Members of the Libertarian National Committee,
A few months ago I brought up a number of concerns about the Bylaws Committee survey, and now I see the same stuff happening again. People are being surveyed about proposed changes to our platform (at http://www.lp.org/phpQ/fillsurvey.php ) and asked to give their names and contact information.
Last year this same approach was cited (designed?) as an excuse to keep many survey results hidden from the membership. (In fact, where are the responses from the Bylaws survey from those respondents like myself who opted-in to make our results public?) I don't want to see this self-serving secrecy repeated. LNC members, please see that an advisory note is immediately added to the Platform Committee survey letting all further respondents know that all responses will be made public unless they choose to opt-out and keep their responses anonymous, and then that the info is made public. And more importantly, please take action to ensure that in the future, no surveys of this sort are sent out unless (a) they do not ask for personal information, or (b) it is made clear that personal information disclosed will be made public. It is patently unfair for some members of our party to have access to detailed information collected under the auspices of the party about how specific individuals are likely to vote on matters before the membership, and for other members of the party to be denied access to this same information. The full party membership deserves to have access to survey information gathered from LP members that may impact the future of our party -- not just a handful of insiders!
I wish the above were the only problem with the Platform Committee survey (besides the contents of the proposals it is pushing, which I won't get into here), but it is not. The survey once again fails to disclose how many committee members voted for each proposal, let alone how each committee member voted, and fails to present "pro" and "con" positions on the proposals voted out of the committee, something that LNC member Rebecca Sink-Burris joined me in objecting to last September (see thread below).
Why are these things happening again? I suspect it is because this is at least the third time in a row that Alicia Mattson has chaired the national Platform Committee. Did someone appoint her chair for life!? If I'm not mistaken, she has played a role in preparing both Bylaws and Platform surveys, and currently sits on *both* committees, as well as being national Secretary. All that is too much power/responsibility for one individual! Other Platform Committee members have also served on multiple past iterations of this committee, and considering what a huge role the Platform Committee plays in shaping our platform, the official statement of what we stand for as a party, it is vital that this body be opened up to greater participation and transparency.
I wish that the Platform Committee were the only leadership body in the LP to have such problems, but it's not. LNC rep Kevin Knedler just told me that LNC subcommittees such as the Convention Oversight Committee are limited to two non-LNC members per committee. He said that since the Convention Oversight committee already has two such members, he could not nominate me to this committee on which I have for years been interested in serving, even though there is no fixed limit to the number of people on the committee. He wrote that "opening up the LNC committees further may work in the future," but that "It took a LOT of work to get some folks to agree to opening the door up ever-so-slightly."
If we can't do better than opening the door "ever-so-slightly", it is outrageous and pathetic! How do those of you who deliberately fight to maintain this kind of cozy insider-ism justify your role in a political party that is supposed to be a grassroots organization of freedom-loving individuals seeking *decentralization* of power?
I'm a firm believer that sunshine can work wonders in such matters. Therefore, I request to see a list of all present and as many past members of the Platform and Bylaws committees and other LNC committees as can be identified, along with their contact info, and ask that this list also be published on LP.org and distributed to any interested LP member. Maintaining such a list logically seems like part of the Secretary's job -- if she feels overworked, perhaps she ought to consider stepping back from some of her responsibilities.
Kevin told me he has asked for a list of committee members as well -- apparently unsuccessfully, since he did not offer to produce one. Chuck Moulton, who has often been exemplary in promoting LNC transparency, both when serving on the body and as a regular party member, was able to dig up some info, but even he was unsure who all the current Platform and Bylaws committee members may be.
In order for you folks on the LNC to get more volunteers and support for LNC operations from the membership, people must first care enough about what you are doing to want to give that support. And in order to care about what you are doing, they must first be aware of what you are doing. Right now, you are artificially limiting that awareness by keeping information produced by party committees from reaching the membership, and by populating the Platform, Bylaws, and other committees with many of the "usual suspects" over and over again!
Will those on the LNC who favor the current practices described in this email defend them publicly? Will you defend them when you are running for reelection and speaking in front of convention delegates? If you don't defend them, then will you work hard to change them, and let the rest of us know how we can help? We can't afford a bunch of go-along-to-get-along fence-sitters! Do the right thing, and stand up for the rights of Libertarian Party members to be fully informed about what the party's leadership is doing, and for ordinary members to be able to more fully participate in our party!
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))
P.S. - As always, I welcome the responses of all LNC members -- especially those who never or only rarely respond -- and particularly request that my California LNC reps Dan Wiener and Scott Lieberman (who to their credit *have* both been good about responding to my constituent emails) let me know where they stand on these matters, and what specific actions they intend to take, if any.