Libertarian endorsement?

I agree completely. But it was brought up at the last meeting, and
there wasn't enough interest, so it wasn't included in the postcard that
went out this week.

In addition, given that we can barely get 1% of registered libertarians
to sign a candidate's petition and return it to us, the odds of getting
10% of them to give up an evening to listen to candidates seems
unlikely. I hate to say it, but I think a majority of the people
registered as Libertarians in San Francisco actually don't know the
meaning of the word. I think we really have to concentrate on paid
members of the LP (and there are still over 300 of those), and only once
we've exhausted that supply should we spend any real money or effort on
non-LP-member registered Libertarians.

I realize that we have a sort of chicken-and-egg situation here (where
we can't do anything without numbers, and we won't gain numbers until we
start doing things) -- but given the slipping attendance at monthly
meetings among our core activists (consistently fewer than 10 activists
at every meeting this year, with only the occasional guest or two
getting us up to 10 in the room), we have to allocate our time and
effort toward activities that such a small core of people can
accomplish. A small group this size can do effective outreach by paper
mail and electronically and by having OPH booths and such, but whenever
an activity calls for filling a room, unless some major advance is made
in cloning real soon now, the 6 of us die-hards who are at every event
will look awfully foolish.

If we can have 20 LPSF members in the room at the August 9 meeting, and
get them to commit to attending a candidates night, then I think we can
safely schedule a candidates night for the week before our September
meeting, and get a second postcard out publicizing that one event, as
you suggest, four weeks in advance of it. It's still doable. But
unless we have the reliable core of activists regularly showing up at
meetings (20 or more of us at the 16th and Geary Round Table Pizza) that
we had when we last did the big candidate nights, I'm going to vote "no"
on doing it.

So, do you think you can get us more than double our usual turnout of
LPSF members at next Saturday's meeting? I've been begging and pleading
for people to show up (you know who you are -- you're all still on this
list), but attendance keeps dwindling. I'm at a loss for how to fix
it. But I have to insist that bringing participation back up amongst
our core activists is a necessary condition before even considering
putting on any event that requires us to fill a room to not look
foolish, and candidate night would qualify as such an event.

Rob

Ron Getty wrote:

Rob,

  I personally think it's vital that we as a local political party
hear from candidates and ballot measure proponents/opponents. But I
don't think it's necessarily vital that we go solo on it. If we can't
generate enough attendees to make that approach viable, then I
suggest we try to put together a co-sponsored event with other groups
either broadly seeking liberty, or taking a pro-liberty position on
the single issue that matters most to them. We could even borrow a
line from Grover Norquist and call the umbrella group the San
Francisco Leave Us Alone Coalition. Of course the single-issue groups
won't agree with us or each other on many issues, but that's OK. Each
group could ask its own questions at the event and issue its own
recommendations afterward, while pooling our members for purposes of
attending the event would allow all of us to present a more
impressive front.

  Besides helping obtain a decent showing of people turning out to
hear the candidates and presenters, this approach offers another
benefit that I think could be even more important in the long run --
getting the various single-issue pro-liberty groups more familiar
with each other and hopefully more sympathetic toward each other's
issues and more likely to work together and support each other in
other contexts. Here are some of the groups that come to mind which
we might consider inviting as co-sponsors of this event:

SF Pink Pistols
Americans for Safe Access (medical cannabis)
SF Taxpayers Union
Sex Workers Outreach Project
Erotic Service Providers Union
Antiwar.com
Pacific Research Institute
Idriss Stelley Action & Resource Center (police accountability)
Outright Libertarians
Small Property Owners of San Francisco
War Resisters League - West
Affordable Homeownership Alliance (Sarosh's group)
San Francisco Late Night Coalition
Californians For Electoral Reform
SF Ron Paul Meetup Group / Campaign For Liberty
Golden Gate Restaurant Association
9/11 Truth Alliance
Movement For Unconditional Amnesty (migrant rights)
Mexican-American Political Association (they endorsed me for school
board and seem like they may have a pretty decent record on local
issues)

  Obviously some of the groups listed above are more natural
candidates for inclusion than others, and I won't be surprised if
people have objections to some of them. Some of the groups may object
to being listed alongside some of the others as co-sponsors, or feel
powerful enough on their own, or protective enough of their political
independence, to have no desire to participate in such an event. But
many if not most of these groups do not to my knowledge currently
hold candidate or ballot measure endorsement events. In some cases
this is because they legally cannot, due to their non-profit status.
Other groups are just are not large enough or organized enough to be
at that stage (we're sort of on the verge of that status ourselves!).
Still other groups do not involve themselves in the political process
in this manner because few races or ballot measures have much bearing
on the specific issue(s) they care about. But I think groups in each
of these categories might be potentially interested in such an event:

Non-profits - These groups may not be able to make endorsements, but
they may still have an interest in hearing from local candidates and
issue proponents, and airing their concerns to those individuals
Small groups - Many if not most of these groups would probably like
to be political players and make endorsements; like us, they just
need a little help
Narrowly focused groups - These groups might not organize their own
events, because it doesn't make sense to ask everybody about, say,
guns, if they're running for school board or college board or
debating measures on housing or prostitution, but they might well
appreciate being able to formally co-sponsor a larger event where
their members could just speak up in cases relevant to their issue

  Those groups that do already have their own events and process might
still potentially be interested in a format that helped them secure a
larger audience and saved them some of the organizing work. In any
case, if we were able to get even a quarter of these groups to co-
sponsor an event, I think it could draw significant attention in SF
political circles.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

I am inclined to agree, though I share Rob’s trepidation about
attendance.

One way I dealt with this was telling candidates that they were meeting
with the Ballot Recommendation Committee of LPSF, or some such. The
committee, of course, consisted of whoever chose to attend the meeting,
but it meant that the candidates were not surprised to meet with a small
group of people. The last one I did — in 2006? — had five or six LPSF
members in attendance, but would have worked with three, I think.

~Chris