Publishing agendas in advance of meetings


  My responses interspersed with your comments below...

Let me see if I understand this correctly. Starchild wants an agenda 10 days prior. Unless I'm mistaken, agendas require a vote to set.

  The chair publishing a draft agenda in advance of a meeting would not require a vote. We could then vote as a committee to adopt that draft agenda, with any additions or changes, at the beginning of the meeting.

That means we'd all have to vote ten days prior to set a deadline. Votes stay open for a period of days to allow for debate.

  The proper time for debate is *before* a vote, not during a vote. Especially when people do not cast their votes publicly so that it is not clear who has voted yet and who has not.

So the agenda won't be approved until a few days prior to the meeting anyway. But then if anything comes up at the last minute, which is almost guaranteed, we'd have to amend the agenda as the very first thing we do at the meeting and then hold another vote. This brings us back full circle to just voting at the start of every meeting to set the agenda, which is what we do and what we've always done since I've been on the ExCom. Anybody is allowed to float ideas for what should be on the agenda and sell it as being of enough importance to warrant part of the 8 precious hours we get every three months. If people don't agree, we move on.

  A couple weeks ago I proposed as an agenda item that we set aside some time to discuss communication issues. I got no response to this from the chair or anyone else. Not disagreement, just silence.

This is not productive and if we want to discuss what we'll be discussing at any given meeting there are no restrictions on doing that and nobody is hiding anything. All this motion does is add more layers of process that doesn't accomplish its stated goal and has the unintended consequence of burdening the productive capacity of the ExCom. This is not unlike the very regulation we seek to roll back in government, and in fact, makes it harder to do the work of the party as we'll be consuming more time with process and not on the party's goals themselves.

  Requiring that a draft agenda be made public in advance of a meeting does not constitute an undue amount of process or regulation. Such processes are designed to make those in power more accountable and their actions more transparent. They are *not* the equivalent of government regulations we oppose that burden ordinary members of the public.

Meanwhile, we have the peanut gallery lobbing accusations about the upstanding people on the ExCom, but as always, seem to be short on specifics with which an ExCom member can defend themselves against. It's like being accused of a crime, but not being provided the facts of the case to examine in full view. So I urge our membership to ask for specific details of anything that is of questionable ethical behavior from anyone who wishes to make the claim. I suspect you will find a lack of any basis and therefore they should be viewed as the ad hominem attacks they are. Make accusations? Be specific or be seated. Go back and read the email about the "dirty deals"... What deals? What was dirty? Who was involved? What did they do? Where is the proof? Thank goodness our courts don't run the way our LP's detractors do. For god sakes, give us something besides innuendo!

  I assume you are referring here to Bruce Cohen, although you did not copy him on this message. As a matter of fact, when Bruce recently emailed me with accusations about another ExCom member, I did precisely what you advise, and asked him for specific details. He has often had words for me that are probably as harsh as those he's lobbed at anyone else, and I find much of his tone and language very unfortunate. Nevertheless, I feel it sets a poor tone to refer to people not on the ExCom as the "peanut gallery", and would urge members to avoid language that suggests we see ourselves as above ordinary party members, since we should not see ourselves that way. But secrecy breeds rumors and accusations, and the best way to dispel those which are unwarranted is to maintain a high level of sunshine in our operations, so that people can readily see and judge for themselves.

Next, every ExCom has strengths and weaknesses. It would be much better to have an earnest and sincere discussion about how to improve upon those things people find lacking.

  Flavio, I couldn't agree more! If you haven't noticed, I've been attempting to have such a discussion for months, with relatively little success! I am more than ready to have such a discussion whenever you are.

Your Ex Com works very hard -I can attest to that first hand. So rather than berate them with how terrible all these volunteers are, let's try a productive approach but not forget we can't just talk about things. We have to get stuff done too. I do not wish to engage in petty attacks, secret conspiracies (of which I'm not aware of any), mud-slinging, back-biting, or anything else that takes our eye off the ball. In case our vocal complainers haven't noticed, your country is falling apart and you're busy vilifying US! What would you do without somebody to rail against?

  I have been vocally critical of many current practices, but I have not been engaging in petty attacks, mudslinging, etc. I am interested in constructively addressing the issues that I believe we need to address.

It's time that we, as a party, learn how to disagree without being disagreeable. If you find yourself in the minority on a vote, do not nuke those on the ExCom who have prevailed. We have to work together on many things and we're just going to disagree on stuff. So let's not cast doubt over the integrity of members of this EcCom simply because your position was the minority this time. I don't do that and neither should anybody else. All this does is sow discontent, doubt, frustration, and bad will when we need to work more closely than ever to fight back against the statists running our government. This ExCom has many good people on it. I don't always agree with them, but I don't believe anybody is doing anything wrong. Let the accusers come forward with their facts. I will defend my fellow ExCom members until I have factual reasons not to.

  Disagreeing without being disagreeable is a good standard to which to hold ourselves. I confess it is difficult for me to understand why any well-meaning Libertarian would oppose simple and straightforward procedures designed to guarantee greater openness, transparency, and accountability in our party leadership, but I am definitely trying to be open-minded about people's potential motives and not just assume the worst.

The fighting is reaching an unacceptable pitch. I've kept silent as I watch our disruptive mudslingers, as usual, begin anew with their attacks on whoever happens to be running things at the moment. The names of their targets change but the people who are most vocal in their acrimonious bickering are the same cast of characters. Not surprisingly, they also happen to be those who do the least. I think we should keep this in mind before we lend any credence to their vitriol. I urge this ExCom and those that come after to rise above this and accomplish the great things we have the capacity to do when we work as a team.

  It's tough to work as part of a team when people in leadership positions habitually don't return your emails and phone calls. We need better communication and more openness among us, as well as between our committee and members of the Libertarian Party of California.

Love & Liberty,
                                      ((( starchild )))