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On Governing For The Masses

I know somebody commented on this under Rockne’s post, but I feel that it deserves a little front page space. From yesterday’s Emerald, page 4, the continuation of the OSPIRG article:

ASUO President Amelie Rousseau told the Emerald, in response to the events of the Wednesday hearing, that she would veto any ACFC budget that did not include at least some funding for OSPIRG.

I can understand voicing one’s opinions on a matter and stating that one would be unlikely to vote in favor of a budget with no OSPIRG funding, but isn’t strict “we do things my way or else” behavior the sort of thing people tried to stamp out in, like, kindergarten? No room for compromise, no contingencies, just “if there’s no OSPIRG funding then I’m telling?”

The theory behind government is that it represents the interests of the governed, and we have Rousseau kissing OSPIRG’s boo-boos after a fairly obvious display of opinion from some senators. I’m not saying she has to mindlessly cow-tow to the majority opinion, but to completely disregard a 4-1 ruling of your peers is a little… yeah.

  1. Steve Toyota says:


  2. Ellie Macallan says:

    I would suggest a haircut then.

  3. Evan P. Thomas says:

    Would you prefer that I call your comment idiotic instead of calling you an idiot? Because I will happily amend my statement to such an assertion, but at this point we’re really just splitting hairs.

  4. atthecoast says:

    my my I love this thread…. Steve Cohen is a little bit, well; let’s just say not someone to whom I would like to be compared. Of course, neither is Hitler! Wow, so, Evan, suffice it to say I’m pretty sure you missed my point. And, while we are discussing this, I am not a bud. Thank you.

  5. Just sayin' says:

    … The Daily Show, hosted by Jon Stewart … who was at the 2008 Emmy Awards … which also included … KEVIN BACON.

  6. Betz says:


  7. FTB says:

    You know who else compared people to Nazis? STEVE COHEN

  8. Just sayin' says:

    You know who else didn’t like mentally deficient people? HITLER.

  9. Evan P. T. says:

    Comparing executive veto to Egyptian dictatorship is pretty mentally deficient, bud.

  10. atthecoast says:


    Perhaps not funding OSPRIG through any FUND is the best option after all! And, just FYI, I do take exception to your retort using the word idiot, which means a mentally deficient person, because I really am not. I mean, I seriously, am not. I do however take an interest in current affairs.:)

  11. Evan P. Thomas says:

    The fund has it’s own problems, most having to do with labor, but it’s better than a public interest group receiving mandatory fee.

    And of course the same person picked up (in reference to the second article), because the Fund was created by State PIRG’s and is maintained by USPIRG. That’s not hidden knowledge.

  12. Evan P. Thomas says:

    My comment about OSPIRG posted on ZSM’s wall:

    “State PIRG’s receive Federal Grants. So if someone pays rent or receives a paycheck, they already indirectly partially fund PIRG’s. Just, fyi.

    Just to clarify, the above statement is a GOOD THING. PIRG’s do very, very good work, and are abso…lutely worth marginal federal subsidy. They just do significantly less good work when they aren’t properly and responsibly funded [primarily] directly by the public. There is much documentation of this.

    My heart goes out to you guys, because I care about you and most of you do very, very good an dedicated work. And you absolutely should appeal because the nature of the meeting itself was rather… I don’t know how to delicately say “bullshit.”

    But it would be far against my (and many’s) personal fundamental ideology of how the “public interest” is defined if I voted in favor of mandatory fee. To me (and many), public interest cannot be dictated by “representation,” this has been the basis for countless instances of corruption in the non-profit realm … pretty much the ONLY basis for corruption in the non-profit realm.

    Just to avoid confusion: it is a PIRGs job to be representative of the public’s interest in Washington, yes, but it is not a PIRGs job to “represent” the public with regard for determining what that interest IS. It has to literally be the public’s voice itself: a voice best gauged by The Fund, which is why PIRGs created it 30 years ago.

    If OSPIRG wants to be the first Student PIRG in the nation (that I know of) to adopt The Fund as their primary funding vehicle, I will personally put in the man hours to help see it happen. It has a place on our campus, it provides ample experience to young people, dozens of potential career paths. It is a GOOD, a VERY GOOD organization. A very good organization that had a lot of irrelevant attacks and uninformed people opposing it. But it is not good enough organization to warrant what I believe to be a corrupted funding rubric (nothing is).”

  13. Brendan says:

    Curtis seems to have replaced a former shit-stain on the fabric of the University: Diego Hernandez.

    In the words of the pitiful Senor Hernandez to then-President Sam Dotters-Katz:

    “Don’t you dare talk to a woman of color that way!”

  14. Ellie Macallan says:

    it’s just $2. Let me see, a beer or OSPRIG. Hmmm, well that’s hard- I just don’t what I’d rather have. Oh wait, Beer. Fuck OSPRIG.

  15. Curtis is an idiot says:

    What amazes me about this arrogant organization that is apparently funded by what amount to two junior colleges is that they have used the same 117,000 figure three years straight. They have not followed the CA or WA models of voluntary funding in the form of an “unclick

  16. Voldemort says:

    And it doesn’t matter if the entire student body supported paying lobbyists using public money. It would still be wrong.

  17. Voldemort says:

    I’m so tired of people arguing against OSPIRG citing the way it picks its issues and the level of support it may or may not have on campus. It is irrelevant.

    OSPIRG uses public money to pay lobbyists. End of. Even if OSPIRG did find a method for picking issues that came directly from the student body’s collective consciousness, it would still be illegitimate because of the group’s funding model.

    You cannot use public money to pay people whose job it is to influence the workings of government from the outside. That is so intuitive.

  18. Senator Evan P. Thomas says:

    What idiot just compared this to Egypt? All executive branches carry veto power. Look, I’m anti-OSPIRG, but use your brain. The veto is more in response to how the meeting was handled, not the content of the contract, at least that is my understanding.

  19. The Watcher says:

    Curtis your little paradox can be explained very simply.

    The anti-ospirg slate had many candidates that won because they didn’t have an organized opposition. Amelie’s campaign team really only worked for her and not the “independent candidates who supported them”. The same is true for OSPIRG, there wasn’t a huge no on ospirg ballot measure campaign. AND they only barely won 51-49.

    So basically there was no mandate for a meaningless ballot measure that did nothing.

    And Curtis, doesn’t your facebook status needs updating or something?

  20. Derp Me Down says:

    To be fair she backpedaled pretty hard the next day:

    “ASUO President Amelie Rousseau told the Emerald, in response to the events of the Wednesday hearing, that she would veto any ACFC budget that did not include at least some funding for OSPIRG.

    Rousseau clarified on Thursday that she was simply trying to encourage the Senate to hold ACFC accountable to hold a fair hearing.

    ‘What I would like to have happen is for Senate to have ACFC give OSPIRG a fair hearing,’ Rousseau said. ‘If Senate doesn’t allow all contracts, including OSPIRG, to have a fair hearing before they present the budget, the executive is prepared to veto the budget if necessary. ‘I don’t want that to happen; I want Senate to hold ACFC to a high standard.'”

    Still a stupid comment to make, but it sounds like she’s forcing the appeal rather than the contract. Sen. Thomas agrees that the meeting was inadequate, btw.

  21. Just sayin' says:

    Well, the exec rec was $117,000, no?

    And also, as to your claim that “democracy is an exercise in rule of the majority (granted with some minority rights). Never โ€“ NEVER โ€“ has it been a case of the majority of EVERY PERSON IN SOCIETY” …

    A lot of states and countries require that referendums attain a certain percentage of votes from the total number of registered voters. The purpose is to stop relatively small interest groups (like, oh I don’t know, OSPIRG) from gaming the system by exploiting apathy.

  22. Curtis says:

    And thank you right back for that cynicism and selective reading CJ ๐Ÿ˜‰ Let me see if I can try:

    A vehemently pro-OSPIRG candidate is elected to the most prominent and important position in the ASUO by an outright majority of voting students in the same election as the majority of voting students say that they want to see some funding for OSPIRG. In contrast, students who were elected by even LESS voters go against what students say they want and refuse to give them ANY funding. Meanwhile, one of the upstanding campus newspapers spends countless amounts of words claiming that a referendum passed by a majority of voters isn’t really a majority because only stupid people would want something different than they would want, so that can’t be legitimate.

    By the way, I don’t know where you read Amelie saying “full funding” of $117,000, since that’s not what her quote said at all.

    And hi Miles Rost! Thanks for your kind words and threats of physical violence! However, since I have literally no power in the ASUO and nobody cares what I have to say anyway, and since this is student government and we’re arguing about an item that would AT MOST cost each UO student a whopping $2/term, I’m not really sure what you’re threatening physical violence about – but your anger is noted! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. CJ says:

    Thanks for the polisci lesson, Curtis. I had no idea how a representative republic worked until you explained it. Actually I understand quite well how it works on every level, and OSPIRG is another textbook example.

    To wit: OSPIRG brings in paid organizers to garner support from uninformed voters, wins with 51 percent of the vote (the total of which constituted 10 percent of the eligible population) and then the ASUO prez declares it deserves $117,000 funding because it has the support of students …

    Man, that’s some tasty governance in action.

  24. Miles Rost says:

    Who gives a shit what people voted for? Why not just kick OSPIRG off campus for being a bunch of racketeers and shitheads? Charlie Denson and Curtis both seriously need to have their asses beat into oblivion.

  25. Curtis says:


    In response to Comment One, this is literally one of the most boilerplate moves an Executive official can make. Did you see the State of the Union when Obama pledged to veto any bill that had earmarks in it? This is literally why we have a separation of powers – so that the branches have to work together to come up with some kind of compromise that’s amenable to everyone. Amelie just set down the “left flank” of “Some OSPIRG funding”. The Senate set down the “right flank” of “No OSPIRG funding”. Now they’ll get to compromise if they want to pass a budget, or the Senate will have to override! Hey, just like on Schoolhouse Rock!

    In response to Comment Two, I am so so so so so so so so (…so so so…) tired of this argument. I cannot think of an argument that is more willfully oblivious to the workings of democracy on every level.

    Democracy is an exercise in rule of the majority (granted with some minority rights). Never – NEVER – has it been a case of the majority of EVERY PERSON IN SOCIETY. The President isn’t any less the President because “only” 60% of people vote in our elections, just like the City Council or County Board of Commisioners are less legitimate because few people can name any of them or vote in their elections. Democracy, now and forever, is decided by what the majority (or plurality) of those choose to participate.

    In a referendum, an outright majority of voting students indicated support for funding OSPIRG. In the same elections, similar majorities also voted for candidates on a slate that was anti-OSPIRG. Is that a mixed message? Sure, it absolutely is – but both of them are just as valid. I don’t hear anyone on this site complaining that Reality Check representatives are “illegitimately” making funding decisions because only 10% of students voted for them. Of course not – that would just be silly.

  26. Brendan says:

    Last year, OSPIRG placed an initiative on the ballot, and it received basically the same number of “yes” votes as “no” votes. They garnered 2121 votes for and 1982 against, winning by around 1.9%. This means that about 20% of students voted, meaning that about 10% of the students voted for OSPIRG to receive funding in a non-binding resolution (ASUO election results 2010).

    1 student in 10 does not provide any sort of “majority” to qualify for funding, let alone $117,000. Especially when the money is just sent off campus, is paying for a political lobbying cause and has been seen to be massively ineffective.


  27. atthecoast says:

    “…but to completely disregard a 4-1 ruling of your peers is a littleโ€ฆ yeah.”
    …is a little like the misuse of POWER. Ignoring the underlings you are suppose to represent? Isn’t that the root of what is happening in Egypt? Hmmmm

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