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Executive Debate Report

After the VP candidates were done sparring, last nights debate shifted to the Executive candidates, Emily McLain and Sara Hamilton. Although the Exec debate was not quite the study in contrast that the VP debate was, there was still enough daylight between the candidates to provide undecided voters with a clear choice.

When asked what they could do about the fact that the ASUO is running huge surpluses while increasing the Incidental Fee, neither candidate had great answers. Hamilton talked about the importance of Ad-Hoc budgeting (such as special requests) in allocating surplus funds to the programs and projects most in need. McLain attributed the Administrations assumption of Career Center funding to her running mates efforts, and pointed to this type of move as the key to fiscal responsibility, along with PFC reform. McLain also attacked Hamilton for proposing the EMU Master Plan, saying it would cost $59 million. Hamilton responded by clarfiying that the Walsh Executive had actually put the Career Center victory in motion, and by stating that the EMU plan was a sustainability effort which would save money, and could be completed in stages as funds became available.

Both tickets supported the ADFCs electronic ticketing proposal, but Hamilton had a much better understanding of the process through which e-ticketing would be implimented, and the potential pitfalls of the system. McLain praised Senator Kyle McKenzie for leading on the issue, saying “I really want to talk about how I think that this is something that has to be addressed as comending the people who have done the work this year… I just want students to know where the credit is due.” McLain did fail to mention that the Senators who have been working on this proposal all year are unanimously supporting the Hamilton/Papailiou ticket.

On the issue of lobbying Salem with student dollars, Hamilton walked a fine line, saying that lobbying is an important effort, but that it is not simply a question of throwing money at Salem. McLain argued that lobbying is “one of the most important things we can do,” in what can only be called a self-flattering position for someone who has been lobbying all year. McLain attacked Hamilton for saying lobbying is “a joke,” and for interning at a Republican lawmakers office. Hamilton responded by pointing out that the legislature would only be in session for one month next year, and refused to dignify the Republican jab with comment. “The ASUO has been spending money on lobbying for 15 years, and the numbers don’t lie: tuition has still gone up” said Hamilton, “Athan and I will work on campus issues.”

When McLain was asked whether or not the ASUO needed ethics reform (a question which originated with this blogger), she made it clear that she did support the idea. Unfortunately, her words were undermined by the fact that Senator Gulley was present in full boorish form, coughing “bullshit” and making obscene hand gestures during Hamilton and Papailiou’s speeches, while wearing an “Emily and San” T-shirt. If McLain condones the actions of Gulley to the point where she wants him representing her campaign, one can only question her commitment to ethics on Senate, given that Gulley has single-handedly created the need for clear ethics rules.

Unlike the VP debate, both candidates spoke clearly and intelligibly, but there were still marked differences in presentation and image. If we need an Executive who can simply get the maximum volume of words out in a given time period, McLain is the only choice. Her delivery was dense and rapid-fire, like a policy debater or an auctioneer, making all of her points seem like filler, regardless of their validity. Even her good points were lost in an endless, uninterupted wall of words. Hamilton, in sharp contrast, was short and to the point, almost to an extreme. Her abbreviated answers did not, however, bely a lack of understanding of the issues though. She was comfortable with every topic, and did not waste time on platitudes, but cut right to the crux of the issues and delivered succinct positions. Like last weeks primary results, this final debate cemented the Hamilton/Papailiou tickets status as front runners, and the most qualified for the position of ASUO Executive.

See video footage from the ODE here.

  1. Jan says:

    The problem with student groups is, and always has been, the fact that they feel they are somehow inherently entitled to student money for whatever purpose might please them. When this notion is challenged, the easiest thing to do is claim racism/classism/sexism/cultural rapism/whatever “ism” is popular that year.

    What I find astounding and hilarious is how the Senate went IN to the meeting with the intention of disclipling a senator, and came OUT of the meeting with the intention of attending sensitivity training. I keep forgetting that I’m not watching a South Park episode.

  2. Jacque says:

    What noone really realizes was that the point of gulley’s etthics hearing was not necessarily to punish him but to have him explain ALL of his actions. However, it was clear that that was NOT going to happen with the hostile atmospherre created in the room. I keep wondering if all of those people were really speaking up because they were mad and had actual evidence that they were actually oppressed by the senate or if they were just mad because we didn’t bend over to give them the funding they wanted. There is a difference.

  3. Toby says:

    Athan, come on, get backbone. You can’t be a leader if you are afraid to do the right thing. Right on Betz

  4. Betz says:

    Papailiou voted nay on Gulley? Big surprise there…coming from the guy who is noted on voting in support of of senate motions just so he wouldn’t (Ibid) “hurt anyone’s feelings…” (I forget the specific article where this is mentioned, so sue me).

  5. Timothy says:

    The difference is that I don

  6. Dustin says:

    The difference is that I don

  7. Ford says:

    This Senate meeting was disgusting! Under the current system, the senate doesn’t deserve to manage the $12m that they’re so proud of. The system doesn’t work well and apparently it’s staffed by the other discussion section of my Poli Sci 102 class.

    I campaigned for the Campaign for Change today but now I don’t care. Sen. Papailiou votes nay on Gulley; Hamilton is off for good (which I suppose was less her fault) – I’ve been telling people to vote “Change” because they had experience and were responsible and intelligent. Kind of rings hollow now.

    Such are the griefs of true believers… shoulda voted for ted.

  8. niedermeyer says:

    Um, Nate only seconds motions.

  9. Jack says:

    Do you mean this Erica Anderson?…

    I love Nate Gulley.
    I plan on having his babies, because I want to fill the world with little Nate Gulleys. It is my goal to be the perfect wife to Nate. Every night I will cook the perfect meals for him. Then I will rub his feet after he is done with work. oh, how do I love Nate? Let me count the ways.
    1) love the way he smells
    2) love the way he makes motions in senate
    3) I love to watch him while he hangs out in the MCC (he doesn’t know I watch him. sshhh its a secret)
    4) I have a weird thing for the way he wears his hat.
    I love Nate Gulley

    Yeah..fitting she should file the grievance.

  10. Miles says:

    I just got in about 30 minutes ago, and apparently it was Erika Anderson who filed the grievance. There will probably be more…I dunno…I figured I’d give that fact at the very least.

  11. Jack says:

    Is there any truth to the rumor that certain volunteers from Emily and San’s campaign filed a grievance in which Sara Hamilton was removed from Senate? If they want to win so bad, they should do so with a little bit of integrity. This isn’t right and it isn’t ok… I can’t seem to find any information that sheds light on the situation but odds are that if Rees and Llleras are acting like their typical selves, then its true.

  12. Michael G. says:

    Oh shit, do alums read this?


  13. Niedermeyer says:

    From our blog coverage of that meeting:

    Ian Says:
    May 25th, 2006 at 2:29 am e

    Erickson, Faust, Malena, Kato, Irvin, and Filippelli walked out. Hamilton and Papailiou also left at that point, although I have not confirmed that they left specifically because of the Insurgent line item.

  14. Niedermeyer says:

    Do go on, “I remember”…

  15. I remember says:

    So is Sara the competent leader the same one that walked out of a Senate meeting last year because the OSA Rep for the Exec told her to? Oh wait, didn’t Athan do that too?

  16. Timothy says:

    What groups need to understand is that a basic level of accountability is important, and not a threat to their well-being.

    The man speaks the truth.

    Either way, we

  17. Niedermeyer says:

    Oh shit, do alums read this?

  18. Niedermeyer says:

    You are right, this is silly. Either way, we’ll have a competent, capable leader.

    If my “strong stance” is what surprises you or anyone, it is merely the product of seeing the situation up-close. My critics seem to question only my motivations, not the practical value of my suggestions. As the head of a fee-funded program, and as someone who has learned more outside of the college classroom in than in it, I do understand the value of student programs and groups. What groups need to understand is that a basic level of accountability is important, and not a threat to their well-being. Decisions should be made in the context of annually rising fees and tuition, as well as the context that the groups would like. That’s all.

    Anyway, nobody will care in two days. Here’s to that.

  19. Danimal says:

    A current editor of the Oregon Commentator disclaiming conservative principles — DRINK!

    I’m starting to like these games.

  20. Amy says:

    This is silly. I don

  21. Anon says:

    Seriously, OSA has no clout because students don’t vote. Where is the incentive of leaders to fund the requests of these lobbying groups like OSA? What do they get in return? Nothing because the students of the U of O aren’t voting and aren’t bringing anything beneficial to the politicians table. THat is why OSA has seen it fit to try and hand pick the future ASUO exec, like Rees, Axelrod, and McLain, to continue the funding to OSA. The only way that OSA and USSA can survive is by ensuring that the student leaders that get elected continue their funding. THe PFC has had a lot of problems with these groups in the past exactly for a lot of the reasons that Niedermeyer brings up. So that is why they have created their own “Fight Club” to breed future Execs that will continue their funding. This cloak and dagger student govt shit is such a joke. Seriously guys, you can have your secret society, but do you really think this does anything for you AFTER college. Half of these pathetic excuses for leaders, including Jared Axelrod, just enjoy the drama of the ASUO, they have no real vision for change, or the desire to better the common campus community. The solution is not with the OSA and Salem, itis with every student at the U of O, and placing the effort to solve our problems with the students, not with politicians in Salem and in the well paid hands of the joke called OSA.

  22. Niedermeyer says:

    She was faster than she needed to be, that’s all. I have enjoyed my year with the Commentator for many of the same reasons that I enjoyed debating in years past. The difference is that I don’t feel tied up in an environment that trains me to the artificial standards of competitive debate (in which Emily could well have won this debate).

    As for my policy preferences, I am willing to answer any questions you or anyone else might have. I understand that I have been put into a “conservative box” that might not jive with what you remember from my Foucault reading days, so let me just say this. My preferences are not based on “conservative principles,” but are a product of reading the recent history of the ASUO and attending Senate meetings.

    I have been friends with Emily for a while, and I want to like her, but I disagree on a very fundamental level with her “pander, ignore and attack” brand of politics. Read the history of the ASUO, and you will see where the entrenched interests are, and how Emily has laid herself at their feet. In doing so, she has ignored the need for common-sense reforms, in favor of lobbying as a cure-all. Her unwillingness to address reform issues has put her on the defensive, and pushed her into ugly and unprovoked personal attacks, by herself and surrogates. This last point is the most important to me (for reasons I have made clear elsewhere on this blog), and it represents a total lack of real leadership skills on her part.

    As the president of a growing student program, with growing funding needs, you have probably picked the right pony. I assume funding is the “policy point” that you find most compelling.

  23. Amy says:

    Ohh scathing, Ted! I meant no hate, it’s just funny for me to see Emily being called fast.

    It does continue to surprise me what you consider “good policy points” though . . .

  24. Adam Davis says:

    It can only be a 1-2 month session, because that’s all the state’s consitution allows. The legislature can only hold regular sessions in odd-numbered years. As for only working on “mop-ups”, not necessarily true. The big discussion in Salem is that the special session will be used to consider the bi-partisan proposal for reforms to the state’s tax structure. Also, you can’t introduce bills for 2009 during a 2008 session….just basic operating rules.

  25. Miles says:

    Good try:

    According to one of my contacts who works in the House of Representatives, this first “annual session” is going to be a short 1-2 month session where mop-ups from the previous session will happen, as well as a certain number of bills are to be introduced for the 2009 session.

    Effectively, nothing is really going to happen until 2009.

    Nice try, but no cigar.

  26. Niedermeyer says:

    Amy, I’m sure you know by now that convincing a debate judge in competition and convincing your average voting student are two very different propositions, which require very different approaches. Emily was rattling off points as if she had to get them on the flow sheet, not as if she were communicating with someone. She wasn’t reading evidence cards, or descending into the depths of policy debater bufoonery, and she didn’t have good policy points anyway, so yes, the analogy was off.

  27. The Oregon legislature will be meeting again next year, in the first attempt at annual sessions.

  28. Amy says:

    Did you seriously just compare Emily to a policy debater? So lame, Ted.

  29. OSA says:

    OSA, USSA and Bus Project staff members shaped McLain, SunOwen, Lleras, Axelrod, Guzman and Reese to run for student government.

    Of course these organizations want them in power. OSA needs to get paid, if they are going to lobby for “student rights”.

  30. A Student says:

    Just wanted to point out that the Federal government still meets next year, giving the opportunity to make changes at the federal level. In addition, the Oregon University System Board meets next year as well, which makes a lot of policy decisions for the UO and other schools around the state.

  31. Miles says:

    >I just think that we should point out the difference between correlation and

  32. House says:

    Just a note on some previous comments, OSA is, if I am correct, is primarily a lobbying/advocacy organization right? Oregon operates on a biennium legislative cycle (our legislators only meet every two years).

    So while it may seem like they win their biggest victories in election years isn’t actually that the oregon legislature only meets right after our elections every two years???

    Just wanted to point out that they really have no control over our lawmakers (stupid) decision to only meet every other year…and as a lobbying organization probably do their best work after elections (that’s kind of the only lobbying power students have)…plus i’ve never heard of anything but very non-partisan vote work coming out of the ASUO–which i presume does their vote work with OSA??? I just think that we should point out the difference between correlation and ‘back door deals’ to be honest i don’t think that OSA has enough clout to make back door deals…

  33. Adam Davis says:

    Some of what you say is true, but you can’t ignore Salem & think you’ll fix everything on campus. Much of what students want improved on campus can be traced back to a lack of state funding. You need to address both issues at the same time. As for Miles’ comment….there weren’t backroom deals aready in the works to cut the tuition increases in half. Students were at the table from the beginning, which started shortly after the co-chairs’ budget came out. OSA’s not perfect, but when they save each student hundreds of dollars for the couple dollars we each pay to belong…seems like a good return on investment.

  34. Niedermeyer says:

    Thanks wow, glad you can lend your name to such an admirable effort. Yes, politics are bullshit. It’s an inescapable fact.

    Debates are about contrasts between candidates, not about final policy decisions. McLains background is in lobbying, Hamiltons is with the ASUO, that’s all. The point is not whether or not candidates will lobby, because every Executive has a lobbying staff. The point is that McLain sees lobbying as a cure-all, whereas Hamilton seems to think that the solutions to campus issues are on campus. The contrast here only highlights the fact that McLain doesn’t want to tackle the tough campus issues, which can’t be solved with postcards and rallies. They take tough decisions which will eventually piss someone off. Yes, it’s bullshit, but it’s also necessary.

  35. wow says:

    ha Miles you have it right! OSA has seemed only to win tangible goals when they have made back-door deals in election seasons ONLY. I believe those conversations go something like “Hey I am running this year, so in exchange for student support we will fund your stuff and vote this way on this stuff.” Has anyone tried lobbying in an off-election year? Never as successful. Politics is bullshit. I am advocating not voting at all

  36. Miles says:

    Yes, but 1) Not in off years, and 2) Not by sending in pamphlets saying “Oh, yes! Lower my tuition, bitches!”

    Lobbying can only go so far. And from what I understand, they were deals that were already in the works long before the OSA and other ilk decided to get involved.

    And the funny thing is, the representatives don’t hear you unless they want you to vote for them. 2006 election, anyone?

  37. Adam Davis says:

    Ms. Hamilton should do her homework more before attacking students’ lobbying efforts. I was a student last session (graduated last year) and spent some time in Salem. While it’s true that tuition has gone up over the past 15, our tuition increases would have been double over the past two years if it wasn’t for the work of students. Students successfully lobbied to cut the Governor’s proposed tuition increases in half, saving students on our campus hundreds of dollars each. We were also able to save a program that provides assistance to student parents with daycare so they can finish their degrees and get the Legislature to nearly double funding of the Oregon Opportunity Grant. It’s tough work….there really aren’t many groups in Salem fighting for college students. While we’d all like more, it’s obvious that students’ work in Salem pays off. I hope Ms. Hamilton does more research on issues as important as this if she’s elected.

  38. Niedermeyer says:

    right here, elliot.

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