Saturday, December 10, 2005

Current State of ASM: Moving Student Government Right

Since last spring, conservatives have been winning major victories on campus. There have been several special triumphs to note.

One, we have one of the first conservative chairs in Eric Varney and the campus and conservatives have have benefited from having an objective mouthpiece and leader of the organization. Varney’s response to UW’s Party School Ranking:

“It just shows that we work hard, but we play hard also” Someone that is honest and not a tool for political correctness is someone I can definitely respect.”

Varney’s response to SSFC’s decision on SAFE:

University of Wisconsin Transportation blatantly failed to follow the proper procedures, resulting in the end of a valuable and popular service in SAFE Cab. Shame on them.”

“Last year, SAFE Cab provided 13,100 rides to students in need, while SAFE Walk only had 1,075 uses. At budget costs of roughly $194,000 and $116,000 respectively, it is apparent that SAFE Cab is a more cost effective and widely used service than its counterpart. SAFE Walk is an important program as well, but it puzzles me why UW Transportation would tout one service so highly over the other, especially with contradictory statistics.”

Instead of making an apology to the students about SAFE, he criticized UW Transportation. This was a great political move and one that garners my respect. Having someone at the top who knows what government should be about (providing essential services) and not about social activism has been great. While Varney has not been extraordinarily active this semester, he has been a good spokesperson, a fair chairman, spoke out in favor of SSFC’s decision on SAFE, and most importantly filed the lawsuit against SLAC.

Second, the Robin Hood Slate won a number of races in a convincing fashion that should not go unnoticed. In the spring, Ryan Scannell whooped up on the competition in the Agricultural Race (600 to 90) and sent Eyal packing (this had other implications also). Brandon Sivet led the way in the L&S with the most votes for the school, Jackie Goessl represented in Education, Ross Olson picked up the spot for the SON, I picked up over 1700 votes in the SSFC race, and others won in convincing fashion in their respective schools. The fall freshman race was even more exciting. Even though the CR’s decided to endorse one of the two conservative candidates, both won dominating other representatives who claimed their racial diversity made them “the” candidate for council. This huge win along with upcoming political star David Lapidus coming close against Kellie Sanders (a loss by only 60 votes) has also solidified the CR and Robin Hood presence on campus---(Kellie you are awesome too).

FUSE is worried and should be terrified about the 2006 spring elections because their support is dwindling and the conservative election machine is strong. The students are and should be coming to grips that GSSF groups are wasteful and that many people on council and SSFC are simply insiders for these organizations. Here’s a recent quote in the Madison Observer from former Diversity Chairman Ryan Sarafolean:

The thing that makes me nervous is that ASM, in general, is moving in a more conservative approach as we have seen lately and that scares me a bit. When the Student Service Finance Committee denies organizations funding that do benefit students here on campus, it makes me nervous about ASM’s direction. We have done a great job for the most part in our past at keeping it a democratic body, but right now I think students in general are taking these opportunities for granted and many do not get involved. (December Issue)

The far left is scared. Programs that aren’t cost effective might start to be cut. Big diversity which is built on large student salaries, huge corporate budgets, and programs that are only social in nature are already starting to be manipulated and sliced into. Radical campaigns such as Transgender Neutral Bathrooms and Worker’s Rights may not have votes or funding in the future. Essentially, there is the strong possibility that socialist activism may not be supported by the students through their tuition in the future.

Third, Nominations Board has been active in selecting not only strong candidates for SSFC and Council but conservative candidates. The first important candidate they selected was Chrissy Harbin who has been a key addition (as have David and Kellie) to restoring fiscal sanity to SSFC. She has brought strong economic arguments and a reliable fiscal conservative position to the table. The second and last main candidate was Leah Moe. A fairly stealth candidate who is not a well-known College Republican, was chosen by Nominations amongst numerous candidates including well known leftist Andy Gordon. Please thank Mary Hegi for heading the effort in bringing more conservative leaders to ASM.

Fourth, mentioned above several times in the article, SSFC has been tougher and brought the budget total to I believe 12% less than last year. Obviously voting “no” to CFACT was a major step and denying specific organizations eligibility (Legal Information Center, Polygon) helped bring the total down but SSFC was also tough on many of the other budgets. Specifically, the committee was harsh towards UWRCF, Student Leadership, JCC, SAFE, and others. Big diversity was essentially preserved for the most part but APAC took some heavy blows and MCSC was brought down significantly also. These particular groups and others like SOL, LBGTCC, Mecha, are still overfunded because insiders stifled real reform this year. We can always hope for next year. The group was brought further to the right during the second half of committee though because of the significant additions of Sanders, Lapidus, and Harbin. The spring is bright and the non-allocables might be actually be fun.

The future is bright for conservatives and particularly the Robin Hood Slate. The name will most likely change but the principles will not. Hopefully, conservatives students will continue to rise up and strong candidates will appear. If not, I’m going to recruit them. With a lead already present (2 to 0), conservatives will look towards winning the spring elections with the expectancy of putting in place real reform in 2006-2007.


  • Too much credit is given to conservatives in this blog. I would say the broad range of moderates (from those on the middle-left to those on the middle-right) have been signicantly more effective in all realms of campus politics this past year (including one of the most controversial representatives of this last year, Kellie Sanders). The new core of elected conservatives have been generally uninformed, blatantly ideologically biased, and overwhelmingly ineffective in suggesting ideas that have been approved upon by a majority in both the ASM Student Council and the SSFC. Look no further than the discussions and decisions that have been approved by Council and the SSFC this year, like the MCSC budget, the SAFE budget, etc.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:53 PM  

  • Does anyone else have little respect for anonymous comments?

    Mark W. Murphy

    By Blogger Mark Murphy, at 4:44 PM  

  • Who knew that I was one of the most controversial represenatives of this year, although I do agree with whoever anonymous is, that I am more of a moderate than anything. But seriously what makes me contraversial cause I certainly don't understand it.
    But anonymous is certainly wrong that conservatives should not be given credit for the SAFE and MCSC budgets, because without them they would not have been able to get rid of a lot of excess spending.
    Anyways good post Tim.

    By Blogger Kellie, at 7:12 PM  

  • It's hard to have much respect for anonymous quote but I think they should be taken seriously. I do have a couple guesses who made this post. Anyways, in response to some of the allegations, there is quite a bit of validity to several of the things posted and I want to respond to them.

    First, I'd like you to define "moderates" but I'm guessing it is people that ran independently. If you want to call certain people who ran via Orgasm and Robin Hood moderates I'd probably second this opinion also. But let's use the first definition, which would independents such as Frey, Kiernoziak, Saar, Kuether, Stone, and probably some others. Yes, I would say that the "moderates" do control both SSFC, Council, and Finance. These "moderates" are insiders and in my view still "pork driven". They do show fiscal restraint against very poor funding requests but rubber stamp others. These "moderates" though do vote for some cuts but also in my opinion do not have clear fiscal philosophies. The best example is Zach Frey (I am guessing wrote this anonymous message) who is an excellent speaker but who in my view really consistency financially and simply makes a strong argument for whatever position he supports on an amendment. And yes, in order to have cuts passed on SSFC or amendments passed on council, moderates like Saar, Frey, Kiernoziak, Rashid, Rath, or others have had to sign on. So yes, according to the numbers "moderates" have had the power. But this is usually not the case because in the past fiscal liberals have been in charge and have SEG Fee Santas. So ASM has been moving right and hopefully will continue to.

    Addressing the new core of elected conservatives:
    I will admit some of these allegations are true but let me explain.

    First, many of us are not "uninformed" but rather just new to ASM politics and don't know much about all the institutions. There are people that know much more about this campus and the activities than me or other conservatives--people that obviously know a lot: Frey, Saar, Schlicht, Tibedu, Knox, etc. But that doesn't mean we are uninformed. A lot of the institutions/groups of this university are used only by small segments of people and many are overfunded. Yes, we may not know the campus as well as many moderates/liberals do but that doesn't mean we can't make informed decisions or place out good ideas.

    Second, "blatantly ideologically based". I only make rational decisions as do other conservatives such as Lapidus, Scannell, and others. To call us ideological is quite wrong because what we are is principled. We don't bend because a group's ideology that we like is at the table. I've been completely VPN and for anybody to acuse me of anything else would be bullshit. Moderates do however and they are lobbied to do what some groups want. They don't treat every group fairly.

    --"Overwhelmingly ineffective"--I will admit I have not been the most effective member of SSFC. There are a couple reasons. First, I overworked myself this semester and have not always been fully awake intellectually at meetings. I've made some poor arguments, stupid comments, etc. and I'll admit I haven't always been fully there for particular budgets. Second, I'm not in the inner circle of SSFC. I should not have to go through a bunch of people to make a cut. These people should listen to the arguments at the table and think about it themselves. Why should I have to talk to specific people before I make a cut? It's bogus. It's all an insider's game for many moderates and who they're friend with/not. Fuck that!!!

    --If you want to go back to SAFE, I was the one who brought forward the evidence of SAFEwalk being an ineffective program. I was the one who made the calculations and stated its wastefulness. I was truly the most effective member in discussion on this budget--the moderates tagged on to the evidence I brough up.
    --MCSC--Chrissy's cut to MCSC's salaries did not go through because the moderates blocked it. It could be because of MCSC friendships with moderates and hardcore lobbying. Other programs should have been cut but we could only string 3-4 votes because the moderates treat MCSC differently (let them have social events, programs that aren't central to their mission).

    --Kellie Sanders--Yes, she may be controversial because the groups/FUSE voted for her on to SSFC, she is being unfairly sued by CFACT. But let me give to everybody straight--she should not be controversial. The people who are controversial are the ones who think it is okay for MCSC to have a 30 person staff, think its okay to fund social events, think its okay to fund events outside certain group missions. She's been an excellent member of SSFC and for anyone else to say otherwise would be a disgrace.

    By Blogger Tim, at 7:41 PM  

  • Huh, I wrote my post during Kellie's post but I want to respond to hers also. Kellie is moderate but that is construed as being conservative on SSFC. Really, the people who are conservative (Me, Dave, possibly Chrissy) are the only real people to the right fiscally while most others are very liberal in their SEG fee giving. What's controversial Kellie I would say is that you are not a porker like many of the other people who have been in GSSF groups before.

    That's what makes you controversial...you are not corrupt like so many others in our student government...imagine having principles..imagine not selling your soul to big diversity, SEG fees, the groups....Whoa. Yes, there are actually principled people in our student government.

    By Blogger Tim, at 7:49 PM  

  • Not having a blog, I can't post under anything but anonymous.

    As someone who was pretty involved with ASM during the past year and now has taken a few steps back, I think I've got a different perspective than what I once did. And, as I'm not really planning on returning to the organization any time soon, my words will probably go mostly ignored. Oh well.

    In your post, you classified me as a "leftist," which is absolutely fine. I generally do fall on that side of the spectrum politically, and I'm proud of that. I do think you do a disservice to the topic by making broad ranging generalizations about those on the other side of the spectrum than you, Tim, but that's certainly a prerogative to which you're entitled.

    I do agree with you, and some of the other conservative members of SC, on some funding issues. It is getting out of hand, and while I won't get into any specifics, I will say that you and your fellow members of Robin Hood would have been surprised by some of the cuts that this "leftist" would have supported.

    As one of a few people who really got behind the orgasm concept from the beginning, I definetly agree with the first post regarding the signficant effect of some of the new moderates on council. People like Faris Rashid, Dylan Rath, and Mary Hegi bring well thought, articulate views to the debate. Both sides have people who detract from this. Both sides have people who are, quite frankly, morons that deserve no part in the debate. Let's be honest, we all very well know that some people are pushed onto council and SSFC to protect their organization's budget, and there are also people there specifically to zero fund those budgets, as well. Both are equally useless.

    Part of the reason Orgasm formed was to address some of the problems that we felt FUSE epitomized. Deep down, I recognized the potential for catastrophy for the left in the spring election. It's a risk I was willing to take, and even though it didn't go as well as I had hoped, I'm still glad we took that chance. The general weakness of some of the special interests in ASM this year results specifically from the campaign we put together. Part of the success you claim this year stems directly from some of the more moderate and reasonable representation some of the orgasm members brought to the table. I think you ought to acknowledge this fact, because even if you disagree with them because they're still more left than you are, I think it's unarguable that they're better than some of the more radical alternatives.

    I'm completely honest when I say that no one deserves a rubber stamped budget. The students at this campus aren't served well when seg fee spending is wasteful, and as one of the students living paycheck to paycheck, I know this very well... which gets back to my distaste for you generalizations of all left-leaning council members as big spenders. Have I supported some spending? Yes. Some programs are necessary. Advocating deep cuts to valuable programs that will only save students fifty cents is irresponsible. There's a balance that must be struck. Unfortunately, and I say this with all due respect, you still haven't found that balance, like most other people sitting at that table.

    What disappoints me most about what's going on in ASM right now has nothing to do with the seg fee debate. It's important, but ultimately, it's not the most salient issue ASM could work on. As I told Eric and Nom Board when I applied to once again sit on Council, the thing ASM fails miserably is working on things that students really care about. (Side note: I have a great deal of respect for Eric and Mary. I very well knew I wasn't going to get reseated on Council based on political reasons alone. I sat on Nom, and I understood very well that when push comes to shove, political bias rules the day. I think that's unfortunate, but I had no expectations that he would put qualifications and experience over politics. That said, I do think he's working very hard and doing a fairly good job).

    Seg Fees and org funding and event grants are irrelevant to most students here. They want to get around campus quickly. They want to be able to go out and have a good time without interference from Bascom, City Hall, or the Governor's office. ASM's biggest victory in the past year is still the Mifflin Block Party, and that's something I helped fight for. Regardless to "who's in power," those are things *everyone* can, and should, get behind. Textbooks is another great example. Stephanie Biese is doing great work on Textbooks, and SC and SSFC members of all political stripes should give her full support as she fights a battle that could pay great dividends down the road. Other things students really care about are more student seats in our own stadiums, more classes, and yes, lower tuition. Lowering Seg Fees isn't really an effective way to of achieving this. Yes, there's the principle to the matter, and that argument does have some merit, but we all know that even a zero fund for every GSSF group saves students around 50 bucks. That's a drop in the bucket. I'm not saying it's nothing, either, but I think everyone's time would be better spent if everyone agreed on taking a lean, but supple, approach to seg fees. Use the extra time to actually fight for lower tuition instead of just talking about how much it's needed, how cutting 1,000 dollars from an organization's budget will do it, and how the other side is against it. That applies to everyone, and it's something I would have done differently in hindsight.

    Regarding Kellie, though my experience with her is limited, I've always found her to be intelligent, thorough, and thoughtful.

    That's all I've got, I guess. Just a few random thoughts for a Saturday night of Homework.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:39 AM  

  • Thanks for commenting Andy and I agree with most everything you said. In fact, I wanted to work with you on pushing ASM to release a statement against the UW Administration to fight their move to call parents of college student adults who get sent to detox. I talked about it at the council meeting at the end of October but I think your term was close to done anyways. It's awesome to have someone comment that's not a direct insider nor a friend/conservative. I don't know very many Orgasm folks (and there aren't too many left) so thank you for bringing a non-FUSE liberal perspective. Thanks for the post and I want to address some of the comments.

    I really have no problem with a lot of the liberals in ASM. The only people I really do have a problem with are mostly FUSE members for both serving the groups (particularly groups that are clearly wasteful like MCSC--if you don't think they are wasteful--I have talked to members of their organization who have told me in confidence). I also think VPN is a sham and it is abused but very hard to prove in court.
    Sorry, for my labeling and I just know that you consider yourself "very liberal"--calling you a leftist was probably out of line. I know that there are many different types of liberals as there are many different types of conservatives and to generalize is a disservice (ie business conservative vs religious conservative, social liberal versus economic liberal, civic libertarian vs economic libertarian, many others). I did not mean to generalize and I am sorry.

    On the fiscal issue, I did not mean to categorize all the liberals as "porkers" or anything like that. I know that outsiders such as yourself don't have strong ties to the groups even though you may be more fiscally liberal than say a classical economist like myself. I just know that many people on SSFC are "insiders" and like to favor certain groups over others.

    Please post more on these "radical alternatives". What "radical ideas" would you be opposed to? I'm not for no SEG fees per se or to abolish ASM. I think the organization does have a purpose and that the GSSF/other RSO's do enhance the educational flavor campus. But I do have reservations with the current SEG fee system and am definitely welcoming any ideas for reform.

    "The thing ASM fails miserably is working on things that students really care about."---Agreed. I do think there could be much better campaigns in the works and ASM could be ran far better in terms of serving the students.

    I agree with you on most everything you said in the last paragraph. I want Bascom out of the personal lives of students as you do too. I do think the Mifflin Block Party was ASM's biggest success also. Textbooks is also important but I've heard from certain people that ASM's campaign probably will not work. I want it to work and we need to put our support behind Stephanie and the campaign. I don't know what the impact of ASM lobbying for lower tuition really is pragmatically. If you can give me evidence that it is helping or effective, then I may sign on. Nobody really runs on "0" funding groups and nobody probably ever will. I only "0" fund groups when the budget sucks (CFACT), they should not be eligible/students paying twice (TRC), or we left them with way too much money (DEP, MCSC). The Robin Hood Slate people are not on to "0" budgets but rather to end funding the ridiculous request (huge salaries, uneducational handouts, large travel line items, social events, etc). I mean I would like to talk to somebody that is actually objective and fairly liberal about some of the things GSSF groups ask for. I do disagree with you that SEG fees should not be lowered. In allocable we do pay around $120 which is much higher than your $50 estimate. I think any money we can return to students 10-20-50-80 is important. In the non-allocable, there also is a lot of waste/excess that could be cut. I'm bascally in the belief that we need to streamline government and make sure that our resources are being used most efficiently. I do come from a totally different fiscal background than many ASMers do though (many of which are poly sci majors) and therefore will not really even understand my rationale for cuts and the reason why I want to decrease government spending.

    I'd actually like to talk to someone from Orgasm who is objective and outside SSFC so we can have an intelligent debate on where ASM should be going in the future. Thanks.

    **I really only dislike FUSE and other insiders.
    **Not all moderates are insiders..a mistake from a previous post I wrote.

    By Blogger Tim, at 2:05 AM  

  • Okay,
    I'm going to respond to a few things said her. First of all, I would say I do have a fiscal philosophy. It is to fund student organizations to the level they need to be at to best serve students, while still cutting back on excessive seg fee funding.

    Second, I didn't write the first post. I didnt' know until 5 or 6 hours ago that you even had a blog.

    Third, I too agree that the conservatives are given way too much credit. At least those who you have identified as conservatives in this post and in the comments ensuing from it. While you would argue that yourself, David and Chrissy are the only conservatives on SSFC, I can name three more. Jaquie, myself and Eric Saar. Before I get into the next part of my post, let me state that I don't think it's an issue of VPN. VPN is when your political ideology is applied to specific groups. With perhaps one or two exceptions, I think that your political ideology has been applied equally across the board. I will say, however, that what comes out of your mouth, Chrissy's mouth, and David's mouth, doesn't get very far, because it is usually either veiled thinly in or thinly veiling a clear statement of conservative ideology. That sways the three of you, often Kellie and Jaquie, and if you're really lucky Saar or myself. That doesn't win votes. Neither do Jennifer and Lorenzo when they speak, coming from the opposite end of the spectrum.

    What has changed things is people from both sides coming together to form a reasonable, moderate, and somewhat fiscally conservative consensus in the center. I would remind you that the only person I know of who ever ran as, or claimed to be, moderate was Kellie Sanders. Until I sat on this committee, I would have identified fairly strongly as conservative. I was invited to the Robin Hood slate victory party by people who knew that last spring. The same is true of Jaquie and Saar. Identified as conservatives. Likewise, Barb, Adam, and Sree all openly identify as liberals. While Barb may have run as a moderate this year, having experience on SSFC, similar to Eric, I can guarantee you that if you asked her to identify her politics three years ago, before she had served on Finance or SSFC, her answer would have been "liberal." Sree was elected by FUSE. Yet I would argue that the six of us have come together to form what you would call the "moderates". Not all of us ran independently or on Orgasm. Sree and Jaquie both ran with very politically strong-willed slates. What makes all six of us moderate is that through experience on the committee, we've realized that as noble as our fiscal and political goals may be, a) they are not always the only correct answer and b) without some support from the other side, nothing passes. Our six, not your far right four or the far left two on the committee are what win votes. On top of that, ammendments proposed by the six of us CONSISTENTLY get at least some support either from the far left, the far right, or both.

    If you want to call what happens "porking" and myself and other moderates "porkers," I would ask you to identify exactly what we are trying to pork barrell into the budget process. I, for one, have never participated, beyond being present at some of their programming, in ANY GSSF funded organization. I happen, through a couple of years of involvement here, to know what a lot of them do, and even know some of the leadership. But the two organizations I can think of where I know leaders are organizations that I was just as harsh on as any other.

    Moreover, the idea that insiders have shaped this proccess is absurd. As much as I may have disagreements, both personal and professional, with Lorenzo and Jennifer, they were two of the people who I worked with on a lot of ammendments to MCSC's budget. As far as I recall, neither of them spoke, or voted, against ANY of the major cuts that were made. In fact, they spoke in FAVOR of many of the cuts.

    Eric Varney has led Council well not because he is a conservative chair, a CR, or in Robin Hood, but because he has led fairly and in a non-partisan way. His personal politics have been disassociated from the process when it has been appropriate or necessary. He has worked with a staff and a Coordinating Council which lean pretty far left, and has done so well and effectively. It took steps from both him and the other parties to find the middle ground, and that's what they did.

    Mary Hegi can't even vote on Nominations unless there is a tie, which there hasn't been. This is the same thing as Rachelle not being able to vote. To say that she has led a charge to infiltrate ASM with Conservatives is absurd. In addition to her position's total inability to do that, look at who she sits next to at Council, who she works with on Council, and how she's debated and voted on Council. While I sense some tension with some of the FAR LEFT representatives, Mary consistently works with liberals, as well as conservatives. I think that this, as well as her style of debate and voting, have shown that she appreciates the value of a diversity of political ideologies, beliefs, and ideas at the table. Why then, even if she could, would you assume she had led a charge to bring ASM to the right. There are liberals on Nominations Board as well. Having actually SPOKEN TO SOMEONE about this, I know that the Board usually reached consensus before they even voted. What seems to have happened is that, unlike in years past, a number of QUALIFIED, QUALITY conservative candidates applied for positions. The Board (including Liberal members and excluding Mary, the non-voting chair) thought those candidates were more qualified than others who applied and appointed them.

    While your post was an attempt to congratulate Mary and nominations on their victory for the right, it served more as an insult to a woman who has done a lot to step into a position which deeply affects all parts of ASM, with no previous ASM experience, reshape the committee to be more accountable and better run, and done a lot to make sure that the process was fair.

    Lastly, I would say that this blog has proven a point that the "anonymous" poster made, which you refuted. The argument was that a lot of what comes from the far right in ASM is uninformed. I would ask how an SSFC representative with NO previous ASM experience, who is not on Council OR Finance Committee, and never has been, who has been to only a couple of Council meetings, and who, outside of what, even for Robin Hood, is a radically right group of student government representatives, has no contact with other branches of ASM, is qualified to make such broad comments about the entirity of ASM, where it is going, or where it is coming from. I would have to believe that most of the "information" your posts have been based on is coming from other, similarly extreme conservative mouthpieces on this campus, who have actually seen the things going on.

    Eric Varney, and even Brad Vogel, are respected, even when disagreed with, because they make informed statements and decisions. While Vogel had some rather extereme views on ASM, GSSF organizations, and Seg Fees, they were based on the past few years of being involved, at least on the periphery with the issues. This blog and the comments ensuing from it have further confirmed my belief that your views, statements, and actions on ASM are based less on accurate facts or information than on a steady, constant and unchanging conservative political ideology.

    By Blogger BadgerZach, at 5:18 AM  

  • Wow - I'm respectable. Thanks. I guess those years on Legislative Affairs, Shared Gov., SJ, and SEC paid off.

    I don't mind if my militantly fiscally responsible views were held as extreme - someone had to stake out a position on student fees that was far enough to the right so the debate and "moderate" members of SSFC could migrate toward a more realistic center on the political spectrum - a point that was more conservative/fiscally responsible overall.

    By Blogger Brad V, at 9:46 PM  

  • Okay...I can at least adress a few of Zach's comments.

    In my previous comments I meant to say that Zach Frey is the most inconsistent member of SSFC (sorry about my typo). Zach, you claim to have a fiscal philosophy "to fund student orgs at the best level to serve the students". I can't really disect this statement because it isn't really saying anything. It basically says that you fund what you feel is money being spent well. This says nothing about budget salaries, programs that don't serve group missions, noneducational handouts, etc. You don't have a fiscal philosophy and you've been fiscally conservative on some budgets (ie TRC, Agric. Council, SAFE) but very liberal on others (MCSC, SOL, others that I can't directly remember). You basically make arguments that fit your agenda (good arguments often at that) but you have no coherent or consistent voting record. You are the most inconsistent member on SSFC and I bet if we (SSFC members) were going to vote on this..you would win at least 75% of the vote. You cannot nor should not claim to be a fiscal conservative, your voting and speaking has been liberal.

    The fact is that almost all the money we fund is "pork". The money is going to fund special programs, conferences, events, that do not necessarily need to be provided by the public sector. It's true that public transportation expenditures (SAFE) and childcare tuition vouchers should not be classified as pork. --Group offices so an RSO can have a place on campus, movie nights, activist student salaries, concerts, etc... It's pork. These aren't normal public goods. Groups can easily charge people for programs, they can charge membership fees, they can fundraise, they can apply for grants. I'm not saying that we shouldn't deliver some pork to groups. I'm saying SSFC is giving out too much pork and that a lot of the request on the basis of what they are asking for should not be granted.

    Here's one main point I want to make. You and a lot of other people on SSFC like "big government". You think that the main role of government is to "help people" and be a positive force in the community. I think government is best when it is small and providing strong public goods, not transfer payments and pork. But I have a different world view from what government is about than most political science majors (including probably yourself). I am a classical economist who believes when we raise taxes and are not efficient, the whole economy loses with lower consumer spending and investment. You and others on SSFC don't understand that students are hurting financially and that whatever we can give them back ($5, $10, $50, or $100) is important. I know what you're going to say...oh well the money just goes back to the reserve board and back into the pot... Much of what SSFC funds (especially salaries, social events, etc) could be cut but a lot of members like big government and high group funding.
    I will give you my fiscal philosophy later. I have more to comment on especially the category of the "6 moderates".

    By Blogger Tim, at 10:37 PM  

  • Tim,
    I would argue strongly with a few things you said. First of all, to say I have no fiscal philosophy, after I just gave it to you, is absurd. There is a difference between having no fiscal philosophy and having a fiscal philosophy which is flexible enough to actually benefit students. I would hardly call myself inconsistent. I listen to the groups, and base my cuts on what they have to say. I have an explanation for each of the budgets that you listed as being inconsistent in my record. And I've stated them ON RECORD several times. TRC I think asks students to pay for a service that it doesn't ask others to pay for. That's not right. Their office is inaccessible to many studetns. That's not right. CALS Council, I can speak from experience that every single program that they put on, they come to Finance committee to ask for money for. That's because their overarching goal is not a SERVICE, it's a PROGRAM. Moreover, to spend money to send people to "leadership development" events that are available for FREE on this campus is absurd. YOU can't call yourself fiscally conservative if you don't see this. On top of that, there were parts of CALS budget (particularly the leadership trip that actually brought tangible benefits back to campus) which I DEFENDED.

    Moreover, this group's budget has caused A LOT of fingers to be pointed at you. Until we decided MEChA's budget in the same meeting, nobody was sure if you were sick, had liberalized a bit, or what. After seeing normal Timmy come back for MEChA, several peoplpe at the table realized that there's a distinct possibility that the WHITEST organization we've seen all year caused some momentary change in Tim Schulz. From being opposed to funding anything other than public goods, because it's pork, to "let's fund this, even though we fund TWO organizations that could do this for free on campus for this group" was a little suspicious.

    As far as SOL goes, their budget I was "fiscally liberal on" as well as ALPS's, because being someone who has actually used the services of, or at least heard of, most of the organizations we fund (in a context other than a rightwing discussion on their wasteful, evil and God-hating ways), I know that these organizations NEED the funds they asked for, and are VERY fiscally responsible in their usage of segregated fees. Both SOL and ALPS have increased and plan to continue increasing, the number of programs they put on, increasing the nubmers of groups and students served. Yet they both asked for budgets which were behind the rate of inflation. One of the two groups even presented a budget that was DOWN from the previous year's approved budget. For two of the ONLY student services on this campus which are consistently booked solid, with waiting lists, to present such modest requests seems VERY fiscally responsible. As an example, SOL is currently booked to its usual capacity THROUGH the month of January and the beginning of February (yes, I'm in another organization on campus, and yes, we want to hear about clits, dildos, ANAL beads, and even dental dams. and yes, I plan on taking the free condoms.). Academic advisors aren't that popular on this campus. Let's get realistic here. Segregated fees exist to fund services valued by students. Clearly, ALPS and SOL fit the bill.

    Moreover, to say that I was fiscally LIBERAL on MCSC's budget clearly ignores the facts. Their budget took a bigger hit than any other organization this year, or than any budget they've previously presented. I supported most of the cuts that actually passed. There is a difference between fiscally conservative and fiscally responsible. This shows it. We made a tremendous ammount of cuts, without, as they were so fond of saying "crippling the organization," or, for that matter, crippling any specific programs (with the exception of the Spring BBQ, which we not only crippled, but firmly ran over with a semi, and which I supported cutting).

    An overall point to make. To say in the same post that "you have no coherent or consistent voting record. You are the most inconsistent member on SSFC" and then to say "your voting and speaking has been liberal." makes no sense. I can't claim to be fiscally conservative, because I have no coherent record, yet YOU can claim for me that I am fiscally liberal. Explain that one to me.

    While I don't claim to vote the same way on every ammendment or every budget, I think that is justified. I would say that your claim that 75% of SSFC would say I am the most inconsistent is flawed in two ways. First of all, if phrased as an objective judgement, perhaps some members would say I have been "inconsistent" in my voting and in my speaking. The budgets we have seen, however, have also been "inconsistent" in many ways. I have voted similarly on similar items in similar items. Consistently. I would say that if the question "Who is the most inconsistent member of SSFC" were to be posed as value-ladenly as you have, I would lose by a landslide. I can think of two members, both friends of mine, who are FAR more inconsistent than I am (whether in a valued sense or not). In fact, the only people I would argue are generally consistent across all budgets are yourself, David Lapids, Chrissy Harbin, Jennifer Knox, and Lorenzo. Who I will point out again FAIL repeatedly to get your ammendments passed.

    Having a fiscal philosophy is one thing. Having one so set in stone that it ignores the facts of each individual budget is entirely another. I would make the point that ANY member who has voted consistently this year (by your definition) has done a disservice to SSFC, the groups we hear, and the student body. You have put your fiscal philosophy before your job as an SSFC member, the groups, the students, or even the facts.

    As far as the argument that I value "big government" I would say it is totally untrue. I understand the economic arguments that you make, and think they're noble. But these groups have already gotten eligibility. The process here states that SSFC is here to fund these groups (the level is an entirely different question). While my personal opinions about a lot of the things you mentioned (in particular the so-called "activist student employees") are probably more in line than you think, for me to judge some groups' employees as "activists" would CLEARLY violate VPN. Moreover, some of the options you suggested don't address the issue, and show a further example of your lack of understanding of the entire segregated fee proccess. Yes, they could apply for grants. And where, exactly do those grants come from? The annual ASM Bake sale? Market Days? Tim, event and travel grants are seg fees, in a different form. A dollar for a program from seg fees is a dollar for a program from seg fees whether we approve it now, or Finance Committee approves it in November.

    Moreover, I resent the fact that you would suggest that I would say anything to the effect of "it's okay, it comes back in reserves." This again shows how out of touch you are with reality, and the world and events around you (which don't fit your little Timmy-vision of how things should be to make your positions seem justified). I have NEVER said that returning fees to the reserve board was an excuse for overallocation. In fact, I have spoken AGAINST using this argument. I have, at times, said that with some services (CCTAP is the example I can think of) I would rather over-allocate than under-allocate because the effect of someone not being able to access that service could be very serious. In the same debate, however, I pointed out that CONSISTENTLY returning more money to the reserves was NOT okay. I pointed out that Reserve Board is somewhere I would not ever like to see Seg Fees go in the ideal world, as it's a mess, and it's very unclear if and how students ever see that money again. I cautioned people AGAINST the argument that you have just attributed to me.

    But that's okay. I wouldn't expect much more from someone who made the claim that every dollar of seg fees we save in SSFC counts, because that money, and I quote, "could be going to pay our professors' salaries." Now as much as Eau Claire may take a different veiw on things, here in Madison, that's just not how it works Timmy. Seg Fees are student allocated to student services. Tuition and tax dollars are used to pay professors. Moreover, the Seg Fees we're currently looking at are for the '06-'07 Fiscal Year. The ammount students will pay in Seg Fees is not yet decided. Therefor, the money isn't "going" anywhere because we save it. While the general idea of the "opportunity cost" was very impressive, "the money could be going to another binge at the KK" or "the money could be going toward an ipod" or even "the money could be going toward a textbook" would have made a lot more sense. And shown, and I am again making the point that this is often perceived as lacking in your discourse, a general understanding of the Segregated Fee system (beyond it's inherently anti-freedom, anti-majority student, and generally evil nature).

    By Blogger BadgerZach, at 2:29 AM  

  • "I wouldn't expect much more from someone who made the claim that every dollar of seg fees we save in SSFC counts, because that money, and I quote, "could be going to pay our professors' salaries." Now as much as Eau Claire may take a different veiw on things, here in Madison, that's just not how it works Timmy. Seg Fees are student allocated to student services. Tuition and tax dollars are used to pay professors."

    I think Timmy's point is valid; every seg. fee dollar allocated by the student government is a dollar that, if it had been left in the hands of individual students, could have been used instead to pay for tuition, and therefore professor salaries.

    Oddly enough, every dollar left in the hands of individual students could also still go to groups in the end - voluntarily. If a student felt an allocable group was doing something worthwhile, they could give that group money. That's a real marketplace of ideas - one where individuals excercise choice and speak through their dollars.

    Most of the groups funded by Student SERVICES Finance Committee are not services. They are frivolous or political groups. And those organizations that actually do provide a service to students should be funded by the university. If they're actually vital to student health, safety, academic success, etc., they would have to be.

    By Blogger Brad V, at 3:00 PM  

  • “I know that these organizations NEED the funds they asked for, and are VERY fiscally responsible in their usage of segregated fees.”

    Are you insane? What they hell are you talking about? These organizations do NOT need these funds. These organizations should not even exist. 75,000 dollars for teaching better sex techniques…they need every cent? How did they get by with “only” 50,000 dollars last year? You are calling these orgs fiscally responsible? What service do they provide? What necessary student service do they provide? That is what segregated fees were INTENDED to be used for. Since then, they have become the pay-checks for hundreds of greedy students that want more. How much does the Chair get paid for these Orgs…is that necessary? You have become another liberal spender. What is the difference between MECHa and CALS you ask? It is simple, CALS has an academic purpose, MECHa does not. MECHa is a racist organization with roots in the Mexican separatist movements of the 80s and 90s.

    “After seeing normal Timmy come back for MEChA, several people at the table realized that there's a distinct possibility that the WHITEST organization we've seen all year caused some momentary change in Tim Schulz.”

    First, BadgerZac, I can tell you that Tim is not a racist. You have fallen into the common liberal argument: If someone cuts money to any group of minorities, they are racists. What is the purpose of MEChA Zach? Oh wait, you are going to call me a racist for bringing this up. You and the other multi-cults have nothing to stand on, so instead you attack others. DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR, how many students benefit from MEChA or MCSC compared to Polygon and CALS? DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR? Go to the next MEChA meeting (yes I have gone to one) and see how many people are there! They do have some nice office space though, check it out, it is right next to the 10 percent society.

    BadgerZac, you are one of the biggest disappointments on SSFC. You are biased, you violate view point neutrality constantly (your comments prove that fact – being positive towards an organization IS a violation of VIEW POINT NUETRALITY), and you lash out at others for sticking to their principles. BTW, how did Tim vote for the “WHITEIST” UWRC Foundation?

    Tim is too nice of a guy to be dragged through the mud by the likes of you.

    By Blogger RT the LT, at 3:06 PM  

  • Let me quick address the comment I made regarding professor salaries. The comment was 75% ignorance and 25% truth. It was an ignorant comment as first BadgerZach pointed out and then Brad V seconded. And I am sorry, I am a rookie and have made a few mistakes down the line (I'm willing to admit them). Yes, SEG fees do only pay for student services. The real point I was trying to make was that the opportunity costs of using SEG fee money are great. For instance, why not increase tuition $100 to keep good professors/keep classes and then equally cut SEG fees by $100 and get rid of a lot of the fat within student organizations, UHS, Rec Sports, etc. The point is there is always an alternative in the allocation of resources. It makes sense at least theoretically and is something to consider. We as a society must be wise in not only government spending but also personal spending. I'll talk about it in a future posting but we must be wise stewards of our money, especially because most people in this world do not have enough resources. I'm not calling for more aid to Africa or anything like that...I'll explain it in another post. Just wanted to defend the statement I made even though it doesn't make sense within the given system, I believe it still has merit. Do not shun me due to my ignorance must please correct/teach me.

    By Blogger Tim, at 5:50 PM  

  • Bob,
    I'd like to make a couple of points. I at no point called Tim Schulz racist. I think, to the contrary, that his actions on a lot of the budgets we've seen have reflected the view shared by a lot of students (including myself before I looked at the budgets and what they go toward, and to some extent still by myself) that a lot of the liberal and/or multi-cultural groups, and only liberal and multi-cultural grooups on campus tend to spend way too much money. They also tend to be the ones asking for Seg Fees. Sex education is just as important as the "educational" benefits of Polygon and CALS, which if you actually looked through the budgets, you would see don't really fund educational programs through seg fees. Nor should they. That's what the Engineering School and CALS are here for, not Polygon and CALS SC. Moreover, to accuse me of positive VPN violations because I made a reference to how commonly used a service is, while you claim that whether or not the service provided is educational is okay is ludicrous. Especially when speaking not about ELIGIBILITY, but about BUDGETS. The groups have already been granted eligibility.

    Furthermore, to call me a multi-cult is first of all confusing and second of all absurd, if I am interpretting it correctly. Yes, I am multicultural. I'm German (don't speak a word of German, and other than at the Essen Haus have never touched German food), Norweigan (do we even have food or a language), and Dutch (I don't smoke pot, or have a hooker sitting in my window). I'm about the most American thing I've come across in my life, except perhaps that I don't eat apple pie. Moreover, having grown up in a large city, multiculturalism to me was never an issue until I came to this campus. I see a need for diversity education and multicultural programming on this campus, however, I think that within ASM and the campus at large it is blown way out of proportion. So I would hardly call myself a multi-cult or a multi-cult sympathizer. In fact, I spoke very strongly during eligibility AGAINST giving APAC eligibility, and very strongly AGAINST a lot of line items in their budget. I also led a lot of the cuts that were made to MCSC, by far the most scrutinized and cut budget of the year, as well as to DEP. Your statements simply aren't backed by the facts. The fact that you've created the word "multi-cult" raises questions in my head about what exactly the word means. Is this the new way to call people "colored" or "ethnic?"

    Moreover, to raise questions about my VPNeutraility while you raise MEChA's organizational roots is absurd. Again, we're not in eligibility, and even there, the organization's history and political motivations are not relevant in a VPN decision. What is relevant is the budget they proposed. They proposed a very small budget, with five total student staff, as opposed to the literally dozens seen by other student organizations. The only food they asked for was traditional Mexican food to provide cultural education, instead of just the proto-typical GSSF justified "snack because student leaders are busy, and dinnertime is the only time they're available to be active on campus."

    Your comments show the reason that MEChA has recently consistently submitted tight budget proposals. They were involved in one of the largest debacles the Segregated Fee sytem has ever seen. Precisely because they are one of the only organizations that I have ever heard publicly ridiculed and evaluated in a totally viewpoint unneutral way. While legit points are constantly raised about other groups, like MCSC and DEP, presenting alarmingly large budgets, I would hardly call the point that MEChA has ties with the racist Chicano empowerment movement of the '80s and '90s a viewpoint neutral point.

    Overall, I didn't even take time to respond to Brad and Tim's response to my post. I think they raised legitimate points, which I may or may not agree with. As I said before, I think Tim's overall GENERAL argument about the opportunity cost of Seg Fees makes sense (whether or not I agree with it in its entirety). Tim himself admitted that the comment was 75% ignorance. I would hardly call what I've done dragging Tim through the mud. In fact, I would say that his comments about my fiscal philosophy (or lack thereof) opened the whole "mud-dragging" door. Moreover, all I've done is point out specific comments and actions by Tim. If those make him look bad, who really is dragging him through the mud?

    More importantly, however, Brad and even Tim himself (who both have experience with the Seg Fee system outside of working for a highly critical piece of conservative campus propaganda-if this is the Bob I think it is) didn't try to refute what I said about Tim to the extent that you did. Tim himself admitted his ignorance on the issue, which shows more maturity, and is more likely to get him dragged out of the mud, than your comments do.

    Your comments, much like the Mendota Beacon article, were based less on facts (about the Seg Fee System, Tim Schulz's or my own actions) than on the attack on the newest evil on campus, the moderates of ASM and SSFC. I'm sure that I'll be featured in an upcoming article in the Beacon for comments made here or in my blog (again, if this is the Bob I think it is). I just hope that this time, unlike during the feature on SSFC, my quotes are used in context and words are not put in my mouth.

    P.S.-Thank you for your informed and interesting responses Tim and Brad.

    By Blogger BadgerZach, at 1:52 AM  

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