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Saturday, December 26, 2009

LPUS News Roundup: 2004 LP Nominee Badnarik Hospitalized

An email from Libertarian Lists:

News tidbits regarding the Libertarian Party and libertarian political community:

  • 2004 LP presidential candidate Michael Badnarik suffered a heart attack while on the road in Wisconsin. “Badnarik was fitted with a temporary pacemaker and a balloon pump to ease stress on his heart, according to Libertarian Party sources,” reads one media report. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season.
  • Physics professor and former presidential hopeful George Phillies has announced his intention (Note: this site frequently downloads slowly) to run for Chair of the Libertarian National Committee. He is joined as a candidate for this position by LNC member Mark Hinkle. The current Chair, Bill Redpath, recently announced that he has no intention to seek reelection. Rumors are that the LP’s 2008 vice presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root may also seek this position.
  • Congressman Ron Paul’s son Rand is running for the U.S. Senate as a Republican in Kentucky. He’s currently enjoying a considerable polling lead (Note: .pdf format) over his competitor in the primary election contest. Rand was just endorsed by Concerned Women for America. He also raised $100,000 in less than 12 hours, according to CQ Politics. He’s currently under fire from the liberals over at Daily Kos. Learn more at Rand Paul’s website.
  • In our last e-mail, we let you know about (independent candidate/LP member) Joe Kennedy’s run for Ed Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts. He’s now completed his first debate and is scheduled for even more.
  • Frequently antagonistic towards Ron Paul, even the Houston Chronical is using wording like “no longer ignored” and “going mainstream” to describe the former LP and GOP presidential candidate. “Paul's proposal to audit the Federal Reserve — first introduced by the Texas congressman more than 20 years ago — recently sailed through the House Financial Services Committee,” reads one article. “His bill has an astonishing 317 co-sponsors in the House, three-quarters of the chamber's members. In the Senate, where Paul asked Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont socialist, to introduce a similar bill, the measure already has 30 co-sponsors.”
  • 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root has been compared to an Energizer Bunny more than once. Lately, he’s spending more and more time on national radio and television programs and the media is starting to notice. “He didn’t get as much coverage as, say, Dick Armey, but 2009 was a very good year for one of the more ambitious figures in conservative politics, Wayne Allyn Root. A self-made millionaire who rose to prominence as an expert on gambling — especially sports betting — Root barreled into the 2008 Libertarian Party presidential campaign, eventually becoming Bob Barr’s running mate,” writes Dave Weigel at the Washington Independent.
  • The LP has a shot at placing one of their members in the Georgia State Senate. Taylor Bryant is running in a January 5 special election for the Augusta area seat. He will face three Democrats and zero Republicans in the election. If no candidate wins a majority of the votes, the runoff election will be held on February 2. Learn more at his website.
  • Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson is rumored to be considering a run for president in 2012. This libertarian-leaning Republican just launched a new PAC called Our America. You can catch this podcast interview of Johnson for additional details.
  • Now that his campaign is over, former congressman and 2008 LP presidential candidate Bob Barr is writing for the Atlanta Journal Constitution again. Although the national LP website failed to mention that there was any federal debate over healthcare from September 10 to December 24, Barr has been paying attention to the issue. “The president told Gibson that if his health care ‘reform’ legislation is not passed quickly by the Congress, ‘the government will go bankrupt,’” wrote Barr. “Well, guess what, Mr. President – our country already is over $12 trillion in debt, and the estimated cost of your health care legislation far exceeds another trillion dollars!”
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Protester Pays San Diego Property Tax In $1 Bills

LPCA Executive Committee Jesse Thomas was among supporters of a San Diego tax protester who paid his $3700 property tax in one dollar bills:

In the video, the tax protesters ask government officials where they get the authority to collect taxes.

The Libertarian Party Platform says: "Government exists to protect the rights of every individual including life, liberty and property. [...] All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution."

The U.S. Declaration of Independence says: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."  It goes on to say that when "a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government". The protesters in the video do not say whether they plan to overthrow the U.S. government.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

California Libertarians Help Craft LPUS Platform Recommendations

The 2010 Libertarian Party Platform Committee met in Las Vegas on Dec. 12-13 and adopted a relatively modest set of 24 recommendations to the current "greatest hits" platform that the LP assembled in 2008 from language chosen from nine previous LP platforms.  That complete overhaul in 2008 came on the heels of a revolt by the delegates to the 2006 Portland convention, in which they deleted 46 out of the 61 planks of the 2004 platform and left the platform with massive holes necessitating the 2008 reconstruction.

The meeting seemed to confirm that the LP's platform wars were ended by the 2008 "Denver Accord".  That unofficial agreement transformed the Platform from 2004's detailed 14,000-word recipe for abolishing government to a 2500-word declaration of Libertarian policy principles that neither mandates nor precludes the complete replacement of government with markets.  There was in Vegas no effort to revert to a radically detailed abolitionist platform, nor did the PlatCom recommend adding any new language asserting a proper role for government.

Another sign of platform peace was in the roll-call voting.  Brian Holtz was the editor of the 2008 Platform draft that was chosen in Denver over the detailed radical platform offered by Rob Power, and both Californians are back on the 2010 PlatCom.  In Vegas they voted the same way on 22 out of the 25 platform roll-calls for which both were present.  On one of their three disagreements, Holtz in fact cast the lone "radical" vote (against language to "phase out" Social Security rather than "replace" it).

2008 Chair Alicia Mattson was elected Chair over Power, 16-1, after Power had declared the election a referendum on whether PlatCom can use teleconferencing for formal meetings (despite the absence of any Bylaws authorizing them).  Holtz was elected Vice-Chair with 12 votes to Power's 3 (and 2 for Adam Mayer).  M Carling was elected Secretary by acclamation.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dec. 10: OC Book-Signing For Plunder! by Steven Greenhut

Steven Greenhut of the Pacific Research Institute joined the Libertarian Party of California in 2008.  From an email yesterday by LPCA Chair Kevin Takenaga:

The Forum Press is pleased to announce the 1st Southern California Book Signing Event for Steven Greenhut, author of  PLUNDER! How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries Controlling our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation. The event will be filmed by CSPAN.  Steven Greenhut was on the OC Register Editorial Board for eleven years. He is now Director of The Pacific Research Institute Journalism Center in Sacramento

"Greenhut has performed a great service for ordinary citizens and taxpayers with Plunder! With clarity and a compelling writing style, he reveals how public employees have, indeed, become 'America’s Protected Class.'”—Jon Coupal, President, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Thursday, December 10, 2009
6:00 PM
Barnes and Noble
791 S. Main Street
Orange, CA 92821

Friday, December 4, 2009

Rob Power Running For LPUS Secretary

An announcement from LP San Francisco Chair Rob Power:

San Francisco, California, December 4, 2009. Rob Power today announced his candidacy for Libertarian National Committee Secretary.

“The time is right for us Libertarians to adopt a new strategy,” Mr. Power said. “Our Party is unique in its longstanding rejection of perpetual war, central planning, and government favoring certain classes of individuals over others. After nearly a decade of war for which most Americans now realize there was never any national security interest, and years into a recession prolonged by federal government policies, voters have caught up to the Libertarian Party’s longtime understanding about the nature of big government. Even those who have long shared our skepticism of Washington DC’s ability to solve society’s problems have recently come to the realization that their former ‘allies’ – the religious right – cannot be trusted to oppose the growth of government, especially when their operatives are elected to office. If our message of individual liberty and personal responsibility is to gain any traction in these key demographics who are most open to our recruitment, the Libertarian Party must have a new generation of leadership, rejecting social conservatism and reaching out in their own terms to those voters who may have lost their faith in big government only very recently.”

LPCA ExCom Mtg + Candidate Training Sat/Sun in Sacramento

From a Dec. 2 email from the Libertarian Party of California:

California's LP presents a day of candidate training for our Libertarian candidates Sunday, December 6th, in downtown Sacramento.

Candidates for public office plus their campaign staff should bring their questions and learn from experts. Get the complete Libertarian perspective about California's most pressing issues -- vital knowledge for creating effective sound bites -- plus all the do's and don'ts of campaigning in California.

Make a weekend of it! Be our guest at Saturday's Executive Committee meeting. Watch your elected officers tackle our end-of-year business and prepare for the Party's annual convention of delegates in Long Beach next February.

BONUS! Join your California LP Executive Committee at Sacramento's Fortune House Seafood Restaurant for on-your-own dinner in one of the private dining rooms. It'll be a great way to wrap up the final Executive Committee meeting for this year, so just ask for the Libertarian Party when you arrive.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Carolyn Marbry Running For LPUS Vice-Chair

An announcement from Carolyn Marbry. For more from and about Marbry, see the IPR discussion of the announcement.

Ontario, California - Libertarian activist Carolyn Marbry today announced that she is a candidate for Libertarian National Committee Vice Chair.

“This is such an exciting time to be a Libertarian,” Ms. Marbry said. “The coming decades will bring tremendous opportunities to the party as Americans grow more and more disillusioned with bank bailouts, the flagrant destruction of the right to marry for an entire group of Americans, attacks on our second amendment rights and never-ending wars, among other things. To reach out to these people and help our activists make real changes in policy, the party needs a new generation of leadership, one that welcomes and supports all Libertarians.

“We still have a lot of the same problems we’ve always had as a third party. Lack of ballot access, media “black out,” absurd representation of our ideas, mission creep… It’s time for new solutions to our old problems. Those new solutions start with leaving behind the old paradigm and focusing on new technologies and new ideas to build membership, activism and fund raising.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

San Jose Considers Banning Cycling With A Leashed Dog

From an Oct. 26 article by Lisa Fernandez in the San Jose Mercury News: 

On the heels of a deadly freak accident, San Jose is exploring a law to make the city the first in California — and possibly the country — to address the issue of bicyclists riding with leashed dogs.

Councilwoman Nancy Pyle is convening a meeting Wednesday night to gauge public opinion on whether the city should clamp down in some way to prevent what happened to Beverly Head on Sept. 16. The retired 62-year-old San Jose phlebotomist died after she hit her head when she got tangled up in a dog leash while walking along a popular South San Jose trail.

"This is a horribly tragic accident, but we can't legislate accidents," said Justin Grosso, a San Jose resident. Then there's trail users like Terri Gong, who says she usually doesn't like when government intervenes in the lives of ordinary citizens. But in this case, she said, there's a need for it. "I'm darn near a Libertarian," Gong said. "But at the very least, bikers should have their dogs on the right."

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Comparing Top-Two Primary Law in Washington and California

From an October posting by Richard Winger in Ballot Access News:

Washington’s “top-two” law, in effect since 2008, is quite similar to the California “top-two” proposal that will be on the ballot in June 2010, but there are significant differences. In each instance, the Washington state version is significantly kinder to minor parties than the California proposal.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Libertarian Supervisor Blocks Limits On Who Can Run For Tax Collector

Libertarian Tom Tryon is serving his seventh consecutive term on the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors since first being elected in 1984. From an Oct. 28 article by Michael Kay in the Calaveras Union Democrat:

Despite the hopes of Calaveras County Treasurer-Tax Collector Lynette Norfolk, future aspirants to her office will need only a California Driver’s License, after the board voted 2-2 on half her birthday wish — establishing continuing education requirements — resulting in no action.

The requirements are laid out in a little over a page of text in the state Government Code, but adopting them is optional, according to a County Counsel opinion. Under them, candidates are required to have either a degree in a finance-related field, served three or more years in a similar position with a public agency, or be certified as an accountant, financial analyst or cash manager.

“I’m very leery of putting conditions on what the voters can vote on,” said Supervisor Tom Tryon. County Counsel Jim Jones informed the board that the requirements, even if instituted, did not define any penalty for noncompliance.

An unsigned Nov. 4 editorial in the Union Democrat cited evidence against its own position, and then feebly invoked the bad example of occupational licensure:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Libertarian Councilmen Split on Greenhouse Gas Goals

The Mountain View City Council includes Libertarian Party member John Inks and economist Tom Means, a fellow at the libertarian Independent Institute. From a Nov. 5 article by Daniel DeBolt in the Mountain View Voice:

Using 2005 levels as the yardstick, the city wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent by 2012, with gradual reductions until emissions are reduced by 80 percent by 2050.

The council voted 6-1 to approve the emission reduction goals, with member John Inks opposed. Inks said it was important to have some goals for emission reduction, but felt that the city should study what could be realistically expected from environmental measures first instead of copying the goals of other cities. He pointed out that the city's biggest polluters, gas and diesel-powered vehicles, were largely out of the city's control.

Council member Tom Means said he would support the goals because they were "voluntary and unenforceable," though some council members said the state could impose penalties in the future.

According a city staff report, 56 percent of the city's 2005 emissions came from gas and diesel emissions, 25 percent from electricity, 16 percent from natural gas and 3 percent from waste and landfill emissions. Another chart showed that 13 percent of emissions came from residences, 21 percent from commercial uses and 6 percent from industrial uses.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Placer County Outreach Yields Surge In Registered Libertarians

A Nov. 6 email from California Libertarian Party Chair Kevin Takenaga:

Placer County Chairman Roberto Leibman informs me that the LP picked up 190 new registered Libertarians over the past two months in Placer County.

How did this happen?

The Placer County Registrar of Voters does regular outreach to local high schools and registers students who are close to voting age.

As part of this effort, Robert Page (Placer County Treasurer) and other party members, make a trip out to directly talk with students about libertarianism. If you'd like to learn more about how they do their work, contact Roberto Leibman at his email chair@placerliberty.org.

Roberto also suggests that we lobby our local county registrars to start a> similar outreach program in each county.

Great job Placer Co.!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lodi Resident Moves Town Toward Separating Church and State

Picture at right is of Jane Russell, who reported on demonstrations against the Lodi city council's prayer policy. From an Oct. 20 article by Maggie Creamer in the Lodi News-Sentinel:

The person who started the debate over prayers before Lodi City Council meetings has stepped forward and said a lawsuit is still on the table. Lodi resident Karen Buchanan made the original complaint about council prayers to the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation. The complaint prompted the organization to send a letter to the city in May telling the council to enforce its own policy of "non-sectarian and nondenominational prayer" and eliminate references to Jesus Christ or the foundation would sue.

Buchanan appeared on the foundation's radio show on Oct. 12 to speak about the council's decision to continue invocations and allow uncensored prayers. She said the council's decision needs to be challenged in court. "I didn't go to the council meeting to go to church, and so that whole arrangement seemed just totally out of place," Buchanan said on the show. "I felt uncomfortable with being in a church service and being asked to bow my head and to stand and to show respect to a God who is not part of who I am."

The council voted Sept. 30 to broaden its prayer policy to allow religious leaders to offer uncensored prayers and to be more inclusive. The policy also includes opening up the invocation or "Call to Civic Responsibility" to all religious and secular groups.

Buchanan, who has lived in Lodi for at least three years, had originally remained anonymous, but she decided to come forward after receiving support from groups in the area including Lodi United, which resident David Diskin formed to protest the council allowing prayers. "I was just bowled over because I had felt as though I was alone," Buchanan said on the show.

A Nov. 5 article by Maggie Creamer in the Lodi News reports on the first invocation under the new policy:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lawrence Labs Discovers Heaviest Element: Governmentium

Lawrence Livermore Labs in Lawrence, California has just announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Governmentium".

Governmentium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Audio: Lochner and Constitutional Protections For Economic Liberty

Timothy Sandefur of the Pacific Legal Foundation spoke last month at Orange County's Chapman University School of Law on the subject of Lochner and of constitutional protections for economic liberty in general.  The mp3 audio is 55 minutes long:

Based in Sacramento, California, Pacific Legal Foundation is a public interest legal organization that fights for limited government, property rights, individual rights and a balanced approach to environmental protection.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Articles Contrast Governments of California and Texas

From an Oct. 17 article by Kate Galbraith in the New York Times:

Texas’s secret, besides strong winds and lots of land, is its lack of regulation. Wind developers rave about the fact that, in essence, they need few state permits to build a turbine farm. They deal mainly with local officials, who are generally permissive (energy, after all, is a well-loved commodity in Texas).

California, by contrast, has all but stifled wind developers. The state built several big wind farms in the 1980s — but has added very few since, because of the cost and delays of complying with stringent state environmental regulations.

Such snags are a key reason California has turned to solar power. It’s more expensive than wind, but plastering rooftops of homes and businesses with panels takes up no extra land. There is still plenty of paperwork involved, but rooftop solar largely avoids regulatory snarls (although there is the occasional only-in-California court battle between tree lovers and solar-energy lovers).

Here is the entirety of a must-read article by William Voegeli in City Journal:

The Big-Spending, High-Taxing, Lousy-Services Paradigm
California taxpayers don’t get much bang for their bucks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

San Francisco Planning Rules Used For Neighbor Extortion

Posted Nov. 4 by LPSF Chair Rob Power on the LPSF blog:

The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the extortionist and anti-growth policy known as "discretionary review":
"San Francisco is the only large city in the state that has discretionary review," Planning Director John Rahaim said.
"There has been more than one instance we've heard of where it has been used by neighbors to get money from a person or project sponsor," Rahaim said. " 'Give me $20,000, and I won't file a DR' kind of thing."
Truly, only in San Francisco.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Libertarian Trustee Westwell Opposes Attempt To Ban Book

Libertarian Norm Westwell, the president of the Ocean View School District’s board of trustees, opposed a recent unsuccessful attempt to ban a book from the district's middle schools. From an Oct. 31 article by Annie Burris in the Orange County Register:

Former Westminster School District Trustee Judy Ahrens and Ocean View School District trustee John Briscoe are spearheading the effort to ban Angelou's book "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." Ahrens read a rape scene of an 8-year-old girl from the book during a trustee meeting Oct. 6 to demonstration on why the book should be banned. The best-seller is the first volume of Angelou's autobiographical series and was the third most challenged book in schools during the 1990s, according to the American Library Association.

After the Oct. 6 presentation, school board members directed the superintendent to review the book and the process by which a book is admitted to the library. Rasmussen also pulled the book from the middle school libraries and asked the district's book review panel to reconsider the book.

Ahrens and Briscoe made a similar presentation at an Oct. 20 City Council meeting urging community members to lobby the Ocean View school board to ban the book. The meeting was broadcast live on the city's cable channel.

School board President Norm Westwell said he was appalled. "It seems to me that you want to raise the flag, wave the banner, say, 'Hey look at me. I'm Trustee Briscoe and I can make people do what they don't want to do,'" Westwell said. "That is not what this job about. This job is about educating our children and spending taxpayer money wisely... In my opinion, you aren't doing either one."  Westwell's comments were met with applause from the audience. Briscoe did not respond to the accusations during the meeting.

The book has been at the Ocean View middle schools since 1995 and has been checked out five times. It can only be checked out by eighth-graders, Rasmussen said.

A Nov. 3 OC Register article by Burris reported the outcome of the dispute:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Libertarian Councilmen Vote To Require Design Review For Re-Roofing

The Mountain View City Council includes Libertarian Party member John Inks and economist Tom Means, a fellow at the libertarian Independent Institute.  From an Oct 28 article by Daniel DeBolt in the Mountain View Voice describing a unanimous vote of the Council:

The City Council on Tuesday rejected an owner's attempt to re-roof a run-down apartment complex which has stood vacant with blue tarps covering leaky roofs ever since a redevelopment plan failed almost two years ago. Paul Hogan, attorney for Summerhill Apartments owner Sal Teresi, argued that the city's ordinances allow a re-roofing permit for the building because it is not receiving major changes to the exterior, and because the site is not undergoing a change in land use.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Latest Results From Nov. 3 Election

Updated as of  7am Nov 4.  Percentage in parentheses indicates vote of lowest in-the-money candidate in a multi-winner race. Green indicates LP choice is winning, red indicates losing.

Libertarian Choice
LP Result
Redwood City School Board
Jack Hickey
20% (30%)
Chaffey Community College Board
Chris Agrella
7.5% (33%)
Carmel City Council
Lawrence Samuels
4.5% (10%)
Carmel City Council
Savva Vassiliev
0.7% (10%)
L: San Mateo city sales tax
LPSM arguments against
U: San Carlos city sales tax
LPSM arguments against
A: San Buenaventura city sales tax
LP Ventura opposes
C: San Buenaventura limit large retail
LP Ventura opposes
A: San Francisco better budgeting
LPSF supports
B: San Francisco more supervisor staff
LPSF opposes
C: San Francisco sell stadium naming
LPSF supports
D: San Francisco special sign district
LPSF opposes
E: San Francisco ban extra city ads
LPSF opposes
Sunnyvale City Council seat 2
Mike Flores (unofficial)

The Carmel City Council election was conditioned on the passage of Measure G to incorporate the city, which Samuels and Vassiliev opposed. Measure G failed, with 52% (2178) "no" votes.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

San Diego Libertarians Counter-Protest Rent-Seeking Teachers

Email from Jesse Thomas of the San Diego LP, about counter-protesting at an Oct. 29 demonstration in San Diego by unionized teachers seeking increases in state education spending:

It was protest as usual. Fairly uneventful if you are not the one handing out provocative material.

Alex and I parked and walked quite a ways down Park Blvd until we found Dann the Libertarian (you can see him a mile away..) with a large sign that listed some super high taxes. As I approached I saw him engage in a heavy debate with a passenger of a car at an intersection. I got up to the crowd of 100 or so people, many of them wearing Southwestern College shirts and some grubby students and just walked around the crowd handing out flyers. I soon had a crowd of 10 gather around me, asking me questions and say ing things like, "Hey man this is not your venue. What'da doing here?"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ventura Libertarians Make Endorsements For Nov. 3

Email from the Libertarian Party of Ventura County about the Nov. 3 elections there:

The Libertarian party of Ventura county is pleased to make endorsements of the following.

Ventura city council. Mike Gibson,Wendy Halderman and William Knox.We find they best meet the party's ideal's of social tolerance and fiscal restraint.Ventura needs leadership that will control spending,reduce and streamline regulation to promote a dynamic economy, while allowing citizens maximum freedom to pursue their dreams.We believe these are the people to best make that change.

We also urge you to vote NO on both "A" and "C".

Friday, October 30, 2009

Libertarian Judge Testifies For Marijuana Legalization

James Gray is a retired judge of the Orange County Superior Court, and was the 2004 California Libertarian Party nominee for Senate. On Wednesday he testified at a legislative hearing in Sacramento on marijuana legalization. At right is a five-minute video of his testimony. Also, Gray is speaking on the drug war at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach on Nov. 5. From an article by Josh Richman in the San Jose Mercury News:

Marijuana legalization advocates and law enforcement officials duked it out in a three-hour legislative hearing Wednesday on whether making the drug legal under state law would be good public policy.

Advocates said legalization and regulation could bring as much as $1.4 billion in state and local excise and sales tax revenue per year; control the drug's potency; do more to keep it out of children's hands; and end a centurylong double standard in which alcohol and tobacco — which they say are more harmful — are legal while marijuana isn't, leading to a war on drugs particularly destructive to people of color.

The hearing was convened by Assembly Public Safety Committee Chairman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, who earlier this year introduced a bill to legalize and tax marijuana under a system not unlike that used for alcohol. Even as several proposed ballot measures for legalization seek to qualify for next year's ballot, Ammiano is rewriting his bill to bring it forward again in January, and Wednesday's hearing was supposed to help him gather input for that revamp.

Rosalie Pacula, co-director of the Drug Policy Research Center at renowned think-tank RAND Corp., said prohibition has kept marijuana prices high, and legalization with heavy taxation that elevates marijuana's price far above the cost of its production will lead to a thriving black market.
Retired Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Gray said the state can allow and regulate marijuana without condoning its use just like alcohol and tobacco, but any legalization legislation must ban advertising lest marijuana use become glamorized.  [Gray also said:  "Today it is easier for young people to get marijuana than it is to get alcohol. Illegal dealers do not ask for I.D."]

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Libertarian Jack Dean Making A Difference At Pension Tsunami

An article Tuesday by Joel Fox, editor of Fox and Hounds Daily, about Jack Dean, former Chair of the Libertarian Party of California:

As I stated last week, the pension issue is gaining traction.  One major reason is that the mainstream media has taken notice. The media  has had help. The website, Pension Tsunami, gathers articles and facts about  public pension news from around the country. Collected and assembled by Jack Dean, one time Libertarian candidate for U. S. Senate in California and president of the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers, the articles are distributed to more than 1,400 subscribers nationally, with the heaviest concentration in California.

While others have raised concerns about the pension issue, such as the Calpensions web site, I mentioned last week and talk radio hosts, Dean has been feeding material to radio hosts and news reporters and bloggers for five years.

He's had a major impact.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Judge Jim Gray: The Conscience of a Libertarian

James Gray is a retired judge of the Orange County Superior Court, was the 2004 California Libertarian Party nominee for Senate, and is the author of Wearing the Robe – the Art and Responsibilities of Judging in Today’s Courts (2008). From his blog this week:

OK, I know that generalizations usually don’t work. But I will generalize here and pose that the definition of a Republican is a person who wants more government in our private lives, and a Democrat is one who wants more government in the marketplace.

On the other hand, libertarians mostly want less government in both places.

In that regard, numbers of times after I became a libertarian in 2003 I heard many people from all different political persuasions tell me that they too in many ways believe they also are libertarians. And you know something? They are probably correct.

What is the real definition of a libertarian?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Two Marin Deputies Watched Killer Jog Away From Double-Murder

The Cato Institute this week highlighted an event that was described in an Aug. 18 article by Karl Fischer in the San Jose Mercury News:
Two Marin County sheriff's deputies watched from 50 feet away while a man killed two people with a shotgun on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge last week. The deputies, detectives returning from an unrelated investigation in San Pablo, stopped traffic and radioed for help, Richmond police said Tuesday. But they made no move to stop the killer's rampage or to follow him or take his license plate number.
The Cato article commented:
These two law-enforcement officers did what police officers tell the public to do: Don't intervene. Get a description of the offender. Call the police. Be a good witness.

S.J. Mercury Coverage of Libertarian in Redwood City School Board Race

Excerpts below from an article today by Shaun Bishop in the San Jose Mercury News.  Former county Libertarian Chair Jack Hickey, an elected trustee of the Sequoia Health Care District, is running for county supervisor as well as Redwood City Elementary School Board (SmartVoter site here).

Jack Hickey, another challenger trying to unseat the incumbents in the Nov. 3 election, said he is running for the school board as a precursor to his campaign for San Mateo County supervisor next year. His main platform for both campaigns is the same — allow parents to designate a portion of their property taxes to sponsor a child's education in an alternative school or program. "If I get on the school board, I will have a little bit stronger voice in expressing my policy," said Hickey, 75.

Hickey, who is on the Sequoia Healthcare District Board and has run for numerous public offices, also said he would advocate for selling school sites to fix the district's budget problems.

Agrella College Board Campaign In the Home Stretch

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin published (on page B1, on Oct. 17) a statement by Libertarian Chris Agrella in his Nov. 3 race for Chaffey Community College District Board.  It also published on Oct. 22 Agrella's answers to the newspaper's questions.  As the campaign enters the home stretch, Agrella is organizing Libertarians at the college, walking precincts in the district, and distributing his campaign sign.  Previous coverage of Agrella is here. Agrella's statement and answers from the Bulletin:

Monday, October 26, 2009

San Diego Spending Advocate Stumbles In Debate With Taxfighter Rider

[Email report from Taxfighter of the Year Richard Rider about his debate Thu Oct 22 against a City of San Diego building project.]

Today I did a forum debate before the subsidy-seeking San Diego Downtown Partnership group. They discussed the three downtown pyramids they want to build. I critiqued the new city hall and convention center, while San Diego County Taxpayers Association CEO Lani Lutar expertly dissected the fatally flawed new downtown library proposal (she did much better than I did).

Actually it was a surprisingly fair and largely civil forum. Given that the Partnership and I never agree on anything, it went pretty well. They had selected crusty old real estate mogul Malin Burnham as the spokesperson for the new city hall. If nothing else, Malin is candid. Painfully so for his side, as it turns out. See the damning [San Diego Union Tribune] article. Malin made a FABULOUS admission. Here's the opening excerpt of the article:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

TEA Parties This Week Across CA; Bonus TP in Woodland Hills

The TEA Party Express tour started today in San Diego and Los Angeles, and continues through Thursday up the length of California. A bonus TEA Party has been called for noon, Thu Oct. 29 at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, to protest a pair of Sacramento legislators at a town hall sponsored by a teachers' union.  Joining the protest will be Dr. Pam Brown, Libertarian candidate for Lt. Governor, and an economics professor at Pierce College.

Doherty on Guns Oct 29 @ Tarzana; Samuels on Chaos Nov 15 @ S.F.

[An Oct. 20 email from the LPCA]
  • In Defense of Chaos with L.K. Samuals, Nov. 15 Reception in San Francisco
  • Gun Control on Trial with Reason's Brian Doherty Oct. 29 in San Fernando Valley
  • Collect Signatures, Save Campaign Funds
  • 2010 California LP Convention
  • California Coffee Club

2010 LPCA Convention: Feb. 12-14 in Long Beach

Friday through Sunday, February 12 through 14
Marriott Courtyard Downtown Long Beach
500 East First Street, Long Beach, California 90802

Mark you calendar now to be among the decision-makers at our Party's annual business meeting! If you've never been a California LP member, join the Libertarian Party of California and register to vote Libertarian by Friday, November 12th to qualify to be a delegate!

And while you're making those plans, get the most out of your delegate status: join the Libertarian National Committee and get ready to register for their bi-annual convention in Saint Louis over Memorial Day Weekend, too.

If you're a candidate for office, or a dedicated campaign volunteer, make plans to attend our donors' reception so you can meet the folks who've proven to be the Libertarian Party of California's generous donors. It could be your best opportunity to secure support for your favorite candidate's campaign.

2010 California LP Convention registration will open soon, so visit the state Party's website to stay informed.

Want to be among the first to be notified when registration opens? Call Beau at 818-782-8400 or e-mail him to be on our 2010 Convention call-back list.

[From an Oct. 20 email from the LPCA]

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Libertarian Trustee Hickey Interviewed In Redwood City School Board Race

Excerpts below from an article today by Heather Murtagh in the San Mateo County Journal.  Former county Libertarian Chair Jack Hickey, an elected trustee of the Sequoia Health Care District, is running for county supervisor as well as Redwood City Elementary School Board (SmartVoter site here).  Hickey's site exposes a "hit piece" against his candidacy emailed out on Oct. 20 by a fellow Sequoia trustee and former county sheriff. It criticizes Hickey for being "a long time opponent of public education", and for calling it "inhumane" that a 33-year-old teacher was sentenced to two years in prison after she bore a child fathered by a student who was 16 at the time.

Libertarians Co-Sponsoring Another Riverside Anti-Nazi Rally Saturday

The Libertarian Party of Riverside County is co-sponsoring another anti-Nazi rally on Saturday Oct. 24 at 9 AM in Riverside. LP Riverside Vice Chair Gene Berkman spoke at the earlier Sep. 26 rally. Here is the media release for the rally:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Court Orders Reparations As It Overturns Goleta Rent Control Law

From an Oct. 12 e-alert by Nossaman LLP law firm (via Leonard Gilroy on Reason's blog). The 2-1 opinion was written by Jay Bybee, the author of a Justice Dept. torture memo that made him one of the targets of an impeachment resolution that failed to pass at the end of the 2008 Libertarian Party of California convention.  Adjournment prevented the offering of this alternative.

A Sep. 28 opinion from the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Guggenheim v. City of Goleta, demonstrates that regulatory takings litigation can have teeth. In Guggenheim, the Ninth Circuit holds that the City of Goleta's rent control ordinance on mobile home parks went too far and that the City will have to pay the park's owners just compensation. This case, particularly coupled with two other recent regulatory takings cases, Monks and Casitas, suggests that agencies may now need to pay close attention to their regulations if they hope to avoid a regulatory takings bite.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Best Signs At San Francisco TEA Party For Obama

Over 1,000 people protested at President Obama's fundraising visit to San Francisco on Oct. 15. Many of the protesters were affiliated with various California TEA Parties (Taxed Enough Already).  Zombietime blogged a detailed photo essay of the event.  The most interesting pictures:

Libertarians Applaud Federal Reprieve For Medical Marijuana

The U.S. Justice Department on Monday issued new guidelines telling prosecutors they "should not focus federal resources in your States on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana."  Below is a roundup of reactions from libertarians. At the end is a must-see video from Reason TV in which Drew Carey reports on the ongoing efforts of the Obama Justice Dept. to sentence Californian Charles Lynch to five years in prison for dispensing marijuana to the parents of a teenage cancer victim.

The Libertarian Party: This is a small step in the right direction. The federal government currently wastes tremendous resources in the War on Drugs, creating a huge, vicious, violent black market. This new policy will reduce the damage and destruction, and it will hopefully end some of the unjust prosecution of peaceful medical marijuana providers and patients.  The LP has long called for the repeal of laws that criminalize the medicinal or recreational use of drugs.

As Bankruptcy Looms, Rider To Debate 3 New San Diego Projects

By Richard Rider, Libertarian and Tax Fighter Of The Year:

In today's San Diego Union-Tribune there's an article [by Craig Gustafson] about two contrasting meetings being held Thursday. I'll be attending both, and providing the "naysayer" opposition in the second event's debate -- which will be held before an audience intensely hostile to my point of view.

The irony is stunning. The first meeting is about municipal bankruptcy, with an emphasis doubtless on the city of San Diego. The second event is a pitch for the three downtown SD city taxpayer-subsidized pyramids the Establishment so fervently wants to build, build, build. Read the article and then go to the comments section below it and kick some Big Spender butt. Sub-debate there about city workers. Enjoy.

Excerpts from the article:
Two groups of San Diego leaders will gather tomorrow to discuss incongruous approaches to the city's future: building three grand civic projects and filing for municipal bankruptcy. Only in America's Finest City would both be considered alternatives for a public entity facing a $179 million budget deficit for next year.

The dueling panel discussions begin with a breakfast forum hosted by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. The title: “Municipal bankruptcy: Is it a feasible option for cities facing fiscal disaster?”

Three hours later, the Downtown San Diego Partnership will host a luncheon with proponents of a new downtown library, a Convention Center expansion and a new City Hall. Sparring with them will be taxpayer advocate Richard Rider, who opposes the projects.

Supporters of the three civic projects say none will affect the city's budget. But many critics, including City Councilman Carl DeMaio, dispute those assertions and say the city should focus on its financial problems.

Libertarian Marshals Police Salary Data On S.F. Chronicle's Site

Starchild, 1998-2000 Chair of the San Francisco Libertarian Party, provides a steady stream of commentary (RSS feed here) in the lively user comments sections of the San Francisco Chronicle. This, along with media coverage of his pro-freedom activism, keeps his name in front of voters should he again run for supervisor or school board trustee. This morning he published a comment on a story about the ineffectiveness of San Francisco police efforts to stop drug dealing. In it he documented the $185,063 compensation of the cop who the Chron quotes as admitting "It really doesn't matter what's being sold".  Starchild's comment:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

San Diego Libertarians Defeat City's "Processing Fee"

Libertarian Attorney Edward Teyssier was the attorney of record in a landmark August court victory against a San Diego tax disguised as a "processing fee". An article today by Elizabeth Malloy in San Diego's Daily Transcript said:
The San Diego City Council voted Monday to discontinue certain fees that business and rental property owners have been paying since 2004, and to issue some refunds. Agreeing that the fees essentially equaled an illegal tax, the council voted unanimously to discontinue the Business Tax Processing Fee and Rental Unit Business Tax Processing Fee. The council also voted to refund most of the taxes paid by landlords.
“In essence, the city got caught with its hand in the cookie jar, and now we’ve got to return the cookies,” said Councilman Carl DeMaio. "That’s the right thing to do, to return this money.” The loss of these fees will cost the city just over $3 million, and the refunds will likely cost close to $1 million. The city also has to pay attorneys fees related to the matter.
An August 19 article by Helen Gao in the San Diego Untion-Tribune said:
In a ruling with statewide implications, the 4th District Court of Appeal yesterday said the city's actions violated voter-approved tax-limiting measures. The city collected more than $13.5 million in taxes from them last fiscal year and charged $2.7 million in processing fees.

“It is our goal to get all the money reimbursed because it was an illegal tax from the very beginning,” said Edward Teyssier, the attorney who represented the plaintiffs. “Everybody who paid into it should get their money back with interest, as far I am concerned.” The case could lead to cities elsewhere having to drop processing fees.
Here is an article on the case by Edward M. Teyssier, Attorney at Law:

In January of 2005  I was a brand new attorney and had just received my wall certificate from the State Committee of Bar Examiners.  At about that same time, Sidney Weisblat, a member of the SDLP, who was also a landlord, called me to say he had also just received a different sort of certificate from the City of San Diego. The city had just started a program to charge all landlords a new “processing fee” to collect the city’s rental taxes, and isn’t there something I, as a new attorney, could do to fight this new “fee”?

Sidney felt it was double taxation when you’re charged a “fee” to pay your taxes.  I agreed.  One of the reasons why I decided to become an attorney was to more effectively fight against unjust taxes just like this one.  I took the case.

Crowd-Sourcing The California Libertarian Newsletter

Libertarians advocate voluntary, decentralized, self-organizing solutions to problems that other people think require centralized top-down control of aggregated equal contributions from everyone thought to benefit from the solution.  The Libertarian Party of California had in recent years been spending over $20K/yr in members' dues (including over $4K/yr for editing and as much as $8K/yr for graphical layout) to communicate once a month with the ~1300 recipients of its newsletter California Freedom. The LPCA leadership has been cutting those costs, but not fast enough to avoid suspending the print newsletter last week while they seek more cost-effective arrangements. In response, California Libertarians today unveiled a volunteer-organized online complement to California Freedom.  CalFreedom.net says its mission is

Gail Lightfoot: Libertarian Running For U.S. Senate

Retired nurse Gail Lightfoot (campaign site, SmartVoter bio) joined the Libertarian Party in 1972, served as California Chair twice, and has run for Congress four times (1986, 1988, 1990, 1996) and for Secretary of State thrice (1998, 2002, 2006).  In her 2000 race for U.S. Senate she scored 1.8%, compared to LP results of 1.1% in 1998, 1.8% in 2004 and 1.6% in 2006. In 2004 she lost the LP Senate primary to Judge James Gray, 57% to 43%.  She was a prominent plaintiff in the 2000 Supreme Court decision overturning California's Prop 198 blanket primary.  In 2008 she received 17,006 write-in votes as Ron Paul's V.P. candidate in California, and participated in a lawsuit (Lightfoot vs. Bowen) challenging the citizenship of President-elect Obama. Yesterday Lightfoot sent out this email:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Opposition To State Preferences For Disability, Sex, Race

Libertarian Fred Mangels of Eureka blogs today:
There's a meeting in Sacramento today that will be taking a look at bottom feeding lawyers (like Eureka's very own Jason Singleton) that are abusing the system of American's with Disabilities Act regulations. They even mention Singleton's aborted attempt to burn the Squeeze Inn earlier this year.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

San Francisco Anti-War March Smaller Than Expected


[Oct. 18 update: a Libertarian posted on LPSF-discuss: "I attended a portion of Saturday’s protest and agree with Cindy Sheehan’s assessment that the turnout was low".] Excerpts below from an article today by Erin Allday in the San Francisco Chronicle

In San Francisco, the anti-war demonstration did not draw as many marchers as participants had hoped for. "It should be 10-fold," said Jennifer Teguia, a 32-year-old Fremont teacher who was marching with women from the anti-war group Code Pink. [...] "I feel like when we elected Obama we voted for peace, and instead we're getting war," said Margot Larsen, 58, of Concord.

The protest started and ended with a rally at the United Nations Plaza, and at noon as many as 1,000 people marched down Market Street. By 2 p.m., the crowd had dwindled to just a few dozen at the United Nations Plaza when peace activist Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who released the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War, took his turn at the microphone.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Westwell Cites Park Victory While Hunting Higher Office

Libertarian Norm Westwell, the president of the Ocean View School District’s board of trustees, is already in the thick of the 2010 race for Huntington Beach City Council.  From an Oct. 14 article by Michael Miller in the Huntington Beach Independent:
It will be open season next year for the Huntington Beach City Council, as four of the seven seats will be up for election and three council members will be termed out. [...]
Westwell, a Libertarian, is entering his fifth race for the council. If elected, he would

Libertarian Councilmen Push Mountain View Taxi Deregulation

From an Oct. 13 article by Daniel DeBolt in the Mountain View Voice:
The City Council has decided to open the city to competition among taxi cab companies, ending the lock held by the two cab companies — Yellow Cab Company of the Peninsula and Checker Cab of Silicon Valley — who until now had sole permission to operate in Mountain View. Under the previous system, Yellow and Checker were allowed to operate 34 cabs at any one time in Mountain View. With the new rules, approved unanimously Tuesday night, any cab company is free to operate as many cabs as it wants within city limits as long as...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Drivers Ignoring Cell Phone Ban; Big-Screen TV Energy Limits Coming

From an article yesterday by Michael Farrell in the Christian Science Monitor:

California First Lady Maria Shriver may be the only California driver to be caught on video thrice yapping on her handheld phone by celebrity gossip website TMZ. But she certainly isn't alone. Every month, thousands of motorists flout the state's ban on talking on handheld cellphones while driving. Shriver's cellphone saga has raised questions about how many Californians are actually heeding the ban on talking while driving.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Journalist: Silicon Valley Could Kick-Start Libertarian Movement

From an opinion piece yesterday at FastCompany.com by Carlos Watson, an entrepreneur in tech and media and a regular contributor on MSNBC. After graduating from Stanford Law School in 1995 and working for two years at top-ranked consulting firm McKinsey & Co., Watson co-founded Achieva College Prep Service in San Mateo. He sold it in 2002 as he began his careeer as a TV journalist.

The time is right for Silicon-Valley-style progressivism to woo independents into a political force under the Libertarian Party banner. Here's how.

The Top Ten Laws Signed Or Vetoed By Governator Saturday Evening

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed 475 bills, and vetoed 229, in the final hours before the statutory deadline on Oct. 10. California Dream Team, a political committee that supports the governor's ballot measure campaign efforts, collected $115,000 from donors in the last three days before the deadline. Below are the ten most interesting of the few dozen about which I've seen reporting. Good luck figuring out what else among this session's 2600+ legislative proposals were signed into law.  And remember, ignorance of these new laws is no defense!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

LPSF Rates 5 City Propositions For Nov. Election

The Libertarian Party of San Francisco has published its recommendation for the five local propositions on the S.F. ballot in November:
  • A: Should the City Charter be amended to require the City to develop binding long-range financial policies, to adopt a two-year budget cycle, and to create a five-year financial plan to forecast expenditures and revenues?  Yes
  • B: Should the City Charter be amended to allow members of the Board of Supervisors an unspecified number of aides? No
  • C: Should the City be allowed to enter into naming contracts for the stadium at Candlestick Point? Yes
  • D: Should a special sign district be created which would allow new general advertising signs on and near Market Street between 5th and 7th Streets? No
  • E: Should the City prohibit any increase in advertising on any City owned property, such as buildings and street furniture (news racks, transit shelters etc.)? No
The LPSF also reports that its poster has been spotted as far away as New Hampshire.  Pictures after the jump, ordering info here.

Constitution Reform Conference As Chief Justice Condemns "Dysfunction"

The Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Ronald George, complained in an Oct. 10 speech that with the passage last November of Props 2 and 8, "chickens gained valuable rights in California on the same day that gay men and lesbians lost them".  George also complained about California's inability to raise taxes:
California’s lawmakers, and the state itself, have been placed in a fiscal straitjacket by a steep two-thirds-vote requirement — imposed at the ballot box — for raising taxes.  Much of this constitutional and statutory structure has been brought about not by legislative fact-gathering and deliberation, but rather by the approval of voter initiative measures, often funded by special interests.
Today there is a televised conference in Sacramento on reforming California's constitution.  In an essay for the LPCA's Libertarian Perspective earlier this year, economics professor Fred Foldvary described what a libertarian constitution would look like: