Libertarians Redefine Membership

The Libertarian Party of North Carolina made major changes to the bylaws during the annual convention last month at Lake Lure. The party redefined membership, revised and expanded the duties and responsibilities of officers.

Redefining membership is perhaps the most significant change. The convention overwhelmingly approved the membership amendment after a spirited and passionate debate. David Ulmer of Wake proposed the change to Article III as an amendment to the bylaws committee report.

There are now two categories of membership: member and associate. The primary difference between members and associates is that only members can serve on local affiliate or state party executive committees, as delegates to county and state conventions, or as NC delegates to the national Libertarian Party convention.

Members must be North Carolina residents who are not registered with another political party, but they may be registered unaffiliated. Members must also fulfill one of these criteria: 1) register Libertarian; 2) pay dues to the LPNC or an affiliate; 3) pay dues to the LP, or; 4) submit a written or electronic affirmation to the secretary that they do not advocate the initiation of force to achieve social or political goals (the NIOF statement).

These are the same criteria in the old bylaws.

NC residents registered with another political party can become LPNC associates if they: 1) pay dues to the LPNC or an affiliate; 2) pay dues to the LP, or; 3) submit a NIOF statement.

The LPNC still has a more open membership policy than the old North Carolina parties. Neither allows unaffiliated voters or anyone registered in another party to be members at all or participate in party affairs.

Go here to join the LPNC.

The convention also approved new duties and responsibilities for party officers. The state chair now has authority to appoint, with the “advice and consent” of the executive committee, members of all committees. The state chair can also appoint staff, including an executive director, again with the approval of the EC.

These changes were made as an amendment to Article IV Officers. Also, a new Article V was added to the bylaws to replace Section 3 of Article IV Executive Committee. This new article authorizes the executive committee to create a party staff positions, including an executive director. The state chair will appoint staff members, including an executive director. The executive director will be the principal administrative assistant to the chair and supervise all staff.

The bylaws committee presented these proposals as next step in the evolution of the LPNC organization and as a compliment to the goals and objections to the party’s 2020 Strategic Plan.

In addition to developing and adopting the strategic plan over the past two years, the executive committee has been developing and adopting job descriptions for staff departments and positions. Part of the work of the strategic planning committee has been to draft proposed organization structures.

The convention also approved changes to the Convention Rules. Most notably, they approved electing party officers and executive committee, and nominating candidates by majority vote, rather than using the multiple and single transferable voting systems. This action required deleting rules 9 and 10 and revising rules 7 and 8.

The 2017 Bylaws and Convention Rules Committee Report is here.

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Liberty Coalition for Disaster Relief Helping Texas

The Liberty Coalition for Disaster Relief is raising funds to provide relief to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

“We have coordinators on the ground in Texas that are local to the area to help make sure these funds go directly to the people who need them,” said Brent DeRidder of Hampstead. “Your donations will help provide food, clothing, water, and temporary shelter to those in need.”

LCDR was created to allow liberty advocates an opportunity to be the answer to the common question “Without government, who would…? “We’re a large group of liberty advocates from all over dedicated to being a free market disaster relief solution,” said DeRidder, a founding member.

To help, go to the Facebook group or GoFundMe page.

 

A Radical Solution to the Redistricting Farce

The first speaker at yesterday’s redistricting hearings accused the Republicans of “acting like Nazis” and later speakers called them white supremacists. Fortunately, most of the other speakers, while passionate in the opposition, were more rational. But the emotions evoked by this sham of a process is real.

Duke professor Claudia Koonz likened the political discourse in North Carolina to what occurred in Germany in the 1920s and ‘30s. She did not play the “Nazi card,” but citing from her book “The Nazi Conscience” said that it was this unbridgeable divide that destroyed democracy in Germany, not Adolph Hitler. (I plan to read her book). She feared the same was happening here, now.

Many speakers rightly called this process what it is, a sham and a farce. These maps may be “less squiggly” but not substantially different than the maps ruled unconstitutional. They were clearly drawn to preserve or increase the Republican control of the General Assembly. Rep. David Lewis, committee co-chair, not only doesn’t deny this, he’s proud of it.

These maps may be “legal” but they are not just or fair.

They were released to the public only days before this hearing. The hearings were held in places designed to deliberately limit public input; most of the rooms held less than 100 people and the hearings started at a time when most people are still at work. The limited the time people had to speak and in Raleigh, in the legislative office building, even had the sergeant-at-arms threaten to remove people who applauded or reacted to any speaker. “We cannot allow that here,” he said.

It’s clear the majority party has no interest or desire to consider what the people have to say, let alone to draw fair and impartial maps. They are absolutely not interested in changing to an independent, nonpartisan redistricting process.

Lest anyone think I’m picking on Republicans, the Democrats are no better. They’ve had ample time and the resources to produce alternative maps but they have not. Instead, they preach about unfairness and suppressing the vote, and file lawsuits. As the opposition party they are worse than useless.

Democrats claim Republicans want to suppress the vote. Republicans accuse Democrats of voter fraud. But the real voter suppression, the actual voter fraud is this gerrymandering process.

The Solution

The people need to take charge. The solution is simple – but radical. All Democrats and Republicans who as fed up with this farce as I am should make their voices heard in the only way your tribal party leaders will hear; change your registration to Unaffiliated. Then either run for a seat yourself or get behind some other independent voter who will.

If you’re so inclined, join the Libertarian Party, or work with the Green Party or Constitution Party.

The only way the people are going to get districts free from partisan politics and not drawn to favor any party, any candidate, any lawmaker, or any special interest group – districts which embody the ideal of one-person-one vote – is if the people draw them.

2016 Election Analysis

Looking over the General Assembly results, here are some key points of interest. In the NC Senate, 15 candidates ran unopposed (11 Republicans and 3 Democrats). There would have been two more if not for a Libertarian candidate in districts 20 and 44. (Thank you, Barbara Howe and Nick Haag). Of the contested races, only 4 were decided by 10% or less of the vote. In other words, only 8% of the state Senate races were competitive.

In the House, 54 candidates ran unopposed (37 Democrats and 17 Republicans), one ran only against a write-in, and 9 races were decided by 10% or less of the vote. In other words, only 7.5% of the state House races were competitive.

The Democrats and their sycophants love to moan about how the Republicans are destroying democracy, yet they lacked the courage to challenge the Republicans in 28 legislative races.

In a few of the competitive races, the Libertarian vote “covered the spread” between the Democrat and Republican. In House 49 David Ulmer got 4.15% and the incumbent Republican lost by 1.48%. Over in House 36 Brian Irving got 4.25% and the incumbent Republican won by only 2.77%.

In Senate 17 Susan Hogarth got 4.24% and the incumbent Republican won by only 0.85%. In Senate 15 Brad Hessel came in just under the spread. He got 4.31% and the incumbent Republican won by 4.32%

For comparison, in 2014 there were 18 unopposed races in the Senate and 57 in the House. Three Senate and 21 House seats were unopposed in both 2014 and 2016: Senate 32, 35, and 43, and House 4, 12, 14, 19, 21, 24, 29, 39, 42, 43, 45, 47, 48, 99, 100, 102, 107, 108, 110, 111, and 114.

If you look at a map, you’ll note how the safe districts are clustered. Another point is that both establishment parties benefit nearly equally.

Keep in mind that the district lines a liable to change for the 2018 election. The legislature is contesting a court ruling that some of these districts are unconstitutional and may be forced to redraw the lines.

Nomination Resignation

I reluctantly sent this letter to the State and Wake County Board of Election today:

“I hereby resign my nomination as the Libertarian Party candidate for the North Carolina House of Representatives in District 36. I will be moving out of the distinct and therefore ineligible to serve.”

“I understand that since the ballots are already being printed my name will still appear. I have notified the Libertarian Party of Wake County of this resignation and their authority to nominate a replacement candidate under GS 163-114.”

My wife and I have been considering a move for some time, but I didn’t plan on doing this now. A recent accident she had made a move a higher priority. Basically, we’re getting too old to do steps. The current “sellers”s housing market made it an opportune time to put our townhouse on the market.

We’ll miss this part of Cary (and being so close to Trader Joe’s) but we’re not going far. We’re moving to Western Cary, nearer our grandchildren.

HB2 Hobgoblin

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
– H. L. Mencken

You can see this tactic at work in the faux controversy over House Bill 2. Former NC Gov. Jim Martin, a Republican, made some cogent observations on the issue in a recent News & Observer op-ed “HB 2: Who Did This to Us? We Did.

He writes that “some young people have great difficulty dealing with their anatomy and hormones, in ways most of us could never begin to understand..”

On the other hand, he says “some people have had terrible experiences with sexual predators, and are fearful of laws that could make it easier for one to slip into girls’ locker rooms.”

But neither side wants to listen to the other. Nor do they need to, because Democrats and Republicans are safely ensconced in gerrymandered districts and have no need to appeal to moderates who have fled their respective parties.

Read Martin’s op-ed here.

Libertarians Say Repeal HB2

The Libertarian Party has joined the growing list of organizations calling for the repeal of House Bill 2.

“The state has no authority to determine gender,” the unanimous resolution states. HB 2 also “unduly intrudes state authority into local decision-making and unreasonably limits the ability of the citizens … to govern themselves.”

In addition, the bill reduces individual rights because it “bans citizens from using state courts to remedy discrimination”

Nic Haag, Libertarian candidate for NC Senate 44, introduced the resolution. It was endorsed by General Assembly candidates Brad Hessel, NC Senate 15, Brian Irving, NC House 36, and Rob Rose, NC 37.

The convention was held in Raleigh last weekend.

The convention also passed a resolution calling for the repeal of the ban on counting write-in votes. The state does not count the votes for persons who haven’t gathered enough petition signatures.

This “amounts to the legislature picking and choosing which votes to count, sometimes yielding suspicious results like unanimous vote tallies in our statewide elections,” the resolutions says.

Six candidates for the Libertarian presidential nomination participated in a forum Saturday. They included former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, the party’s 2012 standard-bearer.

In other business, the convention elected at-large members to the state executive committee and adopted a revised platform. It also selected delegates to the Libertarian National Convention and nominated presidential electors.

Read the resolutions here.

Let the People Choose Who Represents Them

Once again, North Carolina’s elections are under a cloud. A U.S. District Court panel just ruled two Congressional districts unconstitutional.

The people of North Carolina deserve a process where they choose their representatives, not the other way around. When it reconvenes in April, the state House should immediately consider and bring to a vote House Bill 92 to establish a nonpartisan redistricting process.

Under this bill, the redistricting plan would be drawn up by a legislative office and submitted to the legislature for an up or down vote. It is based on the system used in Iowa successfully for years.

For decades, North Carolina has had the most litigated redistricting process in the nation. Both Democrats and Republicans put partisan politics ahead of the interests of the people. As a result, elections were delayed and representation denied.

When the Democrats controlled the process, the Republicans cried foul and challenged the plans in court. Now that Republicans are in power, they act no better. Whichever party is on top invariably acts in the same, self-serving way.

Even though only two Congressional districts were ruled unconstitutional, redrawing the lines will have a ripple effect in adjoining districts. The problem goes far beyond using race to draw lines. The process is fundamentally flawed. The people of North Carolina need and deserve better.

The state Libertarian Party supports an independent, nonpartisan, open, and transparent redistricting process. Party registration, voting history data, and the incumbent’s place of residence shouldn’t be considered when drawing district lines.

Brian Irving for NC House 36

Welcome to my blog, which will double as the website for my campaign for NC House 36. Read “Why I Am Running.” In short, I’m running because I believe the people of North Carolina can do a better job of running their lives than politicians.

You can also follow my campaign on Facebook.

Check out my stand on the Issues. Read my responses to the Surveys I’ve received.

Vote No on the Bond Boondogle

Against_the_Bond

There will be a $2 billion bond issue on the March 15 ballot called Connect NC. This is another bipartisan boondoggle with a deceptive name. The loan request is not for transportation funding or K-12 education projects.

The $2 billion will go into the “Connect NC” fund, a committee chaired by a whole host of politicians, who will divvy up 66 percent of the money to the NC college systems, and hundreds of millions of dollars to parks, zoos, agricultural “research,” and other political pet projects across the state.

The only thing this bond will connect is your wallet to the special interest groups that support it. As with most programs touted as bipartisan, the more bipartisan support a bill has, the worse it is for your liberty and your well-being.

Bonds are just deferred taxes. They are taxes on our children and grandchildren. It is simply a lie that this bond issue will not result in a raise in taxes. Someone will have to pay for the the interest when the bonds are repaid, and you can bet it won’t be the Democrats and Republican legislators, or the lobbyists and special interest groups who support this bill.

Since tyranny is usually better organized – and funded – than liberty, the effort to promote this bipartisan boondoggle program to increase the debt is well funded by special interest groups.

But a grassroots referendum committee, NC Against the Bond, is organizing a petition drive to oppose this debt increase. Go to AgainstTheBond.com and sign the petition to oppose this debt increase. Follow them on Facebook.

Vote no on the bond issue in March.