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by Marcus Rubyman, staff writer.  [Oct. 28, 2002]



[]  He is the river that flows from the mountain, he doesn't care if his own party has revoked its endorsement, and if the government is covering up UFO secrets -- he will expose the truth!

Those are some of the startling statements made by California Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate Gary Copeland in an exclusive interview with the Weekly Universe.

Copeland, who hopes to replace Democratic governor Gray Davis, in the November 2002 election, first drew national media attention due to his religion -- he is a self-proclaimed "Druid Existentialist."

In an exclusive e-mail interview, the Weekly Universe asked Copeland how his Druidism might affect his policies once in the governor's office.

Copeland replied: "I am the tear on your cheek and a ray of sunlight on a winter's day.  I am the river that flows from the mountain and the fire that lights the darkness.  I am the point of a spear in heat of battle and the calm that stretches over the ocean.  I am the death of a loved one and the seed of your child.  I am Druid."

Copeland's Druidism was eclipsed last September when, during a third party candidates debate sponsored by KABC 790 AM, Copeland spat upon moderator Brian Whitman.

Whitman had been embroiled in a heated exchange with Copeland on the issue of illegal immigration.  (The Libertarian Party advocates open borders).  Calling Copeland a "lunatic," Whitman muted Copeland's mike so that he could speak uninterrupted, whereupon Copeland rose to leave the studio -- but not before spitting upon Whitman.

Although Whitman announced his intent to file criminal assault charges against Copeland, the candidate initially refused to apologize.  "Since I could not say what I believed, I thought I would show what I believed," Copeland explained to media.

Red-faced state Libertarian Party officials apologized for Copeland and, led by state LP Chairman Aaron Starr, withdrew their support.  However, California election laws forbade the LP from replacing Copeland at this late date, so he remains on the ballot as the official Libertarian Party candidate for governor.

Unable to remove Copeland from the ballot, the LP urged members to write-in Art Olivier's name for governor. Olivier had served as mayor of Bellflower, and was the LP's Vice Presidential candidate (Harry Browne's running mate) in 2000. To date, Olivier has done little campaigning.

Copeland later did an about-face and apologized, but the California LP refused to support Copeland. As one party official explained to a Weekly Universe source, Copeland's act was "too disgusting." But a dissident LP group (including Secretary of State candidate Gail Lightfoot) is supporting Copeland over Olivier (perhaps partly because California has to date not certified Olivier as an official write-in candidate).

Copeland's position is that he is the official LP candidate, because he was elected in the primary and is recognized on the state ballot, so the statements of a few LP officers are irrelevant to his candidacy.

When the Weekly Universe asked Copeland how he felt about the LP's refusal to reinstate their support, Copeland issued this startling exclusive statement to the Weekly Universe: "Who cares?"

Because libertarians are torn over the issue of how to respond to 9/11, the Weekly Universe asked Copeland how the U.S. should handle Iraq in particular, and the threat of terrorism in general.  Copeland replied: "We should be fighting for Liberty, not against terrorism."

But 9/11 aside, the Weekly Universe's transdimensional readers know that perhaps the most pressing issue facing the California intersect of the space-time continuum is the bizarre phenomena of alien abductions, crop circles and UFOs.  The Weekly Universe pressed Copeland for his position on these most crucial issues:

WU: "Do you think the government is hiding information about UFOs?"

Copeland: "I don't have enough information to make a decision."

WU: "Any opinions on what UFOs may be, what people are seeing?"

Copeland: "I don't know."

WU: "Is there anything a governor can do to learn or expose the truth, if it's out there?"

Copeland (finally relenting): "I don't know if the state is involved, but I would always work to expose the truth."

The Weekly Universe will hold a future Copeland administration to the above statement as a sacred vow to expose the truth about UFOs -- if it's out there.  The Weekly Universe also vows to keep readers appraised of other candidates' statements on these most important issue.

Recent polls show Copeland attracting 4% of California voters, putting him in fourth place.  (Green Party candidate Peter Camejo is running third, with 9% of voters.)  Trailing Copeland (in no particular order) are the Natural Law Party (which in 2000 received the support of filmmaker David Lynch) and American Independent Party candidates.  The Reform Party, while enjoying permanent ballot status in California, did not field a gubernatorial candidate for 2002.

Asked for a summary, Copeland told to the Weekly Universe: "I am a husband, father, man of faith, and CEO of a bio-information firm.  I want my children to enjoy the free and diverse society envisioned by Jefferson, Paine, and Adams.  For a more prosperous and more compassionate California, I urge you to vote Libertarian in the election on November 5, 2002."

Copeland also provided the Weekly Universe with a breakdown of his positions on various specific issues:

    * Abortion

"Abortion is an issue based on differing judgments about the first moment of genuinely human life.  Different individuals make different judgments, and this is why there will never be a "government solution" to abortion.  Abortion will always be up to the individual, her doctor, and their personal faith.  I oppose all government funding of abortions.

    * Meeting California's Energy Needs

"Our State and Federal government take 20 to 30% in taxes of the money you spend on gasoline.  Governments have no incentive to encourage an alternative fuel.  There is only one quick solution to the addiction of our government to oil taxes.  The free market offers the only way forward, and it is nothing more radical than Econ 101:  Prices set by supply and demand both encourage more supply and restrain demand.  Encouraging more supply promotes competition, and allowing higher prices promotes conservation and alternative energy sources.  When government stays out of the picture, this system works very well.

"Pete Wilson got us into our current energy problems.  Gray Davis won't get us out.  Davis committed the State to expensive long-term electricity contracts and consumers will be required to pay them off by further restrictions on the market."

    * Health Care

"Our health care system is 'sick' but the most of the 'cures' proposed by Republicans and Democrats are regulations that attempt to micromanage and treat the symptoms and not the disease.  The 'disease' is a lack of consumer choice and control over health plans.  Due to tax incentives, most of us get insurance through our employers instead of purchasing it on our own.  Employer-provided health plans are tax-free but individually purchased health plans are not.  The patient, as the paying customer, should be in control.

"I would support a system of medical vouchers that low-income families could use to purchase health care or insurance.  I would establish incentives to use the money wisely, with any unused part of the annual allowance 'rolled-over' for future medical needs.

"Regulations on hospitals are forcing emergency rooms to close their doors, which give patients with no place to go in an emergency. Misguided regulations intended to enforce common human decency are rapidly destroying our health care system.



    * Crime Prevention

"The State of California is currently in debt between $20 and $30 billion. The State spends in excess of $25 billion in drug related enforcement in an attempt to stop the production, sale and use of illegal drugs. If you are fortunate enough to have a living parent or grandparent who remembers the 1920s, you might ask them about Prohibition. When alcohol was illegal, millions of people still drank, and the illegal booze market gave rise to violent criminal gangs. Sound familiar?

"Today, the abuse of alcohol is a significant social and medical problem, but there are no drive-by shootings between rival liquor stores.   Ending drug prohibition and putting a 10% use tax on drugs could fund law enforcement and medical vouchers.  This revenue would be in excess of $10 billion a year.   Addiction is part of human nature and we need to treat it, not create an opportunity for criminals."

    * Death Penalty

"I do not believe the government should have the right to kill.  I would, however, allow the victim's closest relatives to make the choice of what punishment should befall the convicted killer, whether execution or life in prison.

    * Logging

"Logging is only a public issue when the government owns the land and trees.  Standing timber should be sold or transferred to private ownership.  Conservationists should have the opportunity to take title of forests, and choose not to harvest them, or to manage them optimally for the health of the forests.  Private organizations like the Nature Conservancy are the solution to our forests' future health."

    * Offshore Oil Exploration

"This is a land ownership issue, which is in dispute because the land is not  owned by anyone, but controlled by politicians.  I think it would be wise to sell the land rights under the sea to whoever wants to bid for them, including those who would never develop it.  Giving welfare subsidies in the form of drilling rights to oil companies is not a way to create free markets in energy."

    * Gun Control

"Careful research has demonstrated that widespread handgun ownership, including concealed carrying of guns, reduces crime, particularly crimes against women and elderly people.  The insane 'good intentions' of those who would restrict guns are contributing to higher crime rates in all jurisdictions that have adopted them.  Britain and Australia, for example now have higher incidences of home invasion and rape.  Libertarians support the 2nd Amendment’s individual right to keep and carry weapons."



    * The State Budget Crisis

"For the year 2002, the budget of the State of California is $109 billion, which works out to about $3,100 per resident, or $12,400 for a family of four.  If each family had to pay this amount, cash out of pocket, there would be widespread outrage.  Citizens would demand to know where the money is going and what they are getting for their money.

"But the politics of taxation is the art of offering as many people as possible the illusion of getting something for nothing.  Business taxes, payroll taxes, deductions, credits, and heavy taxation of  "the rich" hide the true cost of the government behind a combination of higher prices, lower wages, and lost economic opportunities.

"Nevertheless, the politicians' ravenous appetite for our hard earned dollars is so huge that it cannot be completely hidden, and Californians are hit square in the face with income and sales taxes that are among the nation's highest."

    * Balancing the State Budget

"We Libertarians want to cut the State budget sharply and abolish the income tax.  Many items in the State budget are either unnecessary or are things we as individuals could better provide for ourselves if we were relieved of the burden of taxation.

"One of the biggest single items in the state budget is education.  California spends over $7,000 per student.  If we assume a reasonable average class size of 20 students, that's $140,000 per classroom.  Generously pay the teacher half of that, and we still have $70,000 a year to provide classroom space and supplies for 20 students.  Visit your child's classroom.  Do you see $70,000?  Where is the money going?

"In California 43% of the State's revenue is derived from income taxes, roughly $40 billion.  Most of these funds collected are in the General Fund, which is a catchall for government projects requested by the governor and the legislature.  There are, of course, some essential services that only the State can provide.  The fairest and most efficient way to pay for state services is to charge people for the services that they use."

    * New Taxes

"Right now, Governor Davis and the legislature are scheming to impose a tax increase to cover their latest spending binge, which has produced an estimated $20 billion budget deficit.  When they tell you a tax increase is "absolutely necessary," it might be worthwhile to remember that for the first half of California's existence, we got along fine with no income tax.  Only in 1935 was a State income tax imposed.

"The burden of taxation is not only a matter of money, it is also a matter of privacy and efficiency.  In order to enforce increasingly complex tax rules, nearly every economic transaction, from a few coins into a candy machine to a multimillion-dollar business deal, must be reported to and tracked by the government."

    * Tax Cuts

"My approach to taxation is integral to my Libertarian approach to the role of the government in our lives.  I seek to be the leader of the government of California, not the ruler of the people of California.  The role of government should not be to rule over people but to work as an unobtrusive servant to the people, efficiently performing essential functions.  Let's lead the rest of the country by ending the bureaucracy and inefficacy of California's State Income tax.

"Here are just some of the more questionable functions of California's Government: California Debt and Investment, Committee on Aging, Fair Political Practicing Commission, California Alternative Energy Political Reform Act, Commission on Tax Relief Unallocated Capital Outlay, Advisory Commission Technology Trade and Commerce Agency, High-Speed Rail, California Debt Limit Allocation, Hastings College of the Law, California State Summer School for the Arts, Advanced Transportation Financing, California Tax Credit Allocation Committee."


    * Three Strikes Law

"The 'Three Strikes' concept has been abused by law enforcement and prosecutors.  It should be amended to exclude all non-violent crimes, and current inmates who are serving long sentences for non-violent 'third strike' crimes should be immediately released."

    * Campaign Finance

"I personally have been precluded from speaking to groups because of Campaign Finance reform.  Our misguided campaign finance laws are turning our government into a playground for millionaires.  I support measures that would promote full disclosure of a candidate's source of funds, but I oppose our current over-regulated system that only establishes a maze of reporting requirements and barriers to fundraising for candidates, like me who do not start with a personal fortune."

    * Government Education

"The state pays $7,058 per student this year for education.  Education represents $42.9 billion of the $109 billion California state budget.

"With the advent of the Internet, the face of learning requirements has changed considerably.  Individuals need to be able to learn at their own pace and excel in those attributes, which best fit their intellectual abilities.  Internet technology allows our children to use information technology at a far greater rate and this should be the basis of their educational development. California's parents should be able to keep their tax dollars and use the money to send their children to the schools of their choice.

"Today's education model is based upon the needs of early 20th century industrial America.  Classrooms of 20 to 30 with a single educator.  With curriculum dictated by the State, even if a teacher could implement change, the weight of the social fabric of our educational bureaucracy limits any genuine possibility of progress.

    * Education Solutions

"We need to break up our State educational monopoly and use financial techniques, such as tuition vouchers, to work for the changes necessary in tomorrow's information age.  It's the parents and the teachers who create education not Gray Davis, nor the Legislature, nor the teachers union, no matter how small the classes.  Direct application of knowledge should be the foundation of our schools rather than drab regimental training, or lock step memorization.  End compulsory education of high schools students, and you will see our standards rise.  Education should be a desired commodity not a forced State re-education camp.

"The fact is our information continues to double every 18 months.  The new skills of leaning technology cannot be provided by our current educational system.  By the year 2020, computers and machines will be such an integral combination that the much heralded information technology will change the face of labor.  We need to change our educational system to prepare our children for that opportunity."

    * Public Transportation

"Only the private economy can create a public transportation system that will serve the poor.  Proposals to build light rail systems and increase bus service are silly, since they do not provide 'point to point' transportation.  All government subsidies for bus and light rail should be diverted immediately to vouchers for use in purchasing "point to point" transportation by the poor."

    * Encouraging Economic Growth

"Economic growth is the result of human innovation and creativity.  When government regulations and taxes obstruct progress, economic growth slows and our standard of living falls.  Rich people often don't feel the pain from a slowing of growth; they have wealth to liquidate; but our poorest citizens are most in need of economic growth to get jobs, better jobs, and pay increases.  Libertarians stand on the side of our poorest citizens and their upward aspirations.  Capitalism is all about taking dreams and ideas and turning them into reality."


Copyright 2002 by


Marcus Rubyman is a Los Angeles based tabloid reporter whose investigations specialize on UFOs and the paranormal. Read more about his journalism in Hollywood Witches.


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