Meeting of 11 August, 2018 | Libertarian Party of San Francisco

Meeting of 11 August, 2018

Aubrey Freedman

Minutes for August 11, 2018 Meeting of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco taken by Aubrey Freedman.


Attendees:  Nick Smith (Chair), Rebecca Lau (Vice Chair), Jawj Greenwald (Treasurer), Aubrey Freedman (Secretary), Paul A. (guest), Don Amini (guest), Terry Chong, Phaedra Fisher (guest), Saul Flores (guest), Caroline Hutchinson (guest), Alex Mills (guest), Lisa Remmer (guest), Jon Sindell (guest), and Starchild.


Introductions:  Paul is new to libertarianism and wants to check it out.  John is a constitutionalist type of libertarian.  Phaedra was active during the good ol’ Ron Paul campaign days and wants to get back into activism again.


Chair’s Report:  Nick reported another pretty successful second monthly “Happy Hour” social gathering at the Thirsty Bear Brewing Co. on the last Thursday of July.  He noted that around a dozen people attended this time.  He’s been going to the Bay Area Conservatives monthly gatherings.  He met Dan Johnson from “We Do Better” at the national convention and has organized a call-in with Dan today at 4:30 PM to explain more about his organization and its mission to solve social problems with voluntary organizations rather than government-funded solutions.  Dan hopes to get a chapter started in San Francisco and work towards a $500 state tax credit for folks to give to an organization of their choice.  Nick mentioned that Lisa Remmer, who is running for the 12th Congressional District, is looking for an endorsement from the LPSF, but the agenda was too full today, so she will come to the September meeting and pitch her campaign.  Lastly John Dennis is running for Supervisor from District 2 and will join us at 5:00 today to talk about his campaign. 


Vice Chair’s Report:  Rebecca reported that the video from the 5th Annual Panel Discussion on School Choice is online now on YouTube.  She is pleased with it, and it’s part of the Simulation series run by Allen Saakyan, who moderated the panel.


Treasurer’s Report:  Aubrey reported that we have $4,193.92 in the credit union (unchanged from last month) and $2,426.63 in PayPal for a total of $6,620.55.  No checks were written since the last meeting.  We still have two unpaid expenses to pay from the panel discussion:  $300.00 for the room rental at the Mechanic’s Institute (Rebecca) and $63.11 for the panel discussion refreshments (Nick)..  So, while our cash position is $6,620.55 today, our adjusted cash balance will be $6,257.44 once these panel discussion expenses are reimbursed.  Aubrey noted that when he did the Form 460 filing due at the end of July he discovered from going through the PayPal detail that one of our members became a recurring monthly donor early in the year, so we have 5 recurring donors now. 


Secretary’s Report:  Aubrey reported that membership is up by 2 members from last month with 21 lifetime members and 29 regular, currently paid-up members, for a total of 50.  This is the highest it’s been since he has been an activist, and we have now reached the milestone that he was hoping to achieve, though we’re still a ways from Nick’s goal of 70 members by year-end.  He noted that we got one unexpected new member from the Golden Gate Liberty Revolution and also one new member from Marin County that he doesn’t know anything about.  Also good news is that one member who we weren’t sure about did renew and a long-term donor also renewed.  Several members are taking the two-year memberships now as evidenced by the fact that 4 current memberships now extend into 2020.  (At the end of the meeting today, another member joined, making it 51 members, and a guest wanted to sign up, but we were out of forms, so he will join at the next meeting.) 


Newsletter Report:  Aubrey reported that the August newsletter is in process.  Nick provided the website statistics for the July newsletter:  it reached 1,633 subscribers, though only 15% opened it up and only 2.5% clicked on anything in the article.  The newsletter had 4 articles this time, including one Nick got inspired to write regarding the latest ban by San Francisco’s politicians—this time a ban against corporate kitchens for their employees.



Outreach Report:  Starchild attended several meetings of the Ballot Simplification Committee to help ensure the language of the ballot measures is clear so the voters know what they’re voting for.  He appealed the language on the Seawall and hotel tax allocation to the arts measures and submitted revisions of the wording, but none of his suggestions were accepted.  He reported that Supervisor Malia Cohen showed up to push her cannabis tax measure, and also he received a very favorable comment from Chris Bowman regarding his efforts to improve the ballot measure language.  Starchild attended a BART meeting regarding recent killings on BART and BART’s efforts to clamp down on crime on BART.  He noted that the BART management is now intent on adding more surveillance and “hardening” stations, making it harder to get in and out of BART stations, with more police officers, automated license readers, and tracking of movement.  Starchild noted that the BART Board voted NO on putting in automated license readers, but staff put them in anyway.  He and Oakland Privacy were there to ensure that the BART police are constrained, and he noted that the many of those who gave public comment were opposed to the additional surveillance.  The BART officials felt because the public meeting was held in an urban area that the emphasis on civil liberties was overshadowing the need for “law and order,” so the next meeting will be held in the suburbs for the “law and order” crowd.  Starchild also attended a rally for the hotel tax allocation to the arts outside City Hall, and he was interviewed by a reporter as an opponent of the earmark, but none of the interview ended up being televised.  Starchild has been working with Alex setting up the SF Liberty Coalition, which will be a type of townhall caucus of various groups interested in promoting more liberty for single issues, and hopefully a “cross pollination” of the groups for an appreciation of greater liberty in all areas, not just single issues.  Former attendee at liberty events Angelo had a boss who is liberty-oriented, and his place of business is a potential location for the monthly coalition meetings.



Ballot Measure Arguments (November Election):  There are 5 local ballot measures for this election; most were for new taxes and one was for a bond, so there wasn’t much discussion as to oppose or not..  The bond measure is for a $425 million bond to rebuild the seawall around the Port of San Francisco.  Obviously this will be a deposit for the project, and the estimated total cost will very likely exceed the estimated $2-$5 billion cost, as all these boondoggles end up doing.  Starchild will write the argument for this and include the classic Willie Brown statement about digging a whole so big that the only way to fill it up is come up with more money.  Then there is “Privacy Policy” ballot measure regarding city policy regarding privacy and third-party vendors and contractors The City uses; it sounded innocuous enough but vague.  The general consensus was that we will support this measure but no interest in writing an argument for this one.  Then there’s the additional tax on gross receipts for homelessness, which we had already discussed in the July meeting, which is an additional tax of .175%-.69% on gross receipts depending on the business, and for businesses that pay the tax based on payroll expense rather than gross receipts, it’s an additional 1.5% of payroll expense.  Nick will write the argument against this one.  A new ballot measure is an additional gross receipts tax on cannabis businesses, plus a second part of the same measure that will tax businesses that do business in The City but are not physically present here.  Starchild mentioned that this second part of the ballot measure could potentially be more important than the cannabis tax part due to the increasing trend for consumers to buy products online, plus someone at the Ballot Simplification Committee meeting questioned why this wasn’t considered as two separate ballot measures the voters could vote on.  Of course we will oppose, and Aubrey will write the argument against.  The last measure is an allocation of part of the hotel tax away from the general fund towards “the arts.”  From a Libertarian point of view, we wouldn’t automatically oppose this one, since it is revenue neutral.  There was some discussion about maybe not writing an argument against this one because as it was less important and it might look like, in addition to all the other things Libertarians are purported to oppose, we hate the arts too.  Others felt that a strong case could definitely be made highlighting an earmark like this would detract from funding available for basic services the residents expect, not to mention why is The City funding the arts at all.   Jawj was moved by this issue and will write an argument against this allocation for special interests.



Angela Alioto Sanctuary City Ballot Initiative:  Terry Chong is moved by this issue, so she did a short presentation on this ballot measure which did not qualify for the November ballot but may qualify for next year’s election if it gets the required 10,000 signatures (only got 7,500 signatures at this point).  San Francisco is well-known as a Sanctuary City, but this initiative would change local law to allow city officials to share information with immigration officials if 1) the individual is convicted of a violent felony or 2) the individual was previously convicted of a violent or serious felony, and is ordered to stand trial for a new violent or serious felony charge.  Needless to say, the discussion became quite heated and had to be tabled as we ran out of time.  Despite some concern over the word “serious,” some of our members did sign the petition.


Speaker Don Johnson, Executive Director of WeDoBetter:  Don’s organization’s purpose is to help private organizations solve social problems, rather than relying on government to solve the problems.  He wants to shift the paradyn from look to the government first to look to the people first.  He mentioned the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, where the government spent $7.6 billion, but the Cajun Navy accomplished 6,000 rescues with only some gas money.  In San Diego, Saved in America is a non-profit that uses Navy seals to find missing children; it takes them an average of 9 days and $5,000 to find a missing child.  Don’s organization’s plan is twofold:  1) show people what works better and 2) tout the example of the Arizona Charitable Credit as an example of what is working.  For the last 20 years Arizonans have been able to give $200 to any organization they choose for charity.  The program has grown tremendously over the years, and in 2016 alone 137,000 taxpayers gave $52 million to food banks.  He gave an example of problematic government funding of non-profits that provide community service:  a domestic violence center that was 80% funded by the government had to follow onerous rules, and one of them was the government grant could not be spent on pets, but many abused women wouldn’t leave their abusers because they didn’t want to leave their pets behind but could not take them to the government-funded domestic violence center.  Thus the center was not as useful to the community due to the rule.  WeDoBetter promoted SB 1485, which was sponsored by California Senator Mike Morrell, would have given individuals a $500 credit, not deduction, and a married couple a $1,000 credit for contributing to “qualified” charitable organizations.  They did get 21 organizations to support the bill, but unfortunately it died in committee because they couldn’t get letters in support of the bill submitted in time.  Don said they might try again in 2-3 years and may reduce the amount of the credit to $250 for individuals.  WeDoBetter is not rated by Charity Navigator because it was launched in October of 2017, and your organization has to be at least 7 years old to be rated by Charity Navigator.  Don noted that one only needs 3% political support to get a bill passed due to the small number of voters who are eligible to vote and who are registered and who actually vote.  He’s been working with non-profits to get them on board supporting the efforts of WeDoBetter.  He also tries to build coalitions working with such diverse people and organizations like Carl DeMaio, a conservative from San Diego, and the Sierra Club.  His organization’s goal for 2019 is the support of at least one city in California and all their political representatives of all parties. 

John Dennis, Special Guest Speaker:  John is running for District 2 Supervisor and wanted to get our endorsement.  Many of us were familiar with John from his 3 previous runs for Congress against Pelosi in 2010, 2012, and 2014 and also his alignment with Ron Paul.  John has always done quite well in District 2, which is the wealthiest district in The City; he noted that around 80% of the voters in District 2 have no problem voting for a Republican, and previously he beat Pelosi in 3 District 2 precincts.  John is solidly a “blue” Republican and is staunchly anti-war and was previously supported by Matt Gonzalez.  He had previous writeups in The Nation by John Nichols and even in Mother Jones in “Some Guy Running Against Pelosi.”  John has a working-class upbringing and lived in a government housing project growing up in Jersey City.  John came to libertarianism through Father Jim Sadowsky who associated with Murray Rothbard and Walter Block.  He stuffed envelopes for the Ron Paul 1988 campaign for President.  He wasn’t really interested in running for office again this time, but didn’t like any of the other candidates running in District 2, and when a homeless man walked into his house not long ago, he got jarred into action.  He is running against Nick Josefowitz, Catherine Stefani, and Schulyer Hudak—all Democrats—and noted that all 3 have very similar views on the issues and keep saying the same thing over and over again.  His big issues for this campaign are the homelessness problem, property crime, and housing.  Especially on homelessness, he noted The City is spending $382 million per year, which is about $40,000 per person, and that doesn’t include ER visits.  He opposes the Homeless Industrial Complex and the “tech tax,” which shifts the blame for the problem on the tech industry.  He noted that San Jose and San Diego, both larger cities, have annual budgets of around $3 billion, while San Francisco’s budget is over $11 billion..  He is the only candidate running for District 2 Supervisor who has private industry experience and was endorsed by the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute.  John does not believe in abandoning The City for “Galt’s Gulch” and thinks things can be turned around here (freedom wise), though he noted it is tougher to be a libertarian when the issues are local.  Though there was some discussion as to whether the LPSF could endorse a non-Libertarian, our by-laws stated that it’s OK to endorse someone who upholds libertarian principles even though they might be registered with another party, so the LPSF did give John our endorsement.  (Subsequently we did find out that in accord with LPCA’s by-laws, which we’re supposed to adhere to, it is OK to endorse a non-Libertarian if the race is non-partisan, which is the case here.) 


August 15 (Wednesday) John Dennis for District 2 Supervisor:  Meet & Greet

6:30 PM – Golden Gate Valley Library at 1801 Green Street in San Francisco


August 18 (Saturday) Northern California Libertarian Party Leadership Summit

The Northern Vice-Chair of the Libertarian Party of California is hosting this leadership summit for leaders within California’s 58 counties to become better organized and develop best practices.  This event will feature panel discussions on issues such as writing bylaws, fundraising, hosting events, building membership, and more.  More information to come soon!

Piatti Sacramento at 571 Pavilions Lane in Sacramento

Contact [email protected]


August 23 (Thursday) “None of Our Business” LPSF Happy Hour

Location TBD in San Francisco – Check Meetup!

Unable to make it to our regular monthly meetings?  Just want to kick back and mingle with liberty-minded individuals?  We are kicking off a monthly “None of our Business” happy hour social, where we can take a break from party business and talk, life, politics or whatever is on your mind.  Come out for a drink and get to know us!


September 11 (Wednesday) Larry Elder at the Silicon Valley Liberty Forum

IFES Portuguese Hall at 432 Stierlin Road in Mountain View

September 14 (Friday) 10th Annual Silicon Valley Mises Celebration

Featuring Jeffrey Tucker and Edward Stringham

6:00 PM in the Corinthian Grand Ballroom at 196 North 3rd Street in San Jose, CA 95112

September 14-15 (Friday/Saturday) Classical Liberals in Northern California Conference

Inspired by a similar effort in the Carolinas.  The conference brings together dynamic scholars, philanthropists, think-tank directors, business leaders, and policy advocates to discuss issues affecting freedom in California.  For more information visit:

SJSU Student Union Theatre at 211 South 9th Street in San Jose CA 95112