LOS ANGELES–Libertarian Party officials announced Monday that their 2000 National Convention will be held August 18–20 in an efficiency apartment just off La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles.
"As one of the nation's largest cities, Los Angeles provides an ideal stage for us to spread our message of personal and economic self-governance," said Libertarian national director Steve Dasbach, explaining his party's choice of venue at a kitchenette press conference. "Also, it was [Libertarian Party national chairman] David [Bergland]'s turn to host, since it was held at my place in '96."
The convention is expected to be the largest in party history, drawing upwards of 45 Libertarians to the second-floor apartment in the Mulholland Terrace complex. In preparation for the event, 15 extra folding chairs have been ordered by party leaders, as well as 12 two-liter bottles of Pepsi, Sprite, and Diet Mountain Dew.
"It is our belief that government's role is simply to defend the citizen from coercion and violence, and nothing more," said Libertarian presidential candidate Harry Browne, hanging a "Browne-Olivier 2000" banner above the efficiency's futon. "That means military service should be voluntary, the minimum wage should be eliminated, and taxes should be replaced with user fees for services."
Added Browne: "Feel free to take our two-minute quiz to find out if you're a Libertarian and don't even know it."
"We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal rights of others," said Dasbach, wearing a "Repeal All Sex Laws" button on his lapel. "This August, that ideal will pass from Apartment 12B to the world."
With one month to go before the convention, the Libertarian platform is set. The party will demand an end to government subsidies for businesses and farms, the elimination of patrols at U.S. borders, and the decriminalization of crack cocaine. Party members also support the making of traffic signals "recommended but not mandatory," as well as a plan to move America's heavy industry to platforms in low Earth orbit by 2007.
Despite such philosophical unity, some decisions still need to be made before the convention. Seating arrangements are in flux as organizers await word of the pro-LSD lobby's attendance, as well as that of the Illinois delegation's wife. Pizza toppings also remain up in the air, with a key bloc of five Southern delegates favoring pepperoni over the more popular mushroom-and-green-pepper for the planned six extra-large pies.
"The number of topics and speakers on our agenda was the reason we couldn't hold the convention at the Ventura Boulevard Denny's as originally planned," said Holly Pfizer, convention co-chair and one of the nation's leading advocates of the privatization of police. "Plus, they add a 15 percent gratuity for parties of eight or more, and that would have severely depleted our campaign war chest."
A portion of the money saved by not holding the convention at Denny's will go toward the featured entertainment, a live performance by singer Don Henley that was recorded in 1998 and will be played on the apartment's stereo.
"Whenever you have this many Libertarians in one place, there's going to be some disagreement," said author and gun-control opponent William McPeters, who will deliver a speech titled, "Why I Abandoned The GOP, And How America's Drug-Legalization Activists Can Profit From The Coming Economic Devaluation." "But if America's Libertarians join together as a strong, unified force, well, there's just no limit to what 57 people can accomplish."