#1, I received this today...
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2006 05:03:19 -0500
From: "Gavin Baker"
Subject: Chalk another one up
Today the Alligator prints a letter to the editor by my girlfriend, so
therefore yet another Gavin Baker supporter... the conspiracy spreads!
Needless to say I've never formally spoken to Gavin Baker that I can recall, however I have mentioned him in my blog. I also mentioned an old rival, Michael Schuster and when he wrote me to clarify an innocent assumption I'd made, it was very professional and even cordial, apparently I shouldn't have come to expect this level of professionalism from Mr. Baker. As I told Mr. Baker in reply, I don't have any issues with his candidacy, my only reservations arise in whether or not the Alligator can still be impartial at this point...will the candidate interviews, the party platforms, and the candidate debates still be the primary factors in determining the paper's endorsement or is the paper already so biased that's judgment is too clouded to choose anyone but UNITE? To recap, my issues rest with the Alligator's ability to still make a decision based on merit, not Gavin Baker. BUT...since he did email me I should agree with him that it does add one more person directly connected to him and his private campaign being added to the paper, lol, so far we're at two letters and one editorial and counting.
As far as my blog goes, I've removed the approval thing for posts because I figure if Ken Kerns is going to make hateful comments or others will do to get me to stop writing then let write whatever, the end result won't change. However, it bothers me because I thought people like Ken would see where I was coming from. I'm not the only person that initially was ecstatic behind Unite...but that has been drifting more and more towards SWAMP, even amongst Mr. Baker's own supporters; perhaps I am not so far off when it comes to UNITE, perhaps if they improved and realized there's still time before the election to change a lot of people's minds and perceptions about them, that they could, but I digress.
a). I for one think it's time to seriously address this "Change The System" rhetoric b/c I think it's been recycled so much over the years that people spout it out of their ass a little much. For starters not much can change...the budget is divided three ways and no responsible SG can change that (and the administration wouldn't let it happen either). With roughly 1/3 of the budget to work with, most of the money will go to Student Orgs and from the fiscal end, it's just a question of saving and being frugal, but there aren't any politically-rooted discrepancies in budget allocations to student orgs, if I'm mistaken please correct me. My final point on the budget is: there's nothing to be changed from a political perspective, each party elected to office (that's responsible) will essentially be doing the same thing.
b). Parties don't have a say on who gets into senate, that's something decided in the ballot box. Down the road the parties do get involved insofar as filling replacement seats, but the vast majority of senate is filled by the will of the student body. This having been said, we look to the SBP's 400+ appointments and the Veeps' cabinet as places where parties could have the way of the land.
c). Now....if UNITE were to win, we're told to expect the 'end of politics' and others intimate to expect a return to independent politics. I think both principles would be great for SG, but with UNITE's extremely diverse support bases ranging from clusters of Greeks to clusters of Blue Keys to clusters of Impact politicos to clusters of athletes, to numerous clusters of others spanning all over campus...will SBP Jared Hernandez deny any of these folks appointments, would VP Siler deny any of the losing UNITE senate candidates directorships on his cabinet? My only point here as in point (a) is that very little will change, with the only difference that point "a" cannot change and point "c" won't change.
Even with Jamal (whom is the goldstandard here...not UNITE, Impact, or anything even remotely recent at UF), the traditional lines of appointments and cabinet hires were maintained. While I applaud UNITE for their slogans of doing away with how things are done, I can tell you that that's all it boils down to: slogans. What makes the original Access senators different from the Impact senators elected Fall '05 is that the Access senators were a minority that enjoyed having their party fully in command at the Executive level. If the Access Party of 2004 with full control of exec and a third of senate couldn't change the way things were done at SGP, for example, then how on Earth is UNITE going to re-write the gameplan across the boards (neither party will sweep this election...don't even think about it)? And after the Siler acquisition are the students really to believe that if elected UNITE will deliver on all these promises, is this something the students should invest their trust in?
As a realist I'm willing to accept certain ills of government as part of the process, so long as the good far, far outweighs the bad. With Swamp we'll probably expect another Gator'esque (though slightly modified) administration but with Lydia in place and Boyles at the top of his game, some of that old yellow & blue might surface again, though I doubt it. Either way, Boyles could be the start of something very cool, if Greeks started to open up to the idea of running non-Greeks every so often, even once every four years, then the independent community could truly expand to unchartered waters by leaps and bounds without selling itself out in the process. I'm thinkin about the future of the independent community, there's a good deal at stake here.
Finally, please no more emails on why I endorsed SWAMP. I have not endorsed ANYONE, if you read what I wrote, I said "if today" I would lean their way, that's not an endorsement, its hardly even an example of strong support. I'm not lookin to screw anyone over but if I'm writing in this blog and I happen to like their platform and feel their party has not harassed me for dishing them their share of rhetoric and for these things I lean their way for the moment, just what's the big deal?
Eveyone, always make sure to VOICE yourselves without fear of retribution. I would also like to thank Michelle Lightbourne and Nikki Grant for very nice letters and would like to say how much I respect both of them and the great work they do.