Issues

We would like to offer the Libertarian view concerning subjects that affect us all, such as education, interference with free markets, social mores, individual rights.  Please read our articles on various issues, as well as the summary of our views below.

Crime and Violence:  We suggest the following:  1) Address the root causes of crime, such as mediocre schools, lack of economic opportunities, dependence on government, and misguided policies like the War on Drugs.  2) Require that criminals pay victims restitution for medical expenses, loss of property, and pain and suffering.  3) Focus on real crimes that harm the innocent.

Education of children:  Monopolies are generally viewed as inefficient means of delivering products or services.  In the absence of competition, monopolies have no incentive to produce the best possible goods.  Government schools are no exception.  Therefore, we support diverse systems which offer families the greatest choice, encourage highest parental involvement, and force competing systems to deliver their best efforts.  Poor children often suffer the most under the current educational system, since those that want to learn, lacking choices, are grouped with those who choose to be uninvolved and disruptive. We encourage families in poorly-performing school districts to explore alternatives such as, charter schools, voucher programs, and parent-managed co-ops, including home schooling co-ops

Environment:  Individuals bear primary responsibility for their own well being as well as that of Mother Earth.  The free market responds to consumers’ demands.  If consumers keep themselves informed and demand products and services that do the least environmental harm, the need for government’s vast array of costly environmental regulation disappears.

Foreign Policy:  "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations -- entangling alliances with none." (Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address).  Build positive relationships, with emphasis on free trade.  Avoid negative relationships, with emphasis on military non-intervention.

Gun Laws:  Prohibition did not stop liquor use.  The War on Drugs did not stop drug use.  Gun prohibition will not stop criminals from owning guns.  The Bill of Rights is intended to protect people from a government wanting to go rogue, and the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights gives people the ultimate means to do so.

Health Care:  Regulation increases the cost of any product, including healthcare.  Transparency, competition, and an informed citizenry keep costs more affordable than healthcare supported by a vast, resource-wasting bureaucracy.

Immigration:  Whenever laws conflict with how people actually live and sectors of the economy actually work, problems arise.  No amount of “immigration reform” will change these contradictory facts:  1) Sectors of the U.S. economy need low-skilled workers, while everybody’s aspiration is to go to college.  2) Sectors of the economy need highly-skilled technicians who are flexible in their demands, while everybody’s aspiration is a highly-paid position with all kinds of benefits. We need to remove barriers that interfere with how people actually live.

Personal Liberty:  Libertarians are guided by the principle of non-aggression.  Guided thus, individuals should be free to make choices for themselves and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. If government is held to the limited responsibilities spelled out in the Constitution, it will not intrude in individuals’ privacy, preferences, or choices.

Poverty and Welfare:  Government has the habit of first creating a problem, then passing vast amounts of legislation in attempts to solve it.  Policies such as taxation and regulation discourage entrepreneurism that creates jobs.  “Solutions” have done nothing but make more people dependent on government and less able to fend for themselves.  A better approach is to remove barriers to entrepreneurial activity, and institute a dollar for dollar tax credit for donations to charities that help those who truly need assistance.

Taxes:  Government's role needs to be limited to its Constitutional function of protecting life, property, and individual rights, as well as defending us from foreign attack.  Those functions can be funded by minimal taxation, as was the original intent of our Constitution.  It should be evident that the unchecked growth of government at all levels requires more taxation, which removes money from the free market economy that provides livelihoods.

BLOODY THURSDAY

Funeral of dock workers

 

2014 marks the 80th anniversary of San Francisco’s Pacific Cost Maritime Strike and its tragic Bloody Thursday.  The strike stands out as a remarkable story, a struggle for dignity and self determination, a watershed in history, and ultimately a testament to the inevitability of change – change that often comes about or is accelerated by economic pressures that affect every single one of us.

 

In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, the port of San Francisco was the second largest port in the United States in value of cargo.  Thousands of men labored at the docks, grateful to have a job at all and submissive to a system of humiliation and back-breaking work.  The system was dominated by the twin challenges of “Shape Up” and “Speed Up.” 

 

For dock workers, each day started with the shape-up, “The longshore hiring process up to 1934 was a degrading daily ritual known as a ‘shape-up.’…Men gathered, or ‘shaped,’ on the street outside the San Francisco Ferry Building at 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning in the hope of being chosen for a day’s work by a gang boss. Bridges [labor leader Harry Bridges] recalled that ‘We were hired off the streets like a bunch of sheep, standing there from six o’clock in the morning, in all kinds of weather’.”

 

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AS SURE AS TAXES AND MORE TAXES

Promises

We'll Tax Only the Rich!  We promise!

That was the promise politicians made in order to pass the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and establish the income tax.  How is that promise working out for you?

The Libertarian Party asks “Why An Income Tax?  Before 1913, federal income taxes were rare and short lived.  America became the most prosperous nation on earth.  The U.S. government did not try to police the world or play ‘nanny’ to everyone from cradle to grave.  People took responsibility for themselves, their families, and their communities.  That is how the founders of America thought it should be.  And it worked.  It can again!”  http://www.lp.org/issues/taxes

But we do have an income tax, as well as several payroll taxes, corporate taxes, capital gain taxes – the list is endless.  Those taxes are ever present, obnoxious entities that influence pretty much all our actions.  These entities suck income from those who earn it, heap mounds of paperwork on everyone, snoop into everyone’s every move, generate constant threats, carry with them an assumption of guilt not innocence, and are beloved by those who either do not pay any of them or can shelter themselves from paying much of them.  Worse, these taxes (along with fiat currency, of course) finance a gargantuan wasteful bureaucracy that crowds out the efficient free market, noses into our private lives, and manhandles us at airports.

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UNCONTROLLED GROWTH OF NON-TEACHING STAFF IN SCHOOLS?

GROWTH IN PUBLIC SCHOOL NON-INSTRUCTIONAL STAFF: TIME TO JUST SAY NO?

Regardless of how well they are intended, government programs often carry significant detrimental consequences. One such consequence is that once established, programs grow and grow, frequently crowding out alternative, more efficient approaches to challenges the programs mean to address.  When programs meant to help school children are instituted and subsequently entrenched, consequences can be especially egregious.

Such programs seldom entail classroom teaching of reading, writing, and computing. Instead most have resulted in an explosive growth in non-instructional staff that has little or nothing to do with teaching our children to read or write.  Predictably, California public school students, for example, consistently score below proficiency levels in reading assessment tests. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 1970 the public school national ratio of pupils per administrative staff was 697.7 (one staffer to 697.7 pupils). In 2011 the number was 379.20 (one staffer to 379.20 pupils).  These numbers of non-instructional staff include “officials, administrators, and instructional coordinators.”  These numbers do not include principals and assistant principals, instructional aides, librarians, and counselors – all of which are classified as instructional staff.  Nor do the numbers include “support staff,” the numbers of which went from one staffer to 43.8 pupils in 1970 to one staffer to 26.40 pupils in 2011. If we look at the growth numbers 1970 – 2011 of classroom teachers vs. that of administrators, we see an increase in classroom teachers of 54%, and an increase of 100% in purely administrative, non-instructional staff.

The customary official declaration is that such growth in the ratio of non-instructional staff to pupils is desirable because it frees teachers from tasks that, absent these staffers, teachers would need to do. Closer to the truth is that most non-instructional staff plays a dubiously-essential role in the school system, but diverts focus and funds away from teachers.

Now there is Proposition C, The Children’s Fund, on the November 4, 2014, San Francisco ballot.   This program started out in 1991, to last for 10 years, as an auxiliary service of the school system for children under 18, providing job readiness, training and placement, health and social services, recreation, delinquency prevention and library services – all funded by a 2.5% set aside of property taxes.  When the program was renewed by voters in 2001, the set aside grew to 3% and the expiration grew to 15 years.  So now the program is up for renewal – for a 4% set aside, to expire in 25 years, and providing benefits for children and “youth” to 24 years of age.

To ensure the perpetuity of the noticeably extravagant “Children and Youth Fund,” Proposition C bundles two innocent- sounding programs with it, the “Enrichment Fund” and the “Rainy Day Fund.” The “Enrichments Fund,” funded by general City revenues, supports libraries, sports, music and other “enrichment” school activities. The “Rainy Day Fund,” pays the salaries of teachers who are no longer needed when pupil enrollment in the school system falls significantly.

Additionally, Proposition C creates a brand new department, the “Oversight Advisory Committee,” under which all three components of Proposition C will operate.

At some point, one would think parents would just say NO. At some point, they would demand that their tax dollars are spent on teachers, teachers’ aides, libraries, and basic school supplies.

Resources are not unlimited. Therefore, schools and school funding should focus exclusively on teaching the basics in the most effective, innovative, and incentivizing way possible.   Human nature is what it is, and the status quo tends to grow and resist change.  It is up to parents, who want the best outcome for their children, and taxpayers, who foot the bill, to bring about reform.

Statistical Reference:

http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d13/tables/dt13_213.10.asp

Table 213.10 Staff employed in public elementary and secondary school systems, by type of assignment: Selected years, 1949-50 through fall 2011.

http://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading_math_2013/

2013 Mathematics and Reading – Focus on Individual States

 

 

 

 

 

THE DAY WE ALMOST ABOLISHED THE VICE SQUAD

We from the Libertarian Party of San Francisco who attended the "Advocacy and Leadership Training Conference 2014" hosted by Libertarian Party of Yolo County were delighted to be reminded of a piece of the LPSF’s colorful past.  Old time members of the LPSF are fond of mentioning “The Vice Squad Abolition initiative.”  Back in the 1970’s, libertarians decided to make a strong statement against the San Francisco Vice Squad for wasting taxpayer money on victimless “crimes” such as voluntary prostitution. They decided to abolish the Squad. 

The Vice Squad Abolition initiative had the support of victims of victimless crimes, but also of notables such as Ed Clark (1980 Libertarian Presidential Candidate, whose VP running mate was David Koch), Ed Crane (one of the founders of the Cato Institute), Murray Rothbard (Austrian School economist), and Cecil Williams (Pastor of Glide Memorial Church).  Supporters among elected City officials were Rosario Anaya, Bill Maher, and Ben Tom (members of the Board of Education), and Lillian Sing (member of the Community College Board).  Luminaries against the initiative were Dianne Feinstein (Mayor), Robert Barry (President of the Police Officers Association), and William Dauer (President of the Chamber of Commerce).  Mayor Feinstein shouted in her ballot argument, “Don’t be fooled by those who encourage vice!”  The San Francisco Public Library’s Ballot Propositions Database contains the basic facts of the initiative and a link to the voter pamphlet of November 6, 1979.  Public Library Index of Ballot Propositions

Libertarian and libertarian-leaning folk, gathered 15,141 signatures, way above the 10,562 required for LPSF to place Proposition Q on the November 6, 1979 ballot.  The vote was 33.80% Yes, and 66.20% No, with 50.1% needed for passage.

At the Yolo County LP Advocacy and Leadership Training Conference, we were honored to meet Isabel Isherwood, Yolo County Libertarian Party activist and one of the signature-gathering volunteers who helped LPSF not only actually place an initiative on the San Francisco ballot, but also make clear the message of the initiative – use scarce resources to catch real criminals!

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Enjoy the 4th of July!

Picture of Ben Franklin

 

The Fourth of July is a good time to get together with family and friends, eat hotdogs, watch fireworks, and have a great time all around.  The Libertarian Party of San Francisco wishes you all those good things.  We also hope you will join us in following our tradition to remember Ben Franklin on this day, so we tell the story once again.

 

 

At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Franklin was queried as he left Independence Hall on the final day of deliberation. In the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention, a lady asked Dr. Franklin “Well Doctor what have we got, a republic or a monarchy.”  Franklin replied, “A republic . . . if you can keep it.”

 

 

Have we kept our republic?  Have we taken the trouble to be vigilant?  Do we still remember what was really meant by “the price of liberty?”  Well, we still have peaceful elections, and our Bill of Rights is still hanging in there – for how long depends on all of us.  We Libertarians aim to stay in the fight.  May we also count on you?

 

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