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Friday, April 20, 2007

This weekend's LPCA elections

The multi-term incumbents of all five executive offices have announced they are not running for re-election. Chair Aaron Starr says he is too busy now that he's added national LP treasurer to his Libertarian National Committee duties. The others are taking a break because of (in at least one case) health reasons and apparently a bit of fatigue with the level of personal acrimony on the Executive Committee -- even among the formerly cohesive moderate pragmatists. ExCom members have been publicly stalwart and tight-lipped about their differences, but it appears the points of contention include the continuing struggle with the member database, the handling of the November change in the Executive Director position, the disappointing results from Operation Breakthrough, and even the handling of ExCom contact info on the web site.

Kevin Takenaga, who had been database chairman and Santa Clara County Chair, is leading a slate of moderates who apparently will emphasize the importance of involvement in municipal- and county-level politics and coalitions. The slate has organized an opening-night party this evening and seem to be the front-runners, with only Takenaga facing any announced opposition. Only one member of the slate (Cowles) has publicly offered any details about plans or accomplishments. I approve of my friend Kevin's candidacy and I'm confident he'd be a good Chair, but I can't endorse him over his opposition given this lack of information. If he wins, I urge him to be more transparent in his performance as Chair than he was as database lead or Chair candidate -- or for that matter than Aaron was during his tenure as Chair.

Bruce Cohen is the Orange County LP Chair, and has had the blessing and curse of being communications chairman, making him the most visible (or is it audible?) ExCom member. The departure early in his tenure of California Freedom's paid editor Elizabeth Brierly forced Cohen to choose maintenance of content quality over consistency of publication schedule, as volunteer contributors like me found it hard to fill Brierly's shoes. Cohen evangelized the LPCA email outreach list that is now over 4000 working addresses, and began using it more frequently to spread the LPCA message. Bruce's copious hard work hasn't been flawless, but since his record is more open to public examination, and since it's easier to see in his public statements on strategy and tactics his agreements with my ideas there, I'm endorsing my friend Bruce over my friend Kevin for Chair.

Richard Newell has been the hero of the ExCom for his running of the Libertarian Perspective media outreach operation. He is running for Northern Vice Chair, and I suspect he has plans to do as a great a job with this county support portfolio as he's done with the media outreach portfolio. I endorse Richard Newell for Northern Vice Chair.

Zander Collier has been ExCom's chair for campus recruitment and coordination. His relocation last year to SoCal could not have helped make this very difficult but very important job any easier. I see only now that the May 2006 minutes mention that the ExCom read his written Plan for the Libertarian Party of California, of which I'd love to see a copy. Nevertheless, I know Zander is a pragmatic moderate with a passion for real-world local politics, and I endorse him for Southern Vice Chair.

Don Cowles chaired ExCom's audit committee, and his success in the financial services industry makes him a good choice for Treasurer. I endorse Cowles for Treasurer.

Beau Cain worked as press secretary on Collier's 2004 Assembly campaign (whose treasurer was Takenaga), helping to boost Collier's first-time vote total to 5.2% (compared to the subsequent LPer's 3% and the 2000 second-timer's total of 4%). I don't know Cain, but if he worked with Kevin and Zander then he's surely a pragmatic moderate, and will very likely get my vote for Secretary if Dan Wiener can't be bribed, blackmailed, or otherwise coerced into keeping the job.

Three other ExCom non-alternate members are up for re-election, and I haven't heard that any aren't running.

Ted Brown has done a super job as candidate recruiter and Platform Committee chairman for years now, and has always brings a voice of reason and civility to any gathering. I heartily endorse Ted.

Bruce Dovner is replacing me as California's rep to the national Platform Committee. While Bruce is more of a purist than I am, he is reasonable and civil and both intellectually honest and curious, and he champions the pragmatic cause of having a Legislative Program. I endorse Bruce, and not just because I plan to keep trying to persuade him in the direction of pragmatism. :-)

Camden McConnell was appointed to fill the vacancy created on the ExCom when Angela Keaton resigned to become Executive Director. Cam is distinguished, honorable, and sensible, and I endorse him.

I had a long talk with the one announced non-incumbent ExCom candidate, a certain Brian Holtz, and grudgingly decided I could endorse him despite the hints of schizophrenia in his recent habit of referring to himself in the third person.

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