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Friday, May 2, 2014

Questions for Elected Libertarians

Answering an April 18 email from Carla Howell, Political Director of the LPUS:

Dear Elected Libertarians,

Thank you for running for and serving in office as a Libertarian. Your commitment to advancing liberty is greatly appreciated.

In an effort to understand more about what it's like to be a Libertarian in office, I'd appreciate your sending me a quick reply summarizing the key issues you are dealing with, any successes you have had, the major obstacles you face, and how fellow Libertarians might be able to assist you in office.

A few specific questions are listed below - or feel free just to send a quick statement on how you see things.

Thank you for your time, and best of luck advancing your Libertarian agenda!

​Questions for Libertarians service in office​

1. Do you have any specific goals for shrinking government in some way, e.g., repealing an ordinance, cutting a tax, cutting the level of total government spending?


My goal is have Purissima Hills Water District effectively privatize itself, by
  • declining to exercise its compulsory government powers e.g. to regulate water use;
  • passing the district's water costs and purchase rights directly to our owner-ratepayers;
  • declining to request or accept tax-financed aid from other government bodies; and
  • cutting wasteful spending.
2. Have you had any victories with the above?
  • In 2009-2010 I proposed an incentive-based alternative to the state's onerous default water-conservation ordinance, and got my proposal passed by our city council.
  • In 2014 the board was poised to adopt an ordinance imposing new water-use restrictions in case of drought, but I persuaded the board to instead use drought pricing that passes on to retail over-consumers the penalties the district pays for wholesale overuse.
  • When I was elected in 2008, the board was planning a million-dollar permanent facility to use a local lake as an emergency water source. I successfully advocated for a radical downsizing of the project, replacing permanent facilities with inexpensive dual-use portable equipment, and increasing the operating capacity and seismic toughness of our storage tanks.
3. Have you had any victories in stopping the growth of government, e.g. stopping a tax hike; blocking a new municipal building, project, or program; stopping a spending increase? 

See (2).

4. What are the biggest obstacles you face as a Libertarian in advancing your agenda?


The biggest obstacle so far has been the unquestioning acceptance of the ideas that regulation works better than incentives, that any power we have is ethical to use, and that we should treat our customers as our subjects rather than our shareholders.

5. Is there anything that fellow Libertarians in your state or district could do to support your efforts?


Show up!  Pick a local government body, and attend a meeting.  Once you are in the room, your Libertarian instincts will kick in.  You'll find yourself speaking up during public comments,  giving feedback to elected officials and their staff, and volunteering for openings on advisory committees.

If you don't show up, you are guaranteed zero influence. If you just show up, you'll be surprised at the influence you can have.  Politicians assume that for every attendee, there are many many more voters not present who share the attendee's perspective.  The less principled they are, the more power they cede to you and your principles -- but only if you show up.

6. Is there anything you recommend that Libertarians running for office do to better prepare themselves to advance liberty if elected? 


Show up!  (Also, watch any online videos of recent meetings of the body you're running for.)

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