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Nap Time!!!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

These are definitely some of the most endorseful nonendorsements I've ever seen. It seems like The Daily Cal wanted to declare itself "above the fray" somehow, and sought out reasons not to endorse candidates, regardless of their preferences. A general "we don't endorse" policy is solid, but this just looks cowardly. In fact, there are three "this candidate would be best, but we don't know enough details!" nonendorsements, for which they have their own endorsement forum format to blame.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 4/07/2009 08:50:00 PM #
Comments (14)
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clearly, in past years, there was enough information on candidates and true leaders from each executive position stood out so that endorsements could be made.
"Though Kifah Shah promoted herself as "facilitator" more than anyone else, this CalSERVE candidate is completely unfit for the position of executive vice president, given her heinous displays of partisanship time after time on and off the senate floor"

SHOT DOWN. It's about time somebody stood up to her bullshit.
I agree. The Daily Cal makes a huge show of indignation with the ASUC to distance itself from the mess the student government is in, but denying endorsements in this manner is just as immature and inarticulate of a 'protest' as not voting is. Ultimately, there IS a big differences in the candidates, and there the Daily Cal obviously recognizes that, even if they feel that actually standing behind a candidate is beneath them.
Jim Fung, former student, back for my yearly election-time check-in lol. I'm glad you are still blogging, Beetle.

What are the three implied endorsements you see, Beetle?

I only see one, for Isaac Miller for Academic Affairs VP.

I actually applaud the Daily Cal for not endorsing. Their introduction to their non-endorsements makes a lot of sense to me in terms of the ASUC having ceded too much power to the ASUC Auxiliary and the university, and needing to change that but seeing no plans to do so. The Daily Cal endorsements usually don't matter all that much anyway.
P.S., I am still a CalSERVE supporter and think they have run a great slate this year, as they do most years. It's just that I also respect and agree with the Daily Cal's point about the ASUC having ceded too much power, and I'm glad the Daily Cal is making that point.
People (the Daily Cal, in particular) have no idea or sense of history of what was actually ceded back when the CAA was signed. Would it have been fine to have not signed the CAA, then allowed the Student Store to close because there were no books on the shelves or clothes on the racks? That's what would have happened because the ASUC couldn't get a credit line back then. The CAA allowed the STUDENTS to stop having to vote on pension plans for employees and focus more on student groups. As an ASUC employee with 25 years of experience, would you feel really comfortable with 20 elected 19 & 20-year olds deciding on your retirement?
Thanks for your post raising historical awareness and some issues we might not be thinking of, Petros.

I don't think people are saying that nothing should have been done back then. I was a freshman in 1998, when the ASUC bankruptcy was still a recent event. The ASUC did need the University to bail it out.

The question is, what to do now? Is it okay for students to feel like they have so little say over what happens in their own buildings? Does it make sense that Nadesan Permaul seems to mostly be the one setting the agenda for the ASUC (despite, true, the presence of several students on the Store Operations Board)? How can this change?

"Focusing on student groups" -- what does that mean? The ASUC should be more than a dysfunctional bank that can't make decisions and is running out of money.

I trust CalSERVE to at least raise these questions, although they don't seem to have come up with strong answers yet and are still too accommodating of the university, which is frustrating. I'm disappointed that CalSERVE seems largely acquiescing in the possible gentrification of the Bear's Lair food court, where the current longtime vendors could well be kicked out, for the promise of more money for student groups. What seems to be ignored is that that money is going to come from students' pockets paying higher prices for food. It seems to me the existing vendors could have been given long-term new leases for higher rent, which I think they would have been okay with, and with criteria to implement improvements (I understand there was controversy about whether Healthy Heavenly Foods had done any improvements) and implement sustainability practices, with monitoring and reporting to see that those criteria were met, where the lease could be voided if those criteria were not met.

Meanwhile, Student Action largely sidesteps these questions for so-called "tangible results" benefitting a few people and harming a few or many others. In retrospect, Manuel Buenrostro kicking out the Bearcade, which was used by some students and was once thriving, for Gelateria Naia, which I have read is not even open anymore(?), looks worse and worse. I'm proud to say I was against that at the time already.

Anyway, voting is over now, and I'm hoping for another CalSERVE sweep! :) Whether they sweep or not, I hope the ASUC's elected officials will be able to find a way to reassert student power which seems to be have been lost.

I would wholeheartedly agree with you that the ASUC shouldn't let Nad Permaul run roughshod over them at the S.O.B. meetings. However, having worked with Nad for many years, I would firmly believe that he's only exerting the authority he believes is necessary due to a lack of authority or leadership from the ASUC leaders themselves. Nad was one of the few administrators at UCB who I always felt had students best interests at heart. The only way to truly turn things around is to have strong leadership, something I think Cal-SERVE may not have demonstrated this year (that recall election decision is still mind-boggling).

While you and I could go back and forth about the merits and demerits of Cal-SERVE and Student Action, it wouldn't serve too much purpose except to give me an alternative to actually doing work. I haven't followed the ASUC too closely since I graduated in 2000 but I get the sense that both parties haven't exactly wowed the socks off students in quite some time. I think both major parties need to call in some of their old fogeys/historians to get them to remember what it was that brought their parties into existence.
So Jim, how exactly do you raise money for the ASUC if not through food court vendors? Have you seen the latest data on the financial situation of the ASUC?

I think it's totally unfair for student groups to suffer through fewer and fewer resource allocations because a few individuals believe retrofitting and upgrading Lower Sproul is "gentrification."

Bottom line: CalServe and its constituencies would be nothing without financial resources to "underrepresented" communities. Where does part of that revenue come from?
I think student groups should have the resources they need, but I don't think a formula of eternally increasing the amount of funding for student groups is sustainable or necessary. Promising more more all the time just leads to wasteful and frivolous spending. Shit, is it too much to ask that student groups be a little more austere with their spending, and that the Senate exercise a bit more discretion when allotting money? I mean we have a situation where groups are spending loads of money for the sake of spending loads of money, and ASUC officials are all caught up in this madness because they see the spending of student money on "successful" events as support for their campaigns. The system we have now encourages wasteful and excessive spending by the Senate, because senators see it as a way of securing future votes by securing connections to students & groups. The funding process either needs to be de-politicized or more stringent rules-- that can't be overridden-- need to be applied and enforced. There are some pretty bad events this year that have secured hundreds of dollars while only involving a handful of students. I don't see anything wrong with the formula of requiring student groups to spend less student money, and asking them to find alternative sources on their own. Yes, it sucks, yes, it means we can't print out a thousand awesome t-shirts for this one night event that we can wear as pajamas for the next two years, yes, it sucks, and means we can't spend $2,000 on posters and throw away 25% of them that aren't passed out or posted, yes, it means all this waste can't happen-- but jesus christ guys, money isn't exactly growing on trees here. Some student groups here are allotted thousands of dollars a year in budgeting and events, but never once have engaged in fundraising activities. How does that make any sense?

We can avoid selling out our campus by enforcing more responsible spending by student groups, requiring that a certain amount of the money allotted to a student group be matched in fundraising activities by the same group, and removing incentives for senators to spend unthinkingly for their own political ends.
anonymous, did you miss the part where I supported raising the rent, which I think the vendors would have agreed to although they were not even given the chance?

Also, what do you think about the point that any increased revenues for student groups is really a backdoor tax on students anyway by increasing the price of food? Bringing in a business already available nearby, to inside the student union, does little to increase student welfare -- but destroying longtime, appreciated, affordable small business institutions certainly decreases it.

Yaman, good ideas.
By the way, I'm not even talking about Panda Express ... While I would support the idea of a student-run food co-op in the space proposed for Panda Express (and I'm glad there seems to be organizing on that front), it is a separate issue from how it seems the vendors in the current Food Court are being treated and what their replacement would mean to student welfare, student finances, and the vendors' livelihoods.
Not to hijack this comment thread into my personal soapbox, but just a little update since I had written that I was disappointed with CalSERVE seemingly "largely acquiescing" on the Bear's Lair food court based on the information I had at the time --

I've done some more reading of minutes and emailed a bit now, and am encouraged that it's not over yet regarding the Bear's Lair spaces going out to RFP. I am also encouraged that Roxanne Winston and others are supportive of the current small businesses. I am relieved that CalSERVE is there at a time like this.

At the same time, the more I read, the more depressing the ASUC Auxiliary's overall finances seem, and I am hoping someone can come up with a revolutionary new model. This is depressing that people might be losing their jobs because of the restructuring of the ASUC Auxiliary which is happening because of the flat revenues. Even a Panda Express on Lower Sproul seems like it would only be a band-aid, even if it was a success, given how much money the student store is losing. I don't know how much it would help, but is enough being done to market to students to shop at "our store", "our student union" -- like a "buy USA" thing? Good thing, there seems to still be a fair bit of empty or underused space, so if the right tenants (not just talking food service tenants) could be found that could really attract students, there would probably be space for them. But it still all seems so bleak ... Is there any fee increase students could vote for that would help, or is the separation between the ASUC Auxiliary and the rest of the ASUC too storng? Could it be possible that the Student Store will end up closing in a few years? Has that ever happened at a major university?

Anyway I don't really expect answers to all these questions, just musing. I'll stop, this is Justin's blog. :) Good luck to all the people who have to deal with this!
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