Pete Blome Announces Candidacy for LPF At Large (1)

My name is Pete Blome, and I hereby announce my intention to run for the position of at-large representative for the Libertarian Party of Florida.

I am a retired military officer, and I am currently the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County, which is located in the Pandhandle of Florida. I am a relative newcomer to the Libertarian Party (2006), but in the time I have been a member I have become convinced that Libertarian methods are the best way to bring lasting happiness and prosperity to our friends and neighbors.

I’ve met many wonderful, talented and caring Libertarians since I joined the Party, but our party is in need of reform. Our principles must be matched by our actions. Our ideals must be furthered by people on the ground willing to work. I am such a person, and I will attempt to seek out others who feel as I do. I am in broad agreement with Adrian Wyllie, who has announced he will run for Chair of the LPF. Our party needs to grow, to professionalize, and to use opportunities to show libertarian solutions to a public that largely does not know about us. There should be a synergy between the state party and local affiliates that does not exist now. I encourage all concerned Florida libertarians to join us and make our party strong.

There is much potential for the growth of the Libertarian Party in the northwestern part of our State. Pensacola is a major population center that needs development. The sad situation that exists in Tallahassee, our state capitol, where no active Libertarian affiliate or representation exists, must be turned around. Okaloosa must continue its growth trajectory. With your support, I hope to do the things that must be done to set the stage for a Libertarian turnaround that will put the major parties on their ears.

A note from Lee Jackson…8 Aug 10

I am writing to Independent and Tea Party voters! In July, a letter writer told us to “choose very carefully” between two Senate candidates this November.

Choosing carefully is good, but the writer was misleading. He listed just the two candidates in his sights. But that is a great deception! There are actually 22 candidates! [source: election.myflorida.com/candidate/canlist.asp]

Three professional politicians have been “approved” by all the pundits and polling firms, plus one democrat who has bought his way into the contest. You wonder why money is a major factor in elections? The press covers only those who can carpet bomb the electorate with advertising. This year, if you believe the coverage, we are faced with voting for the “evil of three lessers” and one billionaire.

The three politicians want the greater job security of Senator. However, they will bring nothing new to the Senate. Their policy solutions will be unchanged and properly vetted by their party conference, influenced by vested interests, and will not rock the status quo.

Independents, voting for “winning” candidates in the past, have been disappointed because our Republic continued its slide to larger, more intrusive, less responsive Government.

On August 21st, take the opportunity to meet and hear the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, Alex Snitker, at the “U.S. Constitution Freedom Rally” organized by the Emerald Coast Tea Party. Check out this citizen candidate for liberty. Do your research, talk with him, become part of the solution and stop voting for “evil”.

Lee Jackson

A Loaded Hummer Stretch Limo

On the surface, the Mid Bay Bridge Authority bypass looks like a good idea.

In place of a two lane residential road first laid down in the 1950’s, the bypass user will have a modern highway complete with automated toll booths promising a speedy ride from highway 85 all the way to the Mid Bay Bridge. If you use the Sunpass system, you will never have to take your wallet out to pay a toll. It will look and feel like progress.

Of course, it isn’t.

Throughout its entire life the Mid Bay Bridge Authority has been increasing tolls while increasing its debt, even as vehicle traffic was going down. They average $10 million in new debt every year since they were created. For the last four years vehicle traffic on the bridge has been declining, and I think this trend will continue. Meanwhile, the Board of County Commissioners have been rubberstamping the budgets of the MBBA with not even a minute’s worth of debate, even though the law (Laws of Florida, Ch 2000-411, Section 6, part (c)) says they have the ultimate power of budget review, change and approval.

To my mind, this is all wrong, and not what government is supposed to be about. Government, when it is necessary, should strive to provide the most public service at the least public cost.

The best thing government planners could have done for Okaloosa was to plan to pay off debts and pass on the savings to the citizens. The bridge toll could cost as little as $1 per day (operations, maintenance and a rainy day fund) if there were no debt service to pay. That would really help the people who need the bridge in good economic times or bad. Instead, this bridge and bypass system is going to require high tolls forever.

When I say high, I mean eye popping high. When all is said and done with the bypass, a bridge that cost $67 million dollars to build in 1994 will have more than $350 million in debt laid on it, and that doesn’t even include future costs for ideas like a second span. It will cost you $5.50 to travel the bypass and bridge roundtrip. That’s $1430 per year for a regular commuter, which is higher than a lot of folks property taxes. There is no plan to ever pay off this project, or even to reduce the tolls.

In April of 2010, MBBA Executive Director Jim Vest told me at least $42 million in contracts were already awarded for road construction. Robert Kellner, Project Principal Engineer, told the Okaloosa Citizens Alliance that the process of awarding contracts to finish future portions of the project have been speeded up to take advantage of decreased construction costs during this recession. It was recently announced an additional $48.7 million dollars in contracts have been awarded. Terminating all contracts already awarded would probably add millions in penalty costs that bridge users would ultimately have to pay in extra tolls, but finishing the project will cost even more millions that bridge users will still also have to pay.

In other words, stopping the project will cost everyone more, and completing the project will cost everyone more. There is no happy ending to this tale.

It seems nobody thought “What if bridge traffic goes down? Can we still afford this?”

It seems nobody asked “Why don’t we just pay down bridge debt and make it cheap for people to use?”

It seems no County Commissioner or the MBBA had a clear vision of what government is supposed to be about. They were sent out to buy a Ford Fiesta and came home with a loaded Hummer stretch limo, payments courtesy of John Q. Public.

Exactly how is the MBBA going to pay the debt service on $350 million in construction debt with fewer cars using the bridge? How can they make this work without increasing tolls again in the future?

They can’t. Another magnificent folly brought to you by unlimited government.

Address to the Okaloosa County Commission 7 Dec 2010

My name is Pete Blome and I live in Niceville.

I am here to ask this Board to resist the security policies of the Transportation Security Administration at Okaloosa County Airports.

Recently, intrusive procedures by the TSA have come to the attention of the people of the United States.

New security procedures have now reached the logical extreme that had to come to pass once government was allowed to inspect American citizens without the protections of the fourth amendment. It is ironic, but we are losing our liberties in the pursuit of keeping our liberties.

Some of you on this board are thinking right now that this is none of Okaloosa’s business. Security is a Federal responsibility. Any decisions by this board will have no weight, and are therefore meaningless.

Respectfully, that is wrong. The purpose of government is to protect individual rights, and that includes County Government. This board has an important role in this matter. Okaloosa County is where we live. It is where we have our families. It is where we raise our children.

The actions of the Transportation Security Administration are not innocuous. They affect the fundamental quality of our lives, and our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is the responsibility of all government to resist unconstitutional acts, even if those acts originate in another branch of government.

However, I’ve read in various polls that most Americans think it wonderful that their government is doing something to keep them safe, and have no problems with naked x-ray images or being intimately touched by government bureaucrats. They say the TSA is only trying to keep us safe.

This is an especially short sighted opinion and begs the question if security could be bought at the cost of our liberty would it be worth it? As President Eisenhower once said, the safest place on earth is a prison.

What I am about to say is not hyperbole, but rather government policy. In order to travel in the United States today, every person must receive permission from our government. John Pistole himself, the head of the TSA, has referred to current procedures that require FBI clearance before any passenger may board an aircraft. This permission does not involve any public presentation of evidence nor the discussion of probable cause in front of a judge. If you do not get permission, you are denied the ability to travel. In 2007 the inspector general of the FBI said at least 700,000 people were on FBI airline watch lists. A fact of life in our modern America is that our government has become the licensor of the right to movement by its citizens.

(“secure flight”, APIS – Advance Passenger Information System)

The new TSA procedures add to this problem. In order to travel by aircraft, something that many people consider a personal necessity, a person is forced by government to submit to either an x-ray scan, or to an invasive touching of their body by a TSA agent. You have no choice. You may not decide once entering the inspection zone that this is too much for your sensibilities and refuse or the TSA will fine you up to $11,000. Your only choice is to not travel, which is an option many cannot afford. This policy applies to your grandmother, to small children, to the handicapped, to the prudish and extroverted with equal affrontery. Government officials, of course, are exempt from this treatment.

These policies are an invitation to corruption. Innocents will be prevented travel by bureaucratic decree. Government graft will take root as inspectors sell the ability to decide who travels and who doesn’t. Exposure to x-rays will harm you. The depraved pat downs of genital regions will lead to the spread of communicable diseases, and appeal to the depraved. And with time, people will forget that the ability to freely travel is as much a right as associating with whom you wish, doing what you want, or saying what you think.

TSA agents in the course of their “duties” have performed physical acts that violate Florida law, including child pornography, lewd and lascivious molestation and battery laws.

Already, 35,000 nude photographs of airline passengers have been saved by the TSA despite assurances that this would never happen. An unknown number have been distributed. There is a moral imperative that government live by the same rules as everyone else. A crime committed by a government agent is still a crime.

Okaloosa County must make a statement. The County Commissioners should instruct Mr. Greg Donovan, Airport Director for the County, to resist by whatever means possible the installation of full body scanners and prohibit the implementation of full body pat downs.

Furthermore, this board should ask Sheriff Ashley to enforce existing Florida law as it applies to TSA policy.

(827.071, Child pornography, 800.04 lewd and lascivious molestation, 784.03 Battery)

I find myself in the unenviable position of arguing for things that should be self evident, such as the fourth amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure, the concept of innocent until proven guilty, and the rule of law for everyone including government officials. To me, it is as if some leaders in government have lost their senses.

Scottish historian Charles MacKay said “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, [and then only] one by one.”

I am asking you to help us recover our senses.

In June of 2009 the United States Supreme Court struck down an Arizona court ruling that allowed the strip search of a 13 year old middle school student for hiding ibuprofen tablets. Yet now the government virtually strip searches everyone. People who would not contemplate a teacher or policeman touching them without invitation are allowing TSA agents to touch the private parts of their 7 year old children.

(Stafford Unified School district #1 versus Redding)

Jon Lovett, a speechwriter for President Obama joked about this situation that “Virgin Airlines had to change their name to ‘Technically Still a Virgin’ Airlines.”

(politico.com Jon Lovett, speechwriter for Obama)

He, like the rest of us, jokes about our rights. Maybe it’s because we do not know what else to do.

Our rights are not the province of only the Federal government. We make it happen every day. We are the guarantors of our own liberty. And this board is a part of that.

Thank you.

Okaloosa Needs To Stand Up to The TSA

I grew up loving the idea of airplanes and travel. I built and flew models as a kid. I pursued aviation as a teenager. I became a pilot in the Air Force. For personal and professional reasons, I’ve flown over much of the world, and not once did I hesitate because I had to fly to get there.

Now I hesitate.

It’s my government.

If an American travels today in his own country that person will have to, by law (Federal Register, Vol 71, No 135, 14 July 2006, page 40037), undergo a screening process run by the FBI and be given or denied the permission to travel on any public conveyance based on the results of this screening (without any charges or review by a judge). If that person is traveling by air, they will either be seen naked by an x-ray scanner or go through the humiliation of having their private parts involuntarily groped and prodded by a stranger in latex gloves. They must also run the risk of health effects from increased x-ray exposure. All the while, the American will actually be paying for this abuse from his or her own wallet. What is a crime anywhere else, has become policy in our airports.

I wish this were hyperbole.

In the name of making us all safe, security procedures have reached the logical extreme that had to come to pass once government was allowed to inspect us without the protections of the fourth amendment. We are now in a Kafkaesque world of bureaucratic compliance and individual submission.

I consider myself a reasonable person. I don’t go looking for trouble because I know trouble is always looking for me. The TSA has now forced me to either maintain my self-respect, at my personal or economic detriment, or give in to depraved authority. If I travel with my family, I must contend with the possibility that a stranger will touch my wife and children in the most intimate way. And all I’ve done is mind my own business.

And to think the new procedures will not eliminate, or even reduce, criminal acts. If a person is willing to board a plane to blow himself up, he will be willing to do other acts just as effective that do not require a screening process. In the meantime 300 million people will have to live with their most intimate privacy invaded, another legal double standard established, and a new source of abuse created as assorted perverts vie with each other to become TSA agents. Being secure in your person and papers, according to the constitution, will go extinct.

Of course, you could always not travel. Or you could take an uncomfortable bus, if the FBI will let you (FBI screenings and permission apply to bus manifests as well). Besides, taking a bus is difficult if you want to go to Paris, let’s say. Make up your mind early, though. If you decide once in the inspection zone that you can’t submit yourself to being seen naked or to sexual assault, the TSA claims it can fine you $10,000 for leaving uninspected. Get threatened with legalized sexual assault and get fined in the bargain.

Resistance is starting. Pilot and flight attendant associations are threatening to walk out. Holiday air ticket sales are in jeopardy. What will the American populace in general do is the question.

Okaloosa County must make a statement. The County Commissioners should instruct Mr. Greg Donovan, Airport Director for the County, to resist by whatever means possible the installation of full body scanners and prohibit the implementation of full body pat downs.

As a people we must have the courage to realize there is no ironclad solution to the problem of a criminal wanting to destroy himself and you with him. To give up your liberties for government protection and still be secure in your own person is an illusion.

You are not the property of the government. They do not have a right to inspect you simply because you travel. You do not need their permission for you to travel.

But look where we are.

As Eisenhower said, the safest place on earth is a prison.

No Where Else To Go

Difficult as it is for me to admit this, the big story of the election of 2010 is that the Tea Party had nowhere else to go, or so they think, so they went Republican.

By doing so they lost an opportunity to set things right. Despite the large gains in the House and Senate, the 660 state representative seats that switched sides, and the Republican sweep in Okaloosa, the name of the game in representative government is using citizens rights as a negotiating tool, managing the markets for the benefit of a few, and always bigger government. Tea Party supported Republicans are not going to change this game any more than Democrats are.

This forces a question. How can it be that in a liberty loving country like ours we are reduced to choosing one of two ancient political parties that do the same thing? That is the constant thought of those who want real political competition in America, such as me and my fellow Libertarians.

The law is part of the reason. If you want to fight politically, the law has been codified in such a way so as to allow anyone to speak from a street corner, but becomes a serious obstacle if you want to form organized opposition to the Republicans and Democrats (who wrote the laws). The Fort Walton Beach Tea Party, for example, decided to incorporate as a 501c(3) corporation because it allowed them to accumulate resources to advocate issues while having IRS not for profit exemptions. But at the same time it prevents them from presenting or financially supporting candidates for political office.

I find it ironic that the loudest political voice in Okaloosa of the last two years cannot present or support candidates. I am sure that pleases the Republican leadership in the County.

Of course, the Tea Party could have chosen to be a political party, but by doing so they would have to run a gamut of political reporting requirements (local, state and federal), and be subject to dozens of laws with felony level penalties. The Tea Party collects cash donations with a glass jar today, no questions asked. If they were a political party that would put them in jail. A simple restriction like this favors the Republicans and Democrats who have 150 years of organization, deal making and big money behind them.

And that is just one small piece of a very big puzzle.

Another reason is voter complacency. Does anyone doubt a Republican candidate would say they were for responsible, conservative government? But Okaloosa is filled with Republicans who have made the County budget bigger; made millage rates go up for cities, towns, and fire districts; refused to make the Mid Bay Bridge Authority be a cost effective government service, proposed sales taxes, and even had some who scandalously abused their office. None of this was responsible or conservative. Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority of Okaloosans, Tea Partiers included, still gave their vote to Republican candidates.

This is what the Tea Party settled for. It’s a far cry from the outrage over bailouts and the corruption of the rule of law that formed them in 2008.

In all fairness, the Libertarians could offer but one candidate on the ballot to stem the tide this year, the redoubtable Alex Snitker. It remains the Libertarian Party’s ever present task to find and present more candidates to show people like the Tea Partiers that there is a better place to go than the Republicans.

And the need for an alternative is growing. Financial catastrophe is lurking out there. Decades of Republican and Democrat favors have produced a financial system rife with fraud, debt and unemployment. As a result, the Republicans were thrown out in 08. In turn, the Democrats were thrown out in 10.

Who will Okaloosa throw out in 12 when things are worse? And more importantly, who will Okaloosa put in?

Pete Blome is a retired military officer, member of the Fort Walton Beach Tea Party, and Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County.

Libertarians Liberal Side

Libertarian’s have a liberal side? Typically, it is believed that Libertarian’s are only about keeping the government from pilfering our wallets; which has merit. But, that is not the only government intrusion that we have objections to. The definition of libertarian is: one who advocates liberty, especially with regard to thought or conduct; one who maintains the doctrine of the freedom of the will. When government uses its power to subrogate the individual’s will, we see that as an intrusion of our rights as free people. It is not the duty of the government to subjugate the people to a narrow social or moral idealism.

“Our support of the individual’s right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove those choices”

We support the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, and property. Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. We favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.

That sounds ludicrous to many people, and the abuses sound dangerous. But It should be the choice of the individual as to what they do with their bodies, even if it results in the detriment of their health. We are not the property of the government! We recognize that abuses will occur, but the greater danger is that the government will wage war on its own people.

Mike Maier, Treasurer, Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County

The Libertarian Voters Guide Okaloosa County Sheriff 2010

This guide contains questions for candidates for Sheriff of Okaloosa County, Florida. The candidates for Sheriff as of 15 October 2010 are Larry Ashley, C.P. Morales, Brian C. Sparling, and Robert L. Thacker Jr.,

The questions proposed in this guide were created by the Executive Committee of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County. The answers are exactly as they were presented to the LPOC. They are presented as a public service to the voters.

Candidates were asked to limit their answers to 650 characters including spaces. If they submitted an answer greater than 650 characters, only the first 650 were published (indicated by *). LPOC comments on any one question are also limited to 650 characters.

In pursuit of individual rights, free markets, and limited government,

The Executive Committee of the LPOC

Pete Blome, Chairman
Steve Copus, Vice Chairman
Mike Maier, Treasurer
Lee Jackson, Former Chair

Help us in our fight for a better Okaloosa. Send donations to:

Pd. Pol. Adv. By The Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County, P.O. Box 483, Shalimar, Florida 32579-0483, www.libertarianpoc.org,

1) How do you view the role of Sheriff in the County?

Larry Ashley

The primary role of the Sheriff is to enable & empower the men & women of the Sheriff’s Office to effectively ensure the safety of our citizens thru fair, unbiased & impartial enforcement of Florida State Statutes & Okaloosa County Ordinances. This can be achieved by insisting & insuring that all members of the department continually demonstrate the highest level of professionalism & ethical behaviour in all we do. At the same time the Sheriff must demonstrate good fiscal stewardship & insist that tax dollars are spent judiciously & only for their appropriated purpose. The Sheriff must also develop & administer contingency plans in times of crisis.

C.P. Morales

I view it as a role model for all the citizens, specially the small persons (children’s). The sheriff, since is the highest ranking person in the county, should represent sincerity, trustworthy, honesty, integrity, truthfulness and straightforwardness

Brian C. Sparling

The role of the Sheriff is that of the Senior Law Enforcement Officer. It is his responsibility to ensure that progressive law enforcement services are provided to the community of Okaloosa County. The Sheriff should be accessible to all of the community, as well as being a part of the community. This can be accomplished by participating in community events as well as all functions of the sheriff’s office. The Sheriff would be responsible for providing the highest level of services within the budget and utilizing every dollar in the proper manner to do so.

Robert L. Thacker Jr.

I view the Sheriff as a Chief Executive Officer for the most powerful elected position in our county. The Sheriff must be a frugal protector of tax-payer dollars to provide outstanding Law Enforcement services while representing the citizens in a positive manner. I view the Sheriff as the singular individual that represents the ideas, pulse and diligence of the community. Every community in America is usually judged by their elected representatives. The representative commonly referred to in obtaining the status of that community is the Sheriff. It is vitally important that the Sheriff be a moral, lawful and respected member of our community.

LPOC Opinion

The Sheriff is the most prominent public example of the rule of law and the first line of defense of individual rights in the county. The Sheriff must be the prime example of law abiding conduct and above reproach. The Sheriff, as an elected official and by being on the cutting edge of events as they happen, is also the first person to ensure that citizens control their government rather than government abusing its citizens.

2) What is your first priority upon taking office as Sheriff?

Larry Ashley

My first priority is to ensure that your sheriff’s office is fully prepared and capable of responding to the public safety needs of our citizens. This will include the elimination of waste and inefficiencies while re-defining standards of professional performance & the methods by which they are measured. I will develop and ensure a culture of achievement rather than one of entitlement. Performance based goals, physical fitness and a commitment to professional training will be among the top priorities. Our citizens deserve the highest levels of service we can provide and I will provide superior service for every tax dollar we expend.

C.P. Morales

My first priority will be to pay tribute to all the citizens of the county for electing me as the new sheriff. After that, I will start to eliminate some jobs that are not necessary in the sheriff department.

Brian C. Sparling

To restore trust in the administrative operations of the Sheriff’s Office. Streamline operations, reduce and eliminate excessive bureaucracy, and make the office more responsive to all citizens is my goal. The current organizational structure is burdened with layers of highly paid people performing minimal work with little justification.

Robert L. Thacker Jr.

My first priority is to reassure the Sheriff Office employees that they are doing a great job and I’m here to support them. It is very important to let the employees know that they have a solid and stern supporter of their efforts. After this has been accomplished, I will ask all the employees to fill out a job application with the Sheriff’s Office. The purpose is to review their written communication abilities while reviewing their accomplishments and achievements. I will personally review applications keeping the ones that pass my standards and rejecting the ones that do not.

LPOC Opinion

The first priority must be to restore trust in the integrity of the local law enforcement community. This begins by setting a standard of no tolerance for corruption. Hand-in-hand with this concept, the Sheriff must make it known that the Office of Sheriff is not there to merely enforce every law presented to it, but to be a co-participant in defending individual rights.

3) Would you support the execution of a National Security Letter, if presented to you, which allows searches without the review or consent of a judge, or the knowledge of the person being searched?

Larry Ashley

Yes, I will support the execution of National Security Letters in Okaloosa County. My careful review of Title 18, Chapter 121 of the United States Code leaves me convinced that sufficient restrictions and oversight exist governing the circumstances under which a National Security Letter can be lawfully executed. The unprecedented threat imposed by radical terrorist elements was clearly demonstrated on 11 September 2001. US intelligence and law enforcement agencies must be able to respond with speedy and deliberate actions to counter those threats. National Security Letters enable that quick and deliberate response. I will support their judicious use!

C.P. Morales

No. it will violate The Fourth Amendment (Amendment IV) which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Brian C. Sparling

Often ideas change with time or political ideology. This issue demands from the law enforcement profession an application of fairness. The laws governing the National Security Letter are current and have merit before a court of law. To change any law requires citizens partnered with their legislators to amend or change the law. I’m supportive of our statutes as written but realize the people have the authority to change them. As the Sheriff, I am expected to uphold the law.

Robert L. Thacker Jr.

I would not execute this letter unless I thoroughly review its legal authorization in accordance with Doe vs Ashcroft, now as Doe vs Mukasey. As you are aware, the 2nd US Circuit Court Judge agreed with the lower courts in determining that parts of an individuals First and Fourth Amendment Rights were violated. Therefore, the execution of the National Security Letter still requires standard court ordered approval for certain information requested and has to be provided with the Letter. As I’ve stated, I would not support the execution of the National Security Letter if presented to me.

LPOC Opinion

No. As Judge Andrew Napolitano said, the National Security Letter is no different than the Writs of Assistance British soldiers wrote for themselves to search American homes without evidence leading to the revolution. A republic cannot survive if searches are legally conducted in secret. A republic cannot survive if a person cannot even say he is being searched without going to jail. It is breeding ground for illicit government behavior, a potent source of corruption, and unconstitutional.

4) Would you be in favor of roadside checkpoints to randomly check persons for driving while intoxicated (DUI), scan all vehicles for contraband using x-ray technology, or search all vehicles for illegal immigrants?

Larry Ashley

Sobriety checkpoints are often used as part of a comprehensive enforcement strategy aimed at deterring alcohol-impaired driving & they have been proven to be effective towards that end. I support these initiatives providing they are fairly administered & the criteria used to conduct checks is truly random & impartial i.e., every 5th car, versus every red sports car. I do not however support or advocate the use of technologies that circumvent the expectations of privacy guaranteed by our constitution. We typically enjoy an expectation of privacy in our vehicles and that expectation should only be usurped based on probable cause or exigent circumstances.

C.P. Morales

Yes, for driving while intoxicated (DUI). Everything else will be a violation of the constitution.

Brian C. Sparling

I support and plan to initiate as many Safety and Sobriety checkpoints as possible. The checkpoints must follow very specific rules and are highly publicized to ensure limited interruption to the public. These checkpoints allow law enforcement to locate and arrest offenders of multiple law violations. These violations range from drivers’ license violations, impaired drivers, narcotics violations, illegal immigrants, as well as ensuring vehicles meet the minimum safety laws to be on the road. X-ray technology is a valuable tool that is better utilized in the airport, shipping and border areas.

Robert L. Thacker Jr.

I’m in favor of conducting random DUI checkpoints for the purpose of locating, identifying, and removing impaired drivers from our roadways. I’m not in favor of using XRAY technology for routine or random checkpoints as it’s not logistically or economically sound procedures. The cost of moving and operating this specialized equipment is not conducive to limited budget Agencies. I’m not in favor of setting up checkpoints for the sole purpose of locating illegal immigrants. This could be considered profiling if all you’re looking for during a roadblock is a specific race. There are other venues available to deal with illegal immigrants.

LPOC Opinion

No, criminality should be determined by actions, not by potential actions. Any search that is blanket in nature, such as DUI, x-ray or illegal alien checkpoints, leads to government excess, and should be opposed. Checkpoints on roads, not backed by the presentation of evidence beforehand or by probable cause, will spread the use of random searches in general at the expense of liberty. Because if law enforcement may legally search you simply for using the public roads, what is to stop them from legally doing so when you are at the store, or at home? Eventually, being secure in one’s own person will become a meaningless phrase, and it will forever alter what it means to be free in America.

5) Do you think illegal immigrants should have the rights of the constitution?

Larry Ashley

Illegal aliens should and do enjoy the due process protections afforded to all people under our Constitution. They do not however have the right to vote, possess firearms, and other provisions guaranteed our citizens by the constitution. I have talked with numerous legal immigrants who share this same belief. Legal immigrants have abided by the law and followed the immigration rules of our country to gain their status. Granting illegal immigrants all the same rights enjoyed by our citizens and legal immigrants severely diminishes the value of our rights and serves to dissuade others from following the law and seeking citizenship or immigration lawfully. Our rights and freedoms were paid for with the bloo*

C.P. Morales

America was build with immigrants, and the Constitution of the US States, states,” We the People of the United States, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity (descendants)…

Amendment 14 also states….. .” All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,…. No State shall make or enforce,..; …nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Brian C. Sparling

I believe the United States has a great opportunity for people to immigrate here. I believe the policies and procedures which the potential immigrants must complete are here to protect the citizens of the United States from potential unwanted individuals obtaining citizenship. Those which try to circumvent the laws and policies of obtaining the proper paperwork to remain in the United States, either temporary or permanent, should not receive the same as those who are here legally.

Robert L. Thacker Jr.

Our country was founded, built and ran by immigrants long before you or I were born. I do believe immigrants should have basic rights. But I also believe they should follow the law for admittance and naturalization. The problem is that some foreigners want the “good” life now without following the rules. Hence the necessity for allowing basic rights, but at the same time they need to be arrested and deported with their identification being log and banned for upwards of 10-years. The basic rights are to protect them from “prejudicial” acts by citizens and provide them with minimum medical care necessary to get them on transportation out of the country

LPOC Opinion

Yes. The Constitution is based on the inherent rights of men, not the privileges of nationalities. In the USA we are increasingly using special laws to give due process to “specially selected” categories of people, such as “terrorists” [enemy combatants], “minorities” [hate crimes], and “foreigners” [illegal immigrants]. This is a bad thing for all of us because whenever the law is applied by a standard other than the criminal behavior of the accused, it means the law is being applied for reasons other than determining justice.

6) Are you in favor of police powers to track a person or vehicle without their knowledge and without showing evidence or probable cause to a judge? (This power is currently being used in nine western states, using GPS technology, and judged legal by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (Oregon case of Pineda-Moreno 2007)).

Larry Ashley

I do not believe, absent reasonable suspicion or judicial authority, police should be able to employ technologies which monitor the movements of citizens who have not been convicted of a crime and are not under judicial sanctions such as sexual predators. However, in reviewing your referenced case I noted that in this instance law enforcement authorities had observed behaviors that constitute reasonable suspicion that crimes were being committed. That information, when coupled with the fact that attaching a tracking device is not overly invasive, leads me to believe the police actions cited in the Pineda-Moreno case were constitutional and reasonable.

C.P. Morales

No. This violated the Constitution of the US, and the State of Florida

Brian C. Sparling

I am in favor of the power to track a person or vehicle without their knowledge. However, I believe all of these types of tracks should be approved by a judge. The use of GPS tracking is a great asset to the law enforcement community in locating missing persons, wanted persons, or stolen property. In cases of danger to life, a track without a court order could be used.

Robert L. Thacker Jr.

I am in favor of using police powers to track a person or vehicle without their knowledge as long as it doesn’t violate Title 7 of United States Codes (Right to Privacy). If I’m trying to follow up on leads concerning a potential criminal act, I would employ those tactics that would enable me to develop probable cause or evidence in proving my case. This type of activity has shown repeatedly to be very successful at stopping criminal activity. If we use technology to thwart the criminal element verses using human resources, then the community can realize cost saving measures while legally preventing criminal acts.

LPOC Opinion

No. The ability of a law enforcement officer, on his own volition and without review for evidence or probable cause, to track someone is not a small matter. Although it may reveal criminal activity, it is also just as likely to reveal opinions, actions, and desires which are not criminal, but considered undesirable by government. Will the information never be used against him? Who can assure this? Can that person, or any person, ever feel assured he is allowed to think, travel, and develop his personality as he sees fit? It is more likely he will be forced, over time, to conform much as a prisoner conforms to his prison. A watched society can never be a free society.

7) Are you in favor of the county policy to allow Sheriff’s Deputies to moonlight as security guards in the county uniform, responsible to enforce the law as if they were on regular duty, but in the employ of a private company?

Larry Ashley

Absolutely! I support off duty details which provide added security and protections to area businesses and enable deputies to supplement their income. Based on our current pay scale, the average deputy, with a family of four, falls below the poverty line on the income scale. Florida State Statute 30.2905 also establishes provisions for private businesses to contract for employment of off-duty deputies for security services. I have no reason to oppose any such arrangement providing our deputies presence and conduct is in keeping with our professional and ethical standards

C.P. Morales

No. Deputies are employees of the states. If deputies want to moonlight as security guards, that’s their rights, but not with states uniforms, or equipment. A security guard has not law enforcement power in a private company.

Brian C. Sparling

Yes, I am in favor of the county policy allowing for off duty employment by Deputy Sheriffs.

Robert L. Thacker Jr.

I am not in favor of this type activity. The company must contract with the Sheriff’s Office to allow Deputies to aid the company in maintaining good order and discipline at their establishment. The Sheriff can not afford the liability of allowing an employee who is a representation of the Sheriff to conduct law enforcement duties without the permission of the Sheriff. The laws state that if a law enforcement officer, who is known as an employee of a law enforcement agency, enforces laws that could result in a civil lawsuit then the employee’s agency is liable for damages.

LPOC Opinion

No – Deputies are servants of all the public. If in their free time they decide to be a security guard, and employ their law enforcement training to maintain the good order of crowds and traffic, then they should be permitted, but without the support, trappings and law enforcement duties of the County. To do otherwise sets in motion a dynamic where law enforcement is sold to the highest bidder. It is a mild form of favoritism by government to private firms. It corrupts both the government and the free market, and leads to a slow rot in public trust.

8) Do you believe it is better to let 10 guilty men go free than for one innocent man to be in prison?

Larry Ashley

Yes, I believe this without reservation! During my 20+ years as a law enforcement officer this has been one of the guiding principles which have governed my actions. I have never arrested an individual whom I did not believe to be guilty of a crime & whose guilt was not supported by the evidence. I have made hundreds of arrests in my career and I take very seriously the enormous responsibility associated with depriving someone of their personal freedoms through arrest. As Sheriff I will ensure that law enforcement arrest powers are not haphazardly invoked.

C.P. Morales

Yes. An innocent person will lose his good name, his family, and his career, and will suffer a life sentence of humiliation, of rape and execution of AIDS, because the justice system made a mistake. A guilty person chose to defiant the law; he chose to be that way.

Brian C. Sparling

It is never the right thing to allow someone guilty of a crime to be free. It is also never right to imprison an innocent person. I will hire only the best trained individuals and give them the training they need to ensure every step is taken so neither of these incidents has to occur.

Robert L. Thacker Jr.

This age old adage has been argued from all directions. My thought; it is not better for 10 guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to be in prison. Our system is not perfect, but it’s the best system known to the world. We give all the benefits of innocence to every violator charged. Our system provides the preamble, Innocent until proven guilty, in all cases. Every benefit is afforded to the charged individual to prove his/her innocence before being judged. Once in a while we do make a mistake and one innocent person is imprisoned. This event happens so infrequently that it’s acceptable under our current system.

LPOC Opinion

Yes. This saying speaks about the power of government. Government does not grant us our rights or our freedom. That is a birthright. Government is to protect our individual rights, and an exacting attention to that will lead to circumstances where the guilty are sometimes let free for the ultimate protection of all the innocent. The thought that there should be acceptable losses (an innocent man suffering the life shattering consequences of false imprisonment) in the justice system is unacceptable on its face. It cannot be otherwise if we are to have a country where you are innocent until proven guilty, and where government rules with the consent of the governed.

Seriously Wrong Out There

Election time is nearly upon us, and at a time like this I reflect on where Okaloosa has been and where it is going.

Despite the hard economic times, the general public still believes in its government and its leaders. There is faith that what worked in the past will probably work this time too, and soon we can all get back to our jobs, our families and the simple things in life. Choose a side, republican or democrat, make your check in the box, and move on.

But you and I both know that something is going seriously wrong out there.

I am not talking about individual corruption, or incompetence in government. That happens all the time in every age. “Scandaloosa” already knows about that.

It seems to me government has a life of its own, and doesn’t seem to know or care about being thrifty or staying out of the way. Examples are everywhere.

Recently, here in republican dominated Okaloosa, we had a school board that wanted to raise taxes on everyone $135 million dollars because they couldn’t think of anything else to do. How about opening up the state monopoly to greater real competition in education?

We have a Board of County Commissioners that kept the tax millage rate steady while increasing spending. The only way to pay for everything is an accounting trick using money from previous years.

In Fort Walton Beach, despite the best efforts of Henry Kelley and the Tea Partiers, the city council basically said, “We don’t care what you want, we are gonna raise taxes!”

North Bay Fire District is raising its tax rate. I bet others are too.

And the Mid Bay Bridge Authority created a bypass and bridge fiscal monster, rubberstamped by our Board of County Commissioners, that will never be paid off. Those commuting to work will be paying an incredible $1430 a year in tolls. Any bets that’s not going to go up in the future too?

Higher up the food chain, at the state level we will be voting on two amendments to our State Constitution where it doesn’t matter if you vote yes or no, you will be voting for intrusive government (number 4 and number 8). What a choice.

We have fraud banks selling fraud mortgages backed by fraud buyers to everyone to the tune of trillions of dollars, all supposedly regulated by our fraud state and federal governments. Honest, hardworking, people are beginning to think maybe it is a good idea to walk away from their underwater mortgages.

On Wall Street big stock traders blatantly use illegal methods, such as Goldman Sachs front-running computer programs, to stay ahead of their competition (and the individual trader) with our own government’s blessing. It’s an openly rigged market.

Our Congress bailed out banks that should have gone under, and you and I are paying for it to the tune of $45,000 for every man, woman, and child in the county.

And the Federal Reserve, entrusted by law to keep prices stable, has openly come out with inflation targets. Inflation is called the cruelest tax because pensioners, the elderly, the savers and producers (you know, you and me) will be the ones actually paying for it.

It can also melt the country down.

By the way, nobody big goes to jail. That is reserved exclusively for the little guy.

Where are we going? It’s becoming clear that we are going to a place where playing by the rules is a sucker’s game.

It is what happens when libertarian principles are ignored, such as thrift, competition, the rule of law, and government staying out of the way. It is what happens when government is used as a source of favors instead of a protector of individual rights.

It is a dangerous path. It creates two classes of people, one composed of those who have government influence, and the vast majority of those who don’t. Thank 150 years of the republicans and democrats for this development.

So, this year, don’t just check the box and move on. The only way back is by supporting liberty, and the only party that truly supports liberty are the Libertarians.

The Libertarian Voters Guide 2 Nov 10 Ballot Amendments

The Libertarian Voters Guide

2 November 2010 General Election Ballot Florida Constitutional Amendments and Other Initiatives

30 September 2010

This guide contains a brief synopsis of the constitutional amendments and other initiatives to be on the General Ballot in the 2 November General election. Following each synopsis is the opinion of the Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County regarding each ballot initiative.

There are six total proposed constitutional amendments and one Federal Budget Advisory Question to be on the 2 November ballot. The proposed amendments are not numbered sequentially, so the ballot will show amendments numbered up to number eight when there are only six of them.

In summary, the LPOC recommends that an individual vote as follows:

Amendment One: Vote yes Amendment Two: Vote no

Amendment Four: Vote yes Amendment Five: Vote no

Amendment Six: Vote no Amendment Eight: Vote yes

Federal Budget Advisory Question: Vote no

The Executive Committee of the LPOC, in pursuit of individual rights, free markets, and limited government,

Pete Blome, Chairman
Steve Copus, Vice Chairman
Mike Maier, Treasurer
Lee Jackson, Former Chair

Help us in our fight for a better Okaloosa. Send donations to:

Pd. Pol. Adv. By The Libertarian Party of Okaloosa County, P.O. Box 483, Shalimar, Florida 32579-0483, www.libertarianpoc.org,

Number One: Article VI, section 7

REPEAL OF PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCE REQUIREMENT

Ballot summary: Proposing the repeal of the provision in the State Constitution that requires public financing of campaigns of candidates for elective statewide office.

LPOC Opinion: The malignant growth of government often comes from ideas that on the surface seem like good ones. Government should rule for the benefit of all, but when it coerces some of the population, through tax laws, to support the campaigns of political candidates they do not agree with, it coerces the public into supporting a message they would not support. Instead of the power of public opinion determining issues and candidates’ chances, the financial role of government has suddenly made that government take on a very direct role in determining the issues and candidates are that the public sees. Public support also means public accountability. Although this also appears to be on the surface a good idea, it tends to limit a candidate to only those actions that are already approved by the government. It becomes one more step in the march of political mediocrity that we suffer from right now. In sum, public campaign financing favors an existing government administration, and reduces the public discussion of issues.

Vote yes to repeal this amendment

Number two: Article VII, section 3 and Article XII, section 31

HOMESTEAD AD VALOREM TAX CREDIT FOR DEPLOYED MILITARY PERSONNEL

Ballot summary: Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to require the legislature to provide an additional homestead property tax exemption by law for members of the United States military or military reserves, the United States Coast Guard or its reserves, or the Florida National Guard who receive a homestead exemption and were deployed in the previous year on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska or Hawaii, in support of military operations designated by the legislature. The exempt amount will be based on the number of days in the previous calendar year that the person was deployed on active duty outside the continental United States, Alaska or Hawaii in support of military operations designated by the legislature. The amendment is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2011.

LPOC Opinion – The real purpose of this amendment is to support a flagging real estate market. It reinforces the false belief that government exists to provide special favors for politicians to dole out.to select groups. A second homestead exemption discriminates against renters, and props up housing prices by increasing housing demand. From an economic point of view, it would be better to eliminate taxes on all households, thereby freeing up spendable income, than it would be to grant a special exemption for a few. At its core this amendment is about granting exemptions – every taxpayer does not get the same deal and most will bear more costs for taxation and in higher costs for housing. Vote no

Number four: Article II, section 7

REFERENDA REQUIRED FOR ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMPREHENSIVE LAND USE PLANS

Ballot summary: Establishes that before a local government may adopt a new comprehensive land use plan, or amend a comprehensive land use plan, the proposed plan or amendment shall be subject to vote of the electors of the local government by referendum, following preparation by the local planning agency, consideration by the governing body and notice. Provides definitions. Financial Impact statement: This amendment’s impact on local government expenditures cannot be estimated precisely. Local governments will incur additional costs due to the requirement to conduct referenda in order to adopt comprehensive plans or amendments thereto. The amount of such costs depends upon the frequency, timing and method of the referenda, and includes the cost of ballot preparation, election administration, and associated expenses. The impact on state government expenditures will be insignificant.

LPOC Opinion: The voters of Florida would be better off if this amendment were not on the ballot, as voting either yes or no supports an intrusive government. The idea of local land use plans requiring a referendum whenever a change is proposed seems to support a common conception of democracy, i.e., that all will vote and decide an issue. This is in contrast to the current method where a few representatives on a zoning board decide matters. Presumably, opening zoning decisions to public referendum reduces the centralized power of government.

But the real question a voter needs to ask himself is whether government should be in charge of deciding how you use your property. Zoning, permits and licenses are among the most pernicious limitations on an individual using his own property, and arriving at that decision by a vote of your neighbors or by a vote of remote zoning board is still a limitation on your use of your property. What you are being asked to vote for here is control by an organized, vocal minority or control by unelected or unaccountable bureaucrats. Neither is acceptable.

It is our opinion it is better to let this matter be decided by your neighbors than by a remote government. Eventually, it is our hope that the community in general will come to see that government intervention is harmful in the overwhelming majority of cases, whether that intervention be by bureaucrat or by popular vote, and gradually eliminate it.Vote yes

Number Five: Article III, section 21

STANDARDS FOR LEGISLATURE TO FOLLOW IN LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING

Ballot summary: Legislative districts or districting plans may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party. Districts shall not be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. Districts must be contiguous. Unless otherwise required, districts must be compact, as equal in population as feasible, and where feasible must make use of existing city, county and geographical boundaries.

Financial Impact statement: The fiscal impact cannot be determined precisely. State government and state courts may incur additional costs if litigation increases beyond the number or complexity of cases which would have occurred in the amendment’s absence.

LPOC Opinion : This is an example of an amendment that gives voters a false sense of confidence in the virtue of their elected representatives. The thought that partisan, professional politicians would knowingly commit political suicide by revising his/her district to permit a competitive opponent in her/his district illogical on its face.

This amendment tries to give political cover to Republican and Democrat legislators accused of redistricting partisanship, but it will not stop the practice. Cunning legislators of either major party can still arrange districts to favor one of the two dominant parties just by being active during the border drawing process. The amendment rules are also terribly vague. If the process of creating voting districts was meant to be foolproof, some sort of formula based on population or geography could have been created.

Instead of creating legislation to hide behind and blame if things go wrong, it would be better if the voters see the results of their legislators wheeling and dealing. Let lawmakers do what they will, and then hold them accountable when they make a district that is 99.99% republican, or split up a third party so they will not achieve more than 5% of the vote. This is preferable to a false sense of security that a just and equitable system is in place. Vote no.

Number Six: Article III, section 20

STANDARDS FOR LEGISLATURE TO FOLLOW IN CONGRESSIONAL REDISTRICTING

Ballot summary: Legislative districts or districting plans may not be drawn to favor or disfavor an incumbent or political party. Districts shall not be drawn to deny racial or language minorities the equal opportunity to participate in the political process and elect representatives of their choice. Districts must be contiguous. Unless otherwise required, districts must be compact, as equal in population as feasible, and where feasible must make use of existing city, county and geographical boundaries. Financial Impact statement: The fiscal impact cannot be determined precisely. State government and state courts may incur additional costs if litigation increases beyond the number or complexity of cases which would have occurred in the amendment’s absence.

LPOC Opinion : The LPOC opinion on this matter is identical to the one regarding STANDARDS FOR LEGISLATURE TO FOLLOW IN LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING previously stated. Vote no.

Number Eight: Article IX, section 1 and Article XII, section 31

REVISION OF THE CLASS SIZE REQUIREMENTS FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Ballot summary: The Florida Constitution currently limits the maximum number of students assigned to each teacher in public school classrooms in the following grade groupings: for prekindergarten through grade 3, 18 students; for grades four through 8, 22 students; and for grades 9 through 12, 25 students. Under this amendment, the current limits on the maximum number of students assigned to each teacher, by specified grade grouping, in each public school. This amendment also adopts new limits on the maximum number of students assigned to each teacher in an individual classroom as follows: for prekindergarten through grade 3, 21 students; for grades 4 through 8, 27 students; and for grades 9 through 12, 30 students. This amendment specifies that class size limits do not apply to virtual classes, requires the Legislature to provide sufficient funds to maintain the average number of students required by this amendment, and schedules these revisions to take effect upon approval by the electors of this state and to operate retroactively to the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year.

LPOC Opinion: This is another example of an amendment that voters would be better off it were not on the ballot because both a yes or no vote works against the voters interest. The thought that something as managerial as class size is on a state constitution referendum is direct evidence of centralized state planning run amok.

Education has been a state monopoly for so long, and supported by so many discriminatory acts of legislation (such as double taxing the home schooled and those who send their children to private school, and the state determining school standards for everyone) that Americans are beginning to forget that there is any other way. Monopolies always end in excessive costs and poor performance because they are not responsive to the needs of their clients, the students. A state monopoly is even worse because it uses the power of taxation (a very deep pocket) to keep institutions operating that otherwise would close. The solution to the problems of education is to open it up to competition.

This amendment is really about state power – the power to tax, the power to decide for everyone, the power to make one size fit all, the power to eliminate competition, and the ridiculous power to make every Floridian vote on the class size, thereby legitimizing the monopoly.

Vote yes – Allowing larger class size will at least give some flexibility to the system presumably saving money.

Federal Budget Advisory Question

SHOULD CONGRESS ADD AN AMENDMENT TO THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION REQUIRING A BALANCED FEDERAL BUDGET?

LPOC Opinion: We detest the idea of a government that continually borrows beyond its means (and thereby threatens the stability of its currency and the freedom of its children who must pay the bill), but there are circumstances in a limited government where temporary borrowing, beyond tax receipts, is both necessary and warranted. The most obvious is war brought about by invasion or other attack, and another can be a catastrophic natural disaster requiring temporary state relief.

Another item to consider is the nature of money in our modern world. Although the LPOC does not agree with it, borrowing, especially by government, is a critical part of the current monetary system based on debt. All money is borrowed into existence, and without both public and private borrowing our economic system would crash immediately (as opposed to the slow motion crash it is experiencing now, caused by too much debt.)

Vote no – this advisory question tries to fix budget problems by set rules instead of the collective good wits of the members of Congress. Think about such methods applied in the past such as the Gramm-Rudman Act, which is still the law, but now, apparently, bypassed or ignored. Such methods always create more problems than they solve. Hold your representative accountable instead through the ballot box.