LPC Judicial Committee rules against appeal seekiing to rein in LPC Operations Committee

The majority of my colleagues on the Libertarian Party of California's Judicial Committee (JC), I am sorry to say, have again reached a disappointing conclusion. By a 4-1 majority (my vote dissenting), the JC failed to take issue with the de facto suspension of an LPC member's membership by the Operations Committee.

  Under the party's bylaws, the Operations Committee is specifically denied the power vested in the Executive Committee to suspend memberships, but the JC majority voted to allow the Operations Committee to effectively exercise this power on the technicality of saying that a member was automatically suspended by his actions, and that they were merely recognizing this fact.
  To briefly recap the history, three members of the Operations Committee, Aaron Starr, Dan Wiener and M Carling, erroneously stated that Mark Selzer, during his appeal to the JC challenging the cruise ship convention, had violated the LPC's bylaws by involving or threatening to involve legal authorities against the party (i.e. by contacting the Secretary of State's office regarding the legality of the cruise ship convention). As members of the Executive Committee, these three had been defendants in the Judicial Committee hearing of Mark Selzer's appeal, with Dan Wiener arguing for the defense. Less than a week after that teleconference, these three conferred amongst themselves and subsequently arranged to hold a teleconference vote of the Operations Committee, of which they form a 3/5ths majority, in order to strip Mark Selzer of his position as Southern Vice-Chair.

  In order to regain his position, Mark Selzer was not only required to sign an affidavit stating that he did not involve or threaten to involve legal authorities in party matters, but that he would not do so *in the future* nor encourage others to do so. Since the JC hearing on the teleconference had not been officially recorded due to the recording equipment not being properly activated, there was apparently no direct evidence of Mark Selzer's guilt or innocence. Therefore the action probably would have stood on their say-so, had not LPC member Mark Dierolf, who was one of the listeners in the Judicial Committee teleconference, unbeknownst to the OpCom members at the time of their action, made his own recording of the proceedings which clearly showed their collective recollection of Mark Selzer threatening to involve legal authorities in the dispute to be false.

  It later came to my attention that not only did Mark Selzer, when asked by Aaron Starr, M Carling, and Dan Wiener whether he had involved or threatened to involve legal authorities, deny having done so, but three members of the Judicial Committee (Rodney Austin, Bob Weber and Mark Hinkle) were *also* asked about this by email, and *also* denied hearing such a threat. Gail Lightfoot reported seeing this email forwarded to her; I do not recall ever seeing it. I think it perhaps not a coincidence that Gail and I were the members of the JC who had voted in favor of Mark Selzer's appeal. It appears that, consciously or unconsciously, the three OpCom members went about trying to get corroboration for their faulty recollection from those who they thought might be most likely to provide that corroboration. When they did not get the confirmation they were seeking, they went ahead and acted in their Operations Committee capacity, so that Mark Selzer was effectively stripped of his Southern Vice Chair position and kicked out of the party pending his kowtowing by signing a questionable document restricting his future freedom of speech.

  Fortunately, the OpCom action was rescinded when additional evidence came to light, but the three committee members who instigated it -- who collectively hold the positions of state party chair, state party secretary, head of the state Bylaws Committee, 3/5ths of the powerful Operations Committee, and both of our seats at the Libertarian National Committee, have still not in any way been held accountable.

  It is my contention that the state leadership in this party is out of control, and that there is a major and growing rift in the LPC, largely as a result of its frequently overweaning and arrogant actions. Allen Rice has already told me he is no longer going to be involved in the party, as a result of his disgust with what's been going on. He isn't the first, and if we the members don't reassert control of this party as a grassroots, bottom-up organization, he probably won't be the last.

  That's my view -- your interpretations may differ.

Yours in liberty,
        <<< starchild >>>

P.S. - Yes, I know I have cross-posted this message to a bunch of lists -- I apologize to those who are receiving multiple copies. However this is a significant matter, and unfortunately we cannot rely on its publication in California Freedom, since the editor cannot publish what she chooses and the content of the LPC's monthly newsletter is now heavily pre-screened by the state leadership with an eye toward minimizing expression of dissent.

From: "Rodney Austin" <austinrk@...>
Date: Sun Jan 1, 2006 12:48:05 PM US/Pacific
To: "Allen Rice " <amrcheck@...>, "Aaron Starr " <starrcpa@...>
Cc: Dan Wiener <wiener@....edu>, LPC Judicial Committee <judicial-committee@...>
Subject: [LPC Judicial Committee] Judicial Committee ruling on Allen Rice appeal

The Judicial Committee (JC) of the Libertarian Party of California (LPC) has ruled on the appeal regarding the suspension of the membership ofMark Selzerand his expulsion from the Executive Committee by LPC member Allen Rice.

The JC voted 4-1 that the actions of the Operations Committee (OC), with regard to Mr. Selzer’s suspension and expulsion, did NOT violate the LPC Bylaws, and that the appeal, with regard to these actions, is moot because Mr. Selzer’s mistaken suspension was corrected.

The JC voted 4-1 that the OC did NOT violate the LPC Bylaws in asking Mr. Selzer to sign an affidavit, which would affirm, in part, that Mr. Selzer did not file a complaint against the LPC.

The JC voted 4-1 NOT to rule on a request by the appellant to clarify Bylaw 5, Section 10 and Bylaw 12, Section 2D.

The JC voted 4-1 NOT to rule on a request by the appellant to craft further remedies in regard to any actions involving this appeal.

The JC will issue a detailed report on the rulings herein to the parties and to the LPC Secretary within thirty days. The JC thanks all involved for their cooperation during this appeal.

Rodney Austin


Judicial Committee

Original appeal submitted by Allen Rice and Harland Harrison, backed by a petition signed by 18 other LPC members (online at <http://www.wgla.org/lib/Petition.pdf>):