Tutin Banner 


Convention Notes
California Libertarian Party

by Gary Tutin

Harvey’s & Harrah’s Resort Casinos, 8-10 April 2011.

A far briefer, unattributed account of the festivities resides at 'Annual Convention Sets Party’s Standard for Excitement and Verve'. Whatever.

Friday night, the California convention kicked off in Nevada. We checked in, only numerous materials – name tags and such – were not ready. Most of them were available on Sunday morning, so that’s all right.

The first event was a screening of “Atlas Shrugged, Part 1” and “The American Dream” cartoon at the Horizon, where I was staying.

As indicated by the title, “Atlas” is from the first third of a bestseller I’m betting most folks never finish reading. The screenplay had references to the crony capitalism so popular today, union shenanigans, politically-motivated junk science and, of course, government corruption. It had some good lines and was well crafted. Great cinematography. I’m not sure the payoff [not an actual conclusion] was worth sitting for nearly two hours. But that’s just my opinion. Some people love this book and all they believe it represents.

I thought the cartoon explained the Federal Reserve Bank as succinctly as anyone ever has. Their site offers a free viewing, a DVD for sale and information on helping distribute their message of central banks stealing our freedom.


Rodriguez & Starr Carlos Rodriguez, Aaron Starr

Saturday at 7:30 a.m., our breakfast speaker was Carlos Rodriguez, immigration lawyer and Libertarian candidate in the last election. He drove home the point (something I noticed) that where European-Americans are becoming a minority in California, our party consists of mostly white guys. By the way, there were some younger members at the Convention, also white.

With our friendlier immigration platform compared to the two major parties, Carlos believes we can appeal to the growing population of Latino voters. It would help having bilingual candidates.

The meetings convened at 9:00 a.m. Seriously, more like 10:08 or, “a little late” as Kevin described it.

Steven Greenhut delivered the keynote speech about “How the GOP is Heading Toward Irrelevancy.” Steven is a writer and reformed Republican, who admits to fighting his frustration for years. He mentioned how one Republican vote killed redevelopment agency elimination in the state – California not Nevada. (Greenhut wrote the book Abuse of Power: How The Government Misuses Eminent Domain.)

His latest, Plunder!, about the public employee unions’ stranglehold on the public, couldn’t be timelier. He inscribed my copy “Keep fighting for freedom!” and it is on my list of books to read before Atlas Shrugged.

Steven won my heart with his opening shot, “Republicans keep on schedule, but all they tell you is bullshit.”

Speaking of bullshit, Greenhut was followed by our first stab at Bylaws changes. I don’t pretend to understand what most of them meant, although that didn’t prevent a great deal of discourse from others similarly befuddled. One change was supposed to be helpful in avoiding the ill effects of Prop 14. It was not clear if it would and the wording was not clear, period. After much ado, it got postponed to Sunday after Richard Winger was scheduled to speak about Prop 14, although the Bylaws Committee chair said they had consulted with him.


Some California Libertarian Party stats and facts gathered to list here:

  • Party supported select candidates last year, several receiving $500 from the state office.
  • Currently about 92,244 registered Libertarian votes. The goal is 101,000 by November 14th, so we only need 8,706 more.
  • Not sure we ever got a ballpark figure for membership. It’s complicated apparently. In the words of Señor Wences, “Deefeecult for you — easy for me.”
  • We desperately need a parliamentarian at our conventions. Beau Cain told me we have a Libertarian who does it for free if he’s not busy. That would save a lot of time spent trying to decipher what the convention rules, Rules of Order and bylaws say.

Our luncheon speaker was Judge James P Gray (retired). I told him I felt we had met because I read his Voter’s Handbook during my campaign last year. He also wrote a tome on Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed back in 2001, which was the focus of his talk: “It’s About Time: Owning the Marijuana Regulate and Tax Initiative of 2012.” Visit his very site.

He has been working with a group to develop better wording than in the 2010 initiative (Prop 19) that lost. Judge Gray considers it a win because it put the issue squarely on the table. Now it can be discussed openly, without shame.

The Libertarian Party has been in the forefront of efforts to end the drug laws and “drug war.” Gray considers this issue more comprehensible and easier to sell to voters than some of our more esoteric positions, like getting government out of our schools.

Judge Gray’s group created a new approach to make the issue zippier, the “Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012,” which we endorsed. [See site for more.] Colorado and Nevada will also have state initiatives in the same vein, which suggests the possibility of interstate cooperation.

More info on Higher Legalization (click links below)

Why legalize

Similar information to talk

Morgan Gale Morgan

I forgot to write down how late the afternoon session began. There was a big discussion about delegate-counting procedures for quorums. Aaron Starr brought up the popular Robert’s Rules of Order and other technicalities. I believe there were 53 delegates present.

Writer-directors Tad Lumpkin & Harold Uhl discussed and answered questions about “The American Dream.” The animated short was created to “evangalize,” get people thinking about the Fed and central banks, not just appeal to scholars and economists, present a pro-market message of hope and change. The cartoon pointed out how secretive the Fed is, for instance giving trillions to banks in other countries without mentioning it to anyone.

We might get a copy of the cartoon to see if we can spread pro-freedom propaganda in schools that prefer pushing greater dependence on bigger governments.

More bylaws bullshit followed. I spare the reader all the grizzly details, even those I understood.

The schedule listed the banquet at 6:30 p.m., only it was supposed to be 7:30. The speaker was John Stagliano on “My Victory in Court: a First Amendment Triumph.” Acquire an enormous amount of information on him by Googling “John Stagliano” or visit Buttman.com, if you are an adult. For Reasoned information about him and his case, see a fine interview by Nick Gillespie, the man in black on reason.tv.

Stagliano is a pornographer (he is Buttman), involved in adult videos, mostly as director and producer, and a long-time Libertarian.

The beginning of his talk was terrific, but I had to leave for an appointment to see Sarah Silverman at the Montbleu. I could have heard more had they started earlier.

There was a Texas Hold ‘em Poker Tournament later. I decided to skip that, wisely as it seems. I’m no poker player. Don’t even know what Texas Hold ‘em is. I presume it involves cards.

Kevin chairsKevin Takenaga

Sunday’s breakfast speaker was Richard Winger. I’ve subscribed to his “Ballot Access News” for many years, met him during the campaign. He is knowledgeable, and his talk, “What’s New in the Fight to Keep Us on the Ballot in the Aftermath of Prop 14,” was on the mark. As you know, Prop 14 was the “Top 2” primary amendment that effectively excludes minor party candidates from the General Election.

Not even the Democrat-Republican party support it, since it was part of a political deal with Abel Maldonado to get his vote on the budget or something. So the major and the Libertarian party are contesting it in San Francisco Superior Court, Field v Bowen.

Their case attacks two flaws in the law and its execution.

  1. Candidates cannot state their party on the ballot. Rather, they can indicate their party preference. Only they cannot list themselves as Independent or as preferring non-qualified parties. The legislation has a severance clause, but if this part is found to be unconstitutional, the whole amendment could go. Judge Otis held it for nine days initially, too late for the special election.

    Richard requested support for Attorney Gautom Dutta, who is donating his time. Mail money c/o Ballot Access News, Box 470296, SF CA 94147-0296, specifying money is for Attorney Gautom Dutta.
    I urge you to do so.

  2. Candidates must pay the full filing fee, which was raised, or collect thousands of signatures. This apparently was an oversight. Lawmakers making errors?
    Further complicating matters, Secretary of State Debra Bowen is running for Congress. She has been accused of presenting a weak case defending the law, but her office is the only party with standing.
more on:
Californians for Electoral Reform
PO Box 128
Sacramento CA 95812

From breakfast, we went right to the morning session, which reconvened at 10:12, not 9:00. (Snide comment omitted.) There were 76 delegates, with name tags for all.

“Are we awake?”
— Kevin Takanaga

We returned to the prickly Bylaws issue of compensating for Prop 14. Richard Winger was asked to provide his opinion, which was that it was not his area of expertise, he wasn’t sure about it and had nothing to offer. I wanted to remind the group that I said on Saturday that there was no reason to postpone deliberations for Richard Winger, but I resisted, not wanting to be called "out-of-order."

My recollection is that we voted to not decide for now, keeping our options open, since no one seemed to understand the amendment sufficiently to make a case for its adoption.

There were officer elections [complete list below] and a unanimous candidate endorsement of Steve Collett for the 36th Congressional District, the same one for which Debra is running.

Election Results (partial)
Kevin Takenaga begins his fifth year as Chair, defeating C Michael Pickens.

Northern California Chair: C Michael Pickens edged out Gale Morgan, 19 to 16.
I wasted no time kissing up to Pickens. Actually, he is a good guy.

A Southern Chair was also selected, but who cares?
Scroll down for complete official election results.

C Michael C Michael Pickens

We broke for lunch, where Steven Kubby was to speak on “Liberty, Leadership and Libertarianism.” Surprisingly it began not at 12:45, more like 1:05, so early. I had to leave to free my belongings from the hotel before they charged me for another day’s lodging.

More stuff, in what might be considered an addendum:
The Secretary, Gale Morgan, said it was useful attending City Council meetings, where party is not as crucial and campaigning is less treacherous. He didn’t use that word, which is probably why he’s not Northern California Chair.

The web site earned some criticism. Flavio, the less than riveting spokesman, was not very helpful, but there was no resolution, just unanswered questions.

The New Voter Registration Outreach Kit! looks impressive, only it seems to cost $100.

Official Election Results
Chairman • Kevin Takenaga
Northern Vice Chairman • C. Michael Pickens
Southern Vice Chairman • Boomer Shannon
Treasurer • Brian Darby
Secretary • Lauren Hilton very striking

At-large Representatives
Gale Morgan
Carlos Rodriguez
Armando Romero
Starchild (not theTeena Marie album)
Rich Vanier
Nancy Zardeneta

First Alternate
• Brian Andresen
Second Alternate
• Mike Paster

Starchild, running for San Francisco supervisor

©2011 Gary Tutin

The views expressed are not necessarily those of the author and in no way
represent those of the entire Libertarian party membership in California,
or any other state.


NY supports GT

LEFT ARROW - return to home page Avoid regret. Vote Libertarian.