Wednesday, March 13, 2013

First Impressions of the LPN

By Elmer Whittaker
I have been a member of the Libertarian Party (LP) for a few years now and have just very recently joined its Nevada chapter the Libertarian Party of Nevada (LPN). I joined both the LP and the LPN to morally and financially support the parties and actively help to bring about political change, further liberty and elect Libertarian Party candidates on a national, statewide and local level.

Personally, I have no plans or ambitions to run for either public or party office.  

Although I have been a member of the Libertarian Party of Nevada Facebook group for some time, I have not been aware of the internal strife and conflict that has been ongoing internally within the LPN, until I became a dues paying member. Unfortunately, I must add, as this kind of internal conflict and rivalry might have kept me from becoming involved with the LPN and still might lead me to leaving the LPN again. 

I know, I know, internal struggle and rivalry is normal within all membership based organizations and especially political ones, which always takes away much of the political effectiveness of any party organization undergoing such conflict. I am afraid the LPN is no exception here. 

While I cannot yet say that the internal struggle within the LPN is a particular nasty or ruthless one it has its own curiosities and particularities. 

A number of the current and former membership have stipulated that the current LPN Executive Committee (Ex-Com) comprised of longtime Chairman Joseph P. Silvestri, Vice-Chair Chris Roberts, Treasurer Kurt Brackob, Secretary Jared Thomas Lord and At Large Representative Irv Hopkins, is attempting to dictatorialize and monopolize the LPN while trying to purge the party of dissident members who do not want to fall in line with the plans and directions of the current Ex-Com. 

It is said that under leadership of Chairman Joseph P. Silvestri, the Ex-Com apparently dissolved all county chapters and centralized all power on state level which obviously resulted in much dissatisfaction and the loss and unwillingness of many members to continue paying dues. 

Although exact numbers are not available from the Ex-Com, it is suspected that the membership numbers are now at an all-time low from number released by Treasurer Kurt Brackop of “usually between 30-35 members”.  

In spite of the currently low dues paying membership in the LPN, the LPN convention at which amongst other things the current Executive Committee is up for re-election, has been scheduled at the Suncoast on April 27 and according to long time members, a high entrance or convention fee of $65-$125 is charged for the first time, to be paid by members and delegates in order to participate or vote. 

Many members have speculated that such a high fee was set to discourage members to participate in the convention so they would not be able to vote the current Ex-Com out of office. From the little experiences and insights that I have gathered while being a dues paying member of the LPN, I can only give those speculations the highest validity. 

Although a notice had been posted on the LPN website announcing the convention, absolutely no advertising and promoting has been done to help assure a widespread participation of current and former membership.  

In an online discussion last night in the Libertarian Party of Nevada Facebook group, Fil Di Noto, who is obviously closely linked to the current Ex-Com serving now in a role as webmaster, he explained the lack of promotion with “advertising costs money” and that the convention notice was posted on the LPN website. 

Secretary Jared Thomas Lord who as only Ex-Com member participated in the discussion, interjected that he personally had posted an announcement notice for the LPN convention to the LPN Facebook Page. 

The truth however is that no notices aside from the announcement on the LPN website were posted anywhere and some members had to find out about the convention through the back door and though word of mouth. 

The LPN has neither sent out email notices nor letters to those without internet. 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:

·         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 
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. 
I am of the outmost believe that widespread member participation and input is imperative for the success and effectiveness of any organization or political party and that membership dues alone should be the sole criteria and requirement for members to be able to vote. 
If the voting and election process within the LPN is held at the convention in the Suncoast at which alone the luncheon with Katie Kieffer costs $95 for non-members, then the voting and election process for the party leadership needs to be made accessible and available for due paying members at no additional costs. Period. 
I personally resent the tactics employed by the current LPN Executive Committee in order to keep, retain and expand their personal power within the Libertarian Party of Nevada and their attempts of purging the party of dissenting members and excluding those who are financially unable to contribute more money or pay the high voting and delegate fee for the 2013 LPN Convention. 
I can only hope that qualified and motivated members will step forward as candidates and challenge the current Executive Committee members in the upcoming election at the LPN convention. 
Those who are not yet member of the Libertarian Party of Nevada and those who are former members of the party are asked to join the LPN or re-new their membership and participate in the upcoming LPN convention.

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