TheRaDiKaL: When did you arrive @ UF & what are some of the first campus organizations you got involved with.
Frank Bracco: When did you arrive @ UF & what are some of the first campus organizations you got involved with. I arrived at UF in Fall 2006 and focused largely on my classes, work, and running (I was training for a half marathon at the time). I did attend two organizations regularly - but I will refrain from mentioning their names. I also tried to get involved with the Swamp Party during the Fall. After not being slated (LJ lived in Graham at the time), I was told by Josh Weiss and Kevin Reilly to attend the party meeting after the SoE's mandatory meeting. I sat in the back of the Swamp Party's meeting but during the roll call Kevin Reilly, Mike Patrone, and Josh Weiss did not recognize me from when we spoke earlier and sent Lauren Asher back to "remove me" from the room (note it was Reitz Union meeting room). I sill thought I would have an opportunity to get involved, so I stopped by the table a couple times and asked if I could volunteer but the response I always received was, "we would get you in touch with your candidate". Since that incident I have been attending Senate to figure out why some people are excluded and others are not.
TheRaDiKaL: Initially what first drew you to the Pants Party and what kind of a Student Body President do you think Bruce Haupt would have made?
Frank Bracco: Initially what first drew you to the Pants Party and what kind of a Student Body President do you think Bruce Haupt would have made? During Fall 2006, I remember Bruce standing out in Turlington everyday campaigning and interacting with regular students. Looking at Swamp during that time, I did not see any of their "leadership" out on the campaign trail being as active as Bruce. When the Spring Elections arrived, I originally was going to volunteer just to help with Pants but David, Bruce, and Jordan invited me to hang out during the slating process to learn more about the party. From there everything just sort of clicked and I ended up slating.
Bruce Haupt is an amazing guy! I am not sure Bruce would have enjoyed being Student Body President, but I know tons of people would have enjoyed watching him attempt to change Student Government. The big thing about Bruce is he always seems to prosper when interacting with people and he comes across as a down-to-earth, average guy. His attitude allows people to loosen up when they interact with him and the connection seems genuine.
TheRaDiKaL: When you decided to apply for Chomp The Vote, what were your thoughts going into the application process and then once hired? Did you feel you'd get a fair shake and how did everything play out?
Frank Bracco: When I applied to Chomp the Vote, I was actually surprised I received an interview. At the time I applied for both External Affairs Director and Chomp the Vote Director; both times Mr. Moseley was there to greet me as I arrived to the office and gave me a "good luck" speech as we walked to the conference room. I got to know Mr. Moseley during the Spring campaign; for some reason we always seemed to be campaigning in the same place (my one Pants Pole to Mr. Moseley and his two or three volunteers). Later on that Spring, Tyler Antar and I had a meeting with Mr. Moseley to talk about what he would expect from a Chomp the Vote Director during his time as Student Body President. At the time, Tyler Antar was the acting CTV Director thanks to a nod from Jason Lutin.
In the end, there were some pretty notable candidates that passed over, especially Tyler. I do, however, feel like the process worked pretty well and I did get a fair shake. When I was confirmed I tried to reach out to all of the individuals that applied but none of them really didn't seem interested, so Tyler and I put together a Chomp the Vote team the best way we knew how and ran with it.
TheRaDiKaL: In your opinion, how did CTV evolve from its inception under Jared Hernandez to your term. Could you give us some stats &
figures, some idea of what you accomplished?
Frank Bracco: I do not necessarily want to offend anyone, but my understanding (and from the numbers I have seen) tend to indicate CTV had a large number of volunteers and IFC support; in fact, I believe IFC even donated the money for the Chomp the Vote shirts at the time. All the evidence I have seen also shows that Jared's CTV registered somewhere between 3000 and 4000 individuals with other organizations (voluntarily or forcibly under the umbrella of Chomp the Vote) providing another 4000 or so. I think the most notable example the numbers game is when Michael Moore came to town: approximately 1,000 students registered that day with "Chomp the Vote". In reality, 1,000 students registered at the event, of that approximately 500 were with College Republicans.
That being said, Jared's Chomp the Vote was extremely visible and included commercials, radio ads, and, of course, the failed limo service. Jared legitimately wanted to carry Chomp the Vote forward for future Gators but it failed for the next two years. When Tyler resurrected Chomp the Vote, and I took it over in the Spring/Summer of 2007, we couldn't find a student in SG that had been involved with Chomp the Vote to help us craft our approach. We decided to take a more grassroots approach and pounded the pavement as many school days as possible. In the end we registered approximately 2,400 students for an election most students did not care about because they believed their vote would not matter. We also held several events, attended a great deal of organizational meetings, and even begun to make inroads into the Greek Community. We also promoted the local elections, which was really one of the main vision's Jared and Jess Johnson had with Chomp the Vote.
Was the Chomp the Vote team successful during the Moseley Administration? I guess I will leave that up to the reader to decide. When I was confirmed, many people stated (on this blog and elsewhere) that this would be an election no one would care about and they would be surprised if we could break 500 registrations. I believe our team went above and beyond the expectations concerning registrations, and we also did some amazing education and mobilization work for a team whose core membership was half-a-dozen or so at any given point in time. Arguably, Chomp the Vote was one of the most successful non-partisan voter registration, education, and mobilization efforts outside of California during the primary season at a university. Tyler and I also did plenty of interviews with students, local and regional newspapers, public interest groups, other universities, national think tanks, and even a national radio talk show (Hannity: "Chomp the Vote is liberal group heading up the Don't Tase Me Bro' protests on the UF campus!", thanks Tyler). I believe the true success of Chomp the Vote is measured by the fact random students still recognize Tyler, myself, and other members of the Chomp the Vote team and regularly ask us about voter registration. Ultimately, we may have not reached all of the grandiose ideas Tyler, Alan Rezaei, Mr. Moseley, and myself had for Chomp the Vote but I would give our efforts a solid B+ and we were definitely the one of the most productive team inside Student Government at the time (although I might be a little bias).
TheRaDiKaL: Who are some of the people that actually worked for you directly and/or behind the scenes to make Chomp The Vote as successful as it was during your years? And how much leeway were you given as director insofar as funding, programming, and staffing for your agency?
Frank Bracco: With Chomp the Vote, Tyler, Alan Rezaei, Ben Cavataro, Rilwan, and myself were the 'core team' (putting in a couple days a week). There was also a 'secondary team' which was usually the CTV Directors (like Brett Roth) that I would see or hear from once a week or so. Finally, there was a couple dozen other people that came out at random points during the semester to offer an hour or two. Under President Moseley, I had nearly free reign on the programming and staffing of Chomp the Vote. The financial aspect was a slightly different story.
Chomp the Vote was created by an "executive order" under Jamal and was never codified. I refer to this has Ryan Day's folly: everyone thought it was codified but Chomp the Vote was really functioning as a "shadow agency". In fact, the position of Chomp the Vote Director was even made exclusionary by a certain Senate President before the position was even defined elsewhere in statutes. Financially, this meant I really had no legal say whatsoever. Realistically, Chomp the Vote was actually budgeted through the local lobby line. I presented David Drescher with a budget in the summer and it was my responsibility to make sure Drescher signed off on everything before I asked Ms. Sandy to file an SAR for me. President Moseley and David took a hands-off approach and let the Chomp the Vote team do whatever it pleased (within limits of course).
TheRaDiKaL: Will you admit publicly that once you were hired that you may have been ordered, or perhaps advised, to tone down your involvement with TheRadikal.com? And if so, by whom?
Frank Bracco: Sure, this is something I would like to set the record straight on. I have always been pretty active on the blogs but when appointed to the Chomp the Vote Executive Directorship, I thought it would be inappropriate for me to comment on items unrelated to Chomp the Vote. I brought my concerns up with David and Mr. Moseley and they both agreed with me on this matter. I was not ordered from taking part in The Radikal's lovely conversations. In fact, Mr. Moseley encouraged me to use The Radikal if anything relating to Chomp the Vote came up.
TheRaDiKaL: Our nation is in the midst of a foreclosure-nightmare, unemployment is up, there's a weak dollar, there's global warming, wars on two fronts, and over 150 banks including Indymac, Washington Mutual, and Wachovia have all gone under. In an election in that may redefine, even possibly save America...how do you assess Executive Director Brett Roth's job performance in Chomp The Vote? Using your tenure as the litmus test.
Frank Bracco: Bracco left this one BLANK; refused to respond upon follow-up.
TheRaDiKaL: What do you think weighed more in Roth's hire - the fact he hails from a house rumored to be on the fence for Spring 2009 or the fact he's totally inexperienced and quite possibly useless to the organization? Any chance this agency will ever get phased out?
Frank Bracco: Chomp the Vote only became an agency under the Moseley Administration and I can definitely see it being phased it if another string of failures occurs (a la Hannah Hillman style). I cannot say why the Executive Committee decided to appoint Brett Roth, but I can say Tyler Antar did not get a fair shake. Unfortunately some individuals on the Executive Committee, believing they understood the background of Chomp the Vote, refused to even acknowledge Tyler Antar as the person to resurrect Chomp the Vote. All these individuals had to do was speak with Mr. Moseley or Jason Lutin to learn the role Tyler Antar played in Chomp the Vote.
TheRaDiKaL: Please tell us what it was like to run for Vice President under the Orange & Blue Party? How does Tommy Jardon compare to
Bruce Haupt, both in your experiences on the campaign trail and as potential leaders of the UF-SG?
Frank Bracco: Very good question! Running as Vice President was perhaps one of the best experiences I have had at the university. Being an executive candidate allowed me to meet so many students and hear some many ideas concerning how the university and Student Government should function. It is amazing how many people actually have opinions on SG and the how the university works but refuse to exercise their power at the ballot box.
During the Orange and Blue run, I did not have as much interaction with Tommy as I had with Bruce during Pants. I think that just generally had to do with us having different schedules. In my mind, Tommy has always come across as more of a partisan leader to me (someone that will be the head of the Florida GOP in the future) whereas Bruce is more of your "everyman" guy (your hype man). Both Bruce and Tommy can do the groundwork and both are extremely intelligent and able to do the planning but they approach their allocation of time differently. My impression is Tommy is more of planner and strategist while Bruce is more a "people person". As Student Body President, Tommy would have been someone that put pressure on the administration to listen to the students while Bruce would spent more time interacting with the average student.
TheRaDiKaL: Do you believe enough women hold influence and/or any real leadership posts in today's Independent movement? Do you consider Orange & Blue to be as Independent as say, the Pants Party?
Frank Bracco: During Pants,we did have some female candidates and everyone had input into the party's strategy. Those in truly leadership positions included Liz and Eve. While I cannot say for certain how the Gator Party functioned, I do believe that our female candidates had more influence than their female candidates. The Orange and Blue Party has definitely allowed more ladies to get involved in Student Government and hopefully we will see an increase in active, independent thinking Senators after the Fall Elections.
Do I consider Orange and Blue as Independent as Pants? O&B has a completely different energy and has reached more members of the student body. If you consider the amount of students reached as a measure of success, Orange and Blue is creating a whole new level of success for independent parties.
the following scenarios:
O&B Sweep of District D: Seats in District D have only been won twice by an independent party. If memory serves me correctly, they were parties that had house support as well. I could see us cherry-picking some seats off in D; this is one of the districts I have money on.
O&B Landslide @ Hume: Unlike my comrades, I believe Hume isgoing to be very close. Mark and I have a wager going on what the results of Hume will be.
O&B remains united in Spring '09: I don't know why it would not be.
O&B factions off in two: Somehow I doubt this would happen. Keep your eye on Gator though!
Gator Back Johnson '09: Two months ago I would have told you Jordan was a lock; today my response would be there doesn't appear to be any other viable candidate. I have heard from individuals in Greek Life, SG, and FBK that Spring should be very interesting so I guess we will just have to see how it plays out.
Mark McShera: Potential new leader of the Independent movement
once the Action/Pants generation graduates.
Shea Parrish: Wish we could have gotten her more involved, but
Shea is pretty busy elsewhere on campus.
Tommy Jardon: Oh boy, how do I respond? An unpredictable genius that talks with his hands, haha; for all the disagreements we have, I respect Tommy more than the vast amount of individuals I have met through SG.
Pedro Morales: Pedro, Cecilia, Jordan McBee, Justin Bell, and
Brittany McCants were all part of the "moderate block" that taught me about Student Government. Good people!
Gavin Baker: My big experience with Gavin was his call into the jazz show I host; he won some tickets.
Ryan Nelson: Wish he could have finished his good-bye speech.
Kim Cruts: Very energetic individual, although scary when she is mad (I know from experience).
Ryan Day: y experience with Day has been different than most.
Day always came across as a straight shooter with me. No matter as much as I was told to dislike him, he always did right by me personally; I even got him a graduation card.
Cain Norris: Needs to work on his ground game, haha.
(Thanks for deleting from Facebook -- you're a born leader!)
Kyle Huey: The hardest working man of the Spring 2008 Election
Eric Wolf: Has always been good to me even when we haven't seen eye-to-eye.
Glenda: Always willing to help me out, even listens to me on the radio sometimes :-).
Sandy: Most helpful individual when I was Chomp the Vote
Stan: Stan's the Man! The other independents really need to give Stan a chance, he is a straight-shooter with the institutional knowledge to back it up. I got to know Stan more for his work with non-profits outside of SG because I serve on the city's Community Development Advisory Board.
Sam Miorelli: Misunderstood and a hard worker. Derserved more in ACCENT, because he got passed over he became the bitter Sam we all "know and love". His brother, Sunshine Sam, is way cooler :lol:.
Jordan Johnson: Someone to watch for the Spring.
Naadira Renfroe: I have not had many interactions with her.
Jordan Loh: Sincere but sometimes too moderate; a good guy to me.
John McCain: Good personality but I do not agree with his
Barack Obama: Still do not understand his platform.
Ralph Nader: More power to ya' - keep those unsafe cars (and
politicos) off the roads!
Bob Barr: Odd choice for the ticket but polling well in some states.