Darryl Perry: ‘Announcing the formation of the Rent is Too Damn High Caucus of the Libertarian Party’

Via IPR comments,

Announcing the formation of the Rent is Too Damn High Caucus of the Libertarian Party:

The idea for the Rent is Too Damn High Caucus started during a discussion on IPR. The purpose of the caucus is “to try getting the LP HQ moved out of the Watergate & into a cheaper office.” The caucus may also look into other ways the LP can save money and/or more efficiently use member dues & donations.

If you wish to join the discussion group for the caucus, you my do so at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rentis2damnhigh-lp.

In Peace, Freedom, Love & Liberty,
Darryl W. Perry

Perry is the national committee chair of the Boston Tea Party, but he is also a life member of the Libertarian Party and was a delegate at its most recent national convention. Perry is planning on seeking the presidential nomination of both parties in 2016.

The issue of whether the Watergate office is too expensive has been discussed on IPR before, for example, here.

And just in case anyone reading does not already know this, the caucus name was inspired by Jimmy McMillan’s famous slogan.

32 thoughts on “Darryl Perry: ‘Announcing the formation of the Rent is Too Damn High Caucus of the Libertarian Party’

  1. AroundtheblockAFT

    How much is Watergate rent and what sq. footage is required? Then interested commentaters can scour “inside I495″ office space listings and see what suitable space is available.

  2. AroundtheblockAFT

    Seems to me that at the coming meeting the LNC should appoint a committee – perhaps led by area resident Bill Redpath – to explore cheaper office space and report back at next meeting.
    The Watergate site should not be sacred to the Party so mere investigation of alternatives should not be controversial. Oh, wait, this is the LNC we are talking about.

  3. Carol Moore

    Right on brother. The LP could have bought a lovely townhouse in an upcoming part of DC way back when and fully paid for it by now, and even sold it and made a big profit by now. (Assuming it bought low and sold high, ha ha ha)

  4. Jake Porter

    When I served as an Alternate to the LNC, this is one of the many issues I could not win much support on.

    The office would not necessarily even need to be located in or around D.C. With modern technology, a small staff/local party in D.C. could handle PR and legislative action when necessary while the core staff could be located somewhere such as Omaha, Nashville, or Des Moines where there are low crime rates, low cost of living, and low rent.

  5. Marc Montoni

    Just for giggles…

    Old LPHQ Addresses
    ———————————-
    1972-1974 Denver CO (David Nolan’s house)
    1974-1975 San Francisco CA Kearney St
    1975-1979 Washington DC #1 1516 P St NW Washington DC
    1979-1982 Washington DC #2 2300 Wisconsin Ave NW Washington DC
    1982-1983 Washington DC #3 2139 Wisconsin Ave
    1983-1986 Houston #1 7887 Katy Freeway, Suite 385. Houston, TX 77024
    1986-1987 Houston #2 W 21st St, Houston TX
    1988-1995 Washington DC #4 1528 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington DC 20003
    1995-2007 Washington DC #5 2600 Virginia Avenue NW Ste B100, Washington DC 20036
    2007- Washington DC #6 2600 Virginia Avenue NW Ste 100, Washington DC 20036

    [source: 1996 LP Presidential Nominating Convention booklet, “Declare Your Independence”]

  6. Marc Montoni

    Hey, wow — here’s a building for sale right across the street from a previous LP national office at 2139 Wisconsin Ave NW. Looks like it’d be cheap, too. Needs a coat of paint and some gutters….

    Now is probably a good a time as any to think about a permanent building purchase. Given the lackluster leadership of the past few years that’s slowly strangling the LP, maybe an initiative like this would help generate some excitement.

    There are plenty of commercial property listings in DC.

  7. Marc Montoni

    Most of the people who keep stressing over the Watergate location haven’t followed the history of LPHQ and the multiple attempts made to relocate it.

    I do think a presence in DC is necessary.

    However…

    I worked at LPHQ when it was in southeast @ 1528 Pennsylvania Ave SE, during the days of the very corrupt administration of mayor Marion Barry. That was back when police service took hours (rather than minutes) when seconds counted. The place is still there.

    Rent there was pretty cheap, as DC metro rental rates go — but I wouldn’t wish that place on anyone. The second day I was there, I worked late, and heard a commotion outside. I snuck a look, and right outside the front window, under that tree you can see in the Google street view, six DC cops were beating the snot out of a car thief they had caught.

    Volunteer parties at our office were frequently blessed with the sound of gunfire nearby. More than once I escorted volunteers and female staffers to their vehicles, or to the Metro station.

    The LP doesn’t need that kind of crap near its headquarters.

    Since HQ was moved to the Watergate, repeated attempts have been made to find office space in or near DC — but the eventual conclusion by the searcher is that the Watergate is competitive with rents in other safe areas. Really — The Watergate is not out of line. I’ve heard the Crystal City suggestion before, and it is also good to remember that there are good and not-so-good areas in CC too. Nice office space where you wouldn’t mind meeting new members, reporters or dignitaries (and know they would be safe traveling to & from their car) is going to cost a little more than bargain-basement.

    I like Crystal City, too. In fact I’d eventually like to place a bid for a national convention there. At least there, I personally know where all the Ethiopian, Indian, and Mongolian buffet restaurants are.

    ———————–

    The part of the LP’s never-ending headquarters dilemma that I found most frustrating was that we long ago should have owned our own building.

    For well over a decade, I repeatedly made inquiries trying to get the LNC to look at buying a building. Until BCRA, or McCain-Feingold, political parties could spend unlimited & basically unrestricted amounts of money on “party building” and “rent or mortgage” costs (these unlimited funds were what McCain & Feingold derided as so-called “soft money”). Even corporate contributions were allowed for these two limited functions. The LP could have raised money from corporations for the singular purpose of buying a building (or paying rent), but it never did so.

    After my research, I spoke with a succession of LNC chairs and other officers beginning shortly after (spring 1990) I started working at LPHQ. I even wrote a formal letter to the FEC requesting an Advisory Opinion (”AO”, in government alphabet-soup parlance) on the subject. NO ONE ever lifted a finger to get such a project going — and then the window closed in 2000, with BCRA, probably forever.

    Now the only way the LP will **ever** buy a building is either by setting aside a big chunk of donations every year — a money pile that would always be the gleam in some idiot’s eye (”hey, we have $300,000 saved up, let’s blow it all on _x_!” — or by getting a mortgage, with all of the risks and pitfalls that carries with it. The thing about the rent/mortgage/party-building money was that it could ONLY be used for those very limited purposes. It would have been a lot harder for some brilliant mind to come along and plunder the fund.

    I still think one of the main things the LP should be working towards is buying a permanent headquarters building. Next door to CATO would be great, just for irony.

  8. Marc Montoni

    I do think it’s important that the national office provides a convenient place to accommodate visitors. The DC area does fill that bill, being one of the world’s largest vacation destinations. Libertarian Party members vacation there also — we usually had a couple of dozen national members visit the HQ every month when it was still in SouthEast DC; and the few times I temped at LPHQ between 1998-2002 (at the Watergate location) I saw periodic visitors as well).

    Incidentally, none of what I’ve said above should be construed to suggest that some functions can’t be done outside of DC.

    A modest, nice office with offices for executive staff (national director, political director, and media director) and a conference/interview room would suffice for a “DC presence”, and would require about half of the footage HQ now uses.

    A second office with all of the back-office functions (the operations director, interns, database, volunteer parties, etc) could be located, as Scott Williamson suggested, anywhere in the USA. However, for practical reasons, I think it should be within reasonable driving distance (<1 hours) from the exec office.

    The "back office" location should focus on getting local volunteers to come in and do work (which is not unheard of — by the time I left HQ in 1993, when it was still in SouthEast DC, the volunteer program was quite robust, with a couple of dozen steady local volunteers every month doing collectively a hundred hours or more of volunteer tasks. They got **a lot** of work done. Had it been in a better location, I have no doubt the volunteer staff would have been larger.

  9. AroundtheblockAFT

    IIRC in 1990 the LNC appointed Paul Kunberger, Steve Fielder and spouse, to
    look into Montoni’s suggestion. Without extensive renovations, there was nothing available for the amount LP was willing to pay and there were certainly no “no doc” mortgage loans available for minor political parties. Money was tight but, in retrospect, if a building fund had been established perhaps by 1996 something could have been purchased in DuPont Circle area. As Marc says, rent was cheap at the townhouse on Penna. Ave.
    Later the LP was offered a purchase price on the townhouse but declined for the reasons Marc stated about the surrounding area.

  10. paulie Post author

    Too bad, the area is a lot nicer now and I’m sure rents there are currently nowhere near as cheap. Ah, well, hindsight.

  11. Shawn Levasseur

    One thing to keep in mind: I’m told that the Watergate location is advantageous in one regard, in that it is very close to a university where the LP office gets quite a few interns from. Making the office less conveinient for interns to get to could mean less interns.

    Is there cheaper property in the same neigborhood?

    Is the savings made by renting elsewhere make up for potential losses of free labor?

    I’m sure that’ll be part of the criteria.

  12. George Phillies

    @15

    The United States has several universities. Almost all of them will produce interns. If you want a lot of students , come to Boston. If you want older libertarian volunteers. go to New Hampshire.

    Furthermore, George Washington University through its politics program tends to attract students looking for summer jobs in D or R centers, meaning there will be a number of D or R rejects out there to be filtered through.

  13. paulie Post author

    There are, actually, a number of colleges and universities in various parts of DC and environs, and thousands all over the US.

  14. Marc Montoni

    Without extensive renovations, there was nothing available for the amount LP was willing to pay

    Yes, that was why I suggested setting up a project to raise money to buy a building in the future — a project which could have sought the unlimited corporate contributions that were still legal at the time.

    Money was tight but, in retrospect, if a building fund had been established perhaps by 1996 something could have been purchased in DuPont Circle area.

    In the original message I sent to the LNC in 1990, I suggested allowing five years for fundraising. By that time I knew what the LP was capable of raising in a given period, and it didn’t look like it was an insurmountable goal to me.

  15. Robert Capozzi

    gp: If you want a lot of students , come to Boston. If you want older libertarian volunteers. go to New Hampshire.

    me: And if you want to be a national political party, go to ____________.

  16. paulie Post author

    gp: If you want a lot of students , come to Boston. If you want older libertarian volunteers. go to New Hampshire.

    me: And if you want to be a national political party, go to ____________.

    Even if we take it as a given that we want to be in the DC area, there are still plenty of colleges, so proximity to GWU is hardly an insurmountable obstacle.

  17. AroundtheblockAFT

    Mr. Perry provided the rental figure of $131,000/yr. Does anyone know the sq.ft of Watergate office? Lots of office space on the internet for Fairfax area (George Mason Univ.).
    If we know sq.ft. we can each find something and bombard our regional reps with a request to consider moving as soon as the lease expires.

  18. paulie Post author

    I don’t know it off hand. If you are sufficiently motivated, you can call or email the national office and ask. It’s possible that it may be in some of the

    http://www.lp.org/lnc-meeting-archives

    Although that is a lot to wade through.

    It’s also possible that some people reading this may know.

    Or the Watergate Leasing office…

    http://www.watergatedc.com/

    For Information Call Ruby Barnhard 202-342-9442 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 202-342-9442 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    or email: rubyb@watergatedc.com

  19. Darryl W. Perry

    I’ll be unable to attend, however I believe George Phillies and Paulie will be there. I have asked both if they would be willing and able to recruit volunteers.
    Phillies generally has a Hospitality suite, hopefully he lets his guests know about the caucus.

  20. wolfefan

    GMU is a particularly attractive school for libertarian students, particularly the law school. GMULS has intentionally positioned itself as a school with a more market-based, libertarian approach.

    The area of Pennsylvania Ave SE that Marc refers to is a whole lot better now than it used to be. The city overall is much better run, and that particular area is very up-and-coming.

  21. George Phillies

    Suite: I have contacted both the hotel and the con committee about suites, since both say they have them, and am still waiting for responses. I will announce when I can.

  22. Paulie

    I’ll be unable to attend, however I believe George Phillies and Paulie will be there.

    Haven’t made up my mind. I’m playing it by ear. Depends on how busy I will be right then, whether I have a ride and how far away I would need to come from. If I’m way on the other side of the country I will not live on a greyhound bus for a week on top of the time I spend being there.
    Which is what it would take as I can no longer fly commercial.

  23. Thomas L. Knapp

    I consider position paper #23 of the Guns & Dope Party to be a sufficient platform for any worthwhile party, and actually better than my own “World’s Smallest Political Platform.” It goes:

    —–
    Little Tony was sitting on a park bench munching on one candy bar after another.

    After the 6th candy bar, a man on the bench across from him said, “Son, you know eating all that candy isn’t good for you. It will give you acne, rot your teeth, and make you fat.”

    Little Tony replied, “My grandfather lived to be 107 years old.”

    The man asked, “Did your grandfather eat 6 candy bars at a time?”

    Little Tony answered, “No, he minded his own fucking business.”
    —–

  24. GMU Grad

    @Wolfefan

    I attended GMU and for the most part, there are very few active Libertarians. There are plenty of people sympathetic to the cause, however most of the organized student groups such as Econ Society, Students for Liberty, Mason Liberty, etc are non political groups, and actively preach against involvement in politics.

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