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Sunday, April 26, 2009

LPCA Convention Day 2

77 delegates convened on Sunday morning. Chair Kevin Takenaga, Northern Vice-Chair Rich Newell, and Southern Vice-Chair Zander Collier were re-elected by acclamation. Gale Morgan and Brian Darby were nominated for Treasurer, and Darby won 31-30. Morgan was afterwards nominated for Secretary and was elected by acclamation.

Santa Clara University Economics Professor Fred Foldvary spoke about how the current economic crisis is not a market failure. He traced the crisis to government manipulation of the money supply and the mortgage industry, and to a boom-and-bust real estate cycle fed by government subsidies of land ownership and speculation. He said public services that inflate land values should be limited by financing them only with the extra value they create in the free market for land. He specifically recommended a Green Tax Shift, in which all taxation of income, production, sales, and gifts is replaced with levies on pollution, resource depletion, and land value. Dr. Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation gave a talk about Reason TV and a another about the growth of government in California.

John Inks spoke on "Governing as a Libertarian", about his ascent to the Mountain View City Council in November 2008. He described the record of civic activism that prepared him to win office: Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Planning Commissioner, volunteering in various civic groups, campaign treasurer for two city council candidates. For his campaign he visited 9000 households, meeting 2500 voters. Volunteers like T.J. Campbell and Tricia Marcos covered 2000 more households. Inks raised and spent $13K, and sent 17,000 direct-mail pieces to voters. He was endorsed by former Republican and Democrat mayors and the Sierra Club, but not by any of the three newspapers that interviewed him. In office he has earned headlines like "Hotel Deal Worries Council Dissenter" for questioning a $30M hotel subsidy. He urged Libertarians to get involved with local activism and local politics, where they have the most leverage.

Norm Westwell shared his reflections on his two terms so far on the Ocean View School District Board. His activism was sparked (literally) when his kids asked why they can't enjoy fireworks on the beach like Norm did when he was young. He said that running for multiple elections has helped build his name recognition. His campaigns have let him accumulate a "war chest" of campaign signs that he "harvests" from other candidates (with their permission) after election day and then re-paints with his name and no office or year. This allows him to increase his name recognition with each election cycle. He has won the support of his local teachers' union because he tells them he supports their right to organize as much as he supports free markets -- and because he voted to raise what he says were his district's relatively low teacher salaries. He calls the term "Libertarian" an "anchor around my neck", and he finds people are more accepting of the LP if they have to inquire about his party affiliation. His next campaign will target a seat on his city council.

The convention endorsed Chris Agrella for the 32nd congressional district, Susan Marie Weber for Palm Desert City Council, and Norm Westwell for Huntington Beach City Council.

None of the six eligible Executive Committee members ran for re-election: Rob Power (resigned), Brian Holtz (too busy with elected office and PlatCom), Cam McConnell (moving to Tennessee), Ted Brown (taking a break after many years on ExCom), Lawrence Samuels (ditto?), and Michael McMahon. The nominees and votes were:

52 Matthew Shannon "the LP is too small for infighting"
49 Mike Seebeck wants to build on what the ExCom has been doing
48 Jill Stone wants to "keep our party on track because the national committee certainly isn't"
43 Terry Floyd 2007 convention organizer served as an alternate before, "knows what's involved"
40 Mark Selzer will "do what I can to help out"
38 Allan Pyeatt grew up in Ron Paul's district and has voted for him ever since he was old enough
37 Mark Hinkle warned that he would have to resign from the Judicial Committee if the delegates wanted him on ExCom

The top five vote-getters won two-year terms, and Pyeatt won the 1-year term. Tricia Marcos and Savva Vassiliev were nominated to be the two ExCom alternates, and a vote of 30-26 decided that Marcos would be First Alternate.

Bob Weber proposed a lengthy resolution calling for pardon of medical marijuana prosecution victim Charlie Lynch and impeachment of Bush administration officials responsible for torture. The vote of 22-17 in favor failed to achieve the requisite 2/3 majority and 30-vote majority of the registered delegates.

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