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FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
The Libertarian Party of America . . . We're in Touch with You!
HARRY BROWNE ON ENDING THE INCOME TAX
Browne Slams Dole's "Tax Cut" Plan, Proposes to Abolish Income Tax
The tax cut Bob Dole has proposed during his campaign is "Libertarian Lite" -too timid, too meager to have any real impact, says Libertarian Party Presidential candidate Harry Browne.
"Bob Dole is lucky there's no tax on hypocrisy," said Browne. "After all, he's proposing to return a mere $548 billion in taxes to the American public - after voting for $960 billion in tax increases over the past 14 years." Browne said Dole is "a lifetime politician, a tax-raiser, someone who has voted for almost every big government scheme of the past 30 years, trying to masquerade as an advocate of smaller, less expensive government. But Dole voted for President Reagan's huge tax increase in 1982 and President Bush's huge tax increase in 1990. So this timid tax cut doesn't even begin to reimburse the billions of dollars that Bob Dole has confiscated from American taxpayers."
"The real Libertarian solution is to totally abolish the income tax - so every dollar you earn will be yours, to spend, to save, to give away as you see fit. When the income tax is repealed, you will get a 20%, 30%, or 40% increase in take-home pay, depending on your current tax bracket. That's the real solution to stagnant wages. If you really want to reduce the size and cost of government, voting for Harry Browne is the only way to do it."
The two plans, side by side:
* Dole: A 15% income tax cut, phased in over three years.
* Browne: Will end the income tax his first year in office and replace it with nothing. "By reducing the federal government to its Constitutional functions, we can do away with all direct taxes - the income, estate, gift, capital gains, and Social Security taxes - financing national defense and the federal judiciary with the tariffs and excise taxes being collected already," he said.
* Dole: Promises to balance the budget by 2002 by increasing spending for seven more years, but "slowing the growth" of federal programs.
* Browne: Will balance the budget his first year in office by dramatically reducing government spending. Will sell off federal assets and use the proceeds to pay off the federal debt.
* Dole: Promises to rewrite the tax code and make unspecified changes to the IRS.
* Browne: Will abolish the IRS in his first year.
"Compare the two plans," urged Browne. "If you want genuine, serious reductions in your tax burden, don't waste your vote on a big-government politician like Bob Dole. Vote Libertarian."
Harry Browne's WorldWideWeb page:
TOWARD A LIBERTARIAN PEACE
Harry Browne: Missile Attack on Iraq Shows U.S. Military Policy of "Perpetual War"
"The U.S. missile attack on Iraq is another example of how government foreign policy doesn't work," said Harry Browne. "Instead of defending America, our government is attacking nations that pose no military threat to us - and is making our country a more tempting target for murderous terrorists."
Unfortunately, said Browne, this kind of meddling in other nations' affairs is nothing new for the U.S. government. "Since World War II, our government has shipped money, weapons, and soldiers to nearly a hundred nations. Instead of defending our country, the government has sent Americans to die in the jungles of Asia, the shanty towns of Somalia, and the desert sands of the Middle East. Instead of focusing on defense, the government has seized on minor incidents to jump into conflicts that didn't threaten America.
"And thus we are almost always at war - cold or hot, but a conflict nevertheless - a war in which Americans will die, or a war that Americans will be taxed for, or a war that could easily erupt into wholesale destruction," he said. "So we have what historian Charles Beard called the 'perpetual war for perpetual peace' - the nonstop conflict that's always justified by the peace just around the corner.
"But government doesn't work. War doesn't work. Every war leaves America and the world as insecure as they were before - with new enemies to face or with old enemies threatening to get even," said Browne. "This latest skirmish is no exception."
Under a Libertarian administration, U.S. defense policy would be dramatically different from that of the Republicans and Democrats, vowed Browne. "If government has a role to play in foreign affairs, it isn't to win wars, to assure that the right people run foreign countries, to protect innocent foreigners from guilty aggressors, or to make the world safe for democracy," he said. "If government has a role, it can be only to keep us out of wars - to make sure no one will ever attack us and to make certain you can live your life in peace."
WHY A VOTE FOR DOLE IS A WASTED VOTE
Don't Waste Your Vote!
[From Harry Browne's Acceptance Speech, Libertarian Convention, July 6, 1996]
I wouldn't have made the decision to run for President if I had thought there were no chance to win. I have no interest in becoming a professional politician. I want America to be a free country again. That is my only motivation. But the chances are slim, I grant you. A lot of things will have to happen for me to win. I'm not telling you I'm going to be the next President of the United States.
But what if we get just 15 to 20% of the vote this year? If that happens, we will have become the balance of power in American politics. We will compel the politicians to become honest. No longer will they be able to campaign like Libertarians, and then govern like Democrats.
No more can they come before us at election time, telling us they think taxes are too high and that they stand for smaller government and then go back and vote for more and more government, more and more regulations, more and more interference in our lives.
No, they will know that 15 to 20% of the voters will no longer stand for "let's pretend" politicians. They will know that those voters will vote Libertarian rather than tolerate pretense politicians. They will know they have to make good on their promises in Congress and the White House because the voters finally have somewhere else to go. The Libertarians' getting 15 to 20% of the vote will do more to reform the two old parties than any sort of party activism you may be contemplating.
So if you're a Republican who's shocked that the party that claims to be for smaller government would make the all-time champion tax-raiser its Presidential candidate . . . if you're sick of Republican politicians who tell you they're for smaller government, and then go back to Washington and vote for bigger budgets, censoring the Internet, more health-care tyranny, and all the rest of the Democratic-Republican litany . . . in short, if you want to reform the Republican Party, vote Libertarian.
Or if you're a Democrat who's sick of hearing about "change" while your leader keeps dishing out the same old politics as usual . . . if you realize that the party of the working man has turned into the party of class warfare, special privilege, and back-room politics . . . in short, if you want to reform the Democratic Party, vote Libertarian.
But better than reforming the Democratic or Republican parties, just imagine how our getting only 15 to 20% of the vote will change America. Finally, Americans will have somewhere else to go. Finally, they'll have a party to rally around, one that is always and ever on the side of individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom from government on all issues at all times - a party that can lead them back to the Constitutional government their Founding Fathers bequeathed them. If you truly want smaller government, if you truly want to send a message to the politicians that you aren't going to roll over and play dead for them anymore, if you truly want to be sure your vote isn't wasted on a big-government, lifetime politician, vote Libertarian.
News from the Libertarian Party of Florida
* As we went to press, plans were being made for Libertarians from around the state, and from other states as well, to gather in St. Petersburg at the site of the Vice Presidential debate on October 9 to protest the Libertarian Party's exclusion. Brian Collar, Membership Chairman of the Pinellas County LP, has been the coordinator for the rally. At press time, Harry Browne was scheduled to appear in a series of televised post-debate debates with candidates from other third parties.
* On September 9th in Tallahassee, Federal District Court judge Robert Hinkle issued an order for the Secretary of State to place the Libertarian Party ticket of Harry Browne and Jo Jorgensen on the Florida general election ballot. The Libertarian Party had gone to court when the Florida Division of Elections refused to allow the party to substitute its convention-nominated ticket of Browne/Jorgensen for its "stand-in" ticket of Ed Clark/David Bergland. The LP gathered over 101,000 petition signatures from January to July, of which 75,127 were certified as valid - well over the 65,596 needed by state law to get a presidential ticket on the ballot. In addition to imposing one of the most burdensome petition requirements of any state, Florida was the only state in which the Libertarian Party was forced to go to court on the issue of substitution.
* The Palm Beach County LP, under the leadership of Jim Alsis and Don Fenton, has raised over $3,200 for Harry Browne signs, ads in town newspapers and radio ads.
* LP voter registrations in Florida have gone from 4,529 on February 13, 1996 to 5,142 on August 5 - a 13.5% increase. The number of dues-paying LP members in the state increased from 814 on August 3, 1996 to 997 on September 9. That's a 22.5% increase in 37 days. Join today and bolster our efforts!
* The Libertarian Party of Florida has openings on some of its Standing Committees for those who wish to play a larger role in the growth of the party. Currently, there are openings on the State Platform Committee, Electoral Victory Committee, and Membership Committee. If you would like to volunteer, call Vice Chair Dianne Pilcher at (407) 339-2608.
* To be listed in and receive the E-mail Directory of Florida Libertarians, send your name, E-mail address, and position in the Party, if any, to: firstname.lastname@example.org
* "A Conversation with Harry Browne" and Broward County activists Mike Shubert, Scott Rogers, and Tom Regnier can be accessed at: http://www.afn.org/~libparty/hbinterv.htm
* Correction: In our last issue, the name of Sarasota attorney Andrew Spark was inadvertently omitted from the list of Florida delegates who attended the Libertarian Party's national convention. We apologize for the error.
"The Libertarian Party has a well-organized, nationwide organization. This year, 1,000 Libertarian candidates will run for public office. Currently, 180 of them hold elected local or state positions.
The Libertarians have a well-reasoned political philosophy based on free-market economics, individual liberty and military restraint. Their opponents like to brand them as radicals, and the characterization is accurate to a certain extent. Their philosophical foundation is derived from the ideas of people like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, whose radical thinking created the United States." - Editorial, Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), September 6, 1996
"In recent third-party history, none has had more elected officials across the country or more consistently qualified for the ballot than the Libertarian Party. . . . More than 180 Libertarians hold local or state elective office throughout the country, and it has 1,000 candidates running for office this year. At the grassroots level, these numbers offer evidence that the Libertarian Party has performed as well or better than any political organization denied the exposure and tax money available to the two major parties. Mr. Browne refused to accept any of the taxpayer's money [to fund his campaign] on principle, earning his support the old fashioned way - by offering compelling ideas. Maybe that's the best reason for including Mr. Browne in the debates: to blow some fresh air through the stale smog of statism that passes for political discourse between the major parties." - Orange County (CA) Register, August 29, 1996
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
The Libertarian Party of America . . . We're in Touch with You!
Browne/Jorgensen Nearly Double '92 Libertarian Vote Total LP Now a Qualified Party in 22 States
The Libertarian ticket of Harry Browne and Jo Jorgensen received over 470,000 popular votes in the November election, nearly doubling the number of votes polled by the 1992 LP presidential ticket. The Browne/Jorgensen ticket polled 23,951 votes in Florida. They received their highest vote total in Broward County, followed by Pinellas, Palm Beach, Hillsborough, and Dade Counties, in that order.
The LP is now a "qualified party" in 22 states, topping its previous record of 18. This means that in those states the LP can nominate candidates with no more petitioning than is required of Democrats and Republicans. The LP is still not a qualified party in Florida.
Message from Harry Browne
In a message to all Libertarians after the election, Harry Browne said, in part:
"I want to express my deep gratitude to Libertarians all over America. There's no question we have a great deal to be pleased about. Our vote will far surpass the 1992 total - close to doubling it.
"Based on the media coverage received, we far outpaced the other candidates. We apparently received about 1/18 of Ross Perot's vote total, while getting less than 1/100 of his media coverage. We got roughly the same vote as Ralph Nader, while receiving less than a fifth of his media attention. Evaluating our performance this way, it was even better when measured against the coverage given Clinton and Dole. And we far outpolled all the other small parties.
"For a $3 million campaign and a party with 20,000 members, we achieved a great deal. But it's obvious that we will never break into the big leagues with a $3 million campaign.
"The task ahead of us is clear: we have to create a party so big, so strong, so well-financed that in the year 2000 no one can ignore us. We have to make an enormous splash before and throughout the next election year, so that the media will have to give us the same attention and respect they give to the two old parties. We have to be so well known to the public that the Republicans and Democrats can't hold a debate without us. And if they decide not to hold the debates at all, then we must have an army of people so large that we can carry our message door-to-door to every voter, and we must have the money to tell our story through advertising.
"Is this a realistic goal? Yes. It is a formidable goal, but far from impossible. We are already well along the road to that goal:
* We have doubled the party's membership in just the past two years.
* We have already made inroads, small but significant, into the business and investment community - to where the money is.
* The Internet has become our bailiwick. And it will be more and more influential in politics in the coming years.
* We have established wonderful relationships in talk radio. Over 300 radio and TV talk-show hosts endorsed the idea of my being in the Presidential debates; 69 of them endorsed me for President.
* We have developed good relationships with many people in the print media. Over 75 publications or columnists endorsed my being in the debates, of which 21 endorsed me for President. We will continue cultivating these relationships.
"We need to stay in the public eye. We need to continue churning out press releases - showing the Libertarian alternatives to the self-evidently meaningless proposals of the Republicans and Democrats.
"And, more than anything else, we have to build the party membership - starting right now. With the numbers of members will come the money. With the money will come the media attention. With the media attention will come the public awareness of what we offer.
"Three quarters of the American people think government is way too large. We are the only party offering those people what they want - significantly smaller government. There is nothing wrong with our message or the way we're presenting it. We simply need to have it heard by more people more often between now and the next election.
"So let's get started now building the party to the magnitude necessary for every American to know what we can give them. Let's begin now - while the others relax and take a year or two off. I intend to speak out for the party wherever possible - appearing on talk radio, television, public forums, and in print - letting people know there is hope for America.
"Again, I want to thank you for the honor you have given me - allowing me to be your candidate. And for all the help and encouragement you have provided. It has been a wonderful two years.
"But we're just beginning . . ."
[Editor's Note: If you aren't already a dues-paying member of the Libertarian Party, please join today. And, please encourage all your friends who supported Harry Browne in November, or who support Libertarian principles, to join. Annual dues are $25. Call (800) 478-0555 for information.]
Libertarians Protest at St. Petersburg Debate
Florida Libertarians gathered in St. Petersburg, Florida on October 9, 1996 at the Bayfront Center, site of the Gore-Kemp Vice Presidential debate, to protest the exclusion of the Libertarian ticket from the debate process. The rally was organized by Brian Collar, Membership Chairman of the Pinellas County LP.
The protesters, who came from all over the state as well as out of state, marched from Straub Park on Tampa Bay to the Bayfront Center carrying a huge American flag, waving Harry Browne and Jo Jorgensen signs and wearing special "Stop the Browne Out" T-shirts which proclaimed, "Let Harry Browne Speak" and depicted a gagged Statue of Liberty.
Mr. Collar engaged in an impromptu debate with members of the Reform, Republican, and Democratic Parties in the cordoned-off "Demonstration Area." Members of the LP group spoke to interviewers from the Tampa Tribune, St. Petersburg Times, and Channel 10 in Tampa, among other media outlets. Channel 10, the CBS affiliate, aired their interview with Mr. Collar the night of the debate. A Tampa Tribune article emphasized Harry Browne's and the Libertarian Party's links to the American Revolution. Visit the rally's website (courtesy of John Lindenberg and the LP of Palm Beach County) at: http://www.flinet.com/~liberty/bo_rally.htm
Membership Numbers Continue to Soar!
Florida LP membership stats continue their meteoric rise. From July to October, the number of dues-paying members grew from 741 to 1,130 - a 52% increase! At the end of 1995, Florida was sixth among the 50 states in number of LP members. Now it is third and challenging Pennsylvania for second place. In October, the Florida LP added more new members than any other state except California. Thanks to all Florida Libertarians who contributed to our membership drive. Because of your contributions, this has been the most successful membership drive in our history.
The number of registered Libertarian voters in Florida stood at 5,509 a month before the election. This represents a 22% increase since February.
Florida LP in the News
[Florida Libertarians found many opportunities during the election season to spread the word about liberty through the press. Following are a few excerpts from the many articles and letters by or about Florida Libertarians that appeared in print.]
"Or you could vote for [Harry] Browne and his running mate, Jo Jorgensen, who want to abolish the income tax and myriad federal programs. If Browne takes Florida in November, [Chris] Carman and 24 other Libertarians will cast the state's electoral votes a month later." - Sarasota Herald-Tribune, October 2, 1996
"'If Thomas Jefferson were alive today, he'd be a Libertarian,' Mike Kerner of Sunrise said. Kerner is the local chapter's treasurer and member of the national party for 15 years." - Margate-Coconut Creek Forum, October 10, 1996
"I do not deserve Clinton, nor do I deserve Dole. When I proudly cast my vote in November for Harry Browne, I will cast an affirmative vote for individual liberty and responsibility, for a Federal government which runs a judiciary, defends America (not other nations) and otherwise stops meddling in areas (such as education) for which the Federal government was delegated NO role. . . . Of course, if you've made your peace with the redistributive welfare state, but just want a different variety, . . . vote for Dole." - Daniel Walker [Region 6 Rep], in a letter in The Tallahassean, August 30, 1996
"Libertarian thought . . . is deeply rooted in the principles of our Founding Fathers. Aren't these the principles that define us as Americans: the right to ownership of our lives, our liberty, our property; the right to be free in our pursuits as long as we refrain from violating others; freedom of speech and religious preference and so on?" - Stanley M. Rous, Letter to the Editor, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, September 27, 1996
"The Founding Fathers wrote the 10th amendment because they knew that too strong a central government was an invitation to tyranny. They also knew that government doesn't work - especially centrally controlled, top-down, one-size-fits-all government of the federal kind." - Tom Regnier, Op-Ed, Sun-Sentinel, October 22, 1996
News from Around the State
Alachua County: On October 9, County Chair Angela Rowland, Vice Chair Karen Courington, and Treas-urer Marshall Sutherland appeared on an hour-long talk radio show. . . . The LP ran an "Operation Politically Homeless" booth at the Alachua County Fair November 1-10. 47% of quiz-takers scored Libertarian.
Broward County: LP member Gary Jackson put up over fifty Harry Browne/Jo Jorgensen signs around the county. The signs were donated by Cliff Biedenharn of the Arkansas LP. . . . The Broward LP plans its next "OPH" booth at the Broward Convention Center on December 21-22. Call Ted Apelt at (954) 735-8137 if you would like to help.
Leon County: The Leon County LP ran "OPH" booths at Florida State University each Wednesday through October. . . . Wayne Padgette is the president of the newly formed FSU chapter of College Libertarians of America. . . . Daniel Walker argued the LP's case regarding fee redistribution before the Florida Supreme Court on October 9.
Volusia County: After many websites reported that the vote for Harry Browne in Volusia County was zero(!), Region 11 Rep Kurt Annaheim sent a letter to one of the state websites requesting a correc-tion, as the Volusia County Elections Office had originally reported 639 votes for Harry Browne. After Kurt's message, the state totals were corrected.
South Florida Foundation for Economic Education:The South Florida chapter of the Foundation for Economic Education is conducting discussion groups concerning principles of freedom and liberty based on the Constitution. FEE was founded by Leonard Read in 1946 and became a beacon for libertarian-minded people at a time when statism and collectivism were ascendant. It is now revered as the "granddaddy" of libertarian think tanks. If you are interested in attending these dis-cussions, contact Tom Pilitowski at 6278 N. Federal Highway, Suite 369, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33308, or call him at (954) 969-9735.
Special thanks to Cathy Winters of Palm Beach County, who is now in charge of mailing out Florida Liberty. Cathy has been assisted by Don Fenton, Mike Johnston, Jeff Kradin, and Dave Wetherington. Thanks also to Mike Kerner of Broward County and Brenda Burge of Sarasota County for their help in getting this newsletter to you.
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
Florida Supreme Court Upholds Two-Party Bias
In a stinging blow to the cause of free and open elections, the Florida Supreme Court upheld a Florida law which allows major parties (those with at least 5% statewide voter registration) to be paid back about 53% of the filing fees paid by their candidates for state and federal office, while minor parties receive nothing from the filing fees paid by their ballot-qualified candidates. The court held that the state has an interest in protecting major parties.
The lawsuit was brought by the Libertarian Party of Florida and 1994 state house candidate Robert Wilson of Santa Rosa County.
Despite the court's being informed, in legal briefs and at oral argument by Libertarian Party Attorney Daniel Walker, that no U.S. Supreme Court precedent existed to support the notion that election laws can discriminate among political parties and their candidates once those candidates have qualified for the ballot, the State Supreme Court found the challenged law constitutional.
The court wrote in the December 5 decision that the discriminatory treatment "is reasonably related to the state's important interest in strengthening and encouraging major parties, and thereby discouraging minor parties, as a means of preventing factionalism and the multiplicity of splinter groups. . . . [T]he legislature has set up an affirmative scheme to support and encourage major parties by returning to those parties a substantial portion of their filing fees. . . . [This] fosters only the participation in the political arena of stable, established parties. We cannot disagree, however, that the State has an interest in doing this and this scheme furthers its goal."
LP Attorney Daniel Walker noted: "Courts across the nation routinely uphold politically anti-competitive laws as being necessary to prevent 'factionalism,' 'voter confusion,' 'crowded ballots,' and 'frivolous candidacies.' The Florida law doesn't 'merely' make it difficult to get on the ballot, it also penalizes minor parties and candidates who earn a place on the ballot by satisfying already-burdensome petitioning requirements."
Overcrowded ballots, voter confusion, and too many political parties are hardly the problem in Florida, where almost one third of Congressional races and about half of state house races routinely go uncontested. The court did not appear to be concerned that the ballot might be as undercrowded as in the former Soviet Union, where voter choice had as little to do with the outcome as it does in many of Florida's one-man "races." The fact that most voters are not confused by having to choose among thousands of items at a supermarket or hundreds of makes and models of cars was lost on the court. Furthermore, the court failed to glean that choosing between only two parties which seem to grow more and more similar with each passing year might be a cause of severe voter apathy, as witnessed by the low turnout in recent elections. Nor did the phrase, "Equal treatment under the law" appear to be racing through the justices' minds as they wrote their decision. The court was absolutely correct, however, in saying that the state has an interest in protecting the two-party system if, by "state," it means entrenched politicians, as opposed to individual citizens.
As nationally known election law expert Richard Winger has written, the Florida Court's opinion did "not discuss any U.S. Supreme Court precedents, nor does it cite any books, studies, or testimony of anyone knowledgeable about political parties."
A motion for rehearing was filed with the State Supreme Court on December 20. If that is denied, the LP of Florida's Executive Committee intends to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision. Sources: Daniel Walker, Richard Winger
The Truth About "Too Many Political Parties" Causing Instability
"The governments of France in the Fourth Republic, and Italy, were famous for instability. Both used a parliamentary system, with no popularly elected chief executive.
"Thus, whenever a majority in the national legislative body lost confidence in its own leader, that leader fell from power. The problem was solved in France by changing to a system with an elected president. There continued to be just as many parties in France as there had been before, but, instantly, the instability problem was cured. The problems in France and Italy were problems of a parliamentary system versus a presidential system, not a problem of the number of political parties." -- Richard Winger, Ballot Access News, December 12, 1996.
To receive one year (13 issues) of Ballot Access News, published by Richard Winger, send $10.00 ($13 for overseas) to: Ballot Access News, P.O. Box 470296, San Francisco, CA 94147. Make checks payable to Ballot Access News.
Revising the State Constitution: the Process Has Already Begun
by Daniel Walker, LPF Attorney
Under the Florida Constitution, a Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) is appointed every 20 years to consider changes to the state constitution and to propose changes which are subject to popular vote. The previous CRC worked in 1977-78. It's about to happen again.
Later this year, a Constitution Revision Commission will be appointed; its 37 members will be named by the Governor, Speaker of the State House, President of the State Senate, and Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court. The members will hold an organizational session on June 2, 1997, and then will adopt rules of internal procedure, hold public hearings across the state, review suggested state constitutional changes, and, by late 1997 or early 1998, adopt a tentative list of recommended state constitutional changes. The CRC will propose specific changes to the Florida Secretary of State by May 5, 1998. These will be listed on the 1998 general election ballot, to be approved or rejected by Florida voters.
Through Florida Liberty and at the 1997 state party convention, May 24 and 25, you will be updated regarding LPF Executive Committee plans to assist members' participation in the revision process. The public hearing process will be an opportunity for a concentrated effort by all LPF members to declare positions in support of limited state and local government, private property rights, reduced barriers for greater personal choices at general elections, and retention of the constitutional ban of a state personal income tax.
Proposals to look for, good and bad? Increasing the petitioning standards for state constitutional amendments by citizen initiative; a personal income tax on earned income, thus providing Florida retirees with an opportunity to support a tax on those still in the workforce; and elimination of partisan primaries (i.e., there would be open primaries).
A Constitutional Revision Commission Steering Committee already has been appointed to lay the groundwork for the CRC to "hit the ground running" next June. The Steering Committee already has met, has a website [http://www.law.fsu.edu/crc] and publishes a newsletter. To be placed on the Steering Committee's mailing list and receive its newsletter at no charge, phone [904-921-6282], fax [904-231-0321], or write the committee at 209 Capitol, Tallahassee, FL 32399.
These two years present a wonderful opportunity for Florida Libertarians to play a significant role in the political process.
Florida Libertarian Party 1997 Convention
Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-25 1997
The LP of Florida's 1997 Convention and Annual Business Meeting will be held on Memorial Day weekend in Orlando at the Sheraton Orlando North Hotel. Make your plans to attend as early as possible, as the cost of attending increases as the convention date nears. Host Ralph Swanson is assembling an exciting lineup of speakers. Look for details in the next Florida Liberty.
Convention Information Dates: Sat., Sun., May 24-25 (Memorial Day Weekend). Place: Sheraton Orlando North, I-4 at Maitland Blvd. Rooms: $69/night (1-4 persons). Call 800-628-6660 for reservations. Convention admission: $65 per person ($115 per couple) if paid by March 1st; $75 (couples $135) if paid by April 1st; $85 (couples $155) if paid by May 22nd; $95 (couples $175) at the door. Make checks payable and mail to: Postulates Partners, P.O. Box 923, Winter Park, FL 32790. For more info, call 407-578-3797.
Delegate Requirements Everyone is welcome to attend the convention, but to be a voting delegate you must have been a member of the LPF for at least 60 days at the time of the convention and must be a registered Libertarian voter in Florida. Every county in the state is allotted one delegate for each 25 registered Libertarian voters or part thereof. County chairs and vice chairs and LPF Executive Committee members are automatically delegates, in addition to those allotted by voter count. Delegates must reside in the county they represent, and must have signed the LPF Candidate Oath Form. If you wish to be a delegate, contact your county chair or Regional Representative. County chairs must submit a list of delegates from their counties to LPF Secretary Tom Regnier by April 9 (See "Florida Liberty" box on page 2 for address). Regional Representatives of the LPF must submit a list of delegates from each unaffiliated county in their regions to the LPF Secretary by April 9.
The convention provides an opportunity for amending the LPF's own constitution. Amendments must be published among the Executive Committee, county affiliates and all members 30 days before the convention. If you wish to suggest a change to the LPF Constitution, send your proposal by February 20 to Rules Committee Chairman Jon Asfour, P.O. Box 13736, Gainesville, FL 32604. Any member may request the Executive Committee to include any item on the agenda. These requests should be in writing to Chairman Nick Dunbar c/o the LPF, P.O. Box 557, Venice, FL 34284 by April 24.
Clarification: The December issue of Florida Liberty stated that the LP was a "qualified party" in 22 states, topping its previous record of 18. We should clarify this by saying that this was a new record for the day after a presidential election. It is easier to remain qualified after a mid-term election; in fact, the LP was qualified in 23 states the day after the 1994 elections.
News from Around the State
LPF Executive Committee: Doug Price of Jacksonville Beach is the new Representative for Region 7 (Jacksonville, St. Augustine area). Greg Gill of Deland is the new Rep for Region 11 (Brevard, Daytona Beach area). Palm Beach County: Former County Chair Jim Alsis is now hosting his own talk radio program, "Straight Talk with Jim Alsis" on radio station WPBR 1340 AM in Palm Beach County on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 5 to 6 p.m. Past and future guests include Marshall Fritz, the founder of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State; Perry Willis, National Director of the LP; ballot access expert Richard Winger; and Michael Cloud, Libertarian author and lecturer. . . . County LP Officers for 1997: Chairman, John Lindenberg; Vice Chairman, Don Fenton; Secretary, Jim Alsis; Treasurer, Emily Pennington . . . A local politician from one of the major parties recently told Jim Alsis, "I raised an average of $1 per member for my presidential candidate in this county; you Libertarians raised an average of $30 per member for Harry Browne in this county! And while I can't even get all my registered party members to show up at the polls, you Libertarians turn out six times as many voters as you have members. I think you guys are doing something right!"
Seminole County: New County Commissioner Grant Maloy, a libertarian-leaning Republican, has appointed three Libertarians to local boards: Charles Champion (Program Review Committee), Kurt Harris (Parks and Recreation Committee), and Larry Lawver (Code Enforcement Board). Panhandle: Dean Crumly is now doing a 2-hour talk show five days a week on the predominantly Libertarian-owned radio station, WFAV 1400 AM. Bob Wilson is doing a monthly half-hour cable TV show.
Leon County: The Ochlockonee River Soil and Water Conservation Board now has four Libertarians out of five members. Pam Starker has joined the board, and Wayne Padgette has replaced a Libertarian who left the board.
Broward County: County LP Officers for 1997: Chairman, Nick Dunbar; Vice Chairman, Mike Kerner; Secretary, Ted Apelt; Treasurer, Sandy Koplowitz; At Large, Gary Ilardi. . . . At the Broward LP's December 21 "Operation Politically Homeless" booth at the Convention Center, 52 people took the quiz, with 59% scoring as Libertarians.
E-mail Directory of Florida Libertarians: To receive and be listed in the LP of Florida E-mail Directory, send your name, city, E-mail address, and position in the party, if any, to Jim Ray at: email@example.com
MARCH / APRIL 1997
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
STATE CONVENTION PREVIEW
LIBERTY IN ACTION!
You Are Cordially Invited to the Libertarian Party of Florida's Annual Convention for 1997 Friday evening, May 23 through Sunday afternoon, May 25 Sheraton Orlando North Hotel (I-4 at Maitland Boulevard) Speakers include: Jacob Hornberger, Mary Ruwart, Grant Maloy. Banquet, Awards, Election of Officers. Make your reservations today! See "Convention Information" below for details.
Hornberger and Ruwart Headline Speakers at Florida Libertarian Convention, May 23-25; Seminole County Commissioner Grant Maloy to Participate Jacob Hornberger, who electrified the Libertarian Party's 1996 National Convention with a rousing keynote address, and Mary Ruwart, author of Healing Our World: the Other Piece of the Puzzle, will speak at the Libertarian Party of Florida's 1997 convention, to be held May 23 through 25 in Orlando. Grant Maloy, a Republican Commissioner of Seminole County, will participate in a panel discussion which will include several Libertarian officeholders.
Hornberger: Dynamic Speaker
Jacob Hornberger, who received the Libertarian Party's Thomas Paine award as the best communicator of libertarian ideas, is the founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation, an educational foundation dedicated to advancing liberty through an uncompromising presentation of the libertarian philosophy. He was born and raised in Texas and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years and was an adjunct professor of law and economics at the University of Dallas. He was director of programs for the venerable free market think tank, the Foundation for Economic Education, before founding the Future of Freedom Foundation. Mr. Hornberger is co-editor of The Dangers of Socialized Medicine; The Case for Free Trade and Open Immigration; and The Failure of America's Foreign Wars. His views can be read every month in the FFF publication Freedom Daily. He has served on the Libertarian Party Platform Committee and has lectured on libertarianism to great acclaim on three continents. He will speak at the Saturday night, May 24 banquet at the state convention. His topic will be "Libertarianism: The Hope for America."
Ruwart: Activist and Humanitarian
Dr. Mary Ruwart, a Libertarian activist since 1982, is perhaps best known for her outreach book on libertarian principles, Healing Our World: the Other Piece of the Puzzle, which demonstrates how libertarian principles create a more compassionate world than aggression through government. She received a Ph.D. in Biophysics from Michigan State University and joined the Department of Surgery at St. Louis University as an assistant professor. She later joined Upjohn as Senior Research Scientist, where she worked on developing new therapies for diseases such as AIDS. She has run for political office in Michigan, and her vote totals allowed the Libertarian Party to retain ballot status in that state for 1992. Dr. Ruwart has worked extensively with the disadvantaged through the rehabilitation of low income housing and has been called the "Conscience of the Party" for her Unity Through Community campaigns. She has been profiled in such works as American Men and Women of Science and World's Who's Who of Women.
Maloy: Libertarian Political Ally
Grant Maloy was elected to the Seminole County Commission on the basis of his support for the "Contract with the County," which pledged no tax increases without voter approval, term limits for county commissioners, easing petition requirements for ballot access, ending taxpayer subsidies to large corporations, cutting down on business regulation, and no automatic pay raises for county commissioners. In his campaign, he pledged to donate 25% of his salary to charity and to refuse any pension for his services as commissioner. A graduate of the University of Florida College of Agriculture, he is the owner of Gabriella Growers, a wholesale foliage nursery. Since his election, Mr. Maloy has appointed several Libertarian Party members to local boards, some of whom will participate in the panel discussion at the Florida LP convention.
In addition, the convention will feature a workshop led by Libertarian attorney Daniel Walker of Leon County on how Libertarians can influence the upcoming Constitutional Review Commission, which will be considering changes in the Florida constitution (see "Call to Action," below). The convention will also include the Libertarian Party of Florida's Annual Business Meeting, at which business matters will be discussed, and officers for 1997-1998 will be elected. Breaking with previous tradition, the Business Meeting will begin on Saturday afternoon and continue on Sunday, rather than taking place on Sunday only. There will be a hospitality suite on the evening of Friday, May 23rd for those who arrive early, and formal convention activities will begin on Saturday morning at 9:00 and continue through the close of the Business Meeting on Sunday afternoon.
Make your plans to attend as soon as possible. See "Convention Information" below.
In the Words of . . . Mary Ruwart
"Wealth is created when we use existing resources in new ways. Since such creativity is virtually limitless, wealth is too." (p. 17)
"We are more likely to protect the environment when we own a piece of it and profit by nurturing it." (p. 97)
"With minimum wage laws, the skilled and educated no longer have to compete with the ambitious disadvantaged workers who are rising through the ranks. Only those who can afford to pay for training can get hired when the disadvantaged are forbidden from creating training jobs for themselves." (p. 35)
"In Communist countries. . . no one profits by conserving energy. People do not reap as they sow, because the wealth they create is taken from them--at gunpoint, if necessary. Manufacturing becomes wasteful. As a result, the Communist economies use almost three times as much energy as the so-called free nations for every dollar of goods produced." (pp. 225-6)
"Attempting to control others in our city, state, nation, and world is . . . destructive to the universal love we want the world to manifest. Forcing people to be more 'unselfish' creates animosity instead of good will. Trying to control selfish others is a cure worse than the disease." (p. 2)
[All quotes are from Healing Our World: the Other Piece of the Puzzle. Available from Laissez Faire Books, 1-800-326-0996.]
In the Words of . . . Jacob Hornberger
"What Americans fail . . . to recognize is that the concentration camps were simply the logical extension of the Nazi mind-set! . . . The evil--the terrible, black evil--is the belief that a government should have the power to sacrifice even one individual for the good of the nation. Once this basic philosophical premise and political power are conceded, innocent people, beginning with a few and inevitably ending in multitudes, will be killed, because 'the good of the nation' always ends up requiring it." (Aug. '94)
"What will happen when drugs are relegalized? Drug lords will be put out of business instantaneously because drug lords thrive only when the market for a product is illegal. Once drugs are relegalized, pharmacies will begin selling what are today considered illicit drugs (as they did before drugs were made illegal). How many pharmacies are going to risk their reputation by selling to minors? There might be a few, but they would always be the rare exception, unlike today when the drug seller doesn't worry about his reputation." (Jan. '97)
"[I]f we examine carefully the specifics of [Fidel] Castro's failed system, we find--voila!--the economic philosophy of Bill Clinton! In fact, there is not one aspect of Castro's economic philosophy that Bill Clinton does not wholeheartedly embrace." (Oct. '94)
[All quotes are from Freedom Daily, published by Future of Freedom Foundation, 11350 Random Hills Rd., Suite 800, Fairfax, VA 22030. Annual subscription rate: $18.]
Libertarian Party of Florida's Annual Convention and Business Meeting for 1997 Orlando, Florida
Dates: Fri., Sat., Sun., May 23-25 (Memorial Day Weekend).
Place: Sheraton Orlando North Hotel, Interstate-4 at Maitland Blvd. Rooms: $69/night (1-4 persons). Call (800) 628-6660 for reservations.
Convention admission (includes Saturday night banquet): $75 (couples $135) if paid by April 20th $85 (couples $155) if paid by May 22nd $95 (couples $175) at the door
(Make checks for admission payable to "Postulates Partners" and mail to: Postulates Partners, P.O. Box 923, Winter Park, FL 32790. For more information, call Ralph Swanson at 407-578-3797.)
Speakers: Jacob Hornberger, Mary Ruwart, Grant Maloy, Daniel Walker . . . and more!
State Party News
LPF to Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court
The Libertarian Party of Florida's Executive Committee voted unanimously to take its case to the U.S. Supreme Court when the Florida Supreme Court refused to re-hear its arguments on fee distribution. As reported in the last issue of Florida Liberty, the state supreme court had upheld a state law which rebates to major parties about half of a candidate's filing fee, while minor parties receive no rebate whatsoever. The court ruled that the state has a legitimate interest in protecting major (yes, major) parties.
The LPF chose to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, though there is only a slim chance that the Court will even hear the case. The LPF deemed that the Florida court's outrageous justification for this discriminatory law could not be left unchallenged. The initial printing and filing costs will amount to approximately $2,000. Contributions toward the legal proceedings are welcome and can be sent to the LPF, P.O. Box 557, Venice, FL 34284.
Who Will Be Florida Libertarian of the Year?
LPF Chairman Nick Dunbar wants to know your choice for Florida Libertarian of the Year. This award, to be presented at the upcoming State Convention on May 23-25, will honor the Florida Libertarian who has done the most to further the cause of liberty since June 1996. To vote, send a letter or post card naming your choice for Florida Libertarian of the Year, briefly stating why. Mail your vote to the LPF, P.O. Box 557, Venice, FL 34284, Attn: Nick Dunbar. All votes must be received by May 15, 1997.
Libertarians Protest Lack of Free and Open Elections
Several Libertarians testified on Florida's harsh ballot access laws at the Florida legislature's Election Reform Hearings, which were held at various locations around the state in February. Daniel Walker spoke in Tallahassee, Janet Hawkins in Orlando, and Jim Ray and Jay Tynan in Miami.
According to ballot access expert Richard Winger, Florida has the most stringent petitioning requirements in the nation. In addition, Florida's filing fees for candidates are by far the highest in the country, two-and-a-half times those of the second place state. The net result is that it is now more difficult for independent parties to get on the ballot in Florida than it is in Russia!
Political competition is further stymied by the reluctance of the two major parties to run against each other. From 1974 through 1994, there were 1,320 State House seats to be filled in Florida; for 650 of those seats, the major parties failed to field competing candidates. From the 1974 through 1994 general elections, there were 201 U.S. House seats to be filled; the major parties failed to offer competing candidates for 63 of those seats. From the 1984 (not 1974) through 1994 general elections, there were 147 State Senate seats to be filled; for 61 of those seats, the major parties failed to compete with one another. The trend continues to this day. In the 1996 general election, the two major parties failed to field competing candidates for 61 of the 120 State House seats to be filled, 8 of the 20 State Senate seats to be filled, and three of the 23 U.S. House seats.
This lack of electoral choice may help explain the results of the "Florida Voters Guide," released on January 8 by Secretary of State Mortham, a compilation of polls on Floridians' views on the electoral process. The leading reasons why people don't vote were "Dislike Candidates/No Choices," with 17%, and "Lack of Interest" with 12%. Regarding low voter turnout, the leading response was that the "Vote Makes No Difference" with 26%. The second leading reply was that voters "Do Not Like the Candidates" (20%).
Florida LP Attends Success '97 Conference in D.C.
The National Libertarian Party held its first annual "Success" conference in Washington, D.C. on March 1 and 2. This was a project to gather state party leaders from around the country for briefings on the national party's strategy for the future and on how the national party can assist state and local parties. Florida was represented by Chairman Nick Dunbar, Vice Chair Dianne Pilcher, Secretary Tom Regnier, and National Committee Alternate Gary Ilardi.
The attendees toured the National Headquarters in the upscale Watergate Office Building and were briefed by LP National Chairman Steve Dasbach, National Director Perry Willis, Communications Director Bill Winter, and LP staffers Kris Williams, George Getz, Dan Gallagher, and Dan Smith. They also attended a performance by the "Capitol Steps," a political comedy group which is being considered as entertainment for the 1998 national convention in D.C.
Building Local Parties
Of particular interest to local organizers was Perry Willis's talk on how he grew the San Diego LP in the early '80's to the point that it was larger than any state LP except California's. Essentially, the strategy consisted of having monthly pot luck social gatherings of Libertarians at a member's house. A bulletin board held envelopes with instructions for projects that needed to be done, while another board held envelopes with dollar amounts that were needed to complete the projects. Attendees could volunteer to participate in projects and/or contribute money towards them. Participation was high because volunteers chose those projects with which they felt most comfortable. Mr. Willis stressed the importance for local affiliates (as opposed to state parties) of sending out a monthly or bi-monthly fund-raising letter reporting on accomplishments, outlining future projects, and soliciting funds to put them into action.
Call to Action: All Libertarians Needed to Participate in Constitutional Revision!
As outlined in the last issue of Florida Liberty, the Florida constitution is up for revision once every twenty years. This is an extraordinary opportunity for Libertarians to have an effect on the political process by contacting government officials, writing letters to the press, and--most important of all--showing up to speak at public hearings which will take place around the state. Following is a tentative schedule of these hearings. Note that all are slated for weekdays, so circle the one in your area and make your plans to attend. These dates are still subject to change, so call the numbers given to confirm exact dates and times.
When you speak at these hearings, be sure to emphasize that you want more electoral choices by reducing ballot access requirements (feel free to quote the stats given in "Libertarians Protest Lack of Free and Open Elections" above), your opposition to a state income tax, and your enthusiasm for smaller, less intrusive government.
For more information on the revision process, you may write the CRC Steering Committee at 209 Capitol, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001, or call 904-921-6282, fax 904-231-0321, or visit the CRC website.
Constitution Revision Commission: Tentative Schedule of Public Hearings July 22 (Tues.): Pensacola; Civic Center, (904) 432-0800 July 23 (Wed.): Panama City; Civic Center, (904) 763-4696 July 29 (Tues.): Jacksonville; Prime Osborn Convention Center, (904) 630-4051 July 30 (Wed.): Gainesville, U. of F. Law School Auditorium, (352) 392-9238 August 12 (Tues.): Tallahassee; Ruby Diamond Auditorium, F.S. U. August 20 (Wed.): Miami; Knight Center, (305) 372-0277 August 21 (Thurs.): Ft. Lauderdale; location TBA August 22 (Fri.): West Palm Beach; Palm Beach Community College, (561) 831-7839 August 28 (Thurs.): Tampa; Tampa/Hillsborough Convention Center August 29 (Fri.): Ft. Myers; Edison Community College Corbin Auditorium, (941) 489-9232 September 4 (Thurs.): Orlando; Expo Center, (407) 489-9232 September 5 (Fri.): Daytona Beach; Ocean Center (904) 254-4500
OFFICIAL NOTICE: Proposed Rules Changes for 1997 Convention
Our annual convention gives the LP a chance to make revisions in its own Constitution and By-Laws. The following changes have been presented to the Rules Committee for consideration at the upcoming convention:
(1) By-Laws, Article IV, Section 2, Paragraph A (regarding delegates to the state convention), will be amended to read: "A. Delegates shall be members as prescribed in ARTICLE II of the Constitution. Delegates must have been a member of the LPF and a registered Libertarian for at least 60 days prior to the Annual Business Meeting. The officers of the Annual Business Meeting shall be the officers of the Party." As part of the same change, Paragraphs B through E of the above section, which list additional requirements for delegates, will be deleted.
(2) The title of By-Laws, Article III will be changed from "Officers and Directors" to "Executive Committee."
For a proposed change to pass, it would have to be approved by a majority of the delegates at the convention.
News from Around the State
Leon County: On January 11 in Tallahassee, Daniel Walker and Wayne Padgette manned an OPH/LP table at the first annual conference of the Southern League of Florida. Of approximately 40 people in attendance, 13 people took the World's Smallest Political Quiz. Eleven scored in the libertarian quadrant, with five test-takers scoring pure 100/100 scores. The Southern League is an organization which seeks to preserve or otherwise resurrect that which is best in the Southern heritage (racists are very much not welcome); concerning the size and intrusiveness of the Federal government, Southern Leaguers are very much our friends. The Southern League website is at: http://www.dixienet.com/
Seminole County: Karl Williamson was appointed to the county's Historical Commission by County Commissioner Grant Maloy. He is the fourth Libertarian to be appointed to public office in Seminole County in recent months. Including Libertarian Bill Lang, who has long been Chairman of the county's Board of Mechanical Contractors, Seminole County has more Libertarians in office than any county in the nation. Montgomery County, Alabama is second with three. . . . Officers of the LP of Seminole County are: Chairman, Karl Williamson; Vice Chairman, Kurt Harris; Secretary, Janet Hawkins; Treasurer, David Pieski.
Duval County: The City of Jacksonville, through the Office of the Supervisor of Elections, charged the Libertarian Party of Duval County $130.29 for the 0.3 seconds of computer time it took to run the Libertarian voter registration list on the city's mainframe computer. This is based on a rate of $423. 929 per second, which calculates out to over $13 billion per year. LPF Attorney Daniel Walker has been notified of the situation.
Palm Beach County: LP County Chairman Jim Alsis has had great success at coalition building in his county. On March 8, the American Liberties Coalition, an alliance of groups seeking to restore the Constitution and lessen the power of government, held a picnic attended by 220 people at which the speakers included Reform Party of Florida Vice Chair Pauline Klein, Florida Tax Cap Committee Deputy Director Paul Carpenella, Michael Kiriacon of the Fully Informed Jury Association, and Florida LP Chairman Nick Dunbar. The Palm Beach County LP's OPH booth at the picnic identified 14 people who scored above 80-80 on the political quiz. . . . Rick Shepherd, Publisher of Red Herring, an alternative newspaper in Palm Beach County, is the new Secretary of the Palm Beach County LP.
Manatee County: As we went to press, Libertarian Irma Lanning had filed to run for commissioner in the city of Holmes Beach. The election was to be held in March.
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
STATE CONVENTION REPORT
In This Issue:
-Libertarian Rocks Establishment
-Libertarian Free Speech Triumph
-GOP Mayor Joins LP
-Palm Beach Libertarian Talk Show Expanded to Five-Day Schedule
-Local Tax Protests Get Media
-Convention 1997 Report
-News From Around The State
-New LPF Office and Administrator
-Constitution Public Hearings
Libertarian Lanning Rocks Establishment
HOLMES BEACH -- Irma Backelant-Lanning, a former Chair of the Manatee County Libertarian Party, made an impact in a one-woman, all-out campaign for a city council seat in Holmes Beach in March. Ms. Lanning campaigned tirelessly, personally knocking on over a thousand doors to present her platform of sovereignty of the individual citizen, property rights, limited government, and fiscal responsibility. She went armed with copies of Florida statutes, local ordinances, proposed ordinances, and letters from state and city attorneys to back up her positions. She offered voters creative, money-saving solutions to problems and stressed her principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility. "I told them I couldn't protect the welfare of the community if the rights of even one individual that made up that community were violated," she said.
Though she had no name recognition in the community before the campaign, though the local press endorsed her opponents for "no particular reason," and though she spent only hundreds of dollars while her opponents spent thousands, Ms. Lanning garnered 10% of the vote to the winners' 20% and 17%.
Ms. Lanning's campaign is a textbook example of how a Libertarian campaign can produce valuable results even when it doesn't win. It can wake up the people to individual rights issues, educate them about libertarian principles, put pressure on the major party candidates, and pave the way for future Libertarian victories. During the course of the campaign, Ms. Lanning filed ethics charges against the local mayor; he now consults his lawyer about the constitutionality of any action before he makes a move. Ms. Lanning has hosted a Libertarian radio talk show, gathered signatures for the Tax Cap Amendment, and written guest editorials for the Bradenton Herald and the Ft. Pierce Tribune. "It is better to light one candle, than to curse the darkness," as Ms. Lanning says. "Anyone can fight city hall."
Libertarian Wins Free Speech Lawsuit
ORLANDO -- Libertarian Party member Hal Noyes of Orlando won a victory for the First Amendment right of free speech on May 1 by accepting a settlement of $25,000 from the city of Orlando. The settlement represents the end of a lawsuit stemming from his arrest in 1995 for peaceably handing out leaflets in a public park. "This settlement is one small triumph for the First Amendment," said Nick Dunbar, Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida. "This should be a lesson to authorities who try to violate individuals' basic rights to disseminate their political views in a peaceful manner. We hope other municipalities will get the message."
Mr. Noyes, an Orlando computer programmer, was handing out leaflets in Orlando's Lake Eola Park in September 1995 when a police officer commanded him to stop. Mr. Noyes was standing off the sidewalk and politely offering his leaflets to passers-by. He was not accused of disturbing the peace or harassing anyone.
Mr. Noyes attempted to explain to the officer that his actions were protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This simply confused the officer, who warned him that the park was "private property owned by the City of Orlando." Mr. Noyes was charged with trespassing, handcuffed, and jailed for seven hours. It was his first arrest. The charge against him was dropped a month later.
Ironically, the leaflets being handed out spelled out the Libertarian Party's position on crime--that it can be controlled without violating the Bill of Rights.
Mr. Noyes later filed a lawsuit against the city of Orlando for violating his right of free speech. The city offered Mr. Noyes a $25,000 settlement, which he accepted. The policeman who made the arrest has been reprimanded.
"I only regret," said Nick Dunbar, "that it is the taxpayers who will pay the $25,000. I believe the arresting officers should have to make restitution."
In a March 22, 1997 editorial on the case, the Orlando Sentinel stated that Mr. Noyes' lawsuit was intended to send a clear message to the city. "The message should be this: Read the U.S. Constitution."
"To that," said Dunbar, "we should add: 'And follow it.'"
Former GOP Mayor Now A Libertarian
WINTER HAVEN -- Carl Strang, a former Republican Mayor and City Commissioner of Winter Haven, Florida, has joined the Libertarian Party.
"I have been moving in this direction for some time," said Mr. Strang, as quoted in Bill Rufty's column in the Lakeland Ledger. "Both major parties have developed too much tolerance of government intrusion into private lives. There is really no difference between them anymore." Mr. Strang served as mayor of Winter Haven from 1987-88 and as city commissioner from 1984-88. He has held many other appointed positions in local government over the years and is currently co-chair of the Polk County Citizens' Committee for Efficient County Government, a collaborative effort of all seventeen of the Chambers of Commerce in Polk County.
He recently changed his voter registration from Republican to Libertarian, joined the Party, and attended the Libertarian Party of Florida Convention in Orlando. Up until he registered as a Libertarian, he was a member of the Polk County Republican Executive Committee.
Mr. Strang called for correction of Florida's restrictive ballot access laws, saying, "Every party should be allowed the right to have its candidates on the ballot for voters to choose."
Mr. Strang's defection may be just the tip of the iceberg. Polls show that at least 50 million Americans hold essentially libertarian views on politics, though they may not have heard of the Libertarian Party or be aware how closel y its positions match their own.
Palm Beach Libertarian Talk Show Expanded to Five-Day Schedule
"Straight Talk with Jim Alsis" on radio station WPBR 1340 AM in Palm Beach County has been expanded from a once-a-week show to five programs a week. The program is hosted by Jim Alsis, the Chairman of the LP of Palm Beach County and last year's Florida Libertarian of the Year. It airs from 6 to 7 p.m.
Guests on "Straight Talk with Jim Alsis" have included Harry Browne, the Libertarian Presidential candidate; Dr. Walter Williams, professor of Economics at George Mason University; Marshall Fritz, the founder of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State; Perry Willis, National Director of the LP; Richard Winger, ballot access expert; Dr. Arnold Trebach, president and founder of The Drug Policy Foundation in Washington, D.C.; Robert Mathews of the Fully Informed Jury Association; and David Boaz of the Cato Institute, author of the new book, Libertarianism: a Primer.
"Straight Talk with Jim Alsis" follows immediately after Bob Grant's popular, nationally syndicated talk show on WPBR Monday through Friday.
Local Tax Protests Get Media
A dozen members of the Libertarian Party of Broward County, most wearing three-cornered hats or other colonial garb, staged their sixth annual Tax Day protest on April 15, 1997. Broward party members stood in front of the main post office in Ft. Lauderdale holding Libertarian Party signs that proclaimed, "Repeal the Income Tax," "Abolish the IRS,"and "Less Government. No Income Tax." About five hundred of the Libertarian Party's "million-dollar bills," which denounce the government's ongoing "million-dollars-every-five-seconds" spending spree, were given out to late filers who drove by the post office to get their tax returns postmarked by midnight. Other Revolutionary symbols included 13-star American flags and a "Don't Tread on Me" flag.
Channel 4 News in Miami, the CBS affiliate in the area, showed excerpts of an interview with Libertarian Party members in colonial costume on both the 5 o'clock and 11 o'clock newscasts. The protest was also covered by the Sun-Sentinel, the major newspaper in the Ft. Lauderdale area.
As a prelude to the Tax Day protest, the Broward LP hosted a "Thomas Jefferson's Birthday Picnic" on April 13. The Broward LP hopes to make this an annual event.
Seven members of the Seminole County LP handed out 200 "million-dollar bills" and 400 other pieces of LP literature between 9 p.m. and midnight at the downtown Orlando post office. The Orlando Sentinel quoted Seminole LP Secretary Janet Hawkins as saying: "Everybody was a Libertarian on tax night. I never heard so many 'Amens' outside of church before, and 'I'm with you' as we thrust the million-dollar bills into their hands."
LIBERTY IN ACTION
Report from the 1997 Libertarian Party of Florida Convention
ORLANDO, May 23-25 -- The Libertarian Party of Florida's Annual Convention for 1997 was a resounding success with exciting speakers, informative panel discussions, some major resolutions, and swift and harmonious handling of state party business. Convention organizer Ralph Swanson declared this one of the best-attended conventions ever, reflecting the Florida Libertarian Party's robust growth in the last year. About one hundred people attended the convention, with sixty qualifying as voting delegates.
Nick Dunbar Elected to a Third Term
The delegates to the convention elected Nick Dunbar of Broward County to a third consecutive one-year term as Chairman. Brian Collar of Pinellas County was elected Vice Chairman, succeeding longtime Libertarian activist Dianne Pilcher. Marshall Sutherland of Alachua County was chosen as the new Treasurer, and Tom Regnier of Broward County was elected to a second term as Secretary. Jim Alsis of Palm Beach County was re-elected as an At Large Director, and Wayne Harley of Brevard County and Janet Hawkins of Seminole County were chosen to fill the remaining two At Large Directorships. For a listing of Regional Directors chosen at the convention, see the "Executive Committee"list below.
Guest Speakers: Winter, Ruwart, and Hornberger
The convention's "Liberty in Action" theme was personified by guest speakers Bill Winter, Mary Ruwart, and Jacob Hornberger. From the wit, charm, and political savvy of Bill Winter to the warmth, spirituality, and insight of Mary Ruwart to the passionate brilliance of Jacob Hornberger, these speakers exemplified highly effective, though markedly contrasting, approaches to spreading the Libertarian message.
* Bill Winter, the National Libertarian Party's Communications Director, a late addition to the convention's roster of speakers, was a highly successful Chairman of the New Hampshire Libertarian Party from 1988 to 1992 and is perhaps best known to Libertarians for his incisive and often humorous press releases. His luncheon speech was a "how to" for building a state party. After suggesting a couple of campaign slogans for Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry ("He's taking drugs off the streets--one gram at a time," and "Marion Barry: let's give him another crack at it."), he reported that, nationally, the party is experiencing its largest sustained growth ever. There are now 194 Libertarian officeholders nationwide and 166,000 registered Libertarians. He stressed the five rules for success--Activity, Excellence, Infrastructure, Out-reach, and "You" and gave a 10-point checklist for building a state party (See below). Mr. Winter ended with an anecdote about two shoe salesmen who were sent to Australia to scout out the prospects for shoe sales. One reported back, "No sales opportunities here--the natives don't wear shoes." The second reported, "Lots of sales opportunities here--the natives don't wear shoes."
"Prospecting for new members is like breathing--if you don't do it, you'll die." -- Bill Winter, National LP Communications Director
* Dr. Mary Ruwart, a research scientist with a Ph.D. in Biophysics and author of Healing Our World: the Other Piece of the Puzzle, gave an uplifting talk on "Why a Libertarian World is Inevitable." She noted that, as a scientist, she is trained to notice patterns; and, overall, despite certain setbacks, the historical trend is toward liberty: two centuries ago, slavery and torture were considered acceptable, most countries were ruled by monarchs, and only white males who owned land could vote. She declared that liberty is our natural right because it is what our nature demands. People understand liberty when it is explained to them in terms of freedom of choice; The Clinton health care plan was defeated because libertarian organizations alerted the public that it would take away their right to choose their own doctors. Dr. Ruwart pointed out that government aggression limits the creation of wealth, so that even the wealthy are worse off than they would be in a free society. A free market, on the other hand, makes it necessary for the seller to consider what others want and, therefore, to be more in touch with them. People who steal from others through government aggression become alienated because they come to see others as separate from themselves. "Our human nature," said Dr. Ruwart, "drives us to be at one with our neighbors or at least have good will. We destroy our happiness by using aggression. To gain happiness, we must give liberty to others."
"It's liberty that puts bread on the table. Liberty lets the poor become rich. Liberty is what works." -- Dr. Mary Ruwart, author of Healing Our World
* Jacob "Bumper" Hornberger, founder of the Future of Freedom Foundation, gave a barn-burning Saturday night banquet speech on "Libertarianism: the Hope for America." He pointed out that the message from the two major parties is insulting: it amounts to telling us that we are so irresponsible, uncaring, and incompetent that we need the government to take care of us. The Libertarian message is positive and hopeful because it says that we trust in people's basic good instincts. He said the best way to achieve a free, responsible society is to use our most powerful weapons--truth and principle. He declared that it is possible to generate excitement as a Libertarian by being up-front about what distinguishes us from the other parties. Displaying the eloquence which won him the Party's Thomas Paine Award as the best communicator of libertarian ideas, he demonstrated how to take the offensive in debating the statists. "We're going to end all the death and destruction you Democrats and Republicans are wreaking on the American public through the War on Drugs" is an example of how to frame the debate in your own terms. He recounted how, in a debate against Democratic and Republican opponents, he immediately seized the advantage by branding his opponents as members of two socialist parties that were leading us down the "road to serfdom" that Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek had warned us against. From that point on, his opponents were on the defensive. "Nothing can give you peace but the triumph of your principles," he said, and ended by predicting that "American Libertarians will lead the world out of the socialistic morass."
"Never worry about losing if you're fighting for liberty."-- Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom Foundation
After Mr. Hornberger's speech, the Florida LP raised over $1,500 selling special Libertarian Party car signs designed by Libertarian Bill Caulk of Leesburg. To get your own sign, call (800) 359-2988.
Maloy and Walker Lead Panel Discussions
The convention's "Liberty in Action" theme was further illustrated by two panel discussions that dealt with the nuts and bolts of the political process.
* Grant Maloy, a Republican Seminole County Commissioner with libertarian principles, headed a panel of Libertarian officeholders. Mr. Maloy described his experience as a lone voice for freedom on the Seminole County Commission. He was even criticized by other Republicans for endorsing the "Contract with the County," in which he and other candidates agreed to pay a $1,000 fine for each time they violated promises made in the contract. When some Republicans called the Contract "illegal," Mr. Maloy responded, "It's illegal to keep promises?" Once Mr. Maloy was elected to the Commission, another Republican Commissioner said he sympathized with him for "standing by his ideals," a concept that was apparently new to many in the government. He stressed that it is important to form coalitions, as there are many groups that are willing to stand up against what Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform calls the "Takings Coalition"--the groups that want to use government to take things from other citizens. Mr. Maloy found that, while he is not going along with politics as usual and is often a minority of one, his adherence to principle has caused others to reconsider their positions.
Mr. Maloy's speech was followed by brief talks by five Libertarians who now hold public office in Seminole County--Kurt Harris of the Parks and Recreation Board, Larry Lawver of the Code Enforcement Board, Bill Lang of the Board of Mechanical Contractors, Charles Champion of the Program Review Board, and Karl Williamson of the Historical Commission. All but Mr. Lang were appointed to their posts by Mr. Maloy. Mr. Champion said that, once in office, one is often encouraged to compromise in order to make friends with other politicians. "That's advice from people with no principles for people with no principles," said Mr. Champion, who recommended, "Do not go along with the flow. Government is designed to keep growing. Never, never, never believe what the government staff tells you."
When Grant Maloy was on the Code Enforcement Board a few years ago, other board members were shocked to learn that Florida has a state constitution. Recently, however, when Larry Lawver was appointed to the same board, he was given, by the board, a copy of the Florida constitution. So change is possible.
"When you run on principles, you will be attacked." -- Grant Maloy, Seminole County Commissioner
* Daniel Walker, Libertarian Party attorney, led off the second panel discussion, which concerned the upcoming revision of the Florida constitution and how Libertarians can form coalitions with other like-minded groups to affect the revision process. The Florida constitution is up for such revision once every twenty years, and any changes that this year's Commission recommends will be on the ballot for voter approval in 1998. Public hearings will be held around the state beginning in July, and Libertarians are strongly urged to attend these hearings to speak out in favor of property rights, ballot access, less government, jury rights, and retaining the ban on a state income tax. See the schedule below.
In the spirit of coalition-building, the Tax Cap Committee and the Southern League, two groups that share many concerns with Libertarians, sent representatives to speak on the revision process. Paul Carpenella, legislative liaison of the Tax Cap Committee and a former mayor of Daytona Beach, stressed the importance of requiring politicians to come to the people whenever they want more money. This would give the voters a chance to evaluate how they had spent monies already given them before granting any more. He warned that the Constitution Revision Commission is likely to be loaded with lawyers and that the governor and state supreme court want to weaken the people's ability to do ballot initiatives. Mike Crane of the Southern League suggested that, as a coalition, we come up with our own proposals and do a "full-court press" on them. "Politicians aren't interested in the facts. They're interested in who's in their face in the last minute." -- Paul Carpenella, Tax Cap Committee
NatComm Rep Candi Copas
Candi Copas of North Carolina, our Regional Representative on the Libertarian Party National Committee, reported much good news. The national membership level, which usually goes up during an election year and falls off afterwards, soared during 1996 but has remained steady so far in 1997. The National Party is stepping up its telemarketing efforts in order to increase membership and fund-raising. Twenty-six states already have achieved ballot access for the year 2000, and celebrities such as Clint Eastwood, Hugh Downs, and Kurt Russell have endorsed libertarianism.
Libertarian of the Year
Chairman Nick Dunbar named Tom Regnier as Florida Libertarian of the Year for his work as LPF Secretary and Florida Liberty Editor. The award is given to "the Florida Libertarian who has done the most to further the cause of liberty" since the last state convention. In his acceptance, Mr. Regnier said the award meant a great deal because so many Florida Libertarians had made important contributions during the year that were deserving of such an honor.
The convention delegates ratified three resolutions stating the Florida LP's positions on taxes and drug policy:
* A resolution introduced by Jim Alsis expressed strong support for the Florida Tax Cap Committee and its work on limiting taxes in the state of Florida. The resolution stated, "We call upon all Libertarians in the State of Florida, to support the efforts of the Tax Cap Committee to bring forward ballot initiatives, to preserve the private property rights of the individual citizens of the State of Florida and to control and restrain the taxing powers of governing bodies of the State of Florida."
"The Tax Cap Committee is only asking that any new taxes be approved by the voters," said Nick Dunbar in a press release. "In a land where the people are supposed to rule, who can argue with that?"
* Also ratified was a Medical Marijuana resolution presented to the convention by Toni Leeman of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Coalition Advocating Legislation for Medical Marijuana. The Coalition will be initiating a medical marijuana petition drive, similar to those passed recently in California and Arizona.
The Libertarian Party's resolution asks the legislature to recognize that: "Patients who possess marijuana for medical treatment should be exempt from criminal prosecution; and physicians in this state shall not be punished, or denied any right or privilege, for having recommended marijuana to a patient."
"People have a right to choose what medications or treatments will be used on their own bodies," said Nick Dunbar. "Legislators and bureaucrats shouldn't be making these decisions; individuals and their doctors should."
* A resolution by Wayne Padgette of Leon County criticizing the government's use of the military in the War on Drugs was approved by the delegates. Citing a recent incident in which a marine on border guard duty fatally shot a Texas citizen, the resolution condemned the War on Drugs as a mere expansion of government power and a "complete and utter failure."
The convention delegates revised the LPF By-Laws, Article IV, Section 2, which details requirements for delegates to the state convention. Delegates need only be members of the LPF and registered Libertarian voters in Florida for at least 60 days before the convention and must sign the LPF Candidate Oath Form. There is no longer any limit to the number of delegates who may attend from any given county, as long as they meet the above requirements.
Next State Convention To Be Earlier in the Year
As the Libertarian Party's national convention is now held in July, the Florida LP's traditional late May/early June convention date is too late in the year for delegates chosen for the national convention to make arrangements for travel and accommodations. Therefore, the delegates agreed that the state convention should be moved up to March or April. Exact date is yet to be determined, but be prepared for an earlier state convention in 1998.
Bill Winter's "Success Checklist" for State LP's
A successful Libertarian Party. . . 1. Keeps an accurate database of members and prospects. 2. Sends a prompt, professional information package to prospects. 3. Is constantly prospecting for new members. 4. Publishes a regular newsletter of activities and successes. 5. Has a bank account and an ongoing plan for raising money. 6. Runs candidates for office and monitors elections (or registration figures) that affect ballot access. 7. Is active in the political system--through elections, referendums, lobbying, etc. 8. Has regular public meetings and party leadership meetings. 9. Has an organized media outreach plan. 10. Has leadership dedicated to growth, success, and professionalism and a solid, realistic vision for success.
News From Around The State
Open Debates Foundation: In response to the exclusionary tactics of the Commission on Presidential Debates, Brian Collar, who was recently elected Vice Chairman of the Florida Libertarian Party, has founded America's Open Debates Foundation, a group that seeks Presidential debates in which candidates from all parties can participate. As Mr. Collar says, "If we cannot reform the Commission on Presidential Debates, we shall replace it."
Members of the Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Natural Law, Republican and U.S. Taxpayers Party have offered their support. The Foundation's website can now be visited at: http://www.opendebates.org/. Donations can be sent to: America's Open Debates Foundation, 19208 Crescent Road, Odessa, FL 33556. Mr. Collar can also be reached at (813) 920-7663 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Foundation will not accept money from any tax-derived source.
Seminole County: The Libertarian Party of Seminole County held an "Operation Politically Homeless" booth at the Southern Classic Gun & Knife Show in Orlando on March 15 and 16. Ninety-six people took the quiz; 34 scored libertarian or borderline libertarian; 32 gave their addresses and requested more information.
Leon County: On May 29, Libertarians Pam Staerker, John Otto, Wayne Padgette, and Daniel Walker participated in a "Debtbusters 2002" meeting, a workshop in which participants were assigned into small groups (as "budget committees") to attempt to balance the budget. If this type of town meeting is held in your area, by all means, show up and participate!
County Affiliates Elect New Officers
Alachua County: David Owens, Chairman; Walter Schultze, Vice Chairman; Cameron Michelis, Secretary; Marshall Sutherland, Treasurer.
Brevard County: John Cornett, Chairman; David Hobbs, Vice Chairman; Ann Cornett, Secretary; Wayne Harley, Treasurer.
Dade County: John T. Conway, Chairman; Carlos Manrique, Vice Chairman; Mark Witt, Secretary; Jay Tynan, Treasurer.
New LPF Office and Administrator
The Libertarian Party of Florida is moving its headquarters from Venice to Orlando. Longtime Libertarian and former LPF Chairman Ralph Swanson has been hired as Administrator. The LPF's new mailing address is: P.O. Box 3012, Winter Park, FL 32790-3012. Information for Florida Liberty should still be sent directly to the Editor.
Constitution Revision Commission
Tentative Schedule of Public Hearings:
July 22 (Tues.): Pensacola; Civic Center (904) 432-0800
July 23 (Wed.): Panama City; Civic Center (904) 763-4696
July 29 (Tues.): Jacksonville; Prime Osborn Convention Center (904) 630-4051
July 30 (Wed.): Gainesville; U. of F. Law School Auditorium (352) 392-9238
August 12 (Tues.): Tallahassee; Ruby Diamond Aud., F.S.U.
August 20 (Wed.): Miami; Knight Center (305) 372-0277
August 21 (Thurs.): Ft. Lauderdale; location TBA
August 22 (Fri.): West Palm Beach; Palm Beach Community College (561) 831-7839
August 28 (Thurs.): Tampa; Tampa/Hillsborough Convention Center
August 29 (Fri.): Ft. Myers; Edison Community College, Corbin Auditorium (941) 489-9232
September 4 (Thurs.): Orlando; Expo Center (407) 489-9232
September 5 (Fri.): Daytona Beach; Ocean Center (904) 254-4500
[Note: The above information was still subject to change as we went to press. For updated information, call the number given for your area or call (904) 921-6282, fax (904) 231-0321, or visit the CRC website at: http://www.law.fsu.edu/crc. The state Division of Elections has links to downloadable versions of the Florida constitution and election laws and regulations at: http://election.dos.state.fl.us/online/elecnfo.htm. Daniel Walker, the LPF's attorney, recommends that you read Article 1, the state version of the Bill of Rights, at the very least.]
JULY / AUGUST 1997
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
The Libertarian Party of America . . . We're in Touch with You!
In This Issue . . .
Speak Out for Liberty at Constitution Revision Hearings!
LPF Building Coalitions
Jury Rights Day September 2
Libertarians Take to the Airwaves
And More . . .
Call to Action: Libertarians Needed to Speak At Constitution Revision Commission Hearings!
All Libertarians in Florida are strongly urged to speak out at the upcoming public hearings of the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) being held around the state. The Libertarian Party, under the leadership of Chairman Nick Dunbar and Attorney Daniel Walker, has put together a coalition, called the "Constitutional Liberty Coalition," (CLC) which will present a package of proposals to the CRC. As we went to press, the Coalition included the American Liberties Coalition, Southern League, and Conservative (aka U.S. Taxpayers) Party of Florida. Just go to the public hearings in your area and, when you get a chance to speak, say that you support the package of proposals presented by the Constitutional Liberty Coalition. Then, if you wish, speak further on any specific issue about which you feel strongly, such as ballot access (highly recommended), limited government, no state income tax, asset forfeiture laws, jury rights, property rights, and so forth. You do not have to be a great speaker -- the Commission wants to hear your views, not your oratory. A professional appearance and sincere, reasoned statement will be well received. And, by all means, feel free to say you are a member of the Libertarian Party.
"This Coalition," said Nick Dunbar, "is a symbol of the Florida LP's maturing into an active player in state politics. We're showing that we can form alliances with like-minded groups and make our views known to the powers that be." Mr. Dunbar is one of the directors of the Coalition, along with Mike Crane of the Southern League, Rob Ross of the American Liberties Coalition, Kim Watson of the Conservative Party, Daniel Walker, as a member of the Ocholockonee River Soil and Water Conservation District Board, and Republican-turned-Libertarian Carl Strang, a former mayor of Winter Haven.
The CLC proposals would provide, among other things:
greater limits on government power
increased ballot access
further limitations on the taxing powers of the state
an end to asset forfeiture laws
school tax abatement for those who do not have children in public schools
greater limits on the government's power to regulate private property.
The schedule below gives the finalized dates for CRC hearings. This replaces the tentative schedules which were published in earlier issues of Florida Liberty. Hearings are during working hours and during the week, so make plans as soon as possible to take the day off. And arrive at the hearings early! This is a rare opportunity for Libertarians to make an impact on the political process.
Constitution Revision Commission Schedule of Public Hearings (Hearings will begin at 9:30 a.m.)
Panama City: Tues., July 22, Marina Civic Center, 8 Harrison Avenue
Pensacola: Wed., July 23, Civic Center (Room F-1, 2 & 3--2nd floor)
Jacksonville: Tues., July 29, Prime Osborne Center (Room 102-3)
Gainesville: Wed., July 30, University Auditorium (off Union Rd., near Century Tower)
Miami: Wed., August 20, Ashe Auditorium (400 S.E. Second Ave., Hyatt Regency)
Ft. Lauderdale: Thurs., August 21, Broward Center for the Performing Arts (201 SW 5th Ave.)
West Palm Beach: Fri., August 22, Duncan Theater (Palm Beach Community College Central Campus)
Orlando: Thurs., Sept. 4, Expo Center (50 West Livingston St.)
Daytona Beach: Fri., Sept. 5, Daytona Beach Community College, Bldg. 16
Tampa: Thurs., Sept. 11, Tampa Convention Center
Ft. Myers: Fri., Sept. 12, Edison Comm. College (Corbin Auditorium)
Jury Rights Day Celebrates Jurors' Right to Vote Their Consciences
Jury Rights Day celebrates the seventeenth century acquittal by a London jury of William Penn, who was charged with preaching an illegal religion (Quakerism). Though Penn had clearly violated the law as written, the members of the jury refused to convict him on the basis that they disagreed with the law itself. The jurors stood by their verdict though they were held without food, water, or toilet facilities for four days. They were fined and imprisoned for acquitting Penn until England's highest court acknowledged their right to reject both law and fact and to find a verdict according to conscience.
Juries are free to judge the merits of the law itself, its use in the case at hand, and the motives of the accused in arriving at a decision. Yet judges seldom tell juries of these rights, and attorneys who wish to inform juries of their rights risk being cited for contempt of court. A juror who admits that he might vote to acquit because he has disagreements with the law is likely to be dismissed from the case.
John Adams, our second President, said about the juror: "It is not only his right, but his duty . . . to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgement, and conscience, though in direct oppos-ition to the direction of the court."
In 1972, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, stating that the jury has an ". . . unreviewable and irreversible power . . . to acquit in disregard of the instruction on the law given by the trial judge. The pages of history shine upon instances of the jury's exercise of its prerogative to disregard instructions of the judge; for example, acquittals under the fugitive slave law." (473 F.2d 1113)
The Fully Informed Jury Association was formed to educate jurors about their right to judge the law itself, as well as the facts of the case, and to require judges to inform juries of this right. In 1991, they named September 5 (the anniversary of William Penn's acquittal) as "Jury Rights Day." Many libertarians observe this occasion by handing out FIJA literature on the Tuesday after Labor Day (September 2nd this year). To receive an introductory information packet on FIJA call (800) TEL-JURY.
News from Around the State
Palm Beach County:
In his new online newsletter, "LibertyWire," 1996 Libertarian Presidential candidate Harry Browne says: "One radio show I did warrants special mention. Jim Alsis, the LP county chairman in Palm Beach, Florida, has started his own show--an hour at afternoon traffic time . . . . He is selling the advertising for the show himself. He is particularly suited for this--being an energetic Libertarian, a good salesman, and a talented person with a good voice. Of course, not everyone is capable of doing something like this, but his project can serve as an inspiration to all of us. Instead of saying, 'What Libertarians ought to do is . . . ,' he has undertaken the job entirely on his own." ["Straight Talk with Jim Alsis" has been expanded to a two-hour program and is heard on WPBR 1340 AM, Monday through Friday at 6 p.m. To subscribe to Harry Browne's "LibertyWire," send an E-mail message to: listserv@mail.HarryBrowne2000.org with the words "join LibertyWire" in the text area.]
Nick Dunbar and Tom Regnier were guests on Larry and Melanie Lashbrook's one-hour radio show, "On the Move," on WNN 1470 AM on June 18. They discussed Libertarian principles regarding such issues as taxes, abortion, gay rights, term limits, separating school and state, and ballot access.
Libertarian Lance Stinson, owner of M4 Radio, a two-hour show devoted to local original music from around the globe, seeks Libertarian guests to spread the word to an expanding college age listenership. The show, now on WAMT 1060 in Central Florida on Tuesdays at 2 p.m., is soon to be 5 days a week. Lance says, "I think this would be a great way to introduce the LP to the 18 to 35 age group through something they understand and care about. Music and freedom go hand in hand, and the LP is the best group to ensure that music can stay free."
Contact Lance at (407) 344-0188 or at email@example.com.
Following is an excerpt from a letter by County LP Secretary Janet Hawkins to the Orlando Sentinel: "Tuesday night at the public hearing regarding Adult Entertainment, Public Nudity, Alcohol and Zoning ordinances, the question was: Will this Seminole County Commission vote to give us MORE GOVERNMENT & MORE TAXES, more laws and regulations that put a burden on businesses, that will require more police, jails and government bureaucrats to enforce these laws, that will cost more money, that will raise our taxes!! This does not sound like the Republican promise of LESS GOVERNMENT & LESS TAXES. I am very disappointed. Where were the people who believe that government is too big and too intrusive and takes too much of our money? Apparently, not on this Commission."
Irma Lanning, who recently ran for city council in Holmes Beach, now writes a weekly op-ed Libertarian column. It is being distributed to the Freedom News and Knight-Ridder papers all over the country via the Freedom News wire service. In Florida this includes the Tallahassee Democrat, Miami Herald, Fort Pierce Tribune, and Northwest Florida Daily News. In a recent column, she argued for legalizing the growing of industrial hemp: "We have a plant that can grow 15 feet in 70 days. It's a sustainable resource, it's environmentally friendly, good for the planet, produces jobs, and would positively impact the trade deficit. Why, then, must we be supplicants before legislators who are defending an unjust, unreasonable, capricious law that inhibits freedom of trade? To have to beseech the government for the right to an honest, legitimate livelihood is an affront to our liberties and our Constitution. Speaking of which, the first two drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper." If you see Ms. Lanning's column in your local paper, call the paper and express your support.
Citizens for Judicial Reform:
Nick Dunbar represented the Libertarian Party at the Florida Judicial Summit in Orlando in June. The Summit, sponsored by the Tax Cap Committee, was prompted by the Florida Supreme Court's striking down the Tax Cap Amendment for a second time. The coalition, known as "Citizens for Judicial Reform," includes Citizens for Constitutional Property Rights, Judicial Watch, the James Madison Institute, and the Christian Coalition of Florida. Libertarian activist Gene Cisewski of Washington, D.C. also attended as a consultant. The group's purpose is to curb judicial activism (i.e., judges making the law rather than interpreting it). A number of possible approaches were explored, such as term limits, competitive non-partisan elections, and the recall process.
Sidewalks Are Free!
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in February that "speech in public areas is at its most protected on public sidewalks, a prototypical example of a traditional public forum." The decision in this case, Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western New York, 95-1065, should make it easier to circulate petitions and otherwise express political views on public sidewalks. The text of this decision can be found online at: http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/95-1065.ZO.html
Source: Richard Winger, Ballot Access News [To receive one year of Ballot Access News (12 issues), send $10.00 ($13 for overseas) to: Ballot Access News, P.O. Box 470296, San Francisco, CA 94147. Make checks payable to Ballot Access News.]
Ronald Danforth Financial Freedom Group
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SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 1997
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
The Libertarian Party of America . . . We're in Touch with You!
In This Issue . . .
Libertarians Shine at Constitution Hearings
Liberty Bell Picnic
'98 State Convention in February
And More . . .
URGENT: Write the Constitution Revision Commission!
Libertarians Shine at CRC Hearings
The Libertarian Party of Florida displayed the most consistent presence of any political group in the state at the Constitution Revision Commission hearings that were held around the state in July, August, and September. The Constitutional Liberty Coalition, an alliance spearheaded by the Florida LP, was one of the few groups to present a package of precisely worded suggestions for changes to the state constitution -- changes that would limit the power of government and put more choice back into the hands of individual citizens. (See below for text of the proposals.) Libertarians spoke in each of the eleven cities where hearings were held and were usually the only political group with an information table at the hearings. The Coalition's election reform proposals were endorsed by Florida Common Cause, and its proposals to end asset forfeiture laws were endorsed by Forfeiture Endangers American Rights.
State representative Bob Casey approached the Alachua LP after several members spoke at the hearing in Gainesville and invited them to talk to him about ballot access legislation. Commissioners Kenneth Connor and Carlos Alfonso told LPF leaders that they wish to do something about the unfair ballot access laws.
At the Ft. Lauderdale hearing, an editorial writer from the Miami Herald scored as a libertarian on the quiz and gave the LP his fax number so he could receive press releases. John Anderson, who ran as an independent Presidential candidate in 1980 and who teaches law at Nova University, spoke at the Ft. Lauderdale hearing on proportional representation and quoted "John Stuart Mill, that great libertarian." Nick Dunbar and members of the Broward LP had dinner that evening with CRC commissioner Dr. Stanley Marshall of the James Madison Institute and Robert Poole, founder of the Reason Foundation, the man who coined the word "privatization."
Congratulations to every Florida Libertarian who spoke at the hearings! Particular credit goes to Libertarian attorney Daniel Walker of Tallahassee, who is responsible for bringing the revision process to our attention, helping to put together a coalition, and working out (with other members of the coalition) the exact legal wordings of our proposals. The next step for Libertarians is to send a letter to the Commission as soon as possible. (See the address below.) While many Libertarians could not make it to the hearings because of the inconvenient times, we can all write letters. As Daniel Walker says, "This is a once-per-generation opportunity. You aren't being asked to contribute to a long-shot campaign or to fund a petition drive. Just be an active citizen for a little while." Here are some further suggestions from Daniel on what to say in your letter: "Please consider including some of the following issues in any letter to the CRC: A so-called Environmen-tal Bill of Rights has been suggested; inform the CRC that we need stronger protection of the human right of property ownership and use, not more centralized, statist environmental controls. Support a continued prohibition of a state personal income tax. Please oppose tax ("public") funding of political campaigns as just more political welfare. Support a prohibition of any sort of mandatory community/ public service tied to permits, licenses, degrees or diplomas. Advocate an explicit protection of political participation rights for all citizens, regardless of political affiliation. Put in a good word for property tax relief for families which privately educate or homeschool their children. Call for adoption of a recall mechanism so voters can impose account ability between elections, and for the right to vote for "None of the Above" so voters can publicly discipline mud-slinging candidates. Make it tougher for government to alter citizens' plans and lives, and restrict the power of eminent domain." And, of course, say that you support the twenty proposals presented by the Constitutional Liberty Coalition. Write at length on any subject about which you feel strongly, but write!
Write to the CRC at:
Constitution Revision Commission
Historic Old Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
fax: (850) 413-7728
Spoken by Libertarians at the Constitution Revision Commission Hearings
"Our legislature and our courts have as much declared that the two major parties have a lock on all wisdom and all ability to govern, and further that the voters don't deserve a real choice in electing their representatives. Where does it say in the U.S. Constitution and the Florida Constitution that the Democrats and the GOP are the only two parties to be allowed; and where does it say that a voter must be either a Democrat or a Republican in order to participate in the electoral process and government?" --Carl Strang, Jacksonville, July 29, 1997
"The Judiciary is shutting itself off from us. The Legislature is shutting itself off from us. This is why we have seen a tremendous growth in Citizen Initiatives in the last decade. Sadly, there are proposals to shut this down as well. The state's leading newspapers have made a great hue and cry about big money interests using this process and how few true grassroots efforts make it to the ballot. The irony is that they then offer proposals to reform the process that will make it even more expensive and less likely to be used by the grassroots efforts they purport to champion. " --Nick Dunbar, Miami, August 20, 1997
"I hope state government will not make the mistake that the federal government has made of trying to solve every problem and to poke its nose into every aspect of life. Since government relies on coercion to achieve its aims, it is too blunt an instrument for solving most social problems. Adam Smith, the economist, said that it is impossible for planners to manipulate members of society the way they would arrange pieces on a chessboard because human beings, unlike chess pieces, have a will of their own. Members of the Commission, it is the arrogance of power that treats people as pawns on a chessboard, and not as intelligent, self-determined beings." -- Tom Regnier, Orlando, September 4, 1997
LPF Holds First "Mini-Convention"
ORLANDO -- The LP of Florida held its first in a series of "mini-conventions" in conjunction with the Executive Committee meeting on August 2nd. The "mini-con," the brainchild of LPF Administrator Ralph Swanson, consisted of a morning session in which local Libertarians could discuss party issues and hear comments from LPF leaders and an afternoon session in which party members could sit in on an LPF Executive Committee meeting.
Charles Champion, a Libertarian member of the Seminole County Program Review Commission, said that members of his commission are strongly in favor of privatization and are highly admiring of the Reason Foundation's work in this area. He said that politicians from other parties often turn to Libertarians for ideas. County Commissioner Grant Maloy, for example, has asked Libertarians to prepare and present a "Libertarian budget" for the county. Mr. Champion also criticized the county's Code Enforcement Board, which he described as a "completely unconstitutional court" with no jury and no subpoena power for the defendant. Among its absurdities, the county had one family tear down and rebuild a shed three times. Mr. Champion remarked on how few people actually run the county and noted that a few more Libertarians could have a big impact on the county's political system.
LPF At Large Director Jim Alsis spoke on inspiring people to become activists. He endorsed the coalition-building going on in Seminole County and noted the enormous influence that a small group of free market economists led by Friedman and Hayek had had on the intellectual battle against socialism. Janet Hawkins, another LPF At Large Director, said that, "One person can make a difference, but one person can't do it all." She gave examples of how she has been getting press coverage by being prepared with precise, memorable statements of Libertarian positions on local issues.
The next mini-convention will be held in conjunction with the LPF Executive Committee meeting in Melbourne on October 25. Contact the LPF at (800) 478-0555 for details.
Libertarians Join Allies at Liberty Bell Picnic
PALM BEACH COUNTY, August 16 -- Libertarians from Broward and Palm Beach Counties were among several hundred who attended the American Liberties Coalition's "Liberty Bell Picnic" at Morikami Park. The American Liberties Coalition is an alliance of many conservative and libertarian groups who, though they may disagree on some issues, favor less government and restoring the U.S. Constitution.
Emily Pennington and Sean Landon of the Palm Beach County LP ran an OPH booth, and LP County Chairman Jim Alsis had a table promoting his radio talk show, "Straight Talk with Jim Alsis." Also operating tables at the picnic were Phil Blumel, co-editor of Voices of the Florida Taxpayer, Larry and Melanie Lashbrook, hosts of "On the Move" on WNN 1470 AM, and Toni Leeman of the Coalition Advocating Medical Marijuana. Jim Alsis spoke to the attendees, strongly encouraging them to attend the CRC hearings. Paul Carpenella of the Tax Cap Committee, who spoke at the LPF convention in May, also spoke. The Coalition gave a Lifetime Achievement Award to George Schulte, a promoter of many of Florida's Citizen Initiatives for cutting back government power and taxes over the last twenty years. Mr. Schulte described some of his battles with the powers that be and encouraged speakers at the CRC hearings not to be intimidated by the Commission.
News From Around the State
Scott Ellis, former Brevard County Commissioner, spoke at the July 28th meeting. Mr. Ellis ran on the Republican ticket in 1996 for state senator and was narrowly defeated. His opponent used Mr. Ellis's county commissioner record, which was strong on individual rights and tough on spending, against him, even quoting from Florida Today, which said his views sounded "Libertarian in nature." Brevard County LP meetings have been attracting 30 or more attendees.
The Libertarian Party of Florida welcomes a brand-new affiliate in Marion County. Officers are: William Calvo, Chair; Cyndi Calvo, Vice Chair; Vanessa Mitchum, Secretary; and David Owens, Treasurer.
Janet Hawkins has continued to get press coverage on the adult nudity issue in Seminole County. The July 23rd Sanford Herald said: "Janet Hawkins, representing the Libertarian Party . . . said no, no government. And asked, 'what will the deputies do. Strip search offenders?'" The July 27th Orlando Sentinel quoted Ms. Hawkins as saying, "Nothing is more obscene than the government putting its hands into our pocketbooks or any other place on our private person. This is an extreme big-government, Republican solution to a nonproblem."
Ochlockonee River Soil and Water Conservation District board member Steve Perfect is on a working sabbatical in Houston and has given up his place on the board to Libertarian Daniel Montgomery. The board has a Libertarian majority. . . .The Tallahassee Democrat printed a letter from Daniel Walker in its July 6 issue in which he said, "Whether a PAC or lobbyist buys a law or a politician extracts money from a potential victim of legislation, the real issue is the existence of government power to take or redistribute private property and wealth, to regulate or prohibit human action. . . . Rather than tinker with ways of political bargaining, the best measure to reduce campaign finance problems is to sharply reduce the commodity that politicians sell--the power to affect our lives."
From the Lakeland Ledger (September 1): "Carl Strang, former mayor of Winter Haven and newly registered voter in the Libertarian Party, hasn't taken his party switch as a mere token gesture. Strang recently addressed the Constitution Revision Commission." The article goes on to say, "Florida is one of the most difficult states in the nation for a candidate to get on the ballot if he or she is not a Democrat or Republican. It is a bizarre system of petitions and fees cloaked in the argument that it will allow only serious candidates to run -- whatever a serious candidate is." Two of Mr. Strang's offspring have recently registered as Libertarians.
1998 State Convention: February 21-22 in Orlando
The LPF's next state convention will be held earlier in the year than usual -- on February 21st and 22nd at the Orlando North Hilton. As we went to press, possible speakers included Libertarian Presidential candidate Harry Browne and Marshall Fritz of the Alliance for Separation of School and State. Despite the fact that this is during the peak season, room rates will be $79 -- only $10 more than at the 1997 convention at the Sheraton. Hotel reservations can be made by calling 1-800-HILTONS.
Convention admission (includes Saturday night banquet):
$65 (couples $120) if paid by Nov. 1.
$85 (couples $160) if paid by Feb. 1.
$105 (couples $200) at the door.
Make checks for admission payable to "Postulates Partners" and mail to: Postulates Partners, P.O. Box 923, Winter Park, FL 32790. For more information, call Ralph Swanson at (800) 478-0555.
ATTENTION: Platform Committee Candidates
The Libertarian Party of Florida will choose its representative to the national Platform Committee at its next state convention in February. All candidates for this office are invited to submit a statement of their candidacy and positions to Florida Liberty for inclusion in the January 1998 issue. Statements must be no longer than 300 words and must be received by December 20, 1997.
Florida Liberty welcomes Jacob Hornberger's Future of Freedom Foundation as a regular advertiser. Those who attended the LPF convention in May will remember Mr. Hornberger's dazzling banquet speech. FFF is promoting its publication, Freedom Daily, in which Mr. Hornberger's writings can be read every month. Florida Libertarians are strongly encouraged to subscribe. To subscribe for one year, send $18 to: Future of Freedom Foundation, 11350 Random Hills Road, Suite 800, Fairfax, VA 22030.
Ft. Lauderdale Paper Backs Ballot Access
The Sun-Sentinel of Ft. Lauderdale made these suggestions for election reform in an August 18 editorial:
"Reduce exorbitant candidate filing fees, from as high as $10,020 for a congressional seat, to the few hundred dollars needed to cover paperwork costs.
"Extend the 1992 'Eight is Enough' political term limit amendment to cover city and county elected officials, not just the governor, Cabinet and Legislature.
"Loosen harsh, discriminatory ballot access rules for independent and minor-party candidates. They must submit a prohibitive number of voter signatures (3 percent of those registered, 249,000 for a statewide office). Biased rules hurt the fastest-growing part of the electorate, 1.1 million out of 8.3 million voters, outregistering Democrats and Republicans by 2.5 to 1."
Constitutional Liberty Coalition Proposals Presented to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission
(July, August 1997)
Proposal 1: NEW AMENDMENT. Legitimacy of Government Powers. Legitimate government, at any level, is established solely by direct and explicit consent of the governed. Relative to the citizenry, no branch of government has inherent or reserved powers, implicit or assumed prerogatives, or presupposed attributes of sovereignty. Powers must be expressly granted to government by the people, and the extent and range of such powers shall be strictly, narrowly construed.
Proposal 2: NEW AMENDMENT. Government Power to Regulate Use of Private Property. Government is delegated the limited power to regulate the use of private property solely to protect public health and safety, in accord with common law standards of nuisance. This delegation of power shall be interpreted narrowly.
Proposal 3: NEW AMENDMENT. Abatement of School Taxes on Domicile Property. All persons, who bear the economic responsibility of providing private or home education for all their respective minor children or wards, or who have no minor children or wards, shall have all school-related property taxes abated for domicile property for which they hold legal or equitable title. The legislature shall provide by law a formula for partial tax abatements.
Proposal 4: NEW AMENDMENT. Prohibition of Miscellaneous Taxes. There shall be no gift taxation, value-added taxation, securities transfer taxation, generation-skipping taxation, taxation of personal property not used for business purposes, or other tax not explicitly permitted under this constitution.
Proposal 5: NEW AMENDMENT. Sunset Limitation of Statutes & Administrative Rules. (a) In order that future generations not be burdened by legislative excesses of the past, each statute henceforth passed by the Legislature shall expire twenty years after its effective date. All current statutes shall expire ten years after passage of this amendment. The expiration of a statute shall encompass amendments to and deletions from the statute as originally enacted. (b) Each administrative rule or regulation henceforth issued by a state agency or department shall expire ten years after its effective date. All current rules and regulations shall expire six years after passage of this amendment.
Proposal 6: NEW AMENDMENT. Voter Power of Recall. (a) Registered voters shall have the power to recall all non-Federal elective public officials, and state and county court judges and justices. (b)(1) Recall of statewide elective officials or State Supreme Court justices is initiated by delivering to the Secretary of State a petition setting forth reason for recall. Sufficiency of reason is not reviewable. Proponents have 150 days to obtain and file petitions by registered voters. (2) Recall of non-statewide elective officials, district court of appeal judges, circuit court judges, and county court judges is initiated by delivering to supervisors of elections in the respective district, county, municipality or circuit a petition alleging reason for recall. Sufficiency of reason is not reviewable. Proponents have 115 days to obtain and file petitions by registered voters. (3) A valid petition must be signed by a number of registered voters equal to not less than 15 percent of votes cast for the office of governor in the previous gubernatorial election, in the state or respective district, county, municipality or circuit appropriate to the office at issue. Recall elections must be held not less than 60 days nor more than 75 days from the date of certification of sufficient signatures. (c) If the majority vote is for recall, then the official, justice or judge is removed. At the special election, if any, to fill the position for duration of the term, the removed officer or judge shall not be a candidate. A removed judge or justice shall not be reappointed, respectively, to a position on the court from which removed. (d) An official, judge or justice against whom a recall initiative or election fails shall not be the object of another recall initiative until at least 180 days after the previous recall election or date of determination of there having been an insufficient number of signatures collected to compel the calling of a recall election for said person. (e) The legislature shall enact reasonable laws for circulation, filing, and inexpensive certification of petitions and other matters concerning the recall procedure and recall election.
Proposal 7: AMENDMENT of Art. 1, Sec. 5. Rights to assemble and associate. The people shall have the right peaceably to assemble, to instruct their representatives, and to petition for redress of grievances. The rights of electoral participation and political association are fundamental; any law burdening their exercise is subject to strict judicial scrutiny for legitimacy regarding ends and means, and must be supported by clear and convincing evidence. Political choices and competition are primary interests of the citizenry.
Proposal 8: Amendment of Art. 1, Sec. 9. Due Process. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, or be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense, or be compelled in any criminal matter to be a witness against himself. Private property may be forfeited only after felony conviction of, and exhaustion of appeals by, the property owner.
Proposal 9: Amendment of Art. 1, Sec. 17. Excessive punishments. Excessive fines, cruel or unusual punishment, attainder, forfeiture of estate, indefinite imprisonment, and unreasonable detention of witnesses are forbidden. There shall be proportionality between magnitude of felony and the severity of forfeiture of property.
Proposal 10: Amendment of Art. 1, Sec. 19. Costs. No person charged with crime shall be compelled to pay costs before a judgment of conviction has become final. A person not found guilty of a crime shall not be assessed fees or costs to recover property seized as evidence or otherwise held, impounded, or stored by the government.
Proposal 11: Amendment of Art. 1, Sec. 22. Trial by jury. The right of trial by jury shall be secure to all and remain inviolate, including the power of the jury to judge the law as well as the evidence in all instances in which the government or any of its agencies is an opposing party. No potential juror shall be questioned concerning political or religious beliefs, or concerning opinion of the power and right of jurors to judge the law as well as the evidence. Judges shall instruct jurors of their power and right to judge the law as well as the evidence. The qualifications and the number of jurors, not fewer than six, shall be fixed by law.
Proposal 12: Amendment of Art. 10 Sec. 6(a). Eminent domain. (a) No private property shall be taken except for a substantial, explicit public use and with full compensation therefor paid to each owner or secured by deposit in the registry of the court and available to the owner.
[Following are eight additional proposals presented to the CRC by the Coalition in late August.]
Proposal 1-B: NEW AMENDMENT. Prohibition of Involuntary Servitude, Impressment, Civil Conscription & Mandatory Public Service. Civil conscription, and impressment of private property, are prohibited. Involuntary servitude is prohibited as a punishment for crime whereof a person has been duly convicted. Neither enrollment in nor graduation from a government school, nor membership in a profession or occupation, nor the granting of any license or permit, shall be conditioned upon provision of compulsory public service.
Proposal 2-B: NEW AMENDMENT. General Prohibition of Retroactive Laws. No law shall tax, impose liability upon, or otherwise punish the exercise of rights or privileges which occurred before the effective date of a statute, ordinance, or rule applied to such conduct or property. Reliance upon and reliability of the law are undermined by retroactive laws. Tax, regulatory, and punitive measures must be prospective from enactment, though retroactive curative laws are permissible to the extent vested rights are not punished or otherwise diminished.
Proposal 3-B: NEW AMENDMENT. Parental and Family Rights. The family is a foundational association of civil society, and parents as natural guardians enjoy a robust sphere of sovereignty concerning the protection, discipline, education, and care of their children. No parent shall be deprived of the guardianship of a child without trial by jury.
Proposal 4-B: AMENDMENT to Art. 10, Sec. 4. New section (d) re Homestead. (d) No person shall be deprived of homestead for failure to pay property taxes or fines imposed for violation of local codes. A fine for violation of a local code, relating to homestead property, shall not exceed five percent of the assessed value of the homestead property.
Proposal 5-B: NEW AMENDMENT. New Sec. 7 to Art. 6: None of the Above. (1) In any primary or general election for public office, the ballot category NONE OF THE ABOVE will be placed on the ballot, below the names of candidates for each respective office, as a choice for office due to be filled at the general election that year. (2) If no candidate receives a plurality of votes cast, all candidates who receive fewer votes than NONE OF THE ABOVE shall be disqualified for that office in that election cycle, and a supplemental election shall be held to determine the office holder or party nominee. The qualifying process and period for candidate shall be reopened for any supplemental primary or general election.
Proposal 6-B: Amending Art. 1, Sec. 13. Habeas Corpus. The writ of habeas corpus shall be grantable of right, freely and without cost. It shall be returnable without delay, and shall never be suspended.
Proposal 7-B: Amending Art. 1, Sec. 18. Administrative penalties. No administrative agency shall impose a sentence of imprisonment, nor shall it impose any other penalty except as provided by law. No penalty greater than five thousand dollars shall be imposed by an agency which is not based upon a determination, by an administrative jury of six persons, of there having been a gross violation of an administrative rule.
Proposal 8-B: NEW AMENDMENT. Judicial Review of Agency Rules. Administrative regulations and rules are subject to de novo judicial review, and are not entitled to a presumption of legal or evidential validity.
Constitutional Liberty Coalition members: American Liberties Coalition, Conservative Party of Florida, Libertarian Party of Florida, Southern League.
(1997) Florida Liberty Advertising Rates
Full Page $100.00 Half Page $60.00 Quarter Page $40.00 Business Card $15.00 Contact the Editor for details. (The Libertarian Party of Florida reserves the right to reject any advertisements submitted.)
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 1997
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
STATE CONVENTION PREVIEW
The Libertarian Party of America . . . We're in Touch with You!
Harry Browne and Marshall Fritz Featured Speakers at Florida LP Convention February 20-22
Harry Browne, the Libertarian Party's 1996 Presidential nominee, and Marshall Fritz, founder of the Separation of School and State Alliance, will be the featured speakers at the Libertarian Party of Florida's 1998 convention in Orlando on February 20-22.
Harry Browne was an investment advisor, best-selling author, and longtime advocate for freedom before taking up politics, securing the Libertarian Party nomination, and running for President in 1996. He was unknown in the investment world when his first book, How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation, was published in 1970 and became a best-seller. In 1974, his How You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis was a #1 best-seller. In all, he has written ten books, including his '96 campaign book, Why Government Doesn't Work and the recently re-issued How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. His books have sold over two million copies.
Mr. Browne announced his candidacy for President in August 1994 and went on to win the LP nomination. He campaigned extensively, visiting over 30 states and appearing on hundreds of TV and radio talk shows. He and running mate Jo Jorgensen received nearly half a million votes, the second highest total ever for an LP ticket. Known as an articulate speaker who communicates the libertarian message with humor and clarity, Mr. Browne will deliver the Florida LP convention's banquet speech on Saturday, February 21st. He and his wife Pamela are great fans of opera; Harry particularly enjoys the works of Puccini and Wagner.
Marshall Fritz's many claims to fame include the "World's Smallest Political Quiz," a tool he devised for disseminating libertarian ideas, and the Advocates for Self-Government, an organization which he founded for teaching the effective communication of libertarianism. His main activity in recent years has been the Separation of School and State Alliance, a grassroots organization dedicated to rediscovering the original American public education system - privately operated, open to the public. Its mission is to inform Americans how education can be improved, especially for the poor, by the full separation of school and state. This means putting a stop to government- compelled attendance, financing, curriculum, testing, credentialing, and accreditation.
Before founding the Alliance, Mr. Fritz was president of the unaccredited Pioneer Christian Academy in Fresno. His ideas for quality education were so advanced that his school received endorsements from a wide range of educators, including Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman and New York State Teacher of the Year John Taylor Gatto. At the Florida convention, Mr. Fritz will make the case for separating school and state in his eloquent and witty way.
For information on how you can attend the convention, see below.
In the Words of Harry Browne: "The paradox is that you have tremendous control over your life, but you give up that control when you try to control others." (p. 16) "The government has no mysterious ability to do things that can't be done in the free market. It can't command resources that don't already exist." (p.76) - from How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, available from Laissez Faire Books, (800) 326-0996.
In the Words of Marshall Fritz: "Parent support for teachers is plummeting. Compromise is not possible: Some want prayer in school, some want condoms. Printing prayers on condoms satisfies nobody." "Politicians are not really leaders. They are people who try to discern where a parade is headed, then run out in front and holler, 'Follow Me!' Our job is to create that parade and make sure the politicians can find it." - from the website of the Separation of School and State Alliance (http://www.sepschool.org)
Constitution Revision Update: Major Libertarian Proposals Pass First Hurdle
TALLAHASSEE - Four of the proposals submitted by the Constitutional Liberty Coalition - an alliance of the Florida Libertarian and Conservative Parties, the American Liberties Coalition, and the Southern League - were provisionally adopted by at least 10 of 37 Constitution Revision Commission members on September 25, keeping them alive until at least the next phase of the process.
Making the "cut" were the CLC proposals for expanded political participation rights (ballot access reform), for terminating civil asset forfeiture, for prohibiting the assessment of fees or costs against a person not found guilty of a crime, and for implementation of a recall mechanism whereby voters could remove a public official from office before the end of his term.
Though none of the other CLC proposals passed the first barrier, as Libertarian attorney Daniel Walker notes, "Actually, this 'cut' really isn't a cut. If we can find even one CRC member to do so, he or she can file or sponsor one of our provisionally defeated proposals and at least get it into the process."
Mr. Walker added: "I'm rather pleased that we got as many items provisionally passed as we did. If this ultimately leads to expanded political participation rights, an end to civil asset forfeiture, and implementation of a recall mechanism, then those items alone would represent substantial steps by a very dedicated band of political activists."
Libertarians Blast Unfair Practices at Constitutional Hearings
How would you feel if you came early in the morning to say your piece at a once-every-twenty years public hearing, were among the first to sign up to speak, and didn't get to speak until late in the day - or not at all? That's what happened to a great many people who came to speak at the Florida Constitution Revision Commission's public hearings. Mayors, Congressmen, former legislators, and their cronies got to speak first and for as long as they liked. Anyone else got to speak whenever Commission Chairman Dexter Douglass so ordained. To the frustration of many, Mr. Douglass relentlessly re-shuffled the little yellow cards that would-be speakers signed when they registered, replacing the principle of "first-come, first-served" with "and the first shall be last."
LPF Chairman Nick Dunbar, quoted in a September 21st St. Petersburg Times article by Robyn Blumner, said "Libertarians showed up early because they wanted to make sure they would be heard." But most didn't speak until late in the day, and some had to leave before they could speak. The article adds, "Dunbar suspects Douglass left him and all those who signed up early until the end because Douglass believed they were 'crackpots' and would get less media coverage if put at the end. Even if this was not Douglass' intent, his haphazard, unpredictable system encouraged this kind of cynicism."
LPF Secretary Tom Regnier, after witnessing Mr. Douglass' high-handed methods at the Ft. Lauderdale hearing, went to the Orlando hearing to decry what he saw as "the arrogance of power" that permeates state government. He also appeared on Kim Watson's radio talk show on WTAL 1450 AM in Tallahassee two days before the public hearing in that city to criticize Mr. Douglass' methods.
Speakers at the Tallahassee hearing reported a change in demeanor in Mr. Douglass, who thanked them for coming to the hearings and apologized for making them wait.
79% of Floridians Favor Ending Political Discrimination
A recent poll of Floridians shows that 79% favor an easing of Florida's discriminatory ballot access laws, often described as the toughest in the nation.
Voters were asked this question: "Under current law, it is easier for Republicans and Democrats to get their candidates listed on the ballot than it is for third party and independent candidates. Is this fair, or should all candidates have the same requirements, regardless of party?" 79% said that all candidates should have the same requirements, while 14% favored the current law and 7% were unsure.
The poll, conducted by Rasmussen Research on behalf of the Monticello Group, was done in September on 500 Florida adults. It has a margin of error of 4.5%.
Florida's ballot access restrictions would require an independent or minor party candidate for statewide office to collect well over 240,000 signatures just to appear on the ballot - a hurdle which has never been overcome and which effectively stifles competition.
Respondents were also asked, "A proposal has been made to let voters vote for 'none of the above' if they didn't like any candidate for a given office. If 'none of the above' got more votes than any individual candidate, a new election would be held with new candidates. Is this a good idea?" 61% said yes, while 21% said no and 18% were unsure.
Former GOP Mayor Joins Libertarian Executive Committee
Carl Strang, a former GOP Mayor of Winter Haven, Florida, has further sealed his defection from the Republican Party by becoming a member of the Libertarian Party of Florida's Executive Committee.
"Come on in, the water's fine," Mr. Strang urged other disenchanted Republicans. "I'm happy to have found a political home in the Libertarian Party. I'd had my fill of the Republicans' hypocritical talk about less government and lower taxes, which they never followed up with real action. And I couldn't stand their intolerant views on many social issues. I encourage others who are tired of both the Democrats and Republicans to join me in the only political party that supports the constitutionally limited government which our Founding Fathers envisioned."
Mr. Strang said he had been a Libertarian for years but didn't know it until he saw Harry Browne on C-SPAN at the 1996 Libertarian convention. Mr. Strang served as Mayor of Winter Haven from 1987-88, as City Commissioner from 1984-88, and has held many other appointed positions in local government over the years. He joins the LPF Executive Committee as Representative for Region 2, which includes Hillsborough County and his home county of Polk.
What You Can Do for Ballot Access by Daniel Walker
Legislators often sponsor and vote on bills based upon a count of pro and con letters and phone calls on given issues. The LPF will be making a concerted effort in the following months, legislatively as well as through the state constitution revision process, at getting Florida's election laws changed. Without the work of our members and supporters sending letters and making phone calls, however, there will be no reform. With your participation, we have a chance. (The effort of Libertarians across Florida, speaking at revision commission public hearings and sending letters and E-mail, is testimony to what grassroots work can accomplish. With more participation, we can accomplish even more.)
In your own words, sometime before 1997 ends, please send brief, polite notes to Rep. Lisa Carlton and Sen. Charlie Crist. Each is chair of their respective chamber's committee concerning election laws. Ask them to reduce Florida's anti-competitive ballot access requirements and high qualifying fees for candidates. Point out that the current laws suppress political competition and deprive citizens of electoral choice at Florida general elections.
Please send your pro-ballot-access-reform messages to: Rep. Lisa Carlton, Chair, Election Reform Committee, 200 House Office Bldg., Tallahassee, FL 32399 and Sen. Charlie Crist, Chair, Executive Business, Ethics & Elections Committee, 304 Senate Office Bldg., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100.
Get information on upcoming bills and legislators' addresses at http://www.leg.state.fl.us/
Libertarian Party County Organizations:
Brevard (407) 255-2105
Meetings: Last Monday of every month at
7 p.m. at Cantina Dos Amigos, 1924 Highway A1A, Indian Harbor Beach.
Call or E-mail for information. Chair - John Cornett
Charlotte (941) 625-7797
Chair - Kenneth Donihue
Dade (305) 774-1700
P.O. Box 14-4708 Coral Gables, FL 33114
Chair - John T. Conway
Duval (904) 731-5656
Chair - Randy Graves
Lee (941) 997-3964
P.O. Box 182, Bokeelia, FL 33922
Meetings: 3rd Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at
Schlotzsky's Deli at 2952 Cleveland Ave. (just north of Hanson St.), Ft. Myers.
Chair - John Majdiak
Manatee (941) 383-0992
Chair - Chris Carman
Marion (352) 694-9179
Chair - William Calvo
Okaloosa (850) 274-1400
Chair - Dean Crumly
Palm Beach (561) 883-3357
Meetings: 3rd Wednesday of each month (except Dec.) at
7:00 p.m. at Rockwell's Restaurant, 515 N. Flagler Dr., W. Palm Bch.
Call Frank Longo at 883-3357
Chair - Jim Alsis
Pinellas (813) 392-7446
P.O. Box 1902, Largo, FL 34649
Chair - Lisa Bullion
Polk (941) 686-4747
Chair - Keitt Miller
Seminole (407) 830-1845
Meetings: 1st Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.
at Denny's, 436 & Northlake (just east of I-4), Altamonte Springs.
Call 830-1845 to confirm.
Chair - Karl Williamson
Spoken at the CRC Hearings
"Just as it is not my neighbors' responsibility to clothe or to feed my children, neither must they be forced to pay for their education. It is my responsibility to provide for my children's education in the form of tuition or through the loss of wages due to home schooling. Floridians who, for whatever reason, homeschool, pay for private education, or who have no school age children must never be made to pay for the education of someone else's child." - Brian Collar, Tampa, Sept. 11, 1997
Libertarian Party of Florida Executive Committee, 1997-1998
News From Around the State
Floridians for Medical Rights: This recently formed political action committee announced that it has filed the "Freedom to Use Medical Marijuana" constitutional amendment initiative and has begun collecting signatures. The group has launched a statewide educational tour led by Elvy Musikka, one of the eight patients in the U.S. to receive marijuana from the federal government for treatment of her glaucoma. She and other activists are appearing at every county courthouse in the state, collecting signatures and conducting press interviews. To receive more information or to volunteer, please call (954) 537-3150 or write Floridians for Medical Rights, P.O. Box 290054, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33329-0054. To contact the tour, call (888) 487-0252.
LPF Executive Committee: Frank Clarke of Oldsmar is now Region 9 Representative, and Carl Strang of Winter Haven is the new Region 2 Representative. . . . On October 6, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the LPF's suit on fee distribution. While Democrats and Republicans get a 50% rebate on filing fees, minor parties get none. The LPF Executive Committee is considering other recourse, including appealing to international bodies. . . . The LPF has allocated funds to allow Daniel Walker to lobby the legislature on opening up the election process and to draft citizens' initiative amendments on ballot access.
E-mail Directory of Florida Libertarians: To receive and be listed in the directory, send your name, city, E-mail address, and position in the party, if any, to Jim Ray at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Libertarian Party of Florida 1998 Convention Information
Dates: Fri. night, February 20 to Sun. aft., February 22. Place: Orlando Hilton North. Despite the fact that this is during the peak season, room rates will be $79 - only $10 more than at the 1997 convention at the Sheraton. Hotel reservations can be made by calling (800) HILTONS. [IMPORTANT NOTE: to guarantee the $79 room rate, you must make your reservation by January 21, 1998.]
Convention admission (includes Saturday night banquet): $85 (couples $160) if postmarked by February 1. $105 (couples $200) after February 1. Make checks payable to "Postulates Partners" and mail to: Postulates Partners, P.O. Box 923, Winter Park, FL 32790. For more information, call Ralph Swanson at (800) 478-0555.
At this convention, the LPF will choose officers for 1998-1999, select delegates to the national convention (to be held in Washington, D.C. in July), including representatives to the Platform and Credentials Committees, endorse candidates for public office, and deal with other state party business matters.
Requirements for State Delegates Everyone is welcome to attend the state convention, but to be a voting delegate you must have been a member of the LPF for at least 60 days at the time of the convention and must be a registered Libertarian voter in Florida. Delegates must sign the LPF Candidate Oath Form. If you wish to be a delegate, contact your county chair or Regional Representative. County chairs must submit a list of delegates from their counties to LPF Secretary Tom Regnier by January 7 (See "Florida Liberty" box below for address). Regional Representatives of the LPF must submit a list of delegates from each unaffiliated county in their regions to the LPF Secretary by January 7. Individuals may submit their own names to the Secretary.
The convention provides an opportunity for amending the LPF's constitution. Amendments must be published among the Executive Committee, county affiliates and all members 30 days before the convention. If you wish to suggest a change to the LPF Constitution and have it published in Florida Liberty, send your proposal by December 20 to Rules Committee Chairman Gary Ilardi, 470 E. McNab Rd. #14, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Any member may request that any item be included on the agenda. Requests should be in writing to Chairman Nick Dunbar, c/o LPF, P.O. Box 3012, Winter Park, FL 32790 by January 22.
Platform Committee Candidates All candidates for LPF representative to the national Platform Committee are invited to submit a statement of their candidacy and positions to Florida Liberty for inclusion in the January 1998 issue. Statements must be no longer than 300 words and must be received by December 20. o
Vote for Libertarian of the Year
LPF Chairman Nick Dunbar wants to know your nomination for Florida Libertarian of the Year. This award, to be presented at the state convention, will honor the Florida Libertarian who has done the most to further the cause of liberty since our last convention in May 1997. To vote, send a letter or post card naming your choice for Florida Libertarian of the Year and stating why to Nick Dunbar, c/o LPF, P.O. Box 3012, Winter Park, FL 32790. Votes must be received by February 10, 1998.
How to Get a "Liberty" License Plate
Carl Strang of Winter Haven writes: "Want to send a subtle political message to those behind you in traffic? You can have a Florida 'Liberty' license plate without the extra expense, hassle, and ostentation of a vanity plate. When you receive your next notice of auto license registration renewal, simply mail it, along with your check in the proper amount, payable to 'Carol K. Strickland, Tax Collector,' to: Carol K. Strickland, Liberty County Tax Collector, P.O. Box 400, Bristol, FL 32321. I did. It works." Tampa Newspaper Knocks Ballot Access Restrictions
The Weekly Planet (formerly Creative Loafing), a Tampa-based alternative newspaper, listed in their annual "Best of the Bay" issue (Sept. 25-Oct. 1):
"Best Tyrants": Last year - an election year when polls show about 2/3 of the voters want 3rd parties on the ballot - the Florida Legislature stiffened in its resolve to maintain the Empire of the Republicrats. Florida has some of the most anti-democratic laws in the nation, requiring minor party candidates to jump through all-but-impossible hoops to get on the ballot. The legislators - all Democrats and Republicans but you can't tell the difference because all sell their souls to the same special interests - actually have the gall to claim that the voters would be confused by more parties.
"Best Judicial Tyrant": Among the laws favoring the "major" parties is one that rebates 50% of the filing fees for Democrat and Republican candidates. Other parties get no refund. The Florida Supreme Court upheld the law, saying the state had "an interest" in protecting the aristocracy. Yes, and Marie Antoinette had "an interest" in protecting the aristocracy - look where it got her.
Sounds as if someone at The Weekly Planet has been reading LPF press releases!
Libertarians Challenge Democrats for #2 in Seminole County
SEMINOLE COUNTY - Janet Hawkins, an At Large Director of the Libertarian Party, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Seminole County Port Authority after being nominated by Republican County Commissioner Grant Maloy.
Saying she is still learning about the Port Authority (dubbed "the Pork Authority" by Mr. Maloy), Ms. Hawkins commented, "Why is government involved in something that looks like a business, functions like a business, and has profits like a business? Is this really a 'business' getting special treatment and perks from the government?"
Including Ben Champion, who was recently appointed to the Seminole County Trails Commission, there are now seven Libertarian officeholders in Seminole County - more than in any other county in the nation. Libertarians are now a threat to surpass the Democrats as the second largest political party in the county.
MARCH / APRIL 1998
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
Strang Race Ignites Florida LP Establishes Libertarian Party as a Force in Florida Politics
Carl Strang, a former Republican mayor and recent convert to the Libertarian Party, galvanized the Florida LP with an exciting race for the State Senate seat in District 17, an area between Tampa and Orlando that includes most of Polk County. Though finishing third in the March 10 special election, the Strang campaign clearly established the Libertarian Party as a factor in state politics.
Mr. Strang received 10% of the vote in the hotly contested race, with Republican John Laurent finishing first with 53% and Democrat Tom Mims second with 37%. Though Mr. Strang raised over $40,000 for his campaign, Mr. Mims spent about twice as much and Mr. Laurent spent well over four times as much. The seat had been vacated on January 6, when Democrat Rick Dantzler resigned in order to run for governor.
"We started with little party organization in the district and a great deal less money than our opponents, but we had a true grassroots effort and a message that spoke to many people," said Mr. Strang. "This should be a wake-up call to the powers in Tallahassee that the Libertarian Party is on the march. We showed surprising strength for a third party. We were able to raise money, to mobilize volunteers, to bring new members to our party, to get thousands of people to vote Libertarian for the first time ever."
Mr. Strang repeatedly stressed the themes of lower taxes, less government, and greater freedom throughout his campaign and emphasized the similarities between his two tax-and-spend opponents. He promised, if elected, to sponsor legislation to cut the state sales tax, a stance which helped him win the endorsement of the Tax Cap Committee. During the campaign, Mr. Strang found many voters responsive to his message. "People are fed up with big, bloated, unresponsive government taking their money and then telling them how to live their lives," he said.
David Owens Manages Campaign
The Strang campaign was managed by David Owens, Chairman of the Alachua County LP and a veteran of previous Libertarian and Republican campaigns. In addition to personal appearances by Mr. Strang, the campaign featured over 2,000 cable TV commercial spots, thousands of red and white yard signs which were placed all over the district, a small army of volunteers manning telephones, and workers going door-to-door with campaign literature. In addition, the National Libertarian Party sent a mailing to 20,000 registered Republicans in the district explaining why Mr. Strang had left the Republicans for the Libertarians and urging them to do the same. A fund-raising letter to Florida Libertarians raised over $4,500, and Libertarians from diverse parts of the state came to Polk County to work on the campaign.
"From the beginning," said Tom Regnier, Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Florida, "the press and the public knew this would be a race with three contenders, not just two. Carl usually got as much coverage from the newspapers as the other two candidates. This is an excellent showing for the first Libertarian to run for State Senate in Florida. Carl Strang received unprecedented publicity for a Libertarian candidate in the state. The fact that the Libertarian Party could attract such a candidate adds enormously to our stature. He has brought many new converts into the party during his campaign, and we intend to expand on the new base of party members this campaign has created. This is just the beginning of showing the people in Florida that they can have a third choice at the polls." As we went to press, plans were being made to hold rallies in Polk County to enlist new members and to spread the Libertarian message.
Carl Strang, a successful businessman, was mayor of Winter Haven from 1987 to 1988. Among his many charitable activities, he added a children's wing to the local hospital (without using any taxpayer funds), helped found Crime Stoppers of Polk County, and has been active in the Red Cross and the library society.
Successful Petition Drive
In order to get on the ballot, Mr. Strang had to collect 1,369 petition signatures. Because this was a special election, the petitioning requirement was cut to one-fourth of the usual number, but the time in which to collect them was reduced to less than ten days. LPF Chairman Nick Dunbar traveled to Polk County to manage the petition drive, Mr. Strang's loyal supporters went to work, Libertarian volunteers showed up from other counties, and the Strang campaign submitted 3,195 petitions - more than twice the requirement. Almost all were collected in the last five days before the deadline. "I'll never be able to adequately thank all the people who contributed to this campaign with their time, their money, their energy, and their prayers," said Mr. Strang.
Mr. Strang urged other politicians who are disenchanted with the two major parties to check out the Libertarian Party. "It's the party of the future. Even Rush Limbaugh says the Libertarians' day is coming. After years of wandering in the political wilderness, I've finally found a home."
LIBERTY at WORK REPORT from the LP of FLORIDA 1998 CONVENTION
ORLANDO, Feb. 20-22 - The Libertarian Party of Florida's 1998 Convention and Annual Business Meeting featured nationally known Libertarians Harry Browne, Marshall Fritz, and Ron Crickenberger; speeches by outstanding Florida Libertarians such as Carl Strang, Daniel Walker, and Jim Alsis; presentation of awards; election of new officers; and an exciting contest for the position of Florida's National Platform Committee Representative.
The delegates retained the same slate of officers as last year. Chairman Nick Dunbar of Broward County was elected to a fourth term, and Secretary Tom Regnier, also of Broward, was elected to a third term. Vice Chair Brian Collar of Hillsborough and Treasurer Marshall Sutherland of Alachua were each elected to second terms.
Jim Alsis of Palm Beach County was elected to a third term as an At Large Director, while Carl Strang of Polk County and Rick Shepherd of Palm Beach County were selected to fill the other two At Large Director positions. For a listing of Regional Directors, see the Executive Committee list below.
National Platform Committee Rep
Tom Regnier was chosen as Florida's representative to the National Platform Committee in a close race over Jon Asfour. Mr. Asfour, who had held the post since 1989, emphasized his past experience in his speech to the delegates. Mr. Regnier stressed that the language of much of the party's platform takes on a tone of "small party rhetoric" and that if the LP is to become a major party it must adjust its rhetorical style, though not its principles.
The initial vote for Platform Rep was a tie, with some abstentions. A second vote was taken, in which Mr. Regnier won by two votes. After the result was announced, the delegates, at Mr. Regnier's request, gave Mr. Asfour a standing ovation for his work for the LP.
Speakers: Browne, Fritz, Crickenberger
* Marshall Fritz, who founded the Advocates for Self-Government and now heads the Separation of School and State Alliance, explained why victory is possible for separation of school and state. In America, he said, government schooling was initiated by Protestants because they wanted to undermine the Catholics. These days it is the Protestants who are saying, "Wake up and smell the coercion."
Mr. Fritz said that to make the separation, we must break five bonds which tie education to the state: attendance, content, teachers, accreditation, and financing. Currently, these matters are decided by government. Once they are returned to parents, we will have separation.
Mr. Fritz was joined by Ray Moore, an Army Reserve Chaplain and Gulf War vet who represents "Exodus 2000," a group which advocates getting children out of government schools. He said that he had waited thirty years for a Republican majority only to see them completely cave in. He predicted that the Christian right will become one of our most valuable allies in breaking the government monopoly on schools.
"Government schools are the reproductive organs of statism." - Marshall Fritz
* Ron Crickenberger, the Libertarian Party's National Director, said that he got started in the anti-government business when he was very young. He lived for a time in the former house of President James Monroe and grew up around symbols of the American Revolution. He described the enormous progress the LP has made in the last few years. For about a decade, LP membership stayed around 6,000 to 8,000 members; now it's over 24,000. There are now 246 Libertarians in public office. Four years ago, the national party's annual budget was $860,000; now, it's $2.6 million. Four years ago, the national office would get ten media calls a month; now they get ten every two days. Matters such as ballot access are now routine events rather than do-or-die crises.
The major parties, said Mr. Cricken-berger, are driving people away from them; Republicans in power turn out to be even bigger spenders than Democrats. He noted that God is on the side of big battalions and that while ideas and principles are what you win elections for, organization is what you win them with. "Will success spoil the LP?" he asked. "I can't wait to find out."
"American Revolutionaries would steal bullets from the British and then give them back one at a time." - Ron Crickenberger
* Harry Browne, the LP's 1996 Presidential candidate, pointed out in his banquet speech that we, as Libertarians, have greater benefits to offer than any Democrat or Republican can give; we can offer people the opportunity to live their lives as they want to. The greatest message we can communicate is, "We want you to be free." Everyone wants freedom, but many people have certain reservations about it, such as feeling that others can't be trusted with freedom, or that there is some benefit that they are getting in exchange for government interference in their lives.
Mr. Browne outlined a possible scenario in which the Libertarian Party could triumph and we could have a free country in ten years, but it would depend on Libertari-ans building name recognition for the party. He urged candidates who run for office to offer "distinctly Libertarian" solutions and people who write letters to newspapers or call in to talk shows to say that they are Libertarians. He said there was nothing certain about the scenario he described but that living in a free country would certainly be worth working for.
After Mr. Browne's speech, Ron Crickenberger raised over $1,700 for the Florida LP.
"I have no regrets about running for President. But every once in a while, I'll see Bill Clinton on TV and think: There but for forty million votes go I." - Harry Browne
Alsis, Walker, and Strang Headline LPF Speakers
* Jim Alsis, former Chair of the Palm Beach County LP and now a radio talk show host, was the convention's keynote speaker. He said that the the LP needs to become a major political party and must behave like a political party. He cited the Advocates for Self-Government and Michael Cloud as examples of effective communicators of Libertarian ideas. There is a libertarian majority in America, he said, according to Grover Norquist. We need to become professional enough to tap that majority, then acquire the power we need to dismantle the state.
* Daniel Walker, Libertarian attorney and the LP's lobbyist for ballot access in Tallahassee, reported on progress in that area. He said we are close to having a ballot access amendment on the ballot in November and urged everyone to write to members of the CRC supporting Proposal 79. He encouraged Libertarians to speak at the last round of CRC public hearings in March.
* Carl Strang took time out from his campaign for the State Senate in Polk County to speak to the delegates. He said that this campaign had proved that credible candidates will have the support of the LPF. He described his organization's campaign activities (see lead article) and acknowledged the skill and savvy of his campaign manager, David Owens, as well as many other Libertarians who were helping with the campaign.
"We have too many lawyers making laws. We need some un-lawyers un-making some laws." - Carl Strang
* Bill Calvo, Chairman of the Marion County LP, announced that that affiliate had officially incorporated and encouraged other affiliates to do the same. He had prepared packets of documents which could be used for that purpose and offered them to any affiliates that desired them. For more informaton, contact Mr. Calvo at (352) 694-9179.
* David Owens, campaign manager for Carl Strang, urged Libertari-ans to come to Winter Haven to help with the campaign.
* Dr. Jo Arnold, who intends to run for governor as an independent, spoke briefly to the delegates, and emphasized her points of agreement with the Libertarian Party.
Libertarian of the Year
Daniel Walker of Tallahassee, the prime mover behind the successful push to get the Constitution Revision Commission to approve a ballot access amendment, was named Florida Libertarian of the Year for 1998. Mr. Walker received a rousing ovation when his name was announced.
Carl Strang received a special "Triathlon of Liberty" Award for: (1) completing a successful petition drive, (2) getting a sponsor for ballot access legislation, and (3) running for office.
"I Made a Difference" Awards were presented to those who either spoke at the CRC public hearings or collected signatures for the Strang campaign. Anyone who qualifies for one of these awards but did not receive one, please contact the LPF Secretary.
Delegates to National Convention
Thirty-four delegates to the 1998 National Convention in Washington, D.C. this summer were selected at this convention. Due to the Florida LP's impressive growth in the last two years, we are eligible for another twenty delegates. If you are interested in being a delegate to the national convention, please contact Gary Ilardi at 470 E. McNab Road #14, Pompano Beach, FL 33060, (954) 946-9925. The convention will be July 2 to 5.
State Conventions to be Moved to the Fall
The LP of Florida has traditionally held its convention in May or June for many years, as this fit in with the National Party's holding its convention in the fall. As national conventions are now in the summer, a May or June convention is too late for the LPF to choose its national delegates. After some discussion, the delegates came to a consensus that fall would be the best time for state conventions. The next convention, therefore, will be in the fall of 1999, probably in October. At that time, we will choose delegates and National Platform Committee Rep to the National Convention for the year 2000.
Ballot Access Proposal Advances Towards November
TALLAHASSEE - Proposal 79, which would do a great deal to ease Florida's harsh ballot access laws, took another step towards placement on the November ballot when the Constitution Revision Commission's Style and Drafting Committee approved it exactly as worded. Any suggestions that the amendment be watered down were quashed and the Committee sent it back to the full Commission, where it passed by a vote of 29 to 0.
Not taking anything for granted, however, Florida Libertarians, as well as members of the Reform Party, Greens, and Natural Law Party, appeared at the March round of public CRC hearings in Broward County, Tallahassee, and St. Petersburg to speak in favor of Proposal 79.
State Chairman at National HQ
LPF Chairman Nick Dunbar has accepted an interim post as Office Manager at the Libertarian Party's National headquarters in Washington, D.C. Mr. Dunbar has extensive experience with the LP at the national level, having served as National Director of the party for four years. The call to serve as Office Manager came suddenly in March, when Tiffany Rodney gave notice that she was leaving the post. Whether Mr. Dunbar will continue at the post past the July National Convention is uncertain, as the National Party will choose new officers who could make changes in the office personnel. For the moment, LPF Vice Chair Brian Collar is Acting LPF Chairman.
Mark Skousen Featured at Palm Beach County LP Awards Banquet
WEST PALM BEACH - Libertarian financial expert Mark Skousen was the keynote speaker at the Libertarian Party of Palm Beach County's first annual Awards Banquet on January 17, held at the upscale Rockwell's Restaurant overlooking the ocean. Over one hundred people paid to attend the affair, which also featured a guest appearance by another financial writer, Doug Casey.
The awards presentation, emceed by Palm Beach County LP Chairman Frank Longo, was a tribute to Jim Alsis, who chaired the affiliate for four years and built it up to become the most active in the state. Mr. Alsis now hosts a libertarian talk show on WPBR 1340 AM. Awards were presented to officers and activists of the Palm Beach County LP.
Mr. Skousen, who is the author of the financial newsletter "Forecasts & Strategies" and such books as Scrooge Investing and Economics on Trial, offered his analysis of the libertarian future and told anecdotes of his experiences with such people as President Clinton and Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. Mr. Skousen left the audience with this thought: "There's always plenty of free cheese . . . in a mousetrap."
News from Around the State
Seminole County: At its February meeting, the Seminole County LP raised $1,000 for the Carl Strang campaign. Thirteen members volunteered to work for the campaign. The speaker at the meeting was Bob West, who is running for the Seminole County Commission this year. Mr. West is a Republican who holds many libertarian beliefs. . . . The Orlando Sentinel printed a letter by Janet Hawkins which read, in part: "Until we can elect Libertarian candidates who believe we should have less government in the economic and social areas of our lives we will continue to have big government intent on control in one way or another. Florida voters have switched from 'meddling' Democrats to 'meddling' Republicans.". . . Newly elected officers for the Seminole County LP are Karl Williamson, Chair; Charles Champion, Vice Chair; Janet Hawkins, Secretary; and Larry Lawver, Treasurer.
Lee County: The Lee County LP is making plans to gather the necessary signatures to run local candidates in the fall. . . . Libertarian Rocco DiLorenzo has announced that he will run in the election for Cape Coral City Council, District 7 in November. . . . Recently elected officers of the Lee County LP are John Majdiak, Chair; Larry Bush, Vice Chair; Mary Jane Mettin, Secretary; and Bob Digangi, Treasurer. . . . The Lee County LP held a social gathering at the home of Austin Huhn on February 28. Similar events are planned for the future.
Broward County: The LP of Broward County's annual Tax Day Rally will take place on Wednesday, April 15 at the main post office in Ft. Lauderdale on Oakland Park Blvd., just west of I-95 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. All are welcome. Signs and flyers will be provided. Tom Regnier's article on staging tax day protests appeared on the front page of the Libertarian Volunteer, a newsletter for LP activists.
Orange County: The LP of Orange County was recently formed with officers David Dyer, Chair; David Barron, Vice Chair; Rick Gaber, Secretary; and Timothy Moriarty, Treasurer. See page 8 for meeting times and contact information.
Manatee County: Irma Backelant-Lanning had an op-ed printed in the Bradenton Herald on Clinton's current scandals, in which she said: "We cannot set such a precedent as to allow the Executive-in-Chief such weakness of character. We cannot give the freedom of bad judgments and poor decisions to those that have the power to decide our freedoms."
Pinellas County: Newly elected LP officers are: Ned Moren, Chair; Tom Smith, Vice Chair; Frank Clarke, Secretary; and Gerard Moison, Treasurer. An April 15 tax protest is planned. Call (813) 392-7446 for info.
The deadlines for the next two issues of Florida Liberty are April 30 and July 10. Send your news, announcements, clippings, newsletters, or photos to: Tom Regnier 1891 NW 42nd Terrace #G-212 Lauderhill, FL 33313 Fax: (954) 733-1911 E-mail: email@example.com
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Libertarian Party of Florida Executive Committee 1998-1999
JULY / AUGUST 1998
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
Bang the Drums for Revision 11
The ballot access amendment which Florida Libertarians have been advocating since the Constitution Revision Commission hearings began last year will be on the November 3 ballot as part of Revision 11. The CRC has made its recommendation; now it's up to the voters to make the final decision. All Florida Libertarians and all who want more free and open elections in the state of Florida are urged to start doing all they can do NOW to promote public acceptance of Revision 11.
Write To Your Local Papers Our barrage of letters to the CRC proved highly effective. Now, if we can get most of the press on our side (and some papers have endorsed Revision 11 already; see the excerpt from the Sun-Sentinel below), we have a good chance of getting the voters to voice their approval. Please start writing letters NOW to the editors of every newspaper and magazine, large and small, in your area. This is the most important issue facing the Florida LP today. As we have, by far, the most difficult ballot access procedures of any state in the country (worse than in Russia or South Africa), we are able to run political candidates only infrequently. Yet, political campaigns are the best way to put a party in the spotlight as far as the press and the public are concerned. Consider all the press the LP got in the Polk County area during the Carl Strang campaign and imagine if we could multiply that by one hundred times, every election year, all around the state. But in order to have that many political campaigns, we need to be able to get on the ballot more often.
In writing your letters, remember that, while ballot access may be the most important section of Revision 11 to Libertarians, others may want to support it for other reasons. Many voters may be attracted by the provision which allows all registered voters to vote in a primary for an office for which the only candidates are from the same party. Thus, in districts that are, say, heavily Republican, and where only Republicans run for some offices, voters other than Republicans would get to have a say in who represents them. Others may like the idea of making school board elections non-partisan. We can promote provisions like these, as well as the ballot access provision, in supporting Revision 11. See the "Talking Points" below.
Keep your letters to editors short and to the point. Letters under 200 words in length have a better chance of being printed. Writing a letter in response to a specific article or editorial also gives you a better chance of getting it published. Letters sent by U.S. Mail or fax usually receive more attention than E-mail. Write as a concerned citizen, rather than as a political advocate. Remember that even if your letter isn't printed, the editors will read it and may take it into account in formulating their editorial policy.
What Else Can We Do? Editorial Boards. Libertarians who have press contacts should make appointments to meet with editorial boards and urge them to support Revision 11. Be sure to have your facts and arguments well prepared in advance. If you can team up with non-Libertarians who support Revision 11, such as members of other parties, community leaders, civil rights advocates, and so forth, it will make an even stronger impression. Talk Shows. Use any contacts you have with radio and TV talk show hosts to get on the air and promote Revision 11. Be sure to say, "Vote Yes on Revision 11" at every opportunity. Radio Ads. The LPF will be running radio ads in favor of Revision 11 as Election Day approaches. If you'd like to contribute to these, send your check, payable to the Libertarian Party of Florida, to: LPF, P.O. Box 3012, Winter Park, FL 32790-3012. Bumper Stickers. The LPF has been working with Floridians for Fair Elections, a coalition of independent parties and other groups seeking fairer ballot access laws. The Reform Party has printed up a number of Revision 11 bumper stickers. To get yours, contact the Florida Liberty Editor (see contact info below). Tell your friends. Mention Revision 11 in conversations. Post pro-Revision 11 articles on bulletin boards. If you speak to clubs or community organizations, talk about Revision 11.
Talking Points for Revision 11 * Florida has the most difficult ballot access laws of any state in the country, even tougher than in Russia or South Africa. It's easier to get on the ballot in St. Petersburg, Russia than it is in St. Petersburg, Florida. Revision 11 will change that. * Florida has more uncontested political races than any state. In the last twenty years, about half of state house races and about a third of state senate races were uncontested. This year, 18 of Florida's 23 races for U.S. Congress will have only one candidate. The fact that candidates don't need to run a campaign doesn't stop them from collecting large contributions from special interests. Such candidates will be beholden to the special interests, not to the voters. * Don't like your two choices for governor (or any other office)? Revision 11 will give you more choices. * Revision 11 will allow all voters to have a say in who represents them in races in which all candidates are from one party. * Revision 11 will make school board races non-partisan, allowing more to participate in the process. * Revision 11 upholds voters' rights. * It's for "Voter Freedom." * It's good for the voter. * It gives more choices with more candidates. * It puts competition back in elections. * It gives more reasons to vote. * It finally gives us something to vote "for." * We oppose laws which discriminate based on race or gender. Why do we discriminate based on political affiliation? Revision 11 is for fair elections and an end to political discrimination. * Revision 11 gives the people more say over government. * Revision 11 makes elections more democratic. * Revision 11 will make politicians more responsive to the government, not to special interests.
Provisions of Revision 11
Revision 11 would: (1) make ballot access requirements the same for all candidates, whether major party, minor party, or independent; (2) make school board elections non-partisan; (3) allow gubernatorial candidates to run in primary elections without having named a running mate; (4) allow all registered voters, regardless of party, to vote in a party primary when the primary winner will face no general election opposition; (5) change Florida's minimum voting age from 21 to 18, bringing it in line with the U.S. Constitution; and (6) provide limited public financing of campaigns for statewide office candidates (not legislative candidates) who agree to certain spending limits. Voters will have to vote "yes" or "no" on the entire package. They cannot vote for some parts of it and against others. Though most Libertarians will most likely disapprove of the campaign financing section of the package, this provision only constitutionalizes what is already being done by statute.
Sun-Sentinel Endorses Revision 11 & Voter Freedom Act
In a July 13 editorial entitled, "Biased ballot access laws deny voters real freedom of choice," the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel endorsed both Revision 11 and Ron Paul's bill in the U.S. Congress that would ease ballot access restrictions in federal races. The editorial noted that in South Florida only one race for U.S. Congress will have more than one candidate and cited Reform Party candidate May Chote, who was able to collect only 8,000 of the 11,455 signatures she needed to run against Congressman Peter Deutsch in District 20. Said the Sun-Sentinel:
"Chote, a 73-year-old Key West grandmother, faced an enormous challenge, Florida's harsh, discriminatory and unfair ballot access law, a nearly insurmountable obstacle blocking minor-party or independent candidates from getting on the ballot. . . .
"Major-party candidates like Deutsch have it much easier. They must only pay a filing fee of $8,016, as he did, and she wasn't permitted to do. . . .
"Floridians can help make things better Nov. 3 by adopting proposed state constitutional Amendment No. 11. It says that in the future, the requirements for a minor-party or independent candidate to get on the ballot shall be no greater than the requirements for a candidate of the party having the largest number of voters. . . .
"Congress can help too by adopting the Voter Freedom Act (HR 2477), introduced by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, last year to make it much easier for independent and minor-party candidates to get on the ballot by sharply reducing the voter signatures required.
"Why should the average Democratic or Republican voter care about this controversy?
"Because not having elections is unhealthy for democracy and reduces chances to hold incumbents accountable. Because a wider variety of candidates and parties will translate into a broader choice of policies and programs, laws and leadership styles.
"And because voters should oppose unfairness and discrimination wherever it is found and support expanding freedom of choice."
Bravo, Sun-Sentinel! Let's hope we see more editorials like this from newspapers all over the state.
Nick Dunbar Takes Post at National HQ; Brian Collar is New State Chair
Libertarian Party of Florida Chair Nick Dunbar, who has been working at the LP National Office in Washington, D.C. since March, has been offered a permanent position there as Operations Director, necessitating his resignation from the Florida chairmanship. On July 11, the LPF Executive Committee unanimously chose former Vice Chair Brian Collar, of Hillsborough County, as the new Chair. Secretary Tom Regnier, of Broward County, was elected the new Vice Chair, and Aaron O'Brien of Lee County was selected as the new Secretary.
In his resignation, Nick Dunbar said, "My main regret in accepting this position is that my family and I will have to move out of Florida and leave our many friends. . . . Please know that I am available to each of you as needed and that I look forward to continuing our associations forever."
The LPF Executive Committee passed a resolution thanking Nick Dunbar for his excellent service to the party, commending him for his consistent leadership, and wishing him the greatest success at LP National Headquarters. The resolution cited a quadrupled membership base, successful petition drives, increased income, and a greater role in state politics as achievements of Nick's tenure as Chair, which lasted from 1995 to 1998.
New LPF Chair Brian Collar is the Director of the Florida Boys' Choir. Vice Chair Tom Regnier is a freelance writer and proofreader. He will continue to edit Florida Liberty. Secretary Aaron O'Brien is a prosecuting attorney in Ft. Myers, where he prosecutes only violent crimes, not victimless crimes.
At the July 11 Executive Committee meeting, Brian Collar moved into the chairmanship without missing a beat by presenting the Executive Committee with an impressive strategic plan for continued growth.
Ron Paul Featured at Palm Beach Event
WEST PALM BEACH, July 11 - Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), the Libertarian Party's 1988 Presidential candidate, was the guest speaker at a luncheon sponsored by the Libertarian Party of Palm Beach County. The event, organized by Palm Beach County LP Vice Chair Phil Blumel, was held at Rockwell's Restaurant overlooking the Intracoastal and attracted 105 attendees.
Dr. Paul, who is a practicing physician, served four terms in the U.S. Congress in the 70's and 80's, then returned to his private practice. He has the reputation of being the "Taxpayer's Best Friend"-the most libertarian member of Congress-consistently voting against higher taxes, bigger government, and more regulation. He decided to run for Congress again in 1996 and was re-elected, despite serious opposition from the Republican establishment as well as from the Democrats. He has introduced two bills in Congress which would greatly help minor parties-HR 2477, which would ease ballot access requirements in federal elections and HR 2478, which would allow qualified minor party candidates to participate in Presidential debates.
Dr. Paul recounted his experiences in the U.S. House, as the sometimes lone spokesman for liberty. Perhaps most inspiring to his listeners was his statement that libertarianism is the only humanitarian approach, the only one that really cares about people.
The Road to Victory Highlights of the 1998 Libertarian Party National Convention - Washington, D.C. - July 2 through 5
WASHINGTON, DC - The 1998 Libertarian Party National Convention featured an exciting race for the Chairmanship of the National Party, floor debates on changes in the platform and bylaws, entertainment by the "Capitol Steps" political comedy troupe and comedian Tim Slagle, and a never-ending line of brilliant speakers. Following are a few highlights in words and pictures. For more information, see your LP News. And start making your plans for the 2000 convention in Los Angeles!
David Bergland, the LP's 1984 Presidential candidate and author of Libertarianism in One Lesson, was elected National Chair with 58% of the vote in a hard-fought race over grassroots organizer Gene Cisewski. Hugh Butler was elected Vice Chair, Steve Givot Secretary, and Mark Tuniewicz Treasurer. Chris Spruyt of North Carolina is our new Regional Rep on the National Committee, succeeding Candi Copas. Gary Ilardi of Florida is Chris's Alternate.
Michael Cloud opened the convention with a rousing keynote speech, "Libertarianism: the Unreasonable Alternative," in which he cited individuals who had changed history when they refused to be "reasonable" by accepting oppression.
The National Platform Committee met for two days before the convention and presented the delegates with its suggested changes, mostly stylistic in nature. Later, the convention delegates approved most of the changes that were able to be debated in the time allotted.
Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation gave an impassioned defense of open immigration and spoke eloquently to the Hispanic community in several minutes' worth of perfect Spanish. He also mentioned that he is considering running for President in 2000.
Charles Murray, author of Losing Ground, a devastating critique of the welfare state, and the more recent What It Means To Be a Libertarian, spoke to a luncheon gathering on the nature of "civil society," which he said flourishes most where there is the greatest freedom. "If I refrain from initiating force against my neighbor," he said, "I do it, not because it is the law, but because it is right."
Barbara Goushaw, manager of the high-profile Jon Coon campaigns in Michigan, spoke on the topic, "Handguns Are a Girl's Best Friend." Ms. Goushaw, who is "vertically challenged," had to bring a metal platform to stand on so she could reach the microphone. She noted that, as with handguns, it is sometimes necessary to bring your own hardware in order to level the playing field.
Shelley Davis, former IRS historian who testified against the agency in last year's Congressional hearings, joined the LP after her speech, in which she expressed her skepticism toward any of the IRS "reforms" proposed by Congress. She emphasized that the IRS has a hold over us because of our ignorance.
Harry Browne, 1996 Libertarian Presidential nominee, delivered an electrifying nominating speech for David Bergland during the convention and later gave an eloquent speech describing a possible libertarian future. Mr. Browne was honored with the Thomas Paine Award as the best communicator of libertarian ideas.
Peter McWilliams, author of Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do, a book about the absurdity of prosecuting victimless crimes, kept the audience in suspense by acting as if he were about to smoke a marijuana joint during his speech. Mr. McWilliams, who suffers from AIDS, later said that he had felt nauseous and would have actually smoked a joint if it had been necessary to keep from vomiting on the air. After his speech, Mr. McWilliams signed the pledge, paid his dues, and became a member of the Libertarian Party. He gave copies of his book to everyone who attended the Saturday night banquet and was available afterwards to autograph them.
Roy Innis, president of the Congress on Racial Equality, thrilled the audience with talk of a possible run for the New York City mayoralty in 2001.
Richard Winger, ballot access expert who aided the Florida LP in its appeal to the CRC, received an award from the national party for his contributions towards free and open elections. Other Awards went to Steve Dasbach (Best Activist), David Bergland (Lifetime Achievement), and newsman John Stossel (Champion of Liberty).
News from Around the State
Seminole County: The Seminole County LP approved a resolution authored by Janet Hawkins to support the Ax the Tax Committee in opposing the government-funded $1.2 billion light rail project. . . . The affiliate held an OPH booth on May 17 at a fund-raiser for Citizens For Seminole County Natural Disaster Relief Fund, a private non-profit organization geared to help natural disaster victims in Seminole County. Virtually all money collected will go to help Seminole County citizens. A board of directors is being formed, and they have asked that a Libertarian serve on it. . . . Glenn Austin is the new Chair of the Seminole County LP, succeeding Karl Williamson, who built the affiliate into one of the most active in the state. . . . Glenn Austin was recently appointed to the Seminole County Code Enforcement Board.
Brevard County: In May, the Brevard LP raised $500 at a garage sale. . . . In June, three members had letters-to-the-editor published: Ross Nordeen (Florida Today), Mark Gibb (Florida Today), and Dick Hall (Washington Times). . . . In July, LP members were invited to participate in the Melbourne 4th of July parade with a float and handed out hundreds of flyers promoting the LP and Revision 11. . . . The Brevard LP is now in the Florida "Adopt-a-Road" program and has been assigned a road leading to the Brevard Community College in Cocoa. . . . Local office seekers have been courting the Brevard LP for its support.
Hillsborough County: Recently elected officers of the Hillsborough County LP are: Tyson Richmond, Chair; Ron Stringfield, Vice Chair; Lisa Bullion, Secretary; Cindy Bruce, Treasurer. See below for contact information.
Citrus County: The Citrus County LP Executive Committee has endorsed Nancy Argenziano for the 43rd District seat she now holds in the Florida House of Representatives. Ms. Argenziano is the only candidate running for office in September's primary election to have met the party's criteria, namely, that the candidate "would champion in word and deed . . . the Bill of Rights, fewer and lesser taxes, fewer government regulations, an accountable bureaucracy, personal rights and responsibilities, private property rights, the freedom of contract, and an economy based on free enterprise."
Broward County: A series of "Global Days Against the Drug War" rallies kicked off on June 5 with protests in Moscow, Paris, and Ft. Lauderdale. South Florida Libertarians participated in the Ft. Lauderdale demonstration at the federal courthouse. Tom Regnier spoke to the gathering and was prominently quoted in an article in City-Link. He also appeared on WNN 1470 AM radio with medical marijuana activists Toni Leeman and Greg Scott
The deadlines for the next two issues of Florida Liberty are August 31 and November 7. Send your news, announcements, clippings, newsletters, or photos to: Tom Regnier 1891 NW 42nd Terrace #G-212 Lauderhill, FL 33313 Fax: (954) 733-1911 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Libertarian Party of Florida Executive Committee 1998-1999
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 1998
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
In This Issue:
VOTE YES on REVISION 11
Campaign for Crucial Ballot Access Revision Gains Momentum
Constitutional Revision 11, the proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution which will be on the November 3rd ballot, has been gaining more and more support around the state from the press, from the public, and from other political organizations. The Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Tallahassee Democrat, Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tom Fiedler of the Miami Herald, Michael Griffin of the Orlando Sentinel, and Ron Cunningham of the Gainesville Sun, were among those expressing support. And such groups as Florida Common Cause, Gun Owners of America, League of Women Voters, and Floridians for Fair Elections (a coalition of minor parties) had all endorsed the Revision. See the quotes below.
Letter Writing Successes Libertarians have shown tremendous success in getting pro-Revision 11 letters published in newspapers all over the state, as the samples below will attest. We need to keep it up throughout October. If you haven't written letters to local newspapers, please do so now. If you have written letters, now is the time to start a second or third barrage. Don't forget to write to the small, weekly papers as well as the large dailies. Even if your letter isn't printed, it will still influence the newspaper's editorial position. Libertarians are working with other groups to arrange meetings with editorial boards of several newspapers. If you'd like to receive E-mail updates on the Revision 11 Campaign, contact the Florida Liberty Editor at: <email@example.com>.
Bumper Stickers This mailing of Florida Liberty contains a free Revision 11 bumper sticker. Please display this on your car between now and November 3rd. You can scotch tape it to the inside of the rear window if you wish, so that it is easily removable.
Radio Ads Most of you will have received a letter describing the LPF's strategy for buying radio ads in the last few days before the election. Contributions toward this plan had already started coming in at press time, and the LPF was able to purchase a portion of the planned advertising time. If you haven't already done so, please make the best donation that you can to this effort. Send your contribution to the LPF at P.O. Box 3012, Winter Park, FL 32790-3012.
Talk Shows The LPF has a lineup of spokespersons-Daniel Walker, Carl Strang, Janet Hawkins, Brian Collar, and Tom Regnier-who are available to speak on talk shows on Revision 11. We will be promoting these guests to talk radio stations in the weeks before the election. If there is a particular talk show host in your area that you would like us to approach, please contact the Florida Liberty Editor. At press time, both Daniel Walker and Tom Regnier had appeared on radio and/or TV shows promoting Revision 11.
Revision 11 Talking Points Use these points in your letters to editors: * Florida has the least political competition of any state. This year, 17 of 23 U.S. Congress races, 14 of 21 state Senate races, and 70 of 120 state House races will be uncontested in November. * It is more difficult for a minor party or independent candidate to get on the ballot in Florida than in any other state. It's easier to get on the ballot in St. Petersburg, Russia than it is in St. Petersburg, Florida. 242,000 signatures are needed for a statewide race in Florida. Democrats and Republicans only have to pay a filing fee. * Revision 11would allow all voters to vote in primaries when only one party is fielding candidates, thus enfranchising more voters. * Revision 11 makes politicians more accountable. * Revision 11 gives voters more choices. * Revision 11 creates more political competition. * Revision 11 is for voters' rights. * Revision 11 is the cure for voter apathy. * Revision 11 gets rid of political discrimination. * Revision 11 will revive the democratic process. * If you don't like your selection of candidates, Revision 11 gives you something you can vote for that will increase your selection next time.
Revision 11 is the most important issue in the history of the Libertarian Party of Florida. Please do what you can to help its passage. ------------------- Provisions of Revision 11
Revision 11 would: (1) make ballot access requirements the same for all candidates, whether major party, minor party, or independent; (2) make school board elections non-partisan; (3) allow gubernatorial candidates to run in primary elections without having named a running mate; (4) allow all registered voters, regardless of party, to vote in a party primary when the primary winner will face no general election opposition; (5) change Florida's minimum voting age from 21 to 18, bringing it in line with the U.S. Constitution; and (6) provide limited public financing of campaigns for statewide office candidates (not legislative candidates) who agree to certain spending limits. ------------------- What They're Saying About 11
"Florida needs competitive elections if democracy is to work. It's time to reform the state's election laws to empower more voters." -Daytona Beach News-Journal, July 14, 1998
"Most people don't realize that Florida has the most restrictive ballot access laws in the nation. In bringing this issue to the commission's attention, Florida's Libertarian Party noted that it's easier for an independent candidate to get on the ballot in St. Petersburg, Russia, than in St. Petersburg, Florida. . . . Revision 11 takes steps toward a more democratic election process in Florida that encourages voter participation." -Tallahassee Democrat, July 19, 1998
"11 says that the state can make it no more difficult for minor party and independent candidates to qualify for office than Democrats and Republicans. It may very well pave the way for a new generation of candidates who disdain both the Tweedledee politics of the Republicrats and the Tweedledum politics of the Democans." -Ron Cunningham, editorial page editor, Gainesville Sun, August 2, 1998
"Voters should initiate reform by passing proposed state constitutional amendment No. 11 on Nov. 3. . . . The rules should be the same for all candidates, regardless of party label." -Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, August 2, 1998
"Local Libertarian Party leader [Janet] Hawkins is encouraging people to exact 'voter's revenge' by passing a revision to the Florida Constitution. Revision 11 would make it easier for small party candidates to get on the ballot. . . . 'This year, Florida voters can do what their elected officials have failed to do - give the electorate fair election laws that will help increase candidate and voter participation.'" -Orlando Sentinel, July 26, 1998
"Common Cause figures show that in the 120-member House, where all seats are open to challengers, only 50 races are contested. In the 40-member Senate, where 21 Senate seats are up for grabs, only 11 races drew more than one contender. Three Senate seats and 22 House seats will be decided in the Sept. 1 primary because those races drew candidates from only one political party. Sally Spener, executive director of Common Cause Florida, wants voters to know they do have a choice if they want to fix the no-choice problem. It's called Amendment 11, and it will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot." -Jim Ash, Pensacola News Journal, July 27, 1998
"The system has two sets of rules-one for the two major parties and another for everyone else." -Deborah O'Neil, St. Petersburg Times, August 3, 1998
"Here's something . . . we can do. Support a package of state constitutional amendments on this fall's ballot (Revision No. 11) that would stimulate even more of this popular democracy. Among other things, the revision will make it easier for independent party candidates - like Libertarians and Reform Party members - to get on ballots against Democrats and Republicans, a feat that's nearly impossible now. And it will also allow all voters to participate in a party primary if only that party fielded candidates." -Tom Fiedler, political editor, Miami Herald, August 2, 1998
"Lawmakers and election supervisors who support the toughest ballot-access law in the country say it protects the sanctity of the process. You see, in Florida, we only want 'serious' candidates on our ballot. Maybe the reason voter turnout is so low is that politics is too serious. A fringe candidate here or there might just spice up the political scene. I, for one, wouldn't mind seeing a gubernatorial debate involving Jeb Bush, Buddy MacKay and a guy dressed like Carmen Miranda-fruit basket perched precariously on his head. Now that's entertainment." -Michael Griffin, political editor, Orlando Sentinel, August 9, 1998
"There is one particular Amendment that I personally believe is long past due, Number 11." -Cedar Key Beacon, August 27, 1998
"Interestingly, during Constitution Revision Commission meetings, most commissioners were shocked to learn just how discriminatory Florida's laws are against minor party and independent candidates. The ballot access proposal was consistently among the most popular measures considered by the CRC. . . .By providing for fair ballot access, more candidates with diverse viewpoints will be able to run for office in Florida, giving voters more choices on election day. . . . Amendment 11 takes some important steps toward enhancing democratic participation in Florida." -Common Cause Florida
"At a time when Democrat and Republican elected officials are turning their backs on gun owners and their rights, third party and independent candidates provide a way for gun owners to register their dissatisfaction with the false choices embodied in the so-called 'lesser of two evils.' Denying major party candidates their votes and tallying those votes under the banner of a third party or independent candidate allows gun owners to bring visible accountability to elected officials from the major parties." -Gun Owners of America
"Ballot access not only should be extended to all citizens, but. . . those citizens should be encouraged to participate as often as possible. Independent voters and members of minor parties often have been left out of the decision- making process." -League of Women Voters
LETTERS TO EDITORS
"If there's one thing the two major parties do agree on, it's a preference for as little electoral competition or voter choices as possible. . . . Is it any wonder people don't vote when the two major parties are unwilling or unable to field competing candidates for so many positions?" -Daniel F. Walker, USA Today, July 22, 1998
"The state of Florida has the most restrictive ballot access laws in the country. The voters can change that this November, so that the voters in the . . . districts where there will be no elections in 1998 could have a real choice in the year 2000." -Stuart Ferber, Sun-Sentinel, August 2, 1998
"The USA Weekend Sunday supplement asked whether people such as Washington and Jefferson could be elected today. The answer is clear: Not in Florida. Why? Because they could not get their names on the ballot. Washington and Jefferson's policies are at odds with the two major parties. And in Florida, if you are a minor party or independent candidate you must accumulate about 242,000 signatures before your name can be listed as a choice in the voting booth. . . . Vote for Revision 11 to create a fair and open voting booth and maybe you'll have the option of voting for candidates with libertarian principles like Washington and Jefferson." -Aaron O'Brien, Ft. Myers News-Press, August 8, 1998
"I think it's critical we get behind Revision 11. After seeing what the older parties have done over the past 30 years, it's obvious we need to level the playing field so candidates with truly new ideas can be placed on the ballot." -David Hobbs, Florida Today, August 12, 1998
"If Floridians want the option of voting for anyone other than a Republican or Democrat (and on occasion, many voters do), they better take advantage of a rare opportunity and vote in favor of Revision 11 for Fair Elections next November. . . .In the case of a statewide election, [getting on the ballot] means 242,000 signatures! And guess how many signatures the Republican or Democratic candidate must collect? None! As a result, and as a practical matter, only 'Republicrats' can get on the ballot. Thus, Floridians are being told: 'Other than the political beliefs of the two largest parties, you will have no other choices.' Does that sound like a democracy, or does it sound like Adolf?" -Richard Hall, Florida Today, August 27, 1998
"The incumbent who has no competition does not have to attend candidate forums or debates and his constituents never get a chance to question him in public regarding the things he has done in office. Unaccountable politicians lose touch with the very people they are supposed to be representing. Florida voters would have to wait a long time before the politicians protected by Florida's unfair election laws would ever change the rules that keep them in office. So it is up to the voter to take control of this situation and vote for Revision 11. Send a message, tell the politicians who is really boss!" -Janet Hawkins, St. Petersburg Times, August 5, 1998
"Voter turnout statewide is abysmally low because large segments of the electorate, including blacks and Hispanics and blue-collar workers, view government as totally unresponsive to their wants and as a closed shop of mostly white male lawyers who have been bought by heavy cash donations channeled through the Democrat and Republican parties. [Revision 11] will help give the individual voter more of a voice in government and will break the absolute monopoly the two major political parties have on the electoral process in this state." -Carl Strang, Florida Trend, September 1998
"The Sun-Sentinel has been on the correct side of this issue for months now (I've been watching). So let's join them in reforming Florida's election laws by screaming from the rooftops: Yes on Revision 11." -Adam Weisholtz, Sun-Sentinel, August 17, 1998 ------------------- Primary Election Results
Alachua County LP Shoots Down Sales Tax Increase
ALACHUA COUNTY, Sept. 1 - With the help of the Alachua County Libertarian Party, a referendum to raise Alachua County's sales tax from 6% to 7% was defeated at the polls by a 65% to 35% margin. Local party members conducted a grassroots campaign that proved effective in defeating the proposed tax increase.
Newly elected Alachua County LP Secretary Brian Lyons said, "Our local party was like a bed of ants, each of us quietly going about our daily activities. Then, the tax and spend crowd came along and stepped on our little bed. We responded with a flurry of activity, culminating in a stinging defeat for the big spenders. Big government won't be having another picnic at the taxpayer's expense anytime soon."
Media coverage was extensive. The campaign included three in-studio appearances by party members on WSKY 97.3 FM, a 50,000-watt talk radio station in Gainesville, totaling over 4 hours of airtime. Two prominent articles appeared in the editorial sections of local newspapers, along with several letters from Libertarians; quotes from Chairman David Owens appeared in three front page feature stories on the tax, twice in the Gainesville Sun, and once in the Alligator (the student newspaper for the University of Florida). The Alligator story included a front page picture of party members protesting the tax.
Following the defeat of the tax, most of the media credited the Alachua County Libertarian Party for leading the opposition. An interview with Chairman Owens appeared in the lead story of the nightly news on the local ABC-TV affiliate. Owens declared the results "a vote for individual liberty. . .and much smaller government."
DiLorenzo gets 18% In Cape Coral Race
LEE COUNTY, Sept. 1 - Libertarian Rocco DiLorenzo won 18% of the vote in his three-way primary election race for Cape Coral City Council, District 7.
"Rocco garnered unprecedented publicity for the LP in Cape Coral," said LPF Secretary Aaron O'Brien, of Lee County. "He was endorsed by a local television show host, was well received at candidate forums, and was treated fairly, if not favorably, in the Cape Coral Daily Breeze. He ran coordinated ads on cable television and in the newspaper. He took donations from no one, while spending $5,000 from his own pocket. Despite steep odds, Rocco remained positive and upbeat throughout the campaign. His hard work and dedication were inspiring.
"Practically speaking, eighteen percent is quite an accomplishment for a political unknown with a handful of amateur volunteers running against two veterans of city politics.
"Rocco's knowledge of the issues and his presentation of them continued to improve along the campaign trail. Voters were likely as drawn to his forthright style and timely wit as they were to his budget-slashing proposals.
"It was a privilege to work with a man who represented the ideals of liberty so well. He deserves our thanks and appreciation."
J-P. Gravell, Libertarian Party of Florida Representative for Region 8, said, "Rocco, your campaign was an asset to the LP of Florida and your showing of 18% was admirable. Do not give up. Look for another office to try. Your showing can make you a candidate for any appointed office to which you care to apply. This can get you more public exposure, and maybe next time you will win. Meanwhile, you can infuse the board of your choice with Libertarian ideals."
Citrus County LP In Political Wars CITRUS COUNTY - The Citrus County LP found itself in the political crossfire when Republican candidate Richard Corcoran attacked them for endorsing his opponent Nancy Argenziano in the primary. In a campaign mailer, Corcoran said, "Richard Corcoran, like George Washington, believes it's better to be alone than in bad company. That's why he proudly rejects the Libertarian Party and their anti-senior platform. His opponent proudly accepted the endorsement of the Libertarian Party. She even had it written up in the local paper. Libertarians support the abolishment of the Social Security system, abolishment of the Department of Defense, legalization of prostitution, and legalization of drugs."
County LP Chairman Jim McIntosh fired back with letters to newspapers setting the record straight on the Libertarian positions on privatizing Social Security, maintaining a strong national defense without policing the world, and de-criminalizing "victimless crimes." He added, "Nancy Argenziano's opponent . . .was, in fact, censured by his own party for distorting the truth, which might be considered by non-combatants as analogous to Attila being rebuked by Huns for excessive tweaking of noses."
The Libertarian-backed candidate won by a 3 to 1 margin. ---- LPF's Recommendations on the 13 Amendments
The Florida ballot on November 3 will have 13 proposed Constitutional amendments for voters to approve or disapprove, the first four submitted by the legislature, and the other nine (called Revisions) submitted by the Constitution Revision Commission. The LPF Executive Committee considered each amendment and came up with its own recommendations on each one. If an amendment did not receive a 2/3 vote either for or against, the LPF remained neutral on that particular amendment. (Visit <http://election.dos.state.fl.us/1998Elec/Amendments/> for the details of each amendment.) Here are the Executive Committee's recommendations:
1. Historic Property Tax Exemption and Assessment LPF Comments: Governments have no business proclaiming some property "historic" and thus granting it special tax benefits. In addition, this provision could be abused by local governments granting the "historic" exemption to friends and supporters. LPF Recommendation: NO
2. Preservation of the Death Penalty; United States Supreme Court Interpretation of Cruel and Unusual Punishment LPF Comments: Libertarians can be found on both sides of the capital punishment debate, but we oppose this amendment on the grounds that it takes power away from the state and gives it to the federal government. State courts would be prohibited from applying the state constitution's "cruel and unusual punishment" clause and would have to go by the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretations. LPF Recommendation: NO
3. Additional Homestead Tax Exemption LPF Comments: The LPF believes in cutting taxes as much as possible. But why should some groups get tax exemptions when others do not? The decrease in revenues from this tax exemption may merely tempt politicians to raise taxes in other areas. The real solution is to cut government spending so that everyone's taxes may be reduced. LPF Recommendation: NO
4. Recording of Instruments in Branch Offices LPF Comments: Though the idea of making it easier to fill out your required government forms at a branch office rather than at a central office may sound like a benefit for the voters, this amendment would achieve this goal by expanding the state bureaucracy. LPF Recommendation: None. Take your pick on this one.
5. Conservation of Natural Resources and Creation of Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission LPF Comments: Government is usually the worst preserver of the environment. Land and water are usually best taken care of when they are in private hands and someone actually has a vested interest in preserving them. This revision merely invests more control over the environment in government bureaucrats whose main interest will be in preserving their bureaucracy, not the environment. LPF Recommendation: NO
6. Public Education of Children LPF Comments: We in the Libertarian Party believe education is the responsibility of the parents, not the state. Delegating responsibility to the state means giving the state more control and could be used to justify more interference by the state in private schools and homeschooling. LPF Recommendation: NO
7. Local Option for Selection of Judges and Funding of State Courts LPF Comments: This takes the selection of judges away from the people and puts it in the hands of an inner circle of politicos. It also makes some judges' terms longer, making them even less accountable. LPF Recommendation: NO
8. Restructuring the State Cabinet LPF Comments: This would make the office of governor more powerful while taking the selection of a few more officials away from the people. More centralized power means less freedom. LPF Recommendation: NO
9. Basic Rights LPF Comments: This is a tough one. On the one hand, we believe that all persons should be equal before the law. Unfortunately, language such as that found in this amendment is often used to enforce equality in the private sector, where Libertarians advocate complete freedom of association. The Americans with Disabilities Act, for example, has been used to force employers to hire people who are totally unfit for a job on the basis that they can't be discriminated against because of their disabilities. While we agree with the basic premise of Revision 9, we are wary about how it will be applied. LPF Recommendation: None. Vote as you see fit on this one.
10. Access to Local Officials LPF Comments: While the access to local officials might be a benefit, most of this amendment will simply encourage local officials to take over more services and property which they can then make tax-exempt. Thus, the incentive for privatizing will be reduced. LPF Recommendation: NO
11. Ballot Access, Public Campaign Financing, and Election Process Revisions LPF Comments: This would be a major step forward for free and open elections in the state which now has the most exclusionary ballot requirements in the country. If you don't vote on any other issue or candidate, vote for this one. LPF Recommendation: YES
12. Firearms Purchases: Local Option for Criminal History Records Check and Waiting Period LPF Comments: Gun control laws merely take away firearms from law-abiding citizens, while doing little or nothing to take them away from violent criminals, thus leaving law-abiding citizens more at risk. Florida's murder rate went down when its citizens were allowed to carry concealed weapons. Anything that infringes on citizens' rights to bear arms should be opposed. LPF Recommendation: NO
13. Miscellaneous Matters and Technical Revisions LPF Comments: A grab-bag of provisions, some innocuous, some not. The provision to change the tax and budget reform commission voting procedures and meetings from every 10 to every 20 years would seem to make the reform process more difficult. LPF Recommendation: None. ------------------- News From Around the State
Okaloosa County: On July 10, The Northwest Florida Daily News published a letter by Okaloosa County LP Vice Chair Dan Scupin, which defended choice on abortion while satirizing the war on drugs.
Collier County: Officers of the newly formed LP of Collier County are Wade Keller, Chair; Michael Lima, Vice Chair; Suzanne Keller, Secretary; Earle Sanborn, Treasurer.
Brevard County: Newly elected officers are Lee McLamb, Chair; David Hobbs, Vice Chair; Luther Setzer, Secretary; John Cornett, Treasurer.
Lee County: The LP of Lee County has now adopted a road-Pondella Road in North Ft. Myers between N. Cleveland Avenue and Tamiami Trail. Call John Majdiak at 997-3964 for details on how and when to volunteer to clean up the road. This is an opportunity for thousands of local residents to see that the LP is community-oriented.
Seminole County: Under the leadership of Chairman Glenn Austin, the Seminole County LP has been conducting weekend "Operation Politically Homeless" booths at the Flea World in Sanford. These booths have been locating people who are favorable toward Libertarian ideas and getting them on our mailing lists. If you'd like to help, call (407) 365-5441.
Dade/Broward Counties: New TV station WAMI in Miami, seen in both Dade and Broward, has been seeking Libertarian guests for some of its shows. Jim Ray and Tom Regnier have both appeared on a prime time panel discussion show, "Out Loud." Tom also taped a segment on the midnight "Kenneth's Freakquency" show in which he promoted Revision 11 and gave the hostess the "World's Smallest Political Quiz" on the show. (She scored Libertarian!)
LPF E-mail Directory: Ted Apelt is now managing the E-mail Directory of Florida Libertarians. To be listed in and receive the directory, send your name, city, position in the party, if any, and E-mail address to: <TedApelt@aol.com>. Many thanks to Jim Ray for managing the directory in his inimitable style for the last two years.
Florida Liberty The deadlines for the next two issues of Florida Liberty are November 7 and January 3. Send your news, announcements, clippings, newsletters, or photos to: Tom Regnier 1891 NW 42nd Terrace #G-212 Lauderhill, FL 33313 Fax: (954) 733-1911 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 1998
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
SPECIAL CELEBRATION ISSUE!
"Revision 11 has to be the libertarian success story of the decade." David Bergland, National Chair, Libertarian Party
"LP Success Story Of the Decade!"
Revision 11 Passes by Over A Million Votes With 64.7% Majority
NOV. 3, 1998 - Florida lost the distinction of having the harshest ballot access laws in the free world when Florida voters resoundingly approved Constitutional Revision 11. With 100% of precincts reporting, the final vote was:
YES for Approval:2,235,88764.7% NO for Rejection:1,220,84035.3%
Among the six provisions of Revision 11 is one which stipulates that the requirements for a minor party or independent candidate's name to appear on the ballot shall be no greater than those for major party candidates.
The National Libertarian Party hailed the Revision 11 win as one of the party's biggest in the country, as congratulations came in from the party's top leaders. Harry Browne, the LP's 1996 Presidential candidate wrote: "Congratulations! You have worked so hard on this. You deserve the thanks of Libertarians not only in Florida, but everywhere. Thank you, thank you, thank you."
David Bergland, the National Chair of the Libertarian Party, said: "The work of the Florida LP that resulted in the passage of Revision 11 has to be the libertarian success story of the decade. It elevates us to a new plateau, from which even greater progress will spring. We are all deeply grateful to you."
"Florida Libertarians have been working for this day since early in 1997," said Brian Collar, Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida. "It was then that we began organizing to make our views known to the once-every-twenty-year Constitution Revision Commission. Libertarians came in droves to the CRC's public hearings. We thank the Constitution Revision Commission for listening to the facts we presented and for putting an election reform amendment on the ballot."
Support from the Press Once the measure was on the ballot, Florida Libertarians took their case to the press, sending floods of letters to newspapers in support of Revision 11. Most of the press was highly supportive, with over 90% of the daily newspapers in the state eventually endorsing Revision 11 - including the Miami Herald, St. Petersburg Times, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Tampa Tribune, Palm Beach Post, and Tallahassee Democrat. Only two major newspapers, the Orlando Sentinel and Jacksonville's Florida Times-Union went against the trend, but even those papers had dissenting voices among their own columnists - Myriam Marquez of the Sentinel and David Roman of the Times-Union. Ms. Marquez stated in a column the day before the election, "If you believe in democracy, there's no other morally right vote than a 'yes' to Revision 11 on Tuesday. If you vote 'no,' count yourself among the dictators."
Also crucial to the LP strategy was a series of highly effective radio ads which were heard all over the state in the last few days before the election. Most were played on the Rush Limbaugh show, the most-listened-to talk show and one whose listeners have a 96% rate of voter turnout. The ads were funded by generous donations sent by LPF members in response to a letter from the state party.
Widespread Appeal The list of groups endorsing Revision 11 came from all over the political landscape and included:
"Giving the voters more say in who represents them," said Brian Collar, "is an issue that cuts across party lines. Whatever our political beliefs, we all know democracy can't work when the voters have no choices, as has been the case here in Florida. If all the groups listed above, with their many differences in political ideology, can agree on Revision 11, it must have a truly universal appeal."
Former Presidential Candidate Endorses The LP received particular help in the Revision 11 campaign from such luminaries as John Anderson of the Center for Voting and Democracy, Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, Dr. Stanley Marshall of the James Madison Institute, and Sally Spener of Common Cause, all of whom appeared on radio or TV to promote the amendment. Mr. Anderson, the former 10-term Illinois Congressman and 1980 Independent Presidential candidate, announced his support on Jim Alsis' radio show on WPBR 1340 AM in West Palm Beach and criticized what he called Florida's "democracy by default." Mr. Anderson derided the justification of "voter confusion" that is often used as an excuse for the lack of political competition, saying, "To argue that somehow the voter that can pick between all the different brands of shoes and all the different items in a grocery store - literally, thousands of consumer choices in the marketplace - that having three or four names on the ballot is going to confuse average American citizens - is an insult to their intelligence."
Perhaps the most audacious pro-Revision 11 stunt was pulled off by members of the LP of Seminole County, who, two days before the election, hired a plane to fly over the county with a "Yes on 11" banner. Meanwhile, they staged a rally on the ground at which Janet Hawkins, former LP state house candidate and Terri Hattaway, former Winter Springs commissioner, gave "stump speeches" on a real stump.
Members of other parties in the Floridians for Fair Elections coalition contributed by sending information packets on Revision 11 to newspaper editorial boards and by participating in "Unlock the Ballot Box" rallies in Tampa, Orlando and Pensacola.
Tom Regnier, LPF Vice Chair and Revision 11 Campaign Coordinator said: "I'd like to thank everyone in the party who helped get Revision 11 passed. There are so many people who contributed their time, their money, their energy, and their hope that I can't name them all. But please don't feel left out. If you helped at all with this process, this is your victory. You know who you are.
Credit to Daniel Walker "First of all, there is one person without whom this simply would not have happened, and that is Daniel Walker. He is the one who alerted Libertarians to the Constitution Revision process and urged us to get involved. He organized the coalition that drafted our proposals to the CRC, and lobbied the CRC for us. If so many Libertarians had not shown up at the hearings, the CRC still might not know how bad the ballot access laws were in Florida. He is the person most responsible for getting a ballot access amendment on the ballot. Thank you, Dan!"
Continued Tom Regnier: "I'd like to thank David Owens for researching radio advertising, helping me pin down radio time for our ads, and getting yard signs made; Janet Hawkins for very ably handling the bumper stickers, yard signs, and buttons; Carl Strang for his relentless energy in speaking and writing on behalf of Revision 11 and for his wonderful optimistic spirit; current State Chair Brian Collar and past Chair Nick Dunbar for guiding the party so steadily through this two-year process; Gary Ilardi for his excellent wisdom and advice, and also for his giving me the job of running the Revision 11 campaign; Dean Hodgkins, former Indiana LP Vice Chair and a new Florida resident, for invaluable help, particularly with the press, during the last weeks of the campaign; Jim Alsis, for using his radio show to promote Revision 11 and for eliciting a truly eloquent statement about Revision 11 from former Presidential candidate John Anderson; Ted Apelt, who manages the LPF E-mail directory, for forwarding my E-mail updates to you all; Dianne Pilcher for her suggestions on the fund-raising letter we sent to our members; Phil Blumel for promoting Revision 11 through his Voices of the Florida Taxpayer newsletter, speeches, and radio appearances; Tom Smith for arranging for Libertarians to appear on talk shows in the Tampa area; Lisa Bullion for her work with Floridians for Fair Elections (and for taking that photo that appeared on the front pages of both Florida Liberty and LP News); Ralph Swanson for faithfully mailing out the fund-raising letter and the newsletter and for collecting and depositing the checks; Marshall Sutherland for his dependable work as State LP Treasurer; the Seminole County LP for hiring a plane to fly a 'Yes on 11' banner; the Palm Beach County LP for its energetic support; all the LP state and county officers and activists who participated in this process; every Libertarian who spoke at the CRC hearings, wrote letters to newspapers, organized rallies, gave speeches, spoke on talk shows, handed out literature at polling places, put Revision 11 bumper stickers on their cars, displayed Revision 11 yard signs or buttons, or whose contributions paid for our statewide blitz of Revision 11 radio ads during the last few days before the election.
"The Libertarian Party of Florida has gained enormous respect from this effort, from both inside and outside the state. We have found out and demonstrated what we can do as a group when we focus all our energies on a particular issue. We will, I'm sure, find more uses for that newfound ability in the near future.This is our victory!"
Brian Collar noted: "Our thanks go to the many Florida voters who made it official by voting 'Yes' on Revision 11. They've shown they want more choices on the ballot, and we in the Libertarian Party will do all we can to oblige them. Look for us on the Florida ballot in the next election."
What Next? Write to the Legislature! NOW!
It is vital that Florida Libertarians put pressure on the legislature to ensure that they do not try to tamper with the gains we have made by passing Revision 11. Though the passage of Revision 11 is a huge step towards open elections and political competition, the Florida legislature must still enact implementing legislation. Also, Revision 11 does not mandate that the ballot requirements be easy, only that they be the same for all parties.
We strongly urge you to write letters to your state representative and state senator NOW, and then again before March. If you're online, you can find your legislators' addresses at <http://www.leg.state.fl.us>. If you're not online, call your county supervisor of elections, have your voter registration card handy, and ask the supervisor's office for legislative contact information.
Also send letters to Senator Toni Jennings (President of the Senate), Rep. John Thrasher (Speaker of the State House), and Katherine Harris, the new Secretary of State. Sen. Jennings served on the CRC, and she heard the public demand for ballot access reform; Thrasher is in his first year as speaker; impress upon him the need for electoral reform. Jennings and Thrasher will exercise considerable power concerning what bills are considered. Ms.Harris, whose department includes the state Division of Elections, will be listened to by legislators regarding electoral reform. (See addresses at the end of this article.)
Facts to use: (1) Revision 11 was passed overwhelmingly by the people (cite the vote totals from the lead artricle above). (2) Surveys showed that ballot access was the most popular Revision 11 reform, with an approval rating as high as 82%. (3) It is more than coincidence that Revision 11 passed so easily, when the general election had so many uncontested races - for 73 of 120 State House seats, for 14 of 21 State Senate seats, for 17 of 23 U.S. House seats. Obviously, Florida voters are tired of "one-horse" races and having so few political choices. (4) Up until now Florida's ballot access requirements have been the worst in the free world (worse than in Russia or South Africa). (5) It is impossible for democracy to flourish when voters have no choices. (6) The Florida legislature must "do the right thing" by opening up the political process and lowering the filing fees to allow more candidates - Democrat, Republican, and all parties - to run.
Keep your letters (the old-fashioned kind with paper, envelope, and stamp still are most effective) cordial, respectful, and no more than one page, but insist that the only proper thing for the legislature to do is open up the process, greatly reduce petitioning requirements, and slash candidate qualifying fees.
Also, please make copies of the petition at the end of this newsletter. Sign it and get friends to sign it, and send it to the address given at the bottom of the petition.
In the near future, please also write letters to your local newspapers stressing the same points - that the legislature must now finish the job the people have started and ensure that Florida has open, fair elections with more choices for voters.
Speak to Your Legislative Delegations Within each county, soon there will be Local Legislative Delegation meetings at which state reps and senators with constituencies in each county will be present. In one fell swoop, you can briefly and simultaneously address several legislators about ballot access and any other issue. Call your state rep or senator's office, find out the schedule for delegation meetings, and attend! As we've learned from the CRC process, old-fashioned grass roots activism such as speaking and sending letters can generate success.
As Daniel Walker says, "It's up to us to complete the magnificent job we began in May of 1997. Don't let up now. A little more work, and in 2000 we can finally do what a political party is supposed to do: Place a slate of candidates on the general election ballot!"
In addition to your own 1998 state legislators, write to:
Sen. Toni Jennings Office of the Senate President The Capitol, Room 409 Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
Rep. John Thrasher Speaker of the House The Capitol, Room 414 Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Hon. Katherine Harris Office of Secretary of State The Capitol, Plaza Level Tallahassee, FL 32399
To Members of the Libertarian Party of Florida
Just a brief word to thank and congratulate all of you on the passage of Revision 11. You folks did a great job in conducting an effective campaign and, apparently, in getting out the vote. And, of course, you're to be thanked for calling this flagrant violation of good government to the attention of the Constitution Revision Commission in the first place.
It's good to have such an egregious wrong finally righted. Nice going!
J. Stanley Marshall, Chairman and CEO The James Madison Institute
Are You Eligible for Advocates' "Lights of Liberty" Award?
You May Be A Winner: Have you written libertarian letters to the editor? Operated "Operation Politically Homeless" booths? Delivered libertarian speeches to non-libertarian audiences? If so, you may be a winner! The Advocates for Self-Government, through its "Lights of Liberty" program, is giving awards, prizes, recognition, and discounts to anyone who accomplishes any of the following in 1998: (1) publishing three letters mentioning the word "libertarian" or "libertarianism" in newspapers or magazines; (2) helping with three "Operation Politically Homeless" booths; (3) delivering three speeches with libertarian themes to non-libertarian audiences.
If you've met the qualifications, or know someone who has, contact the Advocates! For more info on these awards and how to qualify, see the "Lights of Liberty" page at their website: <http://www.self-gov.org/lights>. Or E-mail them for a free copy of The Liberator, their quarterly magazine the current issue has a feature article on the awards. Their goals are to recognize grass roots libertarian volunteers and encourage more of these important activities for liberty. Contact: Advocates for Self-Government, 1202 N. Tennessee St., Suite 202, Cartersville, GA 30120; Phone: 770-386-8372; Fax: 770-386-8373; E-mail: <email@example.com>website: <http://www.self-gov.org>
Do an OPH Booth at Your Local Hemp Festival
Some of the best results from "Operation Politically Homeless" booths come at hemp festivals. After all, the LP is the only party that opposes the war on drugs. Following is a list of upcoming Florida Hemp festivals. If your affiliate would like to get involved, contact Kevin Aplin of the Cannabis Action Network at 352-378-9836. LPF affiliates can earn $25 for each OPH booth (see coupon below). Here's the schedule (all events begin at noon):
November 28 - Volusia County Medical Freedom Festival December 3-6 - Key West NORML Conference February 20, 1999 - Tampa, Lowry Park March 27 - Tallahassee, Old Capitol Lawn April 17 - St. Petersburg, Williams Park June 5 - Jacksonville Beach, Sea Walk Pavilion
All Hemp festivals include live music, speeches (have one of your members speak out against the war on drugs), vendors, voter registration and the medical marijuana petition.
"Operation Politically Homeless" Voucher This Coupon Is Redeemable For $25.00 from the Libertarian Party of Florida by any Florida LP affiliate for each OPH booth event. Send dates, stats, plus names and addresses of new prospects, to the LPF. For information on how to organize an OPH booth in your area, contact the Florida Liberty Editor.
Grass Roots Organizing Recruiting New Libertarians by Jim Alsis
[Editor's Note: This is the first in a regular series of columns on how to build your local party from the ground up by party-builder extraordinaire Jim Alsis.]
With the passage of Revision 11, the two major parties are obliged under the Florida Constitution to treat us as political equals. And we are obliged to grow up and act as serious players on the political stage here in Florida.
Be assured, the Greens and the Reform Party will begin to do the same! To be serious political players, we need to begin in earnest to build our political base across the entire State of Florida. Remember, all serious politics is based on a grass roots organizing model. The socialists who built the trade union movement into a political powerhouse provide a textbook example for organizing success. What follows is a simple sketch of a model that works!
One-on-One Contact! All politics is personal! And all politics is local! The local, personal one-on-one conversions are still the very best way to grow our local base of support in every county. This recruiting work must begin in earnest in the 38 smaller counties where the number of registered Libertarian voters is less than 50. Both the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Amway Corporation have used the same techniques to build vast and powerful enterprises in every state. It's time for us to begin to do the same.
Begin In Smaller Counties! Each of us can and should be an Ambassador for Liberty. For us to be successful as a political party, the basic political sales and marketing skills must be in common daily usage among at least 3 or 4 Libertarians in each of the 38 counties with fewer than 50 registered Libertarians. In the larger 29 counties, organizing is much easier. This is one of our most important challenges if we expect to elect Libertarians to state and national office in the next decade. Decide to become an Ambassador for Liberty in your county, where the need is greatest. For too long, we have misjudged our enormous potential for political success. Today, in the marketplace of ideas, we now have an extraordinary opportunity to expand our market share.
Marketing Strategy! We have more salespeople and more natural extroverts joining our party every day. We need to learn their skills and use the same tools, techniques, and strategies that are common in successful marketing organizations. We are selling an idea - an idea whose time has come! It is no different from selling life insurance or Amway products.
Wanted: 100 Extroverts! If you can speak with optimism about your passion and your commitment to the Libertarian cause to 10 open-minded registered voters every week for 10 weeks, and if you will do this for one year, you will have at least 20 new registered Libertarians in your county. It requires only that you learn to be consistently friendly, optimistic, and persuasive with each of the 10 people you contact each week. Learn something new from each person you talk to. This will improve your persuasion skills markedly every 10 weeks. Treat it as a competitive game and keep score. Check your statistics and your progress every 10 weeks.
Miracle in 1,000 Days Marketing Libertarian ideas is a numbers game just like marketing anything else. This one has an initial 4% return on your annual investment. By the end of the second year, however, when you have figured out how to recruit 4 registered Libertarians to speak each week for a year to 10 open-minded voters, it gets easier. In about 1,000 days from the time you began, you and your 4 other Libertarian Ambassadors have 120 newly registered Libertarians in your county. That's a base from which you can realistically build an LPF county affiliate and begin to do real politics. And if you can find 4 extroverted Libertarians in less than 24 months that will take up the challenge to work with you as Ambassadors in your county, it will take even less than 1,000 days.
Some Simple Rules Follow some simple rules: (1) qualify your prospect as quickly as you can without being rude, (2) give the person a card with your phone if they qualify for future contact, (3) never spend more than 10 minutes with a prospect, (4) carry several copies of the "World's Smallest Political Quiz" at all times and voter registration cards in your car or briefcase, (5) if, by the end of your fourth 10-minute conversation, the prospect is still not interested in registering as a Libertarian voter, drop that person from your list of prospects.
If you would like to take up the challenge in your county, contact me by phone in the evenings at 561-966-3563, and I'll send you a start-up kit and help you begin.
[Jim Alsis is the former Chairman of the LP of Palm Beach County. and a member of the LP of Florida Executive Committee.]
Carl Strang Appointed to Judicial Nominating Commission
Carl Strang, former mayor of Winter Haven and member of the Libertarian Party of Florida Executive Committee, has been chosen for a four-year term on the Second District Court of Appeals' Judicial Nominating Commission. He received the news from Jerry Hill, 10th Circuit State Attorney.
"We can all take heart in the fact that I was selected after an interview in which I did not soft-pedal my dedication to Libertarian principles in any way," said Carl. "Warmest thanks to Daniel Walker for alerting me to the opportunity, and for coaching me on the issues."
Carl's duties as a Commissioner will be to forward to the Governor of Florida a slate of three candidates for appointment to the Second District Court of Appeals any time a vacancy occurs. The Governor may appoint one from each group of three; or, if he chooses, he may declare that none of the three is qualified and ask for another list of names. Carl plans to question applicants to the Court and to examine their records for their adherence to the U.S. Constitution and to libertarian principles and to vote for nomination of those who best meet the test.
"I firmly believe," said Carl Strang, "I was chosen because of my Libertarianism, and not in spite of it. And I hope that all who read this will believe and take heart."
Start Thinking About It Now: Become Part of the State Judicial Appointment Process, Starting Next July by Daniel Walker
PUBLIC NOTICE: Build your political resume. Serve in appointed office. Affect the composition of the state judiciary. No campaigning, petitioning, or qualifying fee necessary.
The position? A seat on a Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC).
Next July (1999), public, non-attorney positions will open on the JNC's of each of the 20 judicial (trial court) circuits, the 5 district courts of appeal, and the state supreme court. Our very own Carl Strang of Winter Haven is already serving on the 2nd District Court of Appeal JNC, having been appointed in September.
Judicial nominating commissions are mandated in the Florida Constitution. When a mid-term vacancy occurs in a judicial circuit (county court or state circuit court), or any opening occurs on a district court of appeal, or the state supreme court, the JNC for the respective court meets, seeks applicants for the judicial position, interviews and screens applicants, and ultimately makes applicant recommendations to the governor for appointment.
JNC's are composed of nine persons, all registered voters, who live within the territorial jurisdiction of the respective court; three persons are lawyers appointed by the Florida Bar Board of Govern ors, three are appointed by the governor of the state, and the final three members must be non-attorneys, appointed by majority vote of the other members of the JNC. A term is four years; no salary, only travel expenses are reimbursed. JNC's are technically non-partisan.
JNC members have a crucial role in determining who the governor might appoint to the state judiciary -what an excellent, low-profile place for libertarians to become part of state government! And, if you're considering running for a higher-profile elective office in later years (e.g., county commissioner, state legislator, Congress), building your political track record with a term on a JNC is just the sort of stuff that shows serious political participation and earns credibility points with the media and better-informed voters.
While codes of judicial conduct prohibit judicial applicants and candidates from making statements about political issues and issues likely to come before them on the court, there is still plenty for a libertarian JNC member to learn about, and impress upon, would-be judges. Imagine asking them if they're familiar with the writings of Richard Epstein, Randy Barnett, or Bernard Siegan, and if so, what they learned; where in the state or federal constitution it is stated that economic liberties and property rights are to receive less protection than civil or personal liberties; to explain the difference between "positive" and "negative" rights; etc.
If you're interested in seeking a JNC position next summer, write to the Florida Bar at 650 Apalachee Parkway; Tallahassee, FL 32399-2300, and request information about judicial nominating commissions; tell them what county you live in, and that you might be interested in applying for a JNC position next summer.
A political party "does politics" other than electoral politics, and for a small party, it means exploiting whatever opportunities arise. The seldom-noted existence of judicial nominating commissions offers us the chance to penetrate the machinery of state government and to influence the composition of the judiciary. That this opportunity can be done without massive expenditures of time and money makes it all the more worthwhile.
For now, just think about it. Next summer, you, a Libertarian, could secure an appointment that gives you a voice concerning who will serve in the Florida judiciary.
New Libertarian Officeholder
NOV. 3 - Rick Shepherd of Palm Beach County, a member of the LPF Executive Committee, is the newest Libertarian public officeholder in Florida after his victorious run for the Palm Beach County Soil and Water Conservation Board. The five-member Board, which is a governmental subdivision of the state of Florida, is charged with developing and conserving the state's soil and water resources. Mr. Shepherd expressed excitement over the win and vowed to work hard to master the duties of the office and to promote libertarian ideals.
Libertarian Redner to Run for Tampa City Council
TAMPA - Libertarian Joe Redner is a candidate in the non-partisan race for Tampa City Council to be held on March 2, 1999. "I believe in and stand for smaller government, increased personal responsibility, greater civil liberties, economic freedom and less government interference in citizens' lives," said Mr. Redner. "I am against the City's waste of our tax money, the lack of ethics, and the favoritism in the decision-making process."
A self-made millionaire, Mr. Redner owns a number of adult night clubs which "color Tampa's nights with neon," according to a Tampa Tribune article. The 58-year-old Redner has said he wants to be the conscience of local government.
Citing an example of the abuse of power, Mr. Redner noted, "The vendors in Ybor City were outlawed, supposedly for litter. Please, go down there. The litter is still there and always will be. What, I ask you, was the real reason vendors were eliminated? Will another reason crop up eventually? Our government should not eliminate competition, but protect it."
Working against Mr. Redner may be a 1984 conviction for possessing cocaine. His civil and voting rights were stripped because of the felony but were reinstated in 1994 by Governor Chiles.
Now a health buff who has sworn off drugs and alcohol, Mr. Redner recently opened a fitness club in Hyde Park. He also owns several nude dancing clubs. But Redner doesn't believe his reputation as a purveyor of the erotic will work against him. In fact, Redner said he has an ethical edge over his likely opponent, Councilman Rudy Fernandez, who also plans to run for the District 1 at-large council seat. Fernandez is under scrutiny by the Florida Commission on Ethics for a vote he cast to give fellow Councilman Ronnie Mason and Council Attorney David Carr 15 ambulance permits.
"I have been a successful businessman in Tampa for 20 years," said Joe Redner. "I pay over a million dollars a year in taxes. If anyone wants to know about my ethics or character, you can ask the people I do business with and the people that know me. I am not running to make my decisions, I am running to make the right decisions, which are those decisions that are made to benefit the taxpayers and not me personally!"
Mr. Redner is a supporter of All Children's Hospital, the Police Athletic League (PAL), Veterans, Tiger Bay Club, the ACLU, and North Tampa Pony Baseball.
While Tampa/Hillsborough election law prohibits Mr. Redner from running as a Libertarian in a non-partisan race, or to accept any party's endorsement, individual Libertarians who wish to help the campaign are welcome to do so. To volunteer for the Redner campaign, call 813-870-FREE. For more information, see the Redner campaign website at: <http://redner.com/voice/index.html>.
Libertarian Registration Approaches 7,000
As of August 3, 1998, there were 6,823 registered Libertarians in Florida. This is a 33% increase since the same time in 1996.
Note that there are over a million voters with no party affiliation. The statewide totals for all parties were:
* There is an Independent Party in Florida, though many people who are registered with it actually meant to register as "No Party Affiliation."
For information on upcoming legislation in the Florida House of Representatives, ask to be on the mailing list for the "House Interim Calendar." Write to: House Documents Office, Room 325 The Capitol, 402 S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300.
News From Around the State
Brevard County: Richard Hall and Brian Mos spent an entire day in a Palm Bay High School class conducting a series of 45-minute presentations on the U.S. Constitution and "Why I Became a Libertarian."
Citrus County: The Citrus County LP has been sounding an alert about the "Economic Development Council," a private company which recently received $108,000 of taxpayer money from the County Commission to "promote economic development in Citrus County within a public/private partnership." Commented Citrus LP Chair Jim McIntosh in the party's Piquant Press, "Commissioner Brad Thorpe saw no reason to issue requests for proposals and quotes. He gestured broadly toward the EDC members and said, 'These are our people,' which was true; however, one wonders if they are the commission's only people when it comes to hefty, definitive dole."
Palm Beach County: Slade O'Brien, Florida chairman of Citizens for a Sound Economy, spoke at the LP of Palm Beach County on September 16. Citizens for a Sound Economy is a nonpartisan grass roots organization that advocates free market solutions to public problems. They recently opened their statewide office in Boca Raton. Mr. O'Brien was introduced to the LPPBC at the Ron Paul luncheon event in July and noted that there are many libertarians at CSE's Washington office.
If you want to be kept informed of all the late-breaking LP of Florida news, be sure that you're listed in the LPF E-mail Directory. Just send an E-mail message saying you'd like to be on the list (and include your name and city) to: <Ted Apelt@aol.com>.
Broward County: New County LP officers are Brian Bustamante, Chair; Fred Bluestone, Vice Chair; Ted Apelt, Secretary; Sandy Koplowitz, Treasurer; and Artie Lurie, At Large.
PETITION To the Speaker of the Florida House & the Florida Senate President
In accord with the right to petition under Article I, Section 5 of the Florida Constitution, the undersigned citizens urge the Speaker (under House rules) and President (under Senate Rules) to  receive this petition as a "miscellaneous paper,"  have it read in each chamber,  print it in each respective Journal, and  refer it to the appropriate committees for electoral reform. This must be considered due to
(1) the overwhelming voter approval of state constitution Revision 11 by a 64.7% to 35.3% margin, indicating substantial citizen disappointment concerning the lack of electoral choice and competitive elections in the State of Florida;
(2) the profound lack of political competition and electoral choice at Florida general elections for the U.S. House of Representatives, for which the two major parties fielded candidates against each other for only 5 of 23 seats in 1998;
(3) the distinct lack of competition and choice at Florida general elections for the State House, for which the two major parties failed to compete against each other for 75 of 120 seats in 1998, and for which the two major parties failed to compete against each other for more than 49% of House seats since 1974;
(4) the distinct lack of competition and choice at Florida general elections for the State Senate, for which the two major parties failed to compete against each other for 14 seats in 1998, and for which the two major parties failed to compete against each other for more than 35% of open seats since 1984;
(5) the lack of competition and choice for 16 of the 20 respective State Attorney and Public Defender positions filled at the 1996 and 1998 general elections;
(6) the illegitimately harsh petitioning burdens in Florida, among the worst in America, which are imposed upon potential minor party, independent, and less-wealthy major party candidates, depriving voters of electoral choices and suppressing robust political debate;
(7) the unjustifiably high candidate qualifying fees imposed in Florida, the costliest in America, which are a disincentive to political participation by candidates who are not wealthy, yet who wish to serve in elective office.
We therefore petition and instruct the Legislature to enact election reform legislation to increase political competition and electoral choice by greatly reducing petitioning burdens for all candidates and parties, and reducing the high qualifying fees imposed upon all potential candidates.
Sign, ask interested friends to sign, and then promptly mail to: Floridians for Political Choice; 221 E. Seventh Ave.; Tallahassee, FL 32303
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 1999
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
Hawkins & Calvo In Legislative Races! Special Elections March 9
ORLANDO, JAN. 16 - Florida Libertarian activists Janet Hawkins and Cyndi Calvo announced their races for the Florida legislature in special elections which are being held to fill seats left vacant when Governor Bush appointed legislators to posts in his administration. Janet Hawkins of Seminole County will run for the State House of Representatives seat in District 35. Cyndi Calvo of Marion County will run for the State Senate seat in District 8. The special elections for both seats will be held on March 9.
Janet Hawkins, a registered nurse, is running for the seat being vacated by Dr. Bob Brooks, who was appointed Secretary of the Florida Department of Health. Janet ran for State House as a Libertarian in 1992 against Tom Feeney, a popular Republican incumbent with ties to Christian conservatives. With a budget of only about $635, Janet received 10,073 votes, or 28.1% in a three-way race in a predominately Republican district. She stressed the campaign themes of violent crime, corporate welfare, and ?all kinds of choice. Janet is a member of the Board of Directors of the Seminole County Port Authority, as well as a member of the LP of Florida and LP of Seminole County Executive Committees. A native of Pennsylvania, she has lived in Florida since 1985. District 35 embraces East Orlando towards the University of Central Florida.
Cyndi Calvo, currently Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Marion County, has filed for the State Senate seat being vacated by William Bankhead. Richard Chamberlin, field office coordinator for the campaign, touted Ms. Calvo's lack of political experience as an advantage, saying, Experienced people have really made a mess of things. We don?t need another experienced person.
Ms. Calvo was born in New Hampshire and graduated from Plantation High School in Broward County, Florida. She attended Broward Community College and graduated from Ray-Mar Beauty College. She has been president of a financial holding company in the securities industry and is the president and sole director of Southeast Companies, Inc., which produces concerts. She is married to Bill Calvo, an attorney and the Chair of the Marion County LP. They have three children. Senate District 8 covers Flagler County and parts of Marion, Duval. Volusia, and St. Johns Counties.
Campaign Contact Information To help with the Hawkins campaign, or to make a contribution, contact: Janet Hawkins Campaign, P.O. Box 2074, Goldenrod, FL 32733, 407-679-2664. Or contact the Seminole or Orange County LP's.
To help or contribute to the Calvo campaign, contact: Committee to Elect Cyndi Calvo for State Senate, District 8, 1941 SE 51st Terrace, Ocala, FL 34471, 352-694-6714.
Florida LP Plans Unprecedented Expansion With Operation: Bootstrap
ORLANDO, JAN. 16 - At the Success 99 conference, the Florida LP unveiled a plan to move the state party into the 21st Century with doubled membership, increased income, and professional staff. Operation: Bootstrap so impressed national party leaders who were present at the conference that several of them made personal donations toward the project. Operation: Bootstrap seeks to at least double state party membership from around 1,500 to 3,000 by August 1999. This will give the LPF the membership base it needs to run numerous credible, viable political races in the year 2000. LPF Chair Brian Collar worked out the details of the plan with LPF At Large Director Jim Alsis, who presented the plan to party members.
Members can expect a letter with details of Operation: Bootstrap soon.
Revision 11 Follow-up: URGENT: Write to Legislative Committees
Your help is needed in consolidating the great gains the Florida LP has achieved with the passage of Revision 11. State Senate and House committees are now considering proposed bills to implement Revision 11. Since the state constitution now requires ballot access requirements to be the same for all parties, these committees are completely reconsidering what those requirements should be. Florida's filing fees and petition requirements are still extremely high compared to other states. The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and House Election Reform Committee were last considering bills that would lower the petition requirements from 3% to 1% of registered voters in a district. This would be a great improvement.
Exorbitant Filing Fees Filing fees in Florida, however, are 6% of the annual salary. In most states it is around 1% of the annual salary. This means that the filing fee for U.S. Congress in Florida is $8,000! We need to urge the legislators to drastically cut the filing fees and to lower the petition requirements even more than they have suggested.
All Florida Libertarians are strongly urged to write to these committees AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. The more letters they receive, the easier it will be for Daniel Walker, the LP's spokesman in Tallahassee, to argue for lower requirements.
Following are the names of the 1999 Senate Ethics & Elections Committee members:
You can write to each of them at: Senator [Name] The Capitol Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100. Committee fax: 850-487-5208.
Be sure to keep your letters brief (under one page), to the point, cordial, and well-reasoned.
Here are the names of the members of the House Election Reform Committee:
You can write to each of them at: The Honorable [Name] Florida House of Representatives The Capitol Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300 Committee fax: 850-413-0419 or 0421
Also, write to your own state senator and representative, to the Senate President, Speaker of the House, and Secretary of State, all c/o The Capitol, Tallahassee, FL 32399.
Writing letters is one of the easiest and most effective political actions we can take. It does not require a great deal of time or expense or inconvenience. It is an activity that almost anyone can do. Florida Libertarians proved highly effective in their letters to the Constitution Revision Commission and to newspapers. All of you who wrote letters deserve a great deal of credit for the historic victory that we accomplished in passing Revision 11. Don't stop now! We have achieved much of what we wanted, and this is the best time to ensure that Florida at last has equitable ballot access laws. Please write your letters as soon as you can.
Start Planning Your Tax Day Rally Now!
Now is a good time to start planning your local party's April 15 Anti-Income Tax Rally. Following is an article that first appeared in the national Libertarian Volunteer in 1998:
How To Stage a Tax Day Rally by Tom Regnier
An April 15 Anti-Income Tax rally is a great way to get across the LP's message about taxes. In Broward County, Florida, where I live, the Tax Day Rally has become an annual tradition. It is a chance to let people know that the LP opposes the income tax (on a day when their disgust with that tax is likely to be at a peak) and to let people know how to contact the LP.
In Broward County, the perfect place for such a rally has always been the main post office in the evening. Once the smaller post offices around the county close, people who still haven't mailed their income tax forms have nowhere else to go to get them postmarked by midnight. There is always a long, slow line of cars extending for a mile or more as people drive through the post office's circular drive to drop off their returns. There are always extra police and postal workers on hand to handle the overflow?and, of course, Libertarians with flyers and signs. Most late filers drive slowly within a few feet of us as they approach the post office, so it's easy for us to hand them literature. A great many are eager to roll down their windows and grab our flyers as they drive by.
The National LP's "Million Dollar Bills" are the best handouts for a tax day protest. You can have your local LP number or the national 800 number printed on them. Other LP literature about taxes is good too, and you might want to have a few other flyers about the party's positions in general on hand for people who ask about them, but it's best to stick to the one issue of taxes as much as possible.
As for signs, we like to keep the message short and simple. Each sign should have a short, easily understood message, plus the party's name and phone number. We've used such slogans as "Repeal the Income Tax," "Abolish the IRS", and "Less Government. No Income Tax." We also have the Statue of Liberty logo on all our signs. The signs were fairly inexpensive to make. After checking out the exorbitant prices at several professional sign stores, I found I could simply design the signs on my computer, take letter-sized copies to Kinko's and get them enlarged to 24 x 36 and laminated for about $15 each. We then mounted them on masonite with sticks attached, and had weather-resistant signs we can use year after year.
Another touch we've added in the last couple of years has been American Revolutionary uniforms. We rent a full uniform or two from a costume shop. You only need one or two people in the full costume to evoke the Revolutionary spirit. We also have about ten or twelve three-cornered hats on hand for other demonstrators to wear. You can add Libertarian Party banners, 13-star American flags and "Don't Tread on Me" flags. One advantage of this is that it invites TV news cameras. Though we had been getting mentions in the print media for years, it was only when we added the costumes that we got TV coverage as well. Be sure to send out press releases to all the local media several days beforehand to let them know you'll be there and why. And if you have some kind of visual gimmick planned, be sure to mention that in the press releases. Some affiliates have dressed up as Indians and dramatized Boston Tea Parties.
Each local LP has to find its own way of doing a tax protest. Other types of locations such as in front of an IRS office or in a large mall may work better for some affiliates. At a minimum, you need flyers or signs, preferably both. We find that the tax protest is a great way to get activists charged up and spread the Libertarian message at the same time. And be sure to take photos and send them, along with a report, to the editor of your state newsletter!
ORLANDO, Jan. 16-17 1999
Over 40 Libertarians from around the state who attended the National Libertarian Party's first Success Conference of the year were treated to party-building tips and campaign workshops presented by National Director Steve Dasbach, Communications Director Bill Winter, Political Director Ron Crickenberger, top-notch campaign manager Barbara Goushaw, and campus organizer Jim Lark.
Party-Building Steve Dasbach emphasized that the role of the LP is to elect enough public officials to make this a more free society. Campaigns are ultimately what we're about, he said. Running successful campaigns, whether they elect people or not, is one of the best ways to increase the strength of your party. He said that we seek to create a Libertarian majority and noted that polls show that people with essentially libertarian views are the second largest political group next to conservatives. He pointed out that state and local party organizatons can provide face-to-face personal contact in a way that the national party can't.
Bill Winter, who, before becoming National Communications Director, was a very successful chairman of the New Hampshire LP, spoke about grass roots party-building.
He used the vowels as the basis for his rules for LP success:
Mr. Winter noted that publicity does not create success. You must first build your organization, engage in political activity, and then publicize your successes. He recommended that if the LP can become a reverse iceberg with seven-eighths of its activity visible to the public and only one-eighth unseen, we could sink the ship of state.
Campaigning Barbara Goushaw and Ron Crickenberger gave detailed campaigning advice. Ms. Goushaw, who managed the Jon Coon and Fred Collins campaigns in Michigan, explained the importance of having a campaign plan and defining your goals in advance. She passed out copies of a timeline she prepared for a campaign showing the dates on which specific actions had to be done. She stressed the importance of face-to-face fund-raising and noted that people are more likely to give when asked in person by the candidate. A basic part of your strategy, she said, should be targeting those segments of the population that are likely to vote for you and why ("Who plus why equals 51%"). Both she and Ron Crickenberger advocated door-to-door campaigning by the candidate, whenever possible, as an important tool. Voters always remember the day a candidate came to their door and spoke to them. Mr. Crickenberger cited this as an important factor in the successful Bruce Van Buren race which he managed in Georgia. Mr. Crickenberger recommended running as many candidates as possible, noting that there is a synergy which develops when you have a large slate of candidates. He also explained how to raise the first $2,500 for your campaign from friends, family, and business associates whether they are Libertarians or not. These people will give because they know you, he said, and they will be flattered if you ask them for more than they are likely to be able to afford. He said the issue in every campaign is "Who will do the best job"? Candidates need to portray themselves as likeable people who are smart and will bring more money into the voters pockets.
Campus organizer Jim Lark said that his help is available to anyone who wishes to build LP organizations on college campuses. Among the gems of wisdom he offered the participants: The messenger is often more important than the message. Do your homework (get your facts straight). Everything you say as a Libertarian could be crucial in persuading someone. We have to do the little things well and repeatedly. Be a good listener. Be patient. Keep equilibrium. Learn to muzzle your sardonic wit. Mr. Lark can be reached through the Florida Liberty Editor.
Dinner Speakers The Florida LP provided most of the entertainment at the Saturday night dinner. State party Vice Chair Tom Regnier led off with a dramatic reading of Judge Noah Sweat's 1948 speech on whiskey. State Chair Brian Collar introduced 16-year-old Jennifer Powell, who spoke on "The World of Politics Through the Eyes of a Teenager." She noted that ?the job of a politician is to keep the government from experimenting with your happiness. Jim Alsis presented "Operation: Bootstrap" (see article on front page) and raised the seed money to get the project started. Steve Dasbach spoke on the importance of Operation Bootstrap and commended the Florida LP for taking responsibility for such a project. Richard Chamberlin, a former Georgia state representative, announced that he is joining the Libertarian Party. Mr. Chamberlin, who is a longtime friend of the Calvo family, also announced Cyndi Calvo's entry into the State Senate race for District 8. Mr. Chamberlin has been involved in fourteen political races in the past (two as a candidate), and all of them have been victorious.
After the national party's presentation, the state party held a Conference of County Leaders. Sara Cotham, Executive Director of the Indiana LP, spoke on her experiences at that post.
Saving Lives Ron Crickenberger perhaps summed up the weekend's activities best when he said, "We're here to build a more free world. For many people, this is a matter of life and death. We're here to save lives."
New Pro-Freedom Think Tank Established
TALLAHASSEE Attorney Daniel Walker has established the Law & Liberty Foundation, a non-profit corporation based in Florida. Board members include Mr.Walker, former Winter Haven mayor Carl Strang, tenured FSU communications professor Daniel Montgomery (also a registered Libertarian), and former James Madison Institute vice president John Smith. The Foundation is dedicated to the study of constitutionalism, jurisprudence, legal history, and governmental structure, to promote an institutional legal framework which protects the human rights of self-determination, property ownership and use, and association. No market-oriented think-tank? Cato, Reason, others now focuses primarily on these issues as a matter of constitutional law. For more information, or to make a donation, contact Daniel Walker, 221 E. Seventh Ave., Tallahassee, FL 32303, or LibLawDFW@aol.com.
Successful Brevard Booth
On November 21-22, 1998, the Libertarian Party of Brevard County held a successful "Operation Politically Homeless" (OPH) Booth at the Melbourne Cannabis Freedom Festival. A majority of those tested scored as Libertarians, and 56 people submitted their names and addresses requesting additional Libertarian information.
News From Around the State
Palm Beach County: Phil Blumel, co-editor of Voices of the Florida Taxpayer, is offering a free E-mail report on activities of the Florida legislature to Florida Libertarians. To receive Voices Online, send your name and E-mail address to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Please state whether you are a Voices subscriber or a member of the Libertarian Party of Florida (or both!).
Orange County: David Dyer, former Orange County LP Chair, has been appointed to the Orange County Citizens Review Panel for Human Services. This panel visits the various human services agencies, considers their requests for public funds, and makes recommendations to the Orange County Commission. . . . New Orange County LP officers are Dean Hodgkins, Chair; Steve Snipper, Vice Chair; David Barron, Secretary; David Doubleday, Treasurer. Dean Hodgkins is a former Vice Chair of the Indiana LP.
Citrus County: LP members, led by Chair Jim McIntosh, spoke out at a county commission meeting against building a new judicial facility and suggested instead that the county seat be extended. Mr. McIntosh charged that the board had demagogued the courthouse issue by appealing to the emotions of county residents rather than to their intellect, ?which (by government officials) is offensive in a free society.?
Pinellas County: LP officers for the coming year are Tom Smith, Chair; Ned Moren, Vice Chair; Frank Clarke, Secretary; Gerard Moison, Treasurer.
Collier County: Officers for 1999 are Wade Keller, Chair; Greg Schwarz, Vice Chair; Roberta Stone, Secretary; Lynn Schwarz, Treasurer; Tim Simstad, Sergeant-at-Arms.
Lee County: New officers are Larry Bush, Chair; Mike Green, Vice Chair; Aaron O'Brien, Secretary; Bob Lehman, Treasurer.
Broward County: Tom Regnier's interview on Infoquest on MediaOne cable TV prompted several calls for more info to the LP's national 800 number.
MARCH / APRIL 1999
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
1999 Election Results:
Libertarians Top 20% in Non-Partisan Races Don Fenton Misses Mayoral Runoff in Heartbreaker
BOYNTON BEACH, March 9
Since no candidate received 35% or more, the top two candidates were to face each other in a runoff. Though the race was non-partisan, Mr. Broening is known to have Republican ties, and Mr. Washam touted his work for Democratic candidates. Don Fenton is a former Vice Chair of the Palm Beach County LP and a former member of the state LP Executive Committee. His campaign stressed lower taxes, attracting new business to Boynton Beach, annexing only those neighboring areas that wish to become part of the city, and establishing an independent community redevelopment agency.
Mr. Fenton's decision to enter the race came only four weeks before the election, after his own choice for mayor declined to run. Jim Alsis, campaign manager for the Fenton campaign, said the outcome might have been different if the campaign had started two weeks earlier. Don won all the candidate debates, he defined the issues before any of the other candidates had any issues, and he has an outstanding record of community service, said Mr. Alsis. Don Fenton is a Marine Corps veteran, past president of both the Boynton Beach Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club, and past president of Florida Atlantic University Alumni Association.
The campaign, which drew both Libertarian and non-Libertartian volunteers, raised $11,500 and featured several mailers, newspaper ads, radio ads, yard signs, and door-to-door campaigning by the candidate around the neighborhoods of Boynton Beach. In addition, a crew of phone volunteers made thousands of calls to city residents. Mr. Fenton received the endorsements of three former mayors of the city.
With the lessons we learned from this race and an earlier start, we could come back and win it next time, said Jim Alsis. Mr. Fenton is giving consideration to running for the job again in two years.
Redner Gets 25% in Tampa
Libertarian Joe Redner received 25.1% of the vote in his non-partisan two-way race for a seat on the Tampa City Council.
The vote was: Bob Buckhorn 24,098 74.9% Joe Redner 8,097 25.1%
Mr. Redner's principal issue was reducing government involvement in our personal and professional lives, as in the areas of morality laws, zoning and licensing. He ran TV ads opposing teen curfews and favoring parental responsibility/accountability. The local media was respectful and occasionally supportive of his arguments.
Mr. Redner often noted that most of the money budgeted to fund public city facilities such as parks was spent in Tampa's high income neighborhoods rather than in the low income neighborhoods they were supposed to help. His opponent, Bob Buckhorn, set a record for the amount of cash raised in a City Council race $152,722. That fueled a powerhouse campaign run by two nationally known consultants who usually work for Republicans.
Mr. Buckhorn played off Redner's message against Big Brother government, declaring that his (Buckhorn's) moves to close clubs, impose teen curfews and crack down on prostitution amounted to Protecting the Freedom of Tampa Families.
The results in the Special Election for State Representative, District 35, were:
The Hawkins campaign raised over $6,000 and mobilized many volunteers in Seminole and Orange Counties, even attracting volunteers from Lee County, but was greatly outspent by her major party opponents. Jerry Creel raised over $152,000. Anthony Suarez, who didn?t have to compete in a primary, raised over $87,000.
After the election, Janet Hawkins said: While I am disappointed in my own numbers in this race, I am relieved that the Christian Coalition candidate, Jerry Creel, did not win. I feel we have much to fear in their proposed policies. Their intolerance and desire to punish those who do not agree with them make them dangerous in politics. Using the force of government to promote personal religious beliefs is a misuse of power. Sometimes the lesser of two evils is not the Republican.
Hawkins influence on the other candidates was evident, as, during the campaign, both were "talking libertarian" less government, lower taxes, and more economic and personal freedom.
Special Election, State Senate, District 8, totals were:
Once again, the Libertarian candidate was vastly outspent by the major parties (the Republican raised over $572,000, compared to about $5,000 for Ms. Calvo) but still received votes in excess of the number of registered Libertarians in the district. In addition, the Calvo campaign has led to the formation of three new county LP organizations in Nassau, Duval, and Volusia Counties. During her campaign, Cyndi Calvo issued statements taking strong libertarian positions on a number of issues opposing sovereign immunity, laws against victimless "crimes," and asset forfeiture; advocating privatization of public schools and charitable activities, and supporting the right to bear arms. "The Second Amendment," said Ms. Calvo, does not deal with the right to hunt or target practice. It deals with the need to maintain a citizenry better armed than the government.
New Chapter in LPF History -- In the past, said Brian Collar, Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida, it was rare to hear about an actual Libertarian campaign in the state of Florida because restrictive ballot access laws made it so difficult to get on the ballot. Now, however, only a few months after the triumph of Revision 11 and the prestige which the LPF has gained from spearheading the drive for its passage, there has been a new flurry of campaign activity.
When Revision 11 passed, we urged the voters to look for us on the ballot in Florida elections. We've already launched a new era of political activity for the Libertarian Party in the state of Florida.
Janet Hawkins and Cyndi Calvo made history by being the first LPF candidates to get on the ballot merely by paying a filing fee. While knowing their races were longshots from the start, both garnered publicity for the Libertarian Party, got libertarian ideas into the debate, and achieved vital party-building goals which will help the party in future elections.
Don Fenton and Joe Redner, though prohibited from declaring their party affiliation because of the non-partisan nature of their races, were able to advocate libertarian policies and to receive impressive percentages of the vote.
All four campaigns provided much-needed experience for Libertarian campaign managers and volunteers, and a great deal was learned that will be useful in future campaigns.
We highly commend all four of these candidates, their campaign managers and volunteers, and all who contributed their time or money to these campaigns. It feels great to have Florida Libertarians at last working on so many candidates? campaigns. This is just the beginning.?
Ward Connerly Brings Anti-Preferences Initiative to Florida
MIAMI LAKES, March 15 Ward Connerly, who led the drive to end governmental affirmative action in California and Washington State, has decided to make Florida his next battleground for ending preferential treatment based on race, gender, or ethnicity.
At a dinner sponsored by the South Florida Associated General Contractors and attended by Libertarian Party leaders, Mr. Connerly, a black businessman and member of the university Board of Regents in California, explained his goal of a color-blind society, where, as Martin Luther King said, people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.
Mr. Connerly stressed that equal protection under the law? is the glue that holds American society together. He said that government cannot also provide equal opportunity and, when it tries to do so, it compromises equal protection. He pointed out that government discrimination against one group is still discrimination, even if it is euphemistically labeled, preferences. We didn't fight to say that just Rosa Parks could sit anywhere on the bus,? said Mr. Connerly, ?but so that any person could sit anywhere on the bus.
Mr. Connerly is Chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute, which seeks to follow John F. Kennedy's maxim, Race has no place in American life or law. Mr. Connerly hopes to place on the Florida ballot in November 2000 the Florida Civil Rights Initiative, modeled on California's Proposition 209, which would state: Florida's state and local governments shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting. To get this Amendment on the ballot, 435,073 signatures from registered voters will be required.
Mr. Connerly has already aroused opposition from established Florida politicians in the two major parties. Governor Bush met with him but said he couldn't support him. State Senate President Toni Jennings canceled a meeting with him due to pressure from black legislators, and House Speaker John Thrasher refused to meet him. U.S. Senator Bob Graham called the proposed measure a divisive idea.
On the other hand, Libertarian Party leaders welcomed Mr. Connerly. LPF Vice Chair Tom Regnier, LPF At Large Director Jim Alsis, Palm Beach County Chair Frank Longo, and Broward County Chair Brian Bustamante met with Mr. Connerly after the Miami Lakes speech to express their support.
A poll commissioned by Mr. Connerly shows that 80% of Floridians would support the referendum. Its biggest hurdle may be getting the language past the Florida Supreme Court, which is notoriously finicky regarding the single subject rule, which says that ballot initiatives may deal with only one subject.
Opposing Water Board Tyranny
State Rep Argenziano Addresses LPF Executive Committee
ORLANDO, March 13, 1999 -- Property rights are being taken every day, said State Representative Nancy Argenziano (R-District 43) in a briefing to the Libertarian Party of Florida?s Executive Committee, and the water management districts are the biggest culprits.
Ms. Argenziano backed up this statement with details of some of her battles with the Southwest Florida Water Management District, describing instances of an agency that wastes money on air-conditioned lawn mowers that are used to mow tiny patches of land, that makes up rules that have no basis in statute, that prevaricates in order to obtain warrants (stating, for example, that a property has ?hazardous materials? when it doesn't) and that, even when it is wrong, will use its enormous financial and legal resources against average citizens until it eventually bankrupts them.
There are five water management districts in the state. Ms. Argenziano considers the Swanee and North Florida districts to be the best (i.e., least intrusive). The other three Southwest Florida, South Florida, and St. Johns River Water Management Districts have become much too powerful.
The water management districts were originally created for the purpose of flood control, but their members, who are appointed by the governor, receive no legislative oversight once appointed. As Governor Chiles once said, I can appoint them, but I can't control them. They now have the power to tax and have no compunction against seizing an individual's property on such excuses as claiming that he or she is impounding water.
Last year Ms. Argenziano received the endorsement of the Libertarian Party of Citrus County in her re-election bid an honor seldom bestowed by the Libertarian Party on a member of another party.
At the time, the Citrus County chapter issued a statement saying that they supported Ms. Argenziano because she was the only candidate who would champion in word and deed. . . the Bill of Rights, fewer and lesser taxes, fewer government regulations, an accountable bureaucracy, personal rights and responsibilities, private property rights, the freedom of contract, and an economy based on free enterprise.
We greatly respect Nancy Argenziano,? said Brian Collar, Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Florida, in a press release, for her courage in challenging a powerful bureaucracy and for staunchly defending her constituents property rights. She deserves the support of everyone who cherishes liberty.
Everglades Boondoggle The Southwest Florida Water Management District isn?t the only district that has become drunk with power. The South Florida Water Management District has been flexing its muscles as well with its Everglades Re-Study Project, a proposed $7.8 billion, 40-year Everglades project devised by the Army Corps of Engineers that is based on speculative science devoid of outside peer review and could jeopardize the water delivery system in South Florida.
On February 10, Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), a non-partisan grass roots organization that supports free market solutions to public problems, led a contingent of opponents of the project, including LPF Vice Chair Tom Regnier, to a public hearing of the SFWMD in Palm Beach County, where they were able to express their objections to the project.
The CSE brought Dr. Richard Halpern of the Hudson Institute, who stated that the project was fundamentally flawed. He complained that there was no outside peer review of the scientific assumptions, contesting the board's claim that there has been internal peer review of the project. Dr. Halpern said that internal peer review is a contradiction in terms, that you have to get outside people who are not working on the project to assess it as well as those who are a part of it. He noted that six very eminent ecologists from such places as Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Tennessee have said that the plan has deep, systematic failings. He noted that these scientists would not make such a statement lightly, as their reputations are on the line. This is not a discussion about whether the Emperor's clothes are good or bad, he said, but about whether the Emperor has any clothes.
The Everglades Re-study relies on technologies for delivering water that have not been tried in a geology such as Florida's on the scale envisioned in the project and could lead to an inferior water supply system for the people of South Florida. Ten environmental groups have questioned the science behind the project, even though some of them still want the project to proceed. The scientists of the Everglades National Park, after studying the project, stated that There is insufficient evidence to substantiate the claims that [the Re-study Project] will result in the recovery of a healthy, sustainable ecosystem. . . . Rather, we find substantial, credible, and compelling evidence to the contrary.
As Tom Regnier said, "Where is the accountability on this project". This could turn out to be an utter disaster for life as we know it in South Florida. Do the members of the South Florida Water Management District really want to have such a fiasco laid at their doorstep. If there is no longer satisfactory drinking water for the people of South Florida, will you be willing to stand up and take responsibility for that?
The next day the Palm Beach Post said in its report on the meeting: Opponents, including members of the Eagle Forum and the Libertarian Party, said the plan would waste tax money, would offer no guaranteed results, and could endanger drinking water. They also echoed recent criticism of the plan by the Sierra Club, researchers at Everglades National Park and scientists at Harvard and Stanford Universities.
After members of the public had spoken, the nine-member board debated whether to approve a Letter of Intent to continue with the project. They grudgingly amended the Letter of Intent (by a 5 to 4 vote) to say that there should be ?ongoing outside peer review on the project with the stipulation that it should not be allowed to delay the project.
Then, as expected, the board voted unanimously to approve the Letter of Intent. Dr. Halpern later stated that getting the board to approve the ?outside peer review concept might even be enough to put the brakes on the project. Now the board must get the legislature and Congress to fund the project. This is where the next battles will be. If opponents can keep the legislature and Congress from providing the money, the project will die.
Florida Libertarians are encouraged to act as watchdogs on the activities of water management boards in their areas, to help keep in check the power these overgrown bureaucracies have usurped.
Legislative Bills Would End Presidential Petitioning
TALLAHASSEE -- Both the state Senate Ethics and Elections Committee and the House Election Reform Committee have approved bills which would implement the election reforms in Revision 11 approved last November by voters. The two bills conform to the ballot access provision of Revision 11 by having the same rules for ballot access for all candidates regardless of party. Previously, there had been one set of rules for major party candidates and another, more difficult, set for all others.
The most favorable aspect of the bills from our standpoint is that no petitioning or filing fee will be required for a national party (such as the Libertarian Party) to place a presidential ticket on the ballot. In 1996, the LP spent $100,000 to meet the petition requirements needed to get the Browne-Jorgensen ticket on the ballot in Florida, so this represents a great step forward.
In both bills, state candidates would have a choice of getting on the ballot by petitioning alone or by paying a filing fee. The petitioning requirement is slashed from 3% of registered voters in the district to 1%. Filing fees, however, remain at 6% of the annual salary of the office by far the highest in the country.
The House and Senate bills differ in that the Senate bill would rebate a portion of the candidates filing fees only to major parties. Per the House bill, the rebate would go to minor parties as well. Once the bills have passed in committees, amendments from the floor are rare for bills such as these, so the main question now is how the two chambers will resolve the difference regarding filing fee rebates.
Please contact your state representative and ask him to support the Election Reform Committee's bill.
Tell your state senator you support an election bill like the one from the House Committee.
News From Around the State
Okaloosa County: LP Officers are Dan Scupin, Chair; Richard Vajs, Vice Chair; Tricia Scupin, Secretary; Dean Crumly, Treasurer. . . . The February 17 Destin Log printed an article by Dan Scupin on the Drug War in which he said, Ending Prohibition II would result in less crime, much less government/police corruption, revenues from legal drug sales, better protection of young people (it is now easier to get drugs than alcohol for most teens), help for drug abusers, emptying of prisons of non-violent offenders and justification for a massive reduction in government drug enforcement spending.
Lee County: The Cape Coral Daily Breeze printed Kim Hawk's letter criticizing Cape Coral Growth Management Administrator Brad Cornelius for saying he wouldn't issue permits for boat lift covers since there is no law that allows them. Said Kim: This sounds remarkably similar to the official policy of the late Soviet Union which states, ?Anything not expressly permitted by law, is prohibited. If you're as tired as I am of this kind of thinking... join the Libertarian Party.
Orange County: LP Chair Dean Hodgkins backed four libertarian-leaning candidates in his neighborhood's struggle against its tyrannically evil (Dean's words) Home Owners Association board. His group won two out of four races and tied in a third (we suspect vote tampering); there will be a special election to decide that outcome. It feels so good to win one! said Dean.
Leon County: New officers are Gene Cole, Chair; Wayne Padgette, Vice Chair; Page Baldwin, Secretary; and John Koziol, Treasurer.
Hillsborough County: LP members ran an ?Operation Politically Homeless? Booth at the Hemp Festival in Tampa on February 20. About 80 people took the quiz, and about half asked for more information on the LP.
Pinellas County: The February 22 St. Petersburg Times printed a letter from LP County Secretary Frank Clarke which said, How much federal government is necessary Only what's written in the Constitution, no more. The founding fathers were very careful about that, and we have to be equally careful or we'll lose everything they built for us.
Libertarian Talk Show Host Ray Brown now has a Wednesday morning Libertarian Hour (7 a.m. Central, 8 a.m. Eastern time) on WFSH 1340 AM radio in Okaloosa County. The program has a growing audience of about 5,000 listeners and can be heard in Destin and Ft. Walton Beach.
MAY / JUNE 1999
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
Tax Day Rallies Receive Public Support, Media Attention
APRIL 15, 1999 -- Libertarians around the state who participated in anti-Income Tax protests on April 15 said they noticed a marked increase in public enthusiasm for the Libertarian positions of repealing the Income Tax and abolishing the IRS.
Libertarians in Broward, Hillsborough, Lee, Leon, Okaloosa, Orange, Pinellas, and Seminole Counties staged protests.
The Libertarian Parties of Seminole and Orange Counties held a joint tax protest at the downtown Orlando post office on Robinson St. from 7 p.m. to midnight. They distributed approximately 700 "Million Dollar Bills," an LP promo piece which reveals that the federal government spends a million dollars every five seconds. The sound of bagpipes and drums could be heard from the church across the street, accompanying the protest. ?Must've been a message from God! commented Orange County LP Chair Dean Hodgkins. Demonstrators were stationed at the entrance and exit to the drive-through with signs and "Million Dollar Bills." Police and postal workers gave them very little trouble. "I'm on your side! Keep up the good work!" said one policeman.
"Public reaction was great," said Dean Hodgkins. ?We used several signs that said, "Honk if you feel ripped off!" Horns blew nearly continuously, and many people accepted the bills eagerly. Several people I met were party members and glad to see us out. All our literature was stamped with Seminole and Orange LP phone numbers, and we invited many folks to attend a local meeting.?
The Broward County LP's seventh annual tax protest, featuring colonial uniforms and three-cornered hats, received prominent color photographic coverage on the front page of the "Local" section in the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. The caption explained the message of the "Million Dollar Bill" flyers being handed out.
Members of the public were much more enthusiastic about our message than ever before honking horns, smiling, waving, showing "thumbs up" much more frequently and exuberantly than we had ever seen them, said LPF Vice Chair Tom Regnier of the eight-hour protest. Many, many people, when they saw our signs, rolled down their windows to shout things like "I agree" or "Down with [and other unprintable things about] the IRS!" You could tell that many of the first-time protesters enjoyed being there and getting so much agreement about their message. "Abolish the IRS" signs got the most response.
Leon County Libertarian Party Chair Gene Cole and former Chair Daniel Walker were interviewed by Florida's News Channel, a regional cable news network, during the Tax Day protest at the main post office in Tallahassee. The same story was also aired on the local NBC affiliate during the local news segment of the Today show. The protest was also mentioned on the local CBS affiliate, and talk radio station WTLK 1450 AM. During the demonstration, which was held from 5:00 p.m. until almost midnight, the sound of honking car horns filled the evening air, as local Libertarians held signs saying "Honk if you hate taxes!" and "Honk if you hate the IRS!" The party also handed out 400 Million Dollar Bills and 400 "Working to Cut Your Taxes!" pamphlets. "Fun was had by all," reported County Chair Gene Cole, "and we can't wait to do it again next year."
The Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County tax protest again received coverage from the Northwest Florida Daily News. Members of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County . . . handed out mock million dollar bills the amount the government spends every five seconds, wrote Daily News reporter Casey Logan, and displayed signs in favor of abolishing the Internal Revenue Service. One man wore a pig mask to signify the government's greed. Another wore a barrel, apparently poor from having paid so much to the government. "We're really the only party that says anything about eliminating the IRS, said Dan Scupin, local chairman of the Libertarian Party. Mr. Scupin also noticed the friendly response from the public: We had a lot of "thumbs up" and many favorable comments.
The LP of Hillsborough County distributed hundreds of Million Dollar Bills at a 7 p.m. to midnight protest at Tampa's main post office, at Tampa International Airport. Signs had a no-IRS symbol and included Libertarian Party 1-800-ELECT-US. People seemed to think that the "Abolish the IRS - Take a bite out of crime" statement was funny, said Hillsborough LP Chair Tyson Richmond. The response from the public was generally very positive.
The Pinellas County Libertarian Party also noticed a more enthusiastic response from the public than ever before, said County Chair Thomas Smith. Participants, who demonstrated outside the Clearwater post office, survived several attempts by postal employees to make them leave the premises and eventually received an apology from a postal official who acknowledged their right to be there. During the demonstration, LPF Chair Brian Collar appeared on Dennis Clark's show on local radio station WTAN 1340 AM to explain the LP position on taxes.
Larry Bush, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Lee County, also noted an enthusiastic public response to the party's demonstration at the main post office in Ft. Myers: The Tax Day protest was a success. Many taxpayers openly voiced and/or honked their approval of abolishing the IRS or lowering taxes. Most who were offered Million Dollar Bills took them. Above all, we had a good time. We will be back next year.
Libertarians Attend Citizens For A Sound Economy Day
by Tom Regnier, LPF Vice Chair
TALLAHASSEE -- On March 24-25, 1999 I visited Tallahassee with Citizens For A Sound Economy, which took over 100 of its members from around the state to Tallahassee as a show of strength. Attorney Daniel Walker of the LPF and Leon County LP Treasurer John Koziol also attended.
CSE presented a seminar about political action, which made the point that An organized minority beats an unorganized majority every time. They showed a videotape of a former Connecticut representative who explained a legislator's viewpoint of his job. He said that most legislators are required to deal with many subjects that are beyond their competence and they are asked to make decisions on many pieces of legislation in a short period of time (this legislator said he had had to vote on as many as 180 bills in a single day!). They usually have not read these bills all the way through and have to rely on someone else's analysis of them. That's why it's important to organize and communicate to your representatives so that they will hear your viewpoint on a bill. Legislators are always hungry for information on how their constituents feel about legislation. That's why they are glad to have constituents visit, call, or write with their opinions.
House Debate on Vouchers In the afternoon we toured the Capitol building and watched the Florida House of Representatives debate school vouchers for about an hour. Most of the CSE people were in favor of vouchers, though several of them had misgivings about them because they were afraid that once private schools get money from the state there will be strings attached. Their fears seemed well-founded, as most of the debate that we heard consisted of legislators trying to add amendments to the voucher bill that would require schools that receive voucher money to meet certain government "standards". I later explained to many of the CSE people why the LP position of complete separation of school and state avoided most of the drawbacks of vouchers.
After that, about 40 of us went to meet Katherine Harris, the Secretary of State. She explained the purpose of the Secretary of State's office mostly a record-keeping function. During the campaign, she had been asked why she had to run for office just to be Jeb Bush's secretary. That evening CSE gave a dinner at Nicholson's, a steakhouse on the outskirts of Tallahassee. The guest speaker was John Thrasher, the Speaker of the House. There were also about a dozen other legislators there. Dan Walker and I spoke briefly to John Thrasher on the House's election reform bill. We also met Paul Beckner, the President of CSE, who had come in from D.C. He is a longtime Libertarian who worked on the Ed Clark campaign in 1980. On the bus on the way back to the hotel, I got into conversation with a state rep who told me he was a libertarian before I told him I was one. The government should stay out of our personal lives and out of our economic lives, he said. He said there are several libertarian reps in the House, but they can't run on the Libertarian ticket because they can't win. I told him I was with the LP and said that I thought we would be becoming much more visible in the near future.
The following morning, we went to the Governor's prayer breakfast. This was attended by at least a thousand people at the civic center. This gave me a chance to see the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, and other state officials reciting prayers and reading from the Bible. I kept wondering what this said about separation of church and state. Governor Bush gave a speech about his faith in Jesus but allowed that other people might find other paths to truth. He even said (in regard to the voucher debate ) that he bet that our Founding Fathers would be shocked that government is playing any role at all in education. Yes, these Republicans are talking very libertarian, but they are not real libertarians by our standards. Nevertheless, they are making our kind of talk more respectable and they are getting more and more open to real libertarian ideas. The danger is that they will steal our rhetoric from us and then discredit our ideas with their watered-down libertarianism. After the breakfast was over, I went up to Toni Jennings, President of the Senate, and thanked her for her help with ballot access when she was on the Constitution Revision Commission. Citizens for a Sound Economy is a good group for Libertarians to work with, whether you join or not. They concentrate on economic issues and are able to attract both conservatives and libertarians. They have 25,000 members in Florida. They are happy to make ties with the LP and will come to speak at local LP meetings. They can be reached in Florida at 877-4FLA-CSE.
Stop Acting Like Fidel, Miami-Dade Libertarian Leader Demands of County Commission MIAMI, May 5 1999 Members of the Miami-Dade County Commission need to throw away their copies of The Communist Manifesto and start reading The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, said Emiliano Antunez, new Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County. I'd be glad to provide them with copies.
The remarks came after the Commission's decision to drastically reduce the rates that auto title loan companies can charge customers. While most of these companies charge about 22% interest per month, the new regulations will limit them to 1.5% per month, effectively putting them out of business. The government of Dade County is acting in the same manner as Fidel Castro did 40 years ago when he confiscated my grandfather's store in Cuba, said Mr. Antunez, who happens to own an auto title loan company himself.
The Commissioners don't understand that in a free market it is competition that keeps prices down and gives consumers more choices, said Mr. Antunez. Not only will auto title lenders and their families suffer from this, but many people with poor credit who can't get a vitally needed loan elsewhere will now have no place to go.
Mr. Antunez has been Vice President of the Miami Beach Republican Club and a Committeeman of the Dade County Republican Party Executive Committee. He left the Republicans for the Libertarian Party because, as he says, The Republicans are equal to the Democrats in opposing free enterprise.
Harry Browne Presidential Campaign Visits Florida
MARCH 22-24 1999 -- Harry Browne, the Libertarian Party's 1996 Presidential nominee, brought his as-yet-unofficial campaign for the year 2000 to Florida for a whirlwind three days of speeches and fund-raising. Visiting Tampa, West Palm Beach, and Orlando for a day each, Mr. Browne drew a total of about 175 Libertarian faithful and raised over $15,000. About a third of the people who attended had never been to a Libertarian Party event before.
Mr. Browne said that his 1996 campaign spent $3 million, which was not enough to give it the visibility it needed to compete with the Democrats and Republicans. But current national membership in the party is three to four times as great as it was at this time four years ago. The party's growth in membership means a bigger base for fund-raising and would make at least a $10 million campaign possible. Such an increase would mean that the campaign could run national television commercials at the beginning rather than just at the end, attracting more attention from the public and the press and thus generating more excitement, more new members, and additional contributions. This could bring the Libertarian Party a whole new level of public awareness and acceptance and would improve our chances of having our candidate appear in the Presidential debates. Such increased visibility, Mr. Browne suggested, could possibly lead to a Libertarian being elected President in the year 2004.
Mr. Browne argued persuasively against some of the "magic bullets" that have been suggested to put the LP on the map such as running a well-known celebrity or a billionaire for President. He said that the only thing that would induce such people to run on the LP ticket is for the LP to have a large enough organization to support their campaign. That's why party building and increased membership are so important for the party.
Before he ran for President in 1996, Harry Browne was a highly respected investment advisor and best-selling author. He received nearly a half million votes, the second highest total ever for a Libertarian Party Presidential candidate.
1999 LPF STATE CONVENTION PREVIEW
Michael Cloud Featured Speaker at State Convention Michael Cloud, one of the Libertarian Party's most dynamic speakers, will be featured at the Libertarian Party of Florida convention, to be held in West Palm Beach October 8 through 10 1999.
Michael Cloud was the National Organizer of the 1996 Harry Browne, Libertarian for President, campaign and is the Events Fundraiser for the Harry Browne 2000 Presidential Exploratory Committee.
Mr. Cloud is a professional speaker, speech writer, and widely quoted phrasemaker. His work has been quoted by Playboy, Reader's Digest, Harper's, the Wall Street Journal, the Congressional Record, and Vital Speeches.
He has written over 437 speeches and ghost written 6 books. Mr. Cloud is the creator of The Essence of Political Persuasion tape training program. The Advocates for Self-Government recently announced that Mr. Cloud's Political Persuasion Tapes have sold over 4,000 copies.
Mr. Cloud has raised over $3,700,000 for Libertarian Candidates and the Libertarian Party in the last 10 years. He is the most successful fundraiser in Libertarian Party history. He has been a Libertarian candidate for U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate and has fundraised for and consulted on over 81 Libertarian campaigns.
He was the Keynote Speaker at the 1998 Libertarian National Convention in Washington, D.C. Mr. Cloud's talk?nationally televised on C-SPAN was entitled The Libertarian Party: the Unreasonable Alternative.
Michael Cloud was named the Best Speaker in the Libertarian Party by LP State Chairs, who called his speeches "Electrifying' and Unforgettable. He is the author of The Art of Libertarian Persuasion, a book being published by LiamWorks later this year.
Michael Cloud's speech at the Libertarian Party of Florida Convention is entitled, The Freedom Store the Libertarian Difference.
Convention Information At this convention, the LPF will choose an Executive Committee for 1999-2000, select delegates to the 2000 national convention (to be held in California in July 2000), including a representative to the Platform Committee, endorse candidates for public office, and deal with other state party business matters. In addition, prospective LP candidates for president are expected to attend, as well as other exciting speakers to be announced.
Dates: Friday evening, October 8 to Sunday afternoon, October 10, 1999. Place: Sheraton West Palm Beach, 630 Clearwater Park Road, West Palm Beach (quarter mile east of I-95, Okeechobee Blvd. exit). To make reservations: Call 800-325-3535 or 561-833-1234. $89/night for 1 or 2 people.
Requirements for State Delegates Everyone is welcome to attend the state convention, but to be a voting delegate you must have been a member of the LPF and a registered Libertarian voter in Florida for at least 60 days at the time of the convention. Delegates must sign the LPF Candidate Oath Form. If you wish to be a delegate, contact your county chair or Regional Representative. County chairs must submit a list of delegates from their counties to LPF Secretary Aaron O'Brien at 1713 Cascade Way, Ft. Myers, FL 33917, <email@example.com> by August 25. Regional Representatives of the LPF must submit a list of delegates from each unaffiliated county in their regions to the LPF Secretary by August 25. Individuals may submit their own names to the Secretary.
The convention provides an opportunity for amending the LPF's constitution. Proposed amendments must be published among the Executive Committee, county affiliates and all members 30 days before the convention. If you wish to suggest a change to the LPF Constitution and have it published in Florida Liberty, send your proposal by June 30 to Rules Committee Chairman Gary Ilardi, 1480 NW 70th Lane, Margate, FL 33063 <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Any member may request that any item be included on the agenda. Requests should be sent to Chairman Brian Collar, P.O. Box 6354, Clearwater, FL 33658 <email@example.com> by Sept. 9.
Platform Committee Candidates -- All candidates for LPF representative to the national Platform Committee are invited to submit a statement of their candidacy and positions to Florida Liberty for inclusion in the September 1999 issue. Statements must be no longer than 300 words and must be received by August 29.
Vote for Libertarian of the Year -- LPF Chairman Brian Collar wants to know your nomination for Florida Libertarian of the Year for 1999. This award, to be presented at the state convention, will honor the Florida Libertarian who has done the most to further the cause of liberty since our last convention in February 1998. Send a message naming your choice for Florida Libertarian of the Year for 1999 and stating why to Brian Collar, P.O. Box 6354, Clearwater, FL 33658. Or E-mail to: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Nominations must be received by September 12, 1999.
NewsFlash! Bergland To Be At State Convention!!
As we went to press, confirmation had just come in that David Bergland, National Chair of the Libertarian Party and author of the introductory book Libertarianism in One Lesson will speak at the LPF convention. Watch for news of more speakers in the next Florida Liberty!
News From Around the State
Miami-Dade County: New LP officers are Emiliano Antunez, Chair; Anna García, Vice Chair; Jay Tynan, Treasurer.
Brevard County: On February 25, the Libertarian Party of Brevard County launched the first of four quarterly platform meetings to inform the public about libertarian ideas. Richard Hall offered a speech on the absurdity of U.S. meddling in foreign affairs?specifically, Kosovo?and John Cornett followed with a talk on the silliness of gun control. . . The Brevard LP has been working closely with the Brevard Home Rule Charter Committee (HRCC) to obtain petitions supporting a set of ballot initiatives aiming to (1) limit the terms of county commissioners and (2) cap the allowable increases in taxes without voter approval. . . The party now has Adopt-A-Road signs up! They are on Clearlake Road directly in front of the Brevard Community College campus in Cocoa.
Pinellas County: County LP Chair Thomas Smith is organizing caucuses within the county party to liaise with like-minded groups and work for LP candidates.
Broward County: About 20 people of all ages attended the Broward LP?s third annual Thomas Jefferson?s Birthday Picnic in Easterlin Park. . . . Carlos Muhletaler and Alan Florez from Citizens for a Sound Economy were guest speakers at the April 20 LP meeting.
JULY / AUGUST 1999
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
State Convention Oct. 8-10 Presents All-Star Lineup!
The Libertarian Party of Florida's 1999 convention in West Palm Beach on October 8-10 will present an outstanding lineup of speakers, including the man who led the drive to end governmental affirmative action in California; the party?s National Chairman; a once and future Presidential candidate; one of the party's most dynamic speakers; and a Libertarian comedian.
Ward Connerly spearheaded the California Civil Rights Initiative (Proposition 209), which ended governmental affirmative action in that state. He has led a similar, successful drive in the state of Washington and hopes to do the same in Florida. Mr. Connerly is Chairman of the American Civil Rights Coalition and has gained national prominence as an advocate of equal rights for all Americans, regardless of race, gender, or ethnicity. He is President and CEO of a management and land development consulting firm and is a member of the University of California Board of Regents.
Harry Browne was the Libertarian Party's Presidential nominee in 1996 and appears to be the front-runner in the race for the Party's nomination in 2000. As of March 31 this year, he had raised more money for his campaign than either Elizabeth Dole, Pat Buchanan, or Lamar Alexander. Before he ran for President, Harry Browne was a highly respected investment advisor and best-selling author of such books as How You Can Profit from the Coming Devaluation and How You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis. Other works include his 1996 campaign book, Why Government Doesn't Work, and the 1973 classic, How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. In his 1996 campaign, Mr. Browne visited over 30 states and appeared on hundreds of radio talk shows. He received nearly a half million votes, the second highest total ever for a Libertarian Party Presidential candidate.
David Bergland, National Chairman of the Libertarian Party, was also the Party's Presidential candidate in 1984. He is perhaps best known to Libertarians for his introductory book, Libertarianism in One Lesson, first published in 1984 and now in its Seventh Edition, with 150,000 copies sold. He is the man who dubbed the Florida LP?s Revision 11 victory as the "libertarian success story of the decade". He served as National Chairman of the Party once previously, from 1977-1981, and has been a candidate for U.S. Senate in California. A longtime resident of California, where he practices law, Mr. Bergland is married to Sharon Ayres, who managed Harry Browne's 1996 campaign.
Tim Slagle, a Chicago-based stand-up comedian, skillfully weaves libertarian themes into hilarious comedy routines. Who else could explain why Halloween is the best time to teach your kids about taxes, or why the Bill of Rights is more important than the flag? He has been seen on MTV's Halfhour Comedy Hour and on the Showtime Network, and has appeared at clubs and colleges across the USA.
Michael Cloud, who was profiled in our last issue of Florida Liberty, is the creator of The Essence of Political Persuasion tape training program. He was the Keynote Speaker at the 1998 Libertarian National Convention in Washington, D.C. and was named "the Best Speaker in the Libertarian Party by LP State Chairs".
Convention Information At this convention, the LPF will choose an Executive Committee for 1999-2000, select delegates to the 2000 national convention (to be held in California in July 2000), including a representative to the Platform Committee, endorse candidates for public office, and consider changes to its own Constitution and Bylaws.
Place: Sheraton West Palm Beach, 630 Clearwater Park Road, West Palm Beach (1/4 mile east of I-95, Okeechobee Blvd. exit). To make reservations: Call 800-325-3535 or 561-833-1234. $89/night for 1 or 2 people.
Tentative Schedule of Events. Here's how the convention schedule is shaping up:
Friday, Oct. 8: Tim Slagle, 8 p.m.; Hospitality Suite from 7 p.m. on.
Saturday, Oct. 9: Breakfast, 8-9 a.m. (speaker TBA); Harry Browne, 9:15 ; Lunch at noon (speaker TBA); LPF Business Meeting (Part 1), 1:30-6 (Rules changes, announcement of candidates for party office, selection of delegates to national convention); Banquet, 7:30 p.m. (Speakers David Bergland, Michael Cloud); Hospitality suite, 5 p.m. to the wee hours.
Sunday, October 10: Breakfast, 8-9 a.m. (Speaker TBA); LPF Business Meeting (Part 2), 9:15-noon (Speeches by and election of party officers, endorsement of candidates for party office); Lunch, 12-1:30 (Speaker TBA); Continue LPF Business Meeting (if necessary), 1:30-3; Reception for Ward Connerly at 7 p.m. (nominal charge for convention attendees). Note: There is no charge to party members for attending the LPF Business Meeting.
Requirements for State Delegates: Everyone is welcome to attend the state convention, but to be a voting delegate you must have been a member of the LPF and a registered Libertarian voter in Florida for at least 60 days at the time of the convention. Delegates must sign the LPF Candidate Oath Form. If you wish to be a delegate, contact your county chair or Regional Representative. County chairs must submit a list of delegates from their counties to LPF Secretary Aaron O'Brien at 1713 Cascade Way, Ft. Myers, FL 33917, <email@example.com> by August 25. Regional Representatives of the LPF must submit a list of delegates from each unaffiliated county in their regions to the LPF Secretary by August 25. Individuals may submit their own names to the Secretary.
Platform Committee Candidates. All candidates for LPF representative to the national Platform Committee are invited to submit a statement of their candidacy and positions to Florida Liberty for inclusion in the September 1999 issue. Statements must be no longer than 300 words and must be received by August 29 1999.
Vote for Libertarian of the Year. LPF Chairman Brian Collar wants to know your nomination for Florida Libertarian of the Year for 1999. This award, to be presented at the state convention, will honor the Florida Libertarian who has done the most to further the cause of liberty since our last convention in February 1998. Send a message naming your choice for Florida Libertarian of the Year for 1999 and stating why to Brian Collar, P.O. Box 6354, Clearwater, FL 33658. Or E-mail to: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Nominations must be received by September 12.
Convention Packages -- Pay Before: 10/1 after 10/1 Convention events only (no meals) $109 $125 Silver: Convention events plus banquet $157 $175 Gold: Silver package plus 4 meals $246 $275
Make checks payable to LPPBC and mail to: LPPBC, P.O. Box 3894, West Palm Beach, FL 33402 For more information, contact Frank Longo at 561-883-3357 or FLongo@bellsouth.net
The TRUE State of Miami-Dade County
By Emiliano Antunez, Chairman Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County
As you may know, every January our Mayor gives a "State of the County" address. In it he tells us how wonderful life is in our county and how the government is working to make Miami-Dade County a better place to live. Well, the year is about half over, and here are a few things they?re doing to make your life better:
On May 11th, the County Commission passed the "Living Wage" ordinance, which raised the minimum wage for all county employees and all employees of contractors who do business with the county to $8.64 per hour, plus either insurance or an additional $1.25 an hour. Just what Miami-Dade needed more overpaid bureaucrats. Which brings up an interesting question who's going to pay for all this goodwill? On May 25th, Commissioner Miguel (rhymes with Fidel) Diaz de la Portilla sponsored an ordinance limiting the number of parrots allowed in a single family home to three. Will the real bird brain please stand up? Construction has finally begun on the $160,000,000.00+ (that's million) performing arts center. Over $150,000.00 (that?s thousand) was spent on the ground-breaking festivities alone. All your elected officials and their cronies donned their tuxedos and had their pictures taken for the local society pages. What? You weren't invited? Well, maybe your money is all they needed. Later this year, construction will be finished on the New Miami Arena, costing taxpayers in excess of $200,000,000.00 (that's million). Isn't it nice of you to put up this money so that poor Mickey Arison can pay Alonzo Mourning over $100,000,000.000 over the next six years? Well, at least it will only cost you $50 to sit in the nose bleed section. Also in the very merry (and hot) month of May, Commissioner Souto sponsored an ordinance directing the County Manager to find ways to encourage people to commute on bicycles and mandate that certain buildings install bike racks. Gee, that sounds like the way people get around in China and Cuba just the places we should emulate. Miami-Dade County also loves small businesses or, should I say, loves to shut them down. Just ask the small cab companies, jitney operators, mom-n-pop trash haulers, and a host of others. I wonder where cab fares and garbage fees are headed (here's a hot tip: UP). Ordinances that change legal businesses into criminal activities in 10 days are not uncommon. Amazing! This creates a stable and friendly business environment, similar to the one in Beijing during the cultural revolution. Speaking of Beijing, we should ask Commissioner Millan how it is these days, for she and her staff have traveled to China (where she gets her ideas for new ordinances) as well as to Paris and countless other places at taxpayer expense. Oh, well, the Mayor and the other commissioners also do some globe trotting at taxpayer expense. Bon Voyage! Speaking of traveling and transportation, soon we will be voting on whether or not to impose on ourselves an additional 1% sales tax. Apparently, 6.5% is not enough. Speaking of 6.5 cents, has anyone ever seen half a cent? I, for one, never get change for my $1 purchases ("That will be one dollar, six and a half cents, sir. Here's your change."). Anyway, isn't MDX (Miami-Dade Expressway) handling all this? That's what I hear in all those high-priced radio ads they pay for with taxpayer money.
There is so much more, but if I singled out everything, I would use up all the trees in the Brazilian rain forest and end up triggering an ecological disaster. Who is responsible for all this wonderful legislation? Who is responsible for all the pillaging and plundering of taxpayer money? Who is responsible for electing clowns who do not know the difference between a flea market and the free market? Who is responsible for making the lives of taxpayers and business people hell on earth in Miami-Dade? Who? Those who don?t vote, that?s who, or those who vote for a candidate because the name sounds familiar or because they like his picture on a billboard (?Looks like a nice young man, I guess I?ll vote for him.?).
So what are we to do? Vote, and the next time you vote, take the time to examine the incumbent's record. Keep a keen eye on your government and write or call your elected officials when you do or do not like what they are doing. Otherwise, you might as well pick up your parrots, strap your wallet on tight, get on your bicycle, and head for a place (if you can find one) where people don't take for granted the freedoms given to them by the brave and intelligent men who founded this nation over 200 years ago.
As Pericles said in 430 B.C., "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn?t mean politics will not take an interest in you."
State Party News
Operation Bootstrap Ready to Launch
Operation Bootstrap, the LPF's ambitious project to double its membership this year, was all set to take off as we went to press. An enormous amount of groundwork was necessary to ensure that this project works, said Dianne Pilcher, director of the project. We will be sending letters and then making phone calls to all the registered Libertarians in the state who are not yet dues-paying members and encouraging them to join the party.
It took months to get an up-to-date list of registered Libertarians together, since there is no single database that lists all the state's voters. Each of the 67 counties has its own list and its own set of hoops you have to jump through in order to get it, said Ms. Pilcher. We knew it would take a while to get our list together. After all, it's 67 government agencies that we're dealing with. Nevertheless, many local activists helped out and now we have as accurate a list as is humanly possible. We've put together a terrific letter which will be going out over the next several weeks, and we've lined up a great group of volunteers to do the phone calling. Ms. Pilcher is a former Executive Director of the LP of Texas and received the LP of Florida's "Lifetime Achievement Award" in 1996.
Ballot Access Battle Concludes As Governor Bush Signs SB 754 Into Law!
On June 11, Governor Bush signed SB 754 into law, implementing the ballot access provision of Revision 11. The bill, which passed unanimously in both houses of the legislature, further consolidates gains for minor parties: (1) Best news of all any party which holds a national convention and is registered with the state can place its Presidential ticket on the ballot with no petitioning and no filing fee. In 1996, the LP had to spend $100,000 to get Harry Browne on the ballot; now it will cost nothing. (2) Candidates will have a choice of paying a filing fee or petitioning in order to get on the ballot. Before Revision 11, minor party candidates had to do both. (3) The petitioning option, if chosen, would be only 1% of registered voters. Before, it had been 3%. This bill brings it even lower than Revision 11 alone would have done. Unfortunately, the legislature did nothing to lower the filing fees, which are still the highest in the nation. And a discriminatory provision which rebates part of the filing fees to major parties, but not to minor parties, still remains. Over the last three general elections, the two major parties each netted over $800,000 from this arrangement.
Florida Libertarians Win "Lights of Liberty" Awards.
The Advocates for Self-Government, a non-profit organization that teaches effective communication of libertarian ideas gave its 1998 "Lights of Liberty" awards to six Florida Libertarians: Wayne Harley, David Hobbs, Lee McLamb, Greg Newburn, Tom Regnier, and Luther Setzer. The awards were given for those who either: (1) had three letters-to-editors published favorably mentioning libertarianism, (2) gave three speeches on libertarian topics to non-libertarian groups, or (3) participated in three ?Operation Politically Homeless? booths. If you qualified in 1998 but weren?t named, contact the Advocates at 770-386-8372 or <email@example.com>.
The deadlines for the next two issues of Florida Liberty are August 29 and November 5. Send your news, announcements, clippings, newsletters, or photos to the Editor: Tom Regnier 1891 NW 42nd Terrace #G-212 Lauderhill, FL 33313 Fax: (954) 733-1911 Phone: (954) 730-8416 E-mail: TRegnier@aol.com
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2000
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
Libertarian Runs for Mayor of Miami
Non-Partisan Race on March 14, 2000
Emiliano Antunez, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade County, has entered the race for Mayor of the City of Miami. The non-partisan election is expected to be held on Tuesday, March 14 (Super Tuesday), with a runoff to be held two weeks later on March 28. What makes this race interesting-and winnable-is that Mr. Antunez is running against the current mayor and two former mayors-Joe Carollo, Xavier Suarez, and Maurice Ferre. Each one of the three mayors has a long list of negatives-corruption, kickbacks, scandal, intrigue, boondoggles, financial mismanagement, political favoritism, government waste, and voter fraud. They have ruled Miami for 23 of the last 26 years and have brought down the image of city government to the point that most voters are too disgusted to go to the polls. They are jointly responsible for the taxpayer-funded Miami Arena, which is now obsolete only eleven years after it opened but has an outstanding bond debt of over $60 million.
"Because of the widespread disgust that Miami voters feel toward the terrible trio of mayors," said campaign press secretary Tom Regnier, "Emiliano Antunez has a legitimate chance of winning this race-if he can create enough name recognition so that voters see him as a contender. Emiliano has been diligently and successfully raising money for this effort. His campaign plans include signs (already in place the first week in January), bumper stickers, palm cards, mailings of tens of thousands of brochures, radio and TV ads, and, of course, walking the precincts. He has already appeared as a guest on radio shows and has more appearances lined up. He has run for office before and knows how to campaign. He needs to raise at least $40,000 to $60,000. He got off to a good start, raising almost $7,000 in less than two weeks before the end of 1999."
Emiliano Antunez, thirty-seven years old, is President of LoanMart, a consumer finance company, and other successful businesses. He was born and raised in Miami of Cuban parents. He graduated from St. Brendans High School and received a D.D.S. degree from Universidad Central Del Este in 1985. He has been a Dade County Republican Committeeman, Vice President of the Miami Beach Republican Club, a member of the Dade Housing Finance Authority, and a member of the City of Miami Beach Board and Committee Review Committee. He left the Republican Party for the Libertarians because, as he says, "The Republicans are equal to the Democrats in opposing free enterprise." He became Chair of the Miami-Dade LP in 1999.
Though voter turnout is usually low in Miami-Dade County (7% in the 1998 primary, for example), the Super Tuesday Presidential primaries could increase the turnout to as much as 50%. This would be a benefit to an anti-establishment candidate such as Mr. Antunez. If he should make it into a runoff against one of the three mayors, it is unlikely that the losing mayors would support his opponent, as they are all longtime political rivals.
"Imagine the publicity the party would get," said Tom Regnier, "if a Libertarian were elected Mayor of an internationally known city like Miami."
Emiliano Antunez offers a healthful antidote to the corruption and mismanagement that have been the hallmarks of Miami government for a generation. His proposals for the City of Miami include:
* Bring fiscal health (after years of fiscal abuse) to the City of Miami by tightening the belt of the government, not by raising taxes.
* Privatize garbage collection, allowing for lower costs and better service through competition.
* Freeze the current city budget.
* Work for repeal of the 20% parking tax. Review and possibly repeal the city's tax on commercial garbage and fire fees.
* Work on returning savings to taxpayers by lowering property taxes.
* Concentrate city resources on the Police & Fire Departments and infrastructure improvements.
* Work on streamlining the building permit process, making it user friendly.
* Sell any city asset that is running at a loss and does not provide a basic government service-such as the Miami Arena or the James L. Knight Center. Use the proceeds from these sales to pay off the city's debt and lower the cost of servicing the debt.
* Freeze hiring and salaries for city employees, thereby shrinking the bureaucracy by attrition.
* Oppose the building of any sports arena that requires even one cent of taxpayer money. Since taxpayers must live within their means, so should the government and wealthy owners of sports franchises.
* Make Miami a place where people want to live and do business by reducing or eliminating many of the taxes and fees that have made people and businesses move out of Miami.
Part of Mr. Antunez's campaign has been a tour of "government boondoggles"-sites where the City is throwing away taxpayer money.
At press time, there was still some doubt as to whether the election would actually occur, as Mayor Carollo was attempting to stop the election and a judge had decreed it cancelled. The District Court of Appeals, however, was expected to overrule.
"Miami has a choice-the same old, tired politicians who put the city where it is today, or a successful businessperson who can bring the budget and taxes back down to earth." -Emiliano Antunez
To find out more, visit www.Antunez.org. To volunteer for or contribute to the Antunez campaign, contact: Emiliano Antunez Campaign, 888 NW 27th Ave. #4, Miami, FL 33125. (305) 269-8886. Maximum contribution is $500 per person. State law requires political campaigns to report the name, address, and occupation of each contributor. Political contributions are not tax-deductible. Make checks payable to: Emiliano Antunez Campaign Fund.
Harry Browne 2000
If you would like to become active in the Harry Browne for President Campaign, please attend one of the statewide meetings held between March 3 and 11. For the meeting location nearest you, please E-mail Brian Collar, Florida Campaign Director, at or call 813-672-0817.
Florida LP No. 2 in the Nation in Membership! (2000)
Thanks to its "Operation Bootstrap" membership drive, the Florida LP edged out Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan, and Georgia for the number 2 spot among state LP's. California has, by far, the largest LP membership, but the race for second place was close among five states. The final results, as of November 30, 1999 (the deadline date for determining delegates to the National Convention):
1. California 6,499
2. Florida 1,692
3. Pennsylvania 1,673
4. Texas 1,644
5. Michigan 1,612
6. Georgia 1,538
Florida will be allowed up to 71 delegates to the National Convention in Anaheim, California in July.
Dianne Pilcher, Project Director for "Operation Bootstrap" noted that the project's original goals were overly ambitious, but that it worked very well in those counties that participated, with 30% to 40% of those contacted agreeing to join the LP. As of January 15, the project had brought in 107 new members and subscribers and another 80 people who had pledged to join.
LPF Nominating Convention To Be Held
The Libertarian Party of Florida will hold a nominating convention for the purpose of approving candidates for public office. By state law, candidates for offices of state representative or above must have LPF approval to appear on the ballot as Libertarians. (Candidates for partisan county races only need local affiliate approval.) LPF members who are registered Libertarians in the state will be eligible to come to help select candidates. There is no charge to attend, and no overnight stay will be necessary. Look for a notice in the mail of exact date.
How To Stage a Tax Day Rally
by Tom Regnier
A Tax Day Anti-Income Tax rally is a great way to get across the LP's message about taxes. It's a chance to let people know that the LP opposes the Income Tax (on a day when their disgust with that tax is likely to be at a peak) and to let people know how to contact the LP. Tax Day will be Monday, April 17 this year.
In Broward County, we hold our rally at the main post office in the evening. There is always a long, slow line of cars as people drive through the post office's circular drive to drop off their returns. The National LP's "Million Dollar Bills" are the best handouts for a tax day protest. Contact National LP headquarters (202-333-0008) for a supply.
As for signs, each one should have a short, easily understood message, plus the party's name and phone number. We've used such slogans as "Repeal the Income Tax," "Abolish the IRS," and "Less Government. No Income Tax." I designed the signs on my computer, took letter-sized copies to Kinko's and got them enlarged to 24" x 36" and laminated for about $15 each. We then mounted them on masonite with sticks attached, and had weather-resistant signs we can use year after year. Be sure your signs say "Libertarian Party" so people will know who it is that's opposing the Income Tax.
In Broward, we've also added American Revolution uniforms and three-cornered hats. One advantage of this is that it invites TV news cameras. Last year, the main newspaper in Ft. Lauderdale came to photograph us, and the photographer was only interested in people in uniform. We got a great color photo on the front of the "Local" section with a caption explaining the "Million Dollar Bills."
The tax protest is a great way to get activists charged up and spread the Libertarian message at the same time. And be sure to take photos and send them, along with a report, to Florida Liberty!
"CAMPAIGNS & ELECTIONS" Magazine's Political (Dec. 10-11, 1999)-Training Seminar
TAMPA, Dec. 10, 11 1999 - Seven Libertarians-Ted Apelt, Lisa Bullion, Tom Regnier, Tyson Richmond, Lorelei Jackson, and future LP candidates Nancine Thompson and Charlie Westlake-attended the Political Campaign Training Seminar presented by Campaigns & Elections Magazine. The seminar covered every aspect of campaigning and the speakers were all seasoned professionals with many years' experience as consultants or campaign managers.
Thomas "Doc" Sweitzer, a political consultant for twenty years, gave an overview on campaign strategy. A winning strategy will deliver the right message in the right way at the right time to the right people. He pointed out that most people (as opposed to the political junkies who attend seminars like these) only think about politics for about five minutes a week. Therefore, the message has to be clear and simple. It has to be believable-it has to be something that will make people's heads nod in agreement. It has to be relevant to people's lives, and it has to contrast to your opponent's message. (There's no point in stressing that you're pro-choice, for example, if your opponent holds the same position.)
The campaign must find out what is the most persuasive medium in its market and dominate that medium. Mr. Sweitzer stressed the importance of having a strong campaign manager: "Campaigns are not democracies," he said. "They're dictatorships. Somebody has to be in charge, to call the shots. Statues are not built to committees." He stressed the importance of preparing a strict budget in advance so that when other people are clamoring for their pet expenses the campaign manager can simply say, "Is it in the budget?"
Mr. Sweitzer said that before he creates a negative ad, he always consults a box full of research on his own candidate and on the opponent. Mike Connell and Emi Ireland stressed the importance of making the Internet an integral part of the campaign. Recent polls show that 60% of voters believe the Internet is a good place to learn about political candidates. One's website needs to be very user-friendly, visually appealing, and constantly updated so that people will want to return to it. Headings for volunteers and contributors should be prominent and unambiguous. People should be able to make donations easily through the website. Candidate signs and flyers should display the website address prominently.
John Davies explained the art of political speechmaking. He noted that people form first impressions of a person very quickly and that these are based 38% on tone and voice, 55% on non-verbal signals such as posture, smile, eye contact, gestures, etc., and only 7% on the actual words that you use. He said that great communicators are relaxed, informal, crisp, quick, entertaining, prepared, committed, comfortable, and interested. To be a good speaker, you need to know who you are and to be comfortable with that. "You've got to be yourself at your best. Don't try to be someone else."
Ron Faucheux (pronounced foe-shay), editor of Campaigns & Elections Magazine, spoke on developing the campaign message, which is the candidate's public rationale for running for office. Since voters are always looking for the differences between candidates, it is good to stress your own strengths that mirror your opponent's weaknesses. You need to get demographic information and know what is important to the voters. You need to target your message to enough voters that that you can capture 51% of the vote. If you try for a mushy kind of message that you think will appeal to 70% of voters, a candidate with a more hard-hitting and specific message that appeals to 51% may steal those voters away. Mr Faucheux encouraged candidates to "inoculate" themselves in advance against potential weaknesses by bringing them up first and explaining them in their own terms.
Fund-raiser Paul Pelletier gave his basic rules for fund-raising: (1) If you don't ask, you don't get, (2) Ask for more, (3) Ask for specific amounts, (4) Spend 50% of your time on fund-raising. The candidate is the most effective fund-raiser, as people are always more likely to give when asked by the candidate himself. He said that anyone with a strong aversion to asking for money should seriously reconsider whether he should be a candidate. Some budgeting tips: (1) Media should be the largest part of your budget, (2) Never spend more than 10% of your money on raising money, (3) Get as much as possible in "in kind" contributions (goods or services), (4) Don't set outrageous goals, (5) Report everything.
Pollster Jeff Pollock explained the importance of doing professional polls. Some candidates complain that polls are too expensive, but polls actually save money because they are used to help refine the message and to figure out which voters to target. He emphasized the importance of using professional polls, as campaign volunteers have difficulty remaining neutral when conducting polls. A good poll can give you three campaign messages that work and can identify the swing voters for you.
Dean Ridings spoke on the uses of media. He emphasized that your biggest budget item should be for media. Though a good TV spot may cost $5,000, it is better to spend the money since an amateurish-looking ad can do more harm than good. He recommended using page-dominating newspaper ads. Media consultant John Brabender said that when you create an ad you have to stop thinking like a candidate and start thinking like the average person. A TV ad has to get attention right away, so the first five seconds are crucial. You have to make the most of the visual and dramatic effects that you can only get with TV. He noted that the fewer words you can use, the better and that ads that have no voiceover are often effective because people will stop whatever they are doing to watch the ad. The ad must be believable and relevant to the office sought. When doing negative ads, it helps to document the accusations and, if possible, to show video of the opponent making the statement for which you are attacking him.
Mike Milligan and John Coley spoke about direct mail advertising. This medium has the advantage that you can target your message more precisely so that it goes to exactly the people who you want to hear it. Targeting can be done on the basis of voting history, age, gender, party affiliation, geography, survey information, or other factors. There are six basic kinds of direct mail pieces that a candidate can send: (1) an introductory piece with bio and accomplishments, (2) specific issue ads, (3) contrast/compare between candidates, (4) announcement of endorsements, (5) negative/attack ad against opponent, and (6) a "get out the vote" ad. "Your job is to look a little bit nicer than your opponent," said John Coley.
Earl Bender lectured on how to deal with volunteers. Most people volunteer because they are asked-so you have to ask people. For many volunteers, the attraction will be the friends and the camaraderie. Because people have such busy schedules, you usually have to ask for one- and two-hour blocks of time. Mr. Bender noted that many schools require some "community service" work and helping political campaigns qualifies; therefore, you may be able to go to a nearby school and get lists of people who will work for your campaign. Make sure that the headquarters is comfortable and fairly attractive. Let volunteers know the significance of the particular task they are doing. Always call them the next day to thank them and to find out how they liked volunteering. It's always a great morale booster to have the candidate come to the headquarters and thank the volunteers.
Seminar organizer Alan Locke personally welcomed the Libertarians who attended. Libertarians who missed this seminar are strongly encouraged to attend the next one, which will be in Washington, D.C. on May 5-7.
"Campaigns are not democracies. They're dictatorships. Somebody has to be in charge, to call the shots." - "Doc" Sweitzer
"Washington, D.C. is the city where, when there's smoke, there's mirrors." - Ron Faucheux
"Some candidates say, 'I've never used a poll but I've won.' That's like saying, 'I don't use the pill and I've never gotten pregnant.'" -Jeff Pollock
News from Around the State LPF Chair Goes On The Road
LPF Chair Lisa Bullion has been traveling to LP meetings around the state, including the Pinellas County LP (Dec. 1), where they are preparing their phone bank system; and the LP of Polk County, which has been linking with other like-minded groups in the county. "We can expect great things to happen there," says Lisa. Next on the travel schedule were Marion County (Jan. 22), Alachua County (Jan. 28) and Seminole County (Feb. 2). "See you soon on the road to liberty," says Lisa.
Hillsborough Libertarians Oppose Ordinance Tampa Libertarians Ron Stringfield, Tyson Richmond, and Rex Curry showed up at City Hall and at the Convention Center to protest the City Council's ban on "lap dancing" (nude dancers must stay 6 feet away from customers). LP literature was handed out by Ron, Tyson, and LPF Chair Lisa Bullion. "No one is harmed by contact between a customer and a dancer" wrote Ron Stringfield in a letter printed in the St. Petersburg Times. Rex Curry, speaking at the public meeting, said: "Pass a law to keep [Councilman] Bob Buckhorn 6 feet from other government officials. That might stop the hypocrisy and the inversion of morality in local government."
Bay County: Jerome Barthelemy's letter appeared in the Panama City News Herald on Dec. 29: "Whenever the government gets involved to correct the social problem of the day, its only solution is to throw money at the problem and hope it goes away. And what do the public officials care? It's not their money to worry about wasting. It's just that never-ending well of money that average hardworking citizens . . . are forced to contribute to."
Pinellas County: Region 9 Rep "M.G." Gilson has offered to debate Anti-trust Czar Joel Klein on the Department of Justice's anti-trust policy. Mr. Klein, irritated by Libertarian criticisms of anti-trust policy as unfair invasions of the free market, had promised to debate any Libertarian at "anytime, anyplace." Mr. Gilson is coordinator of the 100+ nation membership group, the Libertarian International Organization.
Leon County: At recent meetings members have heard FSU economics professor Gary Holcombe speak about growth management and urban sprawl, FSU sociologist Gary Kleck speak about the statistical case against gun control, and Herb Harmon of the Florida Civil Rights Initiative speak about the citizen initiatives to ban racial preferences by government. . . . Party members Allen Turnage and Page Baldwin have served as guest hosts on local talk shows on WTAL 1450 AM in Tallahassee. . . . Daniel Walker had an op-ed published in the Tallahassee Democrat opposing Florida's prohibition of direct-to-consumer shipping of alcoholic beverages from out-of-state producers.
Citrus County: "Libertarians are not against development; we are, however, against subsidizing developers, realtors, and attorneys. If developers and builders want sewers, let them pay for sewers; let them pass those charges on to their customers. If . . . taxpayers pay for sewers, then developers and builders are simply welfare recipients, and rich ones at that."-Jim McIntosh, Citrus Chronicle, Jan. 2.
Lee County: On December 6, the Lee county LP voted to oppose a one-cent sales tax increase which will be on the ballot in March. Libertarians will be putting up signs and writing letters to editors.
Orange County: The LP of Orange County's January meeting featured Commissioner Hoenstine (the deciding vote against light rail) as well as two city council candidates and a mayoral candidate.
New County LP Officers
Many county affiliates recently elected new officers. Among the new slates:
MARCH / APRIL 2000
FLORIDA LIBERTY NEWSLETTER
Editor, Tom Regnier (Final Issue before resigning as LPF Newsletter Editor)
The Newsletter of the Libertarian Party of Florida
Seminole County Reform Party Chair Joins Libertarian Party
Dissolves Local Reform Party
SANFORD, March 31 2000 -James Coakley, Chair of the Reform Party of Seminole County, filed papers to formally dissolve the local Reform Party chapter and to change his own party affiliation to the Libertarian Party. Libertarian Party officials were present to welcome Coakley into the Libertarian Party, reported Charles Champion, Vice Chair of the Seminole County LP.
Coakley will seek the endorsement of the Libertarian Party for his candidacy for Seminole County Commission.
"I'm leaving because of the change in Reform Party leadership," said Mr. Coakley. "I'm no longer confident about the direction the Reform Party is going. I agree with Jesse Ventura when he said that the Reform Party has become dysfunctional. The Dallas faction wants to concentrate all Reform Party efforts behind the presidential candidate and the grassroots faction wants to concentrate the party efforts on people running for local office in their communities."
As the Orlando Sentinel put it, "Coakley leaves behind a Reform Party that can't seem to get along with itself."
"I believe in the LP Platform. This is my home," said Mr. Coakley in an interview with Florida Liberty. "I've worked together with the Libertarian Party in the past and their focus seems to be in the same direction I'm working towards. It just made sense to join the Libertarian Party."
Coakley indicated he is not alone saying, "All the grassroots members in the East Central Florida region are leaving the Reform Party and either joining the Libertarian Party or forming a new party called the Independence Party. Orange County, Brevard County, and others around the state have told me that they are likely to dissolve their affiliates and either join the Libertarians or the Independence Party. It's happening nationwide. Local county committees are disaffiliating all across the country." Recently ousted national Reform Party Chairman Jack Gargan, a Floridian, has indicated that he is considering various options and has not yet made a decision on what he will do.
Mr. Coakley, 30 years old, is an auditor at United Parcel Service. He served two years in the U.S. Army. His candidacy for Seminole County Commission in District 1 will pit him against incumbent commissioner Grant Maloy in the general election this November. Mr. Maloy is a libertarian-leaning Republican who has appointed several Libertarians to public office within the county.
Court Cancels Miami Mayoral Election
MIAMI-In a surprise move, the Third District Court of Appeal upheld Judge Fredricka Smith's ruling canceling the March 14 mayoral election in Miami, thus postponing, at least for the time being, the mayoral campaign of Libertarian Emiliano Antunez. Current Miami Mayor Joe Carollo had sued to stop the election, saying that the new city charter approved by the voters that changed the form of government to a "strong mayor" system and called for a new election for Mayor amounted to an "illegal recall" of him. Judge Smith had previously ruled that the vote on the charter change could not occur, but the Third District Court of Appeal had overruled her and allowed the vote to proceed. Miami voters approved the charter change by a 57% to 43% vote in November 1999. In upholding Judge Smith's cancellation of the March 14 election, the Court seems to have completely reversed itself, invalidating an election by the people which they had sanctioned the year before.
"The courts concluded that allowing the voters to decide these things would be putting too much power in the hands of a small group of people," quipped Tom Regnier, consultant for the Antunez campaign. "It's very disappointing for us in the Antunez campaign. The more Emiliano's campaign had progressed, the more we had been getting the feeling that he had a legitimate chance to pull this off. Emiliano had been campaigning much harder than the 'Three Mayors' [Carollo and former mayors Suarez and Ferre, who were also running]-walking the precincts diligently and keeping his radio ads on the air. More people whom he met were enthusiastically telling him they had heard his ads and were looking for someone to vote for other than 'those three crooks.' A local TV station contacted Emiliano about doing a profile on him as the 'outsider' candidate. They followed him around with video cameras to get footage for their story, which they will show if and when the race is on again."
The case is being appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. If it overrules the Court of Appeal, the election could be on again as soon as September of this year. If not, there will be a regularly scheduled election in November 2001 (the courts permitting). Mr. Antunez, who is continuing to campaign, though at a less intense pace, will most likely be running whenever the election occurs.
Meanwhile, Emiliano Antunez continues to speak out for lower taxes and less government. In a recent letter published in the New Times, he said, "It should not concern the city how much a [stadium] site will cost John Henry. Professional baseball is a business, and the cost of acquiring the land and building a stadium should be strictly his problem. With the examples of Micky Arison, Wayne Huizenga, and the Miami Arena still fresh, it's amazing that the idea of using public money to pay for a Marlins stadium is even being considered."
Second Amendment Sisters
Libertarian talk show host Kim Watson of WTAL 1450 in Tallahassee writes: "I am one of five founders of The Second Amendment Sisters, a group who will be counter-marching against the "Million Mom March" on Mother's Day, May 14. They are for gun control, we are against it. We have been written up in the Washington Times and Post, and the UK Sunday Times mentioned us. Our website is: .
"Two of the founders are Libertarians (myself and our Chicago gal). We've got petitions and flyers for downloading at our website, as well as links to an online petition (more than 20,000 signatures) and online donations. We're also looking for stories of self-defense with a firearm-especially from women.
"Rosie O'Donnell will be emceeing the Million Mom March, and Hillary will be attending. It is so important that we get a good turnout for this. We can't let them speak for us!"
Okaloosa LP Chair Gives Presentation to Students
Okaloosa County Chair Dan Scupin spoke to 600 high school students from Okaloosa County who attended a half-day event, entitled "Okaloosa County School District, Political Parties Forum," on March 27 at Okaloosa-Walton Community College. Representatives from the Republican, Democratic, and Reform Parties, as well as Mr. Scupin, spoke for about 7 to 8 minutes each and then answered questions from the students. "I brought up a lot of important issues and differences between the parties," said Dan. "Many questions were asked such as 'position on gun control and abortion, how could government be improved, how to get more young people involved in politics, thoughts on the religious right.' The students went to our tables and asked questions and took literature. Our table was crowded with many interested students who took a lot of literature and seven signed up asking for more information; all of those asked for the Bill of Rights booklet I had mentioned in my talk (a Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership booklet entitled, Grandpa Jack says "It's Common Sense to use our Bill of Rights...or Lose them"). One of the organizers said that after my talk she wondered why more of the students were not Libertarian. The Supervisor of Elections personally thanked me for coming and said she thought they would do it again.". . . Officers for the LP of Okaloosa County for 2000 are Dan Scupin, Chair; John Marsh, Vice Chair; Tricia Scupin, Secretary; and Dean Crumly, Treasurer.
Pasco County Chair On Soil & Water Board
Jon Kueny, Chair of the newly formed Libertarian Party affiliate in Pasco County, has secured a place on the Pasco County Soil and Water Conservation District. Mr. Kueny alertly took advantage of a vacancy and presented himself to the board as a potential new member. The board approved him, adding one more to the total number of Libertarian officeholders. Mr Kueny says he has been philosophically a libertarian for 35 years, but he actually joined the party about five years ago. He respects the LP because its candidates run on "principles, not polls." Mr. Kueny is considering a run for the local Board of Education or County Commission. . . . Other Pasco County LP officers are Anthony Burriescki, Vice Chair; Diane Colvin, Secretary; and William Murley, Treasurer.
Sales Tax Defeated In Lee County
A 1% sales tax increase that was actively opposed by the Lee County LP went down to a stinging 82% to 18% defeat on March 14. While voter turnout statewide was under 18% that day, Lee County had a 34% voter turnout-the highest of any county in the state. Lee County LP Chair Kim Hawk received frequent favorable press on the issue. "The unquestionable conclusion is that the voters of Lee County want no more taxes," exulted the Lee County LP's newsletter. "They want no more expansion of government. They want no more frills from the government. They also do not trust local government."
Duval County Officers
The Duval County (Jacksonville area) LP recently elected new officers: David Personet, Chair; Brian (Augie) Cleland, Vice Chair; Michael Buffmire, Secretary; and Adam Norwood, Treasurer.
City Council Member a Libertarian
Kathleen Ford, member of the St. Petersburg City Council, spoke to the Pinellas LP on February 16. She was invited by county Chair Tom Smith after he had sent her a copy of "The World's Smallest Political Quiz" and she scored in the libertarian quadrant. She asked for assistance and studies that would help her to present free market solutions to the council. Local libertarians volunteered to help and suggested the Cato Institute as a place to start.
Nominating Convention Chooses Candidates Tampa, April 1, 2000
TAMPA, April 1-Over forty Florida Libertarians attended a special Nominating Convention held to approve candidates for public office, confirm delegates to the National Convention (to be held in Anaheim, California in late June and early July) and select a slate of Libertarian Presidential electors.
Any candidates for offices of state representative or higher must by law be approved by the state party before they can appear on the ballot as Libertarians. Candidates for local partisan offices only need the approval of their county affiliates. However, since some counties do not currently have LP affiliates, local Libertarian candidates from those counties need state party approval. Candidates in non-partisan races at any level do not need party approval.
The delegates approved the following candidates:
* Charlie Westlake for U.S. Congress, District 11 (Tampa area)
* Darrell McCormick for State House, District 22 (Gainesville area)
* John Wayne Smith for State House, District 42 (Lake, Sumter, and Marion Counties)
* Bob Lehman for County Commission, Lee County
* Oscar Celico for Sheriff of Flagler County
* Mike Krech for Supervisor of Elections, Sumter County.
In addition, several candidates for local or non-partisan races who did not need state party approval were introduced. See "Meet the Candidates" below for more information about all candidates.
The convention confirmed that all delegates either to this convention or to the last state convention in October 1999 are eligible to be among the 71 Florida delegates to the National Convention in Anaheim. If you didn't attend either state convention, there will still probably be available openings for additional delegates. If you wish to attend the National Convention, please contact Dan Scupin, Chair of the Nominating Committee at 850-654-5623 or .
Twenty-five of the delegates were selected as candidates for Presidential elector. Should the Libertarian Presidential candidate receive the highest popular vote total in Florida in the November election, these electors would cast the electoral college votes that would actually elect the President. Florida is entitled to twenty-five electoral votes based on its twenty-three Congressional seats plus two U.S. Senate seats.
Libertarian Lawyer Rex Curry, who recently challenged a media person to a debate on "price gouging," said that public officials and the media are ignorant about economics. He recommended loudly ridiculing their stupidity, their greed, and their lack of caring. He quoted L. Neil Smith, who said, "The function of government is to provide you with service, and the function of the media is to provide the vaseline."
Best-selling author and investment advisor Harry Browne overwhelmingly won a non-binding straw poll for the Libertarian Presidential nomination taken among the delegates present. (See results below.) More about the candidates below!
LP of Florida Presidential Straw Poll Results
Harry Browne 30
Don Gorman 3
Barry Hess 1
Poll taken at LPF Nominating Convention, April 1, 2000
Meet the Candidates
Following are profiles of Libertarian Party candidates from around the state for the November 2000 elections. These candidates will need your help in getting in the ballot and running for office. Please support any or all LP candidates with your time or your contribution.
for U.S. Congress, District 11
Charlie Westlake, who is in the insurance and real estate business, says that our country has destroyed the concept of federalism and separation of powers. "Every dollar of federal spending is one less dollar for liberty," he says. He believes that the best way to get rid of intrusive government programs is to cut their budgets. "The DEA can't function without money," he points out. He is a strong 2nd Amendment advocate. He believes we have to approach the privatization of schools incrementally with such steps as ending forced busing, supporting vouchers, and devolving public education to the local level.
2528 Chapel Way
Tampa, FL 33618
813-933-9429 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Needs 2,870 petitions or $8,016 filing fee by May 5, 2000.
for State Rep, District 22
Darrell McCormick is seeking the seat being vacated by Bob Casey who is term-limited out. There are three Democrats, a Republican, and a Reform Party member also seeking this seat. Mr. McCormick, who lists Atlas Shrugged and Free to Choose as influences, believes that we can solve many complex problems by taking them back to their simple roots. He is a graduate of the Air Force Academy, owns an M.B.A. degree, has worked for Peat Marwick and the University of Florida, and now does health care consulting.
2012 NW 24th St
Gainesville, FL 32605
Needs 795 petitions or $1,583.28 filing fee by June 26, 2000.
for Lee County Commission
Bob Lehman has been the guiding light of the Lee County LP for many years. Lehman proposes to eliminate the Office of Economic Development, saving $1,500,000 per year; cut the Commission staff by half, saving over one million dollars; eliminate the six-and-a-half million dollars worth of bungling by Lee County lawyers and staff; allow Coca-Cola to do what they wish with their property (especially the historic plant on Cleveland Avenue). He concludes that "People should solve their own problems because a political solution is usually worse than the problem."
John Wayne Smith
for State Rep, District 42
John Wayne Smith says, "If physical force is to be barred from social relationships, men need an institution charged with the task of protecting their rights under an objective code of rules. This is the task of government-of a proper government-its basic task, its only moral justification and the reason why men do need a government." He adds "Crime needs to be rigidly defined as injury to a second party." Among his campaign issues are land and water use, term limits, having insurance companies rather than governments determine building standards, and moving towards privatization of schools.
203 W. Magnolia St., Leesburg, FL 34748
Needs 884 petitions or $1,583.28 filing fee by June 26, 2000.
for Sheriff, Flagler County
Oscar Celico says he has been a Libertarian at heart all his life but has recently decided to "climb down from the fence" and join the party. He is running for Sheriff of Flagler County to stop abuses that he has witnessed, such as policemen pulling people over just because of their skin color or tattoos. If elected, he would end profiling and speed traps. He sees the fact that he is the only non-policeman in the race as a plus, since the sheriff's job is not so much law enforcement per se, but acting as a liaison between the citizens and law enforcement. His qualifications include his experience in the U.S. Army, from which he was honorably discharged, and a degree in political science.
5 Fanwood Ct.
Palm Coast, FL 32137
phone - (904) 446-4573
cell - (904) 503-6900
Needs 298 petitions or $3,620.48 filing fee.
for Supervisor of Elections, Sumter County
Mike Krech has already held public office as a Libertarian, having been a Village Trustee for four years in Illinois. In that post, he voted against every proposed tax increase. He feels that, as the Supervisor of Elections, he would be able to act as an impartial referee. Mr. Krech, who works as an electrician, has a B.S. in electronics management from the University of Southern Illinois.
P.O. Box 308
Center Hill, Florida 33514-0308
Needs 260 petitions or $2,815.80 filing fee.
Nominations of the following candidates are the responsibility of the local LP's:
for City Council, Pinellas County
10030 11 St. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33716-4328
for Winter Haven City Commission, Seat 5
809 Foxboro Lane SW
Winter Haven, FL 33880
for Seminole County Commission, District 1
1349 Via Villanova Way
Winter Springs, FL 32708
Needs 1,862 petitions or $3,788.88 filing fee by June 26, 2000.
For Seminole County Commission, District 3 (complete information unavailable
at press time)
Needs 1,862 petitions of $3,788.88 filing fee by June 26, 2000.
for Seminole County Commission, District 5
598 Carrigan Woods Trail
Oviedo, FL 32765
Needs 1,862 petitions or $3,788.88 filing fee by June 26, 2000.
The Growth of A Libertarian
by Tom Regnier
Dear Florida Libertarians,
This is my 30th-and last-issue as Editor of Florida Liberty. As many of you already know, I will be entering law school in the fall and my position of Florida Liberty Editor will be filled by a new person. During the course of applying to law schools, I had to write some essays about my personal and intellectual development. I felt that the following essay, which was written in answer to a question about intellectual influences, would make an appropriate farewell piece for my last issue of Florida Liberty. I hope you enjoy it.
Though I have had strong interests in many branches of knowledge during my life-the arts, psychology, philosophy, science-the relationship of the individual to government has always been of enduring interest to me. I began following U.S. politics closely when I was a child, and I remember starting to read Newsweek and other news magazines when I was nine years old. By the time I was thirteen, I had read at least five biographies of Thomas Jefferson, a man who always fascinated me and who is, to this day, despite his flaws, one of my greatest heroes because he saw and stated so clearly that the basic rights of individuals are senior to any rights of governments or kings.
While at Trinity College in Connecticut, I actively opposed the Vietnam War. I think that since, as Randolph Bourne said, "War is the health of the state," war is often an inevitable outgrowth of a powerful central government or one that is lusting for more power. When we give government power over our economic lives or our interpersonal relationships, we pave the way for a government that, sooner or later, is likely to become intolerant toward its own citizens and belligerent towards those of other countries. A government that has no qualms about plundering its people through the tax system will not hesitate to plunder other countries by means of warfare. While many of my friends saw Lyndon Johnson's actions regarding Vietnam as a betrayal of what he was accomplishing through his social programs, I see the War in Vietnam, in retrospect, as a natural concomitant to the "Great Society" welfare programs.
I believe in the individual. Free individuals can make better decisions about their own lives than any statesman or bureaucrat, no matter how wise or benevolent. When I look at where I stand now politically and think back on my life in college, I recall the influence of John Stuart Mill's essay On Liberty and think about how my college classmates resisted the form of slavery known as the draft and opposed our country's destructive actions overseas. I recall with fondness the intellectual free-for-all at college, where, in and out of the classroom, we were encouraged to think for ourselves and to back up our conclusions with evidence and logic. I think about the expansion of spirit I experienced from some of the great literature I read in English courses and the conclusion that I intuitively reached from it that human progress is only the cumulative effect of the individual enlightenment of many people. At Trinity, you could be different, think for yourself, be yourself, even if you were awkwardly stumbling around trying to find out who that self was. One thing I learned was that it's better to grope for answers and fall on your face once in a while than to think you know it all. I hope I never lose that.
For some time after college, politics continued to interest me, though I had difficulty identifying with any political camp. In my college years, I considered myself somewhat liberal; later, I thought of myself as more conservative. I never felt comfortable, however, with either term. When I became acquainted with Milton Friedman's work, it brought me back to Thomas Jefferson and John Stuart Mill. I discovered the word "libertarian" and found that it described my political leanings much better than either "liberal" or "conservative." I began to see most of the well-intentioned government programs as being counter-productive and intrusive on human liberty. For a while, I thought that the Republican Party would do something to reverse the trend of ever-growing government, but, after many disappointments (e.g., "Read my lips. No new taxes."), I gave up on them and joined the Libertarian Party in 1992.
I was spurred to become an activist with the Libertarian Party after I moved to Florida. In 1994, I was dismayed to see that all minor parties had been shut off the Florida ballot by what I later learned were the harshest ballot access requirements in the country. This inspired me to start working for my local Libertarian Party chapter, and I became county secretary in 1995. I didn't know when I started that I would later play a role in getting the ballot access laws changed.
All my ideas about government seemed to coalesce in a speech I gave to Florida's Constitution Revision Commission in 1997. I had spoken at one of the Commission's hearings and had been incensed by the fact that the people who arrived earliest (myself included) did not get to speak until the end. This was because the Chairman of the Commission had deemed that the people who arrived first were the "off the wall" people and that they should speak last, when members of the press were less likely to cover them. I attended a second hearing to chastise the Commission for its arrogance. Among the things I said:
"I was concerned by the sentiment, expressed by one of the speakers in [the earlier hearing], that, while the people have certain rights, it is the government that has the power. This is a misleading statement. In this country, the people are sovereign; the government has only those powers delegated to it by the people. This was a new concept about government when it was expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Before that, kings ruled their subjects. The king was the master and the people had to do what he said. The Declaration made it clear that men form governments for the sole purpose of protecting their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Governments are there to protect these rights-not to control the people, not to rule the people, not to direct their lives for them, but to guard their liberties. I hope you will keep this in mind when considering changes to the state constitution.
"Another sentiment I heard expressed at the [earlier] hearing was one with which I strongly agree, and that is Lord Acton's famous saying that 'power corrupts.' I know that many of you, outside of your roles as commissioners, are used to wielding power. When you're in that position, it becomes very easy to believe that one has a special knowledge or wisdom that others don't have, and the exercise of power can be seductive and addictive. It can lead even the best-intentioned persons into a state of arrogant disregard for the wisdom and good sense of those in less powerful positions. I am here to warn you against the arrogance of power."
I then listed several examples of what I considered the "arrogance of power" in state government and ended with a reference to the Chairman's arbitrary treatment of the speakers:
"And when this Commission makes a decision that people who arrive earliest at these hearings will have to speak last, then I smell the arrogance of power."
The audience erupted with applause and the Chairman tried to cut off my speech shortly after that. But a woman in the audience stood up and said that I could have her speaking time in order to finish. I got through the rest of my speech, quoting Washington, Jefferson, and Adam Smith along the way. "Members of the Commission," I said, "it is the arrogance of power that treats people as pawns on a chessboard, and not as intelligent, self-determined beings." Three of the commissioners afterwards congratulated me on my speech, and one of them later published it in the Journal of the James Madison Institute.
The major victory that came out of the whole two-year Constitution Revision process was that the Florida Constitution was changed so that minor parties have the same set of ballot access rules that major parties have. This was a victory that was achieved by many members of the state party working together. But there was another, smaller win that came out of the process that was also very satisfying to me in a personal way. The Constitution Revision Commission changed its procedural rules so that, at public hearings, the order of speakers was on a first-come, first-served basis, rather than at the "discretion of the Chairman." After all, the process was supposed to be about what's good for the people, not about what's good for the government. There is a difference. I like to think Thomas Jefferson would have been proud of me.
Editor, Florida Liberty
"A legal system is not a complete social system, and we should not reflexively invoke legal remedies to enforce whatever conduct we think to be socially desirable."
-Richard A. Epstein
(Professor, University of Chicago School of Law),
Simple Rules for a Complex World (1995)
What is the IMP?
by Michael "M.G." Gilson
Libertarians have experimented with ways to turn ideas into action, develop long-term plans and stay focused while trying out different things. There has been a lot of discussion about tying in management, planning, and social interaction in a very Libertarian way. In December here in Florida, Libertarians adopted a new Libertarian Social Process for getting things done called the IMP-for "Improvement Management Process." The Executive Committee voted to adopt it, and serve as a resource for county use, after a presentation sponsored by the Libertarian International Organization and considerable effort looking at different member suggestions. Here is what is going on.
The IMP was developed and successfully used in several Fortune 100 companies-and even the US government-with superior results. Libertarians can now actually say that the developing standard for managing correctly is Libertarianism.
A political party without politics? The IMP is a way of managing things openly to match our politics. The IMP is basically a turbo-charged to-do list that automatically highlights areas that need attention. The to-do list is created by the membership's own suggestions. As a social process it involves first getting everyone's ideas out on the table ("the desirable process") and then encouraging people to self-assign. This is the exact reverse of how most of society works, where ideas are acted on one-at-a-time from above or by vote.
Benefit of Open Agendas. The idea? Learning to better work together on a non-authority basis, working with instead of against the Libertarian self-autonomy ethic, and start by putting various agendas "on the table" where everyone can discuss them. It automatically develops strategic planning and institutional memory, a growing worry, because all those ideas force everyone to sit down and plan long-term. The hope is to perfect it to make it a tool for all Libertarians. Among the things that are happening in Florida:
* An Ongoing Suggestion Process. Over 600 of your suggestions were collected since the convention, and boiled down into 240 action areas.
* Best Practice Comparison. To complement your ideas, since the convention the Executive Committee looked at the "best practices" of Libertarian groups here and abroad-no more "re-invent the flat tire." We've looked at things like how to win elections by having passive candidates, double the Libertarian vote by having poll-watchers, and how to prevent activist burn-out. In the works: a Florida-Specific Think Tank and candidate training.
* A Simple Management System. The IMP involves a simple management system that "highlights variances" when we wander from agreed goals, and on a timely basis. Using your ideas, we are now looking at areas to increase funds, clarify staffing tasks, and make numerous simple, high-payoff improvements. One exciting idea is the "Financial Tank," a way of permanent funding using trusts or endowments; another an "Action Needed" program for your continuing ideas.
* IMP Teams. All this activity is focused by open IMP Teams. Anyone can sign up or contribute their ideas, or take responsibility for a task. The Teams are working in areas such as Newsletter and Communications, Database design, Fundraising, and Operation Hammerlock-to keep Libertarians in government once elected, and help them communicate their successes.
* Opportunities, Goals and Plans. IMP teams commit to working with each local Libertarian group, to help them communicate needs, developing from the counties a 5-year plan including specific, measurable acts-critical tasks-that are known to work well: OPH Booth, Potluck meetings, Campus and High School Outreach, Targeted Fundraising, along with Campaign methods. A pilot Sister-Party program of activist mentoring with Serbian Libertarians is also being looked at.
* Remembering What We're Doing. A plan gives us a backlog that is organized, so suggestions not immediately feasible are not forgotten, and better continuity in the future. The IMP will help new members be Libertarian-by showing a dynamic fellowship that works by working with them, and that is focused, with tasks at hand for people to self-assign.
Amazingly, after the initial LIO grant, the IMP costs nothing, and is actually showing ways to liberate Volunteers' time and increase funding. There will be a manual on the Internet anyone can download.
* A Tool for Ambitious Goals? The IMP is being studied in local groups already, but is available for use everywhere. Besides helping with the Teams, we are asking Libertarians to sign up as Passive Candidates, by merely allowing the LP to place their name on the ballot with all the actual filing and other work to be handled by the State LP. Why? People respond when they see a large LP slate in the polling booth. This worked tremendously well in New Hampshire, where 29 Libertarians were elected after one-third of Party Members signed up-which, adjusted for population, would be like 480 here from a membership of 6,000. Can we even come close to that in 5 years? Each county taking advantage of your ideas is the first step.
To Participate: The IMP is not a State program, or a county program, or even strictly political. It is an ongoing tool that belongs to the membership, and that everyone can learn about, improve, and use. It is there to help people work together in a Libertarian, long-term way. Start by adding your suggestions to our growing list, and if there is an opportunity that you want to own, and investigate for your Libertarian group. The IMP teams are for everyone. We want you! Contact your local chair or Regional Rep, or the IMP Coordinator at 727-347-2879 or.
Libertarian E-mail Lists
To receive Libertarian Party of Florida announcements by E-mail, send an E-mail message to:
You can also be listed in the LPF E-mail directory by sending your name, city, and E-mail address to:
You can subscribe to a free-for-all LP discussion group by sending an E-mail message to:
Your Government At Work For You
The following quotes were reportedly taken from federal employee performance
1. Since my last report this employee has reached rock bottom and has started
2. I would not allow this employee to breed.
3. Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a
4. When she opens her mouth, it seems that it is only to change feet.
5. He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle.
6. He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.
7. This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.
8. Gross ignoramus-144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus.
9. I would like to go hunting with him sometime.
10. He's been working with glue too much.
11. He would argue with a signpost.
12. When his IQ reaches 50 he should sell.
13. If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one.
14. A prime candidate for natural de-selection.
15. Donated his brain to science before he was done using it.
16. If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week.
17. If you gave him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change.
18. It's hard to believe that he beat out other sperm.
19. One neuron short of a synapse.
20. Takes him 2 hours to watch 60 minutes.
- from Campaigns & Elections Magazine. Reprinted with permission.
Florida Libertarians in the News
Following are excerpts from an article entitled, "Election: What independent-minded voters should know" by staff writer Cathy Zollo of the Naples Daily News. It appeared on Sunday, March 12, 2000:
Though it will be a long time before any movement could catch up to the Democrats or Republicans, members of third parties are hopeful and plan to capitalize on mistakes made by the two.
John Majdiak, [vice] chairman of the Lee County Libertarian Party, left the Republican Party in 1996 because he'd become disillusioned.
"I came to realize that both parties are pretty much alike," Majdiak said. "A lot of it has to do with spending."
Libertarians favor a return to a dramatically smaller government that strictly follows guidelines in the Constitution, said Wade Keller, chairman of the Collier County chapter. That means removing government from education, health care and social welfare.
Keller said most Americans want a smaller government, but the Democrats and Republicans, which he collectively calls the government party, continue in the opposite direction.
"Government increases no matter who's in office," Keller said. "The Democrats and Republicans want to just continue this large, bloated government. Neither one proposes to actually cut it."
And third party members are confident they'll affect elections long before they ascend to take offices around the state and nation. They say their challenge comes in convincing people to vote for a candidate who will not win but would send a message.
"If we were to get 5 percent of the vote, we obviously wouldn't win anything," Keller said. "But that would be a political earthquake, and the Democrats and Republicans would wake up to the demand by the people for smaller government."
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2000--FL Liberty (PDF) Newsletters by new Editor, Julie Chorgo-Gilson
vol1-issue1of3-2000 Fl Lib-8pg.pdf
|vol1-issue2of3-2000 Fl Lib-12p.pdf |
SUMMER - Florida Liberty Newsletter
|vol1-issue3of3-2000 Fl Lib-12p.pdf |
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2001--FL Liberty (PDF) Newsletters by Editor, Julie Chorgo-Gilson
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2002--FL Liberty (PDF) Newsletters by Editor, Julie Chorgo-Gilson
vol3-issue1--JAN-FEB 2002 FL Lib--8pg.pdf
|vol3-issue2--MAR-APR 2002 FL Lib NwsLtr.pdf |
2002 MAR-APR Florida Liberty Newsletter
vol3-issue3--MAY-JUN 2002 FL Lib--8pg.pdf
|vol3-issue4--JUL-AUG 2002 FL Lib--12pg.pdf |
2002 JULY-AUG Florida Liberty Newsletter
|vol3-issue5--SEP-OCT 2002 FL Lib--8pg.pdf |
2002 SEPT-OCT Florida Liberty Newsletter
|vol3-issue6--NOV-DEC 2002 FL Lib--8pg Revised.pdf |
2002 NOV-DEC Florida Liberty Newsletter
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2003--FL Liberty (PDF) Newsletters by Editor, Julie Chorgo-Gilson
| vol4-issue1--JAN-FEB 2003 FL Lib--4pg.pdf |
2003 JANUARY-FEBRUARY Florida Liberty Newsletter
|vol4-issue2--MAR-APR 2003 new FL Lib--4pg.pdf |
2003 MARCH-APRIL Florida Liberty Newsletter
|vol4-issue3--MAY-JUN 2003 new FL Lib--4pg.pdf |
2003 MAY-JUNE Florida Liberty Newsletter
|vol4-issue4-JUL-AUG 2003 FL Lib--6pg.pdf |
2003 JULY-AUGUST Florida Liberty Newsletter
BW_vol4-issue5-SEPT-OCT-NOV-DEC- 2003 FL Lib--8pg.pdf
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|2004_vol5-issue2_OCT_FLLiberty_4pg_By Jack Tanner.pdf|
Please NOTE: The 2006 Libertarian Party of Florida Executive Commitee decided NOT to continue producing and funding the mailed (paper) Florida Liberty Newsletters. Instead the 2006 LPF EC decided to allow Dave Doubleday to plan and produce a "NEW" LPF Newsletter called The Florida Freedom Gazette. The yahoo group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FLFreedomGaz/ was created on April 9, 2006 for the purpose of planning the "new" LPF newsletter as well as discussion and the posting of LPF news for this newsletter.
No Florida Freedom Gazette newsletters were ever produced. No files or samples are available.
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To view the latest PDF newsletters and previous issues
Newsletters are in a PDF Format and require an Acrobat Reader