Minutes for September 8, 2018 Meeting of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco taken by Aubrey Freedman.
Attendees: Nick Smith (Chair), Jawj Greenwald (Treasurer), Aubrey Freedman (Secretary), Floren (guest), Richard Knee (guest), Copeland McKinley (guest), Lisa Remmer, Allen Sherzer (guest), Jon Sindell (guest), and Starchild.
Introductions: Allen hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan and has been here in the Bay Area for a few months. He was active in the 70’s and 80’s, but was not very impressed with the LP in Ann Arbor. Copeland also hails from Michigan and was never politically active before—he leans a little more on the right side of libertarianism. Richard joined us to present on Prop B and represents The Society of Professional Journalists (Northern California Chapter) and San Franciscans for Sunshine.
Chair’s Report: Nick took a look at what we were paying for our Ring Central voice mail service and suggested that we cancel the service to save money. Over the last year there were only 12 messages, and only 4 were important, so we essentially paid around $40 for each voice mail. Cancelling the $170/year service was OK’d on the Activist List, and both Nick’s and Starchild’s numbers are now listed as the LPSF’s official phone numbers, where a caller has a better chance of talking to a real Libertarian rather than a computer. Nick also looked at our domain name and suggested that we go with Name.com rather than SiteGround to save a few shekels and for easier use. No objection—motion passed. He’s been paying for the hosting charge himself since the LPSF does not a have a credit card. The cost is only $7/month, and Nick will put in for reimbursement at some point. Nick is also involved on the LPCA Convention Committee, which is set for next spring in Concord April 4-7. He asked for suggestions for speakers for the convention, and the names of Dave Rubin and David Friedman were mentioned. He said that they’re having a contest to come up with an invigorating theme for the convention, so he encouraged folks to go to CA.LP.org/convention to help come up with different ideas for next year’s theme. For announcements, Nick noted that the LPSF will be tabling at the gun show at the Cow Palace on the week-end of September 22-23, and it may be our last time there due to SB 221, which would make it illegal to sell firearms and ammunition at the Cow Palace if Governor Brown signs the bill. Also our ally in liberty, GGLR, is hosting a talk by Jack Estill on F.A. Hayek’s The Use of Knowledge in Society on September 24 at the Richmond District Police Station Community Meeting Room. Regarding the WeDoBetter organization, which seeks to have voluntary organizations, rather than government bureaucracies, help solve social problems, Nick is now the team leader for San Francisco County as part of the statewide effort to pass a bill that would enable all California taxpayers to donate $200 to any “qualified” (501(c)(3)) organization as a tax credit. Nick requested helpers to help move this project forward and requested that anyone who has personal connections to a charitable organization to help get them to support WeDoBetter’s tax credit bill. Allen suggested we find out which politicians sit on the pertinent committee and send letters of support to them and also ask Senator Morrell to sponsor this latest effort since he sponsored last year’s bill. Lastly Nick mentioned that there will be phone banking effort this coming Thursday, September 13 to help garner more support for John Dennis’ District 2 campaign for Supervisor.
Vice Chair’s Report: Rebecca was down in Southern California attending an LPCA ExComm meeting, so Nick gave her report. She was proposing a by-law change to remove the Program Committee from the by-laws since little is being done with that committee these days, so it seems unnecessary. Rebecca also attended a meetup on civility, where they talk about a topic in detail each meeting. It’s a small meetup limited to only 5 people, and the topic this time was “Third Parties Good or Bad for Democracy?” Rebecca has expressed an interest in serving as Treasurer next year, and she noted that we should think about changing from the current credit union because access and their working hours are inconvenient.
Treasurer’s Report: Aubrey reported that we have $3,219.92 in the credit union and what he estimates as $2,647.49 in PayPal for a total of $5,867.41. During the month we received a dues-sharing check from LPCA for $50.00 and we spent $1,024.00 on two paid arguments for the November election. He estimated that monies received from the monthly PayPal recurring donors totaled $220.86 after deducting the PayPal fees. During the meeting, Jawj wrote 4 checks totaling $643.11 for the panel discussion expenses ($363.11), the annual mail box renewal ($150), and the upcoming gun show tabling at the Cow Palace ($130). During the meeting we also received a check for $100 from a donor that had been promised earlier to Nick and Rebecca and Jon gave a donation of $20. Factoring in these 4 disbursements and 2 deposits, the adjusted cash position between the credit union and PayPal is now $5,344.30.
Secretary’s Report: Aubrey reported that membership is unchanged from last month with 21 lifetime members and 30 regular, currently paid-up members, for a total of 51. He again noted that more folks are taking the two-year memberships these days as we now have seven members who have renewed for 2 years. He also shared some statistics from Angela, the state party’s secretary, as of 08/31/18 and this time he looked at the entire state, not just Northern California: first in members is LA County with 169 members, then San Diego County with 110 members, third is Santa Clara County with 99 members, the LPSF is in 4th place, and Ventura County rounds out the top 5 at 44 members. (Later in the meeting guest Lisa Remmer running for Congress mentioned that she joined the LPSF that morning, so that would bring the total membership for the LPSF up one to 52 members.)
Newsletter Report: Nick reported that the that the August newsletter went out earlier than it has been going out lately. It went out to 1,617 recipients and was opened by 22.5% (higher than the last few months) and 2.7% clicked on anything in the newsletter. He noted that a 1.9% click rate is average for political content, so the 2.7% is pretty good for a political newsletter. Aubrey encouraged folks to submit an article for the newsletter/website if they feel moved by anything in the news (as long as it’s liberty-oriented).
Outreach Report: Starchild has organized the first event of the SF Liberty Coalition, which will be a caucus of various groups seeking more freedom on a variety of issues. The intent is to get one-issue individuals and groups to realize that there are other groups also being impacted negatively by government overreach and working together can increase liberty for all. It will be held on Wednesday, September 26 from 6-9 PM at 580 Howard Street, the site of ClickUp.com, which is giving SF Liberty Coalition the free use of its space for the event. Alex Mills is helping organize the event. To publicize the event, Starchild will be giving away free tickets each month. He will also be making up flyers, and Nick will be pitching it each month in the newsletter and website. Starchild is looking to have several liberty-leaning organizations supporting the event, and he was interested in having the LPSF be a supporting organization and also giving SF Liberty Coalition some seed money for food and beverages, but we did not pass any formal resolutions.
We Do Better UCC Bill: At our last meeting, Don Johnson spoke to the LPSF via Nick’s cellphone explaining the purpose and goal of his group, which is to encourage voluntary efforts, rather than government bureaucracies, to help those less fortunate. As expected, the response was positive to We Do Better, and we almost endorsed the organization’s efforts at the end of that meeting, but we ran out of time. This time, Nick briefly discussed We Do Better’s latest effort to get a state income tax credit of $200 bill passed in California, similar to one that’s been in effect in Arizona for several years, for taxpayers to donate to “qualified charitable organizations” (501 (c)(3)’s). A motion was made to endorse We Do Better’s efforts to secure the California Universal Charitable Credit, and it passed unanimously.
November State Ballot Measures: Aubrey started running through them, and once he mentioned that props 1-4 were all bond measures, Starchild suggested that we skip the discussion on them since time was short today, and since we almost never support bond measures, he recommended we just recommend a NO vote on all 4 measures. Everyone agreed. Prop 5 (Prop 13 Transfer Protection also called Property Tax Fairness Initiative). This one would allow those over 55 and disabled folks to transfer their Prop 13 tax savings to a new residence anywhere in California without having to pay the higher property taxes that normally come with moving to another property in the state due to constant rising prices. Less taxes for the government—Libertarians love that. Unanimously supported this measure. Prop 6 (Gas Tax Repeal)—repeals the increases that came with SB1 almost a year ago, and the voters would have to approve any future gas taxes or fee increases. Very Libertarian, so we unanimously supported this measure. Prop 7 (Daylight Savings)—would allow the Legislature by a 2/3 vote to get rid of daylight savings. Since this is not a “freedom” issue and is more a matter of personal preference, we are staying out of the fray on this one and decided on NO RECOMMENDATION. Prop 8 (Regulates Amounts Outpatient Dialysis Clinics Charge for Dialysis)—would dictate what clinics can charge and how much profit they can earn. Clearly an example of government price control in the voluntary sector, and it might actually end up increasing health care costs by driving clinics out of state. Everyone agreed this was an easy recommendation for NO. Prop 9 (3 States Initiative)—effort to split up the state into 3 states removed from the ballot by order of the California Supreme Court. Prop 10 (Costa Hawkins Repeal)—would allow jurisdictions to enact more severe rent control than we have now (rent control could apply to single-family homes and no restriction as to when the unit was built and no longer would housing providers be able to raise the rent even after the unit is vacated). Clearly a further restriction on property rights, so we all agreed to a NO vote. Prop 11 (Requires Private Sector Emergency Ambulance Employees to Remain on Call During Work Breaks)—This one got hairy. Having the word “requires” right in the title of the ballot measure makes Libertarians’ hair stand on end, but Aubrey pointed out that you have to look further on this one to figure out whether the measure will lead to more or less freedom for ER companies and their employees. The measure was prompted by a lawsuit by employees of a security company suing their company for not letting them taking breaks away from the job, and the court ruled in their favor. The courts may rule that the same situation applies to ER companies, which would be very costly for ER companies to accommodate emergency calls and comply with the court decision. We ran out of time and this one was unresolved, so Aubrey said he will research it more thoroughly and post about it on the Activist List, so we can come finalize our recommendation—he leans to a YES on this one. (Nick announced that LPCA just decided to recommend a NO on this one.) Prop 12 (New Standards for Confinement of Farm Animals & Bans Sale of Noncomplying Products)—would create new minimum requirements on farmers to provide more space for egg-laying hens, pigs, and calves raised for veal and violations would be a misdemeanor. Also didn’t have much time to spend on this one, so Aubrey will post on the Activist List about this one too so we can decide our stance. The fact that it’s banning certain products would make Libertarians leery of recommending a YES vote, but Jon wanted to voice an alternative viewpoint on this one, and Nick announced LPCA just decided on a NO RECOMMENDATION for this one, so we’ll see what Aubrey comes up with for the Activist List.
Lisa Remmer-Running for Congress Against Pelosi: Lisa is running in Congressional District 12 and did survive the Top Two to make it to the November ballot. She’s running as a Republican mainly to give folks a choice other than Pelosi. She favors getting rid of as much regulation as possible and supported Ron Paul and John Dennis in previous campaigns. On the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, she falls in the Libertarian quadrant. On national defense, she favors “carrying a big stick,” but with more emphasis on the “defense” part and less foreign intervention. She doesn’t favor open borders but prefers making it easier to immigrate to America. She supports the use of tasers and also supports President Trump. Her main issues are regulation, taxes, and unelected bureaucrats making the laws. She got her Master’s degree from San Francisco State. In 2003, she was teaching The Constitution to Vietnamese immigrants in citizenship classes. She also worked for PanAm, went to Russia, and was a commercial pilot. Because her race is a partisan race, the LPSF cannot endorse a non-Libertarian per our by-laws, so we unanimously agreed to recommend a YES vote for Lisa for Congress.
Discussion on Prop B with Richard Knee: Richard is a member of The Society of Professional Journalists, (Northern California Chapter) and San Franciscans for Sunshine, and he represents the official opponent of this ballot measure, which purports to protect privacy but is vague in nature. Richard is mostly interested in protecting San Francisco’s “sunshine” law, which the voters approved by a 58% to 42% majority back in 1999. While we were leaning heavily in favor of Prop B earlier, Richard made a compelling case for voting NO on Prop B. The main problem would be giving the Board of Supervisors the authority to weaken the current transparency laws if an anti-sunshine majority should take hold in the Board of Supervisors. He pointed to Section 16.130, Subsection (i) in the proposed ballot measure as particularly troubling which says, “The Board of Supervisors is authorized by ordinance to amend voter-approved ordinances regarding privacy, open meetings, or public records, provided that any such amendment is not inconsistent with the purpose or intent of the voter-approved ordinance.” He said the current supervisors aren’t too bad, sunshine-wise, but future supervisors could take the authority given to them by Prop B, and hide the “sunshine,” which would be bad for the public. He considers Mayor Breed as poor on sunshine and even Supervisor Peskin, the author of Prop B, as not so great on sunshine either as he deleted emails in the past that should be part of the public record. Richard gave as an example of what anti-sunshine can mean to the public: in 2011, regarding the development project at Parkmerced, David Chui slipped in some wording at the last minute before the vote, and the supervisors violated the Brown Act and the sunshine law, and the task force was purged. It’s backroom deals like this that Prop B may allow more of, not less. When asked if he would support Prop B if Subsection (i) were deleted, he said “maybe,” but certainly with it in the ballot measure, it’s clearly bad for the public. We discussed the implications of Richard’s information, and though there was strong support for the general idea of privacy from prying eyes, even Starchild had to concede that Subsection (i) made the ballot measure iffy at best. The LPSF voted unanimously to recommend a NO vote on B and thanked Richard for his presentation.
November Election Mailer: Nick would like to do another mailer for the upcoming election, but his proposal is to do it ourselves rather than using Click2Mail, as we have always done in the past. It will save LPSF money, and he we can use it as a membership drive by including a membership form and a letter describing all the activities the LPSF is involved in, as well as our ballot measure recommendations. The June mailer we sent out using Click2Mail went out to 2,678 people at a cost of about $1,100, which comes to 41 cents each. If we do it ourselves, including the paper for the letters, envelopes, printing ink, and the postage, the cost comes to around 35 cents each. We also discussed if we should pay the annual postage fee of $255.00 which could be used for future mailings during the next 12 months to reduce the postage cost. Nick emphasized that the project will have to be done pretty much all in September to coincide with when the Voters Handbooks are mailed out and early voting starts early in October. Nick’s proposal was well received, and the only question was how much money we should budget for this project. We eventually settled on the amount of $1,250.00.
11 September (Wednesday) - Larry Elder at the Silicon Valley Liberty Forum
IFES Portuguese Hall, 432 Stierlin Rd, Mountain View
12 September (Thursday) – Jonathan Haidt: How Colleges Are Failing Kids
7-9 PM at the Commonwealth Club – 110 The Embarcadero
While college campuses portray themselves as centers of academic achievement and innovative endeavors, Jonathan Haidt, best-selling author of The Righteous Mind, argues they are better characterized by their anxiety-inducing and depressive nature. In addition to worsening mental health, a culture of censorship and overwhelming sensitivity causes professors and students to fear speaking honestly. Haidt believes this toxic system is a product of excessive coddling reinforced by an arsenal of trigger warnings and microaggressions. In his new book, The Coddling of the American Mind, Haidt articulates the social trends that have come together to produce this conflicting environment and its impact on posterity. Contextualizing campus conflicts with intense political polarization, ubiquitous social media and rising hate crimes, he demonstrates why people have been subscribing to a system that aims to protect its young people. Come listen to a discussion about the negative ramifications of a well-intentioned movement.
13 September (Thursday) – Phone Banking with John Dennis for D2 Supervisor
6-8 PM – John Dennis for Supervisor office at Mission & 14th Street – Please contact [email protected] to RSVP! This is a great opportunity to not only help out a candidate that we have endorsed, but also to connect with local Libertarians with a message that is very relevant to them. Unlike some other phone banking, this is a very targeted message to a group that may be very receptive. Pizza and drinks will be provided!
14 September (Friday) - 10th Annual Silicon Valley Mises Celebration
Featuring Jeffrey Tucker and Edward Stringham
6:00pm, Corinthian Grand Ballroom, 196 N 3rd St, San Jose, CA 95112
14-15 September (Fri-Sat) - Classical Liberals in Northern California Conference
Inspired by a similar effort in the Carolinas. The conference brings together dynamic scholars, philanthropists, think-tank directors, business leaders, and policy advocates to discuss issues affecting freedom in California. For more information visit: ClassicalLiberals.org.
SJSU Student Union Theater, 211 S 9th St, San Jose, CA 95112
20 September (Thursday) - Charter Cities, The Future of Urban Governance
9AM – 5:30PM - Mission San Francisco – REGISTRATION REQUIRED
The Center for Innovative Governance Research is pleased to host an exclusive event on the Future of Urban Governance. We will explore charter cities, special economic zones, and urbanization. We’re expanding the conversation, bringing together mega real estate projects, legal expertise, and international governmental organizations, the practical tools to make charter cities a reality. This is a zero price, off the record event. If you are interested in attending, please contact Mark Lutter at [email protected]@org with a brief description of who you are and your interest in attending. Spaces are limited, so those who contact Mark soon are more likely to be able to attend.
22-23 September (Saturday/Sunday) - LPSF Tabling at the Gun Show!
9AM-5PM at the Cow Palace, Daly City
Join the LPSF for a great outreach opportunity which will soon be disappearing. Once SB 221 is signed into law, it will be illegal to sell firearms and ammunition at Cow Palace, so the Gun Show will be no more. Come table with us to help inform attendees on the issues that are directly impacting them and spread the message of Libertarianism! It may be our last chance. Contact [email protected] if you can join!
24 September (Monday) – F.A. Hayek’s “The Use of Knowledge in Society” – talk by Jack Estill
7-9 PM at the Richmond District Police Station in the Community Room at 461 6th Avenue
This event is free and hosted by our friends at the Golden Gate Liberty Revolution.
When most people think of entrepreneurs, they envision someone with both brains and more than a little luck. They might say the entrepreneur must have specialized knowledge that allows her to recognize something that others want but have not yet realized. But, is this the case? Hayek’s The Use of Knowledge in Society provides a more accurate picture of the knowledge that markets use and the system that captures information that is not available, in his words, “to any single mind.” But, isn’t all knowledge and development the result of advances in scientific knowledge? What else could possibly have changed the world so dramatically over the last two hundred and fifty years? What is missing here? To understand, it is worth analyzing this piece while discovering the entrepreneur’s secret.
RSVP on the LPSF Meetup group – meetup.com/the-LPSF
26 September (Wednesday) - Free San Francisco! Town Hall Caucus Event
Join for the first of SF Liberty Coalition's monthly Town Hall Caucuses!
6-9pm - Clickup - 580 Howard Street
San Francisco Liberty Coalition is a monthly event series supported by a loose network of local groups that are working to promote liberty in some area or areas of public policy (any group fighting for civil liberties, economic freedom, or both, across the board or on a specific issue or issues).
27 September (Thursday) -Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter.
12-1pm, UC Berkeley, School of Law, Berkeley
Sponsored by the Berkeley Federalist Society. Talk by Ilya Somin, blogger for the Volokh Conspiracy on reason.com.
27 September (Thursday) - “None of Our Business” LPSF Happy Hour
7-10pm, Thirsty Bear Brewing Co, 661 Howard St
Unable to make it to our regular monthly meetings? Just want to kick back and mingle with liberty-minded individuals? We are kicking off a monthly "None of our Business" happy hour social, where we can take a break from party business and talk life, politics or whatever is on your mind. Come out for a drink and get to know us!
RSVP on the LPSF Meetup Group – meetup.com/the-LPSF
29 September (Saturday) – 2018 Silicon Valley Candidate Forum
12-5 PM – Mission Bay Conference Center at 1675 Owens Street – William J. Rutter Center, UCSF
A discussion on “The Role of Government in The New Economy.” A number of candidates for California statewide (and Bay Area) public office will speak on issues of high importance to the technology industry, such as: Automation, artificial intelligence, and the displacement of jobs//Data privacy and security//Workers’ rights and classification//California’s growing cannabis industry//Regulation of the gig economy//The Gas Tax and infrastructure funding. This non-partisan event will feature individual presentations from each candidate. Candidates may choose the format of their presentations.