Sunday, May 04, 2008
Sen. Mark McShera: GDI of the Future
TheRaDiKaL: Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to run for the Student Senate.
Sen. Mark McShera I am a sophomore political science and history major from Tampa, Florida. Outside of student government I am the College Democrats Editorial Chair. My first direct experience with student government came with the Progress Party in Fall 2007 when my friend, and party president, Joe Trimboli encouraged me to get involved. I decided to run for student senate because over my two years at UF it had become painfully obvious that senate needs some strong, independent voices to bring accountability.
TheRaDiKaL: As you may be aware, I too was a CLAS Senator with an Independent party. What has the public service experience been for you so far? Positive? Trying?
Sen. Mark McShera Senate has been very fun so far. Some have said there has been too much partisan bickering in chambers but I think we have had some great debates over issues like cabinet reform and senate's role as an advocate for the student body.
TheRaDiKaL: In a March 4th Alligator article you responded in the capacity of O&B Party Chairman that over two dozen violations against your party, filed by the Gator Party were in fact "frivolous" complaints. After the Alan Passman case, were there any concerns that if followed through, any of these complaints could result in disqualifications?
Sen. Mark McShera We thought the complaints served no purpose other than to disqualify the party. Ryan Day filed a mass amount of complaints to make Orange & Blue appear to be a renegade with no regard for the rules. As the vast majority of the 30 some complaints were eventually dropped, I think frivolous remains the best way to describe the complaints.
TheRaDiKaL: How would you describe this past Spring's election and from a strategic perspective, was it necessary for your party's front-runner to broadcast his sexual preference as boldly as he did? Was the idea to alienate as many voters as possible?
Sen. Mark McShera The past spring election served as a proving ground for our party to show we are a viable, competitive alternative to the Gator Party. We wanted to start building a movement that will one day result in a majority and I think we made great strides. I don't think that Tommy's sexuality was an issue that we trumpeted, outside of his guest column I don't remember seeing it mentioned once. As far as I could tell it was a non-issue.
TheRaDiKaL: Speaking in terms of the O&B "Wiki-Platform," do you see any potential conflict on interests in regards to switching UF Webmail with Google' gmail? With a name as emblematic of the Gator Nation as O&B, what kind of school spirit do you think emulated from a platform that suggested quitting on Webmail and replacing it with a corporate substitute?
Sen. Mark McShera I don't see any conflict of interest in switching to gmail unless Bernie Machen has some controlling interesting in Google that I am unaware of. The average student recognizes that gmail is an incredible upgrade over webmail. On the campaign trail that’s one of the issues that really grabs voters' attention.
TheRaDiKaL: Your party's choice for Vice President should have been, in my opinion, your choice for President. What experience, exactly, did Tommy Jardon have for the nomination? Do you think it's appropriate to run a turncoat for the presidency under a GDI ticket?
Sen. Mark McShera Tommy had the experience that comes along with being a leader in student government over an extended period of time. Our model was the Impact Party from Spring and Fall 2005, both successful independent parties. Tommy was an integral part of their achievements and we thought his extensive experience made him a strong candidate. I would dispute the notion that Tommy ever “turncoated” as he never asked for nor received anything from Ryan Moseley. He thought that Ryan could bring substantive change to student government at UF and briefly worked to bring that about.
TheRaDiKaL: What was your reaction(s) to the UF Supreme Court ruling that online voting is unconstitutional? With double digits in the Senate, will O&B vote to confirm President O'Reilly's selected justices or can we expect O&B senators to filibuster until 4 a.m. if need be? Without divulging, are there any strategies in the works to hinder another pool of system drones from being sworn in for '08-'09?
Sen. Mark McShera The Supreme Court’s ruling is completely and totally indefensible. 5683 students saw 4 law students throw their rights under the bus. As a matter of law the decision is total garbage. A real court will recognize Justice Campbell’s dissent as the only sensible opinion on the matter and send the amendment to the students for a vote. We will scrutinize Reilly’s selections and if he nominates system drones we will do everything we can to stop them from being confirmed.
TheRaDiKaL: Issue/Reaction (Short Answer Please)
Sen. Mark McShera
Roam Towing -- Roam Towing- It’s gotten much better since the new restrictions came into effect in Fall 2007. As the city council can hardly challenge the power of the towing companies I struggle to see it as an SG issue
2 A.M. Rave Ordinance -- I could see pushing it back to 230 or 3 but 2 isn’t too restrictive to in my mind.
Minus Grade Implementation -- Minus Grade Implementation- Having plus grades but no minus grades is frankly ridiculous. We should also add an A+ to maximize UF students’ competitiveness for grad school.
Senate Committee Appointments -- Senate Committee Appointments- Shameful but not shocking. There have been assurances they will improve so we will see where that goes.
Campus Sustainability/Green Areas -- Campus Sustainability/Green Areas- PTI needs to get over herself and allow the sustainability fee to help pay for things like biodiesel on buses.
Campus Recycling -- Campus Recycling- Recycling bins need to be more visible and abundant on campus. The idea of partnering with Pepsi to increase the number of recycling bins should be the model.
24 Hour Study Center -- 24 Hour Study Center- Considering our budget problems, I think there are enough spots on campus between libraries and dorms to study.
TheRaDiKaL: To what extent would you say (if any), for those of us long graduated, does FBK exert control over SG and/or key players in 2008?
Sen. Mark McShera Florida Blue Key is the power behind student government at UF. FBK may not actively mettle in the day-to-day operations of the Reilly administration but he still only received the nomination after picking up enough Key support.
TheRaDiKaL: Name association (5 words or less, preferably honest, no bs reactions)
Sen. Mark McShera
Ryan Day - Self-important turncoat
Kim Cruts- Bad press management
C.J. Brian Aungst: Ultimate system tool
Kellie Dale: Temperamental and in over her head
Bernie Machen: Worst UF President in the modern era
Campus SDS: Impressive Tenacity
Charles Grapski: Either brilliant or insane, probably both
Frank Bracco: Hard worker but sometimes unrealistic
Peter Gruskin: Only heard the name, don’t know enough to comment
Vanessa Goodwin: "As far as the idea that the Federal Government invented AIDS to infect the black community, its not that far fetched."
Sam Green: Power behind Jamal Sowell
Ryan Moseley: Best system politician in my time at UF, by far
Fernando Nin: Again not enough info to comment
Sam Miorelli: Extremely hardworking, great talent for pissing people off
Tommy Jardon: Strong leader, adroit strategist
Patricia Telles-Irvin: Machen’s lackey
Faculty Senate: Need to show more balls in the face of Machen’s move on the provost
Independent Florida Alligator. On the way back after a few mediocre semesters
TheRaDiKaL: Any parting words?
Sen. Mark McShera It’s been a great honor to add my name to the list of people, like Liz Stinson and Bruce Haupt, who have been interviewed by the Radikal. Thanks for the opportunity.