Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The Radikal has inspired other blogs to interview, a time-honored tradition that goes beyond what the blogger him-/herself has to say. Today I'd like to start the first "A Look Back" and I hope to hear from Argento, Gruskin, Aungst, Carmody, Kane, Morales, Bracco, my regulars, and even a handful of the internet trolls out there too. I'd like to know what you thought of Jamal Sowell's presidency, not Access, but the man who's stroke of the pen ran the SG battleship from 2004 - 2005.
I think Jamal Sowell was one of the best potential candidates the System had going into the Fall 2003. At this time I was just getting my feet wet with Ignite and very early on I found myself committed to breaking away and joining the Student Alliance the coming Spring. The fact that Kyle Jones wanted no part with a Sowell run made me think even more into his candidacy and my support for him -- this mind is long before I knew James Argento -- though James would undeniably become my political mentor and in time, according to some, he would be both Peter's and my own political go-to-person or chief. I for one did not obey Andre and I suspect this was the case with Peter as well.
One thing is for sure, Peter and I weren't part of the initial groundwork, where you had James, Andre, and rumor has it my fraternity brother Justin Rees , amongst others. However we joined literally the first day of school of Spring '04 and Access still hadn't even registered officially. From this point throughout the day Jamal took office, Access was a troika. You had Andre at the lead, with Frances & James in secondary capacities. From January to May 2004 I would say Jamal was the fourth most involved. I remember one time at senate Jamal whispered in my ear to try and table a bill being sponsored by Innovate-scum, excuse, by members of the Innovate Party, LOL. I was all for it, but when I took a better seat to inform Andre that I would in fact not con the bill that I had decided w/ Jamal to take a different route, Andre said "no, we're not doing that." I normally didn't bow to Andre, but this was maybe five minutes after I had publicly thanked him for his service to the Party, it was one of two times in the year I was in office that I ever thought Andre tolerated me, so I didn't say anything. I just looked back at Jamal and he looked at me and then stared at the floor, I also noticed the look Andre was giving him upon turning around -- TRUE STORY.
However, upon getting into office, we felt Jamal come more into his own. It wouldn't be until late February of 2005! that he would gain momentum and speak confidently in chambers; he was always very nervous and at the height of it, I remember JG smirking and almost laughing at Jamal's stuttering and lack of organization at the podium. It was also very unnerving to see Scott Kenelly (and even Travis Marsh) totally pulverize Jamal in the debates (the Law School one being the worse). I, for one, would cringe in my seat hoping Jamal would be brief. "But ummmm...." -- shut up Pete, LOL.
As far as appointments go, Jamal should have watched Jennifer Puckett more closely. The soon-to-be-Key-herself, gave far too many key posts to enemies of the Party and let me stress the term enemies. All throughout the Summer 2004, there were several plots from clever to downright hateful and conniving to impeach Jamal and these were the people that Jennifer was awarding and assigning to key posts. Had we won clean the first time, I think SA and the Indie core of Access would have not put up with JP's hiring practices, however, for the Run-Off yes we did get more votes, "hip hip hoorah!," but we also took a slice of FBK and that slice tainted the Yellow & Blue revolution, though it wouldn't take effect until the Fall 2004 when Andre (w/ Frances & James gone) would sell the Party to the System.
The summer proved chaotic with Jamal standing down on the Will Sexton appointment, upholding legacies in the Big 8, JP's (imo) reconciliatory appointments, & the flimsy support of Joe Goldberg for Senate President. Still, we were able to rejoin FSA, though we couldn't lose the private lobbyists (kudos to you G/FBK's) and we split Access in 3-ways (Access, SA, & Keg) to gain a false control of the R&A Committee -- I actually had to switch to the Keg Party where I'd stay until late Fall. Interestingly, Ricky Caplin was made Keg Leader, a nice guy but an odd pic....though a great Allocations Chair. I believe I was the only senator at that time in contact with Travis Marsh and I remember emailing him a few times, b/c I felt uneasy being under his Party and not contacting its leadership, so I made sure to do so.
Then we move to Spring, where Jamal (like Andre) initially support Dennis, but with Progress & Voice splitting, they get lost for the bulk of the election. I can't speak for Progress, though I think MM's whole motive for splitting was a desire to capitalize on moderate support in Access and to garner Greek support that a certain buddy of his had been telling him was his for the claiming. The average Progress supporters lived in the halls and were Indie at heart, but not to the core. They were middle of the road, sold a clean SG, and got along with both major parties, they were also very kind to the underdog Naderites -- Voice. They were so middle of the road, that I believe Ignite Whip Meredith Pelton was feeding Progress information, by this point it's been rumored she hated Goldberg and was furious that the System passed on re-slating her. There was also friction from a showdown between her, MP, & EB at one of the last Summer '04 meetings, where they all stormed out when Joe would no longer cross their t's and dot their i's, but Joe wasn't a revolutionary, he was a business man, just like John Boyles.
I knew Dennis was lost when I met with him and Andre at the Orange & Brew. At first Andre awnted to meet in the basement floor and that was a no-go. Goldberg had met with our people, we had a broad understanding with Progress, but nothing with Impact. Voice was running a campaign of attrition, our first and primary objective was to weaken the hold of Andre Inc on the core of the GDI's. We aimed to sell ourselves as the tiniest, poorest, and most hardcore of the parties. We had spoken with Brian Offenther and Eric Gordon, they sympathized with us and no one else. We knew if we just could take the GDI's we could force Impact to the table, just like we forced Access Fall 2004. Andre spoke, Dennis said little. The fact Dennis was so quiet, the fact it took him so long to announce, and the fact he seemed to have so much faith in Andre (something we [Peter and I found worrisome]) led us to disengage w/Impact and reassess our campaign. Another key blow was that no one could concretely tell us where Jamal stood, who he'd support, only at the very end did he come out, almost simultaneous to Andre's public return and failed attempt to takeover Impact from the new generation of Indie masters-to-be.
Jamal was a good president, but I think Andre ruled through him to a great extent and that was a problem. Overall, he was a great SBP and overall we were able to work around him to accomplish many of our goals. Still, it was great to be able to enter the office of a SBP I elected, sit on the couch, and lay my head back and listen to him on the phone and motion for me not to go if I grew impatient. It was good to have a leader at the top of the heap that cared about you and what you had to say. Many of today's GDI's with Boyles and now Moseley have no way of relating to what I'm talking about, but those were the days.
What do you think of Student Body President Jamal Sowell?
Sunday, May 27, 2007
From GDI Rising Star, Frank Bracco
Well I think Ryan Day's article brings up a good point. It could be that many of us that have formed the opinion that the current "System" has a Greek bias is completely wrong. It could be that those 15% of undergrads involved in Greek Life are truly more likely to be willing to take on leadership roles than the other 85% of undergraduates. I, however, believe that is not truly the case.
Now let's assume ALL students have the same capacity and wili to become student leaders here at UF; if this was the case then approximately 15% of the positions in SG should be occupied by Greeks. Well we now this clearly isn't the case and we know that not all students have the same interest to become student leaders. Now lets consider that Greek Life students are two, perhaps even three, times more likely than a non-Greek student: even then we should only see 30%-45% (50% at the most) of the positions controlled by Greeks. Again, we clearly know this is not the case.
Now I would be willing to bet if you were to look at those that have been selected for the positions announced thus far, 80%-90% of them are Greek life students (infact I think I will look into this after my work hours this week). Now I am sure someone will find issue with my math or point out democracy is a spoils system but to state a Greek student has six to seven times the propensity to lead than a non Greek is pretty far out there. So the system has a bias, how small or large is a whole other topic. Even if someone were to say "non-Greeks didn't apply" was the reason for this then we must ask why didn't they apply; there must be a reason besides they simply were not interested? Non-Greek students have been conditioned to believe SG is not important or is a playing ground for Greeks. Again, I am not saying, this is a bad or good thing or someone is responsible for it but that is what has happened in my opinion.
From PANTS' Leader, Bruce Haupt Below is a string of messages between Ryan Day and I that occurred right after I read the article. It pretty well gives my thoughts on the matter.
Essentially, I agree with Ryan that the Alligator does a lot to turn students away from SG. That is one issue I really wanted to talk more about during the campaign. However, as you can see in my messages, I don’t approve of some of the propaganda that Ryan spewed out, some of it false. He didn’t need to make shit up to make his point. The josh simmons point later in the conversation makes the whole situation even funnier to me.
Below is a string of messages between Ryan Day and I that occurred right after I read the article. It pretty well gives my thoughts on the matter.
1:22pm May 24th
jordan mcbee is greek.
1:23pm May 24th
Yeah but Chi Phi doesn't count!
1:24pm May 24th
to the Gator Party maybe... :)
1:25pm May 24th
Yeah, you know what I mean though, he was actively involved in Pants party politics, he is for all intents and purposes "on the other side"
1:27pm May 24th
but not non-greek.
and i completely agree about your point that the alligator does a lot itself to sabotage voter turn-out. i wanted to attack them throughout the campaign. one interesting point about that, however, is that one of the most apathy supporting don't-vote alligator writers last semester was one of your party's own, mr. simmons.
1:29pm May 24th
Josh was never actually in the Gator Party. He really kept himself removed and opinions seperate. Just because Ben, Kim, and I were on Gator he was often lumped in with us. He didn't attend campaign meetings, he wasn't out there campaigning, he simply wanted to be a writer who made up his own mind.
1:31pm May 24th
in the last two days he was out at your table in a gator shirt.
1:32pm May 24th
Not true, he was at our table one day in a Gator shirt and one day in an Impact shirt. But he did endorse Gator party in his article, I'm not saying he wasn't a party supporter, but he wasn't involved in the party. I'm sure you gave your roommates t-shirts etc. Same kind of deal. And he was never at a table for more than 15 minutes chatting with someone he knew, never actively campaigning.
1:33pm May 24th
Besides didn't Will Foster prove that anyone wearing a Gator Party t-shirt is not necessarily in the gator party :P (That one's from Kim)
1:34pm May 24th
i dont think we won any of those commission battles..
1:35pm May 24th
The individual ones against him got dropped because the one against the party went through.
1:37pm May 24th
but dropped before he got to prove his silly argument? (I'm not sure, I wasn't there).
I will say, though, and you all agree I'm sure (somewhere in the back of your minds), that josh telling people not to vote, then wearing a gator shirt (supporting, not campaigning), and then most likely voting...
well, a bit hypocritical. :)
1:39pm May 24th
That's just the way Josh is, and there's pretty much zero way any of us could ever hope to change that.
1:39pm May 24th
I win! :)
1:39pm May 24th
well, in my mind, and only a facebook messaging war...
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Ah yes...back in the saddle again... I was asked by a reader to give my opinion on the latest Aligator article to surface on SG, but there's not much to say. Ryan Day is a Turncoat Independent. I don't dislike him, in fact I shook hands with him and wished him the best. On the campaign trail I remember telling Bruce that Ryan feels uncomfortable, but I knew that that was just lip service he was feeding me.
You have to realize there are two ways for a non-Greek to join the System. You can do so on your merits and offer something in exchange (e.g. insights, hard-work, loyalty) as in Brian Aungst's or Chris Carmody's style - or - you can sell out, like Ryan Day or John Boyles. When you sell-out, you have to be vociferous, you have to be louder and more passionate than everyone else to keep your stock in the company. Listen, it's no shock that Ryan got a directorship, Kim another one. Not much to this story, just a lot of SPIN and a lot of System-induced venting. Everyone even with a glimpse of insight into how things work in a ticket born in the annals of FBK knows that GDI's don't have a prayer of getting top jobs and even at lower tier jobs, their input is largely regulated.
Did Eileen McCoy, owner of www.ALA-chua.com (the official homepage of the Alachua Leadership Alliance) kick Charlie Grapski out of her home? Upon an initial tip, I went to my sources in Alachua and Charlie's car has not been seen in the City of Alachua in over six days! Given the reality that his pending law suits may fall substantially short of the landmark decisions that Grapski & his battered ALA are hoping for, what will become of the Grapski & Alachua?
A Message from J. Clayton Brett
I unfortunately will not be participating in the report card, but I will leave a little paragraph to publish. I never intended to mislead you or your readers, this is just the type of thing of thing that I have to put on the back-burner of my schedule. I'm sorry for handling this so irresponsibly.
As for the Boyles Administration however, the one thing I will say is that John voluntarily took on issues much larger and more complex than a generic SBP would expected to address. CLAS, tuition, and the Cabinet overhaul are all issues that would define other SBP's year, and John fielded them each with excellence. The only glaring flaw of the Boyles Administration was Chomp the Vote, and even that was most likely a structural or managerial issue, but certainly not policy. His appointments as a whole were well qualified and talented; John can certainly and justifiably reject the "puppet" label.
On a different note, his administration probably ended with one of the most collaborative relationships with the UF administration that one can hope for. UF is structured so that the "adults" can basically ignore SG as they choose, so their respect and confidence is thus essential to acting as the student's voice. I was going to talk about fiscal responsibility as well, but then I remembered a little petition in the Alligator. :-)
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Here are two files sent to me by The Other RadiKal, Peter D. Gruskin. These are brief essays that deal with core beliefs of the former Student Advocacy Cabinet Director's. Peter is currently living in Washington, D.C. and we remain very close friends. I invite you to read my comrade's work and ask that you take it in with an open-mind.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
The material on the budget is pretty standard. SG, Reitz Union, Rec Sports, ACCENT, SLS, etc. 3% increase. The administration has followed a pretty solid template and the budget has had no quirks. It is nice that the Budget Committee gave the Grad Student Council the $15,000 extra for travel grants from the budget, since the Senate has already approved two requests ($20,000 and $27,000) for additional travel grants in the previous two FY's respectively.
I don't know if the Budget Committee even discussed the possibility of needing to amend the budget in the eventuality of a federally mandated minimum wage increase, so I thought that was a bit irresponsible following the Democratic takeover of Congress. Given that the Democrats are willing to tack on the m.w.i. to any conference bill (like the Iraq Conference report), Budget should start having m.w.i. hearings soon, since these amendments may be tacked on to any of the 'must pass' bills that the Congress would consider soon, or to the future Iraq bill.
Special Note: Seeing how I am one of the younger ones here I think my perspective may be more in line with the general student body or, at least, the regularly informed voter since I haven’t had as much exposure to Student Government. While I believe I am more in tune with current happenings than the average voter I hope this will provide more of a picture of the opinions of those that actually care.
The Budget: B- (since we have this new grading system)
I have come to the conclusion that the average voter (and definitely the average student) doesn’t really know how Student Government spends our A&S fees. Looking at The Reitz and RecSports I believe most students would give these services an A grade. RTS on campus would likely receive a B grade because of overcrowding; on the campaign trail I also heard many complain about Frat Row having so many buses that are clearly underutilized. When it comes to club funding, however I think SG has to get a C grade, especially when it comes down to smaller clubs simply because they do not put on much outside programming. Students in these clubs will here their officers complain about the huge budgets BSU, JSU, and the Christian religious groups have while they are struggling to get by. Members of Falling Gators actually told me that their officers told them to think twice about pulling the secondary/emergency shoot if needed because it simply wasn’t in the budget!
Exec./Legislative Relations: B-/C+
Most students really don’t observe communication happening in my opinion. At the top of both branches communication seems fluid and information is being passed along but when it comes to Cabinet and Agencies I think that is a different story. While I can certainly understand it is very hard to know EVERYONE in SG, I remember this one Senate meeting in the fall semester where Mr. Lutin was handing out voter registration forms and from the way we interacted I was under the impression that he believed I was a senator. I am truly under the impression that members of Cabinet do not know what is happening in the Senate and visa-versa.
I don't know, I don't participate in Senate leadership (Senate Exec) that much, or in SG Executive committee, but I feel that these two entitities within SG are invisible to the Senate and to the student body. Senate Exec and SG Exec meetings either happened unannounced or I didn't get the memo or I chose to not attend, but I didn't think they were that often. But Exec talks a lot at Senate and since Senate is mainly a set of one-way soliloquies aimed at senators with short attention spans (myself included) we feel that we need to talk, and hence we debate the placement of the commas on the fallen Gators or the definition of "God vs. Nature" for hours.
I think it has been great that the constituency requirements for off-campus have been approved and that now the lobby coordinator won't be the sole liaison between SG and City of Gainesville/Alachua County. Like Gavin said I thought Lutin sometimes was on his own, and received perhaps undeserved criticism, which he deflected by vigorously retelling the Senate his hours at his office. He has done a great job, given the constraints and the hugeness of his position. Now with district senators attending city commission and other meetings, perhaps they can work together to get some stuff done more effectively, and help out the future lobby coordinators.
The trips our SG execs get paid to go on to DC are good for them, and for us, since they use some of their time there to talk about our issues, which is good. Of course, the top leadership receiving all these travel perks always receives the usual populist criticism. But if you want to obtain these trips for yourself, run for these high offices where you can give yourselves those treats.
Of course travel to some trips like AIPAC etc should not be paid with A&S funds, and maybe the 800 codes should be amended to that respect.
Lobbying Administration: C+
If you would have asked me a month ago this grade would have been much higher but as I gotten to know more people they have told me UF simply isn’t that strong at lobbying; I think I have to agree to some extent. Don’t get me wrong, from what I have seen and heard I believe Mr. Lutin is likely the hardest working guy in SG and has been given a great amount of support by the UF Administration and Mr. Boyles but I simply don’t believe the momentum (and luck) has been there for him. This Lobbying Administration hasn’t been too proactive when it comes to getting students informed and involved either (I believe they have a good reason for avoiding these points however when you don’t have the staff under you).
On Grad Issues
Again the travel grants have been increased at the A&S fee budget level, which is good. The Senate should probably ratify the Graduate Student Bill of Rights after the Graduate Student Council ratifies it too.
The Senate is too time-consuming an institution for busy graduate students on PhD-level work or professional students with steady rounds of exams, so its structure needs to be revamped so that professional and graduate students can have more leverage without having to sit through many sometimes pointless hours of Senate meetings.
I think that SG does a good job at encouraging and permitting cultural associations. The best government is one that governs the least, so I am glad that SG delegates such activities to the most appropriate organizations with the better jurisdiction, like HSA, AASU, etc. I think SG/Accent should work more with faculty inside the university to bring them as speakers in regular multicultural panels, and help coordinate such events across different organizations and faculty members who may be experts on several of these issues.
La Casita / Asian Am. etc
Like Sandy Chiu said, the APA center is a political magnet for AA students and SG has no jurisdiction over it, except maybe to redirect CITF funds to the construction of such a site when they get released every x number of years. I like Moseley's idea of soliciting private donations for these institutes, I think many celebrities of diverse origins that may not know what to do with their money would love to donate.
Multicultural Affairs (IBC/LC Upgrades/Asian Am. Center): N/A
I really don’t believe we should be applauding SG for any current and future upgrades such as computers and carpeting simply because those should be expected. It is my belief that other than budgeting SG doesn’t have much affect on multicultural affairs. I believe it is the student leaders of these organizations that have the greatest affect (whether they are affected by SG is another subject). As an example: at a Senate meeting there was a high ranking senator who was rather well-know in multicultural groups who asked for help with the Senate President’s name…I think that gives an accurate picture of the affect the average student involved in multicultural groups feels from SG. Mr. Moseley and Co. will get an A++ if they are able to get the Asian American Center on UF’s agenda this year.
Positive Gov't Image/Press
Positive Gov't Image/Press: D+
This is a hard one simply because the positive image surrounding the top executives versus the image surrounding SG is like night and day. The top executives, especially Mr. Boyles, have done a great job of keeping their personal images very strong through their attendance at various UF events. SG, on the other hand, as simply had a rough year concerning press coverage. Going on what has been covered in the various press outlets: the lobbying season was mediocre at best, the Judicial Branch gave the rest of SG a black eye, Chomp the Vote failed, ACCENT lost two big speakers (cannot blame the agency), ACCENT’s Moe Rocca show had to turn away thousands, and promotion for most Cabinet and Agency events has been lackluster if existent.
Well, the Swamp party did a good enough job to get the Alligator endorsement for Gator Party, and it was well deserved since Ryan has been doing a solid job. John is always super informed of a million things. Also, Swamp managed to fold the cultural big groups inside of its umbrella, robbing the independents of the ability to convince them. But like someone said, the independent community squandered its advantage for the past two years due to the ego trips of Progress vs. Impact and all of its ramifications. Had there been one GDI party perhaps that candidate would have been president in May 2005 and history would be different today.
Many of the students outside of SG are blissfully unaware of SG so this question is positively moot for them, and is only important for SG insiders, junkies and the Alligator.
Overall Grade: C
I am really more borderline C+ with this one but from all of what I have observed and heard over the past year and from what I was told by students on the campaign trail this administration will go down as nothing spectacular for those that even bother to form an opinion. While those involved seem like very good people their efforts simply haven’t registered with the average voter and definitely not with the average student. Mr. Boyles will be remembered as a great guy with the VP that had to step down shortly after elections because of grades.
Regardless of who's who in SG, I had to go to class, get my reading/homework done, fail miserably at attempting to go to the gym, etc. Life moves along in the campus regardless of the third floor; unlike the eye of Sauron, which caused great unrest in the lands of Middle-Earth. I've met pretty inspiring people, and some pretty plain ones, but it's been a fun year.
Well dear friends, here on the shores of this sea comes to an end our fellowship in Middle-earth. But I will not say do not weep, for not all tears are an evil.
A Note From Duque
I'm glad Frank did the grades, let me just state that for the record. With Pedro you have to read more into it, but either way, both of these guys did an awesome job. I'm hoping that at some point we'll hear from the mastermind of the Moseley campaign (as he did sort of commit) and from Amanda Kane and others.
I tend not to comment-directly very much on these sorts of entries, mainly because I didn't live under these regimes (lol) as a student. Nonetheless, I wouldn't say Boyles' administration was terribly good or bad. I want to be fair. I also want to be honest. Joe Goldberg irritated me often (politically), but he did a great deal of good for the University, the same I could say about Kyle Jones and...yes... even Jamal Sowell, but with Boyles it's different. From the dozens of emails I have on the matter from inside sources, it seems John did whatever FBK instructed him. I personally think he erred in hiring Armand over Nina and I think his lighting-fast support of the administration (seemingly over the students in many cases) was disturbing.
I have plenty to say on the matter, but will hold my tongue. I'd like to hear from more students. So please get in touch.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2007 10:56:04 -0400
From: "Michael Canney" email@example.com
To: "Christian Duque" firstname.lastname@example.org
I have expressed my concerns before about your airing your dispute with Charlie in the public arena, so I won't repeat them here. I just want you to know that I am concerned for Charlie's physical safety. He has received a number of warnings since he has been here about the dangers he faces for doing what he's doing politically. Whether you agree with him politically or whether you get along with him, if you care about his personal safety then you will cease and desist from the personal gossip about him.
In your comments about Charlie you outed his location at the Sports Pub. This demonstrates either poor judgment or a callous disregard for Charlie's safety. This is not a game. I will be up front with you. I have no problem with you criticizing anyone or debating the issues in a principled way. I have no problem with you airing your personal issues. I don't care who you talk to or associate with in Alachua. But if your behavior - whether intentionally or not - undermines my safety and presents a threat to me, my family or my friends (including Charlie) I will have no choice but to take protective measures, the first of which of which will be to stop communicating with you.
We have mortal enemies here who have nothing but contempt for the law and the democratic process. They will put us in jail - or worse - if they can get away with it, and they have the full power of the state behind them. They have already made two felony arrests of Charlie, and have tried to get a felony charge on me. if you're acting in such a way as to make it easier for these thugs to fuck with us then you become my enemy. I don't want that.
You should have enough common sense and consideration not to talk about where people live, where they drink beer, who they associate with, etc. on a public blog that is closely monitored by people who are actively working to do us harm. If you want to write pages about Charlie's "personality disorder" or your personal issues with him, be my guest. It's none of my business. But if you are writing stuff that compromises our safety, it is my business. I'm watching Charlie's back (and my own as well) and right now you present a security risk.
When Charlie said he wasn't going to attend the meeting last night, I suggested that he invite you to the pub for a beer and to hash out your differences. I'm sorry that didn't happen, and I know its difficult to communicate when egos and emotions are overactive. I just wish you didn't feel the need to publish all your personal issues with Charlie on the web (honestly, people end up thinking you're both nuts). IF you're going to do that, I'm asking that you think more carefully about what you are revealing and whether it might compromise someone's privacy or personal safety. Alachua is not Gainesville, and we are not paranoid. Look at the posts on the Speak Out about Charlie and the sports pub. These are a warning to him and to the pub that they are being watched.
When I received this email I immediately fired off an email to attorneys Joe Little & Gary Edinger, cc'ing several friends on the City and Opposition side. I asked that all correspondence and contact from Canney & Grapski cease.
To be quite honest, I showed this letter to an attorney, friend of mine in South Florida and he found it troubling, though Mr. Grapski says there's not threats here, I disagree. I'm suspected of "fucking with people,", I'm called a security risk, I'm told that there will be any number of unspecified retaliations, one of which will be to break contact (it's understood this is one of many by the text), and so on. If you take this email, coupled with Grapski's initial phone call to me and the words many of his supporters had for me outside, after my first City Commission meeting, then you too would know how scared I actually felt. Not scared in my own home, but scared going to Alachua.
I don't think the press in Gainesville realizes what exactly is going on in Alachua. This isn't 1995 and this isn't the Charlie we know fighting the system, this is a well-funded group of looney-toons waging a war on development and fighting an almost democratically (as in DNC) controlled local government. Grapski claims that those threatening my job are in fact members of the City posing as members of his crew, but the reality is, Charlie has attacked with his name and spoken about my career w/ his own name.
I will be promoting this entry all over the State of Florida and to friendly political/legal links throughout the world. I hope to publish some letters in the future.
What do you think about this letter? AM I CRAZY TO HAVE FELT THREATENED? Or, is Charlie correct in that this is a perfectly normal letter?
I guess one advantage of being 'in-the-loop' is knowing certain things as 'givens.' When you blog about SG, even as an alum in the same city, you lose a great deal by not being at Swamp or being consumed by interest to keep up with SG's latest and greatest. For instance, even being in class with someone for a whole term and talking off and on over a year, still isn't enough time to figure out certain realities. Life is always better outside the closet, but it takes guts to make that transition.
I'm not too optimistic with the current/last-to-be-covered SG administration. Though I don't know Ryan Moseley personally, I know that he got the nod only after a few rounds of FBK-infighting... when you know someone emerges as the favorite between a feud of System toadies, you know in your hearts of hearts that the guy before must have done some pretty dirty stuff to get there. To quote the great NINA, "[Ryan] Moseley rode a wave that was set there for him."
But more importantly, I'm interested in finding out how SBP Moseley will use his appointment powers and how many of the 400+ strokes of his pen, will favor Turncoat Independents, FBK'ers, Large Greek House Leaders, and Cultural Whores (those that have been selling their unofficial-but-ironclad cultural endorsements to Moseley, Boyles, & dare I say...Joe Goldberg back in the day).
If anyone knows of these current bodies and have any interesting names, please make use of the comments section:
& Secretaries (Old AD's)
*Designated positions are done so w/o application, basically promised posts. I would also be interested in looking at the Senate and possibly the Supreme Court. Wouldn't it be something if Arturo went from SBVP to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, lol, or if AIPAC's superstar on the bench got the top job...hmmm, certainly worth looking into.
I hope to see the comments area light up this weekend. But as usual, if you feel your comment will or writing style will give you away, yes, I'll take emails: Chris@ChristianDuque.com
I'm hoping to finally receive JCB's report, as well as looking forward to one from Amanda Kane to add to Bracco & Morales. Tommy Jardon does not reply to my emails anymore, Gavin Baker & Ryan Nelson are MIA in my inbox, the Cingular Bill long gone...haven't heard from JL, the FBK block old news haven't heard from SG, and so on and so forth.
Special Thanks To Nick Capezza & for the 500+ hits since.
Till Next Time,
Saturday, May 12, 2007
TheRadiKal: When did you arrive at UF & what are some of the first organizations you got involved with?
Nick Capezza: I arrived in the summer of 1999 and got involved with the Gary Slossberg/Jeremy Kaplan Vision Party that fall. I would get involved with the BOCC later that year for the first time as well.
The RadiKal: Did you ever rush an IFC fraternity and/or show any interest in joining Savant or Florida Blue Key? If so or not, why? Do you believe that during your time at UF, that FBK ran Student Government either covertly or overtly?
Nick Capezza Never rushed a fraternity and never had an interest in FBK or Savant. I was at Florida doing my thing, did not feel the need to receive recognition from an elitist organization. And I am not in particular a fan of the Greek system.
The RadiKal: What thoughts did you have (or still have) when mention of the campaign/election between Marc Adler & Gil Sanchez comes to mind? Any memorable experiences from this time, any issues or grief you might have had? Do you think any foul play took place? Did Gil have a solid case in your opinion?
Nick Capezza: I remember being pulled in multiple directions during that election and manipulated by different people, whether or not they had the best of intentions I cannot say. At one point I was aligned with people who were going to leave Gil's campaign and support Adler but that never came to fruition and I am positive it made me look bad in the eyes of some people. My role was financial, as it always was since the Ian Lane campaign, and the funniest thing I can remember was being asked to get some money together so we could get a boot removed from Gil's car because of parking tickets.
There is always foul play, especially in this election where you had FBK members on both sides, loyalties tested, a lot at stake. Did Gil have a solid case? From my perspective, which was on the front lines, absolutely. Votes were not counted that should've been counted and other shenanigans went on. I can say that because I know that without question.
The RadiKal: What was it like working with James Argento and Ken Kerns in the Voice Party? Did they pull the party leadership back and forth at the highest levels or did the party pretty much have the luxury of a unified [executive] front? Please elaborate.
Nick Capezza: I would say the Voice Party was as unified a front as you will get in any political organization. Ken and James are different in their views and approaches to leadership but they are both very good leaders, as I believe I am. I had known Ken a long time, since he helped with the Fall 1999 senate campaign with Vision and knew James well enough by that point too. I knew we could work well together and I could trust them.
The RadiKal: What was the central purpose of your version of the Voice Party? Did the Party succeed or fail in its endeavors? Last, but not least, what was it like working with the Argento brothers?
Nick Capezza: Our Voice Party became the only alternative to the "system" in the Fall 2001 elections. After the Ian Lane and Gil Sanchez splits, the band was back together, which created the chance for new independent leaders and people like Gainesville mayoral candidate Adam Guillette to get involved. The Argento Brothers are good guys. James and I may have had some personality clashes but he is a good person and not afraid to jump in head first if the situation demands it. Joe Argento was a very good friend of mine and we had a private falling out but he was a very big help on the campaign and a good person in general.
The RadiKal:There's an article where you quoted as saying “If they slap us in the face, we can’t just sit still." Not many student leaders speak this way when referring to the Gainesville City Commission, very Radikal of you in fact. Tell us about that comment and what was going on at the time?
Nick Capezza: I believe I was talking about the Commission's "rave ordinance" plans, to close bars early despite an obvious sentiment from the student population against this move. I feel that way today still about the way the local government has treated UF students and as someone who attended law school in another college town (Bloomington, Indiana) I know that the tension between students and the local authorities does not have to exist.
The RadiKal: Word Association, please share a few words to a sentence of your first thoughts when you read over a name:
Marc Adler: I was programmed to consider him the enemy but I am sure he isn't any different than the people I associated with. I regret being put in a situation where he was misled about my interest in assisting his campaign
James Argento: Intelligent and dedicated, someone we should all watch out for in politics in the years to come
Jamal Sowell: Didn't know him personally but he was able to achieve something very special, I respect that
Tim Stevens: Very glad to have worked with him, brought home our one Senate seat
Charles Grapski: Revolutionary, hard-working, someone that cast a very wide shadow even today
Jason Weare I agree that SG could and should do more for students living on campus, if Ian Lane had been elected in 2000 I might have been able to do something about that then
Ken Kerns: A good friend, more of a prime minister than a president type, great policy person even at the SG level
Tony Domenech: No real opinions
Christian Duque: Continuing to fight the good fight, a very noble effort indeed
Jon Curran: Didn't do the job he was appointed to do in my view, wanted to impose his own will on the electoral process
Gil Sanchez: A good guy, would have had a great SBP administration given the people involved
Joel Howell: A great friend, great leader, someone that my Voice Party helped advance
Nikki Fried: Always treated me with respect, trustworthy, came through on what she said she would
The RadiKal: Tell us about your time as a Student Senator. Were you elected or approved? Highlights? Low points? Bills? Votes?
Nick Capezza: I was appointed and cast the deciding vote for the new Senate leadership. After that, not much really happened before I left for law school at Indiana. I used my position and the public forum most of the time to rail on the ridiculousness that the Alligator spewed forth.
The RadiKal: What student, if any, do you think should have run for SB President with the independents (that never did) and why do you think they would have been so good?
Nick Capezza: Ken Kerns. I was ready to financially back him against Adler and Gil. He would have been a good President and given the right people around him, I include myself in that, he could have done alot of good for the student body
The RadiKal:Tell us about Fat Man After Dark, how can we access it, and more about where you're currently living, what you're up to, and anything else.
Nick Capezza: Fat Man After Dark is an internet radio talk and music show I started last year that has recently moved to a new station, WGMU Radio. We talk alot of politics, sports, current events, and we play alot of great music that isn't usually heard on the radio including from independent bands and musicians. We have guests ranging from artists to political commentators to athletes to elected officials. The show is on from 9pm to 11pm Monday and Wednesday nights, exclusively at WGMU Radio, www.wgmuradio.com. You can also get more info at our website, www.fatmanafterdark.com
After leaving UF, I went to Indiana University law school and served two years on the Student Body Supreme Court. I currently live inside Washington, DC and work as a legal consultant for law firms on different projects. I also, briefly, ran a small political action committee, Young Americans Now. I would like to get into legislation/public policy work but I enjoy my current responsibilities. Not married, no children, continue to support political causes.
Thanks for the interview.