Friday, May 12, 2006
Last night was delightfully spent in Vincennes as the guest of J.A. Thomas, at the 630 Restaurant.
Thomas is a Libertarian candidate for Indiana House in District 64, and hosted the dinner as a means to introducing himself and the Libertarian Party to the people of Vincennes and Knox County. LPIN State Chair Mark Rutherford and Executive Director Mark Rutherford also made the trip.
The dinner setting allowed us to have more intimate conversations on Libertarian policy and issues than a routine stump speech with Q&A would ever permit.
Those dining with us were very interested in our ideas and expressed a theme we hear statewide: we gave the Republicans a chance with a majority, and they blew it. It was perfect, as I have been very eager to take the "wasted vote syndrome" on directly. I pointed out how there certainly are wasted votes each November. Every time someone votes Republican expecting lower taxes and smaller government, that person wasted his vote. If you really want these things, you have to vote Libertarian.
Rutherford & I were interviewed by Tony Cloyd of WVUB-FM, the 50,000-watt NPR radio station at Vincennes University.
630 was an amazing surprise. The decor and atmosphere are what you might expect of an upscale, exclusive downtown Indy restaurant. And yet, the offerings were extremely reasonably priced. Excellent pick, J.A.! When in the area, you owe it to yourself to check out the 630 in Vincennes.
The Kole Campaign was recently featured on the national Libertarian Party's website, and also in a fundraising newsletter. Link to article.
It's pleasing to get the recognition of the national party. A lot of LP races for ballot status are races for survival. This race is not for survival, but for something far more exciting for party faithful- Major Party status per Indiana election laws.
It's not too late to sign up for this Saturday's golf event in Hendricks County. Follow this link for online registration. It's very conveniently located for anyone coming from Indy, Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville, Brownsburg, Danville, Speedway, Mooresville, and Greenwood. Heck- I'd come from Fort Wayne, but that's just me.
Where: Oak Tree Golf Course 4710 East US 40 Plainfield, IN 46168 317-839-6205
Oak Tree Golf Course is located on U.S. 40, just 10 minutes west of Indianapolis
When: May 13, 2006 ~ Play begins at 1:00 p.m.
Cost: $70 for an individual entry
Details: Shotgun start / scramble play
Closest to pin competition on one hole (to be determined): $50 gift certificate to pro shop
Dinner provided afterwards at the Elk's Club
Door Prizes awarded at Dinner
Cost includes fees and cart for play, beverage cart availability, and awards dinner afterward at Elk's.
I will provide a sleeve of golf balls for every participant. Plus, I'll speak at the dinner. Come to think of it, I don't think I am set up in a foursome yet, so why not register and ask to play in my group. I'll make you look like a pro!
For more info, email Todd Singer at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I recently received an email from a resident of Jeffersonville, in Clark County, just on the other side of the Ohio River from Louisville. He advised me that Jeffersonville is considering a forcible annexation of his and other neighborhoods, and is currently in study on the issue. I'll look forward to reading news reports from the area, and to talking with supporters there.
I urge the Libertarians in Clark County to jump all over this, in favor of the right to self-determination, and opposed to forced annexation. Issues that matter are issues that hit close to home- and there is nothing closer to home than the home itself.
If the citizens wish to voluntarily annex, support them. It the people wish to have a direct vote on the matter, support that. No way should a government that is not their representative at the time of the vote ever make a decision to incorporate a group of people. Not in the United States, the Home of the Free.
We wouldn't stand for it if it were Mexico trying to annex Arizona. We shouldn't stand for it if it's Jeffersonville, or Carmel, or Fishers trying to annex neighborhoods forcibly.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Libertarian Party of Indiana State Chair Mark Rutherford's letter on fair elections was printed in today's Star. The letter:
Five cheers for the Star editorial "Let's try user-friendly voting" (Focus, May 7). An end to gerrymandering, increased hours at the polls, inclusive rather than exclusive ballot access, fall school board elections and the proper use of modern technology for voting should be on "the tip of the tongue" of every candidate this fall. You'll hear about these from Libertarian candidates again this year!
Mark W. Rutherford
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Indiana
You have already been hearing about these issues from me. I hope that other Libertarian candidates will also discuss these issues when the opportunity arises.
Here are the five points Rutherford references, from the original Star editorial:
1. End gerrymandering: It's the single most important step needed to encourage competitive races and increase turnout.
Gerrymandering results in the creation of safe political districts, usually for incumbents, and leads to lopsided results. Many potentially strong opponents choose not to run when they see little chance of winning. The major political parties tend to offer few resources to the inexperienced opponents recruited to take on entrenched incumbents in the legislature and Congress. The results are predictable months in advance.
It's the voters, however, who are the true losers.
The Indiana House this year passed legislation that would have put a halt to gerrymandering in the state. The bill died in the Senate.
With Bob Garton out of the way, the new Senate leadership should make approval of gerrymandering legislation a priority.
2. Increase hours at the polls: This suggestion always sets off groans from loyal poll workers who put in long, exhausting days in May and November. But, really, a 6 p.m. close is entirely too early in an age where few workers are released from jobs by the 5 o'clock whistle, commutes are long and most households sport dual incomes.
Other states have figured out the challenges of staffing polls until 8 p.m. or later. Indiana surely can as well.
3. Encourage third parties: Everyone from Libertarians to Greens has complained about Indiana's obstacles to third-party ballot access.
Allowing minor parties to field more candidates might not make much of a difference after the votes are counted. But greater choice should drive up voter participation, a good thing for a society trying to encourage a sense of power and purpose among ordinary people.
4. Shift school board elections from the spring to the fall: Granted, this one would give voters even less of a reason to show up for the May primary. Yet, the move undoubtedly would increase voter participation in selecting representatives to fill these vital local offices.
5. Embrace technology: We live in an era when companies around the world can share sensitive information with one another over the Internet; folks can lounge in their pajamas while trading stocks, paying bills and managing bank accounts; ordinary customers can, using credit cards, purchase everything from plane tickets to California wine.
(Emphasis is mine. These are things I have been talking about.)
In a side note, it appears that Libertarians have received increased inclusion in the Star since the Tully article. If that's what it takes, I'm all for it.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
The Marion County Libertarian Meet-Ups are going strong, with their May 'After Hours' event happening tomorrow.
Meet downtown at Bearno's Pizza beginning at 5pm. Bearno's is located at 1 N. Pennsylvania St.
This is an excellent opportunity to relax with others who have an interest in discussing the issues of the day, and of course, Libertarian free-market politics.
Long-time State Senate Pro Tem Bob Garten was defeated in the Republican primary by challenger Greg Walker, instantly making the race for Senate 41 one of the most interesting. Mainly, Walker has some interesting baggage.
But first, a plug for Kenn Gividen. He ran for Governor in 2004 as the Libertarian candidate, opposite Republican Mitch Daniels and Democrat Joe Kernan. Here is a link to Kenn's new campaign website.
Kenn is in favor of smaller government, lower taxes, and eliminating property taxes. Very common sense stuff. He stands as an excellent choice for those voters who can't vote Democrat because of their commitment to bigger government and higher taxes, but are unwilling to vote for a candidate with the baggage Mr. Walker brings.
The man is in favor of public flogging. Public flogging! I tell you- the Republicans are real kooks. Wither the 8th Amendment?
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. (Emphasis mine.)
Public flogging is most certainly unusual, having not been seen in this country in any living person's lifetime. I have many friends from the coasts who think that a trip to Indiana is a trip back in time. Positions like Walker's just make me have to explain more and plead, "honest- he's an isolated case".
Someone has come up with a parody website on Walker's position on flogging. Link to www.theflogger.com.
Garton screwed up by continuing to back lifetime health benefits for himself and his statehouse fellows, and accordingly paid the price. However, if they elect Walker, the people of District 41 will have merely exchanged one of-touch Republican for another.
Support Kenn Gividen!
Monday, May 08, 2006
Welcome to readers from Fort Wayne, who are checking in here via Mike Sylvester's blog!
For those outside Fort Wayne, Mike Sylvester is the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Allen County, and a recent candidate for school board. His wife Karena is a CPA and Mike is working towards earning the same status, as they work together in an accounting business. With tax season and the election over, they have left for the Adirondacks and Canada for a much deserved vacation. While they are away, I will be filling in on Mike's blog.
I'm going to try to avoid too much duplication, so be sure to check both blogs with the usual regularity!