could not support it at this time.

    It will be put forward in 2016 and it will pass at that time.

    And I do not have minions. It is that kind of talk that was a reason that you only received 8 votes for chair out of nearly 90 votes cast. Your dismissal of people as “minions” because they have a view different than you shows complete disrespect of others.

    “The allegations I made, let me see… the Convention Committee, Chaired by the LPF Vice Chair from Pasco County, recommended (which it never did before) the bid from Pasco County, which was a factor in the voting. mmm…Then the Pasco County sends out a mailer via constant contact thanking Mr Snitker for helping them secure the bid. mmm Nope, my allegations are still valid, even if it is just because he allowed the appearance. The appearance of any form of corruption or cronyism is unacceptable.”

    Wrong. The Convention committee voted on it without my vote nor my recommendation. The committee can and should make a recommendation to the EC on the bids. They were given all the bids and these people made their decision.

    The EC also was given all the bids and made their decision.

    The bottom line is that Pasco County put forward a great bid with great speakers and won the bid and put on what many are already calling the best convention they ever attended.

    This disrespect that you have for the hard working Libertarians on the Convention committee and the Libertarians on the EC who voted for it is another reason you failed in your campaign for Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida.

    I do hope that you can work past your constant hate of others and start to be a productive member of this party.

  14. Jed Ziggler

    “Completing two forms (voter registration and NAP) to become an LP member is still far easier than becoming a member of the GOP or Democratic Parties”

    I thought to be a Dem or GOP Party member you only had to register with the party?

  15. Joe Wendt

    Jed,

    No, that only entitles you to vote in a primary. To become a member and participate in any meeting, you have to sign a loyalty oath, be voted in as a member, and you may have to make a financial pledge, in addition to being a registered voter.

  16. Chuck Moulton

    I think it’s a very good idea to require being a registered Libertarian for membership in states where registration by party occurs and it’s possible to register Libertarian.

    I would make two caveats though.

    1) In states where it’s possible to lose party status and lose the option of registering Libertarian, make sure the bylaws allow for that possibility — else a state LP may find itself with no members if a law changes or a vote threshold isn’t reached.

    2) There are some people we may want to encourage to participate in the political process as volunteers who cannot register to vote: children under 18, felons in some states (e.g., marijuana or gun control victims), and immigrants who are not yet citizens. In my opinion an exception should be made for them. For example, Pennsylvania requires members to be registered Libertarian “except when prohibited by law” (that quote is based on my recollection, not a copy & paste from the bylaws).

    Personally I’ve never been a fan of the NAP certification. It’s too ambiguous and means different things to different people. But removing the NAP requirement for some things is a separate issue from requiring Libertarian voter registration for membership.

  17. Vicki Kirkland

    Registration and membership are 2 different things. Registration is easily changed back and forth in Florida. People do it all the time, not just to vote for one of the Pauls in a presidential primary, but to vote for a friend or relative in a state or local primary. Republicans and Democrats have levels of membership separate from registration based on contributions. You can actually be a member of several parties at once, but you can only be registered in one at a time. For all these resaons, I believe registration and membership should remain separate.

  18. Andy

    “Joe Wendt
    June 7, 2015 at 7:07 pm
    Andy,

    Why would I throw a fit? Certain individuals handpicked a convention site that would be favorable towards their preferred candidate, and made it clear that was “the pick”. That was the result they wanted, so why be surprised.”

    I did not indicate whether or not you’d be surprised at the result of the LP of FL’s State Chair’s race, just that you would not like the result of the LP of FL’s State Chair’s race.

    You’ve been on a jihad against Adrian Wyllie for a while now, but the case that you’ve made against him is very weak in my opinion.

  19. Joe Wendt

    Andy,

    I do have better things to do today, than to bash the new king idiot of the LPF. Examples: sorting my laundry, mowing the lawn, taking out the trash, and washing my car. They elected him, fine. Anything bad happens, well, they picked him. He continues to make a fool of himself, it’s a reflection of those that voted for him.

  20. Adrian Wyllie

    @Joe Wendt, you know full well that there was absolutely no attempt to remove the NAP. Please stop spreading disinformation. You blind hatred for me is making you completely irrational. Here is the exact motion that was proposed:

    “Section 1. LPF membership is open to whoever registers as a Libertarian with the county Supervisor of Elections office where that person resides and in accordance with the statutes of the state of Florida.
    A. Any member who is elected or appointed to a representative or leadership position within the LPF, including convention or electoral college delegate, committee member, or party officer, shall sign the pledge: “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals” prior to nomination to such position.”

  21. Joe Wendt

    And people continue to spin in a most ridiculous way. To quote someone who shares my view, “If registered voters are members, and registered voters do not sign the NAP, then we have members who have not signed the NAP. That is removing the NAP for membership.” The “brilliant” people who post defending their position in favor of that effort, continue to miss that very simple fact.

    If you change the LPF Constitution from “Section 1. LPF membership is open to whoever signs the pledge: “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals” and asks to be a member of the LPF.” – See more at: http://www.lpf.org/our-party/constitution/#sthash.8a6j2kkO.dpuf

    To “Section 1. LPF membership is open to whoever registers as a Libertarian with the county Supervisor of Elections office where that person resides and in accordance with the statutes of the state of Florida.
    A. Any member who is elected or appointed to a representative or leadership position within the LPF, including convention or electoral college delegate, committee member, or party officer, shall sign the pledge: “I hereby certify that I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals” prior to nomination to such position.”

    Than you are removing the NAP requirement. How am I or anyone who opposed this spreading any misinformation? The only misinformation being spread is from the other side, to support this monstrous attempt to gut the NAP requirement for membership.

  22. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    If Joe is using current bylaws, it seems clear to me that he’s right.

  23. paulie

    Isn’t active membership, rather than nominal membership, what we should be more worried about? The proposal addressed that.

    Ironcally, this would be a less drastic change than the Wagner/Hedbor bylaws in Oregon, which removed the pledge altogether and made voter registration the sole criterion for active membeship.

  24. Adrian Wyllie

    @Joe Wendt, I will concede that point. It was a reapplication of when the NAP is required for membership. So, from that perspective, you’re at least partially right.

    My support for this amendment was based on my experience on the campaign trail for the past two years. I had the opportunity to speak with literally thousands of registered Libertarians.

    I found there is a huge misunderstanding about the difference between party registration and party membership amongst the vast majority of registered Libertarians I spoke with. They don’t understand their is a distinction between the two. The overwhelming majority of people believe that when they write “Libertarian Party of Florida” on their voter registration form, they are a member of the party.

    That stands to reason. From their perspective, they took a pro-active step to “join.” They received a voter ID card which they carry in their wallet which says “LPF” on it. They identify themselves as members of the LPF.

    When I explain that they are not actually members of the LPF, most were confused. Some were annoyed. I had at least two people become extremely angry over it.

    This change in the membership criteria would have just removed that step, which is currently a barrier to membership. If it had passed, we could say to a registered Libertarian, “Yes, you’re a member. Now, if you’d like to get more involved in the party, you must agree to the NAP.”

    It was conceived as a method to increase membership, and make the transition to active membership easier for people. But, it was misconstrued by Joe and a few others — either innocently or deliberately — to be an attempt to eliminate the NAP as the fundamental principle of the party.

    That was not the intention and it would not have been the result if this amendment had passed.

  25. Joe Wendt

    Gutting the NAP requirement for membership just to make it easier for people to join the Party is still wrong. NAP is the guiding principle of the Party, and allowing people to join without signing it is essentially misinforming them about where we stand. Not only that, this change never addressed how to prevent those who have not signed NAP from being active at a local level. Some local affiliates recognize registered LPF voters and members (due to the current LPF NAP requirement, they do not have a separate requirement) as members of the affiliate. So if this had passed, there could be people active in the party at a local level who have not signed NAP. Considering all the bs someone has to go through in order to be a member of either the GOP or the Dems, is it really a burden to expect LPF members be fully informed and to sign NAP.

  26. Wes Wagner

    We went to straight voter registration and no dues in Oregon. Instead of the world ending the leadership is now more libertarian (and less republican puppet), we set new records every election cycle for candidates and votes.

    We also eliminated having a platform and eliminated having a central authority make policy statements and turned that over to the free market.

    Aside from the republican backed coup attempt and faction – and if you were to ignore the fake noise and acrimony from them – the libertarian party of oregon is now healthier than it has ever been.

    I can only imagine how much better we would be doing had the national party had not attacked us and hired the republican party’s lawyer, backed the republican-backed litigants against us and bootstrapped a lawsuit against us and then turned them all loose when their Aaron-Starr-puppet-led coup didn’t quite go as planned. It also sure would have been nice if the national convention delegations had respected the national judicial committee rulings and their own bylaws and didn’t throw fuel on the fire by rejection or coopting our delegations.

    But all that aside… registration is sufficient for membership.

  27. Starchild

    Wes – It would be surprising to see the ill effects of dropping the pledge, or otherwise de-emphasizing libertarian ideology in the LP, immediately. Nevertheless I think jettisoning the pledge is a real mistake, unless you replace it with an equal or stronger mechanism to ensure that the people who guide the direction of your organization and represent it to the public are committed to libertarian ideas. Not just today, or this year, but going forward over the long haul.

    It would be very sad and ironic if, after all your faction’s battling to keep the Oregon LP, you ended up gradually losing it to people only lukewarm on freedom as a result of a shift in emphasis that you yourselves set in motion.

    Have you put any other structures, practices, or traditions in place that will help keep the Oregon LP sustainably libertarian even when it is made up of mostly different people than those who are there now?

  28. AndyCraig

    Signing the NAP pledge does not stop anybody from advocating an anti-libertarian position or violating that pledge. We’ve seen plenty of examples of that. In my experience the people who actually object to the pledge tend to be perfectly libertarian, they just have some ideological or philosophical quibble with the wording or concept. Whereas those who supposedly lack sufficient libertarianism, will just sign whatever membership form you put in front of them without giving it a second thought because they’ve already decided to join the party. So if the NAP pledge is supposed to keep out Republicans and other non-libertarians, I don’t see how it really does so in practice.

    On the other hand, I can’t think of a single time a member was punished or censured for violating the membership pledge. Contradicting the platform, yes. Embarrassing or misrepresenting the party, yes. But actually citing the pledge itself as the thing that was violated? It’s probably happened somewhere, but I’ve never heard of it and it certainly isn’t a regular occurrence. In our state party the by-laws don’t even mention the pledge when laying out the grounds for censuring a member or candidate.

    I could go either way on keeping the pledge. I don’t dislike it, but I think the effect either way is so minimal as to be practically non-existent. There is little heavy lifting that the pledge accomplishes that isn’t had simply by having the word “Libertarian” in our name, along with the platform and SoP.

  29. Wes Wagner

    Starchild

    The main safeguards are that:

    1) To run for our board you have to have participated in the previous party primary (ensuring at least a little tenure)
    2) The board is seated by proportional representation. This ensures that the entire board doesn’t become populated by “moderates” who are marginally acceptable to all factions but are milquetoast.
    3) The board really does not set any policy so to be seen as a “leader” you actually have to be out doing things like running as a candidate, running a PAC, operating a successful group of activists, etc.

    A great example of this would likely be our last board election. The top 1st round vote getter was Kyle Markley, who ran two very good libertarian high profile campaigns for state house that were on target and very effective. He earned his political support over time through merit and the ballot box reflects it.

    Meanwhile I have seen plenty of pledge signers under the old regime of this state engage in fraud, force, suppression, destruction of evidence, coverups, perjury in their legal filings, etc.

    Quite frankly the pledge does nothing because sociopaths lie and there is no meaning capability to enforce it. Further the abusers hide behind it claiming they uphold it while claiming that any retaliatory force on the part of their victims is somehow immoral.

    You would be much better off without it. It does more harm than good – much like any organizational loyalty oath.

    We adopted the SoP in our organizational bylaws. If you can’t achieve that goal in a free-market of ideas, then your ideas are the problem — not whether someone signed a slip of paper claiming they believe in a pledge. I would rather have someone who is 80% libertarian hanging on long enough to lose that 20% they are holding onto due to being exposed to reason, dialog and time.

    A healthy party has enough people in it who can hold on to the moral core and bring the rest of the members along the journey. You always take people in who are just starting their journey on giving up on violence as a basis for “civilization” … just like us anarchists accept that libertarianism is a step in a journey to something better 😉

  30. Adrian Wyllie

    It’s funny that I’ve been accused of trying to get rid of the NAP, because I am one of its staunchest defenders. I sincerely believe that it is the core principle from which all other Libertarian principles are derived. I would hate to see the oath eliminated, especially for party leaders and representatives.

    It may not actually prevent individuals from committing force or fraud, but it serves as a constant reminder of who we are, and what we truly strive to be.

  31. Robert Capozzi

    Having a NAPsolutist pledge is an EXCELLENT way to repel non-NAPsolutist libertarians from the LP.

  32. Vicki Kirkland

    If that amendment had passed, it would have been a logistical nightmare. If a registered Libertarian for example, changed their registration to Republican in June of 2016 to vote in the August primary and didn’t change back to Libertarian until the day of the start of the LPF state convention sometime in the Spring of 2917, during that 9 or 10 month period, they would not be registered Libertarian. Would they lose their membership, and then get it back? This would probably apply to a number of people.

  33. Joe Wendt

    Vicki makes a valid point, given that Rand Paul is running and many Libertarians (for whatever reason) may change their registration just to support his candidacy. The logistics of maintaining accurate membership records to ensure proper credentialing for the State Convention, let alone local membership records, would be a nightmare. And that’s assuming that there are no other high-profile libertarian-Republicans running for State/local office in Florida in 2016. If there are, that would exacerbate the situation.

  34. Wes Wagner

    We solve that problem by requiring people to participate in our primary in order to qualify to stand for office. That means people who reregister GOP to vote for Ron Paul last time or Rand Paul this time or their favorite ORP gubernatorial candidate in the case of 2014 are inelligible to stand for office, choose party leadership or decide party business.

  35. paulie

    Some local affiliates recognize registered LPF voters and members (due to the current LPF NAP requirement, they do not have a separate requirement) as members of the affiliate. So if this had passed, there could be people active in the party at a local level who have not signed NAP.

    If that’s a problem, local parties could fix it, too.

  36. Joe Wendt

    Paulie,

    Using the logic of those who advocated removing the NAP require, why should they? Wouldn’t the same logic they use to “increase membership and make the transition to active membership easier for people” equally apply to local affiliates as well as the State Party. Never mind the fact there will be members who don’t understand or want to learn about NAP, and may advocated ideas that violate it.

    That’s why we need NAP, and why we shouldn’t exempt any member from signing it, it will start a slippery slop that would gut the party.

  37. paulie

    If you are worried about active memberships in local parties, you can extend the same NAP pledge requirement as the state party would have, had the proposal passed, to active membership in local parties.

    On the other hand, some state parties – Missouri is one, iirc – have already done away with the pledge as a requirement for state membership a long time ago. I am not aware of those states LPs being less ideologically libertarian than other state LPs or than they were in the past as a result.

  38. Joe Wendt

    Paulie,

    You have made valid points. Unfortunately, those that have advocated for the removal of the NAP requirement for members have not. Instead, they continue to claim it would “increase membership and make the transition to active membership easier for people” without answering the most important question: How? This year, we had 99 delegates, out of a few thousand members (I don’t remember the exact number). They couldn’t demonstrate how the number of delegates would’ve changed if this proposal had passed. They also couldn’t demonstrate how many more people would become active at a State or Local level if this had pass. More importantly, this proposal assumed that those who register to vote LPF have an interest in being a member of the State Party. It would’ve essentially made the registered LPF voters who have zero interest in being involved members. At that point, we deny them their right to consent to or decline becoming a member.

    On another note, right now (under the current rules) convicted felons can theoretically become members; note, not active members due to their lack of ability to register to vote, but some form of political rights is better than none at all. The proposal would’ve denied those felons who want to join our party membership. That would be especially hypocritical of the LPF, due to it’s support of restoring felon voting rights. Essentially, the LPF message would have been “we support restoring your voting rights, but you can’t join the Party.”

    The proposal was just poorly thought out, as were the arguments for it.

  39. Joe Wendt

    Actually, I will have to correct myself on convicted felong. After reviewing the LPF Constitution, Bylaws, and Standing rules, there is no prohibition on felons that have no voting right rights from being active members, as there is no requirement anywhere in the LPF governing documents that a member has to be a registered LPF voter. It clearly states LPF members, not registered voters, and no where in those documents does it say you have to be a register LPF voter to serve as a Convention delegate or serve on the Committee. The only prohibition comes from FL statutes 103.095, which applies only to officers and members of the executive committee. So, technically, a convicted felon can be an active member of the LPF, with the exception of being able to serve as an officer or as a member of the executive committee.

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