32nd Annual Conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations
An Effective Role for Every Georgist
The thirty-second annual conference of the Council of Georgist Organizations was held from July 30 to August 3, 2012 at the Camp Hill Radisson in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Attendees were greeted with a rousing and inspiring welcome from Mayor Linda Thompson.
The 2012 conference was largely an internal conference with many concurrent sessions repeating over the course of the conference in groups of three at any one time. These sessions featured passionate presentations from Alanna Hartzok, who spoke about her Light Rights Online Course and proclaimed that she would go to jail fighting for land value and other issues that she believes in, as well as from Jacob Shwartz-Lucas and Edward Miller, who despite poor hotel Wi-Fi managed to incite participants to be more deeply involved in social media. Lindy Davies was an able substitute for Mason Gaffney when he and Canadian Erich Jacoby-Hawkins discussed sales taxes, tax evasion and market distortion in Canada. Erich also gave an insightful presentation on how Georgists can make the best use of Wikipedia. Although the conference turnout was small compared to previous conferences, there was a significant number of dedicated newcomers who made valuable contributions to the proceedings.
Conference organizer and newly elected CGO President, Dan Sullivan, along with his programming team performed miracles when several invited speakers did not show up to debate the property tax. Fortunately, Dan was able to get former Pittsburgh City Council member and current Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Auditor General, Jack Wagner, to drive from Pittsburgh to speak about Pittsburgh and land tax.
The 2012 hospitality suite was dynamic and was the scene of much eating and networking thanks to Osamu Uehara who brought nearly his whole kitchen with him. Osamu made fresh dips each evening including guacamole and hummus and for the sweet-tooth s’mores.
Wednesday’s bus trip featured Josh Vincent showing conference participants the before and after effects of LVT in Harrisburg. Thursday evening’s banquet speaker was the Honorable Stephen Reed, former Harrisburg mayor, who explained to conference participants how LVT changed Harrisburg for the better. Reed exhorted Georgists keep their message present in today’s world. Reed received an enthusiastic standing ovation, and Banquet MC Ted Gwartney thanked Reed and said it was the best banquet speech so far in CGO history.
RSF was on hand with a large selection of books for sale and other materials for free. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for the new mini-catalogue of “Special Offers” that was distributed to all conference participants.
Next year’s conference will be held from August 6 to 10, 2013 when the Council will be in Pittsburgh to celebrate one hundred years of land value taxation in Pennsylvania.
(Compiled by Sue Walton, Dan Sullivan, Mark Sullivan and Ted Gwartney.)