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Nap Time!!!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

As I typically do, I'm publishing the list of "serious" SQUELCH! candidates:

Matt Guilhem - #119
Sarah Rothberg - #120
Ashlie Cloudt-Barrall - #136
Jessica Felber - #137
John Moghtader - #138

I don't know if you've seen them, but you can check out their campaign videos here and here. (My opinion: Matt's far funnier than John's)

I'm a bit torn about SQUELCH! this year. It feels like there are two sides to SQUELCH!. The first is the SQUELCH! we know and love (or hate) that shares a lot of staff with the Squelch magazine and is... well... funny. Or at least not humorless. I include most of the SQUELCH! senators from the past few years (Andy Ratto (whoops, my bad... never a senator, but still included in the list for obvious reasons), Ben Narodick, David Wasserman) and the executive candidates in this group, which I continue to support because they tend to stay out of stupid international political wars and try to boost student group funding while showing respect to the student body. The candidates for this side are Matt Guilhem and Sarah Rothberg, I believe.

The other side is embodied by Gabe Weiner. Some people may suspect that Gabe has somewhat strong feelings about Israel. That Israel bill sort of represents how he diverges from the old school SQUELCH! folks, in that he's willing to dive into these stupid, meaningless discussions. So while Weiner was willing to challenge the stupidity of the folks in power, he wasn't willing to avoid getting into it himself. Jessica Felber and John Moghtader seem to be more in this vein, and I'm really hesitant to support them. They do seem to be more effective at getting elected, though that's sort of a minus for much of funny SQUELCH!'s base.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 4/05/2008 07:46:00 PM #
Comments (20)
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Your dichotomy is false. Whereas SQUELCH! has always run candidates connected to the magazine, none has ever been elected. Many of them run for the sake of comedy, and that hasn't changed.

The SQUELCH! Party senators nevertheless strongly support publication and student group funding.

This year Gabe Weiner was a major advocate for publications. A bill he introduced just passed that changes the bylaws to allow for more publication funding. And he worked as an independent chair of fi comm for fair allocations.

Also keep in mind that he's not the first SQUELCH! senator to take a stand on an external issue.

The Israel bill was introduced because many students were worried about anti-Semitism on campus. When the bill went before the senate, hundreds of students showed up because they care.

If you think the ASUC should do nothing to address things like anti-Semitism, that’s one thing. It’s something else to accuse those who care of engaging in “stupid, meaningless discussions.” You should realize that for many students on campus Middle East issues aren’t just “stupid international political wars.”
Two drunken blog comment errors:

1) Beetle - Ratto was never a senator. Close, but no cigar.

2) Anon - The recent trend of senators (Wass and Weiner) are the exception to the rule. Myself and Richard Schulman and our predecessors were writers and staff members for the magazine. We run other staffers, obviously, so they can get involved and draw in more votes to help the cause.

As for the main point of the article, I don't necessarily agree that S! members have always stayed out of the meaningless fights. I definitely strayed into one or two - it just kind of happens, and it can be fun as long as you recognize that it's mostly pointless.

For the record, I think Gabe has done a strong job fighting for publications and student group autonomy this year. His political opinions are irrelevant to how I judge his performance - that, above all is the SQUELCH! way. You do the right thing for the students - and that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your own voice in the process.

John (who I know) and Jessica (who I have heard a lot about) seem like great people who have the potential to be great senators. So do Ashlie, Sarah, and Matt. I hope two or three of them get elected and shake things up this year. The stronger the third-party presence is in the Senate, the better.
I wouldn't describe Weiner as having fun in those fights, but I guess he can speak for himself if he wants.

This wasn't meant as an anti-endorsement for John and Jessica. I probably will end up fitting them on my ballot somewhere. At the same time, I'm not particularly comfortable with the direction SQUELCH! appears to be moving, and I don't think I'm the only one. SQUELCH! appears to be two separate parties, with the folks smoking a hookah on Sproul being merely a tool for getting votes to the folks holding signs and handing out fliers (!!!).

That's not to say we don't benefit from a serious third party of this type, but I can easily see the new SQUELCH! going the way of APPLE. That's still fine with me, but not if an independent SQUELCH! isn't still around to take on Student Action when necessary.
I think it's important to remember that SQUELCH! is still run by two non-senator chairs that are linked extraneously to the magazine and have no intention of relinquishing control to anyone at the cost of party autonomy.

I can't speak for signs and flyers, but there are going to be growing pains. Balancing sophomoric politics and a desire to actually make a difference is a very difficult challenge, and I'm interested to see how people respond this year.
Also, there's a third SQUELCH! video:

I think you are the only one who thinks SQUELCH! is moving in some different direction. SQUELCH! is just as it has been in the past. SQUELCH! has always had candidates who straddled the line between being serious and being funny.

And SQUELCH! just like past years has a full slate of joke candidates and is doing their typical campaigning.
Gabe is about as far from that line as you can get.

I'm not sure those candidates still exist and can win. There's a difference between the party straddling that line and the candidates doing so.
it's cool to be funny when you run, but there's no reason to continue to be funny IN the senate.

No one even pays attention during the year. It would just waste time.
Beetle, I agree with the split you outlined, but I think its more serious than funny/serious.

Admittedly, Gabe was by far the least funny senator this year. But more disturbing is that he more than anyone else strengthened the partisan divide in the senate, reinforcing the two-party binary by manipulating the majority party for his own political agenda.

His approach to the US-Israel relationship bill was not an exception, it was emblematic of the way he conducted himself as a senator.

You might notice that both John and Jessica are core members of Tikvah: Students for Israel, yet neither mention the ASUC's involvement on issues external to the campus in any of their campaign platforms. Still, Tikvah and its supporters are very clearly the base that they will draw from, using the transfers from the other Squelch candidates who drop to get elected.

This is very clearly an example of two candidates who are cloaking a one-issue political agenda in the guise of a well loved party whose history has been of challenging partisanship, while supporting free speech and directly funding student groups.

Both of these candidates know that their views are so extreme and out of synch with the vast majority of Berkeley students that the only way that they can get elected is to hide them and co-opt a party whose values have nothing to do with theirs.

I really hope Matt or Sarah gets elected, because they will represent not only the humor of Squelch but also the party's core values as an independent voice promoting student groups over ASUC politics.
Oh, right, the Zionist conspiracy angle.

As you can see, that Israel bill didn't do much to fight anti-semitism on campus.
Previous SQUELCH! senators sponsored MCC bills and initiated scholarships for students with drug misdemeanors, who are disqualified from financial aid. I heard that bills used to be written as haikus by Ben.

The current SQUELCH! senator, and those who are the bottom anchors on this year's slate, are law-and-order fanatics who I don't believe would ever have supported such scholarships that put them in opposition to predominant attitudes about... anything. Giving an announcement once the senate is out of committee-of-the-whole in order to write an expletive into the minutes, as this year's senator did, is about the douchiest thing imaginable that anybody could do. The "real" SQUELCH candidates draw penises on the walls, and would probably give an announcement just to put the word "penis" in the minutes, for kicks.

The ones in the second camp as you mentioned seriously lack that sort of humor. Nobody doubts that they have issues to work on--but they do diverge from the SQUELCH trend of a humorous attitude towards the ASUC.
Oh, and about the comment before Beetle's last one: I don't see how that is anti-semitic or conspiratorial. Gabe, John, and Jessica are all founding members of Tikvah, and they take that organization seriously, as well as the ASUC as a forum for showing support of Israel. Jessica was Gabe's intern in the senate this year. The association is there, it's not invented, and it's not speculative. It's real. It doesn't mean they'll draft US-Israel bills, but it does reflect Gabe's urge to make sure right-wing Israel-supporters are in the senate--which is fine. The only questionable thing about the comment above is that it assumes that that is "why" they're running, which, based on their platforms, is not conclusive.

Congratulations for your anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

I suppose the other Jewish candidates are just running for the ASUC for Israel issues too. Since a person is a Jew who cares about Israel that's the person's sole issue, eh, regardless of their actual platforms?

Now I can understand why the ASUC had an Israel bill in the first place if there are others at Cal who think like you.
Yaman, saying that the reason they're running is to subvert SQUELCH! and Student Action (and, by extension, the ASUC) into their tool to advocate for Israel while hiding their true goals is a Zionist conspiracy theory of the least creative kind.
on a completely unrelated topic:
Beetle, can you tell me about this Allison Day, J-Council Chair, character? She keep emailing me dumb questions and it makes me miss Sonya Banerjee's (comparable) competence...

Since she's probably bugging you on account of my suit, I don't think it would be appropriate for me to comment.

In any case, I don't really know anything about her.
Yaman do you spend all your time on blogs spewing anti-Semitic propaganda and left-wing conspiracy theories? Get a life!
I just think it's cute that we'd be missed this much.
Beetle, on second reading, I think you're right.
Andrew Morris for Student Advocate! The only serious candidate in this election!

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