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Archive for the 'Elections' Category

Prop 8 Problems

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

I would caution the cheering crowds that view the Supreme Court’s refusal to rule on Prop 8 to step back for a moment.  This ruling raises some red flags, and I hope that those opposing Prop 8 can understand that.

Prop 8 made same-sex marriage illegal in California.  It was voted on by the people and passed.  The Governor then refused to enforce it.  Whether or not you agree with same-sex marriage is irrelevant.  The process of direct democracy that so many on the left supposedly believe in was dealt a blow today.

If the governor does not agree with the people’s decision then he does not need to listen.  In the future, when the same people that are championing this decision are in the majority and the governor is on the opposing side, the governor will not have to listen to their votes.  That should raise major concerns for them because in getting a victory, they are also getting a defeat.

The court did not rule that same-sex marriage should be legal, only that the plaintiff did not have the standing to bring the case before the court.  If it had been brought up as a voters’ right issue it is possible it may have resulted in a different decision.

 

Neil Killion

ASUO President Yanked From Office

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

ASUO president Laura Hinman has been removed from office for nonfullfilment. To be candid, the reasons behind the removal are disappointing, considering the bar set by ASUO scandals in recent years.

The UO Constitutional Court ruled in favor of a grievance filed against Hinman, stating that she failed to appoint an elections board by a specified deadline. The ruling can be seen here. The grievance was filed by Joanna Stewart, manager for the notorious Katie Taylor and Alex Sylvester campaign.

Vice President Nick McCain will take over the position, though a petition to reinstate Hinman began shortly after the court decision.

The ASUO executive has not yet made a statement on the matter.

The Con Court doesn’t look anything like this…why?

Edit (2/18/13): An update on this issue can be seen here.

More Like EMU ReferenDUMB, Am I Right?

Friday, December 21st, 2012

It’s 10pm on a Friday night, which might be our last night alive, but here we are again discussing the debacle that is the EMU Referendum .

Student and USSA member Lucero Castaneda (the n having one of those squigglys above it that WordPress is reluctant to allow) has filed a grievance against ASUO president Laura Hinman, claiming a biased approach to the EMU referendum. For those of you who haven’t followed the sketchiness, this post from before the EMU referendum vote and this post from after can help catch you up.

The rule Castaneda accuses Hinman of violating is as follows:

The ASUO Elections shall be conducted in a manner consistent with the best interests of the student body. The elections shall be conducted in a fair, orderly and impartial manner, and the educational atmosphere of the University shall not be compromised, by any member of the ASUO involved in the electoral process.

Castaneda wrote; “The EMU Renovation Task Force…engaged in a heavy-handed pro-yes campaign on the EMU referendum. This is clearly indicated in the memo between the Task Force and the political consultant firm they hired, RBI strategies.” Click here for the memo.

She also says that Hinman’s membership in the EMU Renovation Task Force establishes her unfair inclination on the issue. The example provided is the ASUO’s education campaign, which Castenado says contains “slanted language and pro-renovation opinions presented as fact.” Students wishing to learn about the issue were directed to this website; judge for yourself.

Castaneda then cites Hinman’s selective approach to student involvement:

Campus outreach during the week of the referendum disproportionately targeted Greek life. No student union or other student group with space in the EMU was notified of the referendum, yet several fraternities and sororities were visited by members of the ASUO Executive and encouraged to vote in the referendum. Why would [Hinman] go out of her way to travel to the homes of students belonging to fraternities and sororities to encourage them to vote, but not attempt to contact students already present in the EMU? The reason is that [Hinman] perceived Greek students to be more likely to vote yes, and students belonging to groups within the EMU more likely to vote no.

Castaneda suggests that, because the methods to achieve a “yes” vote on the EMU renovation appear to be biased, a second vote is in order. “The most logical remedy is to invalidate the results of this referendum, and hold a second referendum on the same question, this time under the jurisdiction of a duly appointed elections board.”

“Perceived” Rights and Smoker Ethics

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

After getting off of work in the dungeon that is the Knight Library basement, I stepped into the afternoon rain. I pulled a pre-rolled cigarette from my pocket (Bugler brand – mangy, disgusting Bugler) and lit it. Standing off to the side so as not to spread smoke, an elderly woman shot me the evil eye before stopping in front of me: “There’s no smoking on campus. Go smoke across the street.”

I stared at her until she left.

This kind of situation has become all-too-common since the Healthy Campus Initiative, in partnership with the UO Health Center and the administration (with a special guest funding appearance from the ASUO), implemented a campus-wide smoking ban at the beginning of the Fall. The idea of a smoking ban isn’t anything new; the Smoke Free Campus Task Force (SFTF) issued a report in 2008 that sought to

tak[e] up the matter of campus smoking policy with the understanding that the issue is fueled by strong personal convictions for perceived personal rights, both the right to be free from the effects of secondhand smoke and the right to choose to smoke cigarettes (STFT Report, emphasis mine)

The rest of the report either references student support from polls drawn from other universities, or flat-out neglects student responses in order to reference various studies, policies, and polls from other universities. Under “Synthesis of Survey Findings of UO Faculty, Staff, and Students,” the report states that

Many survey respondents are ready to support the move to a smoke free campus… [and] also were confident that this could be accomplished with designated smoking areas… (Ibid.)

Oh, hey, there’s a reasonable point. But no! The STFT simply cannot concede, because “enforcement becomes very difficult and compliance suffers as a result.” You don’t say.

No matter what the administration does, what programs it implements, what funding it pulls or pushes, students will push against it. Lord knows the Commentator will. The Healthy Campus Initiative tried to remedy this student disconnect with the “STFU” posters, a internet-conscious campaign that seemed to confuse people more than encourage quitting (check out this post about the issue from our very own Editor Emeritus Sophia Lawhead).

Another argument is that it unfairly targets lower-income UO workers. Even those filthy hipsters at the OV agree with us on this point. Making workers go off campus for a 15 minute smoke break is not only inconsiderate, but damaging to already-strained labor relationships.

“All I wanted was a non-fat, cream-jizzed latte with peasant tears in it!”

So why bring up this almost-5-year-old report, you may ask? Because Frances Dyke and company never really cared about what students thought. The UO has become a brand, and it needs to sell itself in order to keep flagging state funding and private donor contributions steady. The publicity surrounding the ban has relentlessly focused on the “progressive” aspects of the program without attending to the opinions of students or faculty – and if so, only through narrow data samples used to prop up their point.

But the effects of secondhand smoke are serious. I completely understand the goal behind the smoking ban. Cigarette butt litter continues to be a problem, and has only been exacerbated by the ban — take a look at the 13th and Kincaid entrance to campus if you don’t believe me. Families with young children and people with respiratory problems are also rightfully concerned.

The only way to fight this ban, then, is to implement a personal smoker code of ethics to demonstrate smoker commitment to a healthy campus and personal freedoms. Here’s mine:

  1. Always smoke away from buildings and large groups of people, and/or areas of great traffic.
  2. Stop inhaling and pull the cigarette as far away from passing families with children.
  3. If someone asks you to smoke off campus, politely decline or simply don’t say anything at all. You’ll be finished if and when they call DPS.
  4. Put butts out and make sure they’re extinguished before throwing them away.
  5. Throw butts in the trash.
  6. If an officer asks you to put your cigarette out, assess the situation. Fines suck, but so do the deprivation of “perceived personal rights.”
  7. Overall, recognize that your activity is looked down upon. Take pride in this.

It’s not perfect, but it works for me. The Commentator will continue to fight this arbitrary ban with articles, letters, appeals, and upcoming events like Tobacco Appreciation Day. But the ball is in smokers’ courts. We at the Commentator will do our best to point out the massive cavalcades of bullshit directed at students who make the choice to smoke. This smoking ban is just another attempt at nannying the student populace; the administration never does anything without direct benefit to them, and they’ve fucked smokers to bolster their public image under the pretense of “knowing what’s best.”

The whole campaign feels like yet another pat on the head, another assumption about our intelligence, actions, and responsibilities. But we’re not kids anymore. We’re adults, students, workers, and yes, smokers. So smoke ’em if ya got ’em. It’s going to be a long, long battle.

Grievance filed over EMU referendum

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Special Elections are currently open (my apologies for the late post) and the EMU referendum closes this Friday. Students are urged to educate themselves with the propaganda (self-described as unbiased, but is also outdated? WTF…) that has been distributed to the campus community electronically through emails and verbally by “students on 13th Avenue”. There are a lot of nice pictures and compelling arguments for WHY and WHEN the EMU should be renovated, but there has been little discussion about HOW. It makes sense to renovate the EMU (like the unbiased propaganda said), but there is a big rush and neglect of appropriate action in its planning.

The main problem I see with the proposed renovation is that students are expected to start paying for it beginning Fall of 2014, regardless of year in school. The project is EXPECTED to be finished by the start of the 2016 school year. I’d bet anybody who thinks that deadline will be met $20 bucks that it won’t. The “unbiased” information disseminated is ambiguous as to whether or not the EMU will be in service during the renovation (my guess is that, for the most part, no). Granted, the per term fee has been reduced from $100 to $69 per student, a significant reduction. Furthermore, I concede that it really isn’t that much skrilla (really a mere fraction of the formidable amount we already pay in tuition) to sacrifice for a better-functioning building with more study space. It should also be noted that private donations will account for $35 million of the project. However, that leaves $100 million put on students, starting Fall 2014. Those expecting to graduate in spring of 2015 or 2016 will be paying for something that they will not use, while being unable to use the current one that they will probably still be paying for! And who knows when it will be finished.

And the emails regarding RBI Strategies, of which I have requested the digital records, have yet to be made available.

In related news, concerned student Sophie Luthin filed a grievance against ASUO President Laura Hinman Wednesday afternoon. Her grievance cites non-fulfillment and illegal implementation of elections by the ASUO President. Accusing her of failing to appoint Elections Board officials and instead implementing the EMU Referendum herself, Luthin calls for the removal of Hinman from office.

 

College Democrats Vs. College Republicans at McKenzie Hall

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Order of questioning has been decided by rock, paper, scissors. Click below for more.

(more…)

Third Party Candidates

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Jill Stein is the Green Party’s presidential candidate. The Green Party is a very liberal party, with an emphasis and equality and equal opportunity for all. There is also a major focus on the environment and sustainable practices. Stein is proposing a “Green New Deal” in an effort to control global warming and the financial crises facing America. The deal encompasses government investing in green technologies, higher taxes on oil and petroleum profits, break-up of large financial institutions and stricter tax oversight of large corporations. It is predicted that Stein will win between 1% and 1.9% of the popular vote.

Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate. He was the Governor of New Mexico for 8 years, and he notably vetoed 750 bills and left the state a nearly $1 billion dollar budget surplus. He proposes to cut government spending by 42%, and eliminating entirely the federal income tax in favor of the “Fair Tax”, a tax on the amount of money one spends. He is also a proponent of legalizing marijuana and drastically decreasing our foreign involvement. Many have called Johnson a “Ron Paul Libertarian.” He has also climbed Mt. Everest!

Rocky Anderson is the Justice Party’s presidential candidate. The Justice party is a very young political party, being created in November of 2011. Rocky Anderson was the Mayor of Salt Lake City from 2000-2008. The Justice Party doesn’t have a lot of information regarding their platform, but they do want to abolish corporate personhood, end the Bush Tax cuts, and they want to work towards campaign finance reform. They are a party with ecological concerns, wanting to ban mountaintop removal mining and they have a firm stance against the expansion of the Keystone pipeline. Anderson also endorses a single-payer healthcare system to help further equality.

Virgil Goode is the presidential candidate for the Constitution Party. He is running on a basic platform of four points: Restrict immigration, cut back the size of the government, balance the budget and impose congressional term limits. Interestingly, he has been criticized more harshly than any other candidate as being a “spoiler”, taking away votes for Romney and helping Obama, though he is only the third most popular Third Party candidate, behind Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. The Constitution Party is a quite conservative party, and as the name suggests, attempts to determine policy based on the documents that founded our country.

College Red vs. College Blue

Monday, October 29th, 2012

This Thursday November 1st, the College Republicans and the College Democrats will be holding a debate. A number of topics will be discussed, including energy policy, economic recovery, health care, marriage equality and women’s economic rights.

ASUO Academic Affairs Director Harlan Mechling has told me that the event has been picking up steam. What’s more, the presidents of either group both hold positions in the ASUO, so things may get a little spicy.

Again the debate will take place this Thursday at 6:30 pm in McKenzie 129.

Governers oppose 82, competition, equal-opportunity

Monday, October 8th, 2012

In reading this Register-Guard article and this one by The Associated Press, I find the arguments against Measures 82 and 83 to be silly.

Tim Raphael, Governor Kitzhaber’s spokesman, told The Oregonian that authorizing a non-tribal casino would break the agreement made with Native American tribes. Casinos are illegal in Oregon, however tribes are allowed to operate casino on Native American land under federal law. The agreement: just one casino per tribe, and no competition.

“They kept their end of the bargain,” Raphael explained to The Oregonian. “It’s wrong to break our agreement.”

Former Governors Vic Atiyeh, Barbara Roberts and Ted Kulongoski have also publicly opposed the measures.

 

A casino may not be the best thing to happen to the Portland area, but the last time I checked,

  • competition is good for capitalism
  • all demographics of people are entitled to a business
  • people should be free to throw their money away

Oregon Votes 2012 – constitutional language, chronic smoke, and casinos

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

I hope everyone is perusing their voter guides! I’ve been waiting for my pamphlet to come in the mail, but I just realized that OregonVotes.org has this not-so-awesome, clunky PDF download page here. All the info you need on candidates and measures is available there– you just have to download each page individually. There are some fun measures up for ballot including amendments to regulations on marijuana (that’s hemp and cannabis separately), constitutional language, commercial fishing, privately-owned casinos and, everybody’s favorite: taxes!

Oregon wary of boxes, mystifies strategist Karl Rove

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

According to this post on Politico.com by Alexander Burns, political analyst, consultant and strategist Karl Rove “has his eye on an unlikely state for the GOP to target in future presidential elections…” In the post, Burns quotes Rove’s thoughts on Oregon at Politico’s Playbook Breakfast in Tampa on Monday, according to reporter Jennifer Haberkorn:

Oregon, which mystifies me. Oregon, as you may recall, was a battleground in 2000 and this time around there is a little bit of evidence that Obama has some difficulty there.

I think part of it is that you do have this sort of weird element … centered around Portland that looks at Obama as a dangerous reactionary. But you also have something going out there, sort of this libertarian, Western, iconoclastic I’m-not-going-to-be-put-in-a-box. But something’s going on in Oregon. They’ve got a 30-30 statehouse. And Republicans came within 15,000 votes of winning the governorship and yet it’s the most unchurched state in the union. So it’s a weird conglomeration. Oregon might be next.

Hopefully the mystifying elements of this weird conglomeration will persist, or Rove and Portland will have some hashing out to do– wait, what’s this? Is that Rove?

2 Referenda Down, 1 “Communication Strategy” To Go

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Friday’s teleconference between an OUS committee, ASUO President Laura Hinman and the vice president of Student Affairs Robin Holmes raised questions about hiring an outside firm to campaign for the passing of EMU renovations in October.

Because of the high cost of the proposed EMU renovation, $135 million, and the minimal student involvement in its planning, University of Oregon students have voted down the referendum. Well, now the administration, yes the suits in Johnson Hall, have hired RBI Strategies & Research using auxiliary funds to direct a political campaign designed to procure a yes vote from the student body this fall, which would raise tuition fees for each student over $100 per term.

According to an AP post on OregonLive.com, the firm worked on presidential campaigns for Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean and Al Gore.

The campaign proposal is especially interesting, asserting the need to have certain phrases in mind considering “what we say about opponents”, including “narrow-minded,” “stuck in past,” “stubborn,” “opinions based on misconceptions,” etc. “Keeping up with the Pac-12″ in student buildings is cited as a selling point as well. This is wholly conniving in the context of college students and a bill of $135 million… But that’s not the best part.

The proposed campaign slogan of RBI (a Denver-based campaign firm) touts a strong declaration: “Our Legacy. Our Pride. Our Union. Vote YES.”  They plan to spend $20,000 to $30,000 on T-shirts, drawstring backpacks, banners, table tents, stickers, and other items to grease up these wheels.

Luckily, Chief Administrative Officer Kirk Schueler called the marketing report contracted by the EMU Renovation Task Force “very biased,” addressing the lack of focus on student voter turnout, according to this Daily Emerald post.

As quoted in the Oregon Live post mentioned above, Lamar Wise pointed out (and rightly so), “When millions of dollars are on the line, and students are paying for it, their voice should come first.”  Wise also cast off the notion that the UO should need to “keep up with the Pac-12″, comparing it to “keeping up with the Joneses.” ZING.

So, let us all hope that this new “communication strategy” steers more toward the “educational campaign” that it should be and less toward the “political campaign” that RBI wants it to be. After hearing concerns last Friday, vice president of Student Affairs Robin Holmes and the EMU Renovation Team will reconsider the proposal of RBI, or perhaps even its hiring, at the expense of the students.

New President is Made FB Offish

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Well, we got a new guy. After a four month confidential search process with 22 board members, the powers-that-be decided on Michael Gottfredson. The decision was announced today, June 15, and he will begin his presidency on August 1st, replacing interim president Robert Berdhal. This all follows the sketchy removal of Richard Lariviere. We don’t have any reason to make fun of this new guy yet, but watch yourself Gottfredson. We were called sophomoric and embarrassing by our last president, and we don’t plan on giving up the title.

To be fair, Gottfredson has very noteworthy credentials. He’s taught as a criminology professor, a subject that he has a PhD in, and taught law and sociology as well. He’s served as provost and executive vice chancellor for UC Irvine since 2000, doing a swagtastic job (their words, not mine). He’s got jokes too. During a visit to campus, Gottfredson boasted that UC Irvine has never lost a game to the Ducks, omitting the fact that UCI has no team. Okay, maybe you had to be there. But the point is, this guy’s not too shabby so far.

Gottfredson has been going around campus meeting officials and student leaders. He had a “friendly introductory meeting” with Nike founder and UO donor Phil Knight, in which Gottfredson signed away his soul and first-born. The only thing that would make this any more true to the UO would be if they called it an “introducktory meeting,” and the crowd from Taylor’s had shouted “Scoo Ducks!” sporadically throughout the conversation.

Despite giving humorously brief answers in interviews, Gottfredson has been nothing but enthusiastic about receiving the position. He says he will work to improve the lives of citizens, and that this is his life work. For us at the Commentator this is a win-win. If Gottfredson is successful it will be beneficial for our community, the future of our school, and the well-being of students. But if he fails it’s more fun to write about. Still, this guy seems cool, so far. So, Gottfredson, we wish you luck.

Plus, look at him having fun with an ethnic student!

KEZI9 Covers ASUO Phishing Scam

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

So, we’ve all heard about the ASUO phishing scam, but just in case you were too lazy, busy or hungover to read anything about this fucked up shit, here is the story via this KEZI9 Youtube video to save you some time.

Former ASUO President and current UO Law Student Sam Dotters-Katz in the video: “I think that we’ve gone beyond student government at this point, when you have federal crimes being implicated against members of the student government.”

Word up, Sam! Indeed, this kind of shit simply doesn’t fly. This is what is wrong with America. My only further comments are, “YES THIS GOES BEYOND STUDENT GOVERNMENT,” as well as “HOW SELF-RIGHTEOUS DO YOU HAVE TO BE IN ORDER TO ATTEMPT TO RIG A COLLEGE ELECTION???”

Furthermore, “FUCK YOU, YOU HYPOCRITICAL PIECE OF SHIT, SUPPOSEDLY FIGHTING FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY. THE RULES APPLY TO YOU AS MUCH AS ANYONE ELSE, NO MATTER HOW ENTITLED YOU THINK YOU ARE!”

Face-palm. Goddamn.

ASUO ELECTIONS ’12: I’m Tellin Y’all It’s SABOTAGE

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Updated 4/9/12 – 3:35 PM

1) ASUO Constitution Court rules “these matters are best left to the ASUO Elections Board for adjudication.”

And also! Both related and unrelated..

2) ASUO Constitution Court rules to remove VP Candidate Lamar Wise from his position as ASUO Senate President as a result of a grievance filed by ASUO Senator Lindy Mabuya.

A Statement from the Katie & Alex Campaign:

“We made it a standard to run a clean campaign and I am extremely disappointed that this isolated incident has occurred where two individuals exercised extremely poor judgment. It saddens me immensely that this has occurred, as the rest of the Katie and Alex team, as well as the Ben and Lamar team, ran an amazing outreach drive to engage students on extremely important matters. The individuals responsible for this have been removed from the campaign.”

Ben Bowman and Lamar Wise of the Ben & Lamar campaign, along with Sam Dotters-Katz of the YES (Your EMU SRC) campaign, have filed grievances against the Katie & Alex campaign; they claim to have been hacked by Chuckie-D himself (Former OSPIRG Chair Charles Denson, spouse of VP Katie Taylor), and that their campaign materials were fucked with.

Wait what? Ben & Lamar’s management team confronted the Katie & Alex campaign, and “at least five” members “came forward with this information and all showed remorse except for Denson*.”

Hacked how? Wise says he lost access to his Gmail after opening a phishing website disguised as a Google Calendar component. Dotters-Katz says his email was also tampered with.

Fucked with how? Denson apparently used “find and replace” to jumble 12,000 phone numbers on a contact list of possible Ben & Lamar voters. The grievance states that hundreds of volunteer hours were wasted making calls to the wrong people. Dotters-Katz had a similar complaint, claiming that contacts of the YES campaign were either deleted or tampered with. Among the deleted was a list of student leaders in support of the campaign.

So who exactly? The grievances name Katie Taylor, Charles Denson, Kerry Snodgrass, Molly Bennison and Andrew Rogers as the people aware of the act.

Sam Dotters-Katz is calling this an “unprecedented act of cyber espionage.”

The Ben & Lamar campaign is calling for an immediate injunction on the election.

As for us at The Oregon Commentator, we’re calling for Katie Taylor and Charles Denson’s expulsion from planet earth. That’s right. We’re tired of writing about them. Did you think we were actually surprised by this? They’re simply living up to what we’ve called them out on being all along: the devil’s spawn. Look, this isn’t an absurd accusation. They’re a young married couple! Why else would they devote themselves to a life’s work of student manipulation? It just doesn’t make any sense.

We’ll just have to see what the ASUO Constitution Court  ASUO Elections Board does about this. Since these grievances concern the devil himself, let’s hope the Court Board likes a good exorcism.

Demons be gone!

*This post is a regurgitation of this ODE article, so read the original. Love you Emily!