Archive for the 'Politics' Category
Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
It is clear that the University of Oregon Police Department do not care what the students want.
Interim Police Chief Carolyn McDermed, Captain Pete Deshpande and Kelly McIver are putting on a series of sham forums in order to coo us into thinking our voices are heard.
Even Kelly McIver admitted to the lack of student input on Tuesday during the second public forum regarding the armament of UO police officers. An audience member, citing a Register Guard article, stated:
“In 2011, students voted against arming police in a campus referendum.”
Hearing this, McIver, the Communications Director, said “There wasn’t much advertising.”
Nobody in the room was able (or willing) to confirm whether there had been a campus referendum or not.
Monday, February 18th, 2013
On February 15th the UO Con Court effectively said “Never mind,” responding affirmatively to a motion to reinstate ASUO President Laura Hinman.
The Con Court decided that Hinman’s nonfulfillment of duties, which is the reason she was pulled from office in late January, had been remedied by ASUO Vice President Nick McCain. The petition for reinstatement cited Hinman’s appointing of Pat Chaney to the elections board, followed by Chaney’s recommendations of four other applicants and finally by McCain appointing those recommendations on February 7th, during Hinman’s forced absence.
The completion of an elections board resolved the initial dispute brought to the Con Court, which was a grievance filed against Hinman by Joanna Stewart. The full Con Court opinion can be read here.
And they all lived happily ever after, despite the excruciating budget hearings and God knows what else.
Monday, February 18th, 2013
There are two opportunities this week to go one on one with UOPD Chief Carolyn McDermed. You can ask questions and make comments at these small, informal events:
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm EMU Walnut Room
Thursday, Feb. 21, noon to 1pm EMU Board Room
But visit this site first: http://police.uoregon.edu/FAQ
And the next two public forums:
Tuesday, Feb. 26, 4:30-6:00pm EMU Fir Room
Wednesday, March 6, 11:30am-1:00pm Knight Library Browsing Room
Well I heard there will be coffee.
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
The ASUO Executives have proposed a funding cut to the Oregon Athletic Bands (OAB) budget for the 2013-2014 school year. The proposed cut is deep, potentially taking away $150,000 (which is nearly all of the ASUO’s contributions). This $150k amounts to nearly 1/3 of the total OAB budget- which, by the way, is an ASUO recognized Student Organization. The ASUO Executives feel that the OAB should be funded by Athletics, not student incidental fees. There hasn’t been much of an argument presented (ASUO President Nick McCain’s letter can be found here).
Basically, I think this is absolutely ridiculous. We are a student group, and meet all the qualifications to be funded by the ASUO. There has been a tremendous out pour of support (much of which can be found here). This is essentially a game of chicken between the ASUO and Athletics, and we, the Oregon Athletic Bands, are caught in the middle.
Any student at the University of Oregon should realize how much of an impact the OAB has. Convocation, an event every student is supposed to attend, is also one of the first University events a student will attend, and the marching band plays Mighty O, and leads the entering class in the singing of the pledge song.
We are an organization, by the students, of the students, and most importantly, for the students. Please come support the Oregon Athletic Bands at our budget hearing on Thursday, January 31 at 7:00 PM in Columbia 150. We appreciate all the support we can get! If you cannot attend, feel free to send a friendly note to the ASUO. Go Ducks!
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.
Saturday, January 19th, 2013
From left to right: Photo of Joseph Kelley in Utah J.C. Penny taken by Cindy Yorgason;President Obama presenting his proposals in a photo posted on NewsWhip.com; “Pioneer” statue on UO campus carrying his rifle.
The following post contains views and opinions that are my own (Nicholas Ekblad) and do not necessarily represent those of the Oregon Commentator as a whole.
Now, I spent about half of my childhood in The-middle-of-nowhere, Arizona and the greater half in rural eastern Oregon. I was taught by my father how to use a gun and how to use it safely. My father did not make light– ever– of the power and responsibility of a holding a firearm in hand. I firmly believe in the Second Amendment, though it might surprise a lot of people to learn that I support “gun control” in its general sense (READ: the control of guns is as necessary and already as prevalent as the control of, say, the license to drive a motor vehicle)(fully automatic weapons have been outlawed since 1936). That being said, here is my take on Obama’s proposals to congress.
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.”
Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Students and faculty at the UO know the power Nike has in Oregon. Even Google knows it. The sports empire has its well-fitted and flashy foot in the door of Oregon’s economy but, like the athletes it equips, faces heavy competition. Intel, a company that employs more Oregonians than any other, is disputing a bill that would give more tax breaks to Nike. Not-so-coincidentally, the bill being supported by Nike cuts out Intel.
The bill allows companies to lock in their tax structure so changes in their business won’t result in tax hikes. However, it doesn’t apply to companies that saved over five million dollars through the Strategic Investment Program. Last year Intel saved 22 million dollars thanks to the SIP.
The process behind how the guideline was added remains a mystery, but it’s clear that this is a skirmish for Oregon’s monetary favor between two titans. Both Nike and Intel promise expansion within Oregon in the near future, but this bill could directly affect their incentives and progress. In turn, Oregon jobs and industry. Governor John Kitzhaber has stated that he doesn’t support the SIP based exclusion, but what form the final legislation will take is still unclear.
What is clear is that’s one fine piece of mustache.
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:
- Always smoke away from buildings and large groups of people, and/or areas of great traffic.
- Stop inhaling and pull the cigarette as far away from passing families with children.
- 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.
- Put butts out and make sure they’re extinguished before throwing them away.
- Throw butts in the trash.
- If an officer asks you to put your cigarette out, assess the situation. Fines suck, but so do the deprivation of “perceived personal rights.”
- 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.
Thursday, November 1st, 2012
Order of questioning has been decided by rock, paper, scissors. Click below for more.
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.
Friday, October 26th, 2012
Once upon a time, in a land very near and dear, the University of Oregon:
On January 1st, 2011, former Editor-in-Chief CJ Ciaramella emailed a request for ASUO Senators’ email correspondence (i.e., those emails sent to and from firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) to Public Records Officer Liz Denecke. As reading this previous post will inform you, Denecke responded via email to CJ’s request saying that in order to fulfill such a request, it would cost him a whopping $428.36– “about half” being used to cover the costs “producing the documents” and “the other half [...] for redaction, and that cost is estimated conservatively and will likely cost more than the estimate.” Denecke’s explanation continues, stating that such emails “will be student records, subject to the protection of student privacy laws. That will require a great deal of redaction and you may end up with documents that do not tell you what you want to know.” Denecke would later tell Ciaramella over the phone that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the students in this case, calling for intensive redaction of student names (i.e., the ASUO Senators’ names) and anything unrelated to ASUO business. Hence such expensive estimated compensation for the production of this Public Records Request. Because of this, Ciaramella abandoned the pursuit, deeming it stonewalled.
Thursday, October 25th, 2012
Measure 77: Authorizes Governor to declare catastrophic disaster and reallocate funds to disaster relief(requires legislative approval), as well as amends constitution to make it easier to call a legislative session in those circumstances. Pros: Allows for quicker aid and support if disaster occurs, and attempts to counteract government stalemate due to existing laws. Cons: Potentially expensive knee-jerk spending, gives the government more power than some would want.
Measure 78: Amends Constitutional language and makes grammatical and spelling changes. Pros: More accurate state Constitution, use of gender-neutral pronouns, gives us another ballot measure to vote on. Cons: How is our state so lame that this is a ballot measure during a Presidential election year?
Measure 79: Amends Constitution to prohibit taxes or fees on real estate transfers. Pros: Potentially blocks ‘double taxation’ due to existing property taxes, helps rural farmers keep family farms, limits Constitutional power of the Legislature. Cons: Could be considered special tax exemption for the real estate sector, limits Constitutionally granted power of the Legislature, partially already the law.
Measure 80: Allows personal consumption of marijuana and expands commercial uses of hemp. Pros: Tax dollars for the state, less wasted government money on marijuana-related crimes, sensible drug policy, LEGAL WEED! Cons: Marijuana more accessible, Taco Bell will need to hire more workers.
Measure 81: Prohibits commercial, non-tribal fishing with gillnets in inland waters. Pros: Allows for the preservation of our native salmon population, helps give recreational fisherman their ‘fair share’. Cons: Fishing jobs lost, unfair regulation of commerce.
Measure 82: Amends Constitution to authorize privately owned casinos. Pros: Percentage of proceeds go directly to the state, ends the unconstitutional monopoly by native tribes on casinos. Cons: Oregon Tribes have had legal right to casinos and will lose profit, ‘gambling related problems’ will be more present in Oregon
Measure 83: Attempting to allow a specific private casino in Oregon; See Pros and Cons of Measure 82
Measure 84: Phases out inheritance tax and all taxes on intra-family property transfers. Pros: Allows for family owned businesses to stay successful and avoid overbearing tax burden, stops ‘double taxation’ on profits. Cons: High-income families getting special tax break, lost tax revenue.
Measure 85: Constitutional amendment to allocate corporate income tax “kicker” refund to K-12 public education. Pros: Supports public education, averages $100-200 million per every three years for K-12. Cons: (No oppositional statements listed in Voters’ Pamphlet) Corporations are overpaying taxes, potential job losses.
Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
Every week, students like you and me congregate in the Walnut Room under the title of ASUO Senate. Every week, they make decisions that most of us probably don’t care about. Every year, I’ve paid little to no attention to this shit. But this year, I am condemned to attending these Senate meetings and relaying the information unto you. It was pretty boring at first, but things got heated and interesting with the censure of Constitution Court Justice Cedar Cosner. So here goes my first ASUO Senate meeting:
Matthew Miyamoto is acting as Chair until the election of a President or something. He calls the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. This was followed by introductions and silly one-word recaps of summer. The agenda was approved.
Ben Bowman announces the Emerald‘s Launch Party, which starts at 8:00 p.m. Apparently there is a VIP party at 6:00 p.m. which includes a free meal? You’re not invited; he only invited the Senate and then the audience.
Justice Shultz came in and discussed the new rules for Constitution Court. They can probably be found somewhere, but apparently the “the most startling changes will be with [how] resolutions [are passed].” Senator Bacon expressed concern of the composition of Academic Senators with respect to categorization of senators and how that effects the acknowledgement of constituents. The number of Senate seats has something to do with this.
More announcements. Oh my fucking god, can’t these announcements be emailed?
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?