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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:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Environmentalists Worry S.F. Bay Is Becoming Too Clean

From an Oct. 5 article by Kelly Zito in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Millions of tons of sand and clay that Gold Rush miners scoured from the Sierra Nevada have finally flushed out to sea after more than a century in San Francisco Bay, according to the San Francisco Estuary Institute.

Less sediment means that more sunlight can permeate the bay's waters. That, in turn, spurs growth of phytoplankton, the microscopic plant matter that makes up the base of the food chain. An overabundance of phytoplankton can result in a massive die-off with plant life sinking to the bottom of the bay to decompose. That process eats up valuable dissolved oxygen necessary for fish.

Free-flowing sediment serves another purpose:

Medical MJ: Court Victory, But Raids Continue in LA, SD, Anaheim

From the October newsletter of Americans For Safe Access to medical marijuana:
  • Collective Cannabis Cultivation OK by California Supreme Court
  • ASA Argues Anaheim's Dispensary Ban Violates California Law
  • Los Angeles Committee Balks on Dispensary Regulations
  • San Diego DA Orchestrates Assault on Medical Cannabis
Collective Cannabis Cultivation OK by California Supreme Court

The right of California patients to collective cultivate medical marijuana, and then sue if that right is violated, has been affirmed by the California Supreme Court in another landmark legal victory for ASA.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Alert: Oct 14 San Diego Town Hall Showdown vs. Union Activists

From Richard Rider: CALL TO ACTION!

There is an important, informative San Diego city "town hall" meeting in Scripps Ranch this Wednesday, 14 October after work (details in a Carl DeMaio press release).

I suspect it's going to be something of a showdown between Councilman DeMaio's reform efforts and the public employee labor union activists. I anticipate that the labor folks hope to pack the meeting. We need to do the same.  PLEASE join me for that meeting. And come early to grab a seat (very important) -- the closer to the front, the better.

DeMaio has several such meetings scheduled, but this first one will see if we can match the labor union turnout. Seldom has an issue been more clear -- the government labor union members vs. everyone else.  For more information visit www.CleanUpCityHall.com

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Libertarian Supervisor Breaks Tie Against Golf Course

Libertarian Tom Tryon is serving his seventh consecutive term on the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors since first being elected in 1984. On Oct. 6 he voted with a 3-2 majority against approving a golf course that had been built on some agricultural land whose owners had accepted tax breaks in exchange for promising to keep their land in agricultural production. Excerpts from an Oct. 8 story by Dana M. Nichols in the Stockton Record:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Libertarian Councilmen Seek To Ease Parking Requirements

Libertarian John Inks of the Mountain View City Council is quoted in an Oct. 7 Mountain View Voice article by Daniel DeBolt. Excerpts:

There was at least one new way of doing things presented in the draft housing element: require less parking for housing near transit. According to the Greenbelt Alliance, Mountain View requires more parking on average than other Bay Area cities, and less parking would leave more room for homes and discourage people from using cars.

The Environmental Planning Commission objected to the proposal, however, citing impacts on surrounding neighborhoods. Council member Jac Siegel agreed with the commission, others did not. "We do need to look at parking requirements," said council member John Inks. "Our parking requirements are a little higher than surrounding cities." "I'm all for reducing free parking," said council member Tom Means. Too many people, he said, "fill up their garages and driveways and park on the street."

Several council members also supported removing a cap on the number of "efficiency studios" that can be built. Currently the city has 118 of the small apartments at San Antonio Place, and only 62 more can be built.  [...]

Macias took issue with the terms "affordable housing" and "subsidized housing" because the words have a negative connotation. City staff suggested "assisted housing" or "rent restricted" housing. Audience members were overheard commenting that changing the name wasn't good for government transparency.

[Councilman Tom Means is a professor of economics at San Jose State U. and is a fellow at the Independent Institute, a libertarian think tank in Oakland. In 2008 he co-authored the following commentary, titled Affordable Housing Laws Make Housing Less Affordable.]

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oct. 6: Richard Rider Day in San Diego

The San Diego City Council declared Oct. 6 to be Richard Rider Day, to recognize the taxpayer advocacy that won Libertarian Party member Rider this year's Howard Jarvis Tax Fighter Of The Year award.  Video of the 8-minute proceeding is here; clicking the Go button for the Richard Rider Day menu item forwards to the 7:52 mark.

Council member Carl DeMaio says of Rider: "Perhaps his greatest victory was his successful effort in overturning the County of San Diego's illegal half-cent sales tax, a precedent that was applied statewide, saving California taxpayers more than $14 billion, and saving San Diego County taxpayers more than $3.5 billion."  Rider was gracious in his remarks to the Council, telling them their relationship is symbiotic, and that without wasteful government he would have to take up gardening -- which he hates.

Today, Rider sent out this analysis of San Diego county civil servant pensions:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

South L.A. Ban On New Fast Food Restaurants Is Bad Idea

From an Oct. 6 article by Jerry Hirsch in the Los Angeles Times:

A regulation banning the establishment of new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles is unlikely to curb obesity rates, according to a study by researchers at Santa Monica think tank Rand Corp.  Concerned about high levels of obesity, the lack of traditional grocery stores and a proliferation of fast-food eateries, the Los Angeles City Council approved a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in one of the poorest sections of the city last year. It has extended the ban through March of next year. [...]

They found that the far wealthier West Los Angeles has 29 fast-food chain establishments, 14 small food stores and 10 large supermarkets per 100,000 residents. South Los Angeles, by comparison, has 19 fast-food chain restaurants, 58 small food stores and three large grocery stores. [...]

South Los Angeles is often labeled a "food desert" because of its lack of large traditional grocery stores that are the typical source of healthful foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables.  However, the study found no difference in fruit and vegetable consumption between residents of South Los Angeles and people in other areas.  [...]

The Rand researchers attributed the greater likelihood of South Los Angeles residents to be obese to their consuming more snacks and sodas than people who lived in other areas. "Snacks usually don't come from a restaurant," Sturm said. "They typically come from stores and vending machines."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

LPSF To Oppose AB 583 Tax-Financing of Political Campaigns

Email from Ron Getty, Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco:

At the Saturday Oct. 10  LPSF meeting we will be discussing AB 583 and a possible letter writing campaign for the activities part of the November meeting.

This url goes to a decent synopsis of AB 583 the so-called clean money campaign. It apparently is weighted against third party independent candidates by the number of signature requirements.

Supreme Court Considers Cross In Mojave National Preserve

Excerpts below from an Associated Press article today.  For full details on the case, see this ScotusWiki entry. The Libertarian Party platform says "We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion."

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Satirical Libertarian LTE Against Seatbelt Laws

A letter by Dorsey Holme Kindler in the Napa Valley Register:

Dear editor, I would like to write a thank-you letter to the brave officers of the Napa Police Department and the California Highway Patrol who put themselves at considerable risk to save me from myself — twice in one week!

Monterey Libertarians Protest Against Afghan Occupation

David Henderson (pictured in hat at right) is an economics professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, and editor of the online Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.  In 2004 he detailed (1, 2, 3) how Monterey Libertarians stopped a local tax increase.  From a Henderson press release:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Prop 8 Backers Want To Dump Attorney General As Co-Defendant

From an article today by Howard Mintz in the San Jose Mercury News:

Gay-marriage opponents have asked a federal judge to shift Attorney General Jerry Brown to the plaintiffs' side of a lawsuit challenging Proposition 8, arguing that his refusal to defend the law makes him an adversary in the legal fight.

In court papers filed late Friday, Proposition 8 backers argue that allowing Brown to remain as a named defendant in the case "unfairly advances" the challenge to the gay-marriage ban because, like the plaintiffs, the attorney general maintains California's law against same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

In numerous legal briefs, Brown has sided with the plaintiffs' central legal argument that Proposition 8 violates the equal protection rights of same-sex couples seeking the right to marry. It is a rare example of the state's top lawyer declining to defend a California law in the courts.

Lawyers for same-sex couples have sued in San Francisco federal court to overturn Proposition 8, approved by voters last year to restore the state's ban on gay marriages. Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has scheduled a trial for January on the legal challenge, which many legal experts predict may eventually offer the U.S. Supreme Court an opportunity to address the controversial issue.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Libertarian Economist Critiques California Tax Commission's Plan

Fred Foldvary is a professor of economics at Santa Clara University, and in 2000 was the Libertarian candidate for Congress in CA-9.  In an article today on his blog, Foldvary criticized the 425-page report of the Governor's Commission on the 21st Century Economy:

The aim of the Commission is to establish a “21st Century tax structure” that reduces the volatility of the state’s revenues, promotes prosperity, reflects “principles of sound tax policy including simplicity, competitiveness, efficiency, predictability, stability, and ease of compliance and administration,” and that is “fair and equitable.”  The Commission’s proposed tax plan has the following elements:

Long Beach Council To Consider IRV Tues 3:30pm

On Tuesday Oct. 6, the Long Beach City Council will hold a special meeting at 3:30 p.m. in City Hall (333 W. Ocean Blvd) to determine whether instant-runoff voting should be placed on the ballot for voters to consider as a city charter amendment. An article in the Long Beach Press-Telegram (h/t Ballot Access News) lays out the pros and cons.

The Libertarian Party platform says: "We support electoral systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state and local levels.  We oppose laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives."

2009-10-07 update: The council made no decision, and is reported to be split 4-5 against IRV.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Judge Seeks Prop 8 Docs; DOMA Challenged; Iowa Recruits

A federal judge has ordered sponsors of California's Proposition 8 to release campaign strategy documents that opponents believe could show that backers of the same-sex marriage ban were motivated by prejudice against gays. [...] If the courts find that the ballot measure was motivated by discrimination, they could strike it down without having to decide whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry. [...]

Friday, October 2, 2009

SoCal Regional Libertarian Conference in Ontario Oct. 17

From LPCA Secretary Beau Cain:

The ALIVE FREE HAPPY Libertarians in Southern California are hosting the first ever Southern California Regional Conference for the ten county area of Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties.

Speakers include some of the Party's 2010 candidates who have already declared their candidacy, and workshops by Southern California's most creative Libertarians.
  • Learn from former candidates how to run for local and state office
  • Get expert tips and hands-on help making bold, beautiful signs for protests and rallies
  • Get dynamite ideas about building your local organization into an effective political force.

Saturday, October 17, 2009