Delta Sigma Theta Candidates Forum

I attended the September 27, 2016 Candidates Forum organized by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority at San Jose State University. Delta Sigma Theta is a national sorority (most of whose members are African American women). First let me say Delta Sigma Theta did a great job. They were gracious and welcoming to me. They also went out of their way to include me even though I was a last minute addition to the program.

There were a variety of candidates: one Congressional candidate, one State Senate candidate, three State Assembly candidates, two city council candidates, four school board candidates, one water board candidate, and one party representative (me).

Given that there were so many candidates, my time was limited (but the moderator did a great job making sure everyone got a chance to speak). My main points in my opening statement were that the Libertarian Party’s positions were based on the Non-aggression principle and we favored cooperation over coercion. During the questions, I gave the websites and when asked about Gary’s Aleppo moment, I made the point the US government should not be messing around in other countries. I also got in that the first woman to receive an electoral college vote was Libertarian Tonie Nathan. For my final remarks, I pointed out that most of what was talked about was government attempting to solve problems but that there was no discussion of stopping the government from doing things that were causing problems. I mentioned that all our presidential candidates, including Gary Johnson, wanted an end to our foreign wars and the war on drugs.

Even though the bulk of the discussion was about expanding government, there were many positive aspects. It was refreshing to chat with a few citizen-candidates running out of concern for their communities rather than a political career (eg, Kimberly Meek for school trustee and Tom Cruz for water board). One of the few Republicans talked about limited government. However, the brightest spot was when Pattie Cortese (running for school trustee) talked about restorative justice. The idea behind restorative justice (as I understand it) is that the criminal should make the victim whole rather that a focus on punishment. I know Wikipedia is not always reliable but it states: “The approach is based on a theory of justice that considers crime and wrongdoing to be an offence against an individual or community, rather than the State”. That is a positively libertarian notion and we might want to look further into the restorative justice movement.

Finally, it was very satisfying when two of the sorors (as the sisters of Delta Sigma Theta call themselves) came up to me after the event. One said she strongly agreed with us and the other said she needs to look into us more.

Santa Clara Art and Wine Festival

The Libertarian Party of Santa Clara County had a booth at the (City of) Santa Clara Art and Wine Festival. It took place on Saturday, Sept 17 and Sunday, Sept 18, 2016 at Central Park in the city of Santa Clara. Our booth location was out of the way so we did not get a lot of traffic. The location assignments were random (and we wound up next to the Hillary booth). We had cordial relations with the Hillary booth (and helped them relocate to a shadier spot).

One of the advantages of being out of the way is that we could talk a little longer with people who stopped by. There were a couple of visitors of note: David Friedman and Patrick Peterson. It was nice having Spanish and Vietnamese literature and we gave out a few of those.

We were able to distribute Gary Johnson yard signs and several libertarian buttons to passers-by. In contrast to past years, most people were aware of the Libertarian Party and Gary Johnson even if they did not know much about us. Because of the heightened awareness, we focused on campaign literature rather than using the Advocates Quiz. There were about 15-20 people who wanted a button, yard sign or door hanger.

Thanks to our all volunteers who staffed the booth: Don Cormier, Robert and Jennifer Imhoff, John Low, and Sam Grove. Special thanks to our full time volunteers: Kennita Watson, Jonathan Ullman, and Ed Wimmers.