The Libertarian Party of San Francisco meets for official business on the second Saturday of each month, from 3 to 5 p.m. Most of these meetings are held at the San Francisco Main Library at 100 Larkin, just outside the Civic Center BART/Muni station on Market Street. We announce the location of each meeting on the front page of our website and on our Announcements (you can subscribe to our Announcements List by clicking the link on the front page).
A social hour follows from 5 to 6 p.m. at a local establishment (arrive before 5 to walk there with us). Visitors are welcome to call or drop in and join us for the business meeting and/or the social hour.
Members Present: Phil Berg, Marcy Berry (Vice Chair), Mike Denny, Aubrey Freedman (Chair), Les Mangus (Treasurer), Starchild, Jason Williams (new Member)
Activist Reports: Members reported what they did to promote liberty since the last meeting. These actions are the result of individual initiative.
Announcements: Golden Gate Liberty Revolution monthly meeting September 21, Jim Elwood’s Free Exchange October 3.
Membership/Newsletter: Aubrey reported LPSF has 18 current annual members and 22 life members. He sent out his monthly newsletter to 171 recipients. He has included a note on the newsletters indicating that it is membership dues and donations that keep the lights on at LPSF. The newsletters continue to be well received.
Website Report: Marcy reported that the LPSF website needs to be upgraded. The current version, Joomla 2.5, was superseded by 3.0 some time back, and stopped being supported at all in January 2015. Marcy recommended that LPSF allocate $500 to pay a professional Joomla website developer do the work. Phil suggested using an unpaid volunteer. Marcy indicated that her experience with the volunteer upgrade from Joomla 1.5 to 2.5 was not positive, and she did not recommend a repeat. Members present voted to allocate the $500. Les generously pledged $250 to defray this cost.
Treasurer’s Report: LPSF bank statement balance of 08/31/15 $4,688.86. Transactions after that were $2,176.20 check to Aubrey in reimbursement for his payment at the Department of Elections for our paid ballot measures, income of $60 from Mike for his $50 ballot measures pledge and $10 extra donation for operations support, income of $30 from Phil to pay for extra words on one paid ballot measure. The $2,662.66 will be increased by Les’s pledge of $250, and decreased by $150 for the LPSF mailbox in October, and $500 for the website upgrade, leaving $2,202.66, which is close to our reserve amount.
November Elections Strategy:
1. Aubrey presented some ideas of what LPSF can do to promote its positions on the November 2015 ballot. Aubrey will work on his newsletters, send out ballot recommendation postcards, and occasionally posting on Facebook. Marcy will work on website and Facebook promotion, as well as attend elections forums when invited. Mike will post LPSF ballot recommendations on his neighborhood’s Nextdoor social network. Phil and Starchild offered to present LPSF positions in elections forums when the opportunity arises. It will be decided at a later meeting if elections ads are possible and desirable.
2. Aubrey asked for approval of expenditure of $100 to send out around the beginning of October ballot recommendations postcards to LPSF members, and registered Libertarian voters who regularly vote based on S.F. Department of Elections records. Request unanimously approved.
3. Starchild proposed that LPSF recommend Ross Mirkarimi for Sheriff, based on the Sheriff’s record of supporting social issues. His proposal passed, with Aubrey abstaining and Marcy voting no. It was decided that Starchild will write the brief recommendation for the LPSF website to be posted with the other LPSF ballot recommendations.
Remaining Ballot Measures: At the last LPSF meeting members present reviewed and voted on LPSF positions on several proposals on the November 2015 ballot. At this meeting, members voted on remaining measures, as follows:
Proposition C – Expenditure Lobbyists Ordinance: This proposal does not present a Libertarian issue, and arguments could be made pro and con. People who do not quite fit the description of lobbyists, and therefore are not registered as such, are being paid by lobbyists to promote causes. On the other hand, there are hundreds of campaign rules already, and Libertarians do not believe piling up on rules solves problems. NO POSITION.
Proposition D - Mission Rock Development: This proposal seeks to build a mixed use area on a site located just south of AT&T Park, owned by the S.F. Port Authority, currently being used as parking lot. The area will include 1,500 new rental units, 600 of which subsidized so as to be rentable to lower and middle income households, retail spaces, and parks. The proposal will also fix Pier 48 so it can house Anchor Brewing Co. Our recommendation of YES is based on the fact that San Francisco needs new housing.
Proposition E – Requirements for Public Meetings: This proposal was placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors. It requires live-streaming of all public meetings by City policy departments via the Internet, comment submissions from anywhere via the Internet, scheduling of specific agenda items at specific times, and translation services available at all meetings. LPSF decided that this proposal has both good and bad aspects. The price tag is not good ($1.7 million one-time cost of installation, and a minimum of $750,000 annually in staff costs), but making the government process more accessible is good. Our recommendation of YES is based on the added accessibility.
Proposition G – Disclosure Regarding Renewable Energy: This proposal was placed on the ballot by PG&E’s employees union, and seeks to limit what the City can call “green,” “clean,” etc., in promotion of its City-owned utilities. Under the City’s plan, utility customers will be automatically enrolled in the municipal utilities program, and will need to opt out if they find the program unsatisfactory or too expensive. Our recommendation of YES is based on this advantage enjoyed by the City which negates the City’s claim of promoting competition, as well as our preference for transparency.
Proposition H – Clean Energy Right to Know Act: This proposal was placed on the ballot by the Board of Supervisors as a pre-emptive strike against Proposition G, which resulted in PG&E agreeing not to promote Proposition G. Proposition H claims that there is no consensus on what is green or renewable power, so the proposal simply says green and renewable is what it is offering in its City-owned utilities. Also, the proposal would “urge” the SF Public Utilities Commission to inform customers what’s in their green and renewable offer. We recommended a NO vote.
Libertarian Party of San Francisco
Minutes for Monthly Meeting at the San Francisco Public Library on Saturday, August 8, 2015
Attendees: Phil Berg, Marcy Berry (Vice Chair), Chris Bowman (guest), Aubrey Freedman (Chair), Les Mangus (Treasurer), and Starchild.
Activist Reports: Marcy worked on ballot measures (Mission moratorium and legacy businesses) and attended a tech conference. Aubrey worked on the short-term rentals ballot measure and the monthly newsletter and filed the semi-annual Form 460 with the FPPC.
•Young Americans for Liberty (YAL)-1600 Holloway Avenue (at 19th)-SF State University-Student Group Meetings every Thursday at noon in the Cesar Chavez Student Center/Rosa Parks Room-Outreach Tablings every Tuesday at noon in the Malcolm X Plaza (outside Cesar Chavez Student Center.
•Monday, August 17-7:00-9:00 PM-Golden Gate Liberty Revolution-Monthly Meeting-Moksha Life Center-405 Sansome Street.
•Free Exchange-Jim Elwood’s in Parkmerced (may be hosted elsewhere this time only)-Saturday, September 5-7:00-11:00 PM.
Membership/Newsletter Report: Aubrey reported that membership is down by 1 to 39 (22 lifetime members and 17 current paid up annual members). He reported sending the newsletter to 209 people last month with 3 “Unsubscribe” requests, 1 new “Subscribe” request, 0 bounces, and 3 comments. He pulled more email addresses from the Department of Elections listing this time and sent the newsletter to them. Marcy mentioned that we’re not “asking for it.” She will post something on the website about becoming a member, and Aubrey will add a little blurb to his newsletter encouraging subscribers to join the LPSF, which will become a permanent mention in the newsletter.
Website Report: Marcy reported that she tries to write one new article each week for the website. The last one was July 29. She did join the LPCA Facebook and that stirred up some interest in our LPSF Facebook. Five new members joined our Facebook, bringing the number of members up to 191 now.
Treasurer’s Report: Les reported that the beginning balance was $3,941.23. During the month we received two membership renewals/donations totaling $100 plus $57 transferred from PayPal for the monthly recurring donations plus an additional donation of $50 pledged earlier in the year. No checks were cut this month. The new ending balance is $4,148.23.
Semi-Annual FPPC Report: Aubrey reported the report was filed on time for the period ending June 30, 2015. Les discovered an error in the beginning balance, so Aubrey noted that he will send in a revised Form 460 to correct the error.
Freedom of Information Requests: We discussed whether the name of the LPSF should be used when submitting FOIA requests. The point was made that submitting requests that take up a lot of time at City Hall without a specific plan to use the information goes against our desire to have small government. Another point of view was that it’s good for the LPSF to get our name out there as a watchdog that’s keeping an eye on government. We discussed if the LPSF officers should vote each time someone wants to so submit a FOIA request and use our name, but we did not come to a definite conclusion. We left it that individuals should submit FOIA requests in their own name, not the party’s name, just like letters to the editor.
Ballot Measure Arguments Due August 13: Chris Bowman from the SFGOP joined us for a discussion of the ballot measures. We discussed which measures the LPSF and the SFGOP would be submitting arguments on at the DOE on August 13. Chris was a bit undecided on Prop F (short-term rentals), so we pointed out how neighborhood disruptions could be handled without the more restrictive law. Also Phil pointed out that there is already a rating system in place for finding out if tenants who have used the hosting platforms have a history of behavioral problems. In turn Chris provided us with some insights into a few of the ballot measures that have a few gray areas: Prop C (new restrictions on expenditure lobbyists)—he pointed out that currently nonprofits and labor unions are paying third parties to lobby government officials for political favors and there is no transparency on any of this, so the measure could help put this in the public light; and Prop E (new requirements for public meetings)—he pointed out that the 48-hour and translation requirements would make it harder to conduct public meetings. However, Phil noted that they currently have apps available that can aid the government to translate from any language into English. We will finish up the ballot measures for which we are not submitting arguments to the DOE at the next meeting for our official ballot measure recommendations.
Minutes submitted by Aubrey Freedman
Libertarian Party of San Francisco Agenda: Saturday, September 12, 2015
Meeting Location: San Francisco Main Library – 4th Floor Conference Room
Welcome – Introductions 3:05-3:10
Activist Reports – Past & Future 3:11-3:30
Membership/Newsletter Report 3:41-3:45
Website Report 3:46-4:00
Treasurer’s Report 4:01-4:05
November Election Strategy 4:06-4:35
Ballot Measure Arguments Policy 4:36-5:00
Libertarian Party of San Francisco Agenda: Saturday, August 8, 2015
Meeting Location: San Francisco Main Library – 4th Floor Conference Room
Welcome – Introductions 3:05-3:10
Activist Reports – Past & Future 3:11-3:30
Membership/Newsletter Report 3:41-3:45
Website Report 3:46-3:50
Treasurer’s Report 3:51-3:55
Semi-Annual FPPC Report 3:56-4:00
Freedom of Information Requests 4:01-4:20
Ballot Measure Arguments Due August 13 4:21-5:00
Minutes of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco for July 11, 2015
Meeting Location: San Franciso Main Library
Members present: Aubrey Freedman (Chair), Marcy Berry (Vice Chair), Les Mangus (Treasurer), Jawj Greenwald, Phil Berg, Starchild.
Guest: Richard Fast
Jawj just returned from Bali, after attending a conference sponsored by the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL). She reported that the conference had outstanding speakers and a diverse attendance from several countries. Several students present were sponsored by their countries’ libertarian organizations. Richard attended an Independent Institute event. He continues to promote communication among libertarian/Libertarian groups, not only in the U.S., but in neighboring countries. Marcy worked on producing supplies and staffing the libertarian Pride booth. Phil also staffed the Pride booth, and succeeded in convincing a booth visitor particularly disgruntled with the Libertarian Party to part in friendship. Les wrote letters to the editor regarding Greece’s unraveling, but none were published. He distributed copies of an article portraying Greece as a cautionary tale. Aubrey organized and staffed the LPSF Pride booth. Starchild continues working with liberty-minded groups. He has drafted a resolution to be issued by the Bay Area Civil Liberties Coalition, of which the LPSF is a member, opposing the City of Freemont’s intention to place surveillance cameras in the city’s perimeter.
Golden Gate Liberty Revolution monthly meeting July 20th. A guest speaker will share information on how to obtain information from government agencies.
Free Exchange meeting August 1st. Jim Elwood has returned from leading the ISIL Conference in Bali, and will resume hosting Free Exchange in August.
Hearing on Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 (ACA 4), Jim Frazier (D—Solano County): Monday, July 13. This amendment lowers, from two-thirds to 55%, the voter approval threshold for a local government to impose, extend, or increase a special tax to fund "local transportation projects" under its jurisdiction. The LPSF recommends calling or emailing, preferably before 12:00 noon Monday 13th, your state representatives to oppose this change to Proposition 13.
Aubrey reported that total membership in the LPSF is currently 40, including 22 life members. We compared number of registered Libertarians in various Bay Area counties vs. number of current members in LP chapters. The LPSF did not compare well, in spite of herculean efforts by the LPSF Ex-Com to promote the LPSF. Aubrey continues to send out monthly newsletters to close to 200 email recipients, apprising them of the work LPSF does, which appears to have brought in a few memberships. We will discuss our membership situation further at the next LPSF business meeting.
Website and Social Media
Marcy reported that she continues her goal of posting a website/Facebook article each week and providing comments on others’ posts as time permits. She joined the LP California Facebook Group to see what is going on in other California counties and also try to promote communication between LPSF and other counties. Marcy reported that traffic on the LPSF website and Facebook remains static. Although a few more people are posting on the Facebook Group and liking posts, the reach of the posts is not growing. Richard suggested a Twitter account. Marcy noted that the LPSF has a Twitter account but no volunteers with time to use it. The same is true with Facebook and the LPSF Discussion List. Without volunteers willing to use social media, we will discuss additional means of promotion at future LPSF meetings.
Les reported a bank balance at the end of June of $3,941.23. Pending payments include reimbursement to Aubrey for his Pride booth expenses of $381.50, and reimbursement to Marcy for Facebook ad of $50. Money might be needed for November 2015 paid ballot arguments since new restrictions have made it more difficult to win free lottery arguments.
Libertarian Pride Booth
The libertarian Pride booth continues to be a worthwhile investment, since it is a big opportunity to make the Libertarian presence in San Francisco known to so many. The booth received $18 in donations, and 22 visitors left their contact information.
LPSF Resolution on the proposed Mission Moratorium
Aubrey has received the OK of LPSF members to proceed with sending out to the press the LPSF resolution he authored opposing the moratorium on market-rate housing construction in the Mission District. The proposed moratorium will most likely appear on the November 2015 ballot.
Ballot Measures – November 2015 Elections
We discussed the proposals that will most likely appear on the November ballot, and made tentative decisions on the ones LPSF would support or oppose. LPSF will, as usual, submit ballot arguments. If any LPSF volunteer would like to submit a draft ballot argument reflecting the LPSF’s support or opposition to any proposal, please post the draft on the LPSF Activist List.
A. Potential Ballot Measures – Initiative Process
1. Prohibition of Height Limit Increase and Zoning Changes to the San Francisco Wholesale Flower Market. Proposition was withdrawn by proponents, so no action by LPSF.
2. Requirements for Public Meetings of Local Policy Bodies. LPSF decision: General agreement with the greater transparency and public input proposed by this measure, but questions on cost and necessity of providing taxpayer-funded language interpreters. No plans for an argument at this time.
3. Short-term Residential Rentals. LPSF decision: Opposition to the increased restriction of limiting rentals to 75 days per year and expanding the number of entities that can be sued. Draft argument requested.
4. Mission Rock: This proposal is on the ballot per the requirement that waterfront development exceeding current height limits need voter approval. No plans for an argument at this time.
5. Mission District Housing Moratorium. LPSF decision: Opposition to interference with private developers wanting to meet housing demand. Marcy has volunteered to provide draft argument.
6. Disclosures Regarding Renewable Energy. LPSF decision: General agreement on the need to inform utilities customers on what constitutes “renewable” in City-provided utilities from “renewable sources,” but general opposition to a City-owned utility company. No plans for an argument at this time.
B. Potential Ballot Measures – For Submission by the Mayor, Four or More Members of the Board of Supervisors, or Other Eligible Agencies.
1. Establishing the Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund (Campos, Avalos, Kim, Mar). LPSF decision: Opposition to government intervention in the private business market or protecting one type of business over another. Marcy has volunteered provide a draft argument.
2. Surplus Public Lands Ordinance (Kim, Avalos, Campos, Mar): This proposal appears to be an effort by City officials to reserve land owned by the City and its jurisdictions (School District, Community College, Parks Department, etc.) for construction of subsidized housing for middle, low, and no-income people. More study of this proposal is needed, and Aubrey will follow up.
3. Expenditure Lobbyists Ordinance: The Ethics Commission made this proposal to include registration requirements of people paid by lobbyists to influence government officials. No plans for an argument at this time.
Resolution in opposition to Surveillance cameras in the City of Fremont
Starchild explained the resolution he authored for publication by the Bay Area Civil Liberties Coalition, of which LPSF is a member. The city of Fremont, California, proposes to install surveillance cameras on the city’s perimeter to capture license plate numbers and potentially images of drivers of vehicles entering and leaving the city. Starchild will follow up regarding the final version of this resolution.
Minutes taken by Marcy Berry