There has been some discussion on the California convention (including some reporting/commentary from myself in the first link) at these pages on IPR:
At the state executive committee meeting following the convention Sunday afternoon, I was a little stunned that I was among five people appointed to the state Bylaws Committee on the spot without objection. I've been unsuccessfully trying to get on that committee -- not to mention get the Bylaws changed to get county representation on it the way counties are represented on the Platform Committee -- for several years. Thanks to newly elected ExCom at-large representative Leon Weinstein for nominating me as requested. I'll try to do what I can to ensure the Bylaw Committee's doings are as publicized and input-friendly as possible.
I'm cautiously hopeful that the leadership team this term may start turning the dismal condition of the Libertarian Party in California around. Kevin remains chair until at least next year (someone told me he doesn't plan to seek reelection after that), but I was also pleasantly surprised that he proposed at this first meeting forming a number of different committees from the ExCom and pulling in other party members. Membership, Fundraising, Media, 2015 Convention Arrangement, and Candidate committees were created and populated. I don't know whether my advocacy of strengthening our committee structure and increasing participation of people not on the ExCom had anything to do with this apparent decision to take a new tack, and time will see whether these committees are allowed real authority and function in a transparent and democratic manner, but it seems like a positive indicator. On the other hand, they unanimously voted to ratify the proposed budget without a whole lot of questions being asked, though at-large members Brian Thiemer and Bill Lopez did at least ask a few good questions. I got a chance to meet and talk with Brian a little bit, and both he and Leon who I also just met seem supportive of greater transparency.
Between us, Aubrey and I nominated the following local folks as delegates to the 2014 LP national convention in Columbus, Ohio (June 26-29) whom we thought might be interested:
Richard Winger was also present from San Francisco and nominated himself.
I'm not sure whether everyone on the list above is registered as a Libertarian and a pledge-signing member of the party (the two requirements to be a delegate), or wants to attend the national convention, but past experience has taught that it's easier to get names removed from the list than added later, so I always try to nominate everyone I can think of who might be interested in attending as a delegate (despite the admonition not to nominate people unless they've already confirmed they want to attend).
If your name is listed above, please let me know ASAP if you're interested in being a delegate, and if so, confirm that you are a party member and a registered Libertarian (if you aren't already, you can register and join now and be eligible). Let Aubrey or I know if you have any questions or need help.
A few other points of interest from the convention...
Terry Floyd brought along and displayed an actual Bitcoin ATM machine that takes dollars and enables you to buy the digital currency (the going price was about $500 per Bitcoin). Terry also thanked Gary Johnson during the former New Mexico governor's video appearance for his role in New Mexico's current status as one of the only (the only?) state to allow such ATM's to be used without a license. Or something along those lines; Terry can perhaps correct me on the specifics.
As I noted on IPR, attendance was very low -- only 44 delegates credentialed each day -- and I think the stupid decision to charge delegates an extortionate floor fee of $99 to $130 (depending when you registered) had something to do with that. Northern vice chair, convention organizer, and interim office support volunteer Gale Morgan apparently deserves the bulk of the blame for that. Hopefully he sees in retrospect that it was a bad decision and won't repeat the mistake. I know at least a couple likely attendees who say they were deterred by this, and myself and at least one other delegate, probably more, did not spend as much money as we would have at the convention if it had not been for the floor fee.
I met Antoine Hage who's leading the newly formed student group California College Libertarians (CalCL.org), also a newly elected member of the state Executive Committee and his friend Shani Rose. Antoine and Shani are fired-up to organize partisan Libertarian college groups, and both also seem generally supportive of transparency and reform in the party. It occurs to me that Niike and Reem (copied on this email) and other members of the YAL group at SF State who are libertarian oriented might potentially be willing to have a second overlapping group that is a partisan group (YAL is non-partisan). Two groups could hypothetically be composed of largely the same people, yet exist as different organizations, being able to do things as a California College Libertarians chapter such as support candidates, get official recognition and assistance from the Libertarian Party, etc.
There was also a friendly non-libertarian named Amy Zock there on behalf of Democracy.com, a new(?) website offering free web pages for candidates and causes of all stripes (kind of like Facebook's "Causes" pages). I took a quick look at it, and the site appears clean and user-friendly from what I could see. Amy assured me that they will not be charging for these sites in the future, so people need not fear setting up pages and investing work in them only to find themselves forced to abandon them if they don't want to be billed. Seems like a good opportunity for candidates and others looking for a stronger web presence, and I'll probably try to set up one or more myself.
One of the speaker presentations I caught was a panel on grand juries, including Kelly Mordecai who has written a book on the topic. I'm already planning to apply for a seat on the SF Civil Grand Jury and encourage other local activists to do so as well. The deadline is April 30, and you can apply online here -- http://civilgrandjury.sfgov.org/join.html . It is a one-year commitment and involves an estimated minimum 10 hours a week attending meetings and investigating, but does pay a small stipend of $15 per meeting. More importantly, it's a chance to go and ask questions of local officials and really dig in and investigate how local government functions and expose problems. Kelly had a very good idea, which is that grand juries could potentially go in on election night and demand to see all the ballots and start counting, as a way of guaranteeing elections are clean and fair. Kelly and others have documented substantial evidence that electronic voting in particular is subject to ready manipulation, and that Ron Paul among others may have been victims of this. Speaking as a past election observer at City Hall on behalf of a campaign, I can personally testify that I was not able to verify the integrity of the vote to my satisfaction. Aubrey said he also liked this panel and may be able to say more about it, as I was in and out of the room trying to attend the ExCom meeting which had started concurrently.
Okay Marcy, I guess this did turn into a bit of a report after all.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))
Outreach Director, Libertarian Party of San Francisco
P.S. - Here's a message I posted to the LNC list regarding one of the items on the LPC's budget: