Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Boyles/Swamp Party: Report Card

The Budget

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

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.

Lobbying Administration

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.

On Grad Issues: N/A
Don’t know too much about this subject other than I have heard many complain about travel grants.

Multicultural Affairs (LaC/IBC)

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

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.
- Gandalf


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.


Awaiting Responses From: JCB, Amanda Kane, anyone else interested!


Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the senate recommendations for the summer? What pops out to me is that Paul Drayton was recommended as the budget chair. So the AA community has a budget chair, as well as allocations chair. How did that happen?

Anonymous said...

He had more tenure than Jesse Kirsch. But I thought Keith Hardwick would be allocations chair.

Anonymous said...

It was him or Lacey Logsdon. R&A isn't that stupid.

Anonymous said...

That is just uncalled for. Here we go slagging off people and not signing names to posts. Anon 2:06, you are jealous and I claim my five pounds.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that the AA community is really strong right now, and rumor has it they have been leveraging intensely for both positions. It probably won't happen again for another 50 years but good for them.

Anonymous said...

Right now the system isn't really an institutional force other than in elections. The level of control over the kids once elected is remarkably less than it used to be, so once they get into office... its all about working the room and not necessarily the party.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is Bracco comparing this administration to? I'm sorry, but you're putting way too much faith in a kid who's worked in one campaign. He doesn't know SG.

Anonymous said...

He's the only person whose willing to have his name up on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Bracco was wrong in his evaluation of org funding, specifically Falling Gators. If I remember correctly they were funded twice this year on special requests for new equipment, totaling thousands of dollars.

Christian Duque said...

Now, now...there are quite a few that have committed. Frank is the next-generation GDI, the next leader to be. Naturally, many of you System kids would like him to disappear, but this young man is the product of Bruce Haupt's PANTS Party.

Just as I told you guys last semester, the PANTS Party standing up to the giant that was/is Gator, ensured for the next wave of Braccos, Haupts, Meyrowitzes, etc.

Naturally guys like Bracco will likely "not know SG," perhaps not by way of titles b/c YOU FOLKS control the gov't, but he knows more than you think. And what about Pedro? Surely you won't deny his credentials?

Anyway, keep trolling :)

francisco said...

As I prepare to sit down to class lectures that amount to 2 and 1/2 hours after an 11 hour day of work and a TOTALLY AWESOME Senate meeting I figured I would responded to some of the comments made here. It is great to see my name has just has much "interest" (both positive and negative) as it did when I left the blogging world two months ago.

I highly encourage everyone to read (not skim) what I sent to Christian. As far as I have seen nothing has been changed. Now if only my radio show could get this much attention then maybe I could get into restaurants for free (and yes I host a radio show, on actually radio, three nights a week right now :) surprise :).

In response to Anon. 8:22 PM how could I be wrong about something a Falling Gator member told me? All I stated was the club was under funded; even though their budget may have increased it is still lacking from what I have been told by AVERAGE STUDENTS THAT ARE MEMBERS OF THAT CLUB. Falling Gators isn’t the only club that has had members tell me their clubs are under funded either…as I said SG does a pretty good job with the big ones but has some work to do with the smaller ones.

In response to Anon. 7:44 PM, I am not comparing this administration to anything but rather stating what I have heard, observed, and been told by fellow students. I think that point is clearly stated in my special note and the overall grade, but if I am incorrect in that assumption I apologize.

In all estimates I think I have had to chance to speak to a couple thousand students between the time I started campaigning and now about their feelings on SG; most don't care but others have formed an opinion. I would say I likely logged one of the highest hours out there on the campaign trail but my conversations with students didn't stop there so I have plenty to go on. I have nothing for respect for those that take on leadership positions for the right reasons and I am very sincere about that; I think anyone within SG that I have had the chance to meet and speak with can attest to that. When it was brought to my attention last time around that some of my comments may have been offensive I went out of my way to visit Mr. Reilly and Mr. Agrusa three times at their office hours before I had a chance to say I was sincerely sorry if what I said offended them.

In high school I loved SG, our county SG, my work with the teachers' unions (both Seminole Uniserv and Florida Educators' Association), having the chance to get to know school board members on a one on one basis, and meeting and speaking with state legislatures and U.S. Congressmen and I would definitely like a chance to continue that in the future and so far no one has told me to stop trying (in fact more than a few within the Greek Party ranks have encouraged me in, what I hope, was a sincere way). I am not a product of Bruce, David, or PANTS but, rather, I have had the chance to take in different viewpoints under them. That input is not limited to the indie movement but has included the conversations I have had with Mr. Moseley, Ben Groove, Ryan Day, Lacey Logsden, and MANY, MANY others. And remember, I also get to see how many of you react to items at the SG meetings, which is always a load of fun.

As also my e-mail is listed in the directory if you wish to speak with me and I am usually at the Senate meetings. So far I have only had three people come up and talk to me from the blogs and all three had nothing but nice things to say and I really appreciate it. On a final note, if my work schedule doesn’t change I plan on attending that G'Ville Community Economic Development Meeting…maybe I will write something up for Christian to post.

bruce said...

Frank was never one of our "talking heads" and I'm proud of all the time he's spent getting information from both sides.

Give him a chance. You won't be disappointed. I wasn't. :)

Anonymous said...

8:04, being willing to have your name associated with this blog is anything but a virtue.

francisco said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
francisco said...

:tear: Thanks Bruce...I am going to miss waving pants in the air with you :lol:.

After yesterday's meeting I saw two other PANTS Party alum that are working hard to be involved at UF and I know there are at least two others that are doing the same...and that is just the younger group. I would just suggest to people not to discount others because they don't have the same number of years in that you do. Everyone has their own experiences, their own backgrounds, and their own ways of becoming informed. I have spoken to people, read the 700 codes, skimmed the constitution and other statues, have asked about various standing groups like the Supreme Court of the Student Body External Review Committee (how many knew that existed :lol:), attended Senate meetings and watched people's reactions (and heard the comments they murmur under their breath), attended Supreme Court Hearings and see the troubles it faces(again, I ask how many have done this), and read Robert's Rules of Order 4 or 5 times (good read). As a great example, some of the statutory updates Mr. Agunst presented were part of some troubles he found after an e-mail I sent to him concerning the 700 codes. Another example, at this past transfer preview I was the only guy out there that was even remotely related to SG; so I filled in doing both tabling for SG (after I got the supplies from up stairs) and continued to do the voter registration that I signed up for. So as I said, not having the number of years in "service" that others have doesn't necessarily mean that I haven't done enough research to form a sound opinion.

P.S. Christian, check your e-mail, I am serious about that license thingy

Anonymous said...

11:11 - I didn't say it was a virtue, far from it. I'd never want my name on this blog, hence I would never answer something like this report card.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:06, TALK to Lacy about budget sometime, and then make a judgement.

Anonymous said...

2:06: If you talk to Lacey, be becareful, don't let your eyes get poked out by her nose.

Anonymous said...

Quit covering SG. Grow up, like, you are old. Let the Observer take over.

Anonymous said...

You do realize this is Duque's last year of covering SG as he has said several times?

Anonymous said...

He needs to hurry it up. What a freak. Everyone should read the observer.

Christian Duque said...

I am a huge fan of the Observer's, though I must confess, I love your 3rd grade/System tactics to try and turn the two blogs on each other -- that will never happen. The SGO is doing great things and will stand to the test of time.

UF SG Observer said...

Thanks Duque, perhaps when your blog changes to its new format we will do a Q&A session for you to be added to The Student Leader Files.

Anonymous said...

As a member of R&A, I can tell you that Lacey sat through about a 45 minute interview for both chair positions focusing mostly on budget. Her ideas and knowledge about budget was very extensive and impressive to the committee as a whole but we felt she would best serve the I&C Committee. These personal attacks are inappropriate and uncalled for and undermine her strength as a senator and Chairwoman.

Anonymous said...

Hahahaha. Chrisy has been suckered by Kim!

Christian Duque said...

"Her ideas and knowledge about budget was very extensive and impressive to the committee..."

C'mon, so she can use a calculator. What ideas are there? Bracco talks about a number of starving clubs, I could list another few more traditionally shortchanged; the budget is basically the same year after year with minor fiscal changes.

If you want to award a System bureaucrat with more titles that's fine, it's par for the course, but go sell her talents elsewhere -- this blog caters to a select few of insiders (past and present) and no one buys into that hype. Take that to the next FLC meeting, lol.

I haven't been suckered by anyone. I'm exhausted from a field trip to Orlando and will now read my free Alachua County Today that just came in the mail. & yes, finally teaching full-time as of April. Goodnight.

Anonymous said...

Christian Duque a full time teacher? There goes the planet...

Anonymous said...

Duque is to teacher as Logsdon will be to lawyer in a few years.

Anonymous said...

Just STOP. Seriously. These are PEOPLE you are talking about. This is Christian's blog, so I'm sure he's prepared for people to say deragatory things in his comments section. But people like Lacey did NOT ask for this. She doesn't deserve this, maybe Paul was the best person for budget, that doesn't mean she's an idiot and has nothing to offer to the committee. And SPEAK to her before you make assumptions about what kind of lawyer she will be.

Anonymous said...

And SPEAK to her before you make assumptions about what kind of lawyer she will be.

That's exactly where the assumptions are coming from.

Anonymous said...

I do not know what your personal vendetta is against Lacey, Christian; but your comments and behavior on SG observer and in your own blog are utterly despicable, immature, and down right cold. Grow up. You've graduated so why are you still talking about stupid SG drama?

And agreed with Anon 10:36—please think about your comments before you post and how it will affect those who read it. There is a tactful way to express your opinions rather attacking the character of people you hardly know.

Christian Duque said...

What are you talking about? I made a comment next door, only to say that looks shouldn't matter in SG. And aside from that, I've said nothing about the girl in question. Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

You got on her case during the campaigns.

Christian Duque said...

Yes I did, that was months ago. Why are you attacking me for it now? Do you say "ouch" two hours after you hurt yourself? Good Lord, get on some meds!

I don't have anything against her, it's the Party that should be ashamed of itself for using its female campaign workers in such a shameful way. We NEVER did that w/ Access & the SA kids would have dropped dead before they did either.

Anonymous said...

Yup the Yellow and Blue never did that. Except I was campaigned too be a girl who was obviously trying to flirt with me... but you know because the god of gods christian duque says it didn't happen... then it clearly didn't, ever, not even a chance.

You're seriously one of the biggest hypocrites to be involved in SG.