Analyzing the Stanley Campaign
by David Bryant
[Editor's note: David Bryant sent the following reviews to the "lpco-chat" e-list during November 2002. He graciously allowed them to be reproduced here.]
Analyzing the Stanley Campaign -- Part I
Ralph Shnelvar has suggested, and I concur, that this is the right time to reflect on the Stanley for US Senate campaign, to see if there's anything we can learn from it. The campaign is over, the dust has (mostly) settled, and we can now engage in calm, rational reflection which may help us avoid some mistakes in the future.
I was right in the middle of Rick's campaign for a little more than a year. Toward the end of the campaign, I was not directly involved on a day-to-day basis, although I'm still serving as Rick's campaign treasurer. The (hopefully) final report required by the FEC will be filed in about three weeks, and then my obligation to the campaign will be completed. Oh -- there's about $85 left in the till, and one unresolved expense item in the amount of $295 that still has to be settled.
I'll proceed to discuss the events of the campaign in chronological order, as best I can recall them. Nobody can ever be perfectly objective -- least of all me. But I'll endeavor to present the facts fairly, and to separate my opinions, and inferences I draw, from my recollection of what happened. And I'm interested in hearing what others think, or thought, of the campaign: how it was conducted, what it did well, and where things might have been done better.
I first heard Rick Stanley's name late in 1999, or maybe early in 2000. Bette Rose had attended some meetings of the Southside affiliate, and Rick had been there, too. Some of the Southside meetings, commencing about that time, were held at Rick's house in Englewood, or maybe it was Greenwood Village. I never attended any of those, but I did hear about them, second hand.
Rick's name came up pretty consistently at board meetings during the year 2000. He had a big fancy house, was intensely interested in the Libertarian Party, and had some office space available at his warehouse. (At that time, the party's headquarters were still located at 720 E 18th Avenue, but that building had been bought and sold several times following Paul Ruston's death, and it was becoming obvious that we would have to move the HQ in the not too distant future). He was also interested in the Harry Browne campaign, and was putting Harry Browne signs up all around his neighborhood.
I first met Rick late in the year 2000 -- it was in August, or September. He came to breakfast at Le Peep's a few times, at David Meleney's suggestion. He struck me then as a very gregarious, handsome man with a great deal of energy. He was opinionated, but not argumentative. We discussed the party and its goals. Rick advanced a gradualist, or incrementalist, argument: the party's principles and platform are correct, but there's no practical way to sell the whole package to the American public all at once.
I agreed with that assessment. I still do. I told Rick then that I think we need a road map of sorts, to show how we hope to move from the situation we're in today to the goal of a fully libertarian society outlined in the LP platform. Rick said he'd work on it. Then he stopped coming to the Saturday morning breakfasts.
Oh -- here's one other little detail from those Saturday morning discussions, two years ago. Bill Robinson is one of the regular attendees at those breakfasts. He's been coming for years. Anyway, one of Bill's pet theories is that the LP has to draft a celebrity to run for president. Somebody like Milton Friedman, or Clint Eastwood. Anyway, Rick told us that he used to live in Hawaii, and that Tom Selleck had been a member at the health club where Rick used to work out. In fact, he said, he drove a red Ferrari himself for a while, and had been mistaken for the star of "Magnum, PI" by Japanese tourists on one occasion. Anyway, Rick intimated that he might still be able to get in touch with Tom Selleck, and that Tom might be exactly the kind of celebrity Bill Robinson had in mind.
In January of 2001 I got a surprise at the office one day. There was a petition for affiliation, for a new entity named "Denver Metro Libertarian Party," drawn up in acceptable form, and signed by Rick & Pam Stanley, by David Meleney, and by a couple of other Libertarians whose names I've forgotten. I verified that at least five of the signers appeared on the membership list, then called Mr. Meleney (who I've known for years, and who was designated as the new affiliate's secretary) to let him know that I had received the petition, that everything appeared to be in order, and that I would present the petition to the board at the next meeting, in February.
I did present the petition to the board, and the new affiliate was accepted. The first regular meeting of the newly chartered Metro Denver Libertarian Party was held at Rick Stanley's office in early March, 2001. David Meleney was there, and David Aitken, and Rick, and I -- there were a few additional attendees, but I don't remember who all of them were.
At that meeting, Rick presented a 10-point program for the Denver Metro group. It consisted of ten different issues, with Rick's idea of how a gradualist approach to the Libertarian ideal might be realized. We kicked it around for a while. One of the ideas stood out as being provocative and unusual; it was the proposal for a "Citizens Constitutional Court," later to become a very contentious issue within the party at large. Rick wanted to present this idea as a proposed amendment to the constitution of the United States. I suggested, in the alternative, that the basic idea might also be implemented at the state, or even the local level. It would be easier to sell this thing locally, right here in Denver. We have the initiative petition available to us, we're calling ourselves the Metro Denver LP, and it just makes sense to start small with a new idea like this one.
At this first meeting of the Denver Metro LP, in March of 2001, it became obvious that Rick thought of himself as the leader of the party. He had put the affiliate petition together, he was supplying the premises where the meeting was held, and he was going to be running the show. There was no talk of holding any sort of election. Rick was in charge.
I didn't see any reason to challenge Rick on this deal. That may have been wrong, but it's what I decided to do. The Denver LP hadn't done anything at all in 4 or 5 years, and I thought it would be a good idea to get it off the ground again. There would always be time to deal with organizational issues later, once we had a core group of 10 or 15 people together -- or so I thought.
We broke up without agreeing on much, except that we would meet again in April, and that I would supply Rick with a mailing list of about 400 Denver Liber- tarians to invite to the next meeting. I also agreed to print up a postcard announcing the event, at my expense ($15), and Rick promised to mail the postcards out, at his own expense ($80). I also talked to Ari, who was producing the "Colorado Liberty," and he put the new affiliate's scheduled meetings on the "Liberty Calendar."
We got a few new people at the second meeting, but not nearly as many as Rick expected we would, based on the mailing to 400 Libs. There wasn't any general consensus about Rick's proposed program, either. In fact, several of the attendees were quite vocal in their criticism of the "Citizens Constitutional Court."
After the meeting Rick drew me aside and complained about the low level of response to the postcard. I told him that there hadn't been any LP meetings in Denver in several years, that we had once had a thriving affiliate party in Denver, but that the energetic leaders who had made it work eventually stepped down, and that it would take a while to fire it up again. I counseled patience, repeated mailings, and a lot of telephone calls. Rick said he would never pay for sending out any more postcards to Libertarians.
Observation: In retrospect, this was the first occasion on which I observed a completely irrational response from Rick. He's a marketing guy, so he must know that repetition is the essence of advertising. Yet, when a one-shot mailing to a list of people who we knew to be Libertarians failed to produce a large turnout (we got about 5 new people at the second meeting, and a 1% response to a single mailing is typical), Rick responded by saying "This isn't working, and I don't want to do it any more." No discussion of alternative financing. No discussion of using phone calls in addition to post- cards for the next meeting. Just a flat no.
This probably should have been more of a red flag for me than it was. I did think it was odd. I thought it was particularly odd that Rick didn't bring this topic up in front of everybody, since it obviously concerned the whole group. But it didn't seem like a big deal to me at the time. If Rick didn't want to pay for mailing more postcards again, we would just have to find some other way of publicizing our meetings.
I'm not entirely certain, but I think this meeting (in April, 2001) is the one where Joe Johnson showed up wearing his "Lady Liberty" costume. Anyway, I do have a distinct memory of Joe walking into Rick's office on stilts -- he had to duck his head to get through the door -- and taking a chair off to Rick's right (across the pool table from where I sat, on the couch). I remember worrying that Joe would hurt his knees by trying to sit down on that little chair without taking the stilts off, but he pulled it off OK.
Since the state party's convention was scheduled for the second week in May, Rick decided not to call a Denver affiliate meeting in that month. He decided, instead, to attend the convention, and to try selling his ideas there. I also recall that he sponsored Matt Zenthoefer as a convention attendee ... Rick paid the fee for Matt, because Matt was a student at CU, and short on funds.
The April meeting was also the one where I told the group about the Peoples Fair coming up in June. The LP had already paid to have a spot there. I promised to coordinate recruitment of volunteers to man the booth. David Meleney said he had a canopy we could use, and he would supply the pickup truck for taking it all downtown.
To be continued ... coming up next, the events leading up to the convention in 2001, the Peoples Fair, and moving the office from 720 E 18th Avenue to Rick's place at 6280 E 39th.
Analyzing the Stanley Campaign -- Part II
The next month went by in a blur. To understand why, you need to know a little bit more about the board of directors of the Colorado LP, and how it was constituted in April, 2001.
Bette Rose was the Chair. She was also the fount of energy that kept it all running. She and her sister, Michele Poague, were putting the state convention together. So besides the usual party activities (maintaining the mailing list and getting the newsletter out), I was busy helping Bette Rose with convention stuff. There was quite a bit of mail coming into the office every day, and I had to co-ordinate the convention reservations with Bette Rose, and with Johanna.
Ari Armstrong was serving as Publications director, but he had already made it clear that he could not afford to continue producing the "Colorado Liberty" for another year unless the party could raise some money to pay him for his efforts. Since the state party has never paid any of its board members for their service, it made sense that Ari should step down as Publications director to become a paid consultant. So we were going to need a good Publications director -- somebody who could work well with Ari -- and we needed to raise some more money for the party, so that Ari could continue to produce the generally excellent "Colorado Liberty."
There was no Fundraising director on the board right then. Michelle Konieczny, who had been elected fundraiser at the convention in April, 2000, and who had been extremely active in Elke Glazer's state house bid, had resigned for personal reasons just a few months earlier. Norm Olsen was the Campaigns director, and he had his hands full, too. Johanna Fallis was serving as Treasurer. She was busy enough with FCPA reporting, and with lining up a willing successor to be elected at the convention. Neither Brian Rachocki (Outreach) nor John Berntson (Public Information) lived in Denver, and the position of Legislative director had been open all year.
[Editor's note: Michelle pointed out she was appointed to fill a vacancy, not elected.]
So I was left to recruit a new Publications director, and to help Ari raise enough money to put the plan in motion. On top of all that, we were having trouble with the landlord at 720 East 18th Ave. Almost all the other tenants had moved out of the building, and even though we hadn't been evicted, we were definitely in a world of hurt. The roof leaked, most of the interior of the building had been gutted, and even the Buddhists downstairs, who had occupied that office for 15 years or longer, were packing up and moving away. The electricity had even been turned off because Shaffie Ahmad, the landlord, wasn't paying the utility bills. So we could only use the office during daylight hours. At least the phones still worked!
Because of all this, I really didn't have much time for Rick Stanley in the weeks leading up to the convention in Msy, 2001. Rick did promise the party some office space in his warehouse, and I told him we'd take him up on it -- _after_ the convention. Ari cooked up a plan for the "1776 League" and wrote a fundraising letter. I helped get that letter printed and in the mail just before the convention. We also sent out a pre-convention "Colorado Liberty." I managed to convince Richard Combs to stand for election as the new Publications director, and I got to the old office (just 3 miles from my house) at least three times a week to process the mail and handle the phone calls.
The convention itself went off pretty smoothly. Bette Rose announced that she wouldn't stand for re-election, and that she wasn't going to organize the next convention, either. The new board that was elected had some old-timers as well as some new blood: John Berntson as Chair; Norm Olsen returning as Campaigns director; Brian Rachocki, Outreach again; Richard Combs, Publications; Kent McNaughton, Public Information; Matt Hine, Legislative; Maralyn Mencarini, Treasurer; Elke Glazer, Fundraiser; and David Bryant -- that's me -- for a second year as Information director. (I had been the party's Treasurer for three years immediately prior to that, and had served as the de facto Information director during two of those three years as well.)
Rick and Pam Stanley were at the convention. Rick passed out copies of his 10-point program for the Denver Metro LP. Reggie Rivers was the speaker at the banquet on Saturday night. Joe Johnson got up to do the fundraising after Reggie spoke. Joe did a great job, raising nearly $14,000 in gifts and pledges. Bette Rose promised $1,000, as did Chuck Wright, and Bud Hall, and Rick Stanley.
Bob Glass electrified the convention on Sunday afternoon with his announcement that he was willing to run for governor, if the party would get behind him. About the time Bob finished his speech the hotel staff gave us a tornado warning, so we all headed for the basement, where we milled about amiably for half an hour or so. When the tornado blew over everybody left the convention energized, and ready to make the Libertarian Party of Colorado grow even faster than it had the year before.
I didn't get the stuff from the old office packed up and moved over to Rick's place right away. Bette Rose was gone for a 10-day vacation in Europe; I had to recruit people to man the booth at the Peoples Fair; and we were still getting quite a few replies from the "1776 League" fundraising letter, which added some $1,000 to our existing list of monthly pledges, leaving the party in decent financial shape. And there was the post-convention issue of the "Liberty" to be edited, and proofread, and labeled, and mailed.
The building at 720 East 18th was going downhill pretty quickly. One day somebody hooked a chain to the glass doors in the main entrance and pulled them right off the hinges. A few days later a person or persons unknown used a crowbar to break into the LP office on the third floor. There wasn't really much there for them to steal, so I suppose they were disappointed, although I did notice that a couple of nice blue chairs disappeared soon after that.
I was on the phone to the landlord every day, trying to get some kind of response out of him. Pretty soon he sent a handyman round to affix a sheet of plywood over the gaping hole that was the front entrance. This fouled up mail delivery for a couple of days, until I cut a hole in the plywood so the postman could continue dropping the mail through the letter slot.
The Peoples Fair is always held on the first weekend in June. We didn't have the greatest spot on the grounds (right on the curvy part of Colfax just west of Broadway, on the north end of Civic Center park), but we had an enthusiastic crew. David Meleney showed up with the canopy, his pickup truck, a dog, and his daughter. Bert Wiener helped us load up literature, and Mark Zahn, whom I've never actually seen before or since, was there to help us put the booth together.
Rick and Pam Stanley helped man the booth that Sunday. Rick was a people magnet. Instead of standing under the canopy and waiting for visitors to approach, he got out front with Pam and grabbed people's attention as they walked by. He convinced dozens of people to register as Libertarian voters that weekend; and that experience, apparently, set him off on his next big effort. He asked me to get him a few hundred voter registration forms, and he began taking them along every day when he made sales calls on his customers.
One of the guys who helped man the booth that weekend was Jim Frye, who lives in Aurora. I hadn't seen Jim in several years. Jim told me he had retired from his job, that he was suffering from a systemic infection (the side effect of some immuno-suppressant drug therapy), and that he wanted to help the party in any way he could, as soon as he got his strength back.
I was getting over to Rick's office on a pretty regular basis early in June. He had given the party a small office on the west side of the warehouse. I took the party's PC over there, and a few other things I thought were valuable enough that somebody might want to steal them. The newly elected board of directors held a meeting in Rick's personal office in June of 2001. Everybody seemed to like our new digs. The board instructed me to negotiate a written lease agreement with Rick, and authorized me to move everything from the old building to Rick's place just as soon as possible.
I talked to Rick about a lease, and having the party pay rent. He refused. He explained that if the party paid rent, he would have to declare it as income. Why not just make the contribution in kind? I pressed him for assurances that he would give the party at least 30 days notice if he decided we ought to move out. He gave me his word that he would give such notice. I reported all this back to the other board members, and they agreed that we should accept Rick's offer of free office space _without_ a written lease.
Observation: In retrospect, this is another incident that could have raised red flags with me. Perhaps I should have insisted that Rick enter some sort of written agreement with the party. Some people might construe his refusal to put it in writing as less than honorable.
On the other hand, Rick did in fact live up to the promise he made, because he did give the party 30 days' notice when he finally kicked us out. And I don't want to sound defensive here, but I wasn't really getting much co-operation from the other board members during June of 2001. Berntson was a virtual non-entity who appeared once a month at board meetings and offered no leadership whatsoever. He was more than willing to delegate authority for making negotiations in the party's name to me. And my attitude was, "Why look a gift horse in the mouth?"
I still think Rick was very generous with the party, and that things might have worked out very differently if others on the board had actually stopped to tell him "Thank You!" once in a while.
Rick had called another meeting of the Denver Metro Libertarian Party, with Bob Glass as the scheduled speaker. We got about 25 or 30 people out for that one. I rented a sound system ($85) from SoundTrack, and we held the meeting outdoors. I passed the hat, and recouped most of the sound system rental from the people in the audience. Then I gave a condensed version of a speech, "Why America Needs the Libertarian Party," that I had delivered at the convention in May; Rick got up and said a few words; and finally Bob Glass showed up with a bunch of TRT members in tow. Bob was about 30 minutes late, but still in plenty of time to address the crowd, and they received him warmly.
James Vance was at that meeting. I remember that fact clearly because after it was over he came up to me and told me he liked my speech, and could he please have a copy of it? At this point, James had already informed many party members of his intention to seek the LP's gubernatorial nomination in 2002, although he had not yet made a public announcement.
One other detail of that Denver Metro meeting stands out in my memory. I had rented a PA system with a wireless mike. I think they're particularly easy to work with. I had also watched Rick talking to smaller groups in his office, and he had a tendency to wave his hands around a lot. He would have to hold the wireless mike in one hand, and that would reduce the hand waving, because he would naturally hold the mike in front of his mouth.
Well, that's not what happened. Rick stood there with the mike in one hand, and a sheaf of papers in the other, and he waved both hands in the air the whole time he was talking. The microphone was essentially useless while Rick was at the podium. Bob Glass, on the other hand, was very smooth and professional with the wireless mike. Since I already knew that Rick wanted to be a spokesperson for the party -- even though he had not yet indicated that he had any plans to seek a public office -- I talked to him afterwards and reported what I'd noticed. He didn't pay much attention. I told him I had some experience with public speaking, and that I knew several other Libertarians with experience, so that we could easily get him a bit of coaching, to improve his public speaking skills. He said thanks, but he didn't really need any help with that, because he was sure he would improve as he got a little practice.
Observation: In retrospect, this is another incident I probably should have taken more seriously. Rick was clearly in need of coaching, but he wasn't willing to accept the idea that someone could teach him about public speaking. At the time, I just figured he'd eventually listen, if I only explained a little better why I thought some coaching would help him improve his speaking skills.
June was almost over when we finally moved the party's furniture and records out of the office at 720 E 18th Ave. Bette Rose was back from her European vacation, and the Peoples Fair was history. David Aitken, Lloyd Sweeny, Bette Rose and I got together one Saturday and went through all the accumulated detritus of the past 17 years (I think, though I'm not entirely certain, that the Colorado LP moved into Paul Ruston's building in 1984). We hauled out boxes and boxes full of junk, packed up everything that looked useable, and stacked the boxes near the stairwell, in preparation for the moving van.
On Tuesday, June 26, 2001, I called Rick Stanley and he sent his brother-in-law, Don, over with a Stanley Fasteners delivery truck. It took about four hours for Bette Rose, Don, and me to cart everything downstairs, load it in the truck, drive across town to Rick's building, and offload everything into the new office. That room was small -- about 12' by 10' -- so the furniture (a couple of tables, and a bookcase) went in the lunchroom.
We had a new office! Rick was donating a small, but adequate office to the party, everything had been moved successfully, and now there was just a lot of mopping up to do (mainly notifying our members that the move was complete, and filing paperwork with the post office, with various government offices, and with the national LP headquarters in Washington, DC). Things were definitely looking up.
Next: Rick announces for U.S. Senate; forming a campaign team.
Analyzing the Stanley Campaign -- Part III
It was just about this time, sometime in mid June, 2001, that I first learned of Rick's intention to run for the U.S. Senate. Bette Rose called me up to tell me she was planning to meet Rick Stanley and Norm Olsen for dinner, and would I be interested in coming along? A few phone calls and a couple of days later I found myself seated in a corner at Roy's, a fancy Hawaiian restaurant near the Niemann Marcus store, in the Cherry Creek shopping center.
I'm not certain I remember everybody who was there that night, but I do remember Pam and Rick Stanley, my wife Kathryn, Bette Rose, Norm Olsen, Joe Johnson, Elizabeth Bennett, and an insurance agent friend of Rick's named Tom Leeper.
Rick was affable and ebullient. He told all of us that he was going to run for U.S. Senate, and that Tom Leeper had agreed to be his campaign manager. He was looking for help from the party. He wanted to form a campaign team as soon as possible, and he wanted to hit the ground running.
Dinner was a little strained. The food was excellent, and the service was great, but I felt a bit out of place at Roy's, and I think Bette Rose and Norm and Joe and Elizabeth felt the same way. Anyway, Rick was in fine fettle. He talked, and he laughed, and he drank, and he ate, and he talked some more. Occasionally he would spot somebody he knew sitting at another table, then jump up and walk over there with a voter registration form in hand. By the end of the evening I had thirteen new Libertarian voter registrations, courtesy of Rick, and my wallet was about $80 lighter. Roy's was definitely expensive, from my point of view.
I left the restaurant without committing to anything. Over the next few days I talked to Bette Rose, and I talked to Kathryn, and I talked to Rick, trying to decide what to do. At length I agreed to assist Rick with his campaign. He had heard that I might want to run for state treasurer once again. I told him no, I did not intend to be a candidate for any public office in 2002, because that was simply too much work. I also told him that putting on a real campaign was a monumental task, and that I would be willing to handle the governmental paperwork that any campaign for federal office entails. I had run my own campaign for state treasurer in 1998 without any meaningful outside help, and I knew that running a campaign was just too much work for anyone -- even Rick Stanley -- to pull off all by himself.
I was also concerned about the way others within the party would perceive my connection with Rick's campaign. I talked to Rick about Harry Browne and the Perry Willis fiasco. I told him I would need to clear the exact scope of my involvement with the other members of the LP of Colorado board of directors. If necessary, I would resign my position as Information director. But I didn't want to do that, because I was pretty sure I could wear both hats -- as a board member, and as a member of his campaign team -- and also because I knew the party's outreach efforts with the "Colorado Liberty" would not succeed without somebody like me to keep the mailing list up to snuff. That was a big job, and I didn't know of anyone else who was willing and able to take it on.
Bette Rose had also agreed to help Rick with his campaign. Tom Leeper changed his mind about managing Rick's campaign just two days after the dinner at Roy's, so she was planning to be the campaign manager. I would handle the federal paperwork, and help recruit volunteers, and do whatever else was necessary to get a smoothly funtioning campaign staff put together.
Bette Rose had another idea in mind, as well. She wanted to form a "Libertarian Victory Fund," or PAC, for Colorado, and she wanted to use that vehicle to push Bob Glass' gubernatorial candidacy as well as the Stanley for Senate campaign. At this point I was not entirely familiar with the federal election laws, because I had just started to study them. But I was already pretty sure that Bette Rose' Colorado PAC would have to file reports with the Federal Election Commission if it made any contributions to the Stanley campaign, and that dual registration, with the feds and with Colorado state government, would probably be a big mistake. So I argued in favor of keeping the Stanley campaign separate from any fundraising efforts for state and local Libertarian candidates, and Bette Rose accepted my judgment on this question.
Before I get into the whirlwind of activities that was about to ensue, I want to give you a bit more background on Rick, and the physical premises at 6280 East 39th Ave, where most of these events took place. Rick and I had already engaged in several long conversations. I wanted to understand him -- what kind of a guy he was, and what was motivating him to run for public office.
Rick Stanley is a native Coloradan. He grew up in Arvada. He has always been sort of a tough guy. As a child he got into a lot of fights -- not because he was a bully, but because he didn't like bullies, and when he saw a big kid beating up on somebody, he usually jumped in to defend the kid who was getting the worst of it.
Rick left high school a couple of weeks ahead of schedule late in his junior year and went hitch-hiking around the country. He returned to high school in September and graduated from Arvada West in 1972. Knowing that he might be drafted and sent to Vietnam, he enlisted in the Army before his 18th birthday, took an aptitude test, and wound up with a state- side billet in the quartermaster's corps at Fort Carson for most of his 3-year hitch. He got married for the first time while he was still in the service, and he's the father of three children: a son, Rick Jr.; and two daughters, Talena and Sabrina.
When he got out of the Army he took a job as a bouncer at a bar. Within a couple of years he had saved enough money to buy his own place -- a biker bar. Rick told me it was a pretty rough joint when he first took it over; he dug over a hundred slugs out of the walls with a knife before he plastered the holes and re-painted the place. I'm not sure how long he ran the bar, but along about 1980 he sold that business and started Stanley Fasteners, which he still owns and operates today.
Stanley Fasteners and Shop Supply sells a lot of screws, and nuts and bolts, and welding rod, and abrasives -- sandpaper and wire brushes and emery wheels -- and other shop supplies and spare parts of every description. Rick's specialty is convincing institutional customers, like hotels and school district maintenance departments, to keep plenty of spare parts on hand, especially the ones that are most likely to fail. Stanley Fasteners can help their customers fill rush orders, but when the air-conditioning unit breaks down, wouldn't you rather have the parts you need on hand already, so you can fix it right now?
Rick never got along with his father very well. He thinks this is sort of a Stanley family tradition, because he once tried to work with his own son, Rick Jr., by giving him a salesman's position with Stanley Fasteners. But it just didn't work out, and he eventually had to fire Rick Jr.
I'm not exactly sure when Rick got divorced and married Pam, who's the nerve center of Stanley Fasteners today. I think his ex-wife lives back east somewhere -- North Carolina? -- but I never learned much about her. Rick didn't mention her much.
Anyway, Pam is a lovely woman, petite and energetic. She's blonde, and beautiful, and she can work like a banshee. I've jumped out of the way more than once as Pam came running through the office, hollering directions to Rick's secretary, TJ, and not even breaking her stride to avoid me as she rushed to pick up the phone.
Most of the people who work in the office at Stanley Fasteners are family members. Besides Pam, there's Don, Rick's brother-in-law, and Debbie, who's on friendly terms with Rick's younger brother Randy. I never figured out exactly what Randy was doing there, but he came around the office every so often. Other employees came and went during the past year and a half, but Pam and TJ and Don and Debbie are fixtures. A couple of other women, Samantha and Kalleen, also have a long-term working relationship with Rick, but they weren't in the office every day. Sam is a telecommuter who usually works out of her home, and Kalleen is a salesperson who spends a lot of time on the road. Rick has a couple of other salesmen working for him, also, but I rarely ran into them.
Rick's office building is laid out in a U shape, facing north. There's a little courtyard in the open part of the U that's overgrown with tangled rosebushes. The main entrance to the grounds is from the north, off 39th Avenue, on the west side of the building. The main entrance to the building faces west, under a little copse of trees. The building is about 60 feet wide -- maybe wider now, since Rick added a garage on the east side of it last spring -- and maybe 100 feet long. There's a loading dock at the back of the building (on the south end, at the bottom of the U). Rick does get a few walk-in customers in the "Will Call" area just west of the loading dock, but most of the stuff he sells gets shipped out, either in his own delivery trucks, or via FedEx or UPS. The west branch of the U is occupied by administrative offices, and the east branch is a warehouse.
Rick's personal office is about 25 or 30 feet long and 15 feet wide. It's paneled with wood. There's a pool table in the middle of the office, with a desk, and a credenza, and a refrigerator to the right of that, and a sofa and a couple of easy chairs to the left when you walk in the door. It's situated at the north end of the west branch of the U.
Just south of Rick's office there's a copy room, and a glass-paneled room to house the computer equipment. Next comes TJ's work space, along the window by the courtyard. The little LP office space was straight west of TJ's desk. Walking down the hall you'll pass Pam's office (almost as big as Rick's); the lunchroom, with some tables, a refrigerator, and a sink inside; the restrooms; and a couple of storage closets before you turn left and head back towards Will Call, the warehouse, and the loading dock.
I settled into a steady routine early in July. I'd rise at 5:30, read my e-mail, and tend to tasks around the house until noon or so, then head over to Rick's office eight miles away, where I'd work on LP stuff, and Rick's campaign, until 4 or 5 in the afternoon. After that it was home to cook dinner so I could do it again tomorrow. Most days I'd swing by the old office at 720 East 18th, either on my way over to Rick's, or on the way back, to check the mail. Even though the party had moved, the rent was paid through the 15th of July, and I was trying to ensure a smooth transition between the old and new mailing addresses. Ari had produced the post-convention issue of "Colorado Liberty," and a group of volunteers had labeled it in the lunchroom at Rick Stanley's place on June 30th. That newsletter contained a front page story notifying everyone that we had moved. And Elke was supposed to be planning a fundraising mailer that would include a second notice to members about our new physical location. Still, when you move after 17 years of being in the same place, you have to expect that it will take a while for the news to sink in.
Unfortunately, this part of my plan got fouled up, because somebody (I still don't know who), told the postman that the building was vacant, and he should hold all the mail. About July 10 I decided that something was wrong, and I went over to the mail processing substation at Colfax & Downing to get it straightened out. Most everything came out OK, but there were a couple of first class letters that got returned as undeliverable, and that caused a few headaches. Over all, though, the move to Stanley's place went pretty smoothly.
The Denver Metro Libertarian Party was supposed to hold its monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of every month. But in July of 2001, the first Tuesday fell on the 3rd of the month, so Rick decided to re-schedule the meeting because the 4th is a holiday, and a lot of people would be leaving town. Rick rescheduled the meeting for the 10th, creating a conflict with the regular LP of CO board meeting on the second Tuesday. So I wasn't in Denver the night Rick Stanley and James Vance made their speeches to the Denver Libertarians and publicly declared their candidacies. I was in Castle Rock, instead, in the employee break room at a Safeway store, attending the board meeting. John Berntson, Norm Olsen, Richard Combs, Kent McNaughton, Maralyn Mencarini, Elke Glazer, and I were there. Brian Rachocki was busy somewhere else, so Ed Goodrich attended in Brian's stead. Matt Hine did not show up. In fact, Matt Hine never attended another board meeting after the convention, except for the first one held at Rick Stanley's office in June. Not glamorous enough for him, I guess.
Anyway, I outlined the role I intended to play in the Rick Stanley campaign, and explained my concerns about the possible appearance of a conflict of interest. Everyone was supportive. They appreciated my candor. They didn't see any reason why I couldn't be on Rick's campaign team and serve as a board member, and they asked me to keep them informed about the progress of the campaign, and about any potential appearances of a conflict of interest. We also discussed the party's finances at that meeting, and gave Richard Combs a budget to work with -- about $2,400 per month -- for production and distribution of the "Colorado Liberty." And we committed to a production schedule for a fundraising letter, which would also serve to notify all our members (a second time) of the party's new mailing address.
The letter went out in due course, along with the "10 Reasons to Vote Libertarian" flyer that Rick had designed. We stuffed it at Rick's office on Saturday, July 21, and it went in the mail on Monday, the 23rd. Elke had writer's block, so I wrote most of that letter for her. I also took the page proofs to Quality Press, coordinated the volunteers for the mailing, and delivered the mailing to the post office.
That fundraiser was not the most successful one the party has ever sent out, but it did fairly well. Responses kept rolling in for about 8 weeks. The letter eventually returned about 400% on the initial expenditure. I kept track of the responses as they came back. I sent the checks and pledges to Maralyn Mencarini, and I sent copies of everything to Elke Glazer, so she could write thank you notes.
That fundraiser also returned an unexpected bonus. Paul Berthelot, in Walsenburg, was so jazzed about the "10 Reasons" flyer that he decided to help Rick any way he could. Because of Paul's efforts, the "Southern Colorado Libertarian Alliance" was formed, just a couple of months later. I don't think any additional affiliates have been chartered by the LP of Colorado since that one formed, just about a year ago.
Observation: The Libertarian Party of Colorado has not mailed a single fundraising letter since July 23, 2001. It's been almost sixteen months since the LP of Colorado last asked its members for money! (I'm writing this on November 14, 2002.)
I understand that writing and mailing fundraising letters is a lot of hard work. But if the party is going to succeed, it must be done. Ideally, such letters should go out at least four or five times each year.
Bette Rose and I had been working to put a campaign team together. Villate McKitrick and her husband Sean were two of our earliest recruits. The campaign didn't have a web site yet, so we set up an e-mail address at Yahoo, and Villate started sending messages from Rick to a list of Libertarian activists who had done something for the party, one way or another, in the past.
Another early volunteer on the Stanley campaign was Alan Shaklee. He had attended several meetings of the Denver Metro group, and he worked in a building just a few blocks from Rick's office. He had experience as a web master, so Rick asked him to get a skeleton web site up and running. Rick told Alan that the URL to use was "stanley2002.org." He didn't say how he knew that, so Alan, naturally enough, assumed that the name had to be registered before the campaign team could use it.
Observation: This was the start of a long string of fiascoes that would haunt the campaign for months. In retrospect, I probably should have assumed a leadership role on Rick's campaign team a lot sooner than I did. Anyway, Rick failed to communicate with key people on the team that was forming in July of 2001, and those communication failures led to many of the problems the team had to overcome in the early going.
I also called my old friend, Jim Frye, and asked him if he would like to help with the Stanley campaign. He said that he did want to help, but that his involvement would have to be limited until his health improved. I told Jim that his health was important, and that I'd welcome whatever help he could offer.
Bette Rose was proceeding to draw up a campaign plan. She was in touch with people at National almost every day, and she was talking to Michael Cloud about the best way to structure everything. I have total confidence in Bette Rose, and I had my hands full with the fundraising letter, and proofreading the August edition of "Colorado Liberty." So it came as a complete surprise to me when she announced, on July 24, 2001, that she had resigned from Rick Stanley's campaign team.
Next: Cleaning up in the wake of Bette Rose' departure.
[Note: The rest of the sections will be added as David writes them. Please check back!]