Care to Run a Westercon?

By John Hertz: Westercon is the annual West Coast Science Fantasy Conference. It’s almost as old as the Worldcon – July 1-4, 2017, in Tempe, Arizona, will be Westercon LXX.

In our happy world we have local cons, regional cons, national cons, international cons, and a Worldcon; special-interest and general-interest cons. Westercon is a regional general-interest con.

“West Coast” means the west coast of North America, but not strictly: the con can be as far east as 104° West Longitude, and as far off the coast the other way as Hawaii. It’s been in El Paso (Westercon XLIX, farthest east to date); Honolulu (Westercon LIII, farthest south and west); and Calgary (Westercon LVIII, farthest north).

You can learn more at this official Website, which has, among other things, the By-Laws.

Or there are lots of folks with whom you can confer outside Electronicland; me, for instance, 236 S. Coronado St., No. 409, Los Angeles, CA 90057, U.S.A.

As with many of our cons, Westercon sites are chosen by vote, currently two years in advance. Last year we voted on the 2017 Westercon; this year we’ll vote on 2019.

We invite would-be Westercon hosts to file a bid (Section 3.5 of the By-Laws).

But what if, as a famous flying squirrel put it, that trick doesn’t work?

Not so long ago a bid was campaigning unopposed – usually a compliment, in effect the community saying “We can’t do better than you, go ahead” – but by voting-time had unfortunately lost our confidence, and didn’t get enough votes. So site-selection went to the Business Meeting, Another bid which had previously been a joke decided to get real, made a fine presentation, answered questions well, and was voted in.

This year we have another adventure. Normally, Westercon alternates among three regions, North, Central, and South. If any bid from outside the current region files by a stated deadline, the current region can’t. But if that doesn’t happen, alternation is set aside; the gates are thrown open; it’s anybody’s game. That’s where we are as I write.

So now’s your chance. File by April 15th (the official Website tells you how, and explains our few requirements; or you can learn in other ways) and it could be you.

You’ll still have to get votes. You don’t have to have experience working on Westercons, but it sure helps. You do have to persuade the rest of us that you can do it.

What if no one files by the 15th? Well, that’s in the By-Laws too. But don’t make us go there.

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3 thoughts on “Care to Run a Westercon?

  1. I remember that business meeting vividly. Mr. Hertz is ever-gracious and thus did not mention that the unopposed bid apparently decided that status meant they didn’t have to do anything. Like update their web page. Or conduct outreach. Or even be nice. They were still cranky at the meeting.

    The joke bid, in about 15 hours, assembled a committee, did a spiffy and humble presentation, and two years later threw the Best Westercon Ever, and one of the best cons I’ve ever been to. A goodly chunk of them are running next year’s Worldcon.

  2. By coincidence, about the same time you were posting this article, I was composing a series of posts starting with Where (and When) Can You Hold a Westercon that deal with the same topic, and the possibly-related topic of where the 2019 NASFiC can be held. (Anywhere in North America >500 miles from San José CA, including Central America, the Caribbean, etc.) There’s an overlap between the two.

  3. lurkertype on March 17, 2017 at 9:09 pm said:

    I remember that business meeting vividly.

    As do I, although my perspective on it was shared only by Linda Deneroff and Sharon Sbarsky, the other folks at the head table as I presided over it. Not too long ago my wife and I watched the video she shot of the meeting and I kept saying, “Why did they let me do that?” when I made parliamentary errors.

    Should I ever have to go through that again, I will know how to do it better. However, I would really rather see at least one filed bid this year and no controversy or deadlocked election in Tempe. There are limits to how much “fun” I want to have in one year, and I’m presiding over the Helsinki WSFS Business Meeting as well.

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