TheRaDiKaL: When did you arrive at UF and what organizations did you initially get ivovled with?
Sen. Mark McShera: I arrived at UF in Fall 2006 and became involved with the UF College Democrats. I also attended a few Habitat For Humanity and VOX meetings but decided to really stick with College Dems.
TheRaDiKaL: How & Why did you get involved with SG - and - do you see SG as true voice of the students?
Sen. Mark McShera: I got involved with Student Government when my friend Joe Trimboli brought me into the Fall 2007 iteration of the Progress Party. My motivation for getting involved with the SG reform movement was a general dissatisfaction with the way leaders like John Boyles represented the student body.
Currently I do not see SG as the real voice of the students, Again and again SG caves to the administration on issues like the conduct code regulation changes we say in Fall 2008.
TheRaDiKaL: Many members of the System (students & alums) have stated that O&B made a lot of noise, but failed to deliver anything of substance in chamber from Spring '08 - Fall '08. How would you respond to such statements?
Sen. Mark McShera: I would categorically disagree. We almost doubled CLAS's representation in Student Government. Our senators and supporters negotiated with the VPSA's office to make the conduct code changes more palatable. For the first time in recent memory Student Government began actually following Florida law on the Sunshine Standards. Many of our efforts were blocked by the Gator Party out of sheer bad will. I don't think we can be faulted for the failure of resolutions that 80% of students supported and the Gator Party subsequently voted down.
TheRadiKaL: In your own words, how would best (and concisely) describe the split between the two factions of O&B.
Sen. Mark McShera: Ben Dictor knew he would never been democratically nominated by the Orange & Blue Party so, after lying to nearly everyone in the party, he left and formed a third party. Dictor planned to run no matter what. He discussed his current exec ticket as early as October with Donte, the only question that remained was whether he would run under the Orange & Blue name or another. The answer to that is clear now.
TheRaDiKaL: To what degree would attribute the exclusion of Josh Simmons from any post of trust in O&B, to the split of December 2008?
Sen. Mark McShera: Simmons has his own motivations for forming a third party, I wouldn't say splitting from Orange & Blue because he was never a member of the party. Josh wants power and friends, that's all it ever came down to. He knew Joe and Sam or anyone else who knew his history would never trust him or allow him to do anything but pass out flyers. Ben Dictor and his supporters also offered Josh the base of of friends he so badly desired now that Cruts and Grove are gone. Simmons and Dictor played off of each others lust for power but I believe Simmons to be more of a bit player. Ben Dictor was going to run regardless of Josh Simmons. At this point Simmons is just along for the ride.
TheRaDiKaL: In your opinion, what motivated the Progs insofar as demanding disclosure and transparency on the GMG Emails.
Sen. Mark McShera: Ben Dictor's personal political ambitions motivated their witch hunt on the green means go emails. He wanted the party to surrender to him with empty claims about the "Green Means Go" emails. Basically he trumped up the charges he leveled in a last ditch attempt to take over the party.
TheRaDiKaL: Question #1 from Sen. Schneider: what constructive measures in the senate he's put forth to push for online voting? (not including public debate and/or questioning officials)
Sen. Mark McShera: There have been none. Attempting to push online voting in the senate would endanger the Online Voting Lawsuit as it would call into question whether final administrative action has been taken on the Amendment. The only way online voting will ever make it onto the ballot at UF will be under a court order. I suggest Senator Schneider consult both Florida law and student government history on these points.
TheRadiKaL Question #2 from Sen. Schneider: In hindsight, do you regret not adjusting the language of the handscanner bill so as to get the Gator Party behind it and if not, why?
Sen. Mark McShera: I voted for an amendment that made the bill easier for the Senators to understand in an attempt to get the handscanner bill passed. So no I don't have any regrets.
TheRaDiKaL (Question #3 from Sen. Schneider): How does Sen. McShera respond to the allegations that his treasurer candidate is a shameless opportunist, given that he sought the nomination from two parties prior to going to O&b
Sen. Mark McShera: Brandon White is the most qualified candidate to be Student Body Treasurer on the UF campus. Period. His performance in the debates thus far has clearly demonstrated this.
He is a great asset to the ticket.
The RadiKaL (Question from Fmr. CTV Director, Frank Bracco): Do you feel the good ol' boy system still exists at UF and if so in what form? How do you plan to change this system if it does exist?
Sen. Mark McShera: The Green Means Go Scandal proves that it absolutely does. The Gator/Unite Party promises away SG positions and Blue Key taps in exchange for organizational support. The best way to combat it is to appoint the most qualified candidates to all positions in Student Government.
The RaDiKaL (Question from GDI Legend, Nick Capezza): "Would a bicameral SG legislature be better for the student body?"
Sen. Mark McShera: That's an interesting question. I don't really see how a bicameral legislature would be any more effective. A larger chamber of deputies style lower house would allow for more diverse representation but would be impracticable based on colleges and residence areas. A smaller upper house would probably only divide independent support and allow for less competitive elections. Ultimately I don't think it would help.
The RaDiKaL (Question from UF Activist/Progress leader, Jon Bull): If a runoff election takes place between Jordan Johnson and Ben Dictor, could you guarantee Ben your full support?"
Sen. Mark McShera: Absolutely. Ben Dictor has shown repeteadly over the last 3 months that he would make a great Student Body President.
The RadiKaL (Question from Access Party supporter Galen Wood): How would you choose your cabinet - who do you already have in mind?
Sen. Mark McShera: I would have to consult heavily with Stacey on Cabinet Chairs and Directors, as she would be overseeing them. I don't have anyone in mind for cabinet yet. We would ultimately select the person that we thought brought the best ideas and most energy to the position.
5 words or less
Sam Miorelli - a warhorse and a good friend
Donte Hargrove - fiery and a relentless campaigner
Toto - That joke is lost on me.
Ben Dictor - Vain
Justin Wooten - Fierce supporter of dictor
Kim Cruts - Simmons ally, minor player in Gator
Nina Martinez - dedicated campaigner
Stacey Gray - Great running mate, poised
Jordan Johnson - Nice guy but not SBP material
Thomas Jardon - History professor of the movement
Skeet Surrency - Smart guy, very funny
Joe Trimboli - one of my best friends, fierce
Glenda Frederick - Another great source of historical information
Kyle Huey - effective at almost everything a campaign needs behind the scenes
James Argento - friend of Will Foster, helped run Access
Christian Duque - always controversial but well intentioned
Ken Kerns - reunion at university ave
Armando Grundy - dedicated to the party
TheRaDiKaL: Any final thoughts?
Sen. Mark McShera: I look forward to the election this Spring and think its the best chance the independent movement has had at a major breakthrough since Access. Hopefully over the next 2 weeks the Orange & Blue Party will continue its trend of expanding election after election, culminating in the victory of of executive ticket.