44th State Senate Candidate Chris Davis Addresses Local Libertarians

Chris Davis, a candidate for NY State Senate spoke at the CDLP meeting in Troy on July 14th and has sent us the following:

My goal has been, and always will be, to spread the message of Liberty. Those who discover Liberty for themselves will never again see government the same again. I touched on many issues in my talk, but none is more important than knowing somebody is running committed to fighting oppressive taxation and overregulation, working to end crony capitalism and corporatism, fighting to keep the government out of every facet of life with which they have penetrated. I hope that I convinced you that I am this somebody. While my ideas are not perfect, I know the best way to ensure a chance for our future is by starting to slowly reverse course. Getting items passed that puts power back into our hands, and takes it from the government. However, I can’t do it alone. I need your help. Please consider helping me in this fight. Like us on facebook, http://www.facebook.com/DavisForNYS, and visit the website, http://www.davisfornys.com.  Also, Please consider donating to help support advertising the concept of Liberty. Thank you so very much for welcoming me to speak at your monthly meeting.

 

Comments from Mr. Jon Katz of Bedlam Farms

A Good Day For Joshua Rockwood: Loaded Miles And Management Fees
April 27, 2015, Jon Katz

It is always a shocking thing for me to see an innocent person treated like a criminal in his own community, I think when a culture criminalizes farming in the name of loving animals, it is turning to the dark side. Farmers are part of a nation’s soul, we fare as they fare, we suffer as they suffer, even if we rarely realize it. A country that forgets where it’s food comes from and what the real lives of animals are like is losing itself in a different way.

Today, another hearing in the saga of Joshua Rockwood, a young farmer caught in a brutal winter, now facing 13 charges of animal cruelty and neglect in a community that seems to know nothing about farms or animals any longer. It’s hard to imagine anyone having a good day in the midst of this long, painful, expensive and arduous ordeal. But Joshua has set about proving that there is justice for an honest man, that the legal system can work for him as well as against him.

He had a good day today.

Unlike so many of the people caught up in the hysteria over animal cruelty and abuse, Rockwood knows how to use his blog and the Internet, he has raised $55,000 online for his legal fees and drawn a powerful army of supporters to his side. They are loyal and loving people, I am very happy to sit among them.

The judge announced the case today as “West Wind Acres Farm versus the complainant, Peaceful Acres Sanctuary,” so it has at least become clear who the complainant was and is. Today’s hearing – delayed from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. was not about the charges of animal cruelty, it is about how much Joshua is being asked to pay by the Peaceful Acres rescue farm in order to get his two draft horses and pony back, should that become possible.

To date, the bill for boarding the three horses is $7,500, according to Marci Beyerl, director of Peaceful Acres. That is for the first 30 days only, it does not include the last month. Beyerl was called to testify about the costs of caring for Joshua’s seized horses, and Joshua’s attorney, Andrew SaFranko was eager to question her about her charges and fees. About 30 of Joshua’s friends, family and supporters came to the hearing, even mid-day, some came long distances to show support for him.

Real courtroom scenes are not like Law & Order or Perry Mason. Smart modern lawyers speak slowly and carefully, take notes, reference files, there are no fireworks, little drama. I’ve covered a lot of trials, SaFranko had done his homework, and knew his stuff. Court proceedings are almost uniformly boring, not exciting. There are lots of conferences, delays, reading of statutes. Still, the cross-examination of Beyerl was, I thought, both revealing and disturbing. It was something of a surprise to me.

And it did shed some light on some of the very troubling issues raised by the Rockwood case. First, Rockwood is accused of nothing that doesn’t happen on almost every real farm in America, especially in a brutal cold wave. Then, there is the increasingly incestuous relationship between some animal rights organizations and the police, who are being drawn into the deepening conflict over the future of animals in our world and the true nature of farming. Americans have, in fact, forgotten where their food comes from and they have forgotten the people who make their food possible.

There are issues relating to conflicts of interest involving people given great authority over other people, and who often have a financial stake in the outcome of their actions and accusations. As the animals of the world disappear in the new Inquisition over animal abuse, the fate of every one becomes more precious. No one is opposed to animal rescue or animal abuse, and so no one thinks to question animal rights organizations and some rescue operations about their procedures. But the Rockwood case is raising a number of questions.

And then, there is the powerless and frightening position many farmers and animal lovers – especially poor ones – find themselves in when confronted with the Orwellian power and aggression of the contemporary animal rights movement and its growing links to local governments. Joshua Rockwood knows how different his story might have been if he had not been able to raise all that money on his gofundme site.

I have three good friends who operate horse and animal rescue farms and sanctuaries – one of them, Ken Norman, our friend and farrier – was sitting right next to me in the courtroom, and in the interests of fairness, I cannot believe how hard they work, how little money they have or earn, or how open they are about what they do. It is all about the horses for them, I don’t think any of them know what a management fee is.

So I was interested in hearing Nanci Beyerl’s testimony.

Beyerl was part of the convoy that came to Joshua Rockwood’s farm in March – she testified that she was asked by the police. The raiding party seized the three horses, and left a large paper trail of charges and accusations, none of which have yet to be addressed in court.

Beyerl conceded that she charges twice as much money for impounded horses – those seized in cruelty cases – as she does for rescue horses who are not impounded. She is asking Joshua to pay for more than $800 a month for the care of his horses if he wishes to get them back, or even if he never gets them back. For rescued horses who are not impounded, she says, she charges $400. In addition, she is charging a daily management fee of $104.

She surprised the farriers and horse rescue people present when she testified that she does not charge for “loaded miles” in the way most animal carriers do, she charged by time and distance for transporting the horses. She is seeking $600 in reimbursement for transporting the three horses to her farm from his – a distance of nine miles.

Beyerl said her boarding rates for Rockwood’s horses are $28 a day, $13 more than her fees for horses that are not impounded. She is also charging Rockwood more than $1,000 for veterinary care – one of the horses is pregnant and about to foal.

She said impounded horses require more time and care than other horses, including talking regularly to the police and the DA’s office. I don’t know Beyerl, she seems to have saved a lot of horses, but she seemed angry to me and at times defensive. Once or twice, she appeared almost outraged that her expenses were even being questioned. She said impounded horses are expensive in part because she doesn’t allow her volunteer staff to handle them or care for them for insurance reasons. Yet she conceded that she brought eight people – all but one volunteers – along on the raid of Joshua’s farm that resulted in the seizure of his horses.

SaFranko pressed her on just how much time she spent managing two draft horses and a pony for $104 a day. She said caring for his horses took her away from her regular duties. She also said she was submitting invoices for $600 for transporting the horses – $400 from her and $200 from a second rescue farm whose trailer was used.

SaFranko then called Wes Laraway as a witness for the defense. Callalway is a history teacher and 20 year veteran of animal and wildlfe rescue runs his own sanctuary in Middleburgh, N.Y., he has five horses and eight donkeys and is lately specializing in exotic animal rescue. He was, I have to say, right out of central casting, tall, ruddy, white-haired, credible and direct.

Laraway (he was not paid to testify) said he never heard of a management fee and had never charged one. He did not charge any fee for the animals that he rescued and cared for, he did accept donations. He has never heard of the practice of charging more money for impounded horses than rescued ones, and has never done it. He said he used a “loaded miles” fee arrangement for all of the animals he had transported. That is, transport charges are computed and begin when the animals are loaded onto a trailer, and end when the are loaded off at their destination. He said most loaded ride fees range from $2 to $5 per mile on average.

If he had transported Rockwood’s horses, the invoice would have been from $40 to $50 for all three.

I contacted each of my horse rescue friends, all three said they have never heard of a management fee in horse rescue, all three said they charged on the basis of the “loaded miles” system, although often, they said, they had to waive the charge because horse owners had no money. “Often, these people are not evil, they are just broke,” one told me. They all said their daily boarding rates for a draft horse range from $8 to $16, and none charged more for impounded horses than conventionally rescue ones. In fact, they all said they simply accepted the horses they took into their care. They rarely, if ever, charged any fees for them unless they were boarded.

“This,” one said, “is why all horse rescue people are broke.”

I know these good people long and well, they are all broke and live to rescue horses in trouble, it is their life, none could imagine what a management fee might be. “Caring for one horse in trouble is just like caring for another,” said Susan, who runs a rescue farm in Maine. “Managing them all is what I do.”

So there we are, another chapter unfolds in the animal wars now raging across America. This is a case that should never have happened, criminal charges that should never be brought. I felt the prosecutor somehow felt the same thing, she did her duty, but she seemed to have little heart for it. And how could she?, it is the case, as Ken Norman said, of the Bullshit Misdemeanors. I watched the faces of the farmers and friends and family of Joshua Rockwood, there was a great deal of pain in their eyes. Sitting in a courtroom watching Joshua fight for his farm and his life was the last place they wanted to be.

And unfortunately for Joshua, this nightmare is just getting underway. He is holding up, he had a gleam in his eye I had not seen before in the courtroom, this is a stand he wants to take. “I’ll tell you one thing,” a neighbor whispered to me in the courtroom, “he will never give up.”

Neither, I think, will his new army, and perhaps that is what is most significant about his case.

__

As of today, there were no further hearing dates set, the judge is awaiting motions from the lawyers on the admissibility of some of the evidence.

Term Limits will not bring change.

On Sunday 2/15, the Times Union printed a letter written by me in response to a previous letter in support of term limits. I’ve never supported term limits because voters already have the power to impose term limits or not. What voters do not have is the ability to choose the political bosses that choose the candidates that will appear on the ballot. The text of my letter follows:

Michael Moore (“Term limits will clean up politics,” Feb 4) suggests term limits will clean up our state politics. I submit we already have the ability to impose term limits: Vote the miscreants out of office. But that isn’t enough With or without term limits, the political bosses who wield the real power will continue to put on the ballot those who they feel will take direction.

The real change that is necessary is ballot access for anyone who seeks to serve and the elimination of preferential treatment for, and the state’s official designation of, recognized political parties. While political parties would still exist, there would be no majority, no minority party, only representatives of the people. Election boards would be responsible for keeping track of registered voters and the taxpayers would be free of the expense of keeping track of party enrollment.”

In 1951, Susan B Anthony met Elizabeth Cady Stanton and joined her in her then three year old effort for women’s suffrage. It wasn’t until 1920, long after there death, that women were granted the right to vote.

Obviously, the Republican and Democratic parties have influenced the election law, not only in New York State but across the entire nation to restrict or exclude competition. I have no illusion about the willingness of legislators from these two parties to changing the law; but the illusion that reform can be accomplished with term limits should be challenged and those that seek term limits or other so-called reforms such as public campaign financing should not be mislead by these less that half way measures.

Yes the Libertarian Party is seeking and has in some states achieved ballot status; but that is not because we wish to have official state recognition and the accompanying state regulation. What libertarians want is equal treatment and unfettered ballot access for all.

The time to begin to disenfranchise political parties and their bosses and to return it to individuals citizens is now. Even if it takes a hundred years.

William P. McMillen

Reminder about next meeting

Robert Porter, LP Candidate for Albany City Council in 2003 will speak about his recent experience and observations about the operation and the role of grand juries. “Bar” as he known gained experience in criminal investigation while serving in the United States Marines.

The Capital District Libertarian Party meets at Brown’s Brewing, Trojan Room, 417 River Street, Troy New York at 6:30 the second Tuesday of each month. Next meeting is March 10th.

A discussion of the criminal justice system and the jury process will follow Bar’s presentation. All are invited.

Minimum Wage

For much of our history, since the enactment of a national minimum wage; states have seen fit to enact their own minimum wage laws while the federal minimum wage has lagged behind. One rationale for this is that what might be an adequate minimum wage in Mississippi is significantly different than one for New York; reason being these are two different economies with different cost of living and a host of other differences.
Governor Cuomo has recently acknowledged the validity of this approach by proposing a minimum wage in New York City of $11.50 and in the rest of New York State of $10.50.
Applying this same rationale to the rest of New York State would require recognition by the Governor that the cost of living on Long Island and the downstate counties of Westchester and Rockland is more than 60% above that of Buffalo. For that matter, even within New York City, there are diverse economies.
Who benefits from a minimum wage? Contrary to the belief of many people, those persons struggling to find a job, feed and provide shelter for their family are not the beneficiaries of a minimum wage. They are its victims.
The imposition of a minimum wage means that if you are a person with few skills, little or no employment experience and in a market where there is a high level of unemployment, you will not be able to find a job because a prospective employer will not be able to higher you at your marketable value. You will be turned away time after time until you become discouraged and become permanently marginalized, with your only hope of survival limited to looking for handouts, working outside the law (under the table) with minimal if any protections, or resorting to a life of crime.
Not only will you be marginalized, but so might the surrounding communities in which you and numerous others live. When wages in a community drive up the prices that people must pay for goods and services, the unemployed and those on a fixed income have less discretionary income and that effects the entire community.
Suggestions have been made that local governments should be able to set their own minimum wages, but even if that were allowed, it would not address the differences that exist within the counties, towns or villages because it would not take into account the different skill levels of residents within those communities, and as Governor Cuomo has so aptly stated, this could lead to a “chaotic situation.”
And so it would for those who seek control of the economic decisions that personal freedom and a free market provide. To a statist, freedom is chaos.

The Status Quo Squashes Again

The Libertarian Party of New York was pleased to turn in nearly 30,000 signatures this past August to secure its’ statewide slate of candidates on this November’s ballot.  As usual, the LPNY, its membership and supporters worked hard to collect approximately double the necessary amount of signatures as to avoid any “challenges” from the two major parties. The time for challenges had passed and the LPNY was informed by the New York State Board of Elections (NYSBOE) that our statewide slate of candidates (Michael McDermott, Governor; Christopher Edes, Lt. Gov; John Clifton, Comptroller and Carl Person, Attorney General) would be on the November 4th election. Great right? Not so fast, this is NY and the Dempublicrats don’t like competition. As in years past, they will do anything and everything to restrict the electoral process.

Absentee ballots were mailed out this week and voters have reported that the Libertarian line and its’ candidates is being “shared” with the Stop Common Core line and its’ candidate, Rob Astorino.  Governor Cuomo has the Democratic, Working Families, Independence and the “Woman’s Equality” lines, all unshared. Mr. Astorino has the Republican, Conservative and the pathetic “Stop Common Core” line, also all unshared. Even the “Sapient Party” has their own line but somehow the NYSBOE saw fit to attach the Libertarian line with the Republican-funded, anti-Common Core line. My friends, this is about as deceptive as it gets. This is an obvious attempt to confuse voters that will ultimately invalidate many votes for the Libertarians who are seeking permanent ballot access in the State of New York.

Please join me in spreading the news of this injustice and condemning the shameful acts of the NYSBOE. If you want to cast your vote for the Libertarian Party of New York, you MUST fill-in the circle next to the Libertarian candidates’ name ONLY; McDermott, Edes, Clifton and Person. Please don’t fall for the pathetic shenanigans of the DempublicRATS who have worked together to silence the political will of the citizenry by drafting and printing this sham of a ballot.

Please support the ONLY party that seeks to promote liberty to every New Yorker and cast your vote on November 4th for Michael McDermott, Christopher Edes, John Clifton and Carl Person.

In Liberty,

Todd G. Haggerty,

Chair Capital District Libertarian Party

 

 

for the first time in four years, the LPNY had followed the election law(s) to the letter in order to secure that ballot line and as usual, the Dempublicrats have shown their true colors and have resorted to fraud in order to suppress tens of thousands of independent voices.

Did Gillibrand kill Main St.?

After confusing her with Sarah Palin, the elderly black gentleman on Chatham’s main street said she didn’t do much for Columbia County. Despite being one of the few people who have ever debated her publicly, Senator Gillibrand is now a remote political figure to me also. But I don’t blame her for a lack of jobs at the factory. That’s not her job.

Every business person on the quaint Main Streets of Columbia County has created a job, even if it is their own. They take the risk of time and money for their endeavor, often just rolling the free market dice. I respect everyone of them. I do business with them when I can, I don’t envy them, having been there and bought the T-shirt.

The other day one of our candidates was on the big time political show, Hardball. That’s a huge opportunity for any Libertarian candidate. When Chris Matthews asked him the all important question of what “program” he would eliminate, the candidate hit it out of the park with his answer, “war”.

In 2006, Gillibrand won a race against a GOP lout and managed to side step the issue of the wars in her campaign. Over a trillion dollars later and thousands of lives spent, people on Main St. are wondering where all the jobs are. Out the door with Gillibrand’s votes for war.

I only found six signatures on Main St. today. Three of them from earnest elderly black gentlemen. Seven more came from employees outside their nursing home gig, idly smoking and talking about J.C. Penny coupons. While the kids in the car coming home from camp couldn’t understand why I would stop and ask for these folks signatures. I know it’s because war has weakened the country severely and horrible politicians are to blame. I’m against them, always.

I can take a few minutes in the course of the day to fight for people still trying to change that through regular politics. No need for a “movement” sneer against such activity. Somebody has to protest in the big arena, even if they get slaughtered like Nero’s Christians. Libertarians have never sent a generation overseas to fight for any reason.

There was a car blocking the road for no good reason just down from the smoking nurses. This particular Audi owner seemed to be giving the village road worker the business. It had a Gillibrand bumper sticker on it.

 

 

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?”

After a very successful Statewide Convention, in which over 100 liberty activists attended, the local LP Chapter (CDLP) will host it’s’ annual Convention.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at Browns Brew in Troy, NY at 6pm.

If you are considering running for local office in 2014 and would like our endorsement, please stop by.