[Lnc-discuss] Spend $30,000 on office improvements? / Bylaws proposal


  I have to second Scott Lieberman's comment about language, as I hardly think calling for our members to have more input in our operations is "BS". No one is suggesting we consult our members every time we buy a ballpoint pen! However you do raise some objections that deserve to be addressed. I'll address your second question first:

2. Where would you draw the line? $10,000 decisions? $10 decisions?

  A principle's validity does not necessarily depend upon the establishment of fixed boundaries. Principles can take the form of directional goals, e.g. the principle of *harm reduction* or the principle of *maximizing freedom*. I see making the Libertarian Party more bottom-up and less top-down as that kind of principle. Under what circumstances ordinary pledge-signing members ought to have a say in party decision-making is certainly a fair question and one that ought to be considered, but a threshold strictly defined in dollar terms seems unnecessary.

  There's theoretically nothing stopping the Libertarian National Committee from spending $1,000,000 on a ballpoint pen either -- but the delegates who enacted Bylaws that embraced the principle of delegating authority to the LNC probably weren't too worried about this possibility, because common sense says it's just not going to happen. Similarly I think we need not be overly worried that our members might be forced to vote on every purchase of a single pen, or every decision of which drawer to store it in, as a result of our embracing member empowerment as a general principle and taking steps toward making it a greater reality.

  Regarding our rules, *of course the LNC has the legal authority to make decisions*. That is not in dispute. But this does not mean we *cannot* or *should not* consult the membership more frequently!

  I don't believe delegates gave the LNC the authority we have because they *didn't want* LP members to have more input in party matters. Rather I suspect they simply did not know of, or did not take the time to legislate, a practical way for LP members to be more involved in decision-making between conventions. With the rise of the Internet however, the practicality hurdle is not what it used to be.

1. How many votes from members would constitute a quorum for a ballot? If we on the LNC hold a mail ballot and only nine votes were cast, I would consider it to be insufficient "quorum", but would certainly appreciate RONR feedback. Would you decide that the majority of votes cast decides the issue, even if only 200 out of all of our members respond? I would not.

  I don't think these questions have any absolute "right" or best answers, but I would tend to agree with you that at our current membership levels a mere 200 members responding to a widely-publicized vote seems insufficient for obtaining a binding mandate. However we do have our conventions to use as a reference point. With that in mind, and since you are evidently keen to see some specifics, I propose the following Bylaws amendment (copied to Chuck Moulton as interim Bylaws Committee chair to forward for consideration of that committee's members):