By Elmer Whittaker
Dissolvment of County Chapters
I think this is the first and foremost ground of contention within the LPN. For many years the Libertarian Party of Nevada was comprised of the State Chapter (LPN) and three county affiliate chapters. The Clark County Libertarian Party, the Nye County Libertarian Party and the Capitol Libertarian Party in the Reno, Carson City area.
Although there are sixteen counties plus Carson City as an independent city, considering Nevada’s population centers the three territorial county or area affiliates seemed a pretty good solution to have the most efficiency for impact in local politics following the grassroots principle from the bottom up.
When some one and a half years back the LPN Executive Committee (Ex-Com) under Chairman Joe Silvestri voted to dissolve all county chapters in a regular teleconference business meeting and integrate them along with their funds into one LPN chapter under the leadership of one Ex-Com under one chairman, namely Joe Silvestri, many disenfranchised party members left the LPN altogether and others in a state of great discontent are determined to replace the current Ex-Com along with Chairman Silvestri so they can re-affiliate their county chapters.
Personally, I have never heard of any party disaffiliating all of their chapters, but I am sure it has happened. As I have not been involved with the LPN at the time of the disaffiliation, I do not know what the reasons given were, but in general under the US and Nevada Constitution, power comes and grows up from its people starting at the local grassroots level. Only in totalitarian regimes does the power come from the top or the government.
Many longtime members content that the county chapter disaffiliation was done solely to consolidate power under Chairman Joe Silvestri and to silence and disempower opposition and opponents of the chairman.
The rest of the current internal problems of the LPN seem to stem from the usual struggle of totalitarian regimes to stay in power, by disempowering its citizens, in this case members, by means of abusing the regimes power to further themselves and stay in power, instead of using their granted powers for the best of the country and citizens and in this case to the best of the party and its members.
Convention Voting Fee
Apparently for the first time in LPN’s history, LPN members who wish to vote in the elections for a new or recumbent Executive Committee in the 2013 Libertarian Party of Nevada State Convention are forced or coerced to pay a rather high convention entrance fee in order to be able to cast their votes. Such fee for voting is commonly known as “voting” fee”.
Many longtime members content that coercion of a “voting” fee” of $65 - $125 on top of membership dues was done to keep voting and election participation from the general membership low to favor the recumbent Ex-Com.
Membership dues should be the only requirement and prerequisite for LPN members to vote in the internal party elections. If the elections were to be part of a high priced convention, the voting could have simply been made available without a coerced “voting fee” by holding the business part of the elections at a especially reserved time and portion of the convention, like before or after.
There are a number of LPN members who have already announced they cannot afford $65-$125 and might not be able to vote due to financial hardship.
High Convention Entrance Fee
Apparently also for the first time in LPN’s history a high priced venue for the 2013 LPN State Convention at the Suncoast Hotel & Casino was chosen and the highest entrance fee ever of $65-$125 is required for those wishing to attend the LPN State Convention.
Again, like in the issue of the “voting fee”, many members content that high entrance fee serves to keep voting and election participation from the general membership low to favor the recumbent Ex-Com.
Many members content that in former years the LPN Convention was held in most suitable venues for a much more affordable price exposing the contradiction of the current Ex-Com of wasting money while supposedly being a fiscal conservative party.
Delegate State ID Requirement at Convention
Also for the very first time LPN delegates (voting members) are required to present a Nevada State ID in order to vote.
Again, many LPN members content that this is part of the plan to keep voting from general membership at the LPN Convention at a minimum, to favor the recumbent Ex-Com.
Indeed, the national Libertarian Party has taken an official stance against National ID requirement which have been proposed. There really is no difference between the principles of requiring National ID and State ID. It’s the same difference.
A Nevada Voter Registration should be sufficient to participate in LPN’s internal elections.
Lack of Advertisement and Promotion of Convention
This is probably the most damning circumstantial evidence against the conspiracy and the abuse of power of the current Ex-Com in order to retain their power and I have written about this before in my blog: First Impressions of the LPN
The LPN has neither sent out email notices nor letters to those without internet nor make phone calls to current due paying membership nor to ex-members or those who’s dues are past due.
This should have been the absolute necessity and basic for any organization holding a convention. The LPN has also neglected to post notices, announcements or invitations to the following free mediums to their disposal:
· LPN Twitter Feed with 2605 Followers
· LPN Facebook Page with 592 Subscribers
· LPN Meet-Up Group with 400 Members
· LPN Facebook Group with 305 Members
· LPN Google + with 13 Followers
There is simply no excuse for this, unless it is the Ex-Com’s wish and intention to keep the participation and voting by its current and former membership to a minimum. Needless to say that all of LPN’s social media outlets are controlled, moderated and censored (where applicable) with the expectation of the LPN Facebook group.
In all fairness though, LPN Secretary Jared Thomas Lord did, after my urging and the release of my blog “First Impressions of the LPN” on March 13, post the announcement of the LPN Convention once the LPN Facebook Page. Although he said he would bring the issue to the attention of the rest of the Ex-Com no further advertisement o promotions could be observed anywhere.
As an interesting twist though and a sign that the LPN Ex-Com would prefer a low member participation in the elections but would still make some money of the convention, an at least once daily advertisement of the Luncheon with Katie Kieffer for $95, which o course is part of the LPN convention is posted to LPN’s Twitter feed for several weeks now, painstakingly avoiding any mention of the LPN Convention or an election. From the LPN Twitter Feed: “LPN Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Katie Kieffer, April 27 – RSVP”
Probably due to ever-growing popularity, activity, dissent and outspokenness on the LPN Facebook group, which is still in the control of ousted former LPN Secretary Brett Pojunis and not like all other LPN social media sites in control and censorship of the current Ex-Com, LPN Secretary Jared Thomas Lord is now pushing for handover of control of the Facebook group, who he claims rightly belongs to the party.
While I simply do not have the insight to say with any certainty if the LPN Facebook group belongs to the LPN or its current administrator Brett Pojunis, it does not seem like the right time to explore this issue any further so close to the LPN convention as the group is the only uncensored medium the LPN membership currently has to its disposal.
After an inquiry to the LPN Facebook group membership by Brett Pojunis, the members including me, openly expressed their fears of losing this uncensored method of communication to the control and censorship of the Ex-Com. The membership clearly asked administrator Brett Pojunis to keep this channel of communication open and uncensored at least until the LPN convention is over.
As a brand new member who has joined the Libertarian Party of Nevada just a couple of months ago and who has no allegiances nor animosities with anyone, I can only conclude and attest that the complaints and fears of the general membership are fully justified and that there is an irreparable break in trust and confidence in the current Ex-Com under the leadership of Chairman Joe Silvestri from the general membership and that the replacement of said Ex-Com would be in the best interest of the Libertarian Party of Nevada and its members.