. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Nap Time!!!

Monday, July 31, 2006
Meanwhile

In this snippet, the Contra Costa Times successfully explains the situation in far fewer paragraphs.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/31/2006 04:27:00 PM #
Comments (1)
. . .
Hmm...

Let's do some math. But let's do it Chron style.
The Center for Studying Health System Change analyzed about 46,000 people in 12 communities. They discovered that communities with high numbers of uninsured and immigrant residents tended to have lower rates of emergency-room use, while those with low numbers of uninsured and immigrant residents tended to have higher rates. In doing so, they've killed the argument that denying hospital access to illegal immigrants will improve our pitiable health-care system.
Let's see. Because a number is smaller than some other number, subtracting it won't change anything. That makes sense.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/31/2006 03:01:00 PM #
Comments (1)
. . .
Subtle

Wah:
Consequently I was intrigued by the landmark debate highlighted in The Daily Californian-a subject affecting all major cities around the world. Indeed, this is a classic story. On the one hand, the land developers and builders (who are backed by financial resources) oppose any legislation hampering demolition (whether landmark or heritage building), while on the other hand, the citizens (who love their city) and the preservationists would like to see the landmarks and heritage buildings preserved. I hope the developers will realize that a city without landmarked and heritage buildings would be an anonymous city (where prices of real estate would be lower), as has been predicted by city planner Jane Jacobs (who has taught at UC Berkeley) in her book "The Death and Life of Great American Cities".
Not much spin going on here. Citizens who love their city? Not neighbors who just don't want their own neighbors to do stuff? Right.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/31/2006 01:52:00 AM #
Comments (8)
. . .
Failure

The Daily Cal reports on the final ruling, but, as usual, fails. The extent to which the decision condemns the Student Action folks is downplayed into a few paragraphs which suggest a technical issue, rather than the far more severe condemnation in the decision. And, of course, the only impact that would've had depended on its publicity, which the Daily Cal failed miserably at, again.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/31/2006 12:19:00 AM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Oh, wait

I guess I do have one more thing. Do you think SA will try to pay itself money for its attorneys?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/29/2006 05:28:00 PM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Election-In-Review

With the election essentially over, and no imminent flipping out, it's time for me to bitch about the election as a whole, and point out the gaping flaws in the election procedure as it stands. Each problem comes with a summary, an explanation of whose job it is, and why it will never be solved (because it's the ASUC).


1. University domination of ASUC elections

The university used its vast resources this year to push the RSF referendum. This included using university-maintained e-mail lists to send e-mails, with links to the election website, to the students most likely to vote for the referendum, encouraging them to do so. There is really nothing stopping the university from doing this next year, and they can just as easily support a particular candidate in future elections, and the ASUC will be powerless to stop it, since the university wouldn't technically be part of its beneficiary's campaign.

Dude whose job it is to solve: The ASUC president, mostly. Since the ASUC has no real sway over the university, if this problem was to be solved, it would have to be done through some kind of agreement between the ASUC and the university, which would probably come through the president.

Why it will never be solved: The university, as a matter of practicality, will only really push issues that it has worked with the Senate and executives on, since it can veto anything it wants to, and initiatives don't get done around campus. Thus, the Senate and executives have no reason to make their resume-boosting harder.


2. Gaping holes in the election bylaws

The election bylaws are far from complete. The first obvious example is the lack of any reference as to how referendums should be presented on the ballot (i.e. abstain option or not, what order should the choices be, etc.), despite detailed instructions for the candidate elections. This leads to problems such as majority-abstain elections. The other obvious example is the lack of a described punishment for an entire section of campaign violations (13.6), which Igor suggested occurred because senators simply forgot to put it in.

Dude whose job it is to solve: The ASUC Senate, since they write the bylaws.

Why it will never be solved: Because the Senate is lazy, and maintaining the rules isn't nearly as glamorous as handing out money. If someone gets it in their head to actually take care of it, this might be done.


3. Bribing voters

Voters get stuff. Is there really any meaning to improving voter turnout if you're doing it artificially by bringing folks to the polls because they want free stuff, rather than because they want a say in the ASUC?

Dude whose job it is to solve: The ASUC Senate.

Why it will never be solved: If you bring voters to the polls who aren't really informed, they'll just vote for whoever shouted the loudest. That's going to be the major parties, who control the ASUC Senate. They won't want to cut into their base.


4. Easy passage of governmental overhaul

An amendment restructuring the ASUC completely can pass with 30% of the vote. There is no burden on proponents to show support in the student body, they merely need to show a lack of opposition.

Dude whose job it is to solve: The ASUC Senate, and the voters (via Constitutional amendment, ironically enough).

Why it will never be solved: Since the Senate can control the wording, passing stupid propositions can be done simply by obscuring them from the vast majority of the voters. This makes their goals easier to achieve.


5. Treating the Judicial Council as a trial court

Currently, the Judicial Council rules are modeled, somewhat, after civil trial courts attached to real governments. I think this is inappropriate, considering its job. It doesn't send people to jail, or fine them, or whatnot. It resolves disputes about the rules internally, and the vast body of rules which protects people from government punishment of citizens seems misplaced when it comes to internal government remedies. (Note, this is more directed towards internal disputes such as the legitimacy of ballot questions and validity of the passage of votes than towards things like campaign violations and student group discrimination accusations, where such protections make sense)

Dude whose job it is to solve: The Judicial Council, and the ASUC senate, by changing the JRPs. (Potentially also changing some of the Constitution, so throw the voters in)

Why it will never be solved: Probably because most folks won't agree with me, and no one will want to stir the pot as the person who wants to "take away rights," regardless of how ridiculous that suggestion is in the context of government actors.


6. Punishment of perjury in elections violation cases

According to the last ruling, the Judicial Council found that it could not issue censures punishing candidates for perjury directly. I'm not entirely sure this is the correct interpretation, but if that's the case, then the bylaws need to be changed to allow this, unless we want candidates to lie their asses off whenever charged with a campaign violation.

Dude whose job it is to solve: The Senate.

Why it will never be solved: The Senate just doesn't like the Judicial Council. It stops them from doing whatever the hell they want. And since the major parties don't accuse each other of campaign violations, they wouldn't stand to benefit and could potentially suffer.


From Bobby Gregg:

7. NOBODY UPDATED THE GOD DAMN BY-LAWS THIS SEMESTER!!!!

How the HELL did ConReview forget to do this? Remember, during the Elections Council campaign rules seminar, they had to pass out Title IV and a Senate Bill that modified it, because the updates had not been incorporated into the By-Laws. I understand that this is partly the fault of Solicitor General Ben Brown, who apparently did absolutely nothing this year and was still paid over a thousand in stipend.


There are probably others folks can think of.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/29/2006 04:48:00 PM #
Comments (4)
. . .
Last word

This'll probably be the last thing I'll post on the decision, but Ben has the money quote:
...the fact that the appellants made an abrupt attempt to withdraw from this appeals process after claiming a lack of Council jurisdiction, and the fact that they tried to submit evidence that had been directly tampered with, which leads us to question the originality and veracity of other evidence submitted by the appellants, points to an effort by the Student Action Executive candidates to subvert the judicial process. We believe this to be a very serious offense, but given the circumstances these candidates cannot be punished. However, Mr. Vakil is still held in contempt of Council, and as a result of his deceitful actions during ASUC v. SAES, he can never again appear before the Council per JRP 4.15.3.2. We condemn Vakil's actions and, as the evidence shows to be the case, the Student Action Executive candidates' knowing acceptance of Vakil's dishonesty. We maintain that had the evidence brought forth in Ratto v. Vakil about party chalking tactics been presented in ASUC v. SAES, it is likely that the Judicial Council would have arrived at a more severe judgment. Regardless, we hereby re-instate Oren Gabriel, Vishal Gupta, Joyce Liou, and Jason Chu into the 2006 ASUC Elections. The Council will soon meet to consider certification of these election results and to administer the executive oaths of office.
The point here is that SA got off on a technicality. Now, I want to stress that I don't have any problem with folks getting off on technicalities. Technicalities in one situation can be grave injustices in others, and I'd rather not leave the discretion as to which is which in the hands of the Judicial Council. But I want to make this point because I don't want people to see SA as being vindicated by this decision. They lied. The tampered with evidence. They refused to follow the procedure until the court made them. Had Andy filed charges a little earlier as an appeal, or had the Judicial Council ruled on his other charges, they would still be disqualified.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/29/2006 04:37:00 PM #
Comments (2)
. . .
A few final thoughts

I have a few minor criticisms of the appeal decision. One is that it left a potential reversible error unreversed, though admittedly, no one argued for it to be fixed during the hearing. In the appeal decision, the Judicial Council bemoans the fact that they can't slap anyone down for perjury because it's not listed as a campaign violation. However, Andy, in the original case, argued that it was listed as a campaign violation, namely "Willfully violating a lawful order from the ASUC Judicial Council or Elections Council." In the decision for that case, it was written "As the outcome of the default judgment makes Mr. Ratto's additional requested remedies irrelevant, the merit of his charges regarding new campaign violations is not considered in this decision." It is now demonstrably false that those remedies were irrelevant, and perhaps they should have been considered.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/29/2006 03:41:00 PM #
Comments (1)
. . .
Okay, done

I finished reading the decision. The majority decision, from Sonya Banerjee, Aurora Masum-Javed, Stephanie Lam, and Carmel Levitan, finds that the issuance of a default judgment in the previous case was a violation of double jeopardy in spirit. All of the arguments from the brief and charge sheet were dismissed. I should mention that double jeopardy was never really an argument in the charge sheet or brief, and was only brought up at the hearing, so there were issues with accepting the argument, but it was eventually accepted, and that's what the Student Action folks won on. That said, I think the grounds are reasonable, and the decision is solid, suggesting that it the Student Action folks were twice-punished for the same case.

Notably, they only reverse the punishment, and stand by their conclusion that Suken was held in contempt, and that the Student Action folks were liable. This means that if they had ruled on the issue of "violating an order of the Judicial Council" in Andy Ratto's favor, the disqualifications would probably have stood (and, as we now see, it turns out not to be moot, though there were bad faith grounds that could've been argued). Also, they say that, if Suken Vakil had been found in contempt during the trial or during an appeal, they would've stood by the disqualification.

Amaris White and Marisa Cuevas dissented on double jeopardy, claiming that double jeopardy only is a problem if it's being issued for the same offense, rather than case, and since there were two offenses here, the ruling was fine.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/29/2006 03:16:00 PM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Heads up

The SA folks won their appeal. I haven't had a chance to read the decision yet.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/29/2006 02:56:00 PM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Friday, July 28, 2006
Suicide is called for

This and this. These are articles that come from the front page, gigantically lettered headline: "TOUR DE FRAUD?"

The reference is that some guy Americans care about failed a doping test in the Tour de France. But seriously: Tour de Fraud? Yes, we realize it combines a topic of the story with a word possibly related to it, but is that really all it takes to spit out a headline like this? Is there any deeper meaning to it?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/28/2006 03:54:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Unanimous!

I was playing around with the election program, and discovered yet another error in the now-dead Wozniak Grand Intervention Plan. The vote count for the External Vice President Race was reported as:

Jason Chu: 3717
Igor Tregub: 3498

This is incorrect. Quota for this race was 4062. Which means that after redistribution of all other votes, neither candidate has won. In order to complete the election, Igor's votes must be redistributed, giving results:

Jason Chu: 4062

And no one else. This is just to point out how meaningless the numbers you see are, as here, with the closest election, the numbers suggest that Jason ran unopposed.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/26/2006 05:41:00 PM #
Comments (4)
. . .
Oh, wait

The video is available. (Update: You can find it on the city website here)

Gordon Wozniak: "Lauren Car Shack..."

Wozniak thought (or at least said) that they were disqualified because of further details about the chalking, rather than because of Suken Vakil's comments.

Kriss Worthington gave a good speech. He explained that the City Council had no clue what they were talking about.

Laurie Capitelli had his commentary about kings and pawns, but I wasn't quite clear who it was directed at, or what his point was. Pawns should know how the king manipulating them is. Is this a shot at the students? At Wozzy?

Wozzy thought it was unfair to go through the process. He also accused the Judicial Council of saying "gee, it's okay to steal an election as long as you're friends of mine," which seems like a pretty irresponsible accusation.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/26/2006 02:58:00 PM #
Comments (3)
. . .
Oh, hey, more stuff

Thanks to Lauren, my news aggregator, The Contra Costa Times has more coverage of Gordon Wozniak's foolery of the tom variety. I did not see the actual action on the matter, and the recording of the meeting isn't up yet, but I can still point out Wozzy's idiocy.
"They're trying to steal an election on a legal technicality," he said. "How many people saw (the chalk marks)? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? Even if 2,000 people saw it and were somehow swayed by it, the second-place finisher still would have lost by 600 votes."
Ah, the mystical "they." Note how no mention of the closer races is made. (e.g. Igor) Not to mention the fact that this analysis completely fails to understand the Alternative Vote system the ASUC uses.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/26/2006 02:49:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
In more AlcoholEdu news

I got an AIM offering ten bucks to take the test for some student somewhere. I wonder if the people who stop by looking for AlcoholEdu shortcuts actually skim what it is they found.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/26/2006 02:34:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Mysticism!

Chris Page has come across a mystery of epic proportions, concerning chalk.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/26/2006 02:05:00 PM #
Comments (1)
. . .
Reconfiguration!

Since I'm no longer doing ten posts a day, I think my three-day frontpage should probably be extended. I'm putting it at seven days for now, since that's what it originally was, but if it's too long for folks, let me know.

Also, I'm going to mention that I actually got an IM from an incoming Cal student looking for answers to AlcoholEdu.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/26/2006 01:09:00 AM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Heh

I decided to half-listen to the public comment period at the Berkeley City Council today. Christian Pecaut is a dick. He's the carpetbagger running for mayor, and tried to do some campaigning, but looked like an idiot.

David Wasserman and Van Nguyen said essentially what was said in the letter in yesterday's Daily Cal. Nguyen also said that the parties themselves had taken a stand, which is news to me. Chris Cantor made an analogy to Mexico, and George Bush's recognition of the conservative dude. I dunno. I think he was just trying to bootstrap Bush hatred. Taylor Allbright sounded like a wide-eyed freshman, and complained about the city of Berkeley interfering with her business. Lauren Karasek said some stuff which sounded reasonable. Wozniak tried to say that she did in fact come in second, receiving the response "since the results aren't official, no one has come in second." Igor Tregub went over the errors. Jason Overman spoke, too, repeating the "leave it to us" point, though I think he possibly did say that the 2000 Florida election was a "private" election. He didn't name it, so maybe he was talking about something else.

Speaking in favor of Wozniak's resolution was... uh... um...

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/25/2006 07:36:00 PM #
Comments (4)
. . .
Monday, July 24, 2006
Letter Sprint!

It's been a while. Here we go!

Mickey Klein says some false stuff, some of which is inexcusable, since I know he knows how we feel.
Student Action is vigorously pursuing the rightful power given to them by the voters. Through all the semantic blustering, their opponents have one and only one goal: to overturn the clear will of the electorate.
Is it a rightful power to trample every aspect of the law in order to get into office? Does the power given to the law itself by the voters not matter? Our goal has been to see to it that the bylaws and constitution are followed. The "clear will of the electorate" is not considered meaningful in any of the ASUC's rules, and asserting its presence is nonsense in a representative body such as the ASUC. We do not work under the old "everyone in a building shout, and whoever shouts loudest wins" democratic system. We have one run by rules.

Carol Denney (ugh) bitches about how the group controlling People's Park is not democratic or representative. This makes perfect sense, though, since the university owns the fucking park. Would it be acceptable for a democratic, representative group to dictate Denney's life, or are we stuck with the undemocratic, unrepresentative concept of freedom?

Mike Kirchubel stumps for Prop 89, the "all the important people disagree with me, so let's get the government to fund my opinion" proposition.
Special interests, lobbyists, pay to play ... 64 percent of California's voters say that campaign contributions have had a negative effect on public policy decisions and 78 percent believe that the state government benefits special interests more than our citizens. Apparently, the other 22 percent have never read a newspaper.
Some of that 22 percent might stop to consider that special interests are made up of citizens, and talking about supporting one over the other is nonsense.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/24/2006 12:35:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Gored on

I dunno. A letter signed by incoming senators from CalSERVE, BCR, and SQUELCH! on Gordon Wozniak's acting as a dupe for Student Action says
With the wave of a pen, one Berkeley politician has potentially wiped out 40 years of the students' struggle for the protection of our First Amendment right to freedom of speech and press, while he is attacking the most autonomous student government in the United States.
and
Whatever the motives of this single city council member may be to involve himself in student elections, the larger impact of this resolution is that the future of the ASUC is up for grabs. This resolution might dictate whether students get the last word to decide what is best for us, or if that decision is left up to the administration or city.
Somehow, I feel that the power of the City Council is being vastly overestimated.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/24/2006 12:28:00 AM #
Comments (6)
. . .
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Boredcast

Thanks to Google Alert via Lauren, here's coverage in the Contra Costa Times of the amusingfullness in the ASUC. As you'd expect, the writer doesn't really know what he's talking about.
Four winning members of the powerful Student Action party, including the victorious presidential candidate, were disqualified in June after a student council ruled the party's president had lied about violating a ban on chalk signs within 100 feet of polling places.
Nobody has won yet. Also, the party's chair is not the party's 'president.'
The candidates were later reinstated by the outgoing president -- himself a Student Action member -- before he partially retracted the order to allow an appeal process.
He partially retracted the order because he was about to get smacked down hard by the Judicial Council, not to allow the appeal process. The new order got partially nullified by the Judicial Council, too.
"Everyone has these enormous fights over these things that are for really small stakes," said 21-year-old undergraduate Ben Narodick, who lost one of the disputed seats by about 600 votes.
Is this another one of those quasi-quotes?
Some UC Berkeley students have faulted the system rather than the candidates for the latest controversy, although second-year undergraduate Allie Taylor noted that aspiring office-seekers often rub out other candidates' chalk signs.

"People do things that are technically against the rules all the time," Taylor said. "If they're going to make people use chalk in the first place, maybe they shouldn't set up all these strict rules."
Uh... what? First of all, nobody is "making people use chalk." Most people would be very happy if everyone stopped. Second of all: "We shouldn't have rules, because people break them"?
"On the face of it, it just seems like a gross violation of justice," Wozniak said. "Why would you participate in an election if your vote doesn't matter?"
It's a good thing Gordon Wozniak is only looking at the face of it, because his own face would be redder than a beet if he realized what was behind the face of it. Why would you participate in a student government when it doesn't mind when government officials lie their ass off in front of the bodies tasked with determining if the rules are being followed?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/23/2006 01:12:00 PM #
Comments (2)
. . .
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

1.
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.

2.
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.

3.
ATTACHMENT A
2006 ASUC ELECTION RESULTS
What 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.

4.
Academic Vice President:
Joyce Liou-3,662 (STUDENT ACTION)
Andy Ratto-1,984 (BEARS UNITED)
John O'Connor-?766 (SQUELCH!)
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.

5.
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.

6.
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.

7.
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; and

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;
Ditto. Why not just submit the appeal brief as established fact?


False/misleading wordings

1.
In addition, support their appeal of the Judicial Council disqualification of the victorious Student Action candidates...
They're not victorious yet.

2.
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.

3.
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.

4.
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?"

5.
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.

6.
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.

7.
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.


Gumption
1.
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.

2.
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?

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/22/2006 10:56:00 PM #
Comments (10)
. . .
That other case

In case you forgot, a few weeks ago Ben went to a hearing to argue that the "bend over for the Graduate Assembly" referendum shouldn't have passed. The Judicial Council has issued what I believe was the obvious opinion: Yeah, Ben might have a point, but the law says that 30% of the vote is enough to pass a constitutional amendment if 60% of the vote is abstention. Therefore, the referendum passed.

More interesting are the Judicial Council's recommendations and broader thoughts.
The Judicial Council urges the Elections Council to take this into consideration in future elections – that including an explicit option for abstentions may not be the most accurate way to assess student opinion.
This is a real consideration, but considering that the form of the ballot for executive and senate races is pretty explicitly defined in the bylaws, I would contend that this is really the Senate's job, and it shouldn't be left to the discretion of the Elections Council. But good luck getting the Senate to do its job.
However, although we believe the "spirit of the law" may hold this interpretation, it is ultimately the duty of the legislators to assure that the true intent is clearly written in the exact wording of the Constitution. The Judicial Council does not believe it is our duty to interpret and ascertain a greater meaning that is contrary to what is directly written.
This is, in my opinion, absolutely correct. It is just so sad that the legislators in the ASUC are too incompetent to do their job. I don't think anyone actually expects the Senate to accomplish this.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/22/2006 10:55:00 AM #
Comments (1)
. . .
Friday, July 21, 2006
Excellent wording

Ahem
Not many disabled people chose to stand up in public and talk about their handicaps.
No comment.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/21/2006 06:13:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Thursday, July 20, 2006
The law of averages

The law of averages is that averages aren't very meaningful. For example:
A popular notion about bloggers is that they're pajama-wearing partisan ranters living in Mommy's basement. There they while away their underemployed time obsessing about the latest Connecticut Senate race poll, while fancying themselves a new type of journalist, independent of government's influence and free to make up facts.
Yes, we know that's how newspaper folk like to dream of bloggers. It makes them feel special. Thank God we aren't going to talk about popular notions of newspaper reporters...

The headline of the piece goes: "THE TRUTH ABOUT BLOGGING: Lots of us do it, and it's not political, according to study." This is a rather odd way to describe it. Blogging is not political for most people, sure. But then, most things aren't most things for most people. Using this standard, we don't talk (most of the time, we aren't talking), we don't know things (most things aren't known by most people), and we don't eat. In fact, I don't even think we inhale.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/20/2006 11:51:00 AM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Another blog

Calaholic has a blog, titled: "Yeah, I dunno know. Screw it. Let's go drink..." Despite the title, it is not Lauren Karasek's blog. I don't actually know who it is, though there are only so many people it could be.

Anyway, it has some interesting coverage of the hearing last Sunday. Or Saturday. Or both. I can confirm the commando sperm and necrophilia discussions did take place. The back of my chair never hit the ground, so I contend that I never actually fell over, but was merely taunting gravity with an "almost... maybe next time."

Sonya never made the announcement to take the drinking outside, but instead discretely suggested it to Lauren via proxy. Lauren was the one who made the announcement.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/19/2006 03:03:00 PM #
Comments (7)
. . .
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Humm

Let's see. You know, Jesse Arreguin (left) looks a lot more feminine than I had thought. Similarly, Anne Wagley seems more masculine than the name might suggest.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/18/2006 02:35:00 PM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Yuckle

What a mess has been kickstarted. There's some funny stuff going on at the ASUC wiki page. Currently, the link to this blog is described as "featuring ASUC coverage. Frequently critical of ASUC actions, most recently directed toward Student Action because of its role in an election dispute and ASUC Constitutional Crisis." I suppose that's technically accurate, though it suggests a great deal of wrangling is going on, which we can look at.

Apparently, Josh May and Donald are the ones putting up the good fight in trying to keep it under control, but you can check out the history page to see some of the funnier edits. People are apparently complaining because the blog links all go to folks like me, or Calstuff. Here's a tip: All you Student Action flunkies can start your own goddamned blogs so we can link them! Whining "all the links are to blogs that don't like us" when you don't bother to say anything in your defense is lame. Traveling back in time:

An older description of Beetle Beat was "Known for recent attacks on Student Action."

When the Student Actioneers stopped by for vandalism, they also deleted the CalSERVE link.

Under duties of the president, once listed was "To adjust and fine-tune election results and decisions of the Judicial Council in a manner considered politically amiable by the incumbent's party."

SQUELCH is described as a "minor political party" now, but used to be an "unpopular" one. Right.

Both Calstuff and Beetle Beat were described as "(affiliated with Squelch! party--anti-Student Action)." As a note for the ignorant, Beetle Beat is not affiliated with SQUELCH!. We just both happen to find the idiotic actions of the major parties to be... well... idiotic.

Back to duties of the president: "To override undesirable rulings issued by the student Judicial Council when such rulings impair the victorious functioning of the President's preferred party."

(Interesting sidenote: Blogger's spellcheck doesn't recognize "blog" as a word.)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/18/2006 01:29:00 PM #
Comments (7)
. . .
Monday, July 17, 2006
Ouch

This story, by Natalie Gaber, is corrected today in the Daily Cal, though somehow the corrections don't make it online.

But I'll just count for you, if you can't find the paper version: Five corrections and a clarification on a single story. Sweet.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/17/2006 05:00:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Oh, and before I forget

If you are interested in the ASUC having any form of autonomy, Student Action has sold you out. While they were willing to pay off DAAP with $15,000 of other people's money to preserve it, in the hearing they declared, without any qualification, that the ASUC is a state actor, simply because they thought it might help their argument.

Remember to throw this in their face any time they complain about University interference.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/17/2006 03:33:00 PM #
Comments (1)
. . .
Thoughts?

What do you all think of the blockquoting, rather than italicizing? The formatting comes out a bit weird in the html, so let me know if it shows up oddly in your browser.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/17/2006 03:56:00 AM #
Comments (1)
. . .
Oooh, I can see my house

Chris Page has a good op-ed criticizing Student Action for being... well... Student Action. My favorite note:
Up until a judge denied Student Action's request to freeze the operations of the Judicial Council last week, Student Action refused to respect and participate in the resolution process within the ASUC. It is only after they lost their court petition that the party suddenly became interested in working within the ASUC system.
It's worth noting that Student Action hasn't been willing to really stand up for themselves, except through anonymous commenters on Calstuff. One would think that, being such soldiers of justice for the student will, they'd be a little more willing to do so.

The news story gets a great picture, probably during one of the recesses. Oren looks in a lot less pain than he did during most of the hearing. I guess I should do the corrections:
The ASUC Judicial Council heard an appeal of its controversial decision to disqualify four Student Action executives from office this weekend. In the eight-hour hearing that ended at 3 a.m. Sunday, presidential candidate Oren Gabriel and executive vice president candidate Vishal Gupta argued that the disqualification ruling breached ASUC rules and violated party Chair Suken Vakil's due process rights.
Well, a lot of their argument claimed that the Judicial Council violated the Student Action Executive Slate's due process rights.
In an unusual move, two council members who were out of town flew in to hear the appeal case, although Councilmember Kate Feng was recused Saturday because of confidential "internal matters." Six of seven confirmed council members sat for the appeal.
That's pretty inaccurate. It was for a personal conflict of interest. The nature of this conflict was not public, but it was not "confidential 'internal matters'" by any stretch of the imagination.
"Please do not undermine the decision made by thousands of students ... by issuing a judgment unprocedurally against Student Action executives in (this) case," Gupta said.
Oh, the restraint it took to not object on relevance.
"I felt like (the defense) was just trying to muddle the water," [Oren Gabriel] said. "In terms of [Vishal Gupta] and I-we're very confident in our arguments."
After, all, they're lawyer-approved. But consider this interesting contrast:

In Vakil v. Ratto, Bret Manley tried to get all justices but Carmel Levitan recused, because they were present at the original hearing. In the appeal, the Student Actioneers claimed that Levitan should not have been at that hearing, because she was not present at the original hearing. Also, in the appeal, they tried to get all four justices who were at Vakil v. Ratto recused, because they were present at the Vakil v. Ratto hearing.

But it was the defense that muddled the waters.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/17/2006 03:37:00 AM #
Comments (4)
. . .
Thesis in error

Editorial: Berkeley protesters don't really matter anymore, so the feds shouldn't be watching them anymore. Yet strangely, the conclusion is:
But this is now. And in an era when protests with the most impetus on the Berkeley campus consist of naked kids with signs, the idea that student protesters would gain momentum with a violent agenda is severely lacking in perspective. That the government has collected this information and recorded these people as a "threat" reveals the danger to political discourse and those civil liberties afforded to every American by the Constitution.
I would think the more appropriate conclusion would be that this is a danger to the federal budget, since they're wasting our money. As the editorial stands, not only should the feds not deem harmless folks "threats," they shouldn't even find out if they're harmless first.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/17/2006 03:34:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Yay! Legitimate reporting!

Finally. Most newspapers ignore these obvious things, but a newspaper actually decided to report what should be known to readers.

Check out the first picture of Jeb Eddy, holding up his usual "I am a Republican and ashamed" sign. Captioned:
Jeb Eddy of Palo Alto holds up a sign protesting President Bush's visit to Stanford. (Editorial note: Jeb Eddy is actually a Democrat who poses as a Republican at several Bay Area events)
(Normally, his claims to Republicanship are reported unchallenged.)

(hat tip this guy)

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/16/2006 03:11:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Ugghhh...

UGGGGHHHHH. We finished at 3. We started sometime around 7:30, I'd say.

Nothing else to add, but if you have questions, feel free to ask.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/16/2006 04:24:00 AM #
Comments (5)
. . .
Friday, July 14, 2006
Wow, that's cynical

The Patriot has mentioned this, and I don't really care too much, but "Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau" is one cynical political writer.

Blah blah internet ad where Democrats use coffins in their whining about Iraq. I don't really have a problem with it, if their point is "Republicans make bad decisions, and get soldiers killed. LOOK!!!" But the coverage seems a bit telepathic:

Republicans, sensing an opportunity to rally their conservative base in the midterm election-year campaign, said they were outraged and called on Democrats to pull the ad, which was posted July 2 on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's Web site.

Oh, they "said" they were outraged after sensing a campaign opportunity. It's not possible that, perhaps, they were outraged, and spoke out.

I don't want to dismiss the cynical view, since I'm inclined to agree with it, often, but I don't consider it serious journalism to state that viewpoint as fact, as it requires some form of ESP to confirm. Instead, the journalist dudes should probably just tell us what happened, and let us do the telepathy.

While Republicans likely criticized the ad to help rally a conservative base that continues to support the president and the war...

"Likely," according to experts, such as "Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau," apparently.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/14/2006 04:32:00 PM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Monday, July 10, 2006
Preliminary news on "cry to the court"

Student Action's requests at county court have been denied, I hear, as they did not exhaust the internal processes of the ASUC. Ben should have more detail once he gets a chance.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/10/2006 03:41:00 PM #
Comments (4)
. . .
Now, for some fun

With my case resolved, I think it's time to share some of the more... exceptional e-mails that were exchanged, so that the public has a more complete view of how exactly Student Action behaves.

This is long, so I'm going to do what passes for a cut on my template. Also, blockquotes are necessary to catch italicized emphasis. I might shift over to blockquoting overall, so let me know what you think. If you want the short version, scroll down to the TEMPER TANTRUM notice. Otherwise, read it in sittings.

Click Here!



Shortly after Executive Order #7, in which Manuel Buenrostro (or Manny Buenrostro, for Googling purposes) declared his party the victor and said nobody could do anything about it, and the subsequent executive orders by Oren Gabriel, Ben filed charge sheets against them. The body of the e-mail was:

To Whom It May Concern -

The following two charge sheets have been attached in response to orders made by President Buenrostro and Senator Gabriel. Documents refenced in these charge sheets have also been attached.

Thanks,

- BN


Outgoing ASUC senator and "Future American Senator" David Kim responded, in senatorial form:

Dude just accept your obvious loss. The J-Council doesn't exist for one to easily manipulate/solely influence from behind.


Apparently, it exists to be unconstitutionally overriden. Note, of course, that it wouldn't be getting "solely influence"d if Student Action would actually show up to the god damned hearings. Here, the "obvious loss" appears to be "having been outmaneuvered through a constitutional loophole."

After Executive Order #8 was filed, I filed a charge sheet against it. In response, Manny wrote:

I suggest that the Judicial Council and I mean all of its members consult with Mark Himmelstein before making any decisions on this EO. It has been done with much consultation, solves the confusion that EO#7 might have caused and provides for the ASUC to properly function during the time being while allowing the Judicial Process to continue. Issuing a preliminary injunction will continue to hurt the ASUC over the summer as we all know that there are many functions that must be taken care of. I can no longer fulfill most of these functions since I am in LA.

Please call me if you have any questions about this and I will make myself available as much as possible.


"As much as possible" sure didn't include answering questions in an affidavit. Or appointing a spokesperson. Or filing a brief. I like how he suggested that EO#7 caused confusion. No, Manny, we all understood it perfectly. It just happened to be blatantly illegal.

Anyway, after subpoenas were issued, and Sonya was trying to find out Manny's status (because he wouldn't respond to me when I asked), he wrote:

Sonya,

This is no surprise as I have mentioned this several times. Neither me nor Anil can fulfill the duties of president at this point. That is why EO#8 was completely legal and recommended by Mark Himmelstein. I recommend that you do your duty of protecting the ASUC and lift the injunction so that the ASUC can function properly until this mess is resolved.

At this point you are not just hurting SA but hurting the ASUC's ability to function and creating a tuff situation for those staff members of the ASUC-Auxiliary that work so hard for us. Please consult with Nad, Mark, and Jan to get a better take on this situation.

You are causing harm to the asuc with your injunction.


Protecting the ASUC is actually the President's job, not the Judicial Council's. The Judicial Council's job is to judge compliance with the ASUC's rules. Now, if Student Action was really worried about protecting the ASUC, you might wonder why they're suing it, and refusing to talk to other candidates in order to come to compromises. I'm not wondering that, though. (Mark Himelstein's name is also misspelled)

After sending the questions to Manny, as well as a witness list, he wrote:

Please resend all questions with the deadline. I dont have much time so but will try to answer ASAP.


One has to wonder, of course, why he'd need a deadline to answer ASAP. Sonya set a deadline, and Manny missed it. She also set a deadline for the rest of the Student Action candidates, who also missed it.

Somewhere around here, Oren's lawyers contacted the Judicial Council about their county court case.

Then, after the deadline for briefs (which were never submitted), Oren Gabriel wrote:

To Whom It May Concern:

Please be advised that you will receive the affidavits of the current ASUC Executive Officers by midnight tonight. Any delay is the result of the affidavit requests being sent out over the 4th of July weekend.

Best,
Oren Gabriel

--
Oren Gabriel
President, Associated Students of the University of California
211 Eshleman Hall
Berkeley, California 94720-4500


I've included the signature. Note Oren's title. Note also that the affidavits are described as those of the current executive officers. This is while both EO#7 and EO#8 have been stayed, the election results haven't been certified, and Student Action has been disqualified.

Interestingly, despite the fact that they were so urgently needed to run the ASUC, the executives apparently didn't have a whole lot of time over the 4th of July weekend immediately following EO#8.

Then the affidavits were sent. Oren identifies himself at the end of his as

Oren Gabriel
ASUC President 06-07


Now, this is perjury, but I decided I wouldn't push the issue beyond pointing it out to the Judicial Council. I kind of wanted to avoid making things even messier than they already are by filing another "lawful order of the Judicial Council" case, especially since it would delay things even further.

In response to my question about what efforts he had made to contact Lauren Karasek:

In response to question three, I have not been in conversations with any of the other contenders for the position of ASUC President. Please note that I was elected to this office by in excess of 2,500 votes.


Well then. I guess he doesn't need to talk to anyone, does he?

And now we get to the really funny.

**TEMPER TANTRUM AHEAD***

Manny wrote to Sonya Banerjee, Judicial Council (acting?) chair, Thursday night:

Feel free to share this with anyone, I am moving on and am happy with everything I've done. There are those people that I might disagree with but that I still respect because they stand for something.

Then there are those that don't stand for anything except their own power and sense of importance. You my friend are the most power hungry person I have ever met and should be ashamed about the harm that you have brought upon the ASUC and the student body.

I love the UC Berkeley campus and I love the ASUC. Please look outside of your bubble and learn how your actions affect the whole association. You take actions quickly when your power is challenged but are lazy when a matter affects the whole association (your quick response to EO#7 proves this and this point alone makes me happy to have issued it).

Keep feeling important and pretending that you are powerful in your bubble if that is what makes you happy, but you should be ashamed.


I then suffered a serious head injury as I fell out of my chair laughing. For those of you curious as to what Manny is doing now, he's teaching 3rd graders. Somehow, I think he'll fit right in with them. (I hope he doesn't teach grammar)

Here is an appropriate time to offer praise to Sonya for her professionalism through this whole mess. The Judicial Council members could have said "fuck it" to their duties to the ASUC, and I wouldn't really blame them, since I have heard rumors that ASUC attorney Mark Himelstein will not be defending the Judicial Council members who behaved as they were bound to by the ASUC Constitution and derivative regulations. Apparently, he advised them to not follow the rules of the ASUC in order to give him a stronger case against Oren's suit, and the Judicial Council declined to violate their rules for that purpose. Seeing as how their actions were those of the ASUC, it seems that Himelstein needs to refuse to represent the ASUC as a whole for refusing to take his advice, rather than individual office holders who have no such discretion under the ASUC's rules.

Sonya's response to Manny's temper tantrum showed the same professionalism:

Dear Manuel,

Thank you for your correspondence. I just wanted to remind you that if you are not going to appear before the Council for Saturday's EO hearing, and if you do not designate someone to act as your representative, the Council will interpret such actions as a plea of no contest as per JRP 4.10.1.1.2.

Take care,

Sonya Banerjee


Somehow, I can feel some sarcasm dripping off of that "Thank you." Anyway, Manny finished up with a slightly less childish, though just as idiotic, notice:

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to inform members of the Judicial Council and the student body that I cannot participate in any challenge to my Executive Order #8 because the Judicial Council is acting outside its legal authority and to the great injury of the Association. While I have attempted to work with members of the Council to resolve the current situation, I no longer believe this possible. My responsibility to the Association requires that I no longer support or give credibility to members of the Judicial Council in their attempts to subvert the Association.

Almost six weeks ago, the ASUC Elections Council released the results of the Spring 2006 ASUC elections. Under the ASUC By-Laws, the Judicial Council is required to certify the election results. Instead of doing so, four members of the Judicial Council waited 37 days after the election ended to hear charges seeking to overturn an earlier, final elections decision of an eight-member Council, despite the fact that the Council had already denied an appeal of that decision. The four members retroactively disqualified four of the winning executive candidates. They held their meeting illegally, without having the proper number of members present. Moreover, the process by which they reached their decision violated the ASUC Constitution, the ASUC By-Laws, and the Council's own Judicial Rules of Procedure. These egregious violations, which are too numerous to detail at length here, are fully explained in a letter I sent out several days ago.

Working with the ASUC's legal counsel, Mark Himelstein, I attempted to convince the Assistant Chair of the ASUC Judicial Council to rectify the illegal actions taken by her and other members of the Council. As the new ASUC Executives officially started their terms on the first day of the summer session, I believed it imperative to have leadership to keep the Association functioning. Out of this desire and at the advice of Mr. Himelstein I issued Executive Order #8, which temporarily allowed the newly elected leadership of the ASUC to assume office until the situation could be resolved in the proper manner. I have been surprised by the Assistant Chair's failure to consult with Mark Himelstein before taking actions on Executive Order #8, despite requests that she do so.

I have since been advised that the Assistant Chair of the Judicial Council is bent on continuing her illegal course of conduct. As part of this conduct, members of the Judicial Council have agreed to hear a challenge to Executive Order #8.

I believe that my participation in a challenge to Executive Order #8 can only give legitimacy to the illegal actions of four students who have deprived the student body of their properly elected leadership in direct violation of the ASUC Constitution and By-Laws. Because of the members' continuing illegal actions and the fact that order overturning Executive Order #8 would be illegal, I regret to inform the Judicial Council and the student body that I simply cannot participate in any challenge to Executive Order #8.


Sincerely,

Manuel Buenrostro
ASUC President, 2005 – 2006


Simon mentions some... oddities in the piece, including the lack of reference to EO#7. At this point, I decided to pretend to be one of those public figures who wants everybody to get along, and responded to the same gigantic e-mail list:

To Whom It May Concern:

The credibility and legitimacy of the Judicial Council is established not by the personal recognition of the President of the Association, but by the Constitution of the Association. Questions of compliance with the ASUC Bylaws and the ASUC Constitution are resolved neither by the President or by counsel, but by the Judicial Council. Compliance with the Judicial Rules of Procedure, by which the Judicial Council is bound, is ensured by Senate approval of the JRPs, and by the ability of the Senate to remove Judicial Council members "for malfeasance or dereliction of duty," and is not subject to the judgment of the President or counsel. In general, the President has no authority to declare the actions of the Judicial Council "illegal."

I assume that the Judicial Council will continue to display the professionalism it has displayed thus far and proceed according to the rules and regulations that guide the ASUC, and regard Manuel Buenrostro's "statement on EO#8" as a plea of "no contest" in accordance with JRP 4.10.1.1.2, meaning that Mr. Buenrostro "entrusts the Judicial Council to make a fair judgment." Unless otherwise ordered by the Judicial Council, I will be present at the hearing still scheduled for this Saturday to present the case for overturning Executive Order #8. I will do my best to present the opinions of the Student Action candidates through affidavits the Judicial Council has received. I encourage those candidates to show up in person, so that perhaps a defense can be offered through witness testimony despite the lack of a defense spokesperson. Further, their presence will put both sides of the election dispute in the same room, which may, hopefully, serve as a first step towards resolving ASUC's stasis fairly and constitutionally, rather than through partisan executive decree.

I share Igor Tregub's feelings on the matter: "I will hold myself to the high standard that is befitting of the Judicial Council and the Association, and this is irrespective of how J-Council or anyone chooses to proceed with this case." I am disappointed that Mr. Buenrostro has chosen to abandon such standards, but I wish to remind all parties that the ASUC functions only through communication, and respectful treatment of the apparatus through which that communication occurs. These problems are not resolved through external lawsuits, adversarial hearings, and unilateral decrees, but through cooperation between students who have diverse and often contradicting views yet share enough concern for their fellow students to make the ASUC work.


That was tough to type with a straight face, by the way. Sonya then responded as well, which does a pretty good job of destroying Manny's claims:

Dear Manuel,

I would like to clarify a number of points which you addressed in your email.

First, I have not received the letter you cite having sent out several days ago.

According to the ASUC By-Laws the Judicial Council must certify elections results for them to become official (Title IV Article16.1.4). The Council is not mandated by ASUC law to certify results at any particular time, to the contrary we are mandated to wait until all pending litigation is resolved before we certify the validity of the election. We have certified the results for the RSF referendum as well as for the Student Advocate race. As senators begin their terms at the start of fall semester, the certification of those results at this time is unnecessary.

The case that was heard, Ratto v. Vakil, was a separate case regarding the perjury of the designated agent representing the Student Action Execs during the hearing ASUC v. Student Action Executive Slate.

The meeting in which the Council deliberated the hearing Ratto v. Vakil was not held illegally. We entered deliberations shortly after the hearing as is our custom, with 4 out of 7 current Justices present – a majority of Justices - which is the required quorum for such meetings (Judicial Rules of Procedure Article 6 Section 1).

I would further like to explain that my role as the Assistant Chair, and now as the Chair, is not to tell the other Council members what to do. While Mr. Himelstein's advice and opinions regarding the external litigation initiated by your associates are valued by the Council, we are not obligated to implement his advice to better our position against their legal action. We are obligated to uphold the ASUC Constitution, the By-laws, and the Judicial Rules of Procedure, which specifically obligate us to review the actions of ASUC officials and determine their legality.

When the Council accepted the charges filed by Justin Azadivar regarding EO # 8 we did so in accordance with ASUC law. The Judicial Rules of Procedure as well as the Constitution guarantees every student the right to petition the ASUC for redress of grievance and it is the function of this Council to review such claims and issue remedies as may be necessary.

Again, I would like to remind you that your absence, and the absence of a designated representative to speak on your behalf, at the hearing tomorrow will be construed as a plea of no contest (JRP 4.10.1.1.2).


Take care,

Sonya Banerjee


And that leads us to the hearing, and then today's decision (which I was waiting for to share this stuff). I just thought I'd put all these things in a nice location so that people can look with confidence upon the behavior of Student Action.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/10/2006 01:24:00 AM #
Comments (5)
. . .
Boooo!

Aww, come on, Alice. Coverage of Ben's suit from Friday.

This is the first year the elections ballot included an abstention option alongside the usual "yes" and "no" options.

Leslieann Cachola (or "Leslie Ann Cachola," according to the Daily Cal), the consultant the ASUC Senate had to hire because it fucked up as usual, presented an old (paper) ballot from back when she was Elections Assistant Chair where an abstention option was included, I think.

Amazingly, Attorney General Nathan Royer doesn't get any of his awesome, profound, and simple commentary published, despite the fact that doing so could easily have explained the entire issue of "letter" vs. "spirit" of the law.

What I'll add to the story is a description of how Judicial Council hearings should work. Lauren and I were there to watch, Ben was the plaintiff, Lesliann spoke for the defense, and Nathan was a witness for no particular side. Ben, Lesliann, and Nathan all tried to give the Judicial Council as much information as they could. Afterwards, the five of us went to the Bear's Lair together.

Contrast this with Jay Stagi's "You aren't enough of a whore" commentary, or Student Action's "LALALA if we ignore the Judicial Council or threaten it with lawsuits, it will go away" approach. Treating each other with respect? Being friendly to each other? Working together? Yeah, too much to ask, I guess.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/10/2006 12:52:00 AM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Executive Order #8 Resolved

Update: Actually, I do have criticism of the decision. Lauren's name is misspelled. As always, if you didn't get a copy of the decision and want it, it's here. Calstuff covers it here.

The Judicial Council has issued a decision in my case against Manny's Executive Order #8. Essentially, the Judicial Council concluded that most of the stuff the executives wanted to do was not "urgent and necessary," with the exception of signing checks over $1000. The punchline is:

Therefore, we hereby lift the injunction imposed on Executive Order 8 entitled "Azadivar v. Buenrostro PI." And, we hereby strike part of clause twelve so that only an acting President, Oren Gabriel, is appointed to this position to carry out the actions that are urgent and necessary for the functioning of the ASUC. The amended clause hereby states:

"So ordered: The following appointment be made immediately; Oren Gabriel as acting President to carry on the daily business of the ASUC only, and for no other purpose, until the elections results are certified in the proper manner."

...

We also are directing Oren Gabriel to limit his actions, regarding "daily business," to solely those that are urgent and necessary for the functioning of the Association, as described in his affidavit under "Financial Duties":

"The ASUC President or Executive Vice President must approve all ASUC Auxiliary checks and expenses. They must physically sign every expense above $1,000. Without these officials in place, the ability of the ASUC auxiliary to do business is significantly impaired. The ASUC is a 20 million dollar association that employs numerous non-student full time workers. In order for these workers to be paid there needs to be an ASUC President or Executive Vice President to sign their pay checks."

Moreover, as EO 8 is now effective in its amended version, Executive Order 7, also issued by President Manuel Buenrostro, and Executive Orders 1 and 2 that were subsequently issued by Oren Gabriel, are now void as per the second order contained within EO 8.


The decision is good, and if followed, I would be happy. I don't expect it to be followed, just because Student Action doesn't follow rules it doesn't like.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/10/2006 12:18:00 AM #
Comments (4)
. . .
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Oh, right, the hearing

I went to Ben Narodick's hearing in the Judicial Council against the GA referendum today. Blah blah stuff stuff. Attorney General Nathan Royer stole the show with his commentary.

His fundamental point was the same as mine: If you go by the letter of the law, the Elections Council acted properly, and Ben doesn't have a case. If you go by the spirit of the law, Ben is absolutely right that the GA referendum did not pass.

Personally, I'm a letter-of-the-law guy, which is why I think Ben should lose the case. I think nebulous concepts such as "spirit of the law" put the Judicial Council in a position with too much power, even when it's clear-cut, like in this case.

Nathan admitted that the Senate and GA shoved the GA referendum through without enough time for Nathan to properly demand an appropriate question. I think he admitted that the question, as written, was inadequate.

In some sense, I'm to blame for Ben's weaker case. Because my case was kind of haphazard (it was my first case), the question of bias was already resolved before the election. Had I known about how Nathan had been pressured, that case might have gone differently.

Ben's suggested remedy is a revote in the fall without the "abstain" option. There are significant Constitutional problems with this, but Ben's case basically asserted that "a vote to abstain" and "not voting" are different, and should be counted seperately. In particular, "a vote to abstain" should increase the total number of votes to pass the constitutional amendment by .6 of a vote, while a "non-vote" wouldn't affect it. Again, this is probably the spirit of the law, but it doesn't follow the letter.

Nathan Royer quotes:

"Ben is one of the three intelligent people in the ASUC."

blah blah spirit of the law- "although it is rarely upheld in this Association..."

In excusing his approval, we see that GA threats and bullying has affected the willingness of the Attorney General to do his job. His response to the ridiculously vague ballot question:

"I'm not happy about this [the referendum as presented to him], but I'm not going to be demonized for 'disenfranchising students' by shooting this down."

I can absolutely sympathize with Nathan. The GA is like a childish harpy that starts screeching whenever things don't go its way, and the Senate usually plays along. I suppose the whiners should be proud that they have intimidated officials into not doing their jobs.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/08/2006 12:29:00 AM #
Comments (6)
. . .
Friday, July 07, 2006
Waaa

Manuel Buenrostro has chosen not to participate in the Judicial Council hearing concerning the challenge to Executive Order #8. He doesn't want to give it "credibility." It is somewhat saddening, then, that it is not up to him to give the Judicial Council credibility, but rather up to the Constitution. This may avert the mass-murder of trees I plan on perpetrating in the next 24 hours, but it may not.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/07/2006 01:16:00 PM #
Comments (1)
. . .
Ugh again

Blah. Just to let you know, I discouraged Suzanne La Barre from running this story, and the reason was that I knew she didn't know enough of what she was talking about. It shows.

Cal students contribute monthly fees to ASUC, which is charged with allocating funding to student groups.

We contribute semesterly fees.

Student Action is the major party, followed by CalSERVE and the Defend Affirmative Action Party, neither of which ran an executive slate this year, then SQUELCH!.

CalSERVE is a major party and doesn't belong on the same level as DAAP. SQUELCH! perhaps belongs around the same level as DAAP, but certainly not below it in terms of majorness. DAAP ran a partial executive slate this year.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/07/2006 10:45:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Teaser

After my hearing is resolved, there will be some exceptionally funny correspondence to share with you all.

For now, though, let me say this: I dislike dealing with children of any age.

I've requested a default judgment, because I no longer think anything is going to be gained from the hearing, considering the way Student Action has approached it. I didn't think it was possible, but I have discovered that I had overestimated Student Action's willingness to resolve this cleanly. Unfortunately, I don't think the Judicial Council will rule on the motion before the date of the hearing. As a result, deforestation will ensue.

This means there'll be a Copy Central Party, probably Saturday morning. Bring your friends! Bring your projects that need copying!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/07/2006 12:20:00 AM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Thursday, July 06, 2006
And so the show begins

I have been informed by the Judicial Council that Oren Gabriel is seeking a temporary restraining order and an injunction against the ASUC Judicial Council members in court tomorrow.

Update: A continuance has moved the date from Friday to Monday. Notable, this involved communication between Rick Coffin of the law firm SA was using (Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp) and Mark Himelstein, the ASUC's attorney. This suggests that Himelstein is getting into this, hopefully on the ASUC's side, though that's not clear.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/06/2006 10:26:00 AM #
Comments (9)
. . .
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Bring in the hits!

A new semester is fast-approaching, which means that people start to desperately need answers to AlcoholEdu. Google has spoken.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/04/2006 09:34:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Donations requested

So, who wants to donate to the copy fund? I've got what I think will turn out to be hundreds of pages worth of evidence to copy, since I need ten copies of each page. Heck, it might even reach $10! I don't have that kind of money to spare! And folders! Where am I going to get funds for folders?

Hey, all you folks who claim to appreciate what I'm doing, how about some tangible gratitude? I haven't been offered a single beer!

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/04/2006 01:24:00 AM #
Comments (6)
. . .
Monday, July 03, 2006
Ooooooooh

I believe this calls for a knuckle-crack.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/03/2006 07:49:00 PM #
Comments (2)
. . .
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Blah^4

My case against EO#8 has been accepted, and will be heard July 8th, at high noon. A preliminary injunction staying EO#8 has also been issued.

I haven't heard anything about Ben's cases against the other three EOs. Since EO#8 has been stayed, those other three are still in question.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/01/2006 02:24:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .
Blah blah blah

Finally, Narodick v. ECC, the thingie about the "Hand power over to the GA for no reason" referendum, will be heard Friday, July 7, at 8 pm in the Senate Chambers.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 7/01/2006 02:14:00 PM #
Comments (0)
. . .


. . .