Saturday, May 12, 2007
Legends of SG: Nick Capezza
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.