Central Committee Minutes, 29 April 2001

Minutes of the Central Committee of the Libertarian Party of Maryland
Sunday, 29 April 2001
The Libertarian State Central Committee of Maryland met at Nathan Henry’s Restaurant in Eldersburg, Maryland. The meeting was called to order at 4:38 pm by chairman Steve Boone. Prior to the meeting, the following were distributed: the meeting agenda; the minutes of the 11 November 2000 Central Committee meeting; proposed constitutional amendments #1-#3; and the treasurer’s report.

Attendance: the Credentials Committee consisted of: Robert Glaser; Steve Sass; and Glenn Howard. It validated that 43 people were in attendance for the meeting, of which 35 were Central Committee members. Additionally, two proxies plus three constitutional amendment votes were received. The Central Committee rolls consist of 87 members.

Minutes: Because the minutes of the 11 November 2000 Central Committee meeting were distributed in writing, a vote to suspend a verbal reading of the minutes passed unanimously; the minutes were accepted as presented with no corrections.

Treasurer’s report: Joe Miller presented the report, which was accepted without dissent. He made pleas for monthly credit card pledges.

Vice Chair’s report: Spear Lancaster updated the meeting on the MEDCO (Maryland Economic Development Corp) status. MEDCO was created by the General Assembly in 1984 to develop vacant or unused industrial sites and facilities and other economic resources. The agency was designed to operate in economically distressed areas of the state, helping state and local economic development agencies expand, modernize, and retain businesses and attract new ones. This past legislative session, the General Assembly passed HB790 and the state Senate passed SB486. These bills extend MEDCO’s purpose to include the happiness, safety, and health of the citizens. It has been acknowledged that this would permit tax free bonds to be used for any purpose, in competition with private businesses. There is nothing the state could not do with eminent domain — and, according to the bills, there is no recourse. The legislation will become effective on June 25 unless it is put on hold by the collection of petition signatures. 20,000 signatures each for the House and Senate bills are needed by May 25, and an additional 40,000 signatures each by June 25 (a total of 2 x 60,000 signatures). If the deadline is met, the bills will go to referendum to be approved or rejected by the voters at the next election. If the deadline is not met, the expanded MEDCO powers become effective on June 25. Spear believes that this is a good issue for libertarians. He thinks that this shows that government officials no longer consider us to be citizens, but rather subjects and assets.

Spear is testifying May 3 for the Anne Arundel County Council; he plans to make a comparison between AA county and fascist Germany. He has met, and is impressed with Zalee Harris and Patricia Brady Dennis with regard to their education reform efforts in Maryland. Their website is members.aol.com/educationdoctors/eddoc.html. Spear presently is reading Illicit and Licit Drugson the Harrison act of 1913; it is out of print. Despite anti-freedom progress, Spear retains a positive view, and expects to see liberty in our lifetimes.

Chair’s report: Steve Boone reported that new county organizations have formed in Cecil and Carroll/Howard counties. Upcoming new outreach events are the Leonardtown Criterium, which is a bicycle race on May 20; and the HFStival, which is radio station WHFS’ annual music event. The latter is on Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend, with an expected 110,000+ attendance at RFK stadium in DC. The MdLP will have an emphasis on voter registration at the event.

A dozen or so candidates are already lined up for state and county legislative offices for the 2002 election. We are working on candidate workshops to assist. Present were Jeff Hallyburton (AA county council, community outreach programs, flea markets, neighborhoods); Dan Michael (appealing to people who don’t normally vote); Lorenzo Gaztañaga; Bill Prohaska; Dave Sten; and Dave Margolis.

Recent outreach events were: the ABATE Poker Run in early April, where voter registration cards were handed out; and the 420 Festival, which was in Towson this year, an event to raise funds for the Fourth of July Smoke In on the Mall in DC, but we as a party did not attend due to their organizational indecisiveness.

Renewal notices have been sent to members whose expiration dates ranged from 31 December 2000 through 31 May 2001, and many have renewed. Standard Operating Procedures regarding membership were adopted at the March Executive Board meeting, and implementation has already begun. This year we will begin sending out membership cards showing expiration dates to those who join or renew.

Webmaster responsibilities were transferred to Chip Spangler around the first of the year, and he has done a fantastic job.

Constitutional Amendments: These are as follows: words removed [words added]

Proposed Amendment #1 (Investigating Committee recommends YES)

Article IV MEMBERSHIP Membership in the Party shall be open to all adult citizens [persons] who have openly declared their allegiance to the principles of the Libertarian Party or who have registered their party affiliation as Libertarian.

Vote: 35 yes, 0 no; the amendment PASSES.

Proposed Amendment #2 (Investigating Committee recommends NO without prejudice)

Article V, Section 4B. Election of the Executive Board: The [Beginning in 2001, the] members of the Executive Board shall be elected at the regular fall [spring] meeting of the Central Committee…

Article V, Section 6. Meetings A. The Central Committee shall hold at least two meetings per year: one in spring (if practical, in May) and one in fall (if practical, in October.) The fall [spring] meeting may be known as the Convention for all statutory purposes, and it shall include on the agenda the election of the Executive Board.

Discussion: the Investigating Committee felt that this was a good idea, but that it would be confusing to make the change this year pursuant to the outcome of proposed amendment #3.

Vote: 28 yes, 11 no; the amendment is DEFEATED.

Proposed Amendment #3 (Investigating Committee recommends YES)

Article V, Section 4B. Election of the Executive Board: The members of the Executive Board shall be elected at the regular fall meeting of the Central Committee. Election shall be to a two [one] year term with 3 positions being elected in odd-numbered years and 4 in even-numbered years[for all positions].

Discussion: those in favor felt that with all seven Board members elected at once, and with our proportional voting method, a return to simultaneous one-year terms would open the door to potentially smaller constituencies within the Party for Board representation; and that the proportional voting method protects us from a large outside group coming in and taking over the Party. Those opposed thought that the staggered terms offered additional protection against the latter possibility.

Vote: 25 yes, 15 no; the amendment is DEFEATED.

New Business: The following resolution was moved, seconded, and passed unanimously:

Be it resolved that the Libertarian Party of Maryland endorses the petition drive by Citizens for Property Rights to repeal House Bill 790 and Senate Bill 486 enacted by the 2001 Maryland General Assembly. The Libertarian Party of Maryland further urges its members to assist in gathering signatures for the effort in each of their respective counties.

Steve Sass reported that Americans for Fair Taxation wish to replace the IRS with a national sales tax (around 25%, only for new products, not resold items); the House Bill 2525 would abolish payroll taxes as well. Steve proposed that the MdLP endorse the Fair Tax Program. It was moved and seconded; there was vigorous discussion, but due to time constraints, the motion and its second were withdrawn.

Dean Ahmad reintroduced above amendment #3; it carried. Steve Boone reintroduced amendment #2, with 2001 changed to 2002; it passed unanimously. Tony Spezio will prepare a proposed amendment to permit on-the-spot acceptance of out-of-state delegates at the National Convention for the next Central Committee meeting. The above two proposed amendments which passed are referred to an Investigating Committee consisting of Dean Ahmad, Lorenzo Gaztañaga, Earle Pearce, Glenn Howard, Chip Spangler, and Steve Boone for recommendations.

Announcements: There is a Maryland Taxpayers Association fundraiser meeting tomorrow night at $100 per person. The joint VA/MD/DC picnic is not going to be in May; it is to be rescheduled. The Montgomery County Fair needs volunteers. Submissions were requested for the May Newsletter. The crab and clambake this year is on July 18; contact Mike Linder. The Towsontown Festival is next weekend; Nancy Millionie is looking for a second tent because we have two spaces. Baltimore County is planning on participating in the July 4th parade again. A Baltimore County raffle is in progress. Steve Sass is looking for any membership prospects. Keith Halderman spoke on the Higher Education Act (federal) which would prohibit student loans to those convicted of drug violations; resources are drcnet.org and ssdp.org (students for sensible drug laws). Dean Ahmad encourages getting involved in a civic organization; he offers to give tips to those interested.

Libertarian National Committee report: Lorenzo Gaztañaga, an at-large member of the LNC, spoke on it: there has been criticism of National, but they have been doing what the rank and file have asked for — a four year cycle of promoting a presidential candidate. But local elections are how we are going to change the way things are. Lorenzo believes in leadership by example, and wants Maryland to set that example. He suggests that we all consider becoming a candidate.

Adjournment: the Central Committee meeting adjourned at 6:56 pm.

–Robert E. Glaser