Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Ryan Nelson Interview

TR: How did you get started in SG? And what inspired you to join the ranks of the Independent movement as opposed to that of the allegedly FBK-backed 'machine?'

Ryan Nelson: I started in SG under my mentor, Jeremy Martin. He was a Key, an older brother of Phi Sigma Kappa with me, one of the IFC VPs, and Chair of the Rec Sports Board. My transition into the Indie movement was actually very, very long:

1) In early January 2006 I sat down with Boyles about my involvement in his party (then called Engage). He maintained that no one who was planning a run for SBP in Spring '07 would be put on Exec of the campaign to even the playing ground. At that point those names being thrown around, courtesy of a lunch meeting with Boyles, were myself, Weiss, Moseley, Lola, Steven Liverpool, EJ, and Mierley. About an hour later I got a call from Laura who told me that Weiss was Party Spokesman. I was pretty pissed, and called Boyles out on this. Weiss was not as experienced with campaigns, and fairly new to SG (only being elected that fall), not to mention an obvious conflict of interest. Both Weiss and I had expressed intent on running for Pro-Temp that spring, and I wanted a fair chance. I repeatedly asked John about Pro-Temp, and he repeatedly claimed that he wouldn't promise it away, but that he would give everyone a fair shot. Boyles assured me he just forgot about Weiss, and there wouldn't be any problems with a fair chance regardless of Weiss' prominent position.

2) In Fall '05 I had a friend named Justin come out and campaign for Gator. Boyles, then Sen Prez, approached me after the campaign and told me he loved the guy's motivation and that he wanted him to come out and slate that spring. Phi Sig isn't quite AEPi et al, so to have the prospect of a fall senator (me) and a spring senator was exciting. However, on slating days I wasn't allowed to be involved in the slating decisions (see below for more detail). Concurrently, Boyles was in Senate that night and couldn't have as hands-on of a role as he would've preferred. The result was Swamp not slating Justin, and instead slating a random member of my fraternity for the BCN seat who had only come out to boost our slating numbers.

When I called Jeremy, an avid Jared supporter even when it was Jared-Goldberg for the Gator nomination, he went crazy. He tried to organize an emergency chapter meeting that night @ 2am asking that we publicly switch our support to Jared. I bartered back and forth and eventually got Justin an APC position, and the assurance that our house still had reason to support Boyles regardless. Jeremy finally agreed with me and we were fine.

3) For the next 2 weeks I tried effortlessly to get involved and help at every turn, but was never "allowed in the room" metaphorically. I wanted Swamp to reflect my views as a veteran SG politico, and I wanted to build the party with my ideas. None of that happened. Examples were having no interaction at the Swamp Party Campaign meeting when Lydia/Moseley were announced @ Patrone's place, and not even knowing about the party announcement (you can still see pics of that day on facebook of me and Boyles @ Writing on the Wall (with me wearing my Swamp Party sticker), and the meeting @ Hillel with Weiss/Mierley @ the front of the room running the senate candidates (his job also covered this).

I had no involvement in the party, no one listened to my ideas, and the platforms were both hollow. The only thing I had going for me was my belief in John.

4) Exactly 1 week before the election Adelle Fontanet contacted me and asked me to go to ice cream. She cut right to the chase and asked why I was still with Swamp. I answered, "Boyles." She asked why else, and Ihad no answer. After she left, I called Jeremy and asked for advice and he told me it was a horrible idea to jump ship this late in the game. He still liked Jared, but without political cover for switching (like going with a few other IFC houses) it wasn?t a good idea. I slept on it.

The next morning I passed Eric White on the 3rd floor (Growl producer and a friend of mine since elementary school) talking about how his fraternity brother Agrusa was Area Director for Reitz. I hadn't been asked, and I was fed up with just being another volunteer during my 6th semester in SG. It was the straw that broke the camel's back.

That was the day of the FLC debate in the Amphitheatre, which I attended and told Jared afterwards that I wanted to meet with him. I met him @ his house that afternoon. He, like John, promised a fair chance @ Pro-Temp without any promises. He also offered me a position as Volunteer Coordinator and help in running Unite. He and Nikki also disclosed a list of the positions Swamp had promised out. In retrospect, every one of those came to fruition. I told Jared then that I wanted to support Unite. That night was Senate, and I left early to go help with Unite. I called John @ about 11pm to tell him. We talked for about 2 hours, and ended the conversation cordially. He called back and offered me a spot on exec "right up in the front with Weiss" in exchange for continued support. I declined, ironically, as Mofsen was sitting next to me flipping through the 700 codes writing election complaints. I never reported it.

2 days later I showed up in Turlington wearing a Unite shirt, and wouldn't change it for the world.

TR: While many critics within what is called the GDI movement criticize the Boyles'-led Swamp Party, you actually interviewed over 200 prospective Swamp candidates; with the benefit of hindsight, why exactly were you allowed the great honor of interviewing candidates but denied the right to decide on which candidates the party should run?

Ryan Nelson: I actually found one of my interview files the other day. I interviewed some names you might recognize: Ryland Rogers, Jen Gurland, Dipesh Patel, Lou Delgado, Latia Wade. Let's use Ryland as an example (mainly because I like the kid and think he has potential): I interviewed him alone, and he had admitted he had no interaction with anyone in the party except me (I don't count Ghering, and Joe was on his way out). He was slated because Phi Delt needed a senate seat, the interview meant nothing. He's a great kid and a prominent senator, but the distinction is that his interview meant nothing.

I wasn't allowed in the slating room because 1) Laura's Eva-Peron personality (needing to be in charge of everything); 2) I wasn't on exec. Plus, the way FBK-Party slating works is the most important houses get the first positions, and then it's a trickle-down effect for less important houses and orgs (sorry Black Caucus, but guess why almost all of your slated senators for Fall '06 were in the most vulnerable district: Dist D). I guess it makes legal sense - the less people in the room the more plausible deniability.

TR: Were you reprimanded by party officials when you wouldn't settle for the runaround or the system-red-tape surrounding why you were being kept out?

Ryan Nelson: Not that I know of. They just told me "you know that?s not how it works."

TR: Like the 24hr bus service, universal grade forgiveness, and a 'more honest SG'....parties have been recycling tempting-but-usually-bogus campaign promises, promises that with their great-relevance to the general student body almost always guarantee plentiful vote-returns. The Sunday Bus Service issue, first flagged by the UF Voice Party (Spring 2005) had been copied by Impact and later other parties -- but little was ever done about it. Tell us about your work on the Sunday Bus Service Bill, what obstacles you were faced with, and what all came as a result of it.

Ryan Nelson: Lol, nice plug for Voice.

I wanted to really accomplish something big on our platform, so I asked Boyles to head a committee on SBS. He paired me with Agrusa and we set to work. The result was 2 months of research and a resolution in favor of SBS that Treasurer Cosimi and I sent to the FDOT. This was instrumental (as told to us by RTS officials later) in getting the FDOT Grant for a 2-year trial period of a SBS. Obstacles were few -most of the promises we make in SG can be done if you just spend a few hours a week working. I treated SG like a 3-credit class (and during election time a 192 credit class). I spent at least an hour a day calling university officials or doing research on past bills, calling RTS, etc. Agrusa helped a lot with this bill too, and I owe its success equally to his work with me.

TR: You are a member and past president of Phi Sigma Kappa, tell us what your fraternity means to you and what's done for you. There are few tried & true Indie Greeks, but most folks assume one has to be either or, when this is clearly not so. Your take?

Ryan Nelson: My fraternity is one of the most important things in my life. Quick fun vignette for those interested.

I was never supposed to be a Phi Sig. My roommate freshman year was Kyle Epting who would later be a Cabinet Director and Kevin Reilly's opponent running for Theta Chi president. He and I went to Theta Chi together the first night of rush for 3-4 hours and loved it. He got his bid and afterwards the same guy asked me to follow him upstairs, but we had to leave for a floor meeting in Hume. The guy who had taken Kyle just told me to, "make sure I come back tomorrow." That night a friend of mine called me and congratulated me on getting into Theta Chi..? I had asked her to check with her ex-boyfriend who was a brother, and he had checked their list confirmed that I was good to go the next day. I went back the next night and some guy playing Frisbee in the front yard told me to come back in 5 minutes when they were open. I kinda wandered around frat row for a few minutes, and got a call from my ex-girlfriend who told me to stop by Phi Sig. Thinking what the hell, I walked down the row into Phi Sig, and never left.

I served as everything in my chapter, and was named nationally as one of our top 10 leaders. Phi Sig gave me a home away from home, my lifelong best friends, and so many life lessons. Unless you go Greek you really can't explain your devotion to your chapter. It's a tradition in my family (my uncle was a KA here, my aunt an AOPi, and my sister's a ZTA), so that made it all the more important to me. My best memories with my family were with Phi Sig, my most trying and successful leadership roles. I wouldn't be who I am without it.

You cannot be accepted by mainstream Greeks and mainstream Indies. Of the 100+ members in each, I dare you to name 1 AEPi, SigEp, Sigma Chi, ATO, DG, DDD, ZTA, KD, etc. who is also an Indie SG supporter. The cultures conflict too much. You can, however, be Greek (not a mainstream, social house though). Bigger houses regulate your lives more (ask ATO about their pledge dress-code) and thus have a bigger say in who you support politically. With Unite, we had 7-8 houses behind us, including a very confused ATO who actually tripped and fell after the election results they were running back to Swamp so fast.

There will always be a Greek party because Greeks are so socially adept. We clump together socially (e.g. Swamp Monday nights) so it only follows that we, for the most part, do so politically as well. Its not bad until we start requiring voting and telling our members who to vote for (party and person).

TR: Josh Czupryk wrote a letter to the Alligator accusing you of making claims that only students involved in Greek organizations had the motivation necessary to get involved in SG. Did you say or imply such a thing, were you taken out of context?

Ryan Nelson: Josh and I may have been good friends in another life. He's a Greek, Christian, Democrat - and those 3 things are huge parts of my life. Anyways?

My article was not taken out of context, and some of Josh's points were valid. Here was my point, and you can decide: 73% of cabinet can be filled by qualified Greeks (this was how much of cabinet was greek-appointed by Swamp). It is possible, and I know a whole lot of Greek students who could do the jobs well. Let me make this clear - THEIR BEING GREEK HAD NO EFFECT ON THEIR QUALIFICATIONS. But that number is ridiculously unrealistic as an appropriate cross-section of our campus. I did the math and sent it to John (public request his email) you are more likely to die 3 times by getting struck by lightning than that cabinet happening.

It led me to research their applications in depth, and many were bad. I'll use Athletics Cabinet Secretary Chris Marhefka as an example because he chose to chastise me on his facebook profile for weeks afterwards. He had no experience with UAA or RecSports, and what the hell has been done by that cabinet now 6 months into the term? Nothing. He was and is not appropriate for the position.

He was given the job as one of 15 who applied of those 13 positions. I asked that Boyles reopen applications and maybe use the commercials advertising budget he fought do dearly to keep to better advertise the positions (I know he tried, but it wasn't good enough). I thought it was a legitimate request since applications for the Cabinet Directors for Greek Affairs and Multicultural Affairs went through this process since not enough qualified applicants applied. Boyles declined.

My argument was that not every student has a listserv or chapter meeting to benefit from. You think Marhefka would've applied if he wasn't in SigEp and Mose/Clay hadn?t told him to? Please.

TR: An anonymous reader of TR submitted this. 'When your term in senate came to an end, you wrote a nasty to email senators attacking the body and expressing disappointment at others individually. What did you hope to accomplish by sending this email and/or your behavior towards the end of your term?'

Ryan Nelson: My speech in chambers was inappropriate, but my email was not. The style of my speech was critical - and I guess it was flat out revenge. No nice sugar-coating. Swamp made my life hell for 6 months (destroying every bill I wrote, blocking me from Pro-Temp, Judiciary Chair, and VICE-CHAIR for God's sake, and keeping my fraternity brothers out of every SG appointed position since then (not to mention the fun barbs I suffered every Tuesday) so I figured making them mildly uncomfortable for 5 minutes would make me feel better.

I apologized for my speech in my email, and again here I apologize for the style but none of the sentiment. People like Keith - I apologize for calling you out publicly, no one deserves that. However, my email was exactly what I thought of everyone. What I hoped to accomplish? Getting everything off my chest (showing everyone that their actions do not go unnoticed), closure.

To those offended by my email - welcome to public office. I have always, always maintained a separation between business and personal life. I suggest you do the same. If you want to make friends, join a fraternity. If you want to work and be honest about your work, join SG.

I don't know why it was considered "nasty"? It was mostly individuals that I had something to say to, and did... I just re-read my email, and I don't think I was rude at all. I didn't call anyone hollow names, but I sure as hell categorized them as I saw fit:

1) I called Swamp leadership liars for putting tuition in their platform when the Fall elected officials have no control over that. The survey is all well and good, but that was happening with or without a fall Swamp majority. Oh, and we used to have surveys of what the students thought back in the day, we called them elections.

2) I told Keith he was subservient and trite, and that he (almost single-handedly) made me hate SG and politics entirely.

3) I asked John to go back to his days in Senate (e.g. SNAP busses Summer 04) and produce something with his position of influence, because he hasn't yet. John may have been implicated in promising away more positions than ever, but damnit can he accomplish some good work when he puts his mind to it. He hasn't yet as SBP.

4) This one was nasty, I was pretty pissed at Weiss, and most of this was out of jealousy that he was being treated to the climbing-of-the-ladder I thought I had earned. It's still true, but just worded way too harshly. Josh is amazing (Indies?get to know the kid first) but I swear he couldn't bend over backwards for FBK more. Stand up for policy in chambers, Josh, not just politics.

5) I told Arturo and Sam why I thought they weren't qualified for their jobs. If you find this rude, then please read a dictionary definition of public office.

Other than that I mainly told people why they were good, or why I admired them. I blasted moderates for not speaking up when they knew better, and to this day I swear that is the problem with SG and Government in general.

TR: Citing Sen. Gavin Baker (UNITE) from his official homepage, Mr. Baker states: (a) "Action had a very tough time getting quality candidates." Is this statement accurate & if so, what factors contributed to the shortcomings of the latest GDI venture?

Ryan Nelson: Tommy and Gavin never saw eye-to-eye, but I think Tommy ran the party very well. In fact, we ran the party exactly as we hoped we would (minus, of course, the winning aspect). Seriously though, we wanted to run a party based 100% on factual, realistic platform points and an aggressive advertising campaign for the average, non-SG involved student. We did just that, but realized it was to no avail versus the system.

TR: Tell us about your run for senate president and what obstacles stood in your way. What is it like trying to speak to your colleagues on a one-to one basis? Did you run into a lot of partisan-loyalty and/or subtle intimidation tactics? Also, just because you didn't win the senate presidency race doesn't mean you can't tell us what you would have done, had you been elected, so tell us.

Ryan Nelson: I never ran for Senate President; I ran for Pro-Temp. Speaking to new senators 1-on-1 is futile - they are scared senseless and I have never once seen a new senator vote against party lines for Senate Exec. The only Swamp-supporting senator to my knowledge that voted for me for Pro-Temp was Lindsey Johns, and I respect her dearly for it. I was in Senate 3x as long as Josh and wrote tons more legislation qualitatively and quantitatively. But I wasn't an AEPi. Kinda sucks. Josh is great, but he needed to wait his turn. Ceste la vie.

Intimidation tactics? Yeah, I'd say so. Sundeep called Jeremy offering 2 taps into Key if we put up a Swamp banner and condemned me as "not speaking for the house." Carmody told me I would be blackballed forever, as would all my fraternity brothers. Can't imagine why I'd want to leave SG.

Whew, what I would've done as PT and subsequently Senate Prez. Started PT-ordained committees for some revolutionary ideas, reapportionment with facts, separated Greek housing from Districts A and B, the bus trip to Jax/Tally, eliminate Senator-privileged VIP tickets to Accent shows, establish an auditor and comptroller for the Finance Office, perform a 3rd party analysis of SG Org Budgets using Zero-Budgeting, contract the CoE?s IPPD Program to fix RTS Busses internally instead of just throwing money at the idea, instituted a cap on SG finances, redone all the statutes with all the senators voicing their opinions in a special senate meeting on any night that wasn't Tuesday, requiring bills include legislative and budgetary effects when presented, eliminating I&C and recommending a Press Secretary for all of SG instread (a lot more but its all written down on an excel spreadsheet on my broken laptop).

TR: You have told me privately you will not be running for president in 2007. But, between candidates that fear running for office, candidates that do as they're told by their elitist-secret-masters, candidates that are driving whatever's left of the Access/SA GDI-Party-Template into the ground, and candidates that run with Indies b/c Greeks don't want could actually be a really viable, strong, passionate, and motivated leader. Why have you decided to kill a bright career of public service? Are you going to let the playground bullies and the 3rd floor shit-talkers get you down?

Ryan Nelson: Sadly, yes. I'm not as strong as I wish I were. They are not at all the only reason, nor even the major one. I came out of the closet this summer, and in doing so scared my mother beyond belief regarding my holding public office. Stories like reading "Spic" on the side of La Casita when Gil Sanchez ran for SBP are very real threats, and we were both scared of those possibilities - especially since to my knowledge I would be the 1st openly homosexual candidate for SBP in UF history. We like to think we're progressive, but I don't know if I trust all 50k students with my personal safety just for SG's sake.

Also, on paper I'm another Jared. Frat boy gone Indie. A Frat President, too. I want the Indie's to win, and truth is they already face votes against them because of me.

Plus, I work 20-30 hours a week to pay for school. My Dad is a hospital technician, and my mom is a nurse. We have 4 kids in my family. I pay for my fraternity with my Nat'l Merit Scholarship, and right now I have no idea how I'm paying for rent in December. I don't have $10,000 lying around to donate to my campaign like John did -his dad is a prominent Orlando lawyer who can help him with $ issues. I just don't have the money.

Also, I flat out refuse to promise a damn thing to anyone at all. I don't know what support, if any, I would have (just reliving Action this fall).

And finally, I'm just too tired. I can't take those people anymore - it just wasn?t worth it to me. All my friends outside of SG, and all my family, beg me on a regular basis to get out of SG and I finally listened to them, and it feels great. Believe me, at least 5 times a day I think about the changes I could make and how fighting the good fight is almost worth it even if we loose, but I?m just not strong enough for that.

TR: As we near the end of our Q&A, I'd like to list a few names and beside these names I'd like it if you could say a few words on either what you think of them or what comes to mind. Names without comments beside them will be omitted all together from the interview.

Ryan Nelson:

Gavin Baker: Indie to the core. Kevin Bacon syndrome (burned out too fast). Great mind for budget.
Nikki Grant: Tactful yet true at the same time. Best upholder of Senate Rules I know. Best friend to others I've seen.
Josh Weiss: Best political mind in SG. Mediocre execution of his influence on policy. Will be more of a Joe SBP than a John SBP (i.e. he's corrupt, but at least he'll do things)
Mike Patrone: Nice guy, but not a politician. His bills were good-hearted, but lackluster. A reverse victim of circumstance.
Andrew Hoffman: The enforcer! Great senator, opinionated and powerful.
Chris Chase: Concrete vision for Cabinet gone for naught. Best debater I've seen.
Ben Grove: Future Indie leader. Motivated and dedicated to the cause, not the position.
Tommy Jardon: The next Karl Rove. Cunning and bold in his actions. Afraid of no one.
Adam Roberts: Who I'd like to become (well, an Adam-MacKenzie hybrid of sorts). Devotion to public service (TfA), candor, and passion. It?s weird, but once you meet him he doesn?t resemble ragweed at all.
Lauren Mierley: Screwed worse than me this spring. Not a great public speaker, amazing at budget work and policy work (i.e. the 800 codes committee with Lola).
John Boyles: Talent gone to waste in an overly-politicized environment. Exodus 20:16.
Nina Dejong: One of my only SG crushes back in the day, lol. Part of the indelible Access Fall 04 crew. Saavy, organized, and focused. Great future.
Bruce Haupt: Absolutely, 100% crazy. Damn I love the kid. He'll stand up for you in a pinch.
Arturo Armand: Great guy, one of the nicest I've known in SG. Not most qualified for VP. Greta public presence.

TR: What would you say has been the highlight of your career in public service so far? What piece of legislation that you either wrote or sponsored, are you most proud of? Lastly, whether it passed or failed, what bill would you say you had to fight the absolute hardest over?

Ryan Nelson: I was most proud to a piece of legislation that failed. When I spoke against Act of God - man that was a good time. As a new senator only weeks into my term I opposed Crystal, Bryson, Pughe - the whole bunch. Vocally too! I remember Nina giving me props and Hoffman shaking my hand afterwards; those were the days. Substantially though, I would say my resolution with Paden Woodruff opposing the Academic Freedom Bill in 2005. That was such a rush and accomplished so much. I'm also really proud of my work on apportionment this fall: to all those Swamp Party senators reading - say what you want but I owned that debate and you all know it, lol. You didn't have a foot to stand on, and I was pretty damn proud about how thoroughly I worked on that bill.

TheRadkial is laughing at the modesty...

I had to fight the hardest over a TSF Special Request last fall. Treasurer Cosimi wasn't the best at communicating, and she changed her opinions haphazardly on the floor many times. The bill was rough, but it finally made it through line item vetoes and all. Also, my apportionment (although it failed) was horrible. As soon as Agrusa et al realized how right Rose and I were it took them 3 months to concoct some half-ass reasons why our idea wouldn't work (which of course had nothing to do with losing a Business and Journalism Seat and gaining Graduate Seats). We worked really hard on that one, and if anyone is up for it I still think it should be challenged in the Supreme Court.

TR:Thank you for doing this Q&A. What advice would you give students looking to get involved in SG and/or in other campus leadership capacities? Is there anything you'd like to say to the current members of the UF Senate that read this blog? And finally, what are you doing with your free-time from public office?

Ryan Nelson: Don't get involved in SG, lol. If you want to go to Law School then fine, but don't give it any more credit than it deserves. Spend time going to Senate meetings as a citizen, learning the ropes of campus, and innovating your ideas where they can't be exploited and/or blocked for the political gain of others.

To the current members of Senate: I do not hate any of you (no, not even you Keith). Don't get me wrong, I want nothing to do with most of you ever again, but civility is preferred over awkward silences. If I'm making your pita @ Pita Pit you can say hi. I'm not going to spit in your pita. I promise. (TR: HAHAHAHAHAHA)

Just remember this. Don't be assholes in chambers. I don't care if you defend your bill or your party, but you know the difference. Ryland supporting a static apportionment sucks, but he wasn't an ass about it. Patrone supporting his bill by mocking Action's platform and laughing at me in front of senate - that's being an ass. Not answering my emails until I cc the Alligator - that's being an ass. Pretending to be Colbert in some attempt to exact revenge - that's being an ass. Don't do it.

Also, know when something is serious. Why oh why do we debate the placement of a comma for 1 hour, but the budget for 10 minutes?

Never argue against something because it may cause "precedence" or a "slippery slope." You look stupid.

Don't "echo" what another senator said.

Don't boo, ever.

Don't ask questions designed to argue pro-con.

Don't leave after public debate to get Wendy's.

Don't ask to be added as a sponsor to a bill you didn't work on.

Don't speak/write about non UF/SG related issues.

Don't vote by looking at what the older senators are voting for. Don't be intimidated (the vote on paper is what matters, not raising your hand).

Don't mock the other party (this goes for everyone). Both parties want what's best, and are legitimately trying hard to do so. It's the top 10 officials on each side that steer the car, everyone else is just a passenger.

Sorry for that exhaustive list, I rant, go figure. In my free time I'll be planning a big philanthropic event for next fall. I don't want to divulge it yet for fear of it being destroyed out of lingering spite for me, or getting picked up as a platform issue or something. I want to use my time, treasure, and talent for something positive while I'm still here.

Anyways, to everyone reading, if you made it this far, know this. SG is a microcosm of the real thing. Right now it's cutting a deal for SAE to get support for the fall election. 30 years from now it's a special interest group offering votes for political support. Right now we're just requiring our pledges to campaign and vote for SG. 30 years from now we're committing voter fraud with the deceased voting in NY. Right now its Boyles putting in Arturo instead of Vanessa. 30 years from now it's Bush putting in his buddy as FEMA Director.

Just reflect daily on your morals, and ask what is the ends to be attained. And if the means justify them.

Contact Ryan


Gavin Baker said...

I <3 Ryan Nelson

Nikki G said...

I echo the sentiments (haha) of Senator Baker

Anonymous said...

Wow, didn't know that Carmody was still playing the FBK game.

It's funny, likening Hosh Weiss to Joe Goldberg. LOL I would have never gotten that impression from him. He hides the shadiness well.

And strangely enough, I think it's the indie kids who should be backing Josh. That would breathe life into his presidential campaign, I bet!

Anonymous said...

Josh Weiss like Joe Goldberg? No way! He seems to me the type who can sit at the table and deal with the best of them; but not some one who would sell out so completely as Joe did.

He's not fratty, he's intelligent and he's capable--I can't see why indie kids WOULDNT support him.

Christian Duque said...

Maybe it's because the GDI movement has retained an ounce of dignity. But...given those in charge, I wouldn't be surprised if Josh Weiss ran with Action, Impact, Unite...really who cares what they call it?

God forbid the GDI's run a Gavin Baker, a Pedro Morales, even a Ryan Nelson...whatever happened to getting a good slate and working to win the votes? Why all of a sudden are Indie's trying to bulld slates that are sure-fire winners and losing their shirts?

Get good people and then fight a hard battle, a battle for people you BELIEVE opposed to getting big names and sitting on your hands as opposed to campaigning with your all b/c you don't identify and/or aren't even proud of the person your party is running.

I believe Ryan should run. I respect his family's concerns...but members of the LGBTQ community would still be social outcasts and outside of the protections of the law, were it not for great leaders in the LGBTQ community.

I respect his family's wishes for his safety, but I think he should run! From what I've heard, if AEPi had an openly gay chapter president whom had a bf while in office and there were openly gay members in my fraternity in addition to Delta Upsilon, then I would say Greeks have become more progressive and they usually are the ones to tardy the most. I think Ryan's sexual preference wouldn't hinder his chances or cost him much sleep either.

Anonymous said...

christian was Access, which was a major congolomerate of cultural and special interest organizations. he seems so proud of that party, but of course if indies try to do the same thing, then it's not a good idea.

If the indies were smart, they'd court weiss for president, broker a deal with a cultural group for VP. Treasurer position would also need to bringin somevoting bloc.

All jokes aside, the point of this is to WIN. Not be like Action Party this fall.

Christian Duque said...

ACCESS joined cultural groups and the GDI movement - True. Unite & anything with Weiss-ahead-of-it coming from the Indies, will be another attempt to unite GREEKS.

Access united downtrodden groups. Any attempt by Indies to unite already fat & rich Greeks & Keys will fail, they have been taking their business to the same corrupt henchmen for decades, what makes you think they come to you?

Think idealism, model your campaing around what Adelle & Kevin did with Nina! Find someone you identify with, really LIKE, and are PROUD of and then go campaign for them. Don't do another UNITE where you're publicly seen buying out smaller parties and your campaign support staffs look more demoralized than the Hitler Youth in April of 1945.

And finally... remember that HISTORY is key. The term G.D.I. was not born out of laughter and merry! Yes, anyone can be an independent...John Boyles & Tommy Jardon are both Independents, but who would you support? I'd rather support Tommy (DUH!)

However my point is this: anyone can be an Indie, but few are G.D.I.'s. The key terms of the movement are "God Damn," and these two words were historically muttered, mumbled, & even said through clench teeth probably by members of the Pork Chop Gang when they studied at UF and by their descendants today...they would furiously curse those GOD DAMN INDEPENDENTS because they made their lives difficult, because they made them HAVE TO work to win, because they couldn't just be bought off all like the others!

So if you want Weiss, go get him, go "WIN BOYS & GIRLS!" But don't call yourself a GDI, because you're not.

Christian Duque said...

Now...I have a question, what to make of Sen. Nelson's claims on the Black Caucus & District D. I'm surprised no one's said a word about this...must be like my Spanish-language post..."another unspoken truth."

Anonymous said...

Well most black people don't live in district A and B, where those zip codes include frat and sorority rows.

Ryan's assertion is erroneous. The BC was given 2 campus seats, as well: Murphree and Keys, and a District C, with the remaining 6 in District D.

I think the bigger issue is the number of cultural groups getting involved politically. The Hispanics and Asian communities are huge forces now. Funnily, the African Americans still garnered the top votes during those races, which no doubts still solidifies them as the top cultural community, again.(and they had no exec candidate!)

There are too many hands in the pot, and I expect that one of the big 3; BSU, HSA, or ASU will jump from the Swamp ship and place its efforts into a campaign where they will gain more positions for their community.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous anon poster. From my perspective, I feel as though Ryan might have a vendetta against the Black Caucus after Lydia chastized him during her fairwell speech in Senate.

I don't think they've done anything wrong, politically. In fact, the might be historically the most astute political bloc on campus.

They know how to jump ship when needed, cut deals, the whole nine. And as Ryan pointed outin his email that they allow themselves to be "treated as a house," i beleive that to be true to an extent. But it better to be involved in the process, and at the table than begging for crumbs or completely left out of the equation.

Anonymous said...

The Hispanic community will never be united in the same way that the black community is united. Unfortunately, you are cuban, puerto rican, mexican, etc before you are Hispanic here at UF. I would say the same is true of Asian.

Josh has been following John around like a puppy for over a year. Sadly, this is why Josh will get the spot (we should know in 2-3 weeks actually).

Josh has the money, the fraternity, and hell, while every knew Joe was ass deep in Greeks. Josh pretends enough not to be a Greek for it to matter.

Honestly, fuck them all and don't vote. The biggest differences can be made through your organizations.

Anonymous said...

I think the Hispanics can't come together like the Blacks can because they are not as discriminated against. A lot of Hispanics want to assimilate into white culture and organizations on campus, whereas the black Americans, Haitians, Jamaicans, all of the African diaspora peoples are just BSU in SG's eyes. There's no distinction between their different cultures. They recognize this and make the necessary adjustments.

Christian Duque said...

That might be true up until now. But thanks to the cable networks and anti-immigration wave that's broadened into an anti-Hispanic movement...I believe Hispanic-Latinos will suddenly be FORCED to come together & not just on a campus level, but a nat'l one.

However, this is a good debate. What are some other factors that might contribute to the African American community's strength?

While rappers claim to have been raised in tough times and rough areas, many of today's most promising AA student leaders came from prominent families and from elegant parts of aside from "hardships" what other factors might be attributed to their lasting power and success?

Chris Carmody said...

Sadly, Mr. Nelson has misrepresented me to this blog. Yes, I still dab in SG. I was still in Gainesville last spring (studying for the bar) and was doing what I could to help Boyles' campaign. Boyles is a great guy, a great president, and has an unbelievable amount of patience for all of you that throw rocks at him. I did tell Nelson that he would be blackballed. But if his comments were sincere, he would have also stated that I called as a friend. I offered him a full picture of his decision. I wanted him to be aware that there are people that would make it a point to ruin him after he jumped ship with a week to go. If Nelson wanted to be completely forthright, he would have also told you that after the election I again contacted him to offer him advice. No one questions Nelson's work ethic and dedication. But his untimely decision to leave one campaign for another was his decision. Anyone in SG knows that abandonment, especially the week before, to the other side is political suicide. Indies would have hung him, if the situation was reversed. Campaigns cost money and take up a lot of time. Most SG members do not react kindly to that kind of disloyalty. Nelson can paint it FBK politics, but he knows is that it is reality. In the real world, disloyalty gets you fired. Plain and simple.

That being said, I still admire Nelson's ambition. It is shame he tried to take me down with others that have made his SG career difficult. I tried to help him, not threaten him. he knows this. Anyone that knows me that I never make threats. They are a waste of time. If I wanted to make SG hard for Ryan, I would have told him so. All I did was let him know that others would be doing such.

Anonymous said...

Who do you believe out of Ryan Nelson or Chris Carmody?

Anonymous said...

Chris Carmody in a heart beat, no doubt about it. Not even close as to who is more truthful and credible. At least we know Chris doesn't go back on his word. And as long as I've known Chris I have never known him to threaten anyone. Ryan should have heeded his advice. He has no one to blame but himself.

Anonymous said...

Carmody is a piece of shit political hack. Boyles a good president you have to be fucking kidding me Chris. Seriously stop sucking daddy boyles' dick long enough to admit what scum sucking pieces of shit you and this administration are. Please carmody needed a job so he got down on his knees. Kill yourself chris

Anonymous said...

I believe Chris. Clearly, Ryan would see any events that involved himself as detrimental to his SG career.

Thus, Chris' warnings could be interpeted as threats.

Anonymous said...

I vote for Fei Long (Peace Be With Him).

Anonymous said...

SG Career? Sorry, but the two words put together just sound hilarious. Listen to yourselves! It's like the "I'm going to stay a fifth year at UF so I can run for XYZ higher-up SG position"

Christian Duque said...

With all due respect (& not speaking from any sort of a high-horse), the concept of an "SG Career" is only funny to an outsider. To someone (GDI, Indie, or FBK-type) those two words encompass an entire person's hard work, their integrity, and their self-worth.

Call UF-SG a 'microcosm,' call it surreal, call it 'snobby,' call it what you will, but it is certainly one of the most intense & top-knotch Student Governments in the nation and to serve within its ranks is truly an honor enjoyed by a tiny minority of UF's 50,000+.

So naturally...mostly any official that feels his/her career is in danger of being tarnished or 'ruined,' will more than likely put up some kind of a fight. This is only normal.

Greek on a Leash said...

First, thanks for the jab at my honesty. I usually hide the truth and never tell anyone what I really think, so your assertion is well justified.

Second, if there is anything I can impart to everyone reading it is that there is no such thing as black and white in politics. Chris is not a bad person, despite our disagreements.

The question I was asked was if I had been intimidated at all last spring. Intention notwithstanding - I was intimidated. A major FBK player and former SBP candidate called me when my life had just been thrown for a loop and asked me to reconsider a decision I made that felt moral (and still does). I don't care if you agree with my decision or not - I felt intimidated, and I don't think any of you can call into question the validity of an emotion.

That being said, Chris did contact me after the election with nothing but kind words of encouragement. I believe he meant nothing but the best for me, and was trying to guide me using his insight.

Carmody is not an asshole. He intimidated me during the election, but I don't think he meant it maliciously. From every interaction I've had with him he has nothing but good intentions, and is a good person. I didn't realize that 1 sentence in a 10-page interview, that answered what I felt was a specific question, would cause such misdirected ire.

For the love of all things holy - understand that you can oppose someone's actions one day, and respect other actions the next. You do not have to love/hate someone 100% of the time because they wear the same shirt as you.

That being said, I am not running for anything this spring, and I would like to move on from SG. I will sit down with those running for SBP and impart my ideas in hopes of some of them coming to fruition. However, for everyone else - I want to be done. Please stop contacting me about SG.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I feel misled by Ryan so that he could create this melodramatic story during the interview. There are always 3 stories. Ryan's, Chris' and the truth.

Christian Duque said...

I agree. There is a good chance Chris Carmody will participate in a Radikal-Q&A sometime in the future...

Pedro said...

Christian, why don't we have a Radikal post on the 2006 elections.

Gleefully yours!

Chris Carmody said...

I will absolutely participate in a Q&A, but not to clear up this story. Ryan did a fine job of explaining his perspective. It seems, more than anything, that he misinterpreted our conversation - forgivable. I love TR's blog and can not wait to do the interview. The fiance is almost done with her job, so I can speak freely very soon. TR is almost to the point where he presents both sides fairly. (Just messing with you Christian). When Christian has room for me (after the Fall semester), I'll definitely sit down for an interview.

Anonymous said...

I would love to hear about Chris' run at the presidency. When you look up Carmody and Fried in the Alligator, Fried seems villified, even prior to her run as president! Very interesting, indeed.

Anonymous said...

So, Chris. Who is getting tapped this year?

Anonymous said...

Christian when are you interviewing Argento and Carmody? I am really interested in there takes on UF. Especially since the two probably have really different takes.

Christian Duque said...

James' interview will most likely be released by late November/early December. Carmody's interview will be released sometime in early 2007 (prior to SB elections).

Anonymous said...

Ryan, I don't want this to be construed the wrong way, because I really do respect you more than the world, but I am really curious:

What was your main motivation to jump to Unite? It was never made clear if you were upset to not be an APC or really felt Swamp was moving in the wrong direction.

Anonymous said...

He was promised Senate President by Jared and Unite. The fact he was delusional enough to think Unite had a chance to win Senate is amazing. Ryan can whine and complain all he wants, but the fact is a lot of us have been screwed over in SG. Much worse than he was btw. The fact also remains that he's the one who made the decision to jump ship. Now he has to live with the cinsequences. Move on Ryan, you won't get any sympathy from me.

Greek on a Leash said...

I wrote a lengthy response to why I switched to the Unite Party:

Also, for fun, and the good ol' days:

Thank you.