LPM Online

October 16, 2001


  1. Upcoming Events
  3. BARC Update
  4. A Message from Claire Wolfe
  5. National Strategic Plan
  6. Car & Driver Editor to fill in for Claire Wolfe at Liberty F
  7. Red Lights, Loot, and the Law

  1. Upcoming Events

    October 16, 2001 - 7:00 PM
    Libertarians of Allegan County monthly meeting. All are invited. - If you have any petition signatures, please bring them. Petitioning deadline is this Saturday. We'll mail them for you.
    Location: Meeting is at the home of James Joyce, 334 Cutler St in Allegan - park across the street in the Congregational Church parking lot.
    Contact: Rick Dutkiewicz Phone: (616) 673-5503 E-mail: rdoogie@datawise.net

    October 17, 2001
    Monthly meeting of the St. Clair County affiliate.
    Location: Figaro's is located at 1503 11th Street, Port Huron, MI 48060. TX: (810) 987-3588. Join us for dinner at 6:00 PM. Business begins at 7:00 PM.
    Contact: Richard Friend Phone: (810) 982-7178 E-mail: rfriend@advnet.net

    October 18, 2001 - 7:00 PM
    The Van Buren County group will be meeting to determine if a meeting in conjunction with ajoining county groups would be useful and interesting(dinner will start at 6:30 - see you there)
    Location: CJ's restaurant (South Haven on the corner of M-140 and Blue Star Hwy)
    Contact: Bill Bradley Phone: (616) 637-4525 E-mail: bbradley@cybersol.com

    October 20, 2001 - 7:00 PM
    FREEDOM BANQUET 2001, large buffet, cash bar, speakers and much more! $15.00 per person. This is the second year for this event. Last year saw a huge turn out greater than both the major parties annual dinners in Clare County drew.
    Location: Town & Country Lounge, Clare, Michigan
    Contact: Ghazey Aleck Phone: (989) 386-2699 E-mail: aleckfamily@voyager.net

    October 24, 2001 - 6:30 PM
    LP of Oakland County General Membership Meeting. Public welcome. Meet for dinner at 6:30pm, business begins at 7:30pm.
    Location: Sila's Restaurant, 4033 W. 12 Mile Rd, Berkley. Sila's is 2 blocks west of Greenfield on Twelve Mile Road.
    Contact: Chris Pellerito Phone: (248) 373-9411 E-mail: LpocChairChris@aol.com

    October 25, 2001 - 7:00 PM
    The Ballot Access Restoration Committee meets the second and fourth Thursday every month -- until we submit petition signatures to the Bureau of Elections to be certified to once again be able to run Libertarian candidates in partisan races. All LPM members are welcome to attend and help with both the planning and execution of our petition drive.
    Location: LPMHQ, 619 E. 9 Mile, Hazel Park (just east of I-75)
    Contact: Nancy O'Brien Phone: (313) 562-5778 E-mail: nobrien321@home.com

    November 5, 2001 - 8:30 PM
    Meeting of the Andy LeCureaux for Hazel Park City Council Campaign.
    Location: LPM HQ, 619 East Nine Mile Rd., Hazel Park
    Contact: Dave Collver Phone: (248) 542-9274 E-mail: DCCollver@aol.com

    November 6, 2001 - 8:00 PM
    Andy LeCureaux for Hazel Park City Council Victory Party. All are invited to attend.
    Location: LPM HQ, 619 East Nine Mile Rd., Hazel Park
    Contact: Dave Collver Phone: (248) 542-9274 E-mail: DCCollver@aol.com

    November 13, 2001 - 7:30 PM
    LP of Oakland County Executive Committee Meeting. All dues-paying members are welcome. Business begins at 7:30pm.
    Location: LPM Headquarters, 619 East Nine Mile in Hazel Park, just east of I-75.
    Contact: Chris Pellerito Phone: (248) 373-9411 E-mail: LpocChairChris@aol.com

    November 14, 2001 - 6:30 PM
    Libertarians of Macomb County monthly meeting. Drinks and dinner at 6:30 PM, business begins at 7:00 PM.
    Location: Miles World Resturant, 17689 Masonic, Fraser, MI 48026, 810-415-4500.
    Contact: Diane Barnes Phone: (810) 774-1625 E-mail: dbarnes98@aol.com

    For more events, see the online calendar at:


    You can get your tickets at the door for Freedom Banquet. Freedom Banquet 2001 is going to be held by the Clare-Gladwin LP on Saturday, October 20th at 7:00 p.m. at the Town & Country in Clare, MI. The featured speaker is from the Mackinac Center on Public Policy. There will be a 4 meat buffet dinner, exhibits, door prizes, 50-50 drawing, and silent auction--all to raise money for candidates in 2002! It is not too late to get tickets (ony $15 per person)--you can them at the door--however I ask that you e-mail confirmation at ghazey@alecklawfirm.com. Thank you!

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  3. BARC Update by Nancy O'Brien

    As of Friday, October 12 we have collected 38,885 signatures! With only 5 days to go till the October 20 final deadline, we still need 6,115 signatures to meet our revised goal of 45,000. Will we make it? That depends on you. Most of you have a few stray signatures that you have been hanging on to, hoping you would run into someone else who might be an easy sig. But unfortunately time is up. We will be turning them in to the state before the end of this month. They aren’t any good to us sitting in your car or on the shelf in your office. So please put them in the mail today so they will reach us by October 20.

    We are not especially popular with Republicans, Democrats or bureaucrats, all of whom make up the body that controls this process. I’m sure they would love to see us excluded from the 2002 ballot. We must therefore make sure we have enough signatures so that even if they flyspeck our petitions, they still can’t find enough bad signatures to deny us our rightful place in the election process. Every signature we collect increases our chance of success.

    Our top twenty signature collectors as of today:

    Name                  Sigs.
    Leonard C. Schwartz   2292
    Albert J Titran       1901
    Ben Steele            1221
    Jerry E Bloom         1010
    Richard E Jozwiak      594
    Greg Dirasian          548
    Violet Steele          500
    Trafton Jean           462
    Benjamin Steele        450
    Mickey Hall            398
    Paul Hitch             341
    Charles Goodman        306
    Constance Catalfio     300
    Stephen Townsend       296
    William White          296
    Bill Gelineau          294
    Tom Quinn              290
    Fred Collins           287
    Gregory Creswell       274
    Following is the current status of each affiliate in terms of meeting its “fair share” goals. Each affiliate’s fair share was determined by multiplying the number of members in the affiliate by 27. That is the number each would need to collect for the LPM’s 50,000 signature target to meet the state’s requirement. The first list is the percentage of signatures collected. The second list includes both signatures and monetary contributions.
    Affiliate          Sigs.      Goal     % Of Goal
    Allegan               95       560       34.8
    Berrien              211       560       74.8
    Branch-Hillsdale     269       351      133.0
    Clare-Gladwin        269       320       84.0
    Ionia                 24       240       10.0
    Kalamazoo            503      1013       40.3
    Lapeer-Genesee       819      1413       95.4
    Livingston           690      1732       39.8
    Macomb              2535      5784       72.8
    Mid-Michigan         793      2852       36.7
    Midwest Michigan     308       560       66.8
    Oakland             6004     10688       56.2
    Ottawa               138       800       17.3
    S. Central Michigan   44      1652        2.7
    Shiawassee          2782       293      930.4
    Saint Clair           13       693        6.2
    Traverse Bay          22       773       11.0
    Tri-Cities          1116      1173      140.2
    Upper Peninsula       54      1119       36.5
    Van Buren            324       426       99.1
    Washtenaw           1406      2799       84.9
    Wayne               1659      8422       43.5
    West Michigan        863      2799       45.4
    Affiliate          $$+Sigs.   Goal    % 0f Goal
    Allegan              195       560       34.8
    Berrien              419       560       74.8
    Branch-Hillsdale     495       351      141.0
    Clare-Gladwin        269       320       84.1
    Ionia                 24       240       10.0
    Kalamazoo            576      1013       56.9
    Lapeer-Genesee      1534      1413      108.6
    Livingston          1092      1732       63.0
    Macomb              4566      5784       79.0
    Mid-Michigan        1263      2852       44.3
    Midwest Michigan     374       560       66.8
    Oakland            13721     10688      128.4
    Ottawa               141       800       17.6
    S. Central Michigan   79      1652        4.8
    Shiawassee          2822       293      963.1
    Saint Clair           43       693        6.2
    Traverse Bay          85       773       11.0
    Tri-Cities          1644      1173      140.2
    Upper Peninsula      414      1119       37.0
    Van Buren            422       426       99.1
    Washtenaw           2576      2799       92.0
    Wayne               3671      8422       43.6
    West Michigan       1355      2799       48.4
    A laurel -- and hardy handshake to Lapeer-Genesee for crossing the finish line!

    Some Good News!

    The national party has experienced a bit of a rebound in its own fundraising and was able to come through with substantial additional support in the waning days of our effort. This meant that we did not need to curtail our plan to supplement our volunteer efforts with paid pros because of lack of funds. Assuming that you, our dedicated volunteers, also continue on course at your expected rate of production, we are now confident that we will hit our 45,000 gross signature target.
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  4. A Message from Claire Wolfe by Claire Wolfe

    The world *has* changed, bulldozer-fashion, and I've been trying to act as though everything is business as usual. We're at war with an enemy who's demonstrated both the ability and the willingness to hit U.S. cities. And even though I don't feel I'm in any significant personal danger (and I hope you and Detroit aren't, either), I woke up this morning realizing it would be folly for me to fly across the country to give an upbeat little speech about liberty at a time like this. I looked at the presentation I'd been working on and realized I couldn't give it and wouldn't be able to rouse myself to anything beyond the most bleak, black humor.

    So yes, with deep apologies to you and the LibertyFest organizers, I'm bowing out. I realize this goes against what I said to you a couple of weeks ago, and I'd certainly never expect a renewed invitation after this, though I thank you for your kindness in mentioning it.

    You've been terrific to me and I wish you and the LibertyFest nothing but the greatest success.


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  5. National Strategic Plan by Leonard Schwartz

    The Libertarian National Committee adopted a strategic plan with six goals. This is a comment on those goals.

    Consider two futures:

    (1) Libertarians are elected to ten percent of the partisan offices, but they have no effect on government policy.

    (2) No Libertarians are elected to partisan offices. But many Libertarians get more votes than the difference between the Democratic and Republican candidates. Democratic and Republicans candidates try to attract votes from Libertarian voters by adopting Libertarian positions on the issues and, after getting elected, making government policy more libertarian.

    If our paramount goal is electing Libertarian candidates, each state party should have only a few candidates run active campaigns for partisan offices. Each state party should concentrate its limited resources on those few candidates.

    If our paramount goal is making government policy more libertarian, each state party should try to get as many candidates as possible run active campaigns for partisan offices.

    The preamble to our national platform says, "Our goal is nothing more nor less than a world set free in our lifetime ...." The statement of principles in our platform says, "We ... challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual."

    Our platform requires that our paramount goal is making government policy more libertarian. The six goals in the strategic plan are subordinate to that paramount goal.

    By remaining the "Party of Principle" as we grow (goal 6) and by increasing public awareness of, acceptance of, and support for Libertarian ideas (goal 5), Libertarian candidates will get more votes. If many Libertarian candidates get many votes, the unprincipled Democrats and Republicans will become more libertarian.

    Ironically, the liberation of Americans from the cult of the omnipotent state probably will occur without electing many Libertarians to public offices.

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  6. Car & Driver Editor to fill in for Claire Wolfe at Liberty F by Ben Bachrach

    True to her reclusive image, libertarian writer Claire Wolfe, who was scheduled to be the featured speaker at the 11/10 Defender of Liberty awards banquet, has decided that because of recent events she feels compelled to bow out and stay hunkered down in her hideout somewhere on the left coast.

    Fortunately, Csaba Csere (pronounced Chubba Chedda), editor-in-chief at Car & Driver magazine has agreed to be the guest speaker at this year's Liberty Fest.

    Whether giving his opinions in the pages of C/D or as a guest speaker on the David Newman show, Csaba Csere can be counted on to focus on free market solutions and personal responsibility for many of the issues that face our national transportation system.

    Csaba Csere is one auto enthusiast that believes that an open mind is just as important as an open road.

    A hallmark of C/D under his editorship has been an absolute refusal to accept dogma handed down from on high. In the Seventies, to get some unfiltered data on the actual dangers of drunk driving, his magazine rented a test site, got some of its staffers soused, and then measured their driving proficiency at various levels of inebriation. The published results were sufficiently offensive to Big Brother to encourage C/D to repeat the test in the early Eighties with a different drug: marijuana.

    It should surprise no one that this fearlessness has gotten them in a lot of trouble with government agencies and "independent" organizations with axes to grind.

    When the fracas over Ford Explorers and Firestone tires came to a head, C/D bought an Explorer, rigged up a system whereby a tire could be instantly blown by remote control, and watched for signs of rollover. There weren't any.

    A common theme at Car & Driver is government’s willingness to make the many suffer for the sins of the few.

    C/D was one of the first to point out that the vast majority of pollutants of automotive origin come from a relative handful of grossly out-of-tune cars. Donald Stedman, of the University of Denver, the inventor of remote pollution sensors, was consulted for the February 2001 C/D. His tests showed that half of the pollution comes from a mere 5 percent of the cars; the worst 1 percent producing fully a third of all auto emissions!

    Some libertarians might argue with some of Csaba Csere’s stances, but any who come to hear him speak at this year’s Liberty Fest – appropriately being held at the Automotive Hall of Fame – will find that he displays a distinctly libertarian attitude.

    NOTE: If you’d like to get an idea of Csere’s thinking, just read his most recent Car & Driver editorial “Red lights, loot, and the law” reprinted separately in this e-newsletter.

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  7. Red Lights, Loot, and the Law by CSABA CSERE

    Loot and the law. You'd think governing officials could tell them apart. But when the 37 red-light cameras in Washington, D.C., are budgeted to collect $16 million in fines this year, and a single red-light camera in San Diego harvested $6.8 million over an 18-month period, I can understand how some confusion might occur.

    With red-light cameras raking in loot in at least 50 cities in 10 states and their numbers growing every day, a question arises: Are their installations motivated by considerations of traffic safety or by the potential revenue they can generate?

    The concept of red-light cameras is simple. Through the miracle of modern electronics, a few companies have developed camera devices that monitor intersections, automatically identify cars that run red lights, and take their pictures. Traffic citations follow quickly in the mail.

    Proponents claim red-light cameras discourage law breaking and reduce the number of accidents caused by red-light runners. According to a study sponsored by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "Red-light camera enforcement in conjunction with public awareness can modify driving behavior and has been shown to reduce red-light violations and intersection crashes."

    Who would argue with that?

    Oddly enough, however, red-light running doesn't appear to be a major issue except in places where these cameras are already in operation and where jurisdictions are cashing in on the resulting revenue.

    When I last wrote about these traffic cameras (May 1999), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn't even bother to track the number of fatalities caused by red-light accidents. And I've never seen a public campaign against running red lights similar to those demonizing speeding, drunk driving, and road rage.

    Communities genuinely concerned with enforcing compliance at traffic lights could easily assign police to problem intersections, just as they periodically launch speeding crackdowns and drunk-driving checkpoints.

    One reason for the lack of red-light jihads is that there's an easier way to reduce red-light running.

    Turns out that the duration of the yellow light has a huge effect on the number of red-light infractions. The mechanics are simple. When a driver sees a yellow light, there are three options: (1) You are far from the intersection, so you bring the car to a comfortable, safe stop. (2) You are too near the intersection to stop safely, so you drive through while the light remains yellow. (3) You are between these two situations, in the "zone of dilemma." In this third case, there is not enough space to stop calmly and safely before the intersection, but you are too far from the intersection to get through it before the light turns red.

    A traffic engineer can eliminate this "zone of dilemma" by setting an adequate amount of time for the yellow light. This interval can be calculated using an equation that incorporates vehicle speed (based on traffic surveys), stopping ability, reaction time, vehicle length, and intersection width. In most cases, the yellow-light time ranges from four to five seconds.

    Traffic engineers can also simply increase the yellow-light time at problem intersections until red-light running is reduced. "An increase of 1.4 seconds or about 30 percent in yellow duration virtually eliminated all potential conflicts at the Maryland site," according to a 1980 study in the Institute of Transportation Engineers journal.

    Wouldn't extending the yellow by a second be simpler than installing expensive camera devices? Perhaps, but there's no money in adjusting the duration of a yellow light. In fact, not only can the authorities collect revenue by installing red-light cameras, but they can really get the cash register ringing if they reduce the yellow-light duration at intersections fitted with the ticket-dispensing cameras.

    Last February in Beaverton, Oregon, Elaine Murphy, a reporter for KOIN-TV, discovered that intersections fitted with red-light cameras had three-second yellow lights and adjacent intersections without the cameras had four-second yellows. In response, city officials suggested that the discrepancy was due to differing traffic volumes at the two intersections.

    In Mesa, Arizona, a story in the Arizona Tribune reported that after motorists complained yellow lights were too short at double left-turn lanes, the city increased their duration. Some of these intersections were fitted with red-light cameras, and camera citations dropped from 1640 in November, when the yellow light was three seconds in duration, to 716 in December, when it was lengthened to four seconds. Citations then remained at lower levels, numbering 734 in March.

    The installer of the cameras, Lockheed Martin, then got into the act. The contract the city of Mesa had signed with Lockheed Martin, which gave the contractor $48 for every red-light ticket issued, contained a clause prohibiting the city from altering the duration of yellow-light times after the cameras were installed. With the Arizona Tribune shining the spotlight on Lockheed Martin, the company chose not to enforce this clause. But the company did negotiate a new contract increasing Lockheed Martin's cut from the camera citations from $48 to $75 if a certain quota of tickets was not reached.

    Much of this information about red-light cameras, and more, can be found at www.freedom.gov, the Web site of Congressman Dick Armey of Texas, the Republican House Majority leader. Armey is keen on this issue because the federal Department of Transportation is promoting red-light cameras and, in some cases, offering funding to local jurisdictions to install them.

    The National Motorists Association, particularly researcher Greg Mauz, has also been actively scrutinizing these devices. Not only are these cameras a solution to a problem that should first be addressed by retiming yellow lights where necessary, but they also raise privacy and safety concerns. An exhaustive Australian study of red-light cameras, published in 1995 after 10 years of examining accident data, suggests that rear-end collisions increase at camera locations when drivers, hoping to avoid tickets, slam on the brakes in an erratic manner. But who cares about privacy and rear-end collisions when there is money to be made?

    Car & Driver, September 2001

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