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Archive for August, 2010

Last night’s Senate meeting . . .

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

. . . totally didn’t happen, because there was no quorum. Quorum for the Summer Senate is 2/3 of seated members, of which there are 11. As far as I know, nobody has resigned from Summer Senate so far (not with public notice anyway), so that means they would have had to have eight people show up. They had four. Pretty much a fail, in my book.

Although they didn’t have an official meeting, they did give some updates:

  1. According to Summer Senate Chair Kaitlyn Lange, there is no longer a Finance Coordinator in the ASUO Executive. This must mean that Kamal Ararso has left the position, but the ASUO hasn’t posted a hiring notice for the position yet. It’s KIND OF an important job, so they should probably get on that.
  2. The ASUO is working on hiring their Sustainability Coordinator. They are waiting on approval from Human Resources at the moment, but once that approval is received, they will be opening up the position for a regional search.
  3. And for by far the most interesting of updates, the ASUO office was the victim of what Ben Eckstein called “criminal mischief 3.” Some amazing person pinned seven (or so) insects to the ASUO Programs billboard, all science lab dissection style. Apparently there were six flies and a cockroach. Nicole Nelson was purported to have said, “There is a science dedicated to the study of bugs, the programs billboard is not the place for such studies.”

So far, I have not seen any output from Summer Senate. They have committees, they’re supposed to be doing things, but they certainly haven’t shown any of it off. Hell, they can’t even get a quorum of members to come to a monthly meeting. I absolutely cannot believe that they tried to give themselves stipends. Thank goodness that didn’t end up happening.

I think it’s about time to start the ASUO Senator resignation pool. I’m going to go with 6 senators, although that estimate is quite conservative. Anyone else?

ASUO Summer Senate Meeting Tonight

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Tonight, there is a Summer Senate meeting:

This is an official notice that the ASUO Student Senate will have a special meeting on Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 at 6:00pm. The meeting will be held in GER 246.

The Agenda is as follows:
1. Call to order
2. Approval of the agenda
3. Special requests
a. APS
4. New Business
a. Updates
b. Finance Retreat
5. Announcements
6. Adjourn

Hope to see you there,

Kaitlyn Lange
ASUO Summer Senate Chair

I’ll post a recap after, so you really don’t have to show up. CoverItLive will also not likely resume until the fall.

Two bites from the OLCC pie.

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

The Oregonian is currently doing a series on the budget crisis in Oregon, including this quick article from Saturday’s paper about eliminating the OLCC. Essentially, the article lists the pros and cons of privatization. The most interesting part:

2009-2011 budget: $134 million, generated by sales, fees and fines. Here’s the breakdown: $9.7 million, 67 employees for purchasing, wholesale and support; $18.3 million, 104 employees for public safety; $14.9 million, 59 employees for support services, which includes administration; $82.3 million agents’ compensation and $8.9 million merchant fees. OLCC returned $172 million in proceeds to state and local government for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

In other OLCC news, Oregon Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-4) is proposing a change to the legislation preventing Oregon homebrewers from consuming their product outside of their homes, an issue that came to head this year (haha, get it?) when the DOJ interpreted the existing legislation regarding the consumption of homebrewed alcohol to mean the end of the homebrew competition at the Oregon State Fair. The legislation is being drafted, and will likely be considered in January, when the legislature gets to start having fun with the state budget again:

Christie Scott, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, said her agency has looked into numerous ways to work within the confines of the law while allowing home brewers to continue sharing their beers and ales beyond where they were brewed. But none of the possible solutions have been practical.

“The only real solution to getting this change is changing the statute, and that is exactly what we’re working with Sen. Prozanski on,” Scott said.

Prozanski said he’s taking the lead in the Legislature on finding a solution.

Prozanski said it will spell out clearly what Oregonians can and cannot do with the beer, wine, hard cider and other home-made alcohol they produce. The goal is to return to the way such beverages could be enjoyed before the Justice Department’s new interpretation of the law.

“What’s been going on for decades should be permitted,” Prozanski said.

All this anti-OLCC press will certainly be a motivating factor in the midterm elections coming up in the fall, specifically since Republican candidate Chris Dudley is making it a campaign issue.

ASUO Hiring Constitution Court Associate Justice

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

The ASUO is seeking to hire a new Con Court Justice [emphasis added]:

ASUO
Student Body Government

Now Hiring Con Court Appointment

Constitution Court Associate Justice
Hear student grievances, govern elections, issue rulings and maintain constitutional order. One position available, no law student requirement for the current opening

All student job eligibility requirements apply to all ASUO Openings. Position is open until filled. More information, applications and position descriptions are available in the ASUO Office (EMU Suite #4) or online at http://asuo.uoregon.edu/getinvolved.php.

For full consideration, applications are due no later than 5p.m. on Wednesday, September 29, 2010.

AA/EOE/ADA.

I am totally enamored with the idea of the ASUO Con Court being heralded with the task of maintaining constitutional order in the student government. Not historically a political body, the Con Court wields as much power as it is given. Expect a lot more this year, now that former Senator Nick Schultz is a member of the body, as he is attending law school at the UO. I’m just trying to say, maintaining constitutional order, if it was ever even attempted, would probably backfire and create a lot more problems for everyone involved.

Either way, it’s entertaining for the rest of us, assuming that the Con Court has the opportunity to actually do something this year. I know they will have to sort out the problem of academic senate seat re-apportionment, so we will see how political that gets.

Also: I’m making it my mission to apply for every open position in the ASUO, starting with this one. I’m going to guess that I’m not going to get a single interview. In fact, I’m willing to put money on it. Any takers?

On logical discourse.

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Developers attempting to build an Islamic cultural center two blocks from ground zero in New York City are facing resistance from a number of individuals and politicians in the area and around the country, even catching the attention of President Obama himself.

Here’s how I’m looking at it.

A Baptist man moved to Springfield, Illinois and killed a bunch of four-year-old redheads. Nine years later, when individuals wanted to build a new Baptist church in Springfield a couple blocks from the elementary school, the developers received a considerable amount of backlash from not only the citizens of Springfield, but the mayor of the city and governor of Illinois. They all requested that the church not be located in Springfield, but instead in a neighboring town, so as to protect their redheaded children from all . . . the . . . Baptists . . .

wait, what? What’s going on, America?

I understand that by attempting to develop in such close proximity to ground zero, these developers were willingly entering into a conversation and opening themselves up to scrutiny and conflict. But this whole conflict seeks to demonize a religion for the acts of certain followers of that faith, which seems a bit absurd to me.

Medical Dispensaries On November Ballot

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

The good folks over at the Oregon Politico have a story about the successful petition for Initiative 28 to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate and provide services to those with medical marijuana prescriptions in Oregon. From the post:

Klahr, the co-chief petitioner of Initiative 28, said the regulated medical marijuana supply system would allow patients instant access to their medicine from a qualified and reliable source.

The Coalition for Patients’ Rights 2010 collected 130,000 signatures to ensure that the requirement of 82,769 valid signatures would be met to put the initiative on the ballot.

Dispensaries would be able to grow marijuana or purchase it from licensed producers and other dispensaries as long as they fell within Oregon’s state lines.

Klahr said that the permit process would allow tighter regulations and better monitoring of the quality of the product.

Prior to going back and getting more signatures, the Coalition for Patients’ Rights 2010 ran into some snags in getting the required number, with only 67.86% being valid.

Emerald publisher quits.

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

The Daily Emerald’s publisher, Kellee Weinhold, has resigned, according to a press release the newspaper’s board sent out Friday.

The publisher is the one who runs the business side of the paper. For the background on the creation of this position, probably the best place to go is the blog that the Emerald’s staff, when I was a part of it, kept up while it was on strike two years ago. Here’s the article I wrote last summer when Weinhold was hired.

The press release says she has gone on to a new job at LivingSocial, which you may know from its somewhat grating Facebook aps (redundant?).

I feel the obligation to, as someone who might be expected to have a perspective on such things, say a few words about her tenure. I also feel the obligation, as probably the only person who will end up reporting on this, to keep my opinions out of it. Here’s a middle-of-the-road option:

In the bluntest terms, the position of publisher exists to stop the Emerald from bleeding money, which (it is no secret) is what it and just about every other advertising-funded print newspaper in the country have been doing. In that regard, Kellee’s record is mixed.

Not having anticipated that I would be writing this post three months later, I didn’t take note of the exact parameters of the Emerald’s financial situation at the last Emerald Board meeting I attended, on my last day as a staffer. However, what I do remember is that the Emerald is still losing money. Weinhold did make changes that curtailed some of that: the Emerald sold more ads, cut back its office space, and (this is something about which my feelings are colored by my own personal relationships) she reduced payroll, with all the unpleasantness that suggests. I recall thinking that less money was lost than in the preceding year.

Whether enough money was saved to recoup Weinhold’s salary, I am unable to deduce, but I think one speaking from my perspective cannot conclusively say whether she failed or succeeded in that regard.

Who knows what will happen next with the business side of the Emerald. Weinhold ran the advertising office, so someone’s going to have to start doing that. Fortunately for the Emerald (I am obliged by posting on the Commentator site to say, ‘and the rest of campus’), there will not be another paper published until the beginning of fall term, which leaves them as much time as possible to find a replacement.

Season Tickets

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

Hey, I know you probably know this by now, but student season tickets will be on sale on August 22nd via GoDucks.com for $200. We received this email from the ASUO a little while ago:

Dear Students,

The Athletic Department will be releasing student season tickets on Sunday, August 22nd. Students should be on the look out for an email to their student accounts from goducks.com for additional details and instructions. Season tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. They will be $200. Any questions can be addressed to the Athletic Department at tickets@uoregon.edu.

Thank you

The Flan’s article in the Ol’ Dirty quoted the price at “around $300″ in the print version [she has since changed the online version to say $200].

I’ve heard that in order to make up the 11% ($160,000) cost difference from the reduction of the contract with the Athletic Department the ASUO will have to sell close to the full amount of available season tickets to break even. I guess I’m not sure if students will pay out of pocket for football games or take their chances with the lottery of online tickets. I’m sure some students will, but we’ll see if it’ll be enough.

UO Matters suddenly, inexplicably optimistic.

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

This was just posted on UO Matters under the headline “Every now and then”:

8/11/2010: there is a sign that UO is moving towards being a real institution for the public good, with decisions made in the open, on the basis of joint goals and a shared mission. We are still a long way off, but I think the direction is good.

Of what is this a propos? I certainly don’t have the answers. If you do, let us know.

Lemonade Stands and Regulations

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

This is a story about Julie Murphy.

Julie Murphy is from Oregon City. She was inspired to become an entrepreneur by one of her favorite television shows. She and her mother traveled up to Portland, to set up shop in a more lucrative location — Alberta Street. As is often the case, Julie was shut down by the authorities and their “heavy handed regulations.”

The authorization in question is a $120 temporary restaurant license. The business in question is a lemonade stand. Julie Murphy is seven years old.

Even before her daughter had finished making the first batch of lemonade, a man walked up to buy a 50-cent cup.

“They wanted to support a little 7-year-old to earn a little extra summer loot,” she said. “People know what’s going on.”

Even so, Julie was careful about making the lemonade, cleaning her hands with hand sanitizer, using a scoop for the bagged ice and keeping everything covered when it wasn’t in use, Fife said.

Everything was going great for Julie and her mom . . . until the authorities showed up.

After 20 minutes, a “lady with a clipboard” came over and asked for their license. When Fife explained they didn’t have one, the woman told them they would need to leave or possibly face a $500 fine.

Surprised, Fife started to pack up. The people staffing the booths next to them encouraged the two to stay, telling them the inspectors had no right to kick them out of the neighborhood gathering. They also suggested that they give away the lemonade and accept donations instead and one of them made an announcement to the crowd to support the lemonade stand.

That’s when business really picked up — and two inspectors came back, Fife said. Julie started crying, while her mother packed up and others confronted the inspectors. “It was a very big scene,” Fife said.

Technically, any lemonade stand — even one on your front lawn — must be licensed under state law, said Eric Pippert, the food-borne illness prevention program manager for the state’s public health division. But county inspectors are unlikely to go after kids selling lemonade on their front lawn unless, he conceded, their front lawn happens to be on Alberta Street during Last Thursday.

If Lemonade Stand taught me anything, it was the basics of capitalism and entrepreneurship. I learned how to build a business from scratch, keep track of inventory and finances, and understand what kept me afloat. I even opened a lemonade stand in my apartment complex in Hong Kong at age eight, to see what all the fuss is about.

While safety concerns are legitimate, this was a responsible seven-year-old with her mother on hand. Laws are laws, and health regulations are realistic, but . . . seriously Oregon?

I leave you with this, from Julie Murphy’s mother:

While Fife said she does see the need for some food safety regulation, she thinks the county went too far in trying to control events as unstructured as Last Thursday.

“As far as Last Thursday is concerned, people know when they are coming there that it’s more or less a free-for-all,” she said. “It’s gotten to the point where they need to be in all of our decisions. They don’t trust us to make good choices on our own.”

Nothing happens, once (again); Aug. 2, 2010, ASUO Senate meeting review

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

A classroom. A cluster of desks.

Late afternoon.

Flanigan, sitting at a desk, is trying to cover the ASUO Senate. She pulls at it with both hands, panting.

She gets up, exhausted, rests, tries again.

As before.

Enter Tomchak.

FLANIGAN. Giving up. Nothing to be done.

TOMCHAK. Advancing with short, stiff strides, legs wide apart. I’m beginning to come around to that opinion. All my life I’ve tried to put it from me, saying Tomchak, be reasonable, you haven’t yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle. He broods, musing on the struggle, turning to Flanigan. So there you are again.

FLANIGAN. Am I? (more…)

Pac-10 Name Change

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

The Pac-10 has now officially changed its name to the Pac-12. Which I guess is news?