Life's Better Ideas

Occasional links to, and comments on, ideas that I think will make this a better world, and remarks about things that need fixing, too.

Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

Sunday, May 08, 2005

LPCO convention report

I attended the 2005 Libertarian Party of Colorado convention in Montrose this past weekend. About 45 members were in attendance. The Western Slope LP is off to a great start. There are, I think, 4 affiliates there, ones in Montrose, Delta, Telluride, and Ouray. The Delta County one is the most successful right now. Debbie Schum is a real fireball and is stirring things up on property rights issues.

There was a cocktail party Friday night with about 30 people at JoJo’s Windmill Restaurant. About half of the convention goers were from the Front Range and the other half from the Western Slope. Michael Badnarik, the LP’s 2004 presidential candidate, was there also.

Saturday morning we had several speakers. Michael Badnarik opened the session, followed by Pete Hendrickson on Cracking the Code (taxes) and Justin Plumlee on community outreach.

The business session started at 1pm and included reports by the board of directors, election of officers and changes to the constitution and bylaws. Travis Nicks was elected as State Chairman. He’s been a candidate for a couple of races and a hard worker for the party. Half of the board positions were up for election, but I can’t recall the names of the people who were elected to those seats.

The Western Slope group brought an extensive bylaws and constitution change proposal to the floor. It included three items: 1) allowing proxy voting at the annual meeting; 2) eliminating dues paying membership; and 3) and requiring 90 day membership in the party to vote at the convention. A motion to divide the question into 3 parts failed. The most contentious proposal was about proxies. A motion to limit proxies to 5 per person was defeated. The whole package ultimately passed with little modification about 3 to 1. I voted against it because of the proxy provision, which could, and probably will, come back to haunt us. Aside from the obvious problem of packing the convention, there’s a larger problem which I haven’t quite put my finger on to be able to express it.

The board of directors was expanded to 10 positions by adding a Western Slope Outreach Director and changing the existing Outreach Director to Front Range Outreach Director. I thought this was unnecessary but the majority thought otherwise. I may be wrong on this because one of the unstated considerations was to make sure the Western Slope had representation on the board. The board members are not chosen by geographic representation but by function and most of the time they all live on the Front Range.

A proposal to add a Membership Director to the board failed. If the national party eliminates the Unified Membership Program as has been talked about, we may have to start handling memberships. That will be a major pain in the you-know-what and one of the reasons I backed the UMP in the first place about 10 years ago. It’s been good for the party for two reasons: 1) handling memberships is a full time job not suitable for volunteers, no matter how good they are; and 2) the UMP meant a full time paid person handled this and we got a steady monthly check from the national party. According to BetteRose Ryan, one of the at-large LNC delegates, some states are irresponsible with the program. Colorado is not one of those.

A banquet was held at JoJo’s followed by speakers Boston-T-Party and BetteRose Ryan. No fundraising was done, which was disappointing. We’ll probably pay for that, too.

Michael Badnarik taught his class on the US Constitution on Sunday. He also did several outreach activities earlier in the week including, I think, a short version of the class at the local high school which was well received. The local paper had two front page stories on the party on Friday, I think.

During one of the many late night bull sessions, Travis Nicks, the new chair, challenged Michael Badnarik to a membership contest – Colorado vs Texas. The loser buys the winner dinner. The challenge arose because of a disagreement over the most effective strategy for membership growth – hardcore vs gradualist. Badnarik takes the hardcore approach; Nicks wants to pursue a gradualist method. Either way, both parties will benefit. I’m not sure of all the details as the discussion was fueled by alcohol, but the results will be measured by growth in registered party members as counted by the respective Secretaries of State. Beat Texas!!


Blogger Dietrich Bonhoeffer said...

Thanks for blogging. Good work.

3:26 PM  

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