Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Last week, and all that
As I mentioned, (correctly, apparently) the ASUC Senate did not appoint a Solicitor General last week, which meant no business for them. They rightly decided that appointing the EVP to the position was silly. They've nominated Noah Johnson for this week, who I know nothing about.
Unlike last year, the ASUC Senate has decided that approval of the minutes is not business, and could occur.
For a week with no business, though, there was a lot of interesting stuff.
Reporting for the Attorney General/Solicitor General Selection Committee, Mr. Jackson said the Committee would like to submit Noah Johnson for the appointment of Solicitor General.Um, Roxanne Winston, you know, they haven't interviewed anybody, including folks who applied weeks earlier.
Ms. Winston said she thought there were several nominations. She asked how the Committee decided on this person without having the opportunity to interview applicants.
Vishal reported that the planning dudes for the 120th anniversary ASUC spending blowout (or whatever it was called) decided to just set student ticket prices at $30 for 120 students, obviating the need for the bills from last week to subsidize them. They were also first come, first served. Those bills were sent to multiple committees, and while Finance killed it, ConReview passed it. Taylor Allbright and Vishal Gupta agreed that if one committee killed it, it was dead. Taylor was overruled, though, in what I think was a mistake. (Bills are sent to the committees to approve different parts of them. If the Finance Committee does not approve an expenditure, it can't be put on the consent calendar just because ConReview approved the procedural language. Well, I guess it can but it shouldn't be. After all, bills can be revived even if killed, so it's not like the Senate loses the ability to vote on it. Strangely, Gabe Weiner argued the exact opposite, and I didn't find it convincing at all:
But the By-laws do state a fundamental principle of any committee system, that if a bill was passed out of committee, it was reported to the Senate. So the idea was that just because one of the two committees a bill was referred to failed the bill, that therefore it would not go to the Senate, was a little bit absurd, and was outrageous to the principles of multiple committees considering the same bill. Aside from that, something not in the By-laws, but a good principle, would be to have a system where a bill referred to Fi-Comm and Con-Review would have Fi-Comm consider the financial portion of the bill and Con-Review consider the constitutional or procedural implications of the bill. To say that if Fi-Comm would to fail a bill based on financial issues, and then have Con-Review pass it, based on constitutional issues, that the Senate would not even consider the bill, made no sense. He asked what gave a committee that kind of veto power that it didn't have. It didn't work that way with principles of committees. So just for the procedural purpose, they should overrule the Chair.If it were two seperate bills, for instance, the passage of one in one committee wouldn't demand passage of the other in the other committee. And if both bills were necessary for a goal, then failure of one meant failure of the goal. The fact that the bills are combined doesn't seem to change that at all, and there is far less compelling reason to give a committee the power to overrule another in killing a bill. More ridiculously, had FiComm amended the bill to remove the money, it would be reported out as a bill with no money. Killing the bill, though, makes the money included. So under the interpretation of the Senate, killing the bill would be a less severe blow to the bill than amending it. Scott Silver makes a similar, odd, argument:
It wasn't right if the bill wasn't passed out of committee. The logic didn't make sense to not come to the floor if it failed in one committee, and he would ask why that was more powerful than being passed by another committee.Would he ask why the passing committee was more powerful than the committee killing it?) It was also, I believe, in violation of the By-Laws, as there is no committee right to have a bill considered by the Senate, only one to have it not considered by killing it. I don't know why the Senate didn't just decide to revive the bill, rather than trying to argue that a bill sent to multiple committees need only be passed out of one of them (as it did).
On Peace not Prejudice Week:
Mr. Shams asked if they were still looking for Coalition members. Ms. Hussain said they definitely were. They've been trying e-mailing back and forth with different organizations. Some were faster to respond than others, but they were open to all organizations on campus regardless of culture, faith, religion, etc.But not Republicans, apparently.
Do folks find anything disturbing about this from Nad?
Mr. Permaul said he wanted to circle 'round for a moment and remind the Senate that the commercial development of Lower Sproul was a feature that came out of the preliminary planning process last year, with student focus groups, for the development of Sproul. It followed the same pattern that students used to develop the Recreational Sports Facility. Mr. Permaul said that when he first started his career at the University, he worked at Rec Sports and managed the facilities. The goal was to persuade students that there was, in fact, a need for something like the Rec Sports Facility, and to show them how it could be accomplished. So the goal was to bring students into the RSF's programs. They scheduled basketball games until 4 a.m. and they had softball games running until 2 a.m. They had all kinds of activities and events that were associated with Rec Sports. And shortly thereafter, the students held a referendum which resulted in the construction of the RSF. And as they know, the RSF was jam-packed every day, and students recently voted to support it more, in a referendum two years ago. Similarly, this is how the Student Union complex was built. The students gathered themselves together because the old Eshleman, the old Stephens Union, was outdated. They put together a program to persuade the campus and the students that it was time to fund a brand new construction of the Student Union complex. And they built this complex in 1959-60.It sounds a lot like "Students are too dumb to know what they want, so we're going to overschedule, overpack, and unnecessarily use spaces that aren't adequate in order to make folks uncomfortable enough so they'll agree with us. It's important for us to convince our constituents to do what we, their elected representatives, say." Something feels a bit backwards about it.
The Senate appointed Minna Howell as Director of Financial Aid/Residency Division, but they did it before looking at the Solicitor General appointment (which failed anyway), so it wasn't valid. This is at least the second time Taylor is going to have to send out an "Oops, we didn't really appoint you... Sorry!" e-mail.
Gabe Weiner made motions towards reining in the Executives, which currently have very little Senate oversight in terms of what they spend their money on. For instance, in this case, Van Nguyen is using ASUC President resources to campaign to abolish the SAT II as an admissions requirement, and Weiner argues that authority with using ASUC resources to support external campaigns lies with the Senate. Van argues that his powers are so broad that he can do basically what he wants. ("His interpretation was to make sure the ASUC functioned. In his opinion, for the health and well-being of the student body, a critical aspect was the accessibility to the University." But reading the "health and well-being" clause like that basically means "blank check.")
Ms. Allbright said she would like to make an appointment and appoint Vice Chair Shaleen Shanbhag to the non-voting Student-at-large position on the University and External Affairs Committee. Ms. Allbright said that she felt that as a member of the Senate, as Vice Chair, this position would increase her ability to better serve the Senators if she was a non-voting member of a committee.I dunno... it seems that one of the purposes of "students-at-large" would be to have people outside of the small group which runs the ASUC involved.
Apparently, Yaman Salahi is going to be the ASUC Webmaster. I'm not sure who is in charge of content yet, so I don't know who to complain to about the fact that the ASUC introduces itself by lying to students that they are not members of the ASUC. Maybe Taylor. I'll see.
Danny Montes is going to pimp the UCSA this week.
. . .
. . .