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Florida Libertarian Group Raise Money for Hurricane Katrina Relief

September 18th 2005

Florida Libertarian Group Raise Money for Hurricane Katrina Relief

Katrina Relief Effort

ST Petersburg, FL—Libertarians are fans of non-government, voluntary help, so it’s no surprise that Florida Libertarians have been very busy since Katrina. For them, it’s a matter of principle--not just helping others, but using voluntary initiatives in creative ways.

For Florida has been busy. While states like Texas get the headlines, Florida has been bearing a less spectacular but unnervingly steady stream of exhausted and penniless refugees, price hikes, shortages as goods are moved to stricken areas, pleas for help, and other effects of Katrina. These include helping Florida's own casualties of the hurricane, estimated as the worst in US history.

Political groups have been doing their part. Pinellas Libertarians are one interesting example of a small group trying to help in effective ways. The St. Petersburg, Florida Party  urges members to support voluntary help groups,  and they say they've been busy with e-mails, phone calls, and a Cheap Gas locator on their site (www.LPPinellas.org) as Florida gas prices gyrate in reaction to the disaster.

 
Hurricane relief

They've been alert to government goofs, they say, with e-mails to officials in support for Circle K dealers unable to lower or raise gas prices due to conflicting Florida government regulations, forcing them to shut down their gas pumps. They answer queries from people with questions such as homeowners worried they'll be fined for taking in refugees under Florida's sometimes draconian zoning laws.

They even popped a Help The Red Cross button onto their site and began e-mailings before Bush declared a state of Emergency.

The non-partisan Libertarian Club, which promotes discussion coffees and community projects, organized blood donations and asked people to take action. One activist organized a Car-Wash for Katrina victims.

The Car-Wash, part of a non-partisan project called Disaster Help, is the brainchild of disabled Libertarian activist Scott Palacheck, who says he was inspired by the Libertarian approach and decided to start his own effort.

In a few days he had organized numerous volunteers, gotten website and other guidance from the Libertarian Club, and signed up activists in other groups. As the big day approached, his group got three local news stories and a rave TV mention,  co-sponsorships from an array of local businesses, and by the weekend his group opened up in a corner of downtown St Petersburg.

Starting at 8 AM, volunteers covered in soap suds and smiles raised over a thousand dollars in a few hours as they discussed politics, social issues and "Found a bit of common ground."

“The Car Wash blossomed into a neighborhood event,” Palacheck said, with many people honking support, making contributions without a wash, a local McDonald’s providing burgers to volunteers, and even a surprise goodwill visit by St Petersburg’s Republican mayor, Rick Baker, who impromptu discussed civics with several young volunteers and has been personally active in Hurricane relief. Baker, who has written a history of the county where Spaniards first landed an expedition in what is today the US, is known for his enthusiasm for volunteer efforts.

 

Libertarians have responded nationwide, with caravans to afflicted areas from as far as San Diego, clubs and party groups raising funds, and numerous links to volunteer groups at the Libertarian Party site. There is even a friendly competition among Libertarians and other parties, challenging each other on small donations.

“Helping people is non-partisan,” said Palacheck. Said another volunteer,“If a disabled person can do something, anyone can. If you get people of different political and other groups together in this kind of setting, a lot of good things can happen.”

Palacheck says he intends to keep the site, DisasterHelp, up (http://www.disasterhelp.cjb.net)and continue to organize or publicize events in co-operation with activists and volunteers from different groups and the neighborhood.

“These are good young people. Bless them,” said one woman as her car was being rinsed. ”It’s just amazing.”

 

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By Mike Davis
Mike is a freelance writer

Libertarian Books

Keywords and Misspellings:  Libartarian Libertarian Democrat Greens Floreda 


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:38 PM