Author Archives: Bill McMillen

Werner Hetzner Named CDLP Director of Communications

Werner Hetzner of Cohoes was recently named Communications Director for the Capital District Libertarian Party. A long time activiist and letter writer on issues of liberty and government accountability, Werner was published in the Albany Times Union on June 9th commenting upon what drives legislative voting.

The text of the letter follows:

Your editorial lament about political campaign finance and democracy seemed curiously out of date (“For sale: One government,” May 29). Buying political influence is hardly news. Why the sudden outrage? It’s not just wealthy individuals who buy political influence; unions (teachers, public employees, health care) have consistently paid the most for New York politicians.

Democracy has become a sham. Politically motivated state mandates account for about 90 percent of municipal and school budgets. In other words, county legislators do not get to cut, trim or reduce them in any way, neither can school boards. Why bother to vote when the results have no meaning?

The reality is that votes can be bought and power can be sold. Legislators understand this. Power corrupts. The greater their power to create rights, dispense privileges, contracts and favors, the higher the price such officials command. This is the dynamic that drives “politics as usual” to grant the demands of some at the expense of others.

The people of New York and their local governing bodies have been regulated to bankruptcy and dysfunction by Democrats and Republicans. They need to be liberated.

Werner Hetzner

Communications
 director, Capital District Libertarian Party

Cohoes

 

Government will not solve “Income Inequality”

A recent letter in the Times Union under the heading “Wealthy in Control of Government” by Wally Hughes of Charlton points out that “a poor economy and unemployment has little effect upon the wealth stream” of large companies which have the means to “deal with our increasing bureaucracy.” He continues with the observation that small and mid-sized businesses are “bogged down by exploding paperwork.”
Government regulation and the imposed costs, both direct and indirect resulting from such regulations contribute to the loss of jobs and the marginalization of the poor and middle class significantly contributing to income inequality impacting not only the individuals but the communities in which they reside.
Government is not the last place we should look to address concerns about economic malaise, unemployment and income inequality.  At its best, it is incompetent; and at its worst, it is the agent that stifles competition and limits innovation and opportunity. As Mr. Hughes appropriately asks “Who do you think has the (attention of the) legislators?”

Meet the Libertarian Party Candidates for Governor

There are five announced candidates for the nomination of the Libertarian Party of New York to be Governor of the State of New York, The Convention will be held on Saturday April 26th at the Best Western Hotel, 200 Wolf Road, Albany. It is anticipated that the candidates will be in town and available at a meet and greet on Friday evening at either the hotel or a spot near by which will be posted. The convention is open to all; however only members of the Libertarian Party of New York will participate in the voting.

Chris Edes to Seek Nomination for Governor as a LIbertarian

chris edes

April 17, 2012

Chris Edes to seek nomination for Governor as a Libertarian

Rochester, NY — Chris Edes, a Rochester native and Libertarian Party candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, is seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination for Governor this year.

The Libertarian Party of New York selects its nominees at its State Convention this Saturday, April 26. The gubernatorial nominee will likely be chosen in the late afternoon or evening. There are four other persons seeking the nomination, in what promises to be an interesting contest.

“I believe we can forge a consensus on fiscal policy,” said Edes. “Democrats and Republicans alike support tax breaks for banks and businesses. I propose instead a tax cut for the individual and the consumer. It’s past time for the little guy to catch a break.”

Edes also plans to “bring New York into the 21st Century by adopting a ‘shall issue’ permit system for handguns.”

Chris is widely assumed to be in the running, but had not yet issued a formal press advisory. He has a website at www.vote-for-chris.net

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“Extortion” by Peter Schweizer

Writer Peter Schweizer states that “conventional wisdom hold that Washington is broken because outside special interests bribe politicians.” Certainly that is the message from discussions about the influence of money in politics, public policy, and government spending both in the press and over the airwaves. However, Mr. Schweizer makes the case that it is the politicians and those he calls the PPC (Permanent Political Class) have become adept at extorting “wealthy individuals and donors into forking over big donations.
Often wonder why legislation takes so long to go through the process starting with its introduction to its final passage or defeat. Schweizer shows how each step of the way, each committee hearing, provides an opportunity to tap the industries and persons that will be effected by whatever action is taken.
The book has plenty of details, with amounts, names, and political connections of Republicans and Democrats alike that have been successful at gaining power and riches for themselves and family; much more than is necessary to make the point, but it a good read that concludes with several recommendations that would place restrictions not on the contributors, but upon the actions of candidates and public officials in soliciting funds,
“Extortion” by Peter Schweizer copyright 2013 is published by Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt Publishing Company

Libertarian Richard Cooper challenges Andrew Cuomo and Republican Unknowns for Governor of New York

Richard Cooper
Westbury, NY: 2/19/14:

Please view my website at www.cooperforgov.com

Former State Libertarian Party Chair Richard Cooper declared his candidacy for the Libertarian Party’s nomination for governor with the message “Free New Yorkers from the Empire State.” Cooper says New Yorkers deserve a choice of someone who will “Stop wasting money and meddling in their personal lives. Economic freedom and personal freedom go together.”

If he wins 50,000 votes in November, the Libertarians obtain official ballot status for the next four years.

Cooper proposes cutting spending, taxes and borrowing. He advocates abolition of agencies such as the Empire State Development Corporation, which he calls an engine of corporate welfare and eminent domain abuse, which are “evils” Cooper pledges to eliminate. Cooper was a plaintiff in the unsuccessful “Stop The Pork” lawsuit.

Cooper calls for term limits for state and municipal elected officials.

“Common Core should be cancelled,” Cooper says. “The Board of Regents is picked by the legislature voting jointly, which means that they are selected by Speaker Silver. Only a relative few people get to vote on Silver. I advocate gubernatorial appointment of the Board of Regents. The governor is accountable statewide.”

Cooper advocates legalization of marijuana. He rejects Federal interference. “Alcohol prohibition was enacted and repealed by constitutional amendment. Federal marijuana prohibition evaded the constitution.”

Not only does he demand repeal of Cuomo’s NY Safe Act, but he advocates repeal of the Sullivan Law which imposed the discretionary handgun permit system. Failing repeal of the Sullivan Law, Cooper demands a “shall issue” system so that anyone not barred from having a gun may get one.

Cooper is a Westbury resident and is logistics vice president of a Long Island manufacturing firm. He graduated Columbia College with a degree in history and also studied public finance. -30-

Nathan Lebron Seek Libertarian Endorsement for Governor of New York

nathan lebron

February 26, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Colonie, NY – Lebron Group LLC President and Chairman of the Hispanic Coalition of New York, Nathan Lebron is currently seeking the Libertarian endorsement for Governor of New York. Mr. Lebron is working with Libertarian party leaders and will address the Capital District Libertarian Party on Tuesday, March 11th at 417 River Street Troy, NY 12180 (Browns Brewing) at 6:30pm. The NYS Libertarian Party will nominate their candidate at their State Convention to be held Saturday, April 26 at the Best Western Hotel, 200 Wolf Rd. in Colonie, NY.

“The major parties in New York State have rendered our democracy dysfunctional; they collude to influence the political process across our great state, disenfranchising millions of voters and citizens. The smaller parties offer no opposition as they align with the traditional parties in exchange for patronage while the voice of the average citizen continues to be ignored. The Libertarian Party of New York is the only party that offers citizens hope to bring fiscal and constitutional discipline to state government.

Governor Cuomo offers a great deal of rhetoric but continues to fail New Yorkers who still pay some of the highest property and school taxes in the nation and are now losing their constitutionally protected freedom through kneejerk legislation like the so-called SAFE Act.

The Governor simply lacks the insight and perspective to present to the people a unifying vision for New York that will create prosperity. The growing calls to split the state into two zones further illustrates the failed leadership of our governor.

New York was once great when it was free. We can be great again if we embrace freedom like we once did. ”

About Nathan Lebron

Mr. Lebron was born in Harlem, NY and grew up in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico and The Bronx.

Having survived childhood cancer, homelessness, and permanent disability, Mr. Lebron put himself through college and received a BA in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Albany. He received a Master degree in Information Technology from Harvard University in 2006.

In 2003, Nathan Lebron created the Lebron-Michelle Scholarship to provide financial assistance to high school graduates at risk of not attending college. He also serves on the boards of directors of a number of Capital District Non-Profits.

He was also the Republican candidate for Mayor of the City of Albany in 2009.

In 2011 Nathan started the Lebron Group LLC, a technology consulting firm and was honored in 2012 when he became Chairman of the Hispanic Coalition of New York.

Mr. Lebron currently resides in Colonie, NY with his wife, Charlotte.

Libertarian Richard Cooper Response to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State

Richard Cooper, former New York State Libertarian Party chair, is considering seeking the nomination of the Libertarian Party of New York for Governor and challenging Andrew Cuomo in the 2014 General Election.

Saturday, January 11, 2014
Libertarian Responds To Cuomo’s 2014 State of the State Speech

Governor Cuomo delivered his 2014 State of the State message to the New York State Legislature and invited elected officials. As a former Libertarian Party of New York Chair, I followed this with great interest and read the message completely. Not surprisingly, as a Libertarian I read it with dismay but there were some good things.

For example on criminal justice, Cuomo said: “We need to insure fairness in the justice system. The problem is mistaken eyewitness identifications contribute to approximately 75% of the wrongful convictions overturned by DNA evidence and false confessions contributed to approximately 25% of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA. Remember, this is not a numbers game for a prosecutor. It’s not the more convictions the better. A wrongful conviction protects no one, and you are still innocent until proven guilty in this system. And let’s make sure the system remembers that and the system provides that. We propose innocence protections in the justice system. We propose requiring blind administering of eyewitness photo IDs and videotaped confessions for suspects in violent crimes and related offenses and sex offenses. This will give us more certainty that the convictions we obtain are actually fair and justified.”
I think I would agree completely with that.

On the other hand, Cuomo tooted his own horn “Governor Al Smith liked to say ‘let’s look at the record.’ Well let’s look at the record. Gone is the obstructionist state bureaucratic culture, replaced with a new entrepreneurial government. Gone is the tax capital mentality, replaced with a property tax cap, tier VI, and the lowest middle class tax rate in 58 years. Gone is the anti-business mentality, replaced with regional collaboratives and a new public-private sector partnership that is working extraordinarily well. Gone is the political gridlock, replaced with a government that puts politics aside, remembers why they’re here, puts the people first, and makes the government work for the people of the state once again.” The speech is an early salvo in Cuomo’s reelection campaign.

Cuomo did not go into detail of his own tax plan. The property tax relief is contingent on the local municipalities consolidating services and other ideas which may well be good but are not guaranteed to happen. There is no property tax relief for NYC homeowners. About a third of New York City residents own their home or apartment.

Cuomo called for elimination of a tax on upstate manufacturers, defined as outside the MTA region. As a downstate manufacturer, I ask what about us? What are we, chopped liver?

On guns, Cuomo did not refer by name to his own legislation, the fraudulently named NY SAFE Act. This legislation rushed without justification was so ineptly written that even supporters of gun control wanted clarification so as not to prevent film and television crews from taking pictures of firearms. But Emperor Andrew I did not want anything to detract from his image of competence.

Cuomo said about guns:

“In the area of public safety – gun violence – has been on a rampage as we know firsthand and we know painfully. We must stop the madness, my friends. And in one word it is just enough. It has been enough. We need a gun policy in this state that is reasonable, that is balanced, that is measured. We respect hunters and sportsmen. This is not taking away people’s guns. I own a gun. I own a Remington shotgun. I’ve hunted, I’ve shot. That’s not what this is about. It is about ending the unnecessary risk of high-capacity assault rifles. That’s what this is about. We have a seven point agenda.
Number 1: Enact the toughest assault weapon ban in the nation period.
Number 2: Close the private sale loophole by requiring federal background checks.umber 3: Ban high-capacity magazines.
Number 4: Enact tougher penalties for illegal gun use, guns on school grounds and violent gangs.
Number 5: Keep guns from people who are mentally ill.
Number 6: Ban direct internet sales of ammunition in New York.
Number 7: Create a State NICS check on all ammunition purchases.
New York State led the way on guns once before. It was Sullivan’s Law of 1911, which was the first in the nation gun control law – a model law that required a permit for possession of a handgun. New York was the first; it’s still on the books. New York led the way then, let’s pass safe and fair legislation and lead the way once again in saving lives.”

Take note that he made the ritual incantation about hunters and sportsmen to show that he isn’t anti-gun. Cuomo says nothing about self-defense. Well he shouldn’t with a security detail.
Cuomo isn’t correct about the Sullivan Law. It wasn’t the first gun control law. The segregationist South enacted gun controls to disarm the black population.

The Sullivan Law grants arbitrary authority to local police who act arbitrarily in deciding on handgun permits. I favor repeal not just of the NY Safe Act but of the Sullivan Law. Failing that repeal, New York should become a “shall issue” state. That is, if you are not legally barred from having a weapon, then a permit must be issued. If they really want to cut gun violence, end the drug war.

“When it comes to government reform, we all believe in government, otherwise we wouldn’t be in this room today. But for government to be effective, we must be trusted and the more we’re trusted the more effective we are because it’s all about the relationship that we have with the citizens of this state.”

Cuomo believes the problem with lack of trust in government has to do with campaigns.

“We must enact campaign finance reform because people believe that campaigns are financed by someone else at exorbitant rates. New York currently has the highest contribution limits among all states, third lowest rate of participation. I want to propose the Disclose New York plan, which is very simple. It’s the nation’s most aggressive disclosure law period. What it says is disclose all political and lobbying contributions within 48 hours electronically period. Right now – Right now the disclosure law says you can disclose sometimes every six months, sometimes a year, sometimes never. We would apply this to all political and lobbying organizations – PACs, 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4)s that do lobbying, political committees, political party. Any contribution within 48 hours is disclosed over $500. There is nothing like it in the country. Implement a public finance system based on New York City. It works well in New York City, it will work well in New York State. We need to lower the contribution limits for all offices, political parties, housekeeping accounts because the limits are just too high.”

I would probably support the Disclose New York plan. I do not see any connection between the contribution limits and participation. Maybe it is the fact that the Republicans and Democrats are just two wings of the party of legalized theft. Why choose between either criminal gang?

Cuomo proposed both lower contribution limits and a public finance system like that of New York City. By public of course he means taxpayers pay for election campaigns. As a Libertarian, I regard that as unjust. We compel people to fund the campaigns of people they are either not interested in or oppose. Why do we have the First Amendment’s ban on the establishment of religion? To prevent such funding of those with whom one disagrees.

At the risk of being cynical, why might the incumbent governor and son of a former governor benefit from these so-called campaign reforms? Lower contribution limits make it harder to defeat incumbents. Taxpayer finance means his union allies and business cronies can use their money in other ways. There is a real benefit to those with an organization already (shout-out to Working Families Party) or name recognition from his plan.

Cuomo said well “Economic development is the engine that drives the state.” On one hand he speaks of cutting taxes and regulation but on the other he promotes corporate welfare with a green face in the detailed book.

He did not address medical marijuana in his speech. As with the property tax relief, it is more about the appearance of change then the reality. Up to 20 unnamed hospitals will administer a very restrictive program, instead of the dispensaries as in California and elsewhere. When they are selected, I wonder which Cuomo cronies will be on their boards and which unions will be part of their control apparatus.I say legalize marijuana nationwide now.

In his education remarks Cuomo didn’t mention the Common Core standards fiasco. I would not implement Common Core. I would not implement Common Core. To opponents of Common Core, I say what did you expect when government is involved in education provision, funding and regulation?

Cuomo concludes this campaign kickoff.

“So my friends, what is the state of New York State? The state of New York State is that New York State is rising. New York State is rising because it is more unified than ever before. New York State is rising to build back better and stronger than ever before. New York State is rising to build a smarter, stronger state than we’ve ever had before. New York State is rising with a passion and a commitment to make this state better than it’s ever been with a brighter future than it’s ever had for your family and for my family. And New York is rising with us together, as one committed to that vision and making it a reality this year. Thank you and God bless you.”

I wish I had royalties for coining the word “rising.” Cuomoism is the little blue pill of New York in its Emperor’s imagination.

As for the Republicans, they fell over themselves to support the tax plan. They make occasional noises about cutting spending but cannot be regarded as serious about it as they are just as committed to corporate welfare as the Democrats. Not only is the Empire State Development Corporation a vehicle for corporate welfare but it is a major engine for eminent domain abuse. The New York Times noted that it houses many Cuomo loyalists. I call for abolition of the Empire State Development Corporation.

It is enough to make me laugh, cry and gag.

I say, let New York rise. Let New Yorkers make their own decisions without the interference of Washington, Albany, or City Hall. Free New Yorkers from the Empire State.

–Richard Cooper

Remarks on the State of the State

Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined his agenda for 2014 with a promise to transform a 10 billion dollar deficit into a 2 billion dollar surplus while increasing the state’s role in attracting jobs to New York State and delivering an assortment of tax cuts and targeted credits. Yet he gives little attention to the need for and where he would cut expenses except to encourage local communities to consolidate services.

He promised to create 400,000 new private sector jobs and has proposed certain initiatives to attract international investment, resort development, among other sectors of the economy. What he fails to understand is that good ideas do not need government promotion and government direction to be undertaken. Good ideas sell themselves and private investment in New York State will become more attractive once government gets out of the way and removes some of the impediments to both starting and continuing a business.

Among the proposals offered is a joint commission with the State Legislature to eliminate regulatory barriers that make it difficult to do business in New York State. He has identified the problem as has Governor’s in the past, but neither the executive or legislative branch have taken the bold steps necessary to clear a path for economic growth by clearing the path for new business to compete with the vested interests that are protected by over regulation. A bold initiative by the Governor would be to shine a spotlight on the regulatory hindrances and demand that the legislature act where legislative action is necessary and move quickly with executive orders wherever possible.

Experience has informed us that these are just “words” designed to disguise the reality that government initiatives to bring business to the state are offered only on the politician’s terms. That while they may speak about private sector jobs, what they really mean is private sector jobs that owe their existence and allegiance to the political powers of both parties.

The Governor goes on to offer an assortment of tax relief measures targeted toward many groups that are struggling to survive; but proposals to freeze property taxes which fund local governments is something best left to be decided at the local level.

Reforming the state tax structure as the governor has proposed does not conform with his proposal to establish different corporate tax rates for the manufacturing industries in upstate New York from those that are in place for other business’s and in other parts of state. This is discriminatory taxation.

Rather, if the government wants to recognize the special needs of upstate New York, he and others would abandon the silly notion that the cost of living in parts of the state is not the same as it is in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan areas.

Accordingly he would recognize that a statewide minimum wage works to the disadvantage of struggling upstate communities attempting to work their way out of the marginalized economy that the state with its regulations have plagued them with.

Special tax rates and tax exemptions that the Governor has supported and established for designated development areas are not stimulates to the New York economy. Rather they are gifts to the real estate developers and businesses that will locate there, those same business’s that owe their existence in New York state not to a free market but to allegiance to the political powers that help them get established.

What might appear to be private sector job growth is really nothing more than politically connected job growth that drives out real entrepreneurs, destroys jobs, widens the gulf between rich and poor and does real damage to the overall economy.

The Governor would like you to focus on the jobs he can claim to have created, but there is no spotlight shining on the jobs that have been taxed or regulated away,

Without real cuts in expenses, such tax breaks are merely shifts in the burden of financing an expanded government and what is left unseen until after the damage is done are the losers, the ones that get the shaft when taxes are shifted from the favored to those without a voice.

William P. McMillen
Former Chair of Libertarian Party of New York
1982 Libertarian Candidate for State Comptroller
1988, 1998 Libertarian Candidate for United States Senate

Robert G. Porter for Albany City Council 9th Ward

Robert Porter graduated from Guilderland Central High School in 1984. 2 years later he joined the United States Marines gaining training and experience in Criminal Investigation, Police work, survival and lifesaving skills, drug and substance abuse counseling and did a combat tour in Iraq during 2006-2007.

When he joined the Marines in 1986, he recalled Albany as a vibrant city full of business and life, but upon returning in 2010, he saw many parts of this once vibrant city boarded up and abandoned. His immediate political goal is to revitalize the City befitting the title of “Capital of New York State.”
To accomplish this, He wants to reduce the over $12 million budget shortfall, in part by pressing New York State to acknowledge the amount of property that it holds exempt from taxes and to compensate the city adequately.
Citing “Urban Blight” he wants to provide families with more incentives to avoid foreclosures and make it easier for foreclosed properties to be purchased and returned to the tax rolls.

Robert believes that no city or municipality is secure without continuing emphasis on efficient management, the balancing of both long term and short term budgets, reducing unnecessary expenditures and departments and warns that Albany, like any municipality that fails to do so, could face the same fate as Detroit.

Since his honorable discharge after over 21 years of service with the US Marines, Bob has been active in many community organizations doing charitable work including work with Habitat for Humanity, Veterans activities and services for children including Ronald McDonald House.

He is also an enthusiastic cyclist and as a member of the NRA, is involved in instruction in the proper use of firearms.

He has shared his experiences in articles and interviews with several publications related to cycling and the military.
He will be on the ballot this November 5th on the Republican, Conservative as well as the Libertarian line.

Mr. Porter has shown a genuine concern for his community and the City of Albany, it people and their needs. His training, knowledge and participation has earned him the endorsement of the Capital District Libertarian Party and we believe he should be the preferred choice of voters in Albany’s 9th Ward regardless of their political affiliation.