Agenda for the October 13th, 2020 Business Meeting
DRAFT AGENDA – SUBJECT TO CHANGE
Join the Libertarian Party of Orange County, FL for our regular business meeting on Tuesday, October 13th, 2020.
Everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of political affiliation (or lack of). Our focus is the advancement of liberty within our local communities through activism, events, and Libertarian political candidates. Can’t make it and want to support the party? Follow our Livestream during the event and please consider contributing to our success by making a Donation.
6:00 – Meet and Greet
6:30 – Call to Order
Determination of Quorum – 75% of Executive Committee or 25% of all voting members
Declaration of Proxy
Approval and Adoption of Agenda
Review and Approval of Minutes – Minutes for August 18th, 2020 Business Meeting
6:35 – Guest Speakers – Valerie Anderson, Philip Frye, and Marcos Marrero will be speaking on the Split Oak Forest issue.
7:05 – Officer Reports
Chair Report – Ralph Groves
Vice-Chair Report – Pedro Geliga
Secretary Report – Mari Peele
Treasurer Report – Greg Peele
7:20 – Committee Reports
7:35 – Old Business
7:35 – New Business
- Motion 2020-16 (See Appendix A and Appendix B)
- Mover: Greg Peele
- Motion: I move for the Libertarian Party of Orange County, Florida to make the following endorsements:
- Jo Jorgensen for President and Jeremy “Spike” Cohen for Vice-President
- To write in “None of the Above” for Orange County Sheriff
- To write in “None of the Above” for Orange County Property Appraiser
- To vote “NO” on Florida Constitutional Amendment 1
- To vote “NO” on Florida Constitutional Amendment 2
- To vote “NO” on Florida Constitutional Amendment 3
- To vote “YES” on Florida Constitutional Amendment 4
- To vote “NO” on Florida Constitutional Amendment 5
- To vote “NO” on Florida Constitutional Amendment 6
- To vote “NO” on Orange County Charter Question #1
- To vote “YES” on Orange County Charter Question #2
- To vote “YES” on Orange County Charter Question #3
- Floor motions
8:00 – Adjourn
Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy “Spike” Cohen are the Libertarian National Committee’s nominees for the offices of President and Vice-President. They are principled Libertarians that have boldly and uncompromisingly promoted our party’s platform of individual rights and limited government. We recommend that Libertarians give them unreserved support.
Orange County Sheriff did not have a competitive election outside of the Democratic primary that only Democrats could vote in – silencing the voice of 57% of Orange County voters who are not Democrats. Incumbent Sheriff John Mina is no friend of liberty: he has continued the policies of his predecessor Jerry Demings enforcing the tyrannical Drug War and allowed abusive use of force procedures that inspired substantial protests in Orlando – in which his deputies responded with tear gas, pepper spray, curfews, and corralling measures on nonviolent protesters. One silver lining is that he has not used the Republican-led gun control measures from the 2018 Marjory-Stoneman Douglas Act to the same extent as his Republican colleagues; ironically making Orange County an unexpected sanctuary for gun rights. He has similarly shown little enforcement of the abusive COVID-19 lockdown policies passed by the Orange County Commission and Orlando City Council. However, in both cases his approach seems to be due to hesitation to commit law enforcement resources rather than philosophical objection. While Sheriff Mina will certainly win reelection, we do not believe his anointing by Orlando Democratic power brokers and a minority of Orange County voters is legitimate and we recommend writing in “None of the Above” as a protest.
Orange County Property Appraiser did not have a competitive election outside of the Democratic primary that only Democrats could vote in – silencing the voice of 57% of Orange County voters who are not Democrats. Amy Mercado is a loyal Democratic partisan with no expertise whatsoever in the office she seeks – she defeated incumbent Rick Singh primarily based concerns about Singh’s ethics plus party support. We cannot predict how Mercado will actually perform in office. Libertarians believe the office of Property Appraiser should not exist in the first place as it exists solely for the purpose of theft; to extort Orange County property owners of the County’s rent on their private property at whatever valuation they feel is “just.” While Amy Mercado will certainly win election, we do not believe her anointing by Orlando Democratic power brokers and a minority of Orange County voters is legitimate and we recommend writing in “None of the Above” as a protest.
For the Florida Constitutional Amendments, I incorporate the Libertarian Party of Florida’s Legislative Action Committee Report by reference.
Some brief additional notes:
- Amendment 1 is unnecessary since federal law prohibits non-citizens voting, the current Constitutional language is clear, and no Florida jurisdictions are advocating otherwise; it is purely virtue signaling by Republican nationalists with no practical effect
- Amendment 2 will be ruinous to Florida’s already hurting economy, and it reflects a level of national socialist control over labor and pricing that should not exist in a free society. While Orange County will probably be less affected than most since the cost of living and wages are already higher here than the Florida average, it will be absolutely devastating to rural counties.
- Amendment 3 will make it far more difficult for candidates not belonging to the Republican or Democratic Party to make it to the general election in November, and practical implementation in California and Washington shows it actually reduces turnout while reinforcing the one party rule problems those states already had. The correct solution is to switch all elections to Ranked Choice Voting on the November general election and Amendment 3 will make it harder, not easier, to fix things.
- Amendment 4 is purely a strategic choice; the Libertarian platform is silent on it. Constitutional amendments should be carefully conceived, carefully measured, and passed only when absolutely necessary, with plenty of time for each side to make their case. It is for the same reason that LPOC already requires Constitutional amendments to our own bylaws to pass two consecutive votes; how much more important is the Florida Constitution?
- Amendments 5 and 6 are tinkering with existing exemptions to property tax. While some would argue that any reduction in tax is good, these exemptions are robbing Peter to pay Paul and are in violation of the platform requirements for equal treatment under law; county and city governments are not restricted from increasing the millage to compensate for homestead reductions and indeed have consistently done so. This does not reduces taxes, it merely shifts the burden from a favored class to a disfavored class. It also indirectly causes increases in rent since non-homesteaded owners receive the brunt of the related millage increases.
Orange County Charter Question 1 involves establishing “rights” for inanimate objects such as rivers and springs to be free of pollution. While we adamantly oppose pollution as an act of aggression against the public that the government already often fails at preventing, this perversion of legal philosophy is absurd. At the end of the day, only individual people have rights and thus have standing to sue in court. If this measure is passed, certain privileged people will appoint themselves as the protectors of the environment and thus arbiters of these rights however they see them – and given how things have gone in Orange County the past two decades, it’s not hard to guess how little this approach will care about individual human rights and how far this will go off the rails. As a practical issue, passing this charter question will also result in extensive lawsuits costing Orange taxpayers possibly millions, since the Florida legislature has already passed laws that forbid local jurisdictions from enforcing such laws and have the authority to do so. We believe that using the government – always susceptible to developer and corporate cronyism and lobbying – as the mechanism to defend the environment is ridiculous. We need to promote better solutions using private property and individual interests to defend our environment. We recommend voting “NO” on Question 1 and holding companies accountable for polluting the environment by better means.
Orange County Charter Question 2, ironically, involves the government failing to honor environmental protection by violating property and contract rights in spirit if not necessarily in law. The Split Oak Forest was put under government control to protect a sensitive environmental area with the promise that the Orange and Osceola county governments would continue to honor that in perpetuity. Of course, now that they’re chasing shiny developer money from the Tavistock Group and want to build a toll road for the crony Central Florida Expressway Authority, let’s forget the promises that were made when this environmental preservation contract was established, right? While we advocate private property as the mechanism for protecting the environment for exactly this reason – government promises are fleeting at best and easily forgotten in the face of lobbyist money – we believe that voting “YES” on Question 2 is appropriate to hold the Orange County government to its promises and honor the environmental decision that created the Split Oak preserve in the first place. Make the Tavistock developers figure out an alternate solution that isn’t violating the spirit of the contract made with Orange and Osceola county residents.
Orange County Charter Question 3 is purely a procedural question about how to add charter amendments to the ballot. There is already a difficult process to do that via petitions across all six Orange County districts, and it has a time limit of 180 days. One of the required elements of this process is government approval, and petitions cannot be collected while the government is doing said review. This amendment changes the process so that the time spent for government approval does not count against the 180 time limit for petitions. While we believe that constitutional and bylaw amendments should be difficult, giving the government the ability to deny such amendments merely by failing to act in review and run out the clock is a bad idea. We recommend a “YES” vote on Question 3.
Links to Ballotpedia.org Florida Amendment summaries:
Amendment 1: https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Amendment_1,_Citizen_Requirement_for_Voting_Initiative_(2020)
Amendment 2: https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Amendment_2,_$15_Minimum_Wage_Initiative_(2020)
Amendment 3: https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Amendment_3,_Top-Two_Open_Primaries_for_State_Offices_Initiative_(2020)
Amendment 4: https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Amendment_4,_Require_Constitutional_Amendments_to_be_Passed_Twice_Initiative_(2020)
Amendment 5: https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Amendment_5,_Extend_%22Save_Our_Homes%22_Portability_Period_Amendment_(2020)
Amendment 6: https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Amendment_6,_Homestead_Property_Tax_Discount_for_Spouses_of_Deceased_Veterans_Amendment_(2020)
2020 Charter Review Commission Final Report