Thursday, October 27, 2005

Liberty at Sea?

Howdy! and sorry to be away so long. I'm sure I'll have some more updates soon on the LPNC lawsuit. The LNC news front has been very quiet this last month, except for the rumored challenge of the zero dues vote, which has been covered well in a couple recent posts at Liberty for Sale.

A couple readers have asked for my opinion of the upcoming California LP convention, aboard the Royal Carribean cruise ship Monarch of the Seas next February.

Yes, you heard me right, a cruise ship. Four days and three nights sailing between Los Angeles and Ensenada, Mexico. Prices range from $299 to $599.

Both readers expressed a concern about the convention registration essentially being mandatory, since the price of the cruise is inseparable from convention registration. This was a source of controversy at their last convention, when there was an attempt to charge a mandatory floor fee to participate. Obviously those who share that concern will have plenty to worry about here.

I was asked if this was a violation of the Bylaws, but as far as I can tell it is not. It may be a violation of California state law, but I wouldn't know about that. All I know is that we couldn't legally turn away a delegate here in NC, and that it has always been the practice of the national LP to allow delegates on without paying registration. There's probably a legal reason behind that too.

I also am curious if there are any legal problems holding a state convention outside US territory. But there again that is most likely covered in California state law, so that's just an aimless question for now. According to the LPC, a passport is not necessary, so having extra ID is probably not a concern.

People might expect me to take a harder line against this, but I must confess I am having trouble getting past my bias here. I just think having a convention on a cruise ship is really really cool. There was a bid once to hold the World Science Fiction Convention on a cruise ship. They might have even done it.

The price may seem like a chunk of change, but as I understand it this is a great price for a cruise. Considering how big California is, most delegates probably would have to stay in the convention hotel and buy meals for those three days. At California prices, that would easily exceed $100 a day, making the cruise a bargain by comparison.

It would be a hardship for those who are frugal by nature, of which we certainly have our share. I'm looking at the same thing, pinching my pennies so I can afford to attend the national convention in Portland next year. Fortunately at least California Libertarians have a few months to do the same.

I'm looking forward to the reports from that particular convention.