image00124Libertarian Crusader Diaryimage00321  

 

 

2000 Presidential Election Era

Published by Gary L. Fincher

Volume IV, Edition III – August 22, 2000

Rochester, New York

   

Lurking in New York State in July 2000

Team Finchers: Lurking in New York State in July 2000

 

 Finchers Save Connecticut Ballot Drive

Gary and Kay Help Protect 50-State Status for LP

 For the third election in a row, every single American voter who makes it as far as the ballot box will have an opportunity to vote Libertarian in November, thanks to diligent ballot access efforts all over the country.  Kay and I had assisted in those efforts in states such as Massachusetts, Alabama and New Mexico.  But there is one state, as we go behind the scenes, which without a doubt would not have made ballot status – thus breaking a streak going all the way back to 1988 of the LP nominee enjoying ballot placement in all 50 states – had it not been for a few weeks set aside by Kay and me to focus on gathering enough signatures to make it possible.

 

Earlier in the year, as Kay and I were on our way to the West Coast to work on an initiative to cap property taxes, we were approached by Courtenay Hough, coordinator for ballot access for the Connecticut Libertarian Party, who called to ask us to come to Connecticut to collect the 7,000 signatures needed to get the presidential ticket (vet to be nominated at the time) on the state’s ballot.  For a few weeks we put Courtenay off – believing that when we returned to the East Coast in late June, the drive would be half done and Kay and I could then do

“clean-up” work.

 

However, that was not the case.  As Kay and I were unavailable for the last half of May and for most of June, the Connecticut drive was left to languish with no help on the horizon.   As Courtenay put it, “National had diverted petitioners to other states but had been unable to get someone to Connecticut.  When the Finchers arrived, we needed 8,500 signatures in 6 weeks with no relief in sight.”  For some reason, Connecticut had fallen through the cracks in the national Libertarian Party’s effort to get the presidential ticket on the ballot in all 50 states!

 

Heading east as fast as we could, and sensing that the small New England state failing to make the ballot could mean big problems for the presidential nominee’s credibility with an already-inattentive media, Kay and J arrived in Windsor, Conn., around the last week of June.  During the next month, we embarked on an intense effort to gather as many signatures as we possibly could before the targeted completion date of late July.   

Courtenay later would say, “The Finchers were the backbone of our ballot drive, collecting twice as many signatures in 4 weeks as any other petitioner, paid or volunteer.”

 

image00721We formed a strategy that would take us to every corner of the state, from New London on the seacoast in the southeast, to the backwoods town of Putnam in the northeast to the slums of Hartford to small-town Naugatuck in the southwest.  We made sure we hit most of areas outlying Hartford, including Manchester, Wethersfield, and New Britain.  This way we wouldn’t get stale working at any one locale for too long or tap too deeply into its electoral base and encounter what we term “repeats”, i.e., people who have already signed the petition.   By late July, we had collected over 4,600 signatures, of the 7,000 valid ones actually needed.  Our efforts had placed the LP presidential ticket, Harry Browne and Art Olivier, on the Connecticut ballot!  With the legal deadline only a few days beyond our actual stop date, Connecticut LP officers, including Richard Loomis and his father Robert, acknowledged that it couldn’t have been done without Kay and me.  Courtenay said it bluntly:  “Without [the Finchers] we would not have made it on the ballot.”   And that’s the highest compliment we could hope for.  Except for perhaps his next utterance, “Because of their exemplary efforts, we hope Gary and Karen Fincher will be back with us in 2002 when we run a candidate for governor.”

 

And Gary and Karen just might be honored to do such.

 

Harry Browne Receives Libertarian Nomination for President

 

Becomes First Libertarian to Run Consecutive National Campaigns

 

Harry Browne, who ran for president on the Libertarian ticket four years ago and received almost a half a million votes, and who sought the nomination an unprecedented second time, finally received the Libertarian nomination in Anaheim, Calif., over the long July 4 weekend.  The Libertarian Party, who has run candidates such as Little House on the Prairie creator Roger McBride and Congressman Ron Paul of Texas as its presidential nominees, had never had an individual run twice for the office of president.  But Harry Browne, who had been the frontrunner for the nomination since Jacob “Bumper” Hornberger, dynamic speaker and president of a Virginia-based libertarian think tank, bowed out of the race early last year, held on to withstand a late re-entry challenge by  Hornberger, as well as challenges by former Libertarian state legislator (NH) Don Gorman and two others to win the nomination.

 

Kay and I were in Connecticut working on its ballot drive when the nomination took place, but we watched it as it aired on the cable network C-SPAN, on television.  Kay and I had been Hornberger backers and Bumper did give a rousing nomination speech but it didn’t seem to match his epic keynote speech at the 1996 Libertarian National Convention that gave rise to his presidential hopes.   And thus Browne won the nomination.

 

Harry Browne unveiled four television ads that his campaign team had produced, including one on Social Security and a highly witty one entitled “Battered Voter Syndrome”, in which Republican and Democrat politicians are likened to abusive husbands who promise to “change” and then is “taken back” time and time again by the abused victim.  The spots are supposed to air all summer and autumn long on national TV; Kay and I saw one of them (Social Security ad) on the Weather Channel while visiting in Wisconsin.  Watch for an energetic Libertarian campaign for president by Harry Browne whose running mate is former Libertarian mayor of Bellflower, Calif., Art Olivier.

  

 

 

 

image00919

 

I am running for President because I want you to be free.

 

  • Free to live your life as you think it should be lived, not as Al Gore or George W. Bush thinks you should live it;

 

  • Free to raise your children by your values, not those of some far-off bureaucrat who sees your children as foot soldiers in a plan to create a Brave New World;

 

  • Free to keep every dollar you earn – and spend it, save it, give it away as you think best not as the politicians will allow after they’ve spent what they want.

 

George W. Bush, Al Gore, Pat Buchanan, and Ralph Nader are arguing over one basic issue:  which one is best qualified to run your life?   Which one knows best what kind of school your child should attend?  Which one knows how your health-insurance company should treat you?  Which one knows best how to organize the economy, determine how much of your own money you should be allowed to keep, and decide what is a proper way for you to live?

 

I am running because I don’t believe they are capable of running your life.  I don’t believe I am capable of running your life.  I believe only you know best how to run your life.

 

I want to get government out of your life, so that you’re free to make your own decisions, manage your own earnings, and live as a free, sovereign individual – not as a dysfunctional child who must be guided, managed, and cared for by an all-powerful government.

 

The Issues

 

In practice, this means I want to:

 

Free you from the income tax by making the federal government so small it can handle its constitutional functions with just the tariffs and excise taxes already being collected;

 

Unlock the door and let you out of the fraudulent Social Security system – so you can decide how much of your income to save and what to do with those savings, and so you can enjoy a truly safe and prosperous retirement. And for those already dependent on Social Security, provide a private annuity financed by selling unneeded government assets.  No longer should you have to depend on politicians for your retirement;

 

End the insane War on Drugs that has turned the drug business over to criminal gangs, locked up a million non- violent Americans. spawned law-enforcement corruption, and provided a justification for destroying your individual liberty – whether or not you have any interest in drugs;

 

Make government employees respect every one of the Bill of Rights – keeping our property safe from search and seizure, keeping the government out of areas not specifically authorized in the Constitution, and restoring your freedom to live your life as you think best;

 

Repeal the thousands of gun laws that do nothing to stop gun violence by criminals – but do invade your privacy gratuitously and put you at a disadvantage to violent criminals who will never be inconvenienced by those laws;

 

Bring the troops home from overseas where they breed anti-American resentment – and quit relying on our overwhelming national offense, create a secure national defense, withdraw from all international organizations and mutual-defense treaties, and allow other countries to manage their own affairs.

 

For each problem America faces today, my solution involves less government, rather than new government programs, new regulations, new taxes, and new powers for the politicians.  I want you to be free to live your live as you think best – not as the politicians claim is best for America.

 

 

The Eyes Have It

 

Since I published the last issue of Libertarian Crusader Diary, the Fincher team was dealt a disastrous blow.  In late October of 1999, I was diagnosed with a devastating eye disease known as proliferative diabetic retinopathy, a condition, caused by the elevated sugar levels in diabetes mellitus, whereby the retina of the eye incurs damage due to abnormal leakage of tiny blood vessels and mutant growth of new blood vessels which obstruct and diminish vision.

 

The episode began around March, 1999, when I first noticed a slight blurring in my right eye.  I had had high blood sugar levels since I was first diagnosed with Type II (adult onset) diabetes in early 1988, yet had not focused on keeping the condition under control, except for a brief period in 1997, when I came under a doctor’s care in Lewiston, Maine.  The blurring, I was sure, was a fleeting problem that should abate with time.  But with six months’ passage, the problem had not gone away; in fact, the blurring had gotten worse, if anything.

 

So entrenched was the loss of visual acuity in my right eye that I decided, white in northern Indiana picking up a motor home for delivery to the East Coast, to drop into the emergency room and see what was up.  I was informed at that time that there could be a problem with my retina.  That was September.  While on the East Coast working on a political project, I made an appointment with an eye doctor in Goshen, Ind., for October 22.

 

At that examination I was diagnosed with the retinopathy, as well as another condition called macular edema, a swelling and watering of the middle of my retina, which controls my central vision.  I was referred to a retina specialist in South Bend to determine just what the diagnosis meant.

 

In South Bend in late October, we learned that my retina (in both eyes) had been severely damaged by years of diabetes and might not recover.  I was in advanced stages of the disease.  At the time, my left eye had not experienced any changes in visual acuity, but was told that it was inevitable that my left eye would have similar experiences as my right eye – it was just a matter of time.  I would need multiple laser treatments in both eyes to stem further damage, but regaining visual acuity already lost was an uphill battle.  And stemming the further damage was not a cinch, either.  Through all this, I would be put on medication designed to reduce my blood sugar, preventing further damage to the eyes.

 

The treatment schedule itself posed a logistical problem.  The treatments were scheduled only days apart, not weeks or months.  And since they were being administered in South Bend, Ind., we couldn’t leave northern Indiana right away, and cold weather was looming.  We had the possibility of working on a school vouchers petition drive in nearby Michigan, but we were being courted to come to New Mexico to work on an important project there (see related story in this issue).  Yet we couldn’t leave right away to make the 1,500-mile trip to the Southwest while my treatments were only days apart.  Taking motor homes out for delivery were a problem too, due to time constraints.  But sticking around in South Bend with no apartment meant depleting our savings, which is exactly what happened, ultimately.  The money we made on projects in California and Massachusetts last fall virtually evaporated as we waited around for treatments in northern Indiana, staying in expensive motel rooms.

 

In the end, we actually did find a way to break away and go to N.M., when the doctor gave me two weeks between treatments, but delays in N.M. in November and then December may have undermined my treatment plan and caused irreparable vision loss.  We’ll actually never know.  My treatments continued through the winter and well into the spring.  I got a reprieve for the summer but am now faced with the specter of more laser treatments for the fall, some of which are quite painful and require a patch on my eye for a period of time.

Positive prognosis for the future

Positive prognosis for the future

 

The vision in my left eye finally did change, for the worse, in the early spring, from a previous 20/20 or better.  By mid-spring, I was having real difficulty seeing clearly, especially in distance, but reading and viewing the computer screen had become difficult as well.  Driving had become a chore, since though I could see the road and traffic well enough. I couldn’t totally make out the signs until almost upon me, making for the probability of missed turns, if driving in a location not known to myself.

 

However, by July, my left eye had experienced a gradual but sure improvement, only to take a turn for the worse in late July with renewed bleeding.

The good news, though, came when I made a July visit to the world’s premiere diabetic eye clinic, the Joslin Institute in Boston, who had pioneered the laser treatments I’d been receiving.  

Letting nothing deter us, still on the road, still crusading

Letting nothing deter us, still on the road, still crusading

  

Dr. Debbie Schlossman told me that there could be a chance of regaining my visual acuity in either or both eyes, with a positive move toward improved health and blood sugar levels.  Patients, especially younger ones (and my 38 years is young in relation to most who are diagnosed with retinopathy), have been known to bounce back, when coupled with healthy living.  So at least I have hope.   And of course, we’ve been praying to Jesus for His help through all this.

 

 

 

 

 

Finchers Save the Day in New Mexico (Sort Of)

 

As you might recall, Kay and I went to New Mexico in 1998 to manage a statewide campaign that would earn the Libertarian Party of NM major party status in the eyes of the State of NM.  That campaign, the Maurice McDonald for Commissioner of Public Lands campaign, won over 5% of the vote cast for governor.  The chairman of the McDonald campaign, Joseph Knight, assured us that the 5% could be garnered by any candidate, governor or not, as long as it was equal to 5% of the votes cast in the race for governor.  This was why we were brought in in the first place, Kay as fundraising director and I as campaign manager:  to see to it that McDonald won enough votes that were equal to 5% of the votes cast in the race for governor.  This was accomplished in November 1998.

 

  

Registering Libertarian voters at a Kmart in Albuquerque, N.M.,  in Dec. 1999

Registering Libertarian voters at a Kmart in Albuquerque, N.M., in Dec. 1999

 

 

 

The other prerequisite for earning major party status, in addition to the 5% requirement, was holding one-third of one percent of the total voter registration in the State of New Mexico.  That meant that we needed a couple of thousand voter registrations, and we already held over 1,000.  In the spring of 1999, when Kay and I were in town for court appearances stemming from getting arrested for wearing Libertarian clothing at the 1998 polls in Santa Fe, we collected about 250 Libertarian voter registrations.  This entailed positioning ourselves in front of a busy store or a prime spot on a college campus and asking NM residents if they would fill out a voter registration containing “Libertarian” in the Party Preference space.

 

The state party down in New Mexico then let most of 1999 go by without making a dent in the registration requirement, while Kay and I delivered motor homes for most of the spring and the summer, and then worked on ballot initiatives in California and in Massachusetts.  The state party members in NM, except for manning a booth at the NM State Fair in the fall, for some reason never were moved to collect the registrations which needed to be completed by January 2000.

 

By October, just as I was receiving my eye disease diagnosis, we were being called by Joseph Knight, who had since been elected chairman of the NM LP, to come to NM. to collect the registrations.  There were in fact only a handful of activists in the entire United States with the expertise to collect Libertarian registrations by the dozens in a day, which was what would be needed in order to make the deadline.  The national Libertarian Party headquarters also was pleading with us to travel to NM, but we couldn’t make the trip right away due to my eye condition and treatment schedule in Indiana.

 

By November, the NM LP needed approximately 1,200 Libertarian voter registrations by early January in order to earn major party status, according to Joseph Knight.  So it was that around Thanksgiving, with my doctor allowing me to leave Indiana for only two weeks, Kay and I drove to Albuquerque right after a heavy treatment on my left eye (it was swollen and sore for a while).  She drove the entire distance, a three-day drive.

 

A local Libertarian who lived in Rio Rancho (15 ml. north of Albuquerque) offered us the use of his pad while we collected voter registrations.  For a couple of days in late November, Kay worked solo at a Kmart persuading shoppers to stop and fill out a voter registration with “Libertarian” already written in (by us) in the Party Preference space.  In early December, when the blurriness in my eye had abated, I joined her in her efforts.

 

Some of those we asked to fill out the form were already registered, with another party, but we persuaded them to fill out another one, a Libertarian one this time.  Many more were not registered at all and we asked them if they would register “Libertarian” as they registered.  Some had been registered Libertarian in another state and were simply renewing their status for N.M.  We used a table, adorned with a laminated display telling New Mexicans that we needed 1,200 additional Libertarian voter registrations in order to qualify for major party status, with the invitation, “Please Help” in plain view.

 

On December 2, Kay and I promptly got sick, coming down with the worst case of flu/pneumonia that we had ever experienced.  This laid us up for over a week, forcing us to face a decision:  stay or go back to Indiana.   We were asked to stay and work on the drive, to finish it before the deadline. So I called my doctor and rescheduled my treatment, reluctantly.

  

Christmas Day 1999 in Albuquerque

Taking a day off: Christmas Day 1999 in Albuquerque

In mid-December, we set about in earnest collecting the registrations, mostly at Wal-Marts and Kmarts in Albuquerque.  We collected anywhere from 50 to 110 registrations per day, or 10-15 per hour, just stopping shoppers on their way into the store.

 

My new treatment date was set for a couple of days before Christmas, but Ron Crickenberger, national political director for the Libertarian Party, called me to ask me if I could reschedule my doctor appointment again, in order to get the drive done on time, which I did, against my better judgment.  I feared there would be health repercussions for doing so, but I also wanted the drive to succeed and didn’t want to let anyone down.

 

A couple of days before Christmas, “all hell broke loose”, as is said when a catastrophic event leads to a degeneration of subsequent events.   At the same time that Ron Bjornstad, NM registration drive coordinator, issued a warning against pre-labeling the forms “Libertarian”, Albuquerque’s NBC affiliate. KOB-TV, carried a story on the evening news that “500 New Mexicans had recently been tricked into changing their registration to Libertarian.”  The story of course, was completely false.  The segment, which aired twice that evening, included an interview with a lady who had signed up at an Albuquerque Kmart but who charged that we told her that the form was a petition rather than a voter registration form.  The newscast even went so far as to show footage of a petition form.

 

Of course, Kay and I operated completely on the “up and up” and never used the word “petition” to describe what we were asking for.  No one was ever tricked or lied to, yet KOB-TV was doing a newscast as if it were fact!  This got our dander up for certain and we called the station to complain and curse the story.  Upon further investigation, we found that 300 registration forms had been mailed to the Bernalillo County Board of Elections on the same day that coordinator Ron Bjornstad hand-delivered 200 of them, creating a total of 500 registrations, all with “Libertarian” in the party space, that the Board of Elections was asked to process.  For reasons still unknown to us, the Board of Elections balked at so many Libertarian registrations and told KOB- TV that they were all fraudulently obtained.

 

That allegation led to a series of bad moves both on the part of the state and on the part of the NM Libertarian Party.  The state, of course, stiffened their resistance to our Libertarian endeavor of registering one-third of one percent of all NM voters.  But instead of sticking up for Kay and me (who had collected 99% of the 500 registrations dumped that day), Joseph Knight made a series of blunders, baffling and annoying Libertarians from coast-to-coast, especially those who know better about Kay and me, our allies in the field.

 

First, Knight acted as if he was in full support of Kay and me – until we had to leave the state on New Year’s Eve in order to return to my Jan. 5 eye appointment in Indiana.  Upon leaving the state, Knight turned on us, hiring a buddy of his from his hometown, a former cop and magistrate judge (see related story is this issue on what cops and magistrate judges are capable of when teamed together to pummel a hapless defendant) turned private detective to “investigate” us, or more accurately, to get testimony second-hand, from those who had registered with us.

 

Unbeknownst to us at the time, an official from the Bernalillo County Board of Elections had come to our site and posed as a prospective registrant.  Although I didn’t know who he was at the time, I kept trying to persuade him to register “Libertarian” when he insisted that registering “Republican” might be good enough for our purposes there.  It wasn’t, of course, and I told him straight that we can only qualify for major party status if he would register “Libertarian”, nothing else.  When interviewed by the PI, the PI used this fact as “proof that we obtained fraudulent registrations.”

Investigative Report – January 7, 2000

Interview:
Robert Lucero
Bureau of Elections Coordinator
Bernalillo County
505-768-4104

Mr. Lucero stated that he had personally gone to the sight [sic] where the Finchers were registering voters and posed as a potential registrant.

Mr. Lucero stated that he had asked the Finchers many questions concerning their efforts and received many answers he considered in violation of the election code.

Mr. Lucero stated that he asked if they were only signing up “Libertarians” or could he sign up as a “Republican” to which he stated that Mr. Fincher told him “that would defeat their purpose.”

Mr. Lucero stated that he had contacted the District Attorney’s office concerning possible violations of the Election Code and that they would be doing an investigation also.

Mr. Lucero furnished me with (2) letters written in reference to the situation and they are included in this report.

Mr. Lucero seemed a little hesitant to discuss an ongoing investigation with this investigator but did say that he had heard that they were “also having problems with the Libertarian Party registration in Las Cruces.”

However, we were astonished to learn, from reading the PI’s report, that it contained the “testimonies” of over a dozen voters, all containing fallacious information that would be very damning to us, had it been true.  We quickly concluded that these “testimonies” were the result of leading questions by an unscrupulous former cop experienced in “testi-lying” and who had the strongest motivation to come back to his client with “something” as opposed to “nothing.”

 

When the report was released, Joseph Knight issued a press release basically saying that it was the LP of NM’s position that Kay and I did mislead voters, or fraudulently obtain them, which led to the headline that is still unbelievable to me, in the Albuquerque Journal: LIBERTARIANS ADMIT VOTERS MISLED.

 

The State of NM [made up predominately of Democrats and Republicans] now had fuel for their fire in its war on the LP.  Most Libertanans however weren’t so swayed.

 

Michael Morrison, who had flown in from Georgia to help in the registration drive, and who actually was there and watched us in action in Albuquerque, set out on an internet crusade to set the record straight, to tell fellow LPers that we in fact collected all the registrations legitimately.  What followed was an inspiring string of supporters from California to Maine, all vouching for Kay and me, and our straightforward and honest methods.  Soon all kinds of Libertarians were sending e-mail messages to the folks in NM and at national HQ on our behalf.  It was quite moving.

 

Since December, much has been said on the internet, in discussion groups and such, regarding the New Mexico fiasco.  But the bottom line is that, by the time Kay and I left NM on Dec. 31, we had collected 1,100 of the 1,200 registrations needed.  The rest were collected by volunteers and by other pro activists flown in.  But there’s a caveat: in the spring of this year, as the case of major party status went to court, it was ruled that the registrations the State Elections Divisions tried so hard to discount, had to be counted; however, the 5%, it was ruled, had to have been garnered in the race for governor, no other race would count (not even land commissioner).  This begs the question:  why wouldn’t Joseph Knight as chairman of the McDonald campaign, have done his homework and learned of this before he had us make the trip to N.M. in 1998?

 

L. Fincher, left, talks with client David Euchner, right, in Wayland, Mass., in April 2000

L. Fincher, left, talks with client David Euchner, right, in Wayland, Mass., in April 2000

 

 

 

 

 Finchers Effective in Massachusetts

 

Like Paul Revere, who rode into Concord, Mass., one moonlit April night to warn of the impending British advance, Kay and I rode into nearby Wayland, Mass., on a moonlit April night earlier this year to fight the Democrats and Republicans in a different kind of battle, a battle for ballot position and election results.

 

Massachusetts Libertarian Dave Rizzo called us while we were in Carolina working on a project to tell us that help was needed in the hub of New England to get various Libertarian candidates on the ballot, ranging from state representative to U S. Senate.

 

In the Senate race, Ted Kennedy was up for re-election (he’s been in the Senate since I was an infant) again, and the Republican was having trouble getting on the ballot – an excellent opening for a well-funded, well organized Libertarian.  Enter Carla Howell, who ran for state auditor in 1998 (we helped her get on the ballot then) and won the Mass. LP ballot status, effecting automatic ballot position for presidential nominee Harry Browne.  This year, she’s running for US. Senate, with boyfriend Michael Cloud serving as her campaign manager.   She needed 10,000 signatures to run against big-government Teddy.

Gary, Kay and Carla Howell at the Howell for U.S. Senate HQ in Wayland, Mass., in April 2000

Gary, Kay and Carla Howell at the Howell for U.S. Senate HQ in Wayland, Mass., in April 2000

Also in Massachusetts, David Euchner, a 27 year old Libertarian formerly from New Jersey, was running for Congress against longtime incumbent Barney Frank in southeastern Massachusetts, and needed about 2,000 signatures.

 

A handful of candidates scattered around the eastern half of the state were trying to get on the ballot for state representative or state senate, including Carl Garfield of Framingham.  He needed 175 valid signatures.

 

So Kay and I helped Carla, David and Carl get on the ballot.  We collected all the signatures to get Carl Garfield on the ballot; over half the signatures needed to get David Euchner on the ballot; and were instrumental in getting Carla on the ballot, a tough job indeed.  But she made it, and we were on our way to other projects.

 

2000 Political Projects

 

The year 2000 was a busy one for us. The turn of the new millennium (by that I mean going from the 1900s to the 2000s in calendar title) found us in Denver, Colo., en route from New Mexico to Indiana.   And while we did deliver a few motor homes during the year, we worked on our share of political projects as well.

 

In early February, we spent a few weeks in California’s Silicon Valley working on a couple of different ballot initiatives, one of which was for school vouchers which can be seen as a step toward the separation of school and state, the ultimate Libertarian educational goal.

 

In the spring, we helped another minor party who needed help getting on the ballot in North Carolina, and met Bay Buchanan.  Bay was Ronald Reagan’s Treasurer of the United States, but she is also sister and campaign manager to presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, who was seeking the Reform Party nomination.   She actually drove over to meet us near our hotel and personally picked up a batch of our signatures.  We weren’t supporting Pat, but were only helping him get on the ballot.   We based ourselves in Raleigh but also worked Chapel Hill and Durham. We even tried to hire college students but that didn’t work out. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Working Buchanan/Reform at NC State campus

Working Buchanan/Reform at NC State campus

Washington State ballot intiative, 2000-style

Washington State ballot intiative, 2000-style

Later in the spring, we went to Tacoma, Washington, to work on 1-745, affectionately referred to as “Son of 695”, a measure to cap property taxes and vehicle taxes in the Evergreen State.  It was a very intense project, and we competed for sites with hundreds of circulators, mostly from California, but we made some money and saw a lot of that beautiful state.  We were based in Tacoma in lower Puget Sound, but worked the entire western part of the state (the prettiest part) from Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula to Aberdeen on the coast to Bremerton in the Sound to Centralia in the valley.

 

On our way back east, we stopped for a week in South Dakota to work on a Libertarian Party-sponsored initiative for fully informed juries, i.e., to change the state constitution to allow the accused to argue in court the merits of the law he’s charged with, not just the facts of the case.  We worked in the capital of Pierre, in Yankton, in Brookings and in the largest city of Sioux Falls.

 

After the Connecticut LP drive, we worked in Rochester, New York, helping another minor party get on the ballot, the Constitution Party, for only a few days before retiring from politics…at least for this year.

 

Update on Santa Fe Case

 

As was reported in the last issue of LCD, I received a split verdict at my electioneering trial in Santa Fe.  If you’ll remember, it was the case in which both Kay and I were arrested for wearing our own Libertarian clothing, even though the electioneering statute cited doesn’t mention clothing as “electioneering”.  As a result of being arrested, we were denied our right to vote and were charged with “disorderly conduct”.

Kay appears in magistrate court in Santa Fe, Dec.  14, 1999

Kay appears in magistrate court in Santa Fe, Dec. 14, 1999

In my trial May 21, I was acquitted on the disorderly conduct charge but wa convicted on the electioneering charge.   My attorney filed an appeal right away.  Kay’s trial was set for December 14 in Santa Fe.

 

Just prior to her trial, we met with her attorney, Troy Prichard, who seemed to be interested only in a plea bargain, not on representing her as requested.  That led to her firing him and putting my attorney, Joe Kennedy, on the case on the eve of the trial.  It’s conjectured that a disgruntled Prichard somehow got the DA to add

Another charge, that of “resisting an officer”, another trumped-up charade in a game the cops like to play.

 

At her trial, it was clear from Mr. Kennedy that the magistrate judge assigned to her case was a yes-man for the cops who violated her civil rights, denying her a vote and bruising her arm while trying to arrest her.  He would have nothing of a voice for a defense.  Guilty on all three Counts, was the ruling, with a jail sentence (suspended) on each charge, along with a fine and an order to apologize to the cop who mistreated her.  Imagine!  So goes “justice” in New Mexico!  This is what happens in that state when cops and magistrate judges team up.  Tell that to Joe Knight!

 

brother Jack, left, and

Jenny, center, visits with Kay’s family in Appleton, Wisc.,: brother Jack, left, and

 

 

 

 

 

A Family Meeting, Finally

 

It’s hard to believe, but as this year got underway, Kay’s only daughter and my only daughter (who share the same July 9 birthday, interestingly) had never met.  Ever.

 

image0315Even though Kay and I have been together since 1994, her daughter Crystal, 24, who lives in Wisconsin, and my daughter Jenny, 16, who lives in Texas, had never had an opportunity to meet…until this year.  After Connecticut, we decided to take a week off and make it happen.

First though, I wanted to give Jenny the opportunity to earn some money and work on Libertarian petitions, so we got a flight for her from Abilene, Tex., to New York’s LaGuardia airport on July 22.  She would return on August 6, but not until we arranged a meeting between the two girls.

 

She flew into New York City right on schedule and we took the next day to show her the sights of the Big Apple, including a WNBA game in Madison Square Garden between the New York Liberty and the three-time defending women’s professional basketball champion Houston Comets.  We also took her to see the Statue of Liberty and the top of the Empire State Building.

My daughter and me against the New York City skyline in July 2000

My daughter and me against the New York City skyline in July 2000

 

After a week in Connecticut with us, we drove to the Midwest, first to Indiana for some business, then drove up to Michigan and took a ferry trip across Lake Michigan over to Wisconsin. At Appleton, Wisconsin, Kay’s hometown, Jenny met Kay’s entire family, including her daughter Crystal, who’s lived in Appleton ever since we left for the road in 1995, and her brothers Jack and Will.

 

Cutting across Canada, Kay & Jenny pose in Hamilton, Ontario (top photo); Crossing the wide waters of  Lake Michigan to get to Wisconsin, Kay poses on deck of the S.S. Badger (bottom photo)

Hurdling obstacles to get to family: Cutting across Canada, Kay & Jenny pose in Hamilton, Ontario (top photo); Crossing the wide waters of Lake Michigan to get to Wisconsin, Kay poses on deck of the S.S. Badger (bottom photo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image0391Now I know how Dr. Martin Luther King felt when he said, “I have a Dream”, except the one I had two nights ago was a nightmare.  In the nightmare I was looking out over all the 260 million people in our country, scurrying here and there, zestily going about their daily business, and it was a sunshiny day.  Meanwhile, in a gigantic, dimly lit circular auditorium (like the U.N. General Assembly hall) a handful of people in suits (the leader looked like that skinny little twit heading the USSR. Alexander Putin) discussed how to tax and control the people.  This scary feeling is the summation of another year, petitioning around the country, which further elucidates the Pollyanna apathy of Americans.  It makes me so sad.  Our futures, our lives are being lost by default to a self-proclaimed D.C. elite.

 

We began the year in South Bend, Indiana, much to our chagrin, inundated by the “lake effect”. i.e., twice as much snowfall as even my native Wisconsin.  No fair!   So, California called and by February we landed in the Silicon Valley.  The California sunshine was obscured day after day by the rains of El Nino to the extent the residents of Daly City (one ‘burb down from San Francisco) lost sewer and power service and their beachfront apartments were washing into the ocean.  We just barely kept our heads above water, petitioning, in San Jose, where even the kids who grow up there have to leave after high school because the housing costs are so high.  So we met another national coordinator who invited us to North Carolina to become crew chiefs and learn the ropes hiring other petitioners, training them, etc., etc.

 

After a four week stint in Raleigh, North Carolina, where we recouped nicely, we heeded a call from the Libertarians in Massachusetts where they were petitioning to get two go-getters, Carla Howell and David Euchner, on the ballot.   Massachusetts seems most like home, probably because the people are so warm and humorous and open.  Working there is a pleasure.  But short-lived; we went back and wrapped up our project in the heat of North Carolina.  The sensible next step took us to the lush beauty and cool breezes of Washington State.  Only half the days were misty or occasionally under dangerous downpours.  Finally one day, while driving inland from the coast I spied the lonely cold wall of Mt Rainier.  The northern coast is a huge wetland with a lot of surprises.  Eastward bound, we stopped off in South Dakota for a week.  Our reception in Pierre was okay, which shocked us, since that’s the state capitol and we were working on a petition for fully informed juries.  Sioux Falls is somewhat anal retentive, however.  The people were far short of cordial and the store owners did not roll out the welcome mat.  So we rolled on to Connecticut, where Courtenay Hough with the Libertarians was getting real antsy wondering if anyone was going to come and rescue their ballot drive which had a month to go.  Happy to help him out, we became proud citizens of Windsor, Connecticut, the quaintest town on the map whose homes are so substantial and New England saltbox gorgeous, it would make Martha Stewart’s head spin.  Every Thursday evening they had bands on the town green which was just around the corner from our digs.  The very first evening we unpacked, we could hear the strains of a jazz band.   Connecticut was over toe soon, but the best part of the year was rejoining my entire family (my brothers and my sister and their families and Gary and his daughter, Jenny) in Wisconsin for a reunion like we haven’t had in twenty years.  We ended our sojourn in New York State on the last petition drive of 2000, choosing Rochester, N.Y. on Lake Ontario, where the seagulls and boats and flash storms lend an oceanic atmosphere. New Yorkers are always in a hurry and talk fast, too.  I might have to speed up more than I’d like to settle in here.  

 

Overall, I’m still impressed that people all over America are willing to sign a petition and give a few kind words to a stranger, and I’m glad we’ve flip-flopped back and forth across the country because now I can drive from San Diego to Portland, Maine, and never look at a map and America is my backyard.

LCD Special – Wish You Were Here:  Postcards from All 50 States:

https://libertycrusader.wordpress.com/libertarian-crusader-diary/archived-back-issues/special-wish-you-were-here-postcards-from-all-50-states/

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One Response to “August 22, 2000 LCD”

  1. Anna Says:

    gr8 resrch bro

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