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Archive for February, 2007

Student Senate Report 2/28/07

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

Tonights meeting began an hour later than usual, as Senators were busy attending the Presidents Leadership Symposium until past the usual 7pm start time. For some bizarre reason, the Leadership Resource Office saw fit to invite your Commentator management to the bash, where we endured a “pick a major” test, campus caterings “student” level of cusine (well below “donor,” “admnistrator” and “faculty” levels), and a speech on the importance of courage in leadership… guess which of these didn’t set the tone for the following meeting? Angry, angry after the jump… (more…)

Hamilton/Papailiou Present Goals, Slate Plans

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

The Executive ticket of Senate President Sara Hamilton and Senator Athan Papailiou formally announced the goals of their candidacy at a media event in the EMU today. In speeches by the two candidates and campaign manager Jacob Daniels, the ticket placed structural reform at the heart of its efforts, stating that “our candidacy will be centered on long term, sustainable incidental fee reform.” The ticket also publicly appealed to reform-minded students and candidates to join their slate of candidates, emphasizing the need to build consensus without the “back-room deals” that they said characterize traditional ASUO politics.

Although an official platform is still about a week away, pending review and input from potential slate members, Hamilton gave taste of what can be expected from the campaign. Citing the common complaint that a “backwards and structurally inefficient” budget process is compromising student control of budgets, Hamilton presented three points of departure for reform. First, that the current process “struggles to clearly define the purpose of the incidental fee.” Second, that “the current process unfairly pits contracted services and departments against student groups, and professional businessmen against student negotiators,” and third that “the current process is not finding creative and long-term solutions to escape the spending rat race. The cost of services will only continue to increase, and our ability to self-generate revenue cannot sustain itself.”

Hamilton also singled out ODE opinion Editor Tyler Grafs monday column as an example of need for reform creating cynicism and apathy. “We agree with Graf about the problem,” said Hamilton, “but we do not believe that apathy is the answer. Change must take place and the need for reform is serious and imminent.”

Based on what we have seen this year, these statements of intention seem in line with this years burgeoning reform movement, and shows just how mainstream ideas of PFC reform, and fiscal responsibility have come. These are not angry outsiders ranting about politics-as-usual, these are heavy-hitting insiders ranting about politics-as-usual. There is still much to hear from this campaign in terms of a concrete platform and plans, and from other campaigns on their commitment to reform, but this ticket is starting their campaign on the right track. Hopefully we, the students will be treated to an honest, clear-thinking debate on the many structural and “culture” changes so badly needed to get the ASUO headed in the right direction.

Graf disses exec candidates

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Tyler Graf is an angry man. So much so, that he’s already singled out an ASUO Executive ticket for a heartfelt (and well-deserved?) razzing on the ODE blog less than a week after they filed for candidacy. The poor souls caught in Grafs headlights of justice are ASUO outsiders Ari Lesser and Phil Wood, two political science majors running a little-publicized campaign for Executive. Apparently Graf has some quibbles about the tickets stance on spoken word performance art, and links to some pretty entertaining footage of Lesser pronouncing his generic good intentions in rhyming couplets. I don’t think Lesser and Woods are particularly trying to court the Commentator vote, but in hopes that they will deign to sit and discuss the issues with us for our Elections Issue I will show more restraint than Graf and not compare Lessers artistic expression to “an elephants vagina.” I have also lived in Eugene long enough to know that there is probably more of a market here for Lessers “socially concious rap” than there is for Grafs “alco-libertarian columns.” Just the facts, Jack.

Nobody shows up to Stipend Forum

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Various senators were present, various questions were asked; nothing exciting to report.
See for yourself:

UO Game Day Drinking to be Curbed?

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

Ducks TailgateToday’s Register Guard reports that the Eugene City Council took steps yesterday toward regulating drinking at tailgate parties on privately owned parking lots near Autzen Stadium. Currently, the consumption of alcohol is allowed on the massive parking lot next to Autzen on the days of home games. Drinking is technically illegal, but is tolerated in the private lots along MLK Jr. Blvd. This may all change soon as city councilors are considering putting limits on drinking in private lots, but they are putting off making a decision until they know how the University will respond.

Councilor George Poling, who represents the area that includes Autzen, favors expanding the allowance of alcohol to private lots if the University decides not to support any limits on drinking. Of course, the Eugene Police Department and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are against any sort of expansion. EPD stated that the number of brawls and alcohol-related brawls is on the rise, while MADD espoused its typical neo-prohibitionist message.

At least one private organization that provides parking is against any sort of regulation or permits. The Eugene Masonic Lodge manages a 10-acre lot across from Autzen and allows alcohol consumption and just encourages drinkers to dispose of their bottles before crossing the street to Autzen.

(Photo: pete4ducks)

Hamilton and Papailiou to outline campaign agenda

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

The Sara Hamilton and Athan Papailiou ticket for ASUO Executive will be formally releasing “the outline of their goals and vision for their presidential campaign ‘Join Our Vision. Share Our Progress'” tomorrow at 10 am in the main foyer of the EMU. Preliminary intelligence suggests that Hamilton/Papailiou will have one of the more reform-minded agendas in the upcoming race, and this blogger certainly hopes that this little media event will transcend its cheezy tagline and present real options for meaningful reform.¬† If the candidates don’t hide behind well intentioned empty promises, but set realistic plans for real reform, this election will stand a chance at being more than the typical hollow popularity contest… if not, set those snooze buttons for next year. Come on by, and hear what these insiders-cum-reformers have to say, and look for the dude in the Sudsy shirt to share your opinion with this blog.

PFC folds on appeals as whining hits new highs

Monday, February 26th, 2007

Ol Dirty has the details this morning, and it’s cringeworthy stuff. In the sweep of PFC history, the unapologetic threats and political manipulationthis year are probably about par for the course, but I’ll be damned if they don’t piss off something fierce. Keep in mind as you read the following rant that a) the Commentator got an 11% cut this year, and b) I’m not a social conservative, dammit. (more…)

University to absorb $106,000 of Career Center Budget

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

In a memo sent out by the ASUO executive Friday, President Jared Axelrod announced the following:

“It is the opinion of the Executive that the Career Center serves a purpose that greatly advances the mission of the University of Oregon, and as such, should be funded to reflect this level of service and purpose. The Career Center currently has 47% of their operating budget on the incidental fee – a significant amount that results in costing students over $450,000 a year for vital student services. The executive has been in talks with the University administration to have the University absorb a portion of this amount. These efforts have been successful, and the University has graciously agreed to absorb $106,000 of the Career Center budget for the 2008 fiscal year into the University general fund.”

While this move will only save students $2 per term, it is definitely a step in the right direction. Jared has been quiet most of this year, but this memo was well worth the wait as this move will lead to the Career Center budget slowly phasing into the general fund each year, steadily shaving down the incidental fee.

The OC would like to congratulate Jared on his accomplishment, as the University desperately requires changes to its budget process in order to decrease the incidental fee. As well, we would hope that whomever takes the helm after this election cycle will continue the trend of fiscal responsibility, as change can be made if we make our voices heard.

Two More Tickets Enter Exec Race, Axelrod to Sit Out

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Two more tickets have filed documents with the ASUO elections coordinator, and entered the race for executive. This brings the total number of candidacies to four.

ASUO Senate Vice President Jonathan Rosenberg has announced his candidacy, running with Avital Ostfield as his pick for vice president. Also filing for candidacy today was the ticket of ASUO Senate President Sara Hamilton and Senator Athan Papailiou, whose facebook profile is not currently accessible. These two candidacies mark the entry of several ASUO heavy hitters into the race, significantly raising the stakes for all concerned.

In other news, President Jared Axelrod has announced that he will not seek re-election. He has declared is intention to remain neutral in the upcoming election cycle, and has said that he is (understandably) thrilled to not have to worry about the stresses of another campaign.

Niedermeyer to run for Executive?

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

The Emerald is reporting that I, Ted Niedermeyer will be running for Executive as well. This stunning revelation begs the question, how drunk was I last night? Did I really say the following?

“We’re still nailing down the platform, talking to alumni of The Commentator who have run in the past and trying to gauge some people around me,” Niedermeyer said. “I’m going to run because I need to be part of the process. It’s important.”

Oh dear, I let it slip. I wanted everything to be perfect, but I let it slip. Here’s the straight shit: I will run, but I’m not going to talk about it again until the next issue of the Commentator comes out, shortly after the deadline for applications. I will say one thing though: the ASUO doesn’t know whats about to hit them. I’m gonna be a whirling dervish of justice. In fact, that might well be my campaign slogan: “Vote for Niedermeyer, the whirling dervish of justice.” Soft money contributions can be slipped under the door of the Commentator office, Hard liquor contributions buy you some face time with the candidate.

ASUO Executive Campaigns Kick Off

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

As of todays ASUO Elections orientation meeting, two tickets have thrown their hats into the ring for ASUO Executive. According to the ASUO elections office, current ASUO State Affairs Coordinator Emily McLain and current PFC Senator Chii-San Sunowen have filed papers entering them into the Executive race as candidates for President and Vice-President respectively. Also filing papers were Ari Lesser and Phil Wood, reputedly on an anti-war sustainability ticket.

Senate Report 2/21/07: ADFC Budget, Surplus Reform, SRC

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

 Blah blah blah after the jump.

(more…)

Fred Jones Comes Back Home

Thursday, February 22nd, 2007

Fred Jones Dunking (from CoachKent.com)Former Oregon basketball great Fred Jones was today traded by the Toronto Raptors to the 24-32 Blazers. Jones is, of course, one of the best players ever to attend the UO, and while his NBA career hasn’t been as decorated as his college one he will nevertheless be a solid addition to the young Portland team: he’s a good defender and is excellent at dribble penetration. Plus, the Blazers have spent the past few years worrying about their image and, if nothing else, Jones will be a fan favorite thanks to his PDX roots, friendly demeanor, and ridiculous dunking ability.

The only real questions remaining are if his mediocre shooting percentage will go up and if he’ll gel with Coach Nate McMillen and the rest of the Blazers team. I’m guessing that the answer to both will be “yes”– but hey, when one of your favorite players is now on your favorite team it’s hard to not be a bit optimistic.

More on the trade here, at the Oregonian’s Blazers Blog.

Schwoeffermann Strikes Back

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Well, it’s 4 am, I can’t sleep, and apparently Ty Schwoeffermann is writing again… just what I needed.

Having disappeared from the Emerald after his now-infamous “Watch out for Jungle Fever” column, Ty is back with a guest commentary entitled “Athletics should offer more to higher education.” Whereas “Jungle Fever” was unrelentingly, overbearingly, crushingly stupid, the latest opus is more mildly confused with just a dash of the famous Schwoeffermann crazy.

The piece begins:

The majority of students are grateful for the opportunity to attend such a high-caliber school, and if your family is wealthy (the average University of Oregon student’s family income is $100,000 per year), then a quality education is implied.

The rest is of about the same quality, except for this little nugget:

Financial assistance along with many other supplements can change the racial and class disparities at this school. The Athletic Department is not causing racism and economic inequality, but it is not advocating against it. By not actively working to fix these problems, the department is only facilitating the inequality by putting student athletes to work on the plantation fields.

So let’s recap: Schwoefferman railing against interracial dating is not racist, but the Athletic Department’s lack of advocacy is. C’mon Ty, don’t athletes get academic support and residence options that aren’t available to the average student? Do you really think anyone takes charges of racism seriously from someone who thinks interracial dating “isn’t right”? Don’t you think it’s a little bit insulting to the memory of the survivors of slavery to compare their ordeal to collegiate athletes in the 21st Century? And I thought the Commentator was desperate for content…

Why Oregon is Good Drinkin’ Country

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

Oregon BeerLocal bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler has a nice post about all the wonderful things that make Oregon an alcoholic’s paradise. Good bartenders, wild hops, and the same latitude as Burgundy, France are among the few things that bring Oregon up to the level of famed drinking states like New York, Louisiana, Kentucky and California. While Democratic state legislators are eager to increase taxes on our beer, at least there are many other boozy blessings in our state.

While you’re at it, you should check out Morgenthaler’s “Eight Things You Should Never Say to Your Bartender,” and his posts on Repeal Day, a holiday all bar-going Americans should celebrate.

(Photo: Old Sarge)