Taking on the LPCO Newsletter (Again)
by Ari Armstrong, May 29, 2003
Just about a year ago, I resigned my position as Publications Advisor of the state Libertarian Party, a contract position to produce the newsletter Colorado Liberty. Now I've signed on to produce it again.
Obviously, I've gone back and forth on this matter for some time. I think Norm Olsen, Steve Gallant (State Chair and Publications Director, respectively) and I have worked out an arrangement that will benefit all parties.
I think the newsletter was never better than when I produced it, from March 2000 through May 2002. However, the project now will be considerably different. Olsen and Gallant decided to produce a quarterly, 8-page newsletter, or a total of 32 pages per year. By contrast, during my previous run, I produced 360 pages of the newsletter, or an average of 14 pages per month.
I have argued six newsletters per year would work better, but I am content with the current decision. In retrospect, the party probably did spend too much money on the newsletter when I worked on it before. I think anywhere from four to eight smaller issues per year is a reasonable compromise. At the same time, I do believe it is important for the party to send out a regular, quality, printed publication. Just the fact the material is printed and mailed conveys important information about the party to the membership. Besides, only a small fraction of the total membership can easily be reached via e-mail at this time.
I will no longer have anything to do with the LPCO web page. In general, my role now is more that of editor and designer, whereas before I was responsible for publications from start to finish. Now the responsibility basically lies with Olsen and Gallant to generate the content. I will fill in any gaps with material from the Colorado Freedom Report, the national LP, and other sources.
Gallant said he had a budget of $2,400 per year to produce the quarterly newsletter. I agreed to produce it for $1,600 per year. My responsibilities include producing the newsletter and delivering it to the printer.
I plan to use the basic format I used in the past, with a number of minor changes. I'm thinking of moving to a three-column page with a slightly smaller font size, and using indentations for paragraphs rather than spaces between paragraphs. I also plan to condense the contact and calendar information. The 8-pager will be trifolded (no staples), so only a third of the back page will be devoted to mailing information. These changes should allow for more economical use of space.
There are only a handful of people in Colorado with an in-depth understanding of libertarianism and LP politics who also have the ability and equipment to produce a quality newsletter. Of that small group, I believe I'm the only person with a proven record of excellent results along with the time to dedicate to the project at this point.
I want to make one point crystal clear. I recognize the purpose of the LPCO's newsletter is to promote the LPCO. One purpose of the Colorado Freedom Report, on the other hand, is to report critically about Libertarian politics. Steve Gresh, a Libertarian-turned-Republican, serves on the board of advisors for the web magazine. If anything, I plan to err on the side of being critical of the state LP (within the pages of the Colorado Freedom Report, NOT the state LP newsletter), given I'm now getting a small check from the party.
I fully intend to publish articles critical of the LP and of the LPCO's board of directors, should some event warrant it. I feel the relatively small amount of money involved will not cause me to pull my punches. If I offend the board by questioning its decisions, so be it: they are free to fire me and find somebody else to produce the newsletter. I believe the free flow of information and criticism is essential to moving libertarian politics in a positive direction. At the same time, I recognize there's an appropriate forum for different discussions. I don't think it will be much of a problem for me to switch "hats" from promoting the party in the newsletter to (perhaps) criticizing it in the Colorado Freedom Report. (One purpose in writing this article is to put everything on the table so everybody knows what's going on.)
It has come to my attention that a few people within the state LP are repeating the ridiculous lie that I campaigned for the Republican candidate for Mesa County sheriff last year. I have already rebutted this lie, and numerous eye-witnesses can attest to the facts as I've reported them. If a few people have a problem with me, they should take it up with me directly, rather than tell obvious lies about me behind my back. Thankfully, most people have adopted the attitude that we should forgive past fighting and move on. If a few people can't do that, it's up to the rest of us to make sure their spitefullness doesn't get in the way of progress toward libertarian ideals.
That said, I have met the Republican sheriff of Mesa County, and he's a nice guy and a decent sheriff, though certainly not as pro-freedom as his Libertarian opponent would have been.
Only a damned fool automatically supports anything with the label "Libertarian" attached to it or automatically attacks anything without that label. I guarantee that, if the LPCO's membership is so foolish as to nominate somebody as idiotic as last year's candidate for U.S. Senate, I will not support that candidate. It's even conceivable that I could support a Republican or Democrat (or other) for this or that race, if the candidate is pretty good and the Libertarian opposition is nonexistent or mediocre. For example, it's possible that Douglas Bruce might run for state legislature again as a Republican, and if he does, I'll think seriously about supporting him. Again, I will discuss such matters via the Colorado Freedom Report, not the state LP newsletter, which is basically at the direction of Olsen and Gallant. Again, if the board is unhappy with my independent coverage of LP politics on my own web page, it is free to fire me and find somebody else to produce the newsletter.
I'm not going to take a lot of bullshit from people about the newsletter. I know what I'm doing, as I've amply proved. I will welcome friendly advice and constructive criticism. But if you contact me to offer mindless bitching and carping, don't be surprised if I suggest you go to hell. I'm just too busy to put up with nonsense. I have a low level of tolerance for things like the repetition of long-disproved lies.
But I'm discussing worst-case scenarios. I fully expect my participation with the newsletter to be consistently fulfilling for me and beneficial to the state LP. I believe a quality publication is one of the integral elements of a successful party. Though I'm limited by space, I intend to give the state party full value for its production dollar. I honestly believe that, at this time, I can produce the newsletter at least as well as anybody else can.
So if you have a picture or article for the newsletter, please send it to me and to Steve Gallant. Also keep in mind that some material is better suited for the Colorado Freedom Report, which serves a broader purpose.
Some weeks ago I offered to produce a newsletter for the state party by April 28. But Paul Tiger took over, and his newsletter is currently at the bindery, for a tentative mailing date of June 2. Thus, my first (new) newsletter will not appear until late August. Olsen wants to develop a production schedule for the year, and I agree that's a good idea. I propose a deadline of August 11, with additional newsletters in November, February, and a few weeks out from the convention. I'll nail down more specific dates when I get a better idea of when key events will be held. The idea is to mail the newsletter at good times to promote and review major events. Obviously, with a quarterly, it will be even more important to plan far in advance. Feel free to send me suggestions about publication dates. (Again, my responsibilities end as soon as the newsletter is delivered to the printer, so I won't be held responsible for mailing delays.)
For those who look forward to libertarian news more often than once every three months, your browser is currently set on the appropriate page. The Colorado Freedom Report offers the best, most comprehensive news and views from a libertarian perspective in Colorado. As a weekly, it will necessarily continue to be my first priority.