Notes from the California Libertarian Convention

This thread is for anyone who would like to share the events of the Libertarian Convention, which is happening today, March 3, 2012, by the beach in Ventura CA.

62 thoughts on “Notes from the California Libertarian Convention

  1. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    The count this AM of delegates is 70. I’m not sure how much I feel like blogging today, so I invite anyone attending to share what’s going on.

    The morning started with the usual personalities:
    Aaron Starr, Starchild, Less Antman, etc. Starchild is wearing some kind of an animal hat–beaver, maybe?– but I haven’t seen his entire outfit yet.

    More people in attendance, sharing their views so far: Nancy Zardeneta, Glynda Perrot, Ray Fostore…and many more.

  2. Richard Winger

    Gary Johnson is here. Also Joe Dehn, prominent activist from the past, is here, attending a state LP convention for the first time in many years.

    I think there are closer to 130 delegates, but the 70-count was made Saturday morning and just refers to the number of delegates in the room at that moment.

  3. NewFederalist

    “Starchild is wearing some kind of an animal hat–beaver, maybe?– but I haven’t seen his entire outfit yet.”

    There is a very inappropriate joke in there someplace but I will restrain myself!

  4. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    NF @ 4: Re: the inappropriate jokes: you’re right!

    I believe there are 5 presidential candidates here: Beside Gary Johnson, there is Lee Wrights, Bill Still, James Ogle, and the irrepressible Miss Joy Waymire. Apparently, James Burns was here this morning to pass out info, but has already left.

  5. Catholic Trotskyist

    Yes, James Ogle and Miss Joy Waymire are now working together as a team on the US Parliament and other projects, and are hoping to gather support at this convention for this important work.

  6. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    The LP of CA has adopted a resolution passed by Monterey County LP called “Resolution to Impeach President Obama”. The resolution was posted to IPR previously.

    As can be expected, someone asked why the resolution didn’t include the words “and prosecute”.

  7. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    We will now be having a panel discussion re: property rights. One of the panelists is Rosa Koire, who has written about about Agenda 21.

  8. Paulie

    “and prosecute”….

    …Bush/Cheney.

    Obama can only be prosecuted once removed, defeated for re-election or – more likely – termed out in 2017.

  9. paulie

    I really hope that another resolution is passed to prosecute Bush/Cheney for war crimes, and that any such future resolutions combine both in one.

    It’s a very bad look for the LP to only call for impeaching Democrats (Clinton and Obama) while ignoring the eminently impeachable offenses of Bushes Sr and Jr., as much as Clinton and Obama deserve(d) it.

  10. Jill Pyeatt

    Paulie, my husband and I agree with you. I wish we’d known that this resolution re: Obama would be presented and passed, so we could have written something up about the Bush administration.

  11. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I have been advised that we’ll have a sixth presidential csandidate in attendance tomorrow, and that will be Mr. Scott Keller from Denver.

  12. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I must say that it’s a great group here. Everybody seems to be smiling and getting along with each other. The hospitality room hosted by the San Bernardino tonight was great. This has been a margarita weekend for me, for sure (definitely TMI for some people, but, hey–)

    Tomorrow we will elect new officers, which promises to be lively. There will also be a presidential panel, and then a straw poll.

    Peter Schiff spoke at the banquet tonight about the sorry state of the country’s economy.

    Wayne Allyn Root hasn’t made an appearance yet, though he’ll be speaking tomorrow. He sent a couple of “ambassadors” ahead of him, but they seem like nice enough guys.

    Well, good night, folks. I hope other people check in with their comments.

  13. Paulie

    If it’s still going on maybe there is still time to get the CA LP on record supporting the rule of law for Republican (ex) presidents as much as Democratic ones.

    Brian’s text @13 would work fine.

  14. Paulie

    Oops, actually Brian’s last paragraph needs to be changed to reflect that Bush is already out of office and now needs to be prosecuted as a civilian for his crimes.

  15. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Submitted on 2012/03/04 at 12:46 pm

    Good morning to everyone! There seem to be a few new faces here today, including Art Olivier, who was the vp candidate in 2004. We’re still waiting for the delegate count.

    Starchild has on very short cut-off white denim, and a tank top, but no costume today. BTW, his hat yesterday was a wolf.

  16. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Aaron Starr is proposing a resolution that we support the National Convention in Los Angeles in 2016. Of course, it passed unanimously.

  17. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    We have 5 At-Large positions to fill. Nominations are: Dr Lee Welter, Alan Pyeatt, Riley B O’Neill, Flavio Fiumerodo, Ken Gillespie, Dana McLorn, Mike Paster, Rich Vanier, Glynda Perrotte.

  18. Michael H. Wilson

    re Jill @ 20. We are not in much better shape up the coast, but numbers like that should give the officers at both the local level and national reason to think about what they are doing because something is not working, or so it would appear.

  19. Jill Pyeatt

    At-Large representatives: Dana McLorn, Flavio Fiurmodo, Ken Gillespie, Glynda Perrote, Rich Vanier. Alternatives: Alan Pyeatt and Riley O’Neil. These are not in order of the amount of votes received.

  20. Jill Pyeatt

    We now have a huge mystery: During the break-out session, a woman named Michelle Lieberman spoke. She is the Chair of the CA Libertarian Women’s Caucus. Oddly, none of the women here, as far as I can tell, know anything about this caucus. Furthermore, she didn’t get anyone’s info, answer questions, or hand out any literature.

    Hmmm…is there a detective out there?

  21. Brian Holtz

    I’ve never heard of her either.

    Her site “The Freedom Friend” has a bio: http://thefreedomfriend.com/about.php

    Reason.TV led off its Freedom Fest coverage by interviewing her: http://reason.com/blog/2011/09/22/reasontv-freedom-friend-founde

    Her bio has a Glenn Beck quote, and her interview says she was apolitical/liberal until she saw Ron Paul on TV. It said she’s a model/actress living in Hollywood where she owns a “personal styling” business, so it’s indeed odd if she hasn’t made herself known to the LA LP.

    She’s certainly attractive:, and has pictures of herself with e.g. Rand Paul and Wayne Root: http://thefreedomfriend.com/photos.php

    We should count it as a good thing when the LP and the freedom movement attract people who are young or female or unknown to LP insiders, and she seems to be all three. I’m curious to hear what she talked about. I’m also curious what (if anything) convention speakers like her get paid.

  22. Jill Pyeatt

    She’s a very pretty lady. She didn’t seem involved in convention business besides speaking today.

  23. Jill Pyeatt

    We just extended things by one hour so we can hear the candidates speak and do the straw poll. We also haven’t selected delegates to the national convention yet.

    We were supposed to end at 3:30, so people are starting to leave. Some of the presidential candidates came from other states. This is really awful.

  24. Jill Pyeatt

    We adjourned a little after 5. Results of the straw poll, which I’m posting from memory:

    Gary Johnson 47
    Lee Wrights 12
    James Ogle 2
    Joy Waymire 2
    Bill Still 0
    Scott Keller 0

  25. Daniel Wiener

    Here’s the report I just submitted to the LNC:

    REGION 1 / CALIFORNIA REPORT
    by Daniel Wiener

    The Libertarian Party of California held its annual convention at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura on May 2-4, 2012.

    A Presidential caucus and straw poll was held, with the following candidates in attendance and giving short speeches:

    Gary Johnson – 43 votes
    Lee Wrights – 12 votes
    James Ogle – 2 votes
    Joy Waymire – 2 votes
    Scott Keller – 0 votes
    Bill Still – 0 votes

    The convention featured a stellar line-up of speakers, including:

    * Rosa Koire of the Post Sustainability Institute. Rosa is a forensic real estate appraiser who warned of the dangers of United Nations Agenda 21 and the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives
    * Flavio Fiumerodo, who described the LPC’s Freebook System and its web site capabilities for state and local LP organizations
    * Robert Wiedemer of Absolute Investment Management and best-selling author of America’s Bubble Economy and Aftershock
    * Evan McMahon of Atlas Liberty PAC who gave a seminar on campaign
    * Banquet speaker Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital, another investment advisor and best-selling author of Crash Proof: How to Profit from the Coming Economic Collapse and The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets: How to Keep Your Portfolio Up When the Market is Down
    * Aubrey de Grey, chief scientist of the SENS Foundation and author of books on repairing age-caused metabolic damage to indefinitely extend healthy human life
    * Wayne Allyn Root, libertarian / capitalist evangelist
    * Judge Jim Gray (retired) speaking about the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative

    The convention delegates updated the state Platform and elected five representatives to the Executive Committee (the state equivalent of the LNC): Flavio Fiumerodo, Ken Gillespie, Linda Perrotte, Dana Mclorn, and Rich Vanier. Five members of the Judicial Committee were also elected: Ted Brown, Aaron Starr, Ray Fastore, Diane Hawkins, and Tom Hanson. Daniel Wiener was elected as the primary LNC representative, and Scott Lieberman and Starchild tied for the secondary LNC representative in case California formed a double region and the other states in the region agreed to accept another Californian as the other representative. Scott Lieberman withdrew so that he could run for the position of regional Alternate, which he was subsequently elected to. 138 delegates and 2 alternate to the national convention from California were also selected.

    A resolution was passed which urged that the House of Representative impeach President Obama for waging war in Libya without the Constitutionally-required Congressional approval. Another resolution by Aaron Starr recommending the selection of the Los Angeles for the site of the 2016 national convention was passed unanimously:

    RESOLUTION OF THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY OF CALIFORNIA

    Whereas, the Libertarian National Committee is scheduled next weekend to decide upon the venue for the 2016 Presidential Nomination Convention,

    Whereas, the Los Angeles Westin Bonaventure Hotel is one of the three top finalists under consideration,

    Whereas, Los Angeles is the second largest media market in the United States,

    Whereas, Los Angeles offers a plethora of activities for adults and families to enjoy during their stay,

    Whereas, Ed Clark was nominated at this very hotel for our Party’s nomination back in 1979,

    Therefore be it resolve, that the Libertarian Party of California strongly urges the Libertarian National Committee to select the Los Angeles Westin Bonaventure Hotel as the venue for the 2016 Presidential Nomination Convention and we pledge to provide full support of its success.

  26. Less Antman

    Not quite all, Jill: remember that Bill Still used virtually his entire presentation time to heavily criticize Gary Johnson. It didn’t go over too well, as you can see from the above straw poll. And in a speech that was otherwise very well received and punctuated by frequent applause, Johnson’s advocacy of the fair tax was met with such dead silence that you could feel him squirming, hopefully inspiring some reconsideration on this sore topic. Additionally, the same convention that gave him nearly 3/4 of the straw poll added to its platform an explicit plank opposing any national sales tax or VAT. Even Johnson supporters are making clear their disagreement with his current views on this issue.

    Lee Wrights gave a positive speech about his campaign vision: focusing on War as his key theme, but expanding it to include Lyndon Johnson’s failed War on Poverty, Carter’s failed War on Ignorance, and Nixon’s monumental failure, the War on Drugs. His theme, STOP ALL WAR, is more sophisticated than it appears to be as a stand-alone slogan. And there is no way for us to reach the Ron Paul supporters after his campaign is over unless we make a strict non-interventionist foreign policy key to our message. As our national platform emphasizes: no entangling alliances.

    Appropos of that, Johnson dropped any mention of the need for “strategic” military alliances, and instead simply called for an immediate (first year) 43% reduction of the military budget and abolition of the Department of Homeland Security. He showed uncompromising support for free immigration, choice, and marriage equality, as he has done elsewhere. And while I will be proudly supporting Lee Wrights in Las Vegas, I spoke with Johnson during the convention a few times and, before sharing my disagreements, also told him, “Welcome Home.”

    This isn’t Barr or Root: Gary Johnson belongs here.

  27. Robert Capozzi

    36 LA: As our national platform emphasizes: no entangling alliances.

    me: No, that’s not quite true. It says: “The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as
    policeman for the world.”

    Further down, it says:

    “American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world. Our foreign policy should emphasize defense against attack from abroad and enhance the likelihood of peace by avoiding foreign entanglements. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid.”

    ATC, that doesn’t strike me quite as “strict.” “Avoid” =/= “no,” and the language leaves open the possibility of transitions.

    I do agree with your conclusion that GJ belongs in the LP.

  28. Robert Capozzi

    38 LA, first off, it’s not “for me,” since if there were a magic button that would immediately end all US foreign intervention, I’d likely push it.

    However, the platform makes a few statements on the subject. It uses the word “avoid.” It says “end…foreign intervention,” but it doesn’t specify the timeframe for doing so, or even in that sentence what “intervention” means. (I take it to mean “military action.”)

    In these matters, the platform is aspirational, as I read it.

    For that matter, I don’t think RP is as “strict” as some Ls are…perhaps you being an example. Ls have a range of thought on foreign policy.

    I don’t think GJ would be significantly more attractive to Paulistas to the point of gaining their undying support if he became Paul 2.0. Nor do I think it’s wise for him to reverse himself on his constructive alliance with Israel stance at this stage, as that opens him up the charge of flip-flopping and pandering.

    GJ is generally anti-war and anti-interventionist. So far, it appears he’s sufficiently so for the LP’s rank-and-file, and politically I see more upside in his current positioning than there would be if he became a “strictarian.”

  29. Robert Capozzi

    more…

    Clarifying, I would say that evolving one’s position over time is not “unprincipled.” After the election, if GJ becomes even more anti-interventionist, I see nothing wrong with that, per se.

    Some Ls find virtue in holding to one’s position “consistently” throughout one’s lifetime. I don’t. If the idea is that we MUST hold the same exact views when we’re 70 as we did when we were 21, I’d say we’d have a lot of foolish 70 year olds! ;-)

  30. Chuck Moulton

    Less Antman wrote (@36):

    And in a speech that was otherwise very well received and punctuated by frequent applause, Johnson’s advocacy of the fair tax was met with such dead silence that you could feel him squirming, hopefully inspiring some reconsideration on this sore topic. Additionally, the same convention that gave him nearly 3/4 of the straw poll added to its platform an explicit plank opposing any national sales tax or VAT. Even Johnson supporters are making clear their disagreement with his current views on this issue.

    Good to hear!

    Unfortunately I haven’t seen signs of Johnson backing away. On his online town halls in the few weeks since my open letter to Johnson, not only is he still supporting the Fair Tax, but he manages to turn most completely unrelated questions into opportunities to talk positively about the Fair Tax.

    I think Johnson is running as if he has the LP nomination in the bag and is positioning himself as he wants for the general election.

  31. paulie

    I think Johnson is running as if he has the LP nomination in the bag and is positioning himself as he wants for the general election.

    Well, he does seem to have a big lead over the current competition. He also has no serious chance in the unlikely event that Ron Paul jumps in. If Jesse Ventura jumps in it may be a dragged out fight, however.

    Regardless of whether any serious competition exists, I agree that Johnson would increase the depth of his support if he does not appear to take the LP for granted.

  32. EJB

    As a member of the Gary Johnson team (State Director for MD), I can tell you that Gary and the national campaign staff have consistently and repeatedly stressed, both internally and externally, that Gary does NOT take the nomination for granted and that our volunteers must all work hard and “earn” the nomination.

  33. NewFederalist

    He could go a long way towards earning the nomination if he would just give up on the “Fair Tax” idea.

  34. Ayn R. Key

    I did speak with him about foreign policy during the convention. I’m a lot less confrontational in person, so it took me some time to actually do so.

    And I explained how the one thing that truly sets the LP apart is our being the peace party. The Reps steal our economic talking points, the Dems steal our social talking points, but both of them love war. And I said that I want to support him but need him to be as pure as possible on that one point – with no country having any special status at all.

    He received my comments nicely and I think that I was yet another person to say the same thing. I think he is coming over to the anti-war side, leaving behind the Root crowd.

  35. Daniel Wiener

    A lot of people forget that Ron Paul has always been very opposed to abortion. When he ran as our Presidential candidate in 1988, we all knew that this was an area of disagreement. But as long as he did not misrepresent his position as being that of the Libertarian Party, we did not consider it a deal-breaker. I suspect that the same standard will be applied to Gary Johnson and his support for the Fair Tax.

  36. Pingback: Notes from the California Libertarian Convention | ThirdPartyPolitics.us

  37. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I met Mr. Johnson by the registration desk Saturday, and found him to have a rather pleasant and humble manner, although all I did was introduce myself and welcome him to the convention. Although he isn’t my candidate of choice at this time, I didn’t have any of the alarm bells going off that I did when I met Bob Barr at the 2008 convention. It’s a shame that Barr’s actions after his nomination seem to be setting up problems for Gary in some people’s minds.

  38. NewFederalist

    I agree with you, Jill. He was governor when I lived in New Mexico and he really did a superlative job. I don’t like his Fair Tax position and I am not sure what happened to his marriage (his wife has since passed away) but other than that he is MUCH better than Bob Barr. I hope Lee Wrights and others give him a real battle for the nomination… it will make him a better libertarian if they do.

  39. Rich Vanier

    Jill-Great recap of the convention. Thanks for sharing what happened for those who misses a truly historic convention

  40. Less Antman

    It would be quite natural for GJ to change his foreign policy views after months of the most concentrated exposure to libertarians he has ever had (including listening to Lee Wrights speak at every joint event and seeing the audience reaction to his foreign policy points). His view of strategic alliances isn’t psychotic or held only by a tiny number of neocons; it is the conventional view of foreign policy and, as governor, not something he is likely to have given much thought to over the years. We just need to continue open and respectful disagreement. For anyone needing lessons on how to show respectful disagreement, read anything written by Chuck Moulton.

  41. Robert Capozzi

    51 LA, it seems we agree, largely so. I just would not expect and could make a case that GJ’s positions are “locked down” for this cycle. His plate is quite full. He’s in campaign mode. He needs to tune his message. I’m always supportive of respectful disagreement, and find sniping unproductive.

    I certainly would like to see him fine tune the FAIR Tax by basically losing it to a vaguer message of tax simplification.

    I could see him clarifying his Gitmo stance, but frankly I don’t see that as being a matter that’s going to generate interest in the LP, as it’s legalistic and technical.

    Making a 180 at this stage in the game, however, is not advisable, and I’d suggest no one expect that he’ll do that on any of his “plumbline” violations.

  42. Steven Wilson

    I know I sound like a broken record, but Lee Wrights will end up giving lectures on how to run a campaign of peace.

    His speeches have gotten better, his physical presence at the podium has gotten stronger, and his social media use will help in the long run.

    Cheers to Lee Wrights!

  43. Alan Pyeatt

    Less Antman @ 36: “Additionally, the same convention that gave him nearly 3/4 of the straw poll added to its platform an explicit plank opposing any national sales tax or VAT.”

    Glad I’m not the only person that noticed that. BTW, I agree 100% with your assessment of Johnson.

    Lee Wrights is still my favorite candidate. But if the other state conventions are anything like California, a Johnson nomination WILL be a forgone conclusion. Johnson brought in a lot of new people, and we had no empty spots for national convention delegates for the first time in recent memory, if not our entire history. If those new people stick around after this year, and if they really have libertarian views, then this will be a real boon.

    Johnson says he’s here for good, so most of those people probably will stick around. Hopefully, they followed him to the LP because they really believe in non-intervention.

  44. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    Here is a link to all six speeches from Sunday’s convention. Thanks to Joe Dehn for the videos.

  45. Jill Pyeatt Post author

    I will tonight if no one else does. I’m a little too busy at work to do it now.

  46. Ad Hoc

    But if the other state conventions are anything like California, a Johnson nomination WILL be a forgone conclusion.

    That seems to be what all the states are reporting.

  47. matt cholko

    I truly hope that the people coming into the LP through the Johnson campaign will stay after the campaign ends. However, if the campaign keeps acting like they are going to get into the debates, and worse, like they have a chance to win the general election, nearly all of those people will be incredibly dissapointed with their first LP election. That’s not a good way to keep activists involved.

    I understand the need to fire up your volunteers/supporters. However, the long term interests of liberty are not well served by setting impossible goals in the minds of activists.

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