Saturday, March 31, 2007
Sonya Banerjee's term has ended. I expect Dimitri Garcia to claim credit for her removal.
By the way, this means that she no longer has to maintain a facade of professional neutrality.
. . .
Friday, March 30, 2007
Campaigning in those hard to reach places
On the East Bay Express blog? Yes, Eric Marshall went that far.
. . .
And on those Student Action campaign flyers which tout kinda-sorta accomplsihments... From 2003:
Second coming of Christ: DONE. Student Action." Or how about this one: "Stopped earthquake on Hayward Fault: DONE." I'd be impressed.I wish the Daily Cal had the balls to directly ask them this year: "Why don't the RSF flyers mention the $40 fee increase that came with it?"
No, Student Action isn't claiming to have a part in any divine second coming nor to prevent expected geological disasters. But the accomplishments Student Action expects students to suck up from the real might-be-true "DONE" fliers aren't too far off from those unfathomable claims.
The craftiest of Student Action's "DONE" fliers claims that Student Action "stopped" the Fall 2002 fee increase.
The UC Board of Regents passed a midyear fee increase on Dec. 16, 2002 that currently has UC undergraduates paying $135 more than they did last semester. The fee increase happened, just not in the fall.
So to the extent that there was no "Fall 2002 fee increase," Student Action has it right. But party members by no means "stopped" any fee increase. I guess the word "postponed" doesn't fool as many voters as "stopped" does.
. . .
More on that lane
From 2004, an op-ed which is just as relevant today as it was then, by Paul LaFata.
The ASUC has become populated by tenant politicians who treat it like a rental car: abusing it to its functional end and then abandoning it to the next user. In my two terms as senator, I have personally witnessed service replaced with graft, excellence with corruption and humility with arrogance. Officials spend the campaign season crafting a fiction of promise and possibility only to enter the association and be overwhelmed by strife and faction. Some officials steal from the ASUC to finance their personal and narrow self-interest. Many resign themselves to quiet conformity, afraid to admit how fallen it is. A few try to fight against the descent but turn back when they see how steep the slope is. Many senators do not know their own rules and laws, nor do they care to learn them. Their particular will is enough to govern.That year actually had a battery of op-eds bitching about "the way things are going," and how folks need to "vote better" or some such. You can check it out here.
The law is an inconvenience, and duty is merely a theory. Today, the ASUC is governed by power philosophy, and the ends have justified the means for too long.
. . .
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
More memory lane
2002 was a fun election year. Check out the Daily Cal endorsements.
If last year's presidency taught us anything, it taught us not to be deceived by promises of grandiose plans. Or promises of nonpartisanship. Or promises of accomplishing anything at all.Also, be sure to check out the discussion of Student Advocate. This is one of the funnier stories, and took place during the real fun Israel-Palestine protests.
Perfectly poised. Well-spoken. Knowledgeable. Prejudiced.I hope to hear how all Student Advocate candidates feel about Zionists this year. As for me, I would definitely eat dinner with them, if they were paying.
This sums up the heir apparent candidate for Student Advocate, Salam Rafeedie. She seemed the perfect candidate for the job until she said something that revealed her fatal flaw.
"The student advocate's office is responsible for protecting all students' rights," Rafeedie said. "This includes rapists, this includes cheaters, this includes plagiarizers, thieves, Zionists—people who you necessarily would not want to go have dinner with. So I feel like (in) my administration, my political views would not impact my professional life."
It is certainly worrisome that she was not able to last even a mere 20 minutes in front of The Daily Californian's Senior Editorial Board without condemning the existence of Israel.
(The Daily Cal did something right. The folks who didn't get endorsements wrote a letter bitching about them that week.)
. . .
Be sure to check out the rich commentary on the walls of the Student Action and CalSERVE facebook groups for this year and remind yourself why you hate humanity.
. . .
Monday, March 26, 2007
More San Francisco Chronicle Front Page Fun. This article on a John Edwards campaign stop:
Edward Campaigns In SFWho's Edward?
. . .
When using magical chalk, it's important not to chalk on campus property. Remember: Vandalism of city property is not a crime.
Anyway, I've been in contact with a few folks about where campus property is, and it seems to be the consensus among university folks that there is no "50% rule" which generally allows folks to chalk on the outer half of sidewalks adjacent to campus. The property line is apparently at different locations in different places. Also, keep in mind that regardless of where that property line is, the whole sidewalk is still cleaned by campus staff.
. . .
Sunday, March 25, 2007
And look! A draft me Facebook group. Well, I'm on the ballot, so if you want to vote for me, go right ahead. If you want to convince people to vote for me, also go right ahead.
By the way, as an interesting detail, I have a $5,200 campaign finance limit. Is that blimp I smell?
. . .
Student Action's Facebook group is up. Take a look at the picture. If you try to read it clockwise, and check out the head tilt angle, you can see the head tilt gradually moving in a counterclockwise direction. This clearly illustrates that Student Action plans to move backwards.
. . .
Saturday, March 24, 2007
More excitement than ever!
Spying? Political intrigue? Torture? It's all going down this year in the ASUC Elections. Tune in to Andy "Jack Bauer" Morris's campaign.
. . .
Friday, March 23, 2007
Next next week, on ASUC
Next next week is campaign week.
A Bill Supporting That California Become A Sanctuary State and Condemning The Raids: I'm pretty sure you can guess who's proposing this one. Among the amusing details of this bill is the claim that fed raids snagging illegal immigrants are "kidnappings."
A Bill in Support of the Senate Contingency Fund: Is the Carry Forward Fund infinite? It sure seems that way. Can I get some money from it?
A Bill in Support of Eshleman Safety: Aww... I oppose safety. This seeks $10,000 for a security plan for Eshleman. Half comes from Contingency, and half comes from the Capital Improvements Fund. And no, I don't know how Dwight Asuncion plans to pull $5,000 out of Contingency. I get the impression that part of this series of bills, which does something that is really the university's job, is just so that Dwight and Student Action can say "Supported Eshleman Safety." He'd rather spend other folks' money than risk not getting credit.
A Resolution in Support of Lower Sproul Lighting: Uh... "Sproul is no longer merely a pathway but has become a destination of choice." Who makes that choice? Anyway, this bill says "Hey, university, please light up Lower Sproul. Pretty please?"
. . .
More on referenda
The fee referenda seem to have changed from what they were in the minutes last week. I don't know why this is, or what process was used to do so this week. Right now, the Student Life fee's ballot question demonstrates an ability to count to two:
A $12.00 per semester mandatory student fee is proposed (beginning in Fall 2007 and continuing for 10 years, increasing $0.75 every Fall semester and growing to a maximum of $18.75 by 2016-17) to support ASUC SUPERB, Student Musical Activities (the Cal Band, UC Choral Ensembles, & UC Jazz Ensembles), graduate student groups, to release funds for the ASUC Student Government to reallocate to undergraduate student groups, and to be incorporated into student financial aid need assessments.It looks like the rate of increase has changed as well.
Do you approve of this fee?
. . .
By the way
Just as an illustration on how full of shit Vishal Gupta was when he said that the Senate couldn't legally put a restriction on future funding demands by SUPERB and co., read this piece from the "Heuristic Squelch Fee Referendum" (Why isn't this called a "Student Life Fee," too? The other one is soooo awkward):
The Heuristic Squelch, while funded by a mandatory student fee, shall not be eligible for funding from any account in the ASUC, including but not limited to funds controlled by the ASUC Senate, ASUC Executive Offices, Activity Line-Item Funds, and/or the ASUC Auxiliary.But... but... what about future Senates' power? The ballot question is similar and raises many of the same issues as the Student Life fee:
A $1.50 mandatory student fee is proposed to support graduate student groups and The Heuristic Squelch, allowing the fee to be incorporated in student financial aid need assessments and releasing The Heuristic Squelch funds for the ASUC Student Government to reallocate to undergraduate student groups. Do you approve of this new fee?If anyone deserves this special treatment, it's the Squelch. But no one does.
. . .
Lower Sproul Fee
Next is Josh Daniels' baby, Lower Sproul.
Apparently, I was mistaken before. The 4-year fee schedule is $9, $9, $12, $15. So the fee increases don't start until later, to make it more pleasant for current voters. Officially, it's "To achieve an adequate level of revenue over the four-year period while simplifying the Fee amount for ease of calculating financial aid and fee remissions." The previous fee increase, authored by the same folks, will cost $14.71 in 2011-12, so judge how important you think simplificiation is to these people.
A mandatory student Fee of $9.00 per semester (beginning fall 2007 and continuing for four years, with annual increases of $3.00 in the third and fourth years; see the ASUC Voters Guide) is proposed to support the planning and design of as well as the fundraising for the redevelopment of the Student Union complex, and to allow the Fee to be incorporated in student financial aid need assessments; the implementation of this Fee is contingent on the University's active partnership with students on the redevelopment. Do you approve of this Fee?Oh, look, semicolons! I imagine the previous fee increase's three sentence ballot question was just erroneous in the minutes.
Again, note that the financial aid argument is included.
Also note that there is nothing on the ballot explaining that there is no guarantee or even agreement that the University will support this, or that the money will go towards anything. See below for more.
Students could get things done politically through organizing people, or through money. Speaking as GA President, he didn't believe he could organize the number of grad students necessary, given their schedules and disbursed nature on campus, to care about the creation of a graduate center on the campus such that they would spend a week in front of California Hall in order to ensure that the Chancellor listened to them. If he could do that, he wouldn't ask for the students to tax themselves one cent. If students were unwilling to do that, the only way to guarantee that the student voice was heard was through money.Um... wouldn't an alternative interpretation of being unable to organize the folks necessary because they don't care enough be that they don't care enough, and don't support this? If students are unwilling to work for it, apparently the only way to guarantee that their voice, which they aren't willing to express, is heard is by forcing them to pay money so that those incapable organizers can just spend other people's money, rather than actually working for their goal.
If they compare the total amount of campus-based fees with just the increase in the Ed Fee for grad students, the increase for grads per year would be more than they'd pay for the entire campus-based fees. So affordability on campus had very little to do with small, incremental changes made on campus-based fees, much less than the Regents' decisions.Yep. Five hundred small, incremental changes of $10 each would have nothing to do with affordability at all, either. It's interesting to use the fact that fees have gone up a lot as justification for increasing them even more.
Van Nguyen has opposed this fee increase, because he feels it's the responsibility of the university. That's the point, of course: The university tells the ASUC executives to pass fees for it, and most folks say "We're on it, Mr. Chancellor." It's good to see Van standing up for students for a change, so we can add this to my previous endorsement, which was based on his maleness.
By the way, one thing to make clear is that this is a gamble. Josh Daniels wants the students to put money forward in the hopes that the University goes ahead and does something. There's no actual agreement that any such collaboration will happen. But both the ASUC Senate and the GA would have to agree that the collaboration has not happened in order to stop collecting the fee, and we all know that just isn't going to happen. The University will likely stall and divert, and the ASUC tools will swallow it like they always do.
Dimitri Garcia, of all people, is also opposed to this and makes a good argument:
There was no guarantee regarding redevelopment to blindly assume putting money would result in that redevelopment, or that the Administration wouldn't impose its power. To assume that would not be too pessimistic of students. He believed students were already at the negotiating table. They already had a substantial amount of fees going towards safety, and he didn't think they should self-impose this fee, especially when they don't have guarantees from the Administration.Again, the status of students already at the negotiating table is clear here. They've had input, as required by University policy. And even at that table, the University essentially said "No" when offered this plan (of students paying money to get commitments from the University). So Josh Daniels thinks that if the ASUC goes ahead with this, the University will say "Yes," despite the fact that nothing will have changed besides the ASUC's negotiating position becoming worse, since the fee would already have been assessed.
Even Yvette Felarca joins in. This is going to be the great Beetle-DAAP agreement, which will never happen again.
. . .
Now, first up is the SUPERB referendum. This bill gives money to SUPERB but does not deny them the right to seek even more money through budgeting. The explanation is... uh... funny. In fact, there are many funny explanations. See if you can keep up.
The fee starts at $12 will increase by 5.23% every year for ten years, to $18.99 in year 10.
Here's the ballot question:
A $12.00 mandatory student fee is proposed, beginning in Fall 2007, to support a number of student groups and activities on campus and to allow the fee to be incorporated in student financial aid need assessments. The fee will go to support ASUC SUPERB, Student Musical Activities (the Cal Band, UC Choral Ensembles, & UC Jazz Ensembles), graduate student groups, and will release funds for the ASUC Student Government to distribute to undergraduate student groups, and will increase 5.23% every year for 10 years. Do you approve of this fee?The first thing you'll notice is that the ASUC has once again demonstrated its inability to count to two, which is the number of sentences in a ballot question.
The second thing you'll notice is that the fact that it's incorporated in financial aid assessments is included on the ballot question, despite the fact that it's an argument, and not really part of the description. This is the kind of thing that happens when you let proponents write their own ballot questions.
The third thing you'll notice is that the released funds are not limited to supporting undergraduate student groups, nor, for that matter, is there even a distinction between undergraduate student groups and graduate student groups in the ASUC Senate's budgeting process.
And the fourth thing to notice is that money isn't necessarily freed, because the ASUC can still budget even more money for these groups. More on that in a bit.
In the language of the Referendum, it states that ASUC SUPERB would increase the number and quality of films, concerts, comedy shows, and other events and services that it provides to students. Mr. Gupta said he wanted to specify that they could not make this language any more specific, such as requiring that SUPERB do certain events, or host a spring concert, or other things. To do so would mean that the language was binding in the referendum and could not be changed if there were circumstances in future years that would prohibit SUPERB from hosting a very specific event.Um... yeah... that's sort of the point of binding language. See, it's binding because we want them to do certain things and if circumstances change so that they can't, we don't want to keep giving them the money.
Mr. Gupta said there was a concern raised that SUPERB could come back to the Senate and ask for more funding. One thing was important to know was that the intention of this Referendum was that SUPERB would no longer need to rely on the Senate for additional funding. That's not something that could be worked into the Referendum simply because that would take power away from the Senate to allocate wherever it pleased, based on requests that were made. So Mr. Gupta said that he proposed that a Whereas Clauses include the intention of this Referendum. But there was nothing the Senate could do that would bind future Senates from allocating funds to SUPERB or to any other group that request funding. He thought that was fairly understood. He would hate to take power away from the Senate.Bullshit. Of the pure and utter variety. A prohibition on them seeking more money could very well be worked into the binding language of the referendum. Yes, it hurts Vishal's feelings when the Senate loses power, but its existence isn't for the sake of holding power.
One fun thing to note was that the ASUC Attorney General, Ms. Upshaw, was the bass player in the vocal ensemble.Some might call this a conflict of interest, rather than "fun," since she does approve the language of the referendum that gives her organization money.
Now, let's see what the SUPERB rep, Freyan Billimoria, says:
The reason they want to increase SUPERB funds was really to take the obligation off the Senate so that every year SUPERB didn't have to come there in the spring and fight with them. Frankly, that's not why SUPERB was there.I imagine few groups exist for the sole reason of fighting for funding, so I don't see how this helps argue why SUPERB deserves special treatment.
The whole reason SUPERB was there [pushing this referendum] was because they don't enjoy coming to the Senate and asking for money. It was undignified and no one was happy with doing that.Let's leave the indignities and the unhappiness to the other groups? Is that seriously her argument? Yes, it seriously is. Begin crying.
None of them will be there in eight years, but there's no way they want to bind Senators' successors to something like that [not being able to seek even more funding]. It simply wasn't fair.It is fair, however, to bind future students into funding SUPERB, even if it sucks. Do these people have any awareness of the other people in the universe?
Mr. Averbach said SUPERB had a unique charge, different from nearly every student group on campus as to what they do.Um... yeah. That's because student groups are different. Any other student group will have its own unique charge.
Back in session, Mr. Nguyen moved to amend the title of SB 73 to "The Student Entertainment and Graduate Student Fee." Mr. Wasserman suggested "The Student Entertainment and Graduate Assembly Fee Referendum." Mr. Nguyen said that would be his motion. It was seconded by Mr. Wasserman.The fee goes to SUPERB, UC Choral Ensembles, UC Jazz Ensembles, and Cal Band (all student entertainment groups). Oh, and unnamed "graduate student groups." But Vivienne Nguyen does what she always does when she tries to think. Which makes more sense for a fee referendum that will fund student entertainment and the Graduate Assembly: "The Student Entertainment and Graduate Assembly Fee Referendum," or "A Democratic Referendum for a Student Life Fee"? Apparently, the second one makes more sense. *sigh*
Ms. Nguyen objected, and said the title sounded awkward and didn't really make sense.
. . .
Prepare to cry!
So, I looked over last week's discussion of referenda. It hurt to read. But let's start with a different issue:
The Judicial Council wants robes. . . . Draw your own conclusions. Somehow, they have money laying around for robes, but can't afford business cards. Iunno.
Josh Daniels nominated two people for Carmel Levitan's Judicial Council spot. If you think two is less than the three he's supposed to, you're correct, but the ASUC has had problems counting to two and three before.
. . .
So, I discovered that last week, Josh Daniels changed the Lower Sproul referenda to make the fee increases over time even bigger. It now increases by $3 a year, from its initial $9, instead of the previous $1.80.
. . .
Time for predictions! As a disclaimer, I don't know what I'm talking about. Let's go!
Referenda (Keep in mind that, for all referenda, the fact that the proponents write the ballot question, and the fact that it is nearly impossible to find out what the question is if you're an opponent and want to criticize it will tend to lean them towards passage):
Terms and Lines of Succession: Will pass, because the three people who will understand what it says will like it. Don't be surprised by another majority-abstention.
TGIF: Will pass in a landslide, because everyone loves the environment! The fact that folks can run a business by selling indulgences suggests that folks won't mind the thinness on the "actual plan" side.
Student Life (SUPERB, etc.): Will also pass in a landslide, because most folks have their parents or financial aid offices to pay their fees, and who doesn't like SUPERB?
Student Life (Squelch): Do a find-and-replace on above.
Student Union Complex: Will pass with a high abstention rate. A referendum that does nothing (but raise fees) can still pass when proponents control the ballot question, voters don't pay, and a majority don't have to be convinced.
Dining Hall Polls: As this is the most sensible referendum out of all seven this year, it is therefore the least likely to pass. "Oh, no, not disenfranchisement!"
Money for Frats: This will probably pass as well because Greeks turn out in large numbers, and the fact that it's writing an exception to our anti-discrimination law will be hidden by the ballot question.
And now, on to the offices (We'll pretend the obvious winner, BEARS-United, drops out or something):
President: Ilana Nankin is so friendly. She could act friendly enough to get out of anything, like murdering a transgendered hooker in Florida, as a random hypothetical. So I think she's going to win.
Executive Vice President: Taylor probably looks hotter than Eunice. This will be enough. So I say Taylor Allbright.
External Affairs Vice President: Dwight Asuncion, through no fault of his own. Student Action can drag him through against a flaccid opposition.
Academic Affairs Vice President: Curtis Lee, for the same reason.
Student Advocate: Ajay Krishnamurthy, obviously.
Senate: I'll guess 9 SA Coalition (1 UNITE, 2 APPLE, 6 SA), 8 CalSERVE, 1 SQUELCH, 1 BCR, 1 DAAP. With no reasoning whatsoever, since I don't know anything about the independents or individual candidates.
. . .
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Responsibility is hard!
Oh, no, someone protect the fragile students from the rigors of meeting obligations!
Ever get a free pizza or T-shirt to sign up for a high-interest credit card, and that "free" gift ended up costing you thousands of dollars?Nope, never happened. Though I hear some students spend more money than they have, which ends up costing them thousands of dollars. I dunno if it makes sense to relate that directly to the free gift.
AB 262 would prohibit credit card companies from offering gifts to students who fill out credit card applications.Wooo! Thanks, legislature! It's about time someone stood up to protect us from our own idiocy, and cost us free stuff in the process.
Student credit card debt increases significantly over college years; on average, seniors owe nearly double the amount owed by freshmen in credit card debt.That's... not surprising. In fact, that seems pretty low. You'd think four years of independent living would lead to more debt than however many years under folks' parents' authority in high school. Apparently not.
As financially strapped students we often talk about the burdens of student loan debt. But we know lots of students who will graduate with even more credit card debt than student loans.We call those people deadbeats.
Yeah, I'm not very impressed by the plight of folks who enter voluntary agreements to spend more money than they have.
. . .
Apparently, all three referenda from yesterday are going to be on the ballot. Yay for another fee increase. By my count, there are seven referenda. Here are my endorsements:
Terms and Lines of Succession: This is a constitutional amendment to do away with any hint of the "We can't be removed from office since our term has already started, despite the fact that we haven't even won the election yet" argument, as well as to establish a line of succession, to make dictatorial takeovers more convenient. I think I'll go with a "Yes" endorsement.
TGIF: This is a fee increase to spend money so that we feel good about the environment, but does not come with an actual plan to use that money to do anything helpful. I think I'll vote "No."
Student Life: This is a fee increase to excuse well-connected student groups from having to struggle to get funding through the budgeting process, so that they don't have to compete with the inferior students. Um... "No."
Another Student Life: This is another fee increase to excuse the Squelch magazine in the same way. Let's go with another "No."
Student Union Complex: This is yet another fee increase designed to force students to pay money for no reason whatsoever so that a much larger fee increase can be passed in the future using the "we're already committed" approach to advertising. This later fee increase, by the way, will be in four years, when all of the folks voting now will be gone. I think I'll have to pitch another "No."
Dining Hall Voting Polls: This constitutional amendment releases the Elections Council from having to put up useless polling locations at the residence hall dining locations. Vote "Yes," I guess.
Greek Life: This referendum writes an exception into the ASUC's nondiscrimination clause for Greek organizations. Once again, well-connectedness excuses folks from the rules. Vote "No."
. . .
So, obviously my endorsements were carefully thought-out, and so I'm not doing any interviewing or anything. But they aren't final, so if you want to try to convince me that you'll do something useful, knock yourself out. I have no problem helping get the word out for various campaigns.
. . .
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
I sort of wish that when The Daily Cal reports on my every-office candidacy, they'd mention Andy Ratto's thing last year, so we can make it clear that we're upholding a tradition, rather than actually trying to win in every office. We're so awesome that we don't have to try.
. . .
The Berkeley City Council voted against fun.
"We're kind of breaking new ground here, we haven't done this before," said Councilmember Linda Maio. "If it's really onerous and it's not working, we're going to hear about it."It sounds like they're already hearing about it.
We're young adults, though. They can't do this to us. All we need to do is hold loud parties closer and closer, and they'll run away screaming. "Oh, no! Young people!" Students don't have the balls to really force Berkeley residents into submission, even though they have the power. Where's the ASUC External Veep candidate who's advocating threatening and bullying to get our way, instead of this lame bridge-building shit? I'll tell you where. BEARS-United.
. . .
Well, I need to pick 20 senators out of 75. Actually becoming familiar with them is a bit of a pain, so I need to use shortcuts. So here go my 20 carefully thought-out senate endorsements, and the reasons for them:
John O'Connor (most apostrophes)
Ana Luz Acevedo-Cabrera (most names)
Maryjane Castillo (highest Scrabble score for first name)
Chad Kunert (name that would receive the most "excuse me?" responses)
Dionne Jirachaikitti (most selfish, by count of use of the letter "i" in name)
Ben Narodick (most robust member)
Scott Silver (most valuable)
Tyler Le (most efficient name)
Ross Ligenfelder (newest party)
Kenan Wang (roundest candidate number)
Jason Louie (highest vowel-to-consonant ratio in last name)
Christian Osmena (would violate separation of church and state the most)
Nadir Shams (chosen by uniform random number generation)
Amanda Pouchot (chosen by hierarchical random number generation)
Danny Montes (chosen by closing my eyes and pointing)
Five other people (chosen because I ran out of legitimate standards to use to choose Senators, and would've had to use silly methods to choose them)
. . .
Hmm... this is a tough one. The choice here is between Ajay Krishnamurthy and... uh... a graduating senior. Hmm... I think I'll go with a no endorsement here, just to protest how boring Student Advocate races are.
. . .
BUI-External Affairs Vice President
Oh, God. This has to be the worst race I've ever seen. We'll call this the "Dumb-off." With Dwight Asuncion's homelessphobia expressed in the most unbelievably stupid way possible (seriously, check out the minutes from Feb. 21, page 7-8. It was fifty times dumber in person, though), which really was only a representation of most of his other work in the Senate ("Whoops, I forgot to pull that bill on affirmative action from the consent calendar!"), and Daniel Montes's somewhat limited grasp of the art of coherent writing (Second op-ed here), I don't know what to say. Do I have to endorse the DAAP candidate?
Here, my endorsement among winners goes to John Waste. Ideally, he'll win, then resign, and then maybe the Senate can appoint someone better.
. . .
BUI-Academic Affairs Vice President
I know precisely nothing about either of these folks. Curtis Lee has a name that is more obviously pronounced than Carolina Jauregui, so the endorsement goes to him.
. . .
BUI-Executive Vice President
By the way, I'm excluding BEARS-United from the endorsements for some reason. See if you can guess why.
The role of the Executive Vice President is to tell people to shut the hell up in Senate meetings, and tell student groups to "Beg, beg, BEG!!!"
This race suffers from an absence of the all-important Y chromosome, which again demonstrates the ASUC's lack of commitment to diversity. So the question becomes: Who is more terrifying? Eunice Moon or Taylor Allbright?
The proper way to decide this race would be a staring contest, but I don't think I'd have much luck in setting that up. I haven't found either of them to be particularly terrifying, either. Thus, all we can do is go with racist assumptions. And since everyone knows Asians are genetically less able to assert themselves, the endorsement has to go to Taylor Allbright.
Wow, this is looking bad. Am I really going to give CalSERVE the nod? The last CalSERVEr I endorsed was Liz Hall, who proceeded to try to raise our fees, help solidify the UCSA's reputation as a Democratic party tool, and contribute to chasing UC Davis out of the UCSA.
. . .
I was doing endorsements. Let's talk about the ASUC president.
Ilana Nankin is Oren Gabriel's cousin. If we really want to solidify the hereditary monarchy model for the ASUC presidency after the Gabriel brothers, this is our chance. There are some rather creepy rumors about her floating around, though. And she's a Zionist! You can't eat dinner with her! (You still have to defend her if you're the Student Advocate, though)
No, I think we need to go with someone who isn't a douchebag. It's often tough to find that elusive not-a-douchebag candidate, but this year is an exception. That's why the endorsement goes to Joe "Not a douchebag" Rothberg.
Of course, it's usually a good idea to also do an endorsement for a candidate who could actually win. The ranked-choice voting system allows that, though I'd really like to see the nobody-gets-elected constitutional crisis scenario play out one of these years.
Hmm... Humm... Hrmm... Well, maybe it really is time for change, at least in lowercase. So for now, I'll give my tentative endorsement to Van Nguyen, since he's male, and therefore obviously more capable at governing.
I should note, though, that I haven't seen either of their signatures, and since signing checks is apparently their most important job, we really ought to see those before coming to a decision.
. . .
Emergency Preliminary Endorsements
I'll just start endorsing folks now, because, quite frankly, I don't think I'm going to believe anything anyone says, anyway. You can think of me as upholding the proud tradition of, say, ASUC Senators in Judicial Council removal hearings, who make their decisions beforehand and just pretend to care what folks are saying. Except I'm a bit more honest about it.
But first, let's take a look at a few things floating around Facebook.
The CalSERVE Executive Slate facebook group. Change in coming. Oh, I mean, CHANGE IS COMING! Check out the picture in the corner. Here's how CalSERVE does their pictures:
Picture 1: Everyone look normal!
Picture 2: Okay, now everyone do something expressive!
(You can see last year's at their website)
Unfortunately, this year, only the dudes got the memo about picture 2. The chicks are still just standing there.
. . .
oh, you're running for ASUC Senate? blow me.:
for anyone sick of these bitches who shake your hand, walk you to class, randomly friend you on facebook, hand you a flyer with campaign "promises", write their fucking names on every sidewalk square on southside, and all that other fake-ass popularity bullshit.You know I'm a member. Oh, and I'm running for ASUC Senate. But you won't see me shake your hand (unless you're introducing yourself or something), walk you to class (unless you're going to a class more interesting than what I'm doing), randomly friend you on Facebook, hand you any fliers, or write my name on any sidewalk square. That's because I'm in touch with the student body, and hear its cries of anguish. Who else stands up to represent these students? I've certainly never met such a person.
. . .
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Commentary on candidates
If you have stuff to say about the candidates, say them here. Unfounded rumor is preferred.
The only thing I'll note is that CalSERVE is running their senators again.
Update: One thing I'd like to know is which candidates are seriously attempting to gain office. I have it on good authority that Ilana Nankin is actually going to resign while laughing maniacally if she wins. This is called projection.
Update 2: Report corrections here, too.
. . .
Jessica sent me the candidate list. This is the order they will appear on (half) the ballots, too.
30 Travis Garcia- Independent
31 Ilana Nankin- Student Action
32 Justin Azadivar- BEARS-United
33 Dimitri Garcia- Defend Affirmative Action Party (DAAP)
34 Eric Marshall- University Progress
35 Joe Rothberg- SQUELCH!
36 Van Nguyen- CalSERVE
Executive Vice President
37 Taylor Allbright- CalSERVE
38 David Wasserman- SQUELCH!
39 Justin Azadivar- BEARS-United
40 Eunice Moon- Student Action
Academic Affairs Vice President
41 John O'Connor- SQUELCH!
42 Carolina Jauregui- CalSERVE
43 Curtis Lee- Student Action
44 Galicia Gabriela- DAAP
45 Justin Azadivar- BEARS-United
External Affairs Vice President
46 Dwight Asuncion- Student Action
47 Justin Azadivar- BEARS-United
48 John Waste- SQUELCH!
49 Daniel Montes- CalSERVE
50 Megan Hopkins- DAAP
Student Advocates Office
51 Ben Narodick- SQUELCH!
52 Ajay Krishnamurthy- CalSERVE
53 Justin Azadivar- BEARS-United
54 Karl Siganporia- Independent
55 Alex Lemberg- Independent
56 Nadir Shams- Independent
57 Tyler Le- Independent
58 Dave Rhoads- Independent
59 Karan Aneja- Independent
70 Maribeth Moore- UNITE Greek
71 Jason Louie- UNITE Greek
72 Amanda Pouchot- UNITE Greek
73 Christian Osmena- UNITE Greek
74 Dimitri Garcia- DAAP
75 Megan Hopkins- DAAP
76 Sharyn Osby- DAAP
77 Angela Aguilar- DAAP
78 Falola Takapu- DAAP
79 Martha Hernandez- DAAP
80 Cassie Caravello- DAAP
81 Maryjane Castillo- DAAP
82 Gabriela Galicia- DAAP
83 Ana Luz Acevedo-Cabrera- Student Action
84 Ian Clow- Student Action
85 Grace Shen- Student Action
86 Corey Jackson- Student Action
87 Philip Kim- Student Action
88 Beverly Elithorp- Student Action
89 Scott Silver- Student Action
90 Chris Wong- Student Action
91 Winward Choy- Student Action
92 Lisa Patel- Student Action
93 Albert Wu- Student Action
94 Loretta Kwong- Student Action
95 Chad Kunert- Berkeley College Republicans (BCR)
96 Ross Ligenfelder- Berkeley Squirrel Party
97 Will Cole- SQUELCH!
98 Gabe Weiner- SQUELCH!
99 Andy Morris- SQUELCH!
100 Kenan Wang- SQUELCH!
101 Ben Narodick- SQUELCH!
102 John O'Connor- SQUELCH!
103 David Wasserman- SQUELCH!
104 John Waste- SQUELCH!
105 Simon Ganz- SQUELCH!
106 Aaron Brownstein- SQUELCH!
107 Harmony Larson- SQUELCH!
108 David Hollingsworth- SQUELCH!
109 Tomer Chernia- SQUELCH!
110 Greg McGarry- SQUELCH!
111 Kevin Heikin- SQUELCH!
112 Manas Rai- SQUELCH!
113 Joe Rothberg- SQUELCH!
114 Sarah Brennon- SQUELCH!
115 David Torello- SQUELCH!
116 Justin Azadivar- BEARS-United
117 Maurice Seaty- CalSERVE
118 Dionne Jirachaikitti- CalSERVE
119 Danielle Duong- CalSERVE
120 Cory Hammon- CalSERVE
121 Shawn Jain- CalSERVE
122 Rebecca Coleman- CalSERVE
123 Taylor Allbright- CalSERVE
124 Lisa Ang- CalSERVE
125 Caro Jauregui- CalSERVE
126 Danny Montes- CalSERVE
127 Van Nguyen- CalSERVE
128 Gabriela Urena- CalSERVE
129 Jessica Parra-Fitch- CalSERVE
130 Daniel Galeon- CalSERVE
131 Alex Ghenis- CalSERVE
132 Nathan Murthy- CalSERVE
133 Edward Chow- CalSERVE
134 Roxanne Winston- CalSERVE
135 Winnie Kuo- APPLE Engineering
136 Shin Izumi- APPLE Engineering
137 Alex Mastrodonato- APPLE Engineering
138 Wayne Feng- APPLE Enginering
. . .
I asked Jessica to send me the ballot when she gets a chance, but for now, I'll point out the relevant executive slates, ignoring losers such as SQUELCH! and DAAP, and the certain victor, BEARS-United.
Prez: Ilana Nankin
EVP: Eunice Moon
EAVP: Dwight Asuncion
AAVP: Curtis Lee
Prez: Van Nguyen
EVP: Taylor Allbright
EAVP: Daniel Montes
AAVP: Carolina Jauregui
And then some guy for Student Advocate. No big surprises, except that Dwight Asuncion may be the face of the ASUC to the world. . . .
. . .
Best SFGate headline ever
This story on Virgin America Airlines' possible startup is headlined on the frontpage as follows:
Tentative OK For Virgin
. . .
Some stuff from the candidates' meeting.
The folks from Student Judicial Affairs came to talk about stuff. Three things stood out:
1) As one of them discouraged candidates from chalking on the boards in classrooms, the other subtly moved a chalkboard to cover up the top board which was advertising Sigma Alpha Nu Poker Night.
2) They suggested that chalking on the outer 50% of the sidewalk was disallowed, as that is university property. Yvette Felarca called tham on it, and they said to contact the person in charge to ask. It may be a policy shift, and I wish it were, but I get the impression that is city property on account of the parking meters being there.
3) They didn't want to answer David Wasserman's question which asked something to the effect of "It's okay to vandalize city property, but not to vandalize university property, right?"
The by-laws were again out-of-date. They were the same as last year's by-laws, which were out-of-date last year. Which means the candidate packet contains by-laws which are two years out-of-date. This was totally avoidable, though, because the copy on the website has been the new, one year out-of-date version since last semester.
The Attorney General said that they would charge minor violations. We'll see if that's true.
Make comments on how preternaturally handsome the SQUELCH! candidates were here.
. . .
That Travis Garcia fellow (who'll probably end up being known as "The Gay Frat dude") is also running for ASUC president.
By the way, his press release notes that he will issue Executive Orders to "keep his word." I guess he's not a student of the "Duty" school of thought.
. . .
Monday, March 19, 2007
More unfortunate wording on that BP thingie:
"What are the possible effects on poor people and on social equity worldwide?" [sciencologist Chris Somerville] said. "I think we need to make sure that we don't support something that doesn't support social equity."Do you support pancakes in the morning? Does that support social equity? If not, you shouldn't support pancakes in the morning.
It's okay, guys. It really will be fine if someone, somewhere does something that isn't on your agenda.
. . .
So, I guess I this seems sort of silly, and the PR message doesn't help matters much:
"When 'Star Wars' came out, it captured America in a fashion that hasn't happened since. It's a perfect joint venture for the U.S. Postal Service because, like 'Star Wars' touches fans, the Postal Service touches Americans every day," said Postal Service spokesperson Augustine Ruiz.You could insert pretty much any nouns in there you want, and it'd still make as much sense, which sort of detracts from the "perfectness."
. . .
Some anonymous dude points us to a Facebook group for an Eric Marshall who's running for ASUC president. As usual with such independents, there's stuff about "real change."
The anonymous dude also mentions Facebook ads.
. . .
The stuff about changing the laws for convenience actually illustrates a deep philosophical problem with the ASUC.
The purpose of rules in a democratic government is to impose limits on what the government can and cannot do. However, many ASUC folks see rules as an inconvenience that gets in their way.
It comes down to a difference in what could be called a "sense of duty." ASUC folks see the government as their personal tool for accomplishing their goals, so to them, the government has the duty to accomodate their desires.
This is different from the view that ASUC officials are themselves the tools, and have a duty to the students.
This goes beyond following or breaking rules. This is a fundamental world view, and it shows in their legislative priorities, too. A sense of fairness and duty would prevent, for instance, the Student Life Referenda which lets well-connected groups avoid competition for funds. But if you just see the government as a tool to accomplish your desires, that's fine.
It's illustrated so clearly in this case, where the question is "What do you do if your desired actions come into conflict with the rules?" The answer from those with a sense of duty is "Clearly, those actions were not meant to be allowed in this governmental system, so we won't take them." The answer from those with a sense of entitlement is "These rules are in our way, so clearly, we need to break, bend, or change them to allow our actions."
Which action did the ASUC take this time? What does that say about ASUC folks?
. . .
Well, there we go
Jessica Wren reports that her temporary rule was approved by the Judicial Council. Rachel Smith dissents sensibly:
Despite ECC Wren's stated intention to publicize the proposed extension widely through flyers, notices in the Daily Cal, and emails to student listserves, this proposed temporary rule does not equally affect all potential candidates and proposal authors. The authors of the three propositions are the only ones who might be able to take advantage of this extension, as other potential proposition authors would not be able to have their propositions considered and voted on by the ASUC Senate prior to the proposed new filing deadline of March 22, 2007.and
Merely missing a deadline does not, in fact, make for an "urgent situation".Unfortunately, Kate Feng, Marisa Cuevas and Aurora Masum-Javed think that it affects all candidates and propositions equally to extend a deadline for the sole purpose of allowing the proponents of three referenda to put them on the ballot.
We now have the following oddity: The candidate's meeting, where the ballot is set up, takes place on Tuesday. The end of the filing period is Thursday. What happens if someone files after the candidate's meeting?
. . .
A few more notes on deadline-changing
Some more thoughts on efforts to change the filing deadline specifically to accomodate fee referenda.
Recall that last year, ASUC folks squealed like stuck pigs at the thought of changing a date (election date, in this case) because it might affect their precious RSF referendum. Now, however, they want the rules suspended specifically to benefit their referenda. Will they be raising the same "equality!" screams? Probably not.
The Judicial Council ruled that, because the change would harm the proponents of the RSF referenda (by making it pass too late to get approval from the Office of the President, which turned out to be a non-issue), it was invalid. By the same argument, this change would harm the opponents of these three referenda, and should be similarly declared invalid. Not that it will.
Let's take a look at why this change is even being considered. The Senate missed its deadline for passing referenda. Some trivia about the deadline:
1) The deadline is based on the Election dates, which were set by this Senate.
2) The deadline's position relative to the Election dates are set by the By-Laws, which the Senate supposedly carefully reviewed this year.
3) The issues being raised in the two constitutional amendments were weeks (polling locations at dining facilities) or months (money for frats) old by the deadline, and had been raised in Senate meetings more than once.
4) The Senate missed the deadline.
. . .
Some anonymous dude reports the following Student Action slate:
I don't vouch for the accuracy or completeness of this information. (For one, Student Action normally runs a larger slate, don't they?)
Update: Travis Garcia e-mailed me to say that he is running, but not with Student Action. Apply adequate salt to the remainder of the list.
. . .
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Instead of having propositions put on the ballot at the last minute, the new plan is to apparently put propositions on the ballot after the last minute and just move the last minute to later.
(By the way, the charge sheet I saw doesn't appear to make the request to move the candidate filing deadline. I haven't heard if any other Judicial Council stuff has happened, or if Jessica Wren has issued a temporary rule)
. . .
Note to Scott Lucas
Control for political correctness:
According to a study published in the American Sociological Review, "Americans' increasing acceptance of religious diversity doesn’t extend to those who don’t believe in a god." Researchers from the University of Minnesota's department of sociology found that "Americans rate atheists below Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians and other minority groups in 'sharing their vision of American society.'" Atheists are also the minority group most Americans are least willing to allow their children to marry. Think about that for a second: Atheists get lower marks than groups commonly associated in the public discourse with terrorism, lawlessness, and the breakdown of the family, respectively.But even ignoring the failed control for PC, I'm more curious about this athiest/gay comparison for who folks are going to let their children marry. When it comes to gays, is there ever really a choice? "Listen here, son, I don't want you marrying that atheist woman. Stick to lesbians." By the way, doesn't this:
Atheists are, and have been for a long time, one of those excluded groups. That helps explain why Americans seem so anxious to proclaim their belief in God as a component of patriotism and national unity. But what has been fascinating so far about the Pete Stark case is how little outrage it has generated. In town hall meetings in Newark and San Leandro on Saturday, the veteran representative received only cheers and applause when a speaker brought up the atheism story.sort of nullify his thesis?
. . .
When a million people come together, they cannot be stopped.Unless, of course, two million people who want to stop them come together.
. . .
Saturday, March 17, 2007
How do Student Action anonybots feel about their fee increases? How do they react when criticized for sweeping the fee increases under the rug when bragging about the benefits? Do they explain the value of the fee increases? Do they point out where the criticism is flawed?
Um... no. Divine right strikes again. How DARE someone say something about their efforts to cost all other students hundreds of dollars. It's none of their business.
. . .
Friday, March 16, 2007
Set tears to stun
Are you ready to cry? ARE YOU READY TO CRY!!?? The Daily Cal is bringing the human side out today. We've set a high bar, though.
This time, it's some kid in some school (that isn't Cal) getting deported-by-proxy. The writer, Robert Balicki, doesn't even bother trying for the Cal link.
Gerardo Espinoza is an American citizen and was a second grader at Rosa Parks Environmental Science Magnet School in West Berkeley. He loved to play soccer and four-square and didn't like to tuck his shirt in under his usual gray sweatshirt.Slob!
From beneath the 7-year-old's black Raider's beanie would peer two big, brown eyes that betrayed a willingness to help fellow students at a moment's notice.Can you get deported from the Raider Nation?
Gerardo left Berkeley when his father, Felipe Sr., and mother, Norma, were ordered by "la migra" to leave the country on Jan. 24, after having lived in the country illegally for 20 and 14 years, respectively.Is using the phrase "la migra" the editorial policy of the Daily Cal?
. . .
Let's talk about fee increases!
Woo! Stop fee increases! Unless we propose them!
On that Student Life Fee:
However, some said it was inappropriate for specific student groups to be funded by a campus-wide fee.Yeah, man, but the Heuristic Squelch doesn't know the right people.
SQUELCH! Senator David Wasserman tried to make an amendment to the bill at Wednesday's meeting to include a separate fee that would fund campus magazine The Heuristic Squelch, arguing that the magazine has as much right to claim a need for special funding as any other group.
"The Heuristic Squelch has exactly the same circumstances as other groups," he said after the fee was passed without his amendment.
Let's just think of it as Cal being on the cutting edge of political education: Our college Senators act like real politicians, right down to the pork.
. . .
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Try this poster
Here we go:
Cal Lobby Day: FAILED!
Isn't Lobby Day today? Weren't we supposed to go bitch about increasing fees? Are we doing it after the decision has already been made?
Actually, doesn't this sound familiar?
. . .
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Elections Council Chair Jessica Wren filed two charge sheets with the Judicial Council seeking an advisory opinion on two issues.
The first is the one I mentioned yesterday about timing of referenda. The constitution says:
The vote on an initiative, referendum, or amendment shall take place at the next regular election following receipt of the petition or vote of the Senate (or Graduate Assembly, as provided herein), provided that the date of receipt or Senate (or Graduate Assembly) vote is before the end of the candidate filing period for that election; otherwise, the vote shall take place at the second regular election thereafter.The filing period ends this Friday (March 16). The question is:
I am seeking an advisory opinion from the Judicial Council as to whether propositions approved by vote during the Senate Meeting held on Wednesday March 21, 2007 will be allowed to be on the ballot in the 2007 ASUC Elections, provided that they have fulfilled all of the other requirements outlined in the ASUC Constitution and By-Laws to be included on the ballot.My personal opinion is that this is an open-and-shut case. The vote is after the end of the filing period. Therefore, it cannot be on this year's ballot. The Judicial Council probably doesn't even need a hearing.
The second issue is more subtle, and has to do with campaign finance. The proponents of the TGIF referenda have already spent a shitload, and don't want to be held to campaign spending restrictions (the reason they gave was funny: It would be unfair to proponents to have to limit spending, since there is only one choice. Opponents don't exist, which is actually fairly accurate). My opinion is that, since the campaign finance limits specifically mention Senate and Executive races, and don't mention propositions, there are no campaign spending limits on propositions. There probably should be, but that would make it harder to pass propositions, so don't expect any action on this by the Senate any time in the next few decades.
However, a second issue is whether they have to document their spending. Clearly, they have to document their campaign material, as that is in the campaign violations section which specifically mentions propositions. Do they have to submit forms documenting their spending? The section on campaign finance mentions "candidates," so maybe not. However, just how much of a "candidate" is a proposition? More importantly, does the public have a right to know how much is spent on proposition campaigns, just like they have a right to know how much is spent on Senate and Executive campaigns?
This issue isn't explicitly raised by Wren (she just asks which campaign spending restrictions apply), so I don't know if it will be answered by the Judicial Council.
More problematic is her request for an injunction:
I have requested a preliminary injunction against the Proponents and Opponents, primary and otherwise, from distributing campaign material. This is done with high regard for those Proponents and Opponents so that we can prevent a situation in which they participate in actions that will be found to be in violation of the ASUC By-Laws after the Judicial Council's opinion is administered, for which censures may be a sought. I would hate for the Proponents and Opponents of any Referenda to be punished for acting out of ignorance if I could so prevent them.I think that an injunction against Proponents and Opponents (who, to my knowledge, don't exist yet) treads on free speech and could not be put into place. I think that Proponents and Opponents should understand the risk in acting while ignorant, but should be allowed to take that risk.
. . .
Crazy people cost us money
Don't worry, Regents. We understand the importance of raising fees. We may be hypocrites and say we don't, but we do. That's why we keep voting for them.
The regents were told last September that student fees must be raised if UC campuses are to improve mental health services that have reached a crisis point.Well, thanks, crazy people! I thought Temina Madon's Guilty Conscience fee took care of that here on campus.
. . .
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The incompetence is on parade this week.
A BILL IN SUPPORT OF A Constitutional Amendment for Elections Flexibility: Clearly partially written by Jeff Manassero. This will eliminate the Constitutional provision requiring the almost completely unused polling locations at Res Hall dining spots. It's a great idea. It's also late, and won't be passed in time, which means it will end up on the 2008 ballot. I have no idea why it was late. I know they wanted to do this since last month. Way to go! *applause*
A Resolution In Support of the Cal Greek Community: This is a constitutional amendment, also late, to allow the ASUC to fund recognized fraternities and sororities, which have been denied direct funding because of their single-sex nature. If this passes (and again, this would be 2008), then the ASUC may be able to do away with the Greek Philanthropy Fund, which is designed specifically to get around this problem. This doesn't mean they will do away with it. They won't, of course. Instead, they're going to rename it the "Greek Service and Philanthropy Fund," and define a few rules for it.
A Bill In Support of Another Democratic Referendum for Another Student Life Fee: Haha! Also late, this one gives money to The Heuristic Squelch, in the same "bypass the budget process" way as the other Student Life Fee. The fee increase is $3.60, increasing by 12% every other year. It almost looks like a parody, and should be, considering the topic and source (David Wasserman).
A Bill In Support Of the ASUC Senate Contingency Fund: Another bill to boost the Contingency Fund, this one takes $1,600 from Carry Forward.
A Resolution In Support of HBV's Efforts to Protect Student Health: This bill tries to get University Health Services to vaccinate and test every student for HBV (That's hepatitis B). Among the facts are:
1 in 10 Asian Americans have hepatitis B.Hmm... What are we to think of this? Does this mean that at least 23% of Asian Americans don't have hepatitis B but think they do?
2/3 of Asian Americans are unaware that they have hepatitis B.
. . .
Stuff from Last Week's Senate Meeting:
Apparently, folks are aiming for a smoke-free campus. The satisfaction of knowing they're all going to die horribly from lung cancer just doesn't cut it for some people.
Ned Permaul talked about the possibility of using the e-mail addresses students use to register for Pick-A-Prof for ASUC communications. Sign up for ASUC spam!
Another great Vishal Gupta quote:
So when 33,000 students potentially go to the polls online and look at two sentences that will determine whether or not they raise mandatory, voluntary student fees, that they understand everything that there getting into. By "mandatory, voluntary" he meant mandatory fees that the students pass voluntarily.It's like mandatory voluntary service for blacks before the civil war! You know, mandatory service that people force others into voluntarily.
Alex Kozak, as Webster:
They said that regardless of whether the term "incumbent" appearing besides a candidate's name was an advantage, it was clear that it was additional privilege that was not afforded to non-incumbents. The difference between a "privilege" and a "advantage" being that "privilege" was a benefit or an advantage.Being able to punch myself in the face is a privilege. I don't think it's really an advantage.
Mr. Averbach asked if he or the J-Council recognized whether the plaintiff exhausted options within the legislative process prior to going to the Judicial Council. Mr. Kozak said he thought the point disregarded any political options by nature, he didn't think there were any political options. Mr. Averbach asked if that was for this specific plaintiff, or in general. Mr. Kozak said he didn't know if he should comment on that.Heh. I assume "point" means "plaintiff" here. Equal protection is not a political question, so I didn't seek political options. I have sought political options for various other political questions, such as whether to include "abstain" on the ballot for referenda and such. If Sammy Averbach has a problem with my approach, he should bring it up with me. I'm not hard to find. I note that Jeff Manassero didn't correct him on "disregarding political options by nature," which is odd considering the amount of discussion he's had with me about legislation. I should also note that Averbach himself should have received a shitload of recommendations from me about various ways in which the By-Laws suck, most of which were ignored, including one concerning the status of extension students in the ASUC, which has been the subject of two Judicial Council suits in as many years (and both years, the Judicial Council begged the Senate to do something about it).
. . .
Monday, March 12, 2007
The award for most misleading/false campaign claim is out early this year. From Student Action:
$10 RSF Membership: DONEI guess they're getting started lying early this year.
Putting aside the question of whether this was really DONE by Student Action (I recall broad support from most parties and passage via student body vote), recall that membership is now $50. It just happens that $40 of it is mandatory regardless of whether or not you join up. I guess "Raised fees by $40: DONE" doesn't sound as catchy.
. . .
Sunday, March 11, 2007
My old suggestion
I was strolling through last year's posts on the ASUC and wanted to point out my old solution for fee increases that Vishal Gupta agrees with in spirit:
Why don't we vote for a fee increase after we leave, in exchange for a reduction now? For instance, change it so that we pay no fees to the ASUC for the next four years, and then make students pay triple the fees we pay now to pay off loans and interest and stuff? I mean, while we're in the process of raising fees that we won't have to pay, why not go the whole nine yards?Also, I still have my my note-taking template for the candidate forums. It should still be applicable.
. . .
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Look out! It's an eight!
In this shocking piece discovering the dark secret that women choose who to vote for rather than being drawn, zombie-like, to the female candidates in presidential races, we have this amusing statement:
With less than a year until the expected Feb. 5, 2008, presidential primary in California, the issue of which candidate can seize the advantage with women is increasingly relevant.That's right. Only eleven months. That's a mere forty-seven and a half weeks. A rapidly shrinking THREE HUNDRED THIRTY-TWO DAYS. This is the critical time.
. . .
Thursday, March 08, 2007
What's up with these depressed people? Who has the best facial expression? (I'm going with the dude on the far right)
. . .
I hate it when the Daily Cal takes my side in a Judicial Council case. It's not that I don't appreciate the support, I just prefer it to be accurate, and it often isn't.
This time, there isn't anything technically inaccurate, it just seems like things are a bit overblown.
Incumbency matters in politics, and this tends to be increasingly true of smaller levels of government. And for the mass of UC Berkeley students for whom the term "local politics" means Sather Gate and Lower Sproul, this issue was quietly accepted. That is, until Wednesday, when the Judicial Council confronted this problem and, along the way, made the ASUC elections a little bit more democratic.The "until Wednesday" construction seems to suggest that something stopped for this mass of UC Berkeley students. I don't think they stopped accepting anything. I doubt most of them even knew there was an issue.
But what has changed is the spirit or principle in which the ASUC will approach elections. Allowing extra space to incumbent candidates precisely because they are incumbents was unfair and discriminatory in the worst way for the ASUC.I can think of worse ways. Much, much worse ways.
. . .
Aww... The Green Fee vote has been postponed. They made sure to "fix" it to be an increasing fee.
The projects supported by the fund could be proposed by students, faculty or staff or a combination of the three. Specific project requirements, including project goals and budgeting, would be determined by the group working on the project, Arons said.Isn't that just a long way of saying there isn't any plan for what to do with the money? How stereotypically "throw money at the problem" can you get? I guess this fits well with their "build a legacy" and "send a statement" rhetoric. If only their approach fit well with "help the environment" rhetoric.
Some said the open-ended requirements would encourage creative approaches to sustainability.
"There are a lot of ways to reduce the impact (on the environment)," said junior Patrick Ford, a conservation and resources studies major and one of the bill's authors. "We didn't want to limit student ideas."
. . .
Luckily, due to misdating, this looks like it comes from today, and so I don't look late. Headline:
Guilty Plea Entered For LGBT ThreatsFirst line:
The Clayton, Calif. man who was arrested in connection with a slew of threats against a Berkeley lesbian, gay, transexual and bisexual center pleaded no contest to the charges yesterday.So, all you law-type folks: Is it accurate to describe a "no contest" plea as a "guilty plea"?
. . .
Headline + photo
Panelists Draw From Botero Art In Conversation on TorturePhoto.
I'm pretty sure that's not a Botero piece.
. . .
So, yeah, my quote is wrong here.
"They decided that unequal treatment in an election is presumably unequal opportunity."Actually, what I said was that unequal treatment in an election is presumptively unequal opportunity. I don't think "presumably" even makes sense in this context. The point I was trying to make was that the important part of the decision wasn't specifically the result, but rather the Council's ruling that:
Regardless of whether the term "incumbent" beside a candidate's name is an advantage, it is clear that it is an additional privilege that is not afforded to non-incumbents. Similarly, the Council has interpreted equal "opportunity for election" to mean that all election regulations should be applied evenly to all candidates. If non-incumbents cannot include any information beyond their allotted seventeen characters, then incumbents should not be able to either.This was a rejection of the defense's argument that in order to show unequal opportunity, one would have to prove that the unequal treatment provides an advantage. That argument was pretty dumb, because it would essentially make it impossible to remedy a violation of equal opportunity before an election, and probably after as well, since ballots are private. There would be no remedy if the Elections Council put one candidate in gigantic letters on the ballot with arrows pointing to her saying "Vote for this candidate," since you couldn't technically prove that it provides an advantage.
With this in mind, I don't much care for the opening line, either:
The ASUC Judicial Council ruled yesterday that the ability of incumbent candidates to list their current elected positions on the ballot gives them an edge over newcomers in the elections.My reading suggests that, considering the quote above, they explicitly decided that the question of whether it's an "edge" or not is not relevant to the question of whether it's unequal opportunty.
. . .
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I actually won my incumbent identification case. But more importantly, the decision states that equal protection requires that all candidates be equally affected by regulations, which means that it is not necessary to prove that unequal treatment leads to an advantage or disadvantage.
Now that I've won a case, I can stop filing them. Yay! (disclaimer: this doesn't mean I will)
. . .
Next item on the agenda
Next year, can we hold an ASUC Lobby Day, where we take our demands for a halt to fee increases to Eshleman?
. . .
Quote of the year
Vishal Gupta, last week:
There were a lot of options on ways to go about potentially passing fee referenda and formalizing the language so that it didn't necessarily raise fees entirely, or at all, in the first year.I suggested this some time ago, in jest. But holy fucking crap. The best way to vote on fee increases is to make sure the people voting aren't the people paying. Excellent point. Do we even need to waste our time on the election process, with moral leadership like this?
It's even worse than California bond packages, because folks usually stick around long enough to suffer the consequences for those. But hey, in the ASUC, we're out of here in three years or less.
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Compare the Lobby Day folks' whining about a 7% fee increase with the campus fee increase being proposed by the ASUC: 13%. Way to send that strong message that fee increasse aren't necessary.
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Tuesday, March 06, 2007
More fee increases
Yay! The ASUC is offering more fee increases. Altogether, they come out to $26 per semester. Remember that when folks talk about how each one is only one or two burritos. Those burritos add up fast.
A Bill In Support of a Democratic Referendum for a Student Life Fee: This is a $12 fee increase, to pay costs for specific student groups and remove them from the processes that other groups have to go through to get money. This will likely start a trend, where student groups with friends in high places will be able to get their funding specially secured through referenda. The beneficiaries are SUPERB, Cal Band, UC Jazz Ensembles, UC Choral Ensembles and unnamed "graduate student groups." It apparently wasn't enough for the GA to get all fees that graduate students pay. They want more.
A Bill In Support of a Democratic Referendum for a Student Union Complex Fee: We're not done! We need another, $9, fee increase, which will increase by $1.80 each year for 4 years. Even summer students will have to pay a fee. This is the Lower Sproul "conceptual plan" fee increase, which will preface the enormous one (counted in hundreds of dollars) later. Now would be a perfect time to head this travesty off.
A Bill in Support of César Chávez Holiday: I'll just read you the punchline:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, every school district, community college, and university throughout California abide by the spirit and letter of the law and close on March 30th 2007, the César Chávez Holiday, and it be recognized as a holiday for students and workers throughout California every year.The ASUC is more powerful than I thought. I would've thought most of those closures would be beyond its power. And yes, this is a Dimitri Garcia bill. How did you guess?
A RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF EQUAL PROTECTIONS: It's a Jeff Manassero bill! Well, okay, I wrote it, but he titled it. This will extend equal protection to referenda.
A RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF MORE HUMBLE BY LAWS: Aww, they're taking away the name on the campaign finance bylaws, too.
A Bill In Support Of ASUC Website Temporary Committee: This will establish a committee to deal with the new ASUC website. Or something.
A Bill to Support of Assembly Bill 1548: This bill is sponsored by "Senator Van Nguyen, Sannah Rahim and Alberto Gonzalez." I don't know who those last two are, or why they can sponsor bills. AB 1548 has something to do with textbook publishers disclosing information about the methods they use to make money by editioning and incentivizing. It may be important, but the ASUC endorsement probably won't be.
A Bill to Support of ASSEMBLY BILL 262: The assembly bill seeks to limit credit card dudes on campus. No more free shirts!
A Bill in Support of Dr. Darren Zook: Self-explanatory, I hope.
A BILL IN SUPPORT OF BALLOT CLARITY: This is a Jeff/Alex Kozak bill, which seeks to put restrictions on what goes in the "nickname" part of the ballot:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Title IV, Section 7.2.2 of the ASUC By-Laws be modified to read:If this passes, it'll pass 9 days into, and 2 days before the end of, the filing period. That would be a pretty cramped schedule to correct any names. It's also a pretty serious free speech restriction, as it suddenly becomes the job of the Elections Council to say what is or is not allowed, as nearly anything could be construed as implying who to vote for. If the concern is to prevent nicknames from being used for campaigning, then they just have to do away with them completely.
2. A candidate may have an additional name of no longer than 17 characters in length printed in quotations along with their registered name on the ballot, with the following restrictions to be enforced by the Elections Council Chair:
a. may not imply or contain the name of any other candidate or registered ASUC party in the present election.
b. may not imply or contain instruction on who or what to vote for in the present election
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that candidates shall be discouraged from selecting intentionally misleading nicknames during the ASUC Candidate's Meeting, and throughout the registration process in all future elections.
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Just think how much money could be raised if the effort that went into this were spent actually raising money from willing students.
(By the way, I have enough faith in students here at Cal that I won't be doing the proponents any favors by linking their propoganda.)
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Little known fact
The Berkeley Campus fee has gone up by 75% in the past two years. And the ASUC pushed those fee increases. Please pardon me while I feel somewhat less than moved by your Lobby Day whines, Caroline Szymanska.
For years, our education has been pushed aside and ignored, causing student fees to increase by over 79 percent within the past 10 years.The ASUC has that rate beat! Perhaps if the ASUC showed a bit of restraint, their calls for the Regents to do the same might hold a bit more weight. "Oh, but our fee increases were important and had to be done." I'm sure the Regents feel the same way.
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Monday, March 05, 2007
Senate Quote Reviews
Unfortunately, ASUC Senate profiles on the website aren't as detailed as they've been in the past, which limits the amount of fun I can have. I'll just have to make do.
Jennifer Avelino and Dimitri Garcia have no goals at all. Victoria Mitchell has a goals section, but nothing in it.
One of Curtis Lee's goals is "Student Fees." Apparently, this includes raising them.
Ilana Nankin sought to "Alleviate the Middle East Crisis on Campus." The first place I would've looked for the Middle East Crisis would've been the Middle East. Shows what I know.
Donald Rizzo wins the Quote Award, for the most narrow-minded view of the world: "If you're bored with Berkeley, you're bored with Life."
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Currently, the web pages for executive officers on the ASUC's website list them all with "More information coming soon!" We're somewhere around 3/4 of the way through the term.
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Those are high standards
So, CalPIRG has to go and earn its support by actually approaching people and asking them to support it. TGIF, though, doesn't want to go through all that trouble. Not only do they want money to ease their conscience, they're too lazy to earn it. Instead, they're going with the mandatory fee route, so they won't have to actually justify their work to future students.
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CalSERVE has begun campaigning! Yay! The signs I've seen suggest that their approach is going to be the "not Student Action" approach, which may or may not resonate with the right people. While folks who are knowledgable know about Student Action's misdeeds, those aren't the folks SA relies on.
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Careful word choice
Oh, hey, John Edwards. I hear he's running for president this year. Oh. Make that next year.
"There is something wrong with America when children are forced not to see their parents because they have to work two to three jobs to make ends meet," [Union dude Julian Posadas] said. "We need leaders who have a proven track record of trying to end poverty like John Edwards."Proven track record? How long has Edwards been around? How is it that, with Mr. Proven Track Record around, parents still have to work two to three jobs?
Oh, I get it. A proven track record of "trying." I guess that also makes it a proven track record of failing.
"America as a nation says, 'We are going to commit ourselves to a serious long-term investment in biodegradable energy,'" Edwards said.Biodegradable?
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Sunday, March 04, 2007
I should put a post up.
So, who's going to be the Student Action slate this year? My anonymous source, who I won't vouch for, says Ilana Nankin is going to be President, Curtis Lee is going to be EVP, and Eunice Moon is going for AAVP.
For bonus points: Who'll be the Student Advocate?
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Friday, March 02, 2007
So, I went to another Judicial Council hearing again, and for some reason, Taylor Allbright showed up.
Again, I don't expect to win, but just to give you the idea of the level at which the ASUC's representatives are approaching this, let me give you this quote from their brief:
The equal protection clause was meant mainly to protect smaller parties from larger ones, not non-incumbents from incumbents.
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I hope you like the color green
So, I was going to give them some time to get their site in order, but the Green Fee folks went and put the site out there in my comments, so they lost their chance.
It turns out this TGIF thing is sort of a franchise. It smells a lot like CalPIRG. But let's take a look at their campaign site.
We start off with some guy talking about something. I hope you like loading video files without being asked.
Sam Arons, a grad student at Cal studying... uh... "renewable energy." Clearly not an engineering term. TGIF, you see, "is a fee referendum to make UC Berkeley green." That's right, by paying just $5 more a semester, ALL ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS ON CAMPUS WILL BE SOLVED FOR ALL TIME!!! Apparently, last year, a bunch of interns went and switched some lightbulbs in Barrows, saving the campus "$10000 a year." Note, of course, that this happened without the guilt tax being proposed. So what's it for again? Oh, that's right. See, currently, only people who want to help will help, and that is unacceptable, because the campus somehow wants to help more than that. I don't know how that can make logical sense, but hey, who am I to judge people's devotion by their actions? By the way, if doing this stuff saves a shitload of money, why don't we just use that money we save?
Remember, "Vote Yes for TGIF on April 8!" And, you know, not on any other day.
Okay, so we've established that the TGIF folks don't know how to find out when the election is, but somehow we're supposed to trust them to control our money.
The Steering Committee for Charging Students Money to Assuage the Committee's Conscience (also known as the TGIF steering committee) supposedly meets Mondays from 8-10 pm in 115 Barrows. So go make your voice heard, and go spy for me, too.
Rachel Barge explains that the big reason to pass this is to leave a legacy here. "Legacy," in this case, means increased fees for future students that we won't have pay. So if you support boosting your ego on the backs of future students, vote YES!
Katherine Brittain notes that while we use natural gas power, we "can always switch" to hydroelectric, solar, or wind power. Well, "can," "always," and "switch" are strong words.
Oh, and one of the reasons you should support alternative energy is because George Bush does. Similarly, you should support the war in Iraq.
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Arrests at the BP protest!
Ignacio Chapela, an associate professor in the department of environmental science, policy and management, said it was upsetting that a student was arrested for a theatrical performance.Everyone go dump harmless black liquids over Chapela's property! He doesn't think there's anything wrong with that. Also, he "believed" it was molasses? He didn't know and tasted it anyway? Actually, that explains a lot...
"The problems this deal will cause for the university are much more damaging than a mock oil spill," Chapela said.
To confirm the black liquid was harmless, Chapela dipped his finger in the mess and tasted it. Chapela said he believed the liquid was molasses.
"Students have no say—that is not democracy," said senior Hillary Lehr, an anthropology and conservation and resource studies major. "Even though (the contract) looks democratic because there are forums, the fact of the matter is that it's not."Um... okay. I guess it's true. It's not a democracy. Was it supposed to be or something?
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I beg to differ
And without the trust of the campus community, the project simply won't work.I think the sciency professors will somehow bring themselves to accept enormous amounts of research funding, even without that trust.
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As expected, I lost my voter bribe case. Amaris White dissented about fee referenda, though. The Judicial Council as a whole, however, ruled that fee referenda proponents and opponents do not, under the current by-laws, have equality guaranteed. This differs, by the way, from an earlier decision on a Temporary Rule last year, when such equality was ruled to be guaranteed. In that case, though, it was the proponents who would be helped by that interpretation.
(By the way, I was especially unimpressed by the Judicial Council's ruling that I had not proven that the voter incentive brings people to the polls. The defense argued that the voter incentive brings folks to the polls, too. It's an incentive. I didn't even realize there was a dispute on this point. Amaris's dissent was on this: "As the coupon is an incentive, by the very meaning of the word, it is intended to have some effect on the voter.")
Also, Amaris and Carmel Levitan have resigned.
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Thursday, March 01, 2007
I'm guessing the Berkeley Ewoks are orgasming right now.
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