Thursday, October 12, 2006

POST 100

The Tommy Jardon Interview

TR: As I recall you were in a class with me (and Becca Guerra) during the triumphant Spring 2004, I also remember working with you on a certain project over the summer, but what were you upto Fall 2004? What happened that Fall that somehow saw you as a top dog in the following Spring Impact Party?

TJ: The person that got me involved in Sg in the first place was Lowell Wong. Lowell had been in SG at USF, transferred up and was actually a greek (don't remember which house). I knew Lowell through College Republicans sicne he was an active member and he repeatedly tried to get me involved. Even before then I would have to say that my first exposure to SG was during the Spring of 2004 when I put together a debate between Jamal and Scott. It got me introduced to Andre Samuels, Mike Schuster and a whole cast of characters I wouldn't know better until later that same summer.

That house would be Lambda Chi Alpha

The project over the summer you mention was the first push toward Online Voting in a long string of recent efforts. I became involved in that again, in part, because of Lowell Wong but also because one of my better friends at the time was Ignite Senator, Theta Chi, and chair of Allocations, Brian Gibson. Brian, Lowell, and I were all having lunch together at Wendy's on campus when the topic of the committee came up. They asked me if I'd even be willing to chair the committee since I was an outsider and, believe it or not, rather impartial at the time. Long story short, I just ended up helping on the committee (including Andrew Hoffman, Becca Guerra, Adam Roberts, and one Christian Duque).

Over the fall I fell into Bush-Cheney responsibilities and so saw my Sg involvement decrease. Once we came back for the Spring, however, and the Access name had been taken by FBK, Lowell invited me back in to help the then-named Phoenix Party and Dennis Ngin win the Spring election. I was strictly an advisor then. Even so, the following day i received a call from Fall Access Senator Laura Gonzalez "guaranteeing" me a CLAS senate seat from none other than Joe Goldberg. I declined, my lost was cast with the indies, and the rest is history.

When Elda Auxiliare and Diane Kassim ditched, Ally Cullin and I along with David Meyrowitz, Nick Campiz, RJ Peterson, Becca White, Andrew Hoffman, Kevin Bacon and John Malanchuk took the reins of what was left.

TR: Back in the day, which name did you prefer for Dennis & Co.: Phoenix, Unite, or Impact & why? Is it true that the Impact name was created at the Lambda Chi house as a joke involving a certain sexual act?

TJ: - When I walked into my first meeting of the Phoenix Party at Jessica Goodwin's apartment, the first thing I was asked was, "When you hear the word 'phoenix' what do you think?" I said, "giant, flaming bird." And the name was effectively scrapped from then on. We spent the better part of the next week combing through dictionaries and thesauri for different words with both punch and meaning. At the end of the week, we were all so delirious that heading into the party convention (where the name would be voted on and decided) we all acceded to Robert Mack's suggestion that we call it the Support Party. I'm not going to try and do it justice; you'll have to ask Mack for that.

At the party convention, however, a young man by the name of Robert Agrusa proposed we use the name Impact. The "delegates" attending thought it was a great idea, attempts to redirect their opinion were fruitless and the final vote yielded the name Impact.

I never heard the Lambda Chi rumor until just now - clever though.

("Delegates," indeed. They allowed 2 Voice'ers in to vote, very classy.")

TR: When the dust cleared and the numbers were announced Spring '05, Impact was trailing Gator considerably, hardly reason for Dennis to proclaim the party #1. So, when Voice endorsed Impact but the Progress' leadership remained almost deceptively neutral when addressing it's members, how'd that make you feel as the Impact leader? We all know that Voice & Progress kids were indies, what were you thinking when the leaders of Progress did nothing to publicly support your candidates?

TJ: - We were furious to say the least. There were all sorts of rumors and conspiracy theories about Mackenzie being bought off by Joe for one thing or another (FBK among them). To date, I'm not sure what the reason for his silence was. I don't think it was malicious or meant to sabotage Dennis. My own opinion is that Mackenzie just thought it wasn't Progress's place to endorse anyone; their supporters were smart enough to decide on their own.

TR: In regards to the Fall 2005 election, my sources say that bi-partisan control of the Opposition Party worked well for the most part, but that by Spring 2006 you were forced out by Adam Roberts from the major decision-making-end of the Executive. Did you in fact abandon your post in the Unite! Party Executive over inability to properly communicate and work with Adam Roberts?

TJ: I characterize the power structure in the Fall '05 campaign as a triumvirate (a word that literally means "three men" in Latin - interpret that as you will). Ally and Adam negotiated the terms of the Impact-Progress marriage (referred to amicably by those of us involved at that point as Propact). Once they agreed that we would take the Impact name, mostly because we were more pigheaded then than Adam and Susan, we all got together and set about the campaign. There was always a tension between the Impact and Progress kids. I think the fact that the Impact name was used had a lot to do with that. It made us, the Impact kids, feel like we had a majority stake in a party that really much more closely resembled Progress. Adam threatened to quit weekly but we managed and got 6 senators elected, a Fall record for an opposing Indie party.

After the election, with Ally now occupying the position of Impact Party leader in Senate, it upset the balance. Our senators were dissatisfied with her leadership in chambers and would fall back to Adam with their complaints. I found myself playing mediator more and more often between Adam and Ally for their frequent disputes. Amidst the pains of figuring out how to create a permanent Indie party the task fell to us to choose between John Boyles and Jared Hernandez. This is what eventually split me from the party.

After interviewing both (under rather awkward circumstances) we decided that John was a Greek in Indie clothing and that Jared was actually a greek with a soul, we decided on Jared. At that point, I started taking my orders from Jared. And there were some things I did under Jared's orders, which I agreed with, that Adam didn't appreciate (such as calling Joe Goldberg and letting him know that Impact had chosen Jared over John). The breaking point came after the Alligator's David Cohen asked me the question and I said yes, I support Jared and so does Impact. Adam second guessed me in print. <>

Shortly thereafter I renounced all claim to party leadership for the Spring and returned to where I started in College Republicans

TR: In regards to the Unite! campaign, were there any efforts by yourself, Adam Roberts, or the MVP bloc to suppress Access Party President, Fmr. Sen. Ansell Fernandez from putting forth the idea of running Herenandez under the Yellow & Blue flag. Why was the name Access rejected for the name Unite!?

TJ: I actually don't know why they didn't run under the Access name and had no idea Ansell was still involved. I had checked out well before the name Unite was even mentioned once. I left Impact, I never attended a Unite exec meeting.

TR: Final direct question on Unite! Is it true that you and a select few from Impact/Progress met several times (or even a single time with John Boyles, with sole purpose of recruiting him to your side for a presidential run?

TJ: Yes. We met with both of them as Impact at that point. We even had several meetings. I must say that I was very enthusiastic about the possibility of running John Boyles, a qualified Indie (an unheard of thing) for SBP. John's fall from grace came when he admitted to those of us present at our meeting with him that in order for him to win, he had to make deals with the greeks. This was an untenable position for me. No deals with the greeks or FBK could be made. Jared refused to make such deals and told them so directly. Hence the Indies ran a Greek and the Greeks ran an Indie.

TR: have never been fond of using rogues as Indie candidates, you know this very well, but my next question involves party loyalty. Insofar as Indie politics go, I think we can all agree that Impact-I/P/V-Unite-Action has been the natural progression of major indie parties. This having been said, how loyal and/or supportive was Dennis to Jared and Jared to Chris? Or do your rogue candidates go back to the FBK side once they get trounced on?

TJ: Dennis wasn't around for Unite, so I don't know what his thoughts were. But I know that Action was looked on favorably by both Dennis and Jared. The only person that has ever truly turned from the Indie cause has been Lindsay Johns, but that's more out of a personal love for John Boyles than anything else I think. She always took umbridge to my assertion John had sold out; she only followed John's footsteps last Spring.

TR: Chris Chase served as a director of Gator Growl (an event that many hardline Indies believe has marred the A&S Budget for years and is nothing more than a remnant of FBK's Good Ole Boy Network), yet he was the Indie frontrunner? And Action didn't even make a secret of it, it was right there on the main page? A little brash wouldn't you say?

TJ: Yes. The fact he was a Gator Growl director speaks to his qualifications and experience as a leader. Whether or not Growl should get the help it does from SG is a different topic those of us who are Indie have not changed our opinion on.

TR: What are your views and/or impreesion of President Boyles? Man of the people? Slave to the Greeks? FBK Puppet? Vague? & Why.

TJ: Ahh, John Boyles. Tool. Enough said. He is the most ineffective, insecure, and pitiful representative of the Student Body I have seen or heard of in my time at UF. He has only his own ambition at heart. He is not afraid to lie, cheat, or bargain for power. And the most dangerous thing is that where others would admit they stop at little-to-nothing (think Marc Adler, Joe Goldberg) John denies it to everyone's face in exchange for the usual bullshit about only wanting to be a preacher in North Carolina. My ass.

TR: What purpose or accomplishment do you see in the race of Nina DeJong and why did you lose Kevin Bacon this term? Seems Sen. Bacon has been with you from Impact to Unite and back, how come he left your side this time around? And would Nina be a name on the top of Action lists for a possible V.P. slot in the Spring?

TJ: I think Nina ran for her own reasons, I never bothered questioning her or her supporters about it. it was evident enough they saw being a woman as enough of a qualification to hold office. More power to them. I never asked Kevin why he helped her. I'm not big on catering to individual needs or egos. If people offer their opinions, I'm happy to listen and always try to adopt every good idea that comes my way. But I won't sacrifice what I deem to be a good idea for the sake of forced consensus and inefficiency.

TR: We often hear about names of folks that would be great president, I know myself I've named both Gavin Baker & Ryan Nelson, but let me ask you this, what are your thoughts on Andrew Hoffman? A law school colleague of yours, Standing Committee Chairman, fmr. CLASC President, heavily active w/ Impact and well-liked pretty much by all who interact with him. What qualities do you see in Andrew and why (or why wouldn't he in your opinion) make for a stellar frontrunner in 2007?

I think Andrew would tell you Law school is enough of a drag on time as it is. I think in order to run for something like SBP you have to want it. Ambition and desire are the best motivators to go out there and campaign 24/7 as you have to in order to win. If Andrew wants it, I think he'd make a great SBP. If he doesn't want it but still chooses to run...he's bound to face a much tougher battle.

TR: I think my time has come and gone. I help as far being able to provide institutional wisdom for the Indie movement. We don't have an FBK alumni base from which to draw on for the purposes of knowing what works and what doesn't. I stick around to help those who deserve to take up the baton. I'm afraid that if I run I'll be crowding out the next generation of Indie leaders we need in order to unseat the dirtbags in there now.

TR: What is Florida Blue Lightning? And what motivating factors present you with the desire to resurrect Blue Key (not FBK) on campus?

TJ: Florida Blue Lightning started out as a joke name for an organization founded solely for the purpose of securing tabling permits and such for our planned petition drives. That idea eventually turned into using it as a Student Advocacy group outside of the framework of an SG political party since it might otherwise be construed as campaigning according to the 700 codes. I think you've seen the last of FBL.

Email Tommy


Anonymous said...

The only person Tommy will bend backwards for is Ben.

Anonymous said...

that was uncalled for...

Anonymous said...

Yes, sit down, PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

Funnily, I was sitting next to the woman who suggested Impact. How Robert Agrusa became Rosey Pierre is beyond me?

I can't stand all of these people who are ahistorical.

Anonymous said...

While it was a double entendre, the non sexual meaning is true.

What has Ben ever done himself? Nothing.

Jardon fancies Ben as his protégé, yet Ben bungled both Unite and Action.

Jardon claims he will not bend over backwards to keep someone, yet he does so for Bungling Ben.

It was called for.

Anonymous said...

What is going on with this spring election, now? Weiss v.s. Moseley is an intriguing match up between power frat houses. What about the cultural organizations? I hear rumblings that they all feel there are too many hands in the pot. How will FBK tapping go down this fall?

Christian Duque said...

This last anonymous entry sounds very much like the tone of one very-celebrated FSU law student...

Anonymous said...

No, sir. I'm a Gator undergrad.

Anonymous said...

Ben didn't bungle Unite, that asshole Josh Simmons did. What a prick.

Anonymous said...

3:11: Normally I am the one who blames Josh, it is nice to see I am not the only one.

But when you bring in Ben, josh must follow. They are roommates.

Tom Jardon said...

As a matter of clarification; I did not witness Robert Agrusa suggest the name Impact. A good friend of mine told me it was him. I wasn't at the convention since, at the time, I didn't rank high enough on the Indie food chain.

I'm interested to know, however, why Rosie Pierre suggested the name (being that the last person to use before us was none other than Marc Adler).

Anonymous said...

to be correct, Tommy, Marc ran on Fusion. Kramer ran on Impact.

Anonymous said...

Like I said, you people are ahistorical!

Rosey's suggestions weren't strategic by any means. She just thought it was a cool name. I knew Andre Samuels and Robert Mack were upset after her suggestion though.

She was also asked to be apart of the campaign, but was quickly dismissed after the convention.

Christian Duque said...

Andre was such a team player...

Anonymous said...

Christian that should say "Andre was such a player."

Anonymous said...

Andre was just a mess! LOL

Anonymous said...

It is true.. rosey suggested impact because we were making up verbs and she liked it. I remember it quite vividly, since i was mad that i was wasting my time for the "show". I personally don't think she knew it was a former party name until andre mentioned it. A lot of people involved before the chaos were against it because you typically try to avoid old names.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! I feel validated by someone who is legitimate, unlike these neo-indies trying to make waves, now.

Anonymous said...

You always talk about him, but you should interview James Argento. Lets see what this guy is all about you always talk about.

Christian Duque said...

Ah...the interview with James "Hey There!" Argento would be off the chain! But I don't think he'd ever do a Q&A with me.

You see...for about two years a very close friend of mine and myself, subjected James to several silly-but-well-thought-out tricks.

One trick involved sending him a supoena to appear as a character witness in a fabricated lawsuit against Jennifer Puckett. "Don't do that to her," he'd tell us, LMAO

Another instance involved James serving as best man in a wedding in the West Bank, hosted by several Hamas-friendly freedom fighters of my friend. James was livid and said "don't put my name on anything," and we'd say,.."but James, they already sent out the invitations!" LMAO

Another joke involved scrawling James Argento Supports the Voice Party (Spring 2005) on the 34th st. wall....he was like "don't you go putting my name anywhere," and we'd pass the phone back and forth.

Another joke involved this said close friend of mine pretending to be an old Jewish attorney looking to sue Jamal (my close friend grew disillusioned with Jamal by December...._

But don't think it was all jokes on James, I mean we had A _ LOT of fun in SG. He was smart to study while in SG, I let my grades slip a little and now I'm paying for it, dwelling, but trying to get into A law school that's ALSO good, but I SG but school's first.

And no, I'd never ask James to do a Q&A b/c 1. he'd prolly decline as he's done some incredible things with his career already and wouldn't want anymore odd links and 2). because why kill the mystique?

I truly love the guy though. I won't sit here and lie...I don't love everyone from the old Access family, but people like James, Andrew, Peter, Eric, Brian, Erica, Frances, Ricky (Caplin), those are some really good people. I don't know that I'll ever be much of a success in life (I'm going through a self-pity stage), but whatever I could do for them anywhere, any place I would :)

old school said...

James here. Those were some fun days Christian. I still try to read the blog when I can. I am working on a paper right now for my church and state class (Steve Gey is my hero).

The funny part on what Christian said is I actually believed Christian on all those jokes. To the point where during my Civil Procedure final, I was looking out for a white van abducting me to be Pete's best man. And you say why believe Christian, because he is crazy enough to do it or to surround himself with people who would do it. :)

I am flattered someone wants an interview, but who would want an interview with me, i am old news. It is not my sg, i have no time to keep up with it, with the job hunt, graduating from law school at FSU, and taking the bar next year. I try to, but the alligator doesn't tell me much. I do try to post facebook messages to some of the few people I know are involved on the indy side. I don't know who the players are today. Plus who can forget elections coming up. I am the head of law students for Davis (I know tough job, but someone has to do it).

But enjoy your time doing SG at UF. And don't take things so personally all of you guys, its only student elections. I mean blue key can't kill you (at least not any more), its just a club. FSU has their version of FBK, so does UM. Thats just how things go.

I am also flatterd by my old friend Christian duque, he is a great guy, and I hope he hits his stride.

Long Live the independents!!!

Christian Duque said...

You see guys? THAT's James Argento. That's CLASS.

Who would have thought back in the Spring 2003 that the sole seat won by independents against Ignite, the guy that beat my fratertnity brother, would, in less than one year's time, become my all-time SG-political mentor.

old school said...

For the interest of historical accuracy, I held the NRE seat until Jessica (Swamp) and the student alliance candidate won it, both times against Colin (your fraternity brother who was my college council vice prez when I was prez). I just backed them, successfully might i say :)

Christian Duque said...

He would later seal the coffin shut, by telling my fraternity president Access had no chance. Strike 1 -- I won. Strike 2 -- Jamal won the following week. Strike 3 -- few even know Fiji existed at UF, but everyone knows about two of its brothers, lol.

Anonymous said...

Don't flater yourself Christian

Anonymous said...

Hey like em or not Christian duque and peter gruskin have left an impression on UF.

Anonymous said...

To themselves...

Anonymous said...

Do you think any one who matters knows who Peter Gurskin is? You're delusional. He's a nice guy and I have nothing against him, but come on.

Anonymous said...

Hey like i said they left an impression, like em or not. Gruskin with that bullhorn of his.

Christian Duque said...

Our house had no representation, we got our people involved. No one can deny that. We didn't just take care of ourselves, we put people that wanted to work in capacities to do so. Traffic court, Cabinet, we made things happen.

Unless you're a Phi Gam, you have no idea. :) If you are one, put your name down.

Christian Duque said...


Thanks for the kind words.

Anonymous said...

Since by the facts about the Phoenix Convention have now been aired out, I would like to clarify one more thing about which Tommy Jardon seems to have a false (or made-up to his own taste) memory. I was at the Impact conference with John Boyles and he said he was recruiting Greek support, yes, but he also was very specific that he would not be a Greek tool nor would he "promise away" anything as he and Lydia have continually emphasized since they ran. Why is that all of you assume that those who win must be corrupt? Get over yourselves and realize that Jared was promising positions, it was simply that no one wanted his promises because they didn't believe in him at all. All of you have such selective memories and views of reality. Try at some point to think or realize that different things could happen than your views.