Michael & Marcy,
First of all, let me say how refreshing it is, after listening to some of the folks on the LNC, to be put in the position of, for a change, having to differ with people who frame their arguments in terms of how we should not water down our message or support the lesser evil!
However. In the comment Michael quotes from me below, I cautioned against two dangers: (1) watering down our ideas or trying to appear non-radical, and (2) making running for office and seeking votes our primary mission.
I haven't changed my views about those things. But supporting Joel Engardio would do neither. In this case, we *can* walk and chew bubble gum at the same time, i.e. support him while still making it clear where we feel that he falls short (and hopefully get him to improve somewhat). And it doesn't mean we need to focus most of our efforts on running for office.
What other efforts to meaningfully affect local politics would supporting him take time away from? Right now we don't have any local Libertarian candidates. Have you guys looked at Joel's website? I did, and there's a lot more there than in his flier. I'm not saying the content is great by libertarian standards, but he seems to lean decidedly in the pro-freedom direction on both the civil liberties *and* economic liberty sides of the chart.
I also discovered searching online that he used to be a reporter for SF Weekly (perhaps he mentioned this before I arrived at the meeting, but I didn't notice it on his site or in his flier). Perhaps this isn't surprising -- there's appears to be a fair amount of content under his byline, and that's a hard thing to control when you're running for office. Also journalists -- the good ones -- don't get the public respect or appreciation they deserve. But what I found, I generally liked. Many of Joel's stories appear to show an awareness of, and opposition to, the harmful role of government over a wide variety of topics:
(1) A story from 1998 about there being only one bar in the Castro where it's legal to dance (thankfully this, at least, has changed somewhat for the better in the last decade) due to the difficulty of getting a permit to allow it: http://www.sfweekly.com/1998-12-30/news/gay-men-can-t-dance/
(2) A story about gay culture emerging from the shadow of tyranny in China: http://www.sfweekly.com/2000-04-26/news/comrades-of-the-people-s-republic/
(3) A story about San Franciscans who live in their vehicles getting hassled by the police and looking for relief: http://www.sfweekly.com/1998-12-16/news/no-place-like-curb/
(4) A 1999 story about the SF Fire Department breaking its promise to run a shuttle service for its new SOMA headquarters, and instead gobbling up a bunch of scarce parking in the neighborhood, and often parking its vehicles illegally to boot, on sidewalks and even in front of fire hydrants: http://www.sfweekly.com/1999-12-08/news/manifest-destiny/
(5) A tragic story about a transsexual woman from Nicaragua who was deported from the U.S. multiple times as an "illegal" migrant, only to return to San Francisco soon later each time, fleeing torture and transphobic abuse in her country of origin, and ending up at the time of writing sitting in indefinite INS detention limbo, denied her hormone pills and forced to live as a man in prison: http://www.sfweekly.com/1999-07-07/news/torture-of-a-transsexual/
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))