Friday, March 20, 2015

Ted Brown for Libertarian Party of California Chair

Pasadena libertarian activist Ted Brown plans to run for chair of the California Libertarian Party at the upcoming state convention in May.

Kevin Takenaga, who's been chair since May of 2007, will likely run for yet another term. But after eight years, he's been in there long enough. And it's not like his tenure has been a great success. His long tenure is the result of inertia and apathy. California state conventions have attracted ever fewer delegates -- and ever fewer qualified candidates for LPC office.

I believe a Ted Brown-led LPC will reinvigorate the party. Here are Brown's own words, announcing his candidacy:

Dear Fellow Libertarians,

I have decided to run for Chair of the Libertarian Party of California. The state convention will be held on Sunday, May 31, in Las Vegas, Nevada. I urge you to attend and to support my candidacy.

The California LP has fallen on hard times over the last few years. Membership hovers around 800, where it once stood at 7,000 or more. Fundraising and new member recruitment at the state party level have slowed to a tiny trickle. There has been no newsletter for quite some time, and very little communication with members, so it's difficult to find out what's going on in the state party.

Or, perhaps we hear nothing because nothing is happening, which is even less acceptable. Transparency is #1 with me.

It's time for a few changes. Libertarians need to regroup and show that we are still on duty -- fighting for personal freedom, economic freedom, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. If we won’t do it, who will?

I have been an LP member for 36 years, and have held almost every job in the party during that time. I was chair from 1988 to 1989, served on the Executive Committee for 20 years, served as Los Angeles County chair, and newsletter editor. I handled candidate recruitment for over 20 years, personally signing up hundreds of LP candidates. I have also run as a Libertarian candidate myself 15 times.

I took a break from activism about 7 years ago to build my business, though I have attended most conventions and currently serve as chair of the Judicial Committee and as secretary of my local group in Pasadena. It's time for me to come back and work to revitalize the California LP.

This will be a tough job and I need your help to do it. I'm looking for Libertarians who are interested in the following areas (not a complete list):

* Membership Recruitment

* Fundraising

* Newsletter

* Candidate Recruitment

* Being a candidate (partisan or non-partisan)

* Speaker's Bureau

* Website design

* Press releases & media relations

* Initiatives (like repealing Top Two)

* Testifying at the state capitol

* Student group organization

* County LP organizations (where we don't have any now)

* Liaison and outreach to other libertarian-oriented groups

* Convention 2016

Please e-mail me at with your support, ideas, and areas for which you wish to volunteer. You have strengths which you can share and the party can use. Help the cause of liberty forge ahead, not fizzle away. Thanks in advance for your help, and see you in Las Vegas!

For liberty,

Ted Brown

PS: If you want things to turn around for the Libertarian Party of California, you need to make your voice heard and your vote count! The state convention on May 31 is your chance to do just that. (Go to for details.)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Going Galt on Politically Correct Hiring

One reason libertarians oppose "anti-discrimination" employment laws is because they pressure employers to hire by quota rather than by ability. To avoid government prosecution for "discriminatory" employment practices, employers seek a "diverse" workforce, balanced along racial, ethnic, and sexual lines, irrespective of talent or ability.

Here's an interesting post from the Dalrock website, by an IT worker who "went Galt" rather than submit to one company's hiring practices:

I had to staff a very small team of programmers to get 3 websites built in under 6 months. My budget was tiny (had to have 3 direct hires, couldn’t even afford to pay a headhunter commission) but I knew what I needed. So I put an ad on Craig’s list asking for primaries only. After hanging up on all the head hunters trying to place people, 6 primaries sent me resumes direct and I was able to schedule interviews for 6 programmers, 4 men, 2 women. Problem is, HR also had to interview them. The 2 women didn’t have a clue about anything technical (had to have been lying about their experience on their resumes) BUT 3 of the 4 men did (plus the business understanding I needed from them because I couldn’t afford to hire any business analysts.) So I told HR I wanted to hire the 3 guys.

HR said no. They didn’t like 2 of those 3 guys I picked. They wanted me to hire 1 of those guys plus both of the women. So I scheduled a meeting with the VP of HR and with the President of the company, listed the meeting as “urgent.”

They took the meeting. It went down something like this:

(me) “Why don’t I get to hire who I want to hire?”

(HR generalist girl VP) “Because we don’t feel that 2 of those men are good fit for the company.”

(me) “We being you.”

(HR generalist girl VP) “Well the two young men didn’t do very well in the screening that I have for candidates.”

(me) “I don’t care.” (turn and look at President) “I want to hire them. Veto her please.”

(President) “Listen, we have to work together.”

(me) “But you hired me to get 3 websites built in 6 months. I am responsible. I get fired if that doesn’t happen.”

(President) “Ummmm… maybe, I don’t want you to get the feeling that… well…. we need to work together.”

(me) “Those two girls don’t know anything. I can’t use them. They didn’t pass MY screening.”

(HR generalist girl VP) “That is fine. You’ll just have to look for more candidates.”

(me) “I can’t use head hunters as I have no budget to pay them sales commission. I have no budget for media advertising. We need directs. These 6 people were the only ones to respond to the Craig’s List ad in two weeks that were direct. I can’t wait another two weeks. We need to move. I need to hire all 3 guys.”

(HR generalist girl VP) “I have already ruled them out in my screening.”

(me turning to the President) “So that’s it? You don’t veto her?”

(President now smiling at me) “Look we need to work together.”

(me) “You said that before. You also said that you would let me run my team anyway I see fit, no interference. You said you would enable me.”

(President) “I did.”

(me pointing at her but not looking at him) “She is interfering. I’m done with her. Enable me by vetoing her.”

(President) “That is not going to happen.” (I can see the girl smirking from the corner of my eye.)

(me) “Okay.” (get up from the table) “You lied to me in the interview process. I quit. Build your own websites.”

(President NOT expecting that) “You can’t just do that.”

(me) “Of course I can.”

(President now sweating) “I want you to think very carefully about what you are saying to me.”

(me getting up from the table) “You forced my hand. You lied to me. I don’t blame her. She has an agenda of which I have no use for. I live in the world of reality and in reality I have 3 websites to build. You are not letting me do that. So… that’s it”

(President) “So basically its your way or the highway?”

(me) “Yes. Just like you said it would be when you offered me the job.”

(President) “Okay just… don’t quit. I need to talk to her alone for a moment.”

(me) “Just tell me… do I get my 3 programmers or not?”

(President) “Yes.”

(HR generalist girl VP) “I’ll have to report back to the board of directors who hand out the VC money that you went over my head and hired two people that failed my screening. They have empowered me.”

(President) “Okay BOTH OF YOU, that is enough! I’m done fooling around here.”

(me) “I’m not fooling around, I want my sites built. Give me my guys.”

(HR generalist girl VP) “You can’t have them.”

(me) “Why? Are they not US citizens?”

(HR generalist girl VP) “Yes they are.”

(me) “Did they fail the drug test? If so I want to see it.”

(HR generalist girl VP) “No.”

(me) “Then what?”

(HR generalist girl VP) “I have a screening process.”

(me) “And I’m beginning to think that you would have screened me out if you interviewed me.” (turn to the President) “This is stupid. Goodbye.”

I left. The company was out of business inside of 6 months.

I didn’t want to go all John Galt on them but I didn’t have a choice. I had a family to think about and making those decisions would have jeopardized my credibility as the director of software development. When they don’t get stuff done, I get blamed because ultimately I hired them. I had to go find a job where I had real power.


The above post -- two posts, actually -- are by someone with the handle of "innocentbystanderboston" and can be found on this Dalrock thread.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Libertarian for Bobby Shriver

Two progressives are running for Los Angeles County Supervisor in the 3rd District -- Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver. As a libertarian, I endorse Shriver.

Both Kuehl and Shriver are longtime Santa Monica residents, as am I. So I have watched their political careers for many years. I have no illusion about Shriver being a libertarian, but he is the more libertarian choice.

A member of the liberal Kennedy family by marriage, Shriver's entry into politics was motivated by a peculiarly libertarian epiphany. In 2003, the City of Santa Monica fined Shriver because his hedges were too high.

Writing for the Santa Monica Daily Press (2/13/14), Jack Neworth recounts this "a-ha moment" in Shriver's past:

"Twenty-year Santa Monica resident Bobby Shriver didn't seek a career in politics, surprising given his late parents were Eunice (JFK's sister) and Sargent (Peace Corps director and vice presidential candidate.)

"Bobby was a Yale-educated attorney, an activist and an entrepreneur. (He also founded organizations that raised millions for The Global Fund to Fight AIDS and Special Olympics, which his mother created in the 1960s.)

"Call it fate or officious bureaucrats, but Shriver's 'path' changed in 2003 when he and 700 other Santa Monica property owners were put on notice by the city. The height of their hedges exceeded city limits and the fines for non-compliance were $25,000 a day! (And you thought our parking meters are a rip-off.)

"The city was so arrogant that Shriver ran for council to change the culture at City Hall. A huge number of residents agreed because that November Bobby received the most votes in Santa Monica history. (An independent in a city polarized between landlords and residents, four years later Shriver again garnered the most votes.)"

I regard Shriver's tenure on the Santa Monica City Council as that of a "sensible liberal." He votes to the left, but he's no ideologue. He seems at least willing to listen to all sides, and with an open mind. Most city councilmembers, in this very blue city, have been, and are, worse.

I think that that "$25,000 a day fine" was a wake-up call for Shriver. A learning experience. He felt the heavy hand of government. Yes, he remains a progressive, with all that that implies. But he at least knows, from experience, that sometimes government goes too far.

By contrast, Sheila Kuehl, a former state senator and assemblymember, is a far-left ideologue. She touts herself as a champion of "middle class families." But what does she mean? Has she lowered the tax burden on middle-class families? Lowered the regulatory burdens on businesses so they can create more jobs? No and no.

Instead Kuehl brags that, during her tenure in Sacramento, she passed a "landmark bill for paid family leave" and "cracked down on age and gender discrimination in the workplace." In other words, she imposed further financial and legal burdens on employers, thus making California a tougher place to run a business and provide jobs.

In previous elections, Kuehl bragged about toughening hate crime laws, using that issue to sell herself as being "tough on crime." (Another one of her "crime-fighter achievements" was tougher laws and penalties against landlords.)

Kuehl also brags that she's "the only candidate endorsed by the L.A. County Democratic Party and our local Firefighters, Nurses, and Teachers."

Yes, she has the support of both the Democratic political machine, and the government employee unions. I guess the unions have contributed generously to Kuehl's campaign, and expect higher salaries, pensions, and benefits as a payoff.

Shriver might support some or all of Kuehl's positions, I don't know. But two key things are obvious:

* The Democratic Party machine and government union bosses trust Kuehl over Shriver -- Kuehl is the one they bought and paid for.

* At least once in his life, Shriver not only suffered under the heavy hand of government, but actually fought back and won.

Some libertarians will say that the lesser of two evils is evil. But others will observe that we must live under the rule of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, so that it is both practical and morally justifiable to pick the less onerous candidate.

If you fall into the second camp, then I suggest that, though Shriver is no libertarian, he is the lesser evil for Los Angeles County Supervisor, 3rd District.


Sunday, October 05, 2014

AB 2351 Assures California Libertarian Party's Ballot Access

Los Angeles Libertarian Party activist Ted Brown sent out the following news item from Richard Winger of Ballot Access News:

"On September 30, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 2351. It makes it easier for a group to qualify as a 'party.' It changes the registration test from 1% of the last gubernatorial vote, to 0.33% of total registration. For 2014, a group needed 103,004 registered members to either obtain, or keep, qualified status.

"Although no one can know how many voters there will be in 2016, the last tally (Sept. 2014) showed California had 17,634,876 registered voters, and 0.33% of that number is 58,195.

"The bill also says that a party remains qualified if it polls 2% for a statewide race in the primary in mid-term years. This is an alternative to the registration test. The Peace & Freedom, Libertarian, and Green Parties met this vote test in June 2014."

Ted Brown adds his personal note:

"This means that we don't have to worry about our ballot status in California any time soon. We have almost twice the necessary registrants, plus Jonathan Jaech's vote total for Attorney General in June allowed the LP to keep ballot status through 2018."


Friday, October 03, 2014

Libertarian Party of Los Angeles County's 2014 California Ballot Proposition Suggestions

Here are the Los Angeles County LP's recommendations for the November 2014 statewide ballot propositions for California. (The state LP formed a committee to consider making endorsements, but its Executive Committee has yet to officially approve the committee's suggestions.)

Prop 1 -- Water Bond for $7.12 Billion. This measure authorizes the sale of general obligation bonds for state water supply infrastructure projects. This water bond measure has been around since 2009, but it has been postponed from election to election until the current drought "crisis," when the politicians felt it had a better chance of passage. It will take 40 years to pay off these bonds, and with interest and bond expenses, the total cost of the bill will likely be closer to $15 billion. Water projects are best managed and financed by local water boards, rather than writing grants to state bureaucrats trying to secure expensive bond monies. We recommend a NO vote.

Prop 2 -- State Budget Stabilization. This measure changes the rules for how much the legislature puts into "Rainy Day" reserves to help balance the budget during poor economic times. Most of the features in this measure are for the better and will lead to greater fiscal responsibility; however, the requirement for local school districts to reduce their reserves will make local schools even more dependent on state government for funding. We prefer local control of education, rather than centralized control. We recommend a NO vote.

[I'm leaning to vote YES on Prop 2. Fiscal responsibility trumps local control education for me. I don't much care which level of government -- local, state, or federal -- controls education at this point, as they're all making a mess of it.]

Prop 45 -- Health Insurance Rate Changes. This measure gives the Insurance Commissioner the power to decide health insurance rates. This is yet another example of government interference in the marketplace where the bureaucrats have caused the problem and Prop 45 will (they hope) fix the problem. The bureaucrats have limited the number of insurance companies offering insurance to California consumers through excessive rules and regulations, which has led to less competition and higher prices. The fix is an "Insurance Czar" who will decide if insurance rate increases are reasonable to "protect" the consumers from "price gouging." The loosening up of regulations so many more insurance companies can sell to Californians will do a lot more to lower rates than any "Czar" can accomplish. We recommend a NO vote.

Prop 46 -- Drug & Alcohol Testing of Doctors. This measure requires random testing for substance abuse and raise the cap on malpractice lawsuits for pain and suffering. It is not possible to prevent every type of medical error that might occur -- and no government mandate is going to accomplish this worthy goal. The medical insurance industry already monitors doctors and will not insure doctors with problems or will charge them higher rates for the added risk. Mandatory testing will only add to the already high cost of health care by passing the cost on to consumers. Raising the cap on lawsuits for pain and suffering will only encourage more ambulance chasing in our lawsuit-happy society. We are also concerned about the requirement in this measure that requires doctors to turn in "suspected" substance-abused doctors and the requirement to use a government database before issuing certain prescriptions, as government databases have a history of problems. We recommend a NO vote.

Prop 47 -- Criminal Sentences. This measure downgrades many less serious crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, thereby reducing the number of people incarcerated in California's prisons and jails. In particular, it reduces the penalty for possession of most drugs for personal use from felonies to misdemeanors. Locking up people in prisons for less time for victimless crimes is a good start toward ending the drug war -- and reforming the criminal justice system to focus on actually doing justice instead of promulgating injustice. The savings of not incarcerating those who commit nonviolent crimes should go back to the taxpayers in the form of reduced taxes, rather than other government programs. More fundamentally, the California Dept of Justice should be focused on real justice issues, such as deterring crimes against persons and property, providing restitution for victims of violent crimes and thefts, reforming the system to provide more equity and fairness, and improving its customer service levels in handling civil disputes. It should stop destroying the lives, families and careers of people who have harmed nobody except themselves (and in many cases, not even themselves). Although we will continue to advocate for complete decriminalization of all victimless conduct, this measure is a step in the right direction. We recommend a YES vote.

Prop 48 -- lndian Gaming Compacts. This measure allows a new casino to be built near Highway 99 and the City of Merced in Central California. The casino will provide an outlet for many consumers who enjoy the recreation of gaming at a more convenient location than the current casinos that are further inland. It may also increase activity in an economically depressed area of the state by attracting jobs and business. While the casinos further inland do not want the competition of a new casino, it is not the proper role of government to protect any business from competition. Neither is it a proper role to ban businesses from operating, and then grant favors to special interests in the form of exceptions to the ban. We decline to take a position on this measure.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rand Paul Is No Ron Paul

Because I'm a pessimist, I never had much hope for Senator Rand Paul. Unless and until a politician proves otherwise, I assume he'll support the politically safe, mainstream positions.

Ron Paul earned his reputation as a maverick. Rand had not, yet even so, many libertarians were hopeful about him, solely because he was Son of Ron.

Sure, Rand said some good stuff. But all politicians say good stuff. It was his bloodline that set libertarian hopes aflame and hearts aflutter over Rand.

Well, the results are coming in. It seems that Rand is no chip off the old block. And sometimes the apple does fall far from the tree.

According to

Sen. Rand Paul wanted to eliminate aid to Israel. Now he doesn’t. 

He wanted to scrap the Medicare system. Now he's not sure.

He didn't like the idea of a border fence -- it was expensive, and it reminded him of the Berlin Wall. Now he wants two fences, one behind the other.

And what about same-sex marriage? Paul's position -- such marriages are morally wrong, but Republicans should stop obsessing about them -- seems so muddled that an Iowa pastor recently confronted him in frustration....

As the prospect of a 2016 presidential bid looms larger, Paul is making it clear that he did not come to Washington to be a purist like his father, former congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.).

He came to be a politician, like everybody else....

Read the full story here.


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Professor Bell-Villada Links Nabokov with Ayn Rand

Gene H. Bell-Villada is a professor of romance languages at Williams College, having earned his doctorate in the field at Harvard.

He's written or edited eleven books, including Art for Art's Sake & Literary Life, a finalist for the 1997 National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Pianist Who Liked Ayn Rand, a collection of essays and short fiction, including a novella that satirizes the Ayn Rand cult phenomenon.

Bell-Villada's latest book, On Nabokov, Ayn Rand and the Libertarian Mind, returns to Rand, finding parallels between her life and philosophy, and that of Vladimir Nabokov.

Read what Bell-Villada has to say about Rand and Nabokov in this interview.