FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 10, 2018

Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

Courtney Omega,
Councilwoman, Coconut Grove Village Council
cgvcomega@gmail.com

 

MIAMI – A legacy of social activism and community involvement led Coconut Grove Village Councilwoman Courtney Omega to join the growing ranks of Florida’s elected Libertarian Party officials this week.

Omega says she changed her party from Republican because she found a community of support and inclusion, rather than being taken for granted.

“When I ran for this position that I serve in now I met a few of the Libertarian Party members,” says Omega. “It was just a breath of fresh air. It didn’t seem like they did politics the same way I was used to doing politics. I appreciated how I was encouraged but I wasn’t beaten down. I appreciated how I was part of the conversation not just an expectation.”

Omega was elected to the Coconut Grove Village Council last November. She is founder and executive director of Golden and Golden Gates Foundation which conducts youth programs and professional seminars. Omega, 40 works as an insurance agent and journalist. She also prepares faith-based cultural arts curriculum for local youth. Omega has two children, Neyanni Turner, 11 and Keonne Turner, 9.

 

A POLITICAL LEGACY
Omega knows political activism: it’s in the family blood. Omega’s grandmother was the esteemed Yvonne Scarlett-Golden, Daytona Beach’s first African American mayor. Scarlett-Golden, a Bethune-Cookman honors graduate, was a four-term city commissioner and two-term mayor before her death in 2005 at age 80.

Omega says her parents and many of her aunts and uncles were all active in private and public social services, so civic and social involvement was both the family’s vocation and avocation.

“So, we were not the typical family at that time, and surely not now. Our conversations at dinnertime were not ‘What did you do at school today?’ they were ‘What type of protest did you take part?’,” she says with an easy laugh.

 

After graduating from Mainland High School (two years behind NBA star Vince Carter she proudly notes,) Omega attended Florida A&M and Florida State Universities before leaving the state to pursue a career in community organizations, including the National School and Community Corps in Philadelphia where she was an English tutor and dance choreographer. She returned to Florida in 2012.

A POLITICAL JOURNEY
It is perhaps not a surprise that she spent most of her political life as a registered Democrat. Yet Omega says she changed to Republican about two years ago while she focused on her growing business. But when she decided to run for Coconut Grove Village Council, she found her adopted party’s political support was not there.

“During the campaign process I just got no support from the GOP, and I thought that was very weird because here I was, a young African American, a woman, so I thought hey, there should be some more interest or buy in there,” she says.

Omega adds she also felt no encouragement when she was a Democrat. “During the time I was a Democrat, I did nothing but vote. I was never approached to run. It was just ‘Hey, your vote is appreciated but not necessarily your inclusion; but your vote is definitely important! ‘ “

Omega discovered Libertarians were different. While campaigning, Omega says she met Libertarian Party Chairman Marcos Miralles and other local members and immediately found them welcoming.

“They would absolutely reach across those lines and say ‘Hey, Courtney has some good ideas and we plan on sharing them once she is on the Board.’ I came to understand this would be more ‘So, like I am included in the conversation and not necessarily just being propped up and being told what to say.’ I always appreciated the confidence they extended towards me throughout the campaigning process. It really made, because this was my first political run, it really made that run a whole lot more affable.’ “

A PATH TO THE FUTURE
Omega says the Libertarian Party has much to offer to the growing number in the African American community who feel disenfranchised from their historic Democratic affiliation.

“For so long, we’ve been told to kind of be a part,” Omega says. “The key word is being told. But to actually have the confidence and have the influence and have the encouragement to actually be a part of that, to actually become an elected official, is very rare particularly in the Democratic Party. You’re good enough to be a prop at holding up a sign, but as far as being part of it, it’s different.”

“You know, there’s an African proverb: ‘They have no word for try. You either do or you don’t. That’s where the encouragement comes from; that’s where the confidence is built. When you can say to someone ‘You know what? I think you can do this, you deserve a seat at this table. How many African Americans, 20, 30 years old, would say ‘Wow, do you really think so?’ It creates a totally different conversation as opposed to ‘Hey are you registered to vote?’ ”

By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

— 30 —

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 31, 2018
Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

Contact: Marc Golob,
Chairman, Fundraising Committee
fundraising@lpf.org

MIAMI – The Libertarian Party of Florida is pleased to host a Dinner with Gov. Bill Weld this month to raise proceeds for the state party.

“Governor Weld’s involvement in the party is an inspiration,” said Marcos Miralles, LPF Chairman. “The Libertarian Party is now the home of current elected officials, former elected officials, and community members who wish to create an environment for all to thrive.”
Miralles said Gov. Weld gladly accepted the invitation to assist the state party after the two met at the recent Libertarian Party National Convention in New Orleans.

Weld was Massachusetts governor from 1991 to 1997. In 2016, he was Gov. Gary Johnson’s running mate in what became the most successful LP presidential showing in the party’s history. The Johnson / Weld ticket garnered more than three percent of the popular vote.

Weld is said to be considering a 2020 presidential run, although no formal announcements have been made. June 20, George Will wrote in The Washington Post Weld brings together “what a broad swath of Americans say they favor: limited government, fiscal responsibility, free trade, the rule of law, entitlement realism and other artifacts from the Republican wreckage.”

The dinner will be held Aug. 29 at Texas de Brazil, 300 Alton Rd Ste. 200, Miami Beach. Until Aug. 20, reservations are $200. After, $250.

Tickets may be purchased here.

By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

— 30 —

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 31, 2018

Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

MIAMI – Sacha DuBearn, past Director for the Libertarian Party of Miami-Dade, was sworn in as councilman on the Coconut Grove Village Council last night.

Bill Weld, Abigail DuBearn, Gary Johnson, Sacha Dubearn

DuBearn, a local entrepreneur, will complete a four-year term caused by a vacancy.

LPF Chairman and long-time DuBearn friend says the city is fortunate to have him serve.

2017 LPMD Fliers

“The DuBearns have been very supportive of the LPF, its candidates, and our vision to empower communities throughout the state, said Miralles. “It was an honor to have worked on his campaign in Miami, and it is a privilege to consider the DuBearns not only friends in liberty, but family when away from the political playing field.”

DuBearn is an active member of the Miami-Dade affiliate, both as a contributor and frequent host to fundraisers in the home he shares with his wife Abigail. The DuBearns regularly participate in community causes, especially many West Grove neighborhood projects.

“Sacha DuBearn on the Coconut Grove Village Council is a win for Libertarians across the country, but most importantly, a win for the West Grove community, a community that has been abandoned by the city of Miami for far too long,” Miralles said.

DuBearn moved to Coconut Grove in the 1990s following a devastating car accident which led him to become a life-long advocate for beneficial uses of marijuana and cannabinoids. Also a longtime advocate of environmental issues in his town, DuBearn was the only 2017 candidate pledging to investigate the dumping of toxic waste in residential neighborhoods by the City of Miami.

— By J. Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

— 30 —

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 13, 2018

Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

 

Miami – State delegates proclaim this month’s Libertarian Party National Convention in New Orleans was a new high mark for the Libertarian Party of Florida.

“It was a very humbling experience to see how diverse everyone was and how they were still able to work together to accomplish common goals, regardless of their differences” said LPF Chairman Marcos Miralles. “I really appreciated hearing Larry Sharpe’s comments that Florida is leading the way for the Libertarian Party in growth and development of elected officials.”

Among the Florida Delegation were LPF Executive Committee members Vice Chair Omar Recuero, Treasurer Fred Coulter, Region 1 Rep Spenser Garber of Santa Rosa County, Reg 2 Rep Mari Morrell of Orange County, Reg 9 Rep George Lebovitz, Reg 12 Rep John Shuey Reg 13 Rep Suzanne Gilmore, Reg 14 Rep Martha Bueno of Miami-Dade, At-Large Directors Greg Peele of Orange County and Steven Nekhaila of Monroe County. Multiple candidates for elected office were also in the Florida delegation: Shaun P Kunz, seeking Seminole County Soil and Water Conservation District, Group 5; Derek Ryan, seeking Orange County Soil & Water District: Seat 4; and John Olivadoti Jr., running for Brevard County Soil & Water, Group 2.

Two LPF members were elected to national offices. Nekhaila was elected LP Region 2 Director and Altamonte Springs City Commissioner Jim Turney was elected to the Judicial Committee. Miralles said he is working with re-elected LP Chairman Nicholas Sarwark to develop fundraisers and other joint projects.

Several delegates reported the workshops and connections made will aid in the development of their affiliates and the overall advancement of the LPF.

“Overall, my experience in New Orleans was fantastic,” Garber said. “I also attended a few breakout sessions, where I learned quite a bit about messaging and fundraising. All-in-all, I gained tons of new knowledge that I plan on using to exponentially grow my region.”

“My takeaway is that the value is in the sidebar,” said Angela Alexander Kunz of Seminole County. “I had so many great conversations with people, made good connections, and learned a lot about what’s working for other states. Libertarians are more than the sum of our Facebook posts, and connecting in person was invaluable.”

“Gladly, the 2018 convention was a great success in fundraising and bridging divides in the LP, said Turney. “Spirits and attendance were high. It was better than expected in every way!”

The 2020 LP National Convention is scheduled for Austin, Texas.

  • J Mark Barfield, Staff Writer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Rob Tolp, Chairman
Libertarian Party of Collier County
Phone: 239-200-0067
Email: chair@collierlp.com

Naples, Fla. – Collier County Libertarians took to change.org, Facebook and local television news to urge local commissioners reconsider their vote to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

After Collier County Commissioners voted last week to ban dispensaries for another six months, Collier Libertarians decided to start a campaign to drive reconsideration.

“We are beyond frustrated,” Rob Tolp, LPCC chairman, told the local Fox 4 News. “We are livid over this issue.”

Following the vote, Tolp worked together with a fellow Lee County Libertarian Paul Harper to produce a nearly hour-long video posted to the Facebook group Cannawarriors. They next started a change.org petition to build numbers. Local media began contacting them, increasing publicity. Their petition had nearly 700 responses by Friday.

The LPCC wants commissioners to permanently remove the ban, Tolp said. While commissioners said they would take the issue up again in six months, he said those six months may be too long for some to wait.

“My son-in-law being one, who is 100% disabled from PTSD,” Tolp told Fox 4 News reporter Karl Fortier. “I know from many of my friends, (medical marijuana) helps them greatly.”

In response to the LPCC, Collier County Commissioner Penny Taylor said Collier County residents were free to drive to neighboring Lee County to purchase medical marijuana. “What we’re saying is, we don’t want dispensaries in our county,” Taylor said.

“In essence, Commissioner Taylor said to Collier residents they must not only shell out money for their prescriptions, but also now must be on the hook for the gas money, wear and tear on their vehicles, or added cost for delivery,” Tolp said. “Our Commissioners are actively defying the will of nearly 63% of Collier voters who voted in favor of Amendment 2, an egregious breach of public trust and their personal responsibility to represent all Collier residents.”

See:
https://www.change.org/p/collier-county-bcc-allow-for-safe-access-to-medical-cannabis-dispensaries-in-collier-county

https://www.fox4now.com/news/local-news/libertarian-party-petitions-for-medical-marijuana-dispensaries-in-collier-county

May 8, 2018

Contact: Marcos Miralles,
Chairman, Libertarian Party of Florida
chair@lpf.org

The Libertarian Party of Florida is pleased to see support mounting for Amendment 4, the Voting Restoration Amendment.

“With so many laws created by elected officials, it’s a lot easier to become a felon nowadays,” said Marcos Miralles, LPF Chairman. “If you were to be labeled by the government as a felon, and you served your time, should you not have your right to vote restored?”

A poll announced last week by FloridaPolitics.com found more than 60 percent of state voters supported the Initiative, greater than the amount needed to amend the state Constitution. The survey was conducted jointly by North Star Opinion Research and EMC Research, FloridaPolitics reports. The poll did not list Libertarian Party results.

“Regardless of party, gender, race, or region of the Sunshine State, Floridians strongly support Amendment 4,” Dan Judy of North Star was quoted.

If approved, the amendment would restore voting rights to people with prior felony convictions upon completion of their sentences, including prison, parole, and probation. The automatic restoration would not apply to anyone convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense. The initiative will be on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot.


For more information, see:
Voters overwhelmingly support felon voting rights amendment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 01, 2018

Contact: Todd Dennison,

Chairman, Libertarian Party of Sarasota County
Todddennison@yahoo.com

Bradenton, Fla. — The Libertarian Party of Florida calls for all communities to eliminate regulatory barriers to make housing more affordable.

“Libertarians should be dominating this issue,” said Todd Dennison, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Sarasota County. “We are compassionate individuals who value true economic freedom and seek true property rights to be restored, it just so happens that freedom and property rights are a solution to skyrocketing housing costs.” Dennison runs Dogecoin Not Bombs, an outreach program supported by crypto-currency donations.

Dennison said the 2016 Housing Development Toolkit correctly illustrates the barriers to affordable housing. Among the key findings were increases in rezonings from residential to commercial property uses and increases in regulatory constraints on property use. The report suggested many of the constraints, while well-intentioned to some, throttles availability of housing affordable to more residents.

“Local policies acting as barriers to housing supply include land use restrictions that make developable land much more costly than it is inherently, zoning restrictions, off-street parking requirements, arbitrary or antiquated preservation regulations, residential conversion restrictions, and unnecessarily slow permitting processes. The accumulation of these barriers has reduced the ability of many housing markets to respond to growing demand.” [1]

The same report found that just in the past 10 years, the share of very low-income renters paying more than half their income for rent increased to 7.7 million households nationwide. Since 1960, the percent of renters paying more than 30 percent of their income for housing more than doubled. [2]

The report offers several solutions familiar to Libertarians and a few we oppose. It suggests streamlining the construction approval process would get more housing on the market quicker, reducing cost of ownership. However, one recommendation is to force owners of vacant land to pay higher taxes. Libertarians strongly oppose any regulatory coercion.

 

[1] Housing Development Toolkit – (Sept. 26, 2016) – p. 2

[2] Housing Development Toolkit – (Sept. 26, 2016) – p. 7

For Immediate Release – April 29, 2018

Miami – Florida Libertarians are broadening the reach of the Libertarian message via the state’s “First Step” candidate recruitment program, state party Chairman Marcos Miralles said Saturday.

More than 50 LPF members have offered to run for local and regional offices Miralles said during the “Conversation with the Chair” Facebook event Saturday. First Step volunteers get the full support of the state party.

“We will support you, we will run your campaign, we will make sure you qualify,” Miralles said. “All you have to do is take part in this wave of Libertarians that can influence things around us.”

First Step seeks to fill vacancies in “lowest” levels of the state’s elected office including the boards of Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Community Development Districts. More than 70 percent of these boards are vacant, he said. Filling these seats, Miralles told viewers, offers the greatest opportunity to introduce Libertarianism to the public. It is the actions taken by these boards that affect people’s lives, not politics.

“What matters is those in positions of power who put pen to paper and have an influence on all of our lives,” he said. The message of “you owning yourself and being able to live your life and do things as you please without hurting others, these are very important messages to promote,” he said.

Marc Golob, chairman of the LPF Fundraising Committee, said he’s been concentrating his efforts on fundraising from fellow EC members as well as “heavy hitters.”

“It’s very important for us to be fully engaged financially, Golob said. “A monthly reoccurring contribution to the LPF is vital to our movement forward. If that doesn’t happen, then I can’t really expect people outside that inner circle to contribute in an even bigger way.”

Run For Office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 17, 2018

Tallahassee, Fla. – LPF Region 3 Representative Joshua Folsom told Leon County Commissioners their proposed “gun-show loophole” ordinance infringed on the rights of law-abiding gun owners while offering little additional safety.

Despite opposition from the overflow audience April 10, commissioners voted 6-1 to approve the new provisions, which prevent private transfer of firearms on any public accessible property including gun shows and garage sales, includes non-violent criminal history in background checks and requires a three-day waiting period on all purchases. It exempts CWP owners from the background checks.

A Leon County Sheriff’s Office analysis found several of the provisions would be difficult to enforce, including possession of a firearm while walking across the parking lot of a gun show. Sheriff Walt McNeil has said he lacks the staffing to police the provisions.

Folsom told commissioners the ordinance represents politics, not solutions.

“The body has not convinced me of any evidence in the agenda item that this addresses any need of our community,” Folsom said to commissioners. “These are the actions of people stuck in a resentful and contentious relationship with the people they claim to represent. It is clear to me that you resent this process, and us.”

Many of the 172 attendees opposed the ordinance, many noting it makes it illegal to exchange weapons in a parking lot. Several clergy spoke in favor comparing firearms to “idol worship.”

Folsom said the ordinance represented another example of officials making political capital from tragic events, not finding solutions to them.

“This is a victory lap for local officials on SB 7026,” Folsom said. “It has nothing to do with facts, reason, even safety. It has everything to do with opportunism, and emboldened politicians; which so far has brought out nothing but ugly behavior in our elected officials.”

CS / SB 7026, the “Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act,” was passed last month and limits gun sales to 21 years and older, bans possession of “bump stocks,’ and other provisions.

For more information, see:

https://www2.leoncountyfl.gov/coadmin/agenda/meet_peg.asp?id=853
https://lpf.org/2018/04/name-and-shame/

Author: J Mark Barfield

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 17, 2018

Today is Tax Day 2018, the day when most Floridians actually think about taxes. We hit “Send” or seal the envelope and it’s over for another year. Out of mind, if not out of wallet. Actually, we’ve just begun another year of paying to be Floridian, paying to be American.

What we often forget is we work to pay taxes much of the year. Even people who don’t work pay taxes. In addition to federal income taxes

  • We pay state and county sales taxes every time we buy something, even over the Internet;
  • When we fill up at the pump, we pay gasoline taxes to the state, county and often, the city;
  • Residents and business owners pay county and city property taxes, whether they own land or pay indirectly through rent. Sometimes you even pay something called “special district” taxes, for “special” things.
  • And school taxes, whether you have children or not, you will pay to educate others.

Sometimes it seems government is in business to tax, not to serve the public that created it to serve them!

According to The Tax Foundation, a Washington, D.C. anti-tax think tank, the average Floridian worked until April 13 to pay all their federal, state and local taxes. More than a quarter of the year spent in working for government services. And what do you have to show for it? A few traffic lights, a park, maybe that policeman who gave you a speeding ticket? Do you get what you want for your tax dollars?

More astonishingly, The Tax Foundation estimates we now spend more on federal taxes than we spend to buy food. Add in state and local taxes to the tax bill, and each American now pays more to government than they pay for food, clothing and housing. We pay the government more to exist than we pay to survive.

“Taxes are Florida families’ single biggest expense, more than food, housing and clothing combined,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “It’s important that they are kept informed about the changing size of their tax bill, so they can decide if they are getting the government they pay for.”

Why should we pay for what we don’t want? How much did you pay to drop those 105 bombs on Syria last week? At nearly $2 million each, pretty damn much. Despite the visuals of children and adults suffering, was it worth it to you?

Libertarians have a better idea: pay what you want to have. Want a car and be able to drive somewhere in relative safety? Check Box A. Want a policeman to come around to your house to check on a burglary? Pay a one-time fee. Want a park? Pay a fee to go to it. Want to send your kid to a “public school” instead of a “private” one? Pay a fee (they all become private as a result.)

Think about it.

Author: J Mark Barfield