Saturday, July 22, 2006
Can a city lie?
Though we were planning on sitting on this for a little while, for whatever reason, Ben has spilled the beans about the latest Student Action effort. This time, they're running crying to the Berkeley City Council.
In some sense, asking for a meaningless resolution from the City Council practically admits defeat. Student Action figured, "It's time for helpless flailing, and we know just the place." This strikes me as odd, by the way, since I actually expect Student Action to end up with the offices when all is said (though nothing will be done). But there are some oddities to consider with this.
First, if the city recognizes executives who do not have power in the ASUC, one has to wonder what will happen with any future negotiations between Berkeley and the ASUC.
Second, since lawsuits are flying around now, Berkeley might want to be careful about passing a resolution filled with false and potentially libellous language.
Finally, there's no doubt in my mind that Gordon Wozniak has no fucking clue what this is about. He had a staffer blabber in his ear, and he said "Yeah, sure, whatever" without bothering to actually check on things. Neither Wozniak, nor the city council, nor the Daily Planet have any clue what the hell they're talking about when it comes to the ASUC.
The resolution is here. I'm going to go right into the errors.
Blatant and obvious errors
The ASUC Judicial Council initially acquitted the four Student Action Executives of potential minor violations of the election code with regard to their names chalked on the sidewalk within 100 feet of a polling place.Um, no. Actually, they were found guilty of those violations, and issued three censures.
In an appeal of this decision, the plaintiff argued that the Student Action Chair committed perjury during the original hearing.Nope, it wasn't an appeal.
ATTACHMENT AWhat is given is a vote count that is spit out on the tail end of an elections program. This is not representative of the election results, beyond who ends up on top. These numbers don't take into account the details of the Single Transferable Vote. You'll note that those candidates who were eliminated before the leader reached quota aren't listed at all. The numbers, in any case, are pretty meaningless.
2006 ASUC ELECTION RESULTS
Academic Vice President:This isn't even an accurate transcription of the meaningless numbers, as it swaps Andy and John, which is important since Andy not being in a position to win is relevant to the libel that's being put forward.
Joyce Liou-3,662 (STUDENT ACTION)
Andy Ratto-1,984 (BEARS UNITED)
John O'Connor-?766 (SQUELCH!)
WHEREAS, the ASUC Judicial Council initially acquitted the four Executives for a potential minor campaign violation and later illegally revisited this closed case in which it had already rejected appeals;Well, they weren't initially acquitted (see 1), the concept of "closed cases" isn't really recognized by the Judicial Council, and, in any case, the legality of revisiting such a case has not been determined yet.
WHEREAS, the Judicial Council determined the Student Action Party Chair committed perjury, yet no official record of this alleged perjury statement exists; the Party Chair was compelled to be witness against himself; and the Party Chair acted as an advocate, not as a witness, as thus cannot be charged with perjury;The Judicial Council held Suken Vakil in contempt, and he was never 'charged' with perjury by the Judicial Council. These are all issues that are in dispute, and the assertions by the resolution make determinations of law that are the realm of the Judicial Council, and thus are false.
WHEREAS, the Judicial Council wrongly disqualified the four Student Action Executives for several other reasons, namely: the candidates cannot be punished for the Party Chair's alleged perjury; a contempt of council judgment was not sought by the plaintiff; disqualification as a remedy violates the requirements that all election dispute remedies be outlined in the ASUC bylaws; andDitto. Why not just submit the appeal brief as established fact?
WHEREAS, the Judicial Council acted outside its authority by using its power to certify elections in order to hear elections violations; the council lacks power to disqualify the candidates because they were not named parties in the appeal case; and the council lacked quorum when hearing the appeal;
In addition, support their appeal of the Judicial Council disqualification of the victorious Student Action candidates... They're not victorious yet.
There have been several suits and appeals attempting to prevent the victorious candidates from taking office.Actually, those suits were to prevent the candidates from taking office because they weren't victorious.
There is a considerable amount of work that the ASUC Executives need to do during the summer to prepare for the academic year and effectively fulfill their constitutional mandates.Not only is this matter in dispute, but when it came time to defend this claim in front of the Judicial Council, Student Action refused to.
It is important for the City Council to send a letter to the Chancellor and other Administration officials so that they are aware of our concerns.Um... right. I'm sure they're up every night wondering "but what does the City Council think?"
On May 24, 2006, the ASUC Elections Council released the 2006 ASUC election results in which the four Student Action candidates for executive offices - Oren Gabriel, Vishal Gupta, Jason Chu, and Joyce Liou - clearly won.Nobody "wins" anything until elections are certified. They clearly had the most votes.
Based on this undocumented claim, the ASUC Judicial Council overturned its initial decision and disqualified the Student Action Executive Slate from the election.The claim was documented by witnesses and reporting. It just wasn't documented in the particular way that Student Action has been demanding.
FISCAL IMPACTS: None.If Berkeley recognizes a student government that isn't actually Berkeley's student government, then their ability to negotiate with it in all matters, including those that have fiscal impacts, is compromised.
Potentially libellous speculation
...request that the City Manager write letters... protesting this attempt to win in the 'courts' what was lost at the ballot box.The attempts to get Student Action disqualified were led by Attorney General Nathan Royer (not running for office or trying to 'win' anything) and Andy Ratto (a graduating senior not in a position to win regardless). Ben Narodick, who actually is in a position to win if the disqualification holds up, advised Andy against that suit. And my conversations with Ben and Lauren have suggested that they were never interested in winning, but instead in protesting Student Action's actions, e.g. Executive Order 7, declaring Student Action the winner.
This decision undermines the will of the student body and the democratic principles on which the ASUC was established.This is coming from a member of an external body who is declaring the democratic processes by which the ASUC governs itself void.
Since the academic year starts in August, it is important that the duly elected ASUC executive officers are in place at the beginning of the academic year.If it's important that the "duly elected" dudes be in office, why is Wozniak trying to subvert the process by which executives get duly elected?
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