Delaware County Libertarian Committee
November 23, 2017
The following is an open letter to President Donald Trump:
A few weeks ago, you addressed the opioid epidemic, which has gripped the country in recent years. In officially declaring the opioid crisis a national public health emergency, you took the important first step toward fixing this problem.
However, even more important is how we move forward in operating in the midst of this emergency. We have already tried treating the issue as a criminal one. Over the last 40 years, our nation has spent well over $1 trillion in taxpayer dollars on the War on Drugs as our federal prison population has increased by nearly 800 percent.
If one wishes to know the effectiveness of these policies, they need only learn that in spite of these strong steps, the United States remains the number 1 country in the world in illegal drug use.
With this “tough on crime” approach clearly failing, an alternative has emerged to treat drug users not as criminals, but rather as human beings. In Portugal they decided to take this path less traveled in 2001. Once ravaged by chaos and disarray due to the drug trade, the country’s incidences of use and addiction has plummeted. Overdose deaths of adults are now the second lowest in the entire European Union, with 3 annually for every 1 million citizens.
Switzerland has embraced medical treatment for heroin addicts. The Swiss have experienced incredible results with their heroin-assisted treatment program, which began in 1994. The Swiss treat roughly 1,300 addicts with maintenance doses of heroin via more than 20 clinics. Perhaps the most incredible statistic, since the program’s inception there has not been a single occurrence of overdose in any of the clinics.
My own family has had a brush with the real-world ramifications of the failures of the current War on Drugs. Two years ago, we lost my cousin Dan. He had been a drug user, and when he needed help the most, the government extended not a helping hand, but an iron fist. Thrown in jail, he never got the necessary treatment to help him kick his addiction.
Addiction is not a crime, and it shouldn’t be treated like one. If my family had been given the opportunity to help Dan, things could have turned out differently. It may be too late for him, but it is not too late to help the millions like him who suffer every day from the current Drug War.
In 1990, one leading business voice eloquently explained a path to winning the War on Drugs. He asserted, “You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.” That same business leader stated that by taking the drug trade out of the shadows, profits could then be used to educate the public about the “dangers of drugs,” rather than wasting that money on incarceration.
Mr. President, do you remember speaking these words? Your words could not have been more right then, and now you have the opportunity to prove yourself correct and enact this policy 27 years later. By taking the steps I’ve outlined in my “Addiction is Not a Crime” bill, I’m confident that we can work together to bring an end to the scourges that are drug addiction and the War on Drugs.
November 9, 2017
August 4, 2017
Delaware County, PA will field several local candidates in the coming election cycle, and the two major parties are so mad about it they've gone on the attack. Almost smells like fear.
August 3, 2017
August 3, 2017
MEDIA >> For the first time, there will be a third-party challenge for countywide offices this fall.
The Delaware County Libertarian Committee has filed a slate of candidates Delaware County Council, Sheriff, Register of Willis and Controller.
Dale Kerns Jr., vice chairman of the county Libertarian Party, said nearly 2,100 signatures were submitted to the Delaware County Election Bureau.
“Our candidates are committed to small government, lowering taxes and protecting individual freedom,” said Kerns, himself a declared Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018. “With this countywide slate, the Delaware County Libertarian Committee and our endorsed candidates will give a voice to all who have felt politically homeless in Delaware County. It is our goal to promote liberty, transparency and getting government out of the way of progress.”
The Libertarian council candidates are Thomas Carey of Havertown and Edward Clifford of Marple. They will face Republicans John Perfetti and incumbent Dave White and Democrats Brian Zidek and Kevin Madden.
Carey is a recent Ursinus College graduate who is planning to be a ninth-grade math teacher. He has been involved in the Young Americans for Liberty chapter since his freshman year and rose to YAL Pennsylvania Stat Chair, where he was the state coordinator for students for Ron Paul’s campaign and also was a student organizer for Gary Johnson.
“I believe I can bring some transparency to the county council,” Carey said, adding that he’d move to have meetings at night and streamed live so more people could be engaged rather than during the day.
“I’m just a regular person. I’m not looking to be a politician,” he said. “I’m just trying to bring some transparency to ... keep the government from overreaching into our personal lives.” Clifford is a Marple resident who is an accountant and served as the Libertarian nominee for U.S. Senate last year and garnered 230,000 votes.
For Register of Wills, Stacey Wallace, a Haverford High School alum, will face Democrat Mary Walk and Republican incumbent Jennifer Holsten Maddaloni. Wallace has worked for Fox News, Headline News and CNN and now is an assistant preschool director.
She lives with her husband, Matthew Wallace, also a Haverford High School alum, in Drexel Hill. Matthew Wallace is running for the Sheriff position against GOP incumbent Mary McFall Hopper and Democrat Jerry Sanders.
Treasurer of the county Libertarians, he’s owner/operator of a gas station/auto repair business in Bryn Mawr and was a leader of the “Fight for Zero” movement, which is opposed to minimum-wage laws.
He said he is running for office to give voters another option, other than “this duopoly of Democrats and Republicans.”
A Ron Paul Libertarian, Wallace said as sheriff he “would keep the peace and protect the citizens, protect their rights and not take them away.”
Libertarian Controller candidate Joseph Olive of Upper Chichester will face Democrat Joanne Phillips and Republican Robert Kane.
County Republican Party Chairman Andrew Reilly said the Libertarians are unqualified for county offices.
“For instance, the Libertarian’s Sheriff candidate on his Facebook page states that he would not enforce orders of the courts, not participate in the war on drugs and not follow a court order to seize a drug dealer’s money,” Reilly said. “Selective enforcement of the law by public officials is dangerous. In the middle of our heroin and opioid crisis he is not going to transport a drug dealer to court to stand trial for polluting our communities with drugs, or follow a court order to seize that drug dealer’s money?”
Matthew Wallace outlined his position.
“I don’t believe in the war on drugs and I don’t believe that people who use drugs are criminals,” he said. “If they do something else, they should be arrested. (But,) the use of drugs, we don’t believe that’s a crime.”
Reilly continued, “These Libertarian candidates are treating this campaign as if it was election for freshman class president rather than a serious public office which has consequences to actual people.”
Wallace’s response was, “That’s their opinion. They’re entitled to their opinion.”
David Landau, chairman of the Delaware County Democratic Party, said Libertarians have run previously with no significant impact on election results.
He compared the Libertarians to the sitting Republicans in control of county offices.
“They don’t do anything – there’s no health department but they hand out contracts to all their buddies,” Landau said. “To me, it’s what a Libertarian government would look like. They’re all part of that spectrum – the far right.”
Kerns said his candidates want to give an alternative to voters.
“I think there are a lot of things to think about here,” he said. “Over the years, there are a lot of Republicans that come from the Ron Paul movement. There are Democrats that have come over that are not happy with the Democrat Party.”
He said his party is gaining momentum from the populist movement swelled by President Donald Trump where people are not being heard by the two parties.
“We’re the new young party Libertarians,” Kern said. “The Libertarian Party is the one that fights for everyone every day. No one can run your life better than you. The two major parties, they consistently try to impose their will on everyone.”
And, for him, that’s why a full slate has entered the county race.
“The message to Independents out there, third parties, Republicans, Democrats, is we need more competition in politics,” Kerns said. “People aren’t happy with the two old parties. We’re not here to force them to do anything. We’re here to give them another option.”
March 17, 2017
Dale Kerns announced he is running for the U.S. Senate in 2018 for the Libertarian party. A Libertarian has not filed with the Federal Elections Commission since at least 2010, the furthest back FEC files go online.
Kerns lives in Swarthmore in southeastern Pennsylvania. He is an estimator for an electrical contractor. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Goodwill of Delaware and Delaware County.
Kerns recently challenged Senator Bob Casey to a debate at a recent town hall meeting Casey hosted in Philadelphia.
PoliticsPA has reached out to the Kerns campaign for comment.
State Representative Rick Saccone and Andrew Shecktor both announced they running for the Republican nomination. Other possible Republicans include House Majority Leader Dave Reed, and Congressman Mike Kelly.
October 9, 2016
While most Pennsylvania voters have likely heard of Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and his Democratic opponent, Katie McGinty, there is another candidate on the ballot for the U.S. Senate seat.
Libertarian Edward Clifford III of Marple, Delaware County, is also seeking support from voters in the commonwealth, in a year when the presidential nominees of both major parties have historically low favorability ratings.
Digital First Media reached out to Clifford via email to see where he stands on several issues that have drawn a lot of attention this election season. The Libertarian Party’s platform tends to be described as socially liberal and fiscally conservative. The party supports limited government, individual rights, and a free-market approach to the economy. Clifford’s views appear to be in line with the principles of the Libertarian Party.
Here are the questions sent to Clifford, along with his responses, edited for clarity and brevity:
Q: What can Congress do to strengthen the economy?
A: “Congress can strengthen the economy by rolling back the hundreds of thousands of regulations in place for small businesses. These regulations create barriers to entry into markets for individuals and small business to offer goods and services which prevents people from creating jobs. Regulatory compliance is a straight cost item which businesses pass on to their customers increasing the price of whatever the business sells.
“Congress can also strengthen the economy by reducing the federal budget to year 2006 spending levels. High taxes draw money out of the economy which could otherwise be spent by individuals in creating jobs, saved for future use, or given away as an individual sees fit.
“Congress can further strengthen the economy by rejecting managed trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and NAFTA. These agreements are put forth as free trade deals but they are anything but free trade deals. These are managed trades — deals which benefit a small group of people at the expense of everyone.”
Q: How would you act in the Senate to work toward reducing the national debt, as well as creating and keeping jobs in the United States?
A: “In Congress, I would work to reduce the federal debt by reducing the government spending and roll back the budget to 2006. I would reduce the federal debt by voting against unbalanced budgets, all tax increases, and all increases in government spending. I will further reduce the federal debt by allowing individuals to opt out of receiving Social Security and stopping the funding of undeclared wars.”
Q: Do you support a federal minimum wage? Why or why not? If yes, what should the federal minimum wage be set at?
A: “I am against the federal minimum wage. The federal minimum wage interferes with an individual’s ability to negotiate their own agreement. The minimum wage creates a price floor which keeps people out of jobs because the people involved do not see the value at a the minimum wage level. People will simply go without that need being filled or, worse, turn to the government to do it. Furthermore, the federal minimum wage forces those involved to measure their value against their time. This is a horrible equation. We need to change the culture of trading time for money and encourage people to trade the value they offer against the money.”
Q: What can Congress do to defeat terrorist groups abroad, such as the Islamic State, as well as prevent terrorism in the U.S.? How would you work in the Senate toward accomplishing these goals?
A: “I would defeat terrorists groups by not creating them in the first place. The U.S. is not the world’s policeman and should not have the excessive presence in the areas it has now. Bombing innocent men, women, and children destabilizes peace in the U.S. because the U.S. has no authority to tell people how to live their lives. The U.S. should not be involved in arming anyone in a foreign land. The conflicts are fought by a minority. The nebulous nature of the conflict means the U.S. could be drawn into dicey situations with unclear allies. The nature of the conflict may also mean the people involved in those conflicts may change their motivations. Instead of choosing a side to arm, the U.S. should make friends will all sides and trade with them. The U.S. should not be drawn into these conflicts and asked to pick a side.”
Q: Do you believe the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay should be closed or remain open? Why or why not?
A: “Guantanamo Bay should be closed immediately and the people there given trial in a court of law or released immediately. Guantanamo Bay has been another black mark on the face of the American people for its horrible human rights violations all under the guise of stopping terrorism. The detainees there have had little to no legal representation, almost no review by any legitimate civil authority, have not had war declared upon them, nor their day in a court of law. These are supposed to be the foundations of justice without exception. If they have genuinely harmed people, they should be imprisoned with other violent criminals in the current system with a proper sentence. If they have not, they should be released immediately with an apology and given the ability to recover damages inflicted upon their person from the parties involved.”
Q: Do you support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the “Iran deal?” Why or why not?
“I am against the Iran deal because it involves foreign aid. The U.S. should not be giving money away to foreign governments. The Iran deal just expands the role of the U.S. as the world’s policeman and creates more motivation for groups to organize and inflict violence against the American people.”
Q: What are your views on gun regulation?
A: “The federal government vastly exceeds its authority when it regulates guns. The regulations in place create victims of law-abiding citizens by restricting their ability to defend themselves from those who would do harm to them in places law-abiding citizens have a right to be. Criminals do not follow the law and will not respect so called “gun-free” zones, prohibitions on weapons purchases, or apply for permits for concealed carry. All these regulations do is punish peaceful people by making them easy prey for criminals.”
Q: Do you support universal background checks for all gun purchases? Why or why not?
A: “The background checks in place now for purchasing a firearm are adequate. Legislating universal background checks introduces another opportunity for the government to disrupt people’s lives and create a list riddled with errors. Once these lists are compiled and mistakes appear, it is nearly impossible to correct errors or get rid of the lists.”
Q: Would you support a ban on “assault weapons?” Why or why not?
A: “I am against assault weapons bans because they are ineffective. Any assault weapons ban only punishes peaceful and law-abiding people. Independent studies have shown that the 1994 assault weapons ban had little impact in reducing violence and that future legislation would have little to no impact as well.”
Clifford is a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, and he is currently employed as an accountant for a financial services firm; he has been involved with the Libertarian movement for over 15 years, according to the Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania’s website.
Voters in the commonwealth will decide which candidate will serve the six-year term in the Senate on Nov. 8.
July 25, 2016
The American Civil Liberties Union has taken up the case of a Libertarian congressional candidate who says he was temporarily barred from collecting nominating petition signatures in a public park.
"The way I look at it is I’m a third-party candidate and the two major parties control everything," said Pat Sellers, who is running for the 7th Congressional District against incumbent Republican Pat Meehan. "In the end, they’re going to join forces and do whatever they can to prevent anybody from interfering with the status quo."
Sellers said he was collecting signatures to get on the November general election ballot prior to a concert at Rose Tree Park July 15 when Delaware County Director of Parks and Recreation Marc Manfre asked him and others there to stop.
When told the petitioners were not soliciting, Manfre called county Solicitor Mike Maddren, according to Sellers and volunteer Dale Kerns. Maddren allegedly informed Manfre that the candidate and his supporters are legally allowed to collect signatures on public grounds, but by that point the concert was about to begin.
"Keep in mind, while we’re being harangued by the police, it’s difficult to collect signatures,” said Sellers.
The issue appeared settled until two days later, when Kerns said a Delaware County Park Police lieutenant allegedly acting under the direction of county council Chairman Mario Civera and Park Police Chief Samuel S. Ziviello again ordered Sellers and Kerns to cease signature collections.
Maddren did not return calls for comment Monday, but Civera said he was contacted about 6:30 p.m. and told people were circulating petitions in the park.
"My response to that was that if they’re in violation of what the rules and regulations of the Park Board and county council’s ordinance, then they need to cease and desist,” he said. “They (Park Police) said, ‘What do you want us to do?’ and I said ‘I’m just answering you the way the ordinance is written.”
Kerns said he was presented with a copy of a memorandum from Ziviello that indicated there should be “no distribution of/or erecting of political literature and signs on county park properties” unless previously authorized by the county.
“This is not the first rule like this we have seen,” said Mary Catherine Roper, deputy legal director for the Philadelphia ACLU. “We’ve seen several places that have tried to ban political activities in their parks, and I’m sure that what they want to do is have their parks as recreational venues, but they really just don’t understand the First Amendment.”
In a letter to Manfre, Maddren and Ziviello Friday, Roper cited several federal court decisions that have held the government’s ability to restrict expressive conduct in public places is extremely limited, and can only be constitutionally valid if it serves a compelling public interest and is narrowly drawn to achieve that end.
Petition circulators would obviously not be allowed to travel through the crowd during the concert, said Roper, but before and after the performance would be fair game, as would the rest of the park.
"It’s one of the places that we have always been able to reach out to our fellow citizens, particularly about political issues,” she said. “I kind of understand where the governments are coming from, but they’ve got it backwards. The First Amendment protects political speech first, before, say, recreation. That’s sort of flipping the hierarchy of the type of expression that we value in this country.”
Kerns said he and Sellers did pack up and leave the park when asked to July 17, but were soon pulled over and told they would be cited for disorderly conduct. Kerns videoed much of that traffic stop on his phone and posted it to Facebook.
Kerns later met with Ziviello, who he praised for working as something of a mediator between the Libertarians and the county. Kerns said Ziviello told him his officers would no longer interfere with collections and Maddren told him no citations would be forthcoming.
Kerns and Sellers also said Maddren told them circulators could return to the park, but placed restrictions on their movements and ability to display political literature, including T-shirts. Roper indicated in her letter that people collecting signatures in the park would not abide by the restrictions and that the ACLU would file suit if they are enforced.
"That debate is for another day,” said Civera. “The interpretation that the solicitor gave Mr. Kerns is the same interpretation that he gave me. They were allowed to circulate the petitions in the park as long as they were 40 feet from the stage area where they wouldn’t interfere (with the audience).
"If the ordinance has to be amended, then that’s a debate that county council has to deal with, but right now I’m fine with it. That’s what the solicitor interpreted and I’m good with it.”
Sellers said he was back at the park Sunday and had no issues. Kerns also said he has not had any further problems with park police or the county, but it might all be moot for Sellers’ candidacy at this point.
Third-party candidates in Pennsylvania are required to gather additional signatures to get on a general election ballot. Sellers needs 3,000 signatures to do so this year, while Meehan had to secure only 1,000 signatures for the primary ballot.
Each concert at Rose Tree draws about 300 attendees and petitioners missed out on three or four of those concerts, Kerns said. By his estimation, Sellers will not be able to collect enough signatures by an August 1 deadline to be on the ballot come November.
Even beyond that, Kerns said there could be some collateral damage to Sellers’ overall reputation for being pulled over in front of the very people he had only minutes before introduced himself to as a candidate for Congress.
"That’s a very distinct thing to remember," said Kerns. “When people see anyone being pulled over, they immediately think they did something wrong … That looks very bad on a candidate. And I don’t think they can ever erase that from the minds of the people that were there that night.”
Sellers, a former Republican, said this was a spontaneous and unplanned candidacy that he was not able to devote himself to initially due to his work schedule. If he misses the mark by 1,000 signatures, he said he would not attribute it to missing those days at the park. If it is within 100 signatures, however, he said the inability to petition concert-goers very likely will have kept him off the ballot.
"But I am committed to the Libertarian cause now,” he said. “They’re a great bunch of people, and next time it will be planned and I will get on the ballot.”