Document:New York Newsletter December 2000 Free New York
F R E E N E W Y O R K December 2000
December 31, 2000
Deadline for FNY Articles
January 1, 2001
The Millennium really starts
Next Issue of FNY
April 28, 2001
LPNY Convention Holiday Inn-Midtown West 57th Street Manhattan
1.) What Do We Do Now? 2.) Run, Libertarian, Run 3.) LPNY in the News 4.) Gary Popkin to Speak at Queens County Meeting 5.) Some Positive Developments in a Difficult Year 6.) Campaign Reflections and Lessons Learned
WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
by Jeffrey Russell
Some loosely connected thoughts on this year's election:
So, what do we do now?
Many Libertarians are disappointed over the results achieved by Harry Browne in the election. I'm not. Early in the year, I was hoping that Browne would get at least a million votes, maybe even 2 million. I also hoped that some of those votes would spill over to John Clifton. As the election got closer, however, I realized that there was no way it would happen. All of the polls showed both the presidential race and the US Senate race as being very close.
Many voters still feel that they don't want to "waste" their vote. I knew that not many voters would be willing to vote third-party in either race. Most of the voters who would abandon the Republicrats would vote for the Green Party or the Reform Party. That didn't leave a lot for us.
I believe that Browne's presidential campaign this year was the best organized that the LP has ever run. I believe that Clifton's US Senate campaign was the best organized that LPNY has ever run. But it seems that no matter how well organized we are, our opponents are better organized.
The Presidential race is obviously the most important race and it's natural that everyone, including Libertarians, should focus so much attention on it. However, I don't think we will have much political success there anytime soon, if ever. Our best chance for success will be in the very small races, where we can focus our attention while our opponents are distracted elsewhere . So, let me ask again. What do we do now? It's not a rhetorical question. I look forward to your answers.
RUN, LIBERTARIAN, RUN
By Richard A. Cooper, Chair, LPNY 2000-2001
As 2000 draws to a close, it is time for the Libertarian Party of New York to look back and look forward. We did not elect Harry Browne, John Clifton, Scott Jeffrey, Steve Healey, or Bill Bombard. But we can savor a victory.
Nassau District Judge Ira J. Raab was promoted to the State Supreme Court for the district covering Nassau and Suffolk Counties with the support of the Libertarian Party, although he was not on our line. He couldn't be on our line because the election law makes no provision for independent nominating petitions for the State Supreme Court. Judge Raab's campaign literature and campaign ads mentioned his endorsement by the Libertarian Party, promoting us at no cost to our treasury. Judge Raab drew 426,514 votes.
We can learn a lot from Judge Raab. He is a very active campaigner and ran many hopeless losing races before successfully being elected. He promoted himself assiduously in the news media by his innovations in judicial management. He goes to many community events, including our Libertarian Party cookout in Westbury this summer, speaking at the Americans for Legal Reform, and attending our rally for St. Luke's Pentecostal Church. Judge Raab says that you have to keep active in the public eye to build and maintain the name recognition that is crucial in a judicial race where you cannot take positions on issues.
Let this be our motto in 2001 and every year-- "Run, Libertarian, Run."
Please consider running for office in 2001 or thereafter. Contact your local Board of Elections (in the phone book) to find out what offices are up for election. Find out what the requirements are for the independent nominating petitions, how many signatures, the period and the format. The local Boards or the State Board of Elections have the information on running for office. The State Board has an excellent website (www.elections.state.ny.us) It is your responsibility and that of the campaign treasurer to know and follow the state laws on campaign finance.
Know what they do, their pay and their terms of office (League of Women Voters is a good source). Learn the tax and budget information for your community, not just the current but the past and projected figures. Good sources of libertarian solutions on local problems can be had from the Reason Foundation, Heartland Institute, and others.
If you are running or considering running, please get in touch with me at the LPNY mailing address or email me at lpnymedia@Hotmail.com. I will prepare a suggestion sheet to help you get started.
We missed an opportunity to win something this year. Voters turned down the $3.8 billion transportation bond proposal. I suggested that we run a campaign against it with a coordinator who would get experience running a statewide campaign, local coordinators who could promote their name recognition and local groups, news releases and perhaps even ads.
Unfortunately, my colleagues lacked my enthusiasm for this idea. I would like to see us take on issues campaigns on a year-round basis where we do more than just send a news release with our stand but take steps to involve the members in political activity such as petitioning, local forums on the issue, and having coordinators to gain that valuable experience.
We will rollout our Gail Bova Memorial Essay Contest in connection with Women's History Month. The essay contest for high school and college students will offer cash prizes and honors the late State Chair Gail Pennebacker-Bova. The question is "How do libertarian principles promote justice and well-being for women, girls and humanity?" For contest rules, write LPNY or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suggested issues include: 1) Right to carry. Automatic right to carry guns, uniform throughout New York. 2) End the milk-pricing cartel. 3) Prohibit eminent domain from transferring private property from one owner to another. 4) Legalizing marijuana or medical marijuana. 5) Restore the property owner protections fraudulently stripped from the state constitution. They restricted the rate of property taxes and prevented loss due to missed tax payments. These apply to cooperatives, condominiums, farms, and commercial property as well as houses. These are controversial issues but they enjoy mathematically significant support.
I want to thank the many people who worked hard during the campaign. Jeffrey Russell headed our very successful statewide petition drive which came in on time and on budget. John Clifton, Bill Bombard, Steve Healey, Scott Jeffrey, and Bob Armstrong took on the task of running for office. The State Committee all gathered signatures.
Next year's convention will be held on Saturday, April 28th at the Holiday Inn-Midtown on West 57th Street in Manhattan. Speakers, schedules and prices will be announced in future issues. At this time, I intend to run for re-election as State Chair. If you plan to run for spots on the State Committee, please send a bio and statement soon to Free New York so people will know who you are.
This is your Libertarian Party of New York. Get involved with local groups, get new groups started, run for office, contribute time or money, and speak out.
The future is ours, but depends on you.
LPNY IN THE NEWS
Quoted in the Westchester paper, The Journal News:
"Bonnie Scott, a Pleasantville resident and member of the Libertarian Party, assailed the potential use of eminent domain to force people to sell their homes and businesses. "'So not everyone in the City Park has a two-car garage,' she said. 'Does that mean we take over their house and pave over their land?'"
Ms. Scott was addressing the City Council of New Rochelle on November 29. The city is planning to seize several parcels of property. Their intent is to advance corporate welfare by assisting IKEA in their attempt to build a furniture store in the area.
Quoted in Newsday.com (October 16, 2000) concerning a rally against an eminent domain case in New Cassel:
"Congregants of St. Luke's Pentecostal Church joined members of the Libertarian Party to denounce the eminent domain law, under which North Hempstead condemned the property to build affordable housing."
"Richard Cooper, the Libertarian state chairman, said his party helped organize the rally because it 'believes eminent domain to be legalized theft' and unconstitutional."
St. Luke's Pentecostal Church purchased a blighted building in New Cassel with the intent to renovate it into a place of worship. The Town of North Hempstead plans to seize the building claiming that New Cassel "has too many churches."
GARY POPKIN TO SPEAK AT QUEENS COUNTY MEETING
Gary Popkin, the only Libertarian who holds an elective public office in New York City, will speak at the Libertarian Party of Queens County's meeting on February 10, 2001.
After unsuccessful bids for seats in the New York State legislature and the New York City Council, Mr. Popkin was elected in May 1999 to a three-year term on a Community School Board in Brooklyn.
Having won an election, Mr. Popkin is a trailblazer in the libertarian movement. He will speak about his experiences both as a candidate and as an office-holder. His thoughts on promoting liberty will be invaluable for all of us who want to be more effective in this noblest of causes.
The meeting will take place 10 am to 12 noon at Bohemian Hall, 29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria (Queens).
For more information, contact the LPQC at (718) 670-3270.
Success depends on your participation
SOME POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS IN A DIFFICULT YEAR
This year, the Libertarian Party of New York has made a strong effort to raise money to promote our candidates and the party in general. Fundraising letters have been sent to every member of the party. For those of you who have donated your hard-earned money, we thank you. Your generosity has exceeded our expectations. However, for those who are tempted to send anonymous donations to the party, be aware that New York State law stipulates that any anonymous donation must be given to the state government. Unless it is your intent to support the leviathan that we are fighting, please, no anonymous donations!
As has been written in other parts of this newsletter, the few campaigns run this year were probably the best organized, and certainly the most energetic, campaigns that the LPNY has seen. We have also been receiving, finally, some recognition of our efforts in the news media .
Certainly the number of votes our candidates received this year is disheartening when compared to the two major parties. But it is necessary to compare our efforts to the other minor parties and, most importantly, to our own efforts in the past.
With each election, we need to ask ourselves a series of questions:
Did our vote totals increase over previous efforts? In the US Senate race, preliminary numbers show that our vote totals dropped. But so did the totals from other minor parties with the exception of the Socialist Workers Party and the Green Party (arguably the two most socialist parties in New York). On the plus side, the number of votes we received in Monroe County took a nice jump thanks to the Stephen Healey campaign for Congress.
Did we raise more money this election than in the past? Many people are turned off by politics because it requires the constant begging for money. There is no doubt that the success of any campaign is proportional to the amount of money it raises. Money is necessary to buy the ads, the yard signs, the travel expenses, etc. that helps to give a candidate name recognition. Name recognition translates into votes. If you didn't contribute to the party and/or campaigns this year, we hope that you will reconsider in the future.
One of the LP's positions is to put an end to the selling of political favors to special interest groups. Obviously, those groups are not going to donate money to us like they do to all other political parties. Our one source of money is you - Ma and Pa Voter. Without your help, we can do nothing.
Did we generate more volunteer help? Like all nonprofit organizations, the Libertarian Party of New York is dependent on volunteers. The one area that all of our members can help our cause is by collecting signatures on our ballot petitions. We currently obtain most of the required signatures by hiring petitioners. It is the biggest, single expense the party incurs. Collecting signatures may be a pain in the neck (to be polite), but it is easy to do.
This year seventy volunteers collected signatures for us. We would like to increase that number in the future. When you receive a nomination petition from us, please ask your friends, relatives, coworkers, etc. to sign it. If every member collected just twenty signatures, we wouldn't have to pay for any, thereby freeing up much needed cash for the campaigns.
With the addition of new local chapters and energetic campaigns, the last two years have been exciting years of growth for the LPNY. With your help we will continue to grow and, in time, exert enough influence in Albany to move New York State towards freedom and tolerance and away from government force.
CAMPAIGN REFLECTIONS AND LESSONS LEARNED
by Stephen Healey
Healey for Congress, campaigning in New York's 28th district, earned 1457 votes on election day. Our nearest competition was a Green Party candidate who did no campaigning, ran no ads, and had no web site. She earned 2123 votes. 499 in the district voted for Harry Browne. I can count perhaps 100 acquaintances who aren't Libertarian but would vote for me. This leaves 800 perfect strangers who voted for me but not other Libertarians.
The campaign consisted of 5000 flyers, personal appearances, a web site, and 600 one minute radio ads. The web site was a good tool. There was no shortage of volunteers to build it, and we found free hosting so the cost to the treasury was zero. We recruited about a dozen potential new members through it.
The radio ads were produced at no cost, and aired for about $7 per minute on average. A spot on the biggest station in town during the Rush Limbaugh Show would have cost $120 a minute, but FCC regulations caused some stations to be remarkable bargains. Analyzing audience size per dollar cost for all stations in Rochester, we chose outlets such as the all sports AM station at $5 per minute.
A buffet dinner with Steve Landsburg as the speaker and myself as the warm up act was a success, drawing 80 people. We kept the price at cost, deciding it was more important to fill the room and bring people together than to risk a sparse crowd at $50 a plate. A good portion of the crowd had never been to an LP event before, and Dr. Landsburg was excellent. John Clifton was scheduled to appear but unfortunately his plane was canceled, but still the event was worth the substantial effort required to make it happen.
The biggest challenge of the campaign was the petitioning. Two individuals yielded 80% of the 6080 signatures against 3500 required. The biggest mistake of the campaign was starting too late. We made the decision to go on June 10. My campaign manager, Dave Hoesly, put in a tremendous effort to make the campaign respectable. If I were to do this again I would start in January, with the goal of having literature, bumper stickers, yard signs, web site, and opposition research finished by May 1.
I found people under 40 to be quite receptive to ending the drug war. This was a much more powerful issue than the Second Amendment or Social Security. I was advocating the Browne positions on all three issues. I made a mistake by not pursuing gun groups more aggressively, but as far as developing interest in people who had not heard of us, the self defense issue was only effective with gun owners. For those who were not, often it spoiled their perception of us. This happened so often that if I were to do it again, my general flyer would not mention guns, and I would develop a different one specifically for gun owners.
Campaigns are an effective tool for recruiting. Always write down the names and numbers of people who express interest in your campaign and get them to join the party. We will grow through mailing lists, not vote totals. However, there is a certain critical mass needed for a decent campaign. Others may disagree, but I would recommend different tools be used to build local chapters with just a few active members.
My campaign received no funds from LPNY. I believe that local campaigns should be locally funded except in extraordinary circumstances. Is it fair for a member in Plattsburgh to be forced to contribute to me in Rochester? I do not believe so.
Campaigning was a tremendous challenge, but I enjoyed it, and I look forward to next time. Thank you, volunteers and contributors. I would be lost without you.
US Senate Race US Presidential Race Party Name Votes % Party Name Votes % Dem Clinton 3,438,999 54.99 Dem Gore 3,743,485 59.77 Rep Lazio 2,699,575 43.17 Rep Bush 2,219,944 35.44 IP Graham 42,996 0.69 Grn Nader 222,290 3.55 Grn Dunau 37,628 0.60 RTL Buchanan 33,220 0.53 RTL Adefope 20,762 0.33 IP Hagelin 30,444 0.49 Lbt Clifton 5,040 0.08 Lbt Browne 7,447 0.12 Cst Wein 4,758 0.08 SWP Harris 3,941 0.06 SWP Perasso 4,125 0.06 Cst Phillips 2,678 0.04 TOTAL VOTES 6,253,883 TOTAL VOTES 6,263,449
15th CD Race 28 CD Race Party Name Votes % Party Name Votes % Dem Rangel 116,183 90.94 Dem Slaughter 141,367 65.54 Rep Suero 7,509 5.88 Rep Johns 71,017 32.88 Grn Loren 1,997 1.56 Grn Hawkins 2,123 0.98 IP Fields 1,054 0.82 Lbt Healey 1,457 0.67 Con Della Valle 563 0.44 TOTAL VOTES 215,964 Lbt Jeffreys 458 0.36 TOTAL VOTES 127,764