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The author of this blog has moved his efforts over to a new group blog. Please visit The Arizona Growler.

O'Hara Factor
Tuesday, February 28, 2006

REPOST: Privacy Suggestion

I'm inadvertently identifying more people who read this blog, so I'm reposting this.

As you should know by looking at the bottom of the left column on this page, I have a Site Meter which records information about visitors. I mainly use this to figure out who is linking to my blog. If you are using a webmail account and your username is in the URL of your program, you are sending me your username when you click on the link to my site from the email somebody sent you that said "Hey, check out this O'Hara idiot." Especially considering how so many usernames are based off actual names, if you do this, chances are that I now know your real name.

Surely, you can trust Garrett O'Hara; I have nothing to gain from knowing your name save a few ego points. But the rest of the Internet is also able to see these statistics, meaning you are telling the entire world exactly when you logged into my website, along with location, IP address, web browser, and more. For the sake of your own privacy, stop clicking on links in emails; copy and paste the URL into a new browser window.

I should correct that I and the rest of the world find the first three octets of your IP address, not the fourth.

original post

SC reinstates Tubbs; Cook out

According to the Wildcat, Rhonda Tubbs has been reinstated into the executive vice-presidential race after the ASUA Supreme Court found that Matt Van Horn's AIM profile did not constitute a campaign violation. Third-place candidate Patrick Cook is thus out of the race.

Whether Tubbs' lack of openness in initially calling Van Horn a "friend" will become a point of contention during tomorrow's vice presidential debate is not known.

The presidential debate is tonight, but I'm not sure whether I'll be able to attend.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Personal findings from today's SC hearings

Who are staff?

First off, it turns out that Rhonda Tubbs wasn't being completely open about who actually posted that AIM profile. It would be a freedom of speech issue as Tubbs claims if the individual was just a random friend, when in fact it was presidential candidate Matt Van Horn. From what I heard at the meeting, this brings up the issue of how one defines staff.

Elections commissioner Jordan Miller defined staff as "anybody who is involved with the logistics of the campaign [not verbatim]" followed by relatively broad examples. Tubbs claimed that there is only one "true member" of her staff: her campaign manager who is officially listed. Miller notes that Van Horn was "very involved" with Tubbs' campaign and therefore is a member of her staff.


Discretion of interpretation

Miller noted that Elections Code section 9-1.05 states that "The Elections Commissioner shall issue the final interpretation of this document unless the decision is appealed pursuant to 10-1.01." Section 10-1.01, Supreme Court appeal, is exactly what came next, so I really don't think this is a legally-feasible argument.


Legality of disqualification on an election day

Elections Code section 8-8.01, entitled "VlOLATlON OF CAMPAIGN CONDUCT (5-1.) ON THE DAYS OF THE ELECTIONS" states "Any candidate who commits any gross and/or negligent violation (gross and negligent are defined in Chapter 11- Glossary) campaign rules shall be subject to the impeachment powers of the ASUA Senate pursuant to Article Vlll of the ASUA Constitution if elected."

First off, this doesn't say that the elections commissioner can't take action on something just because it's election day. Secondly, the spirit of the rule certainly is intended for general elections because Tubbs isn't subject to the Senate's impeachment powers as a candidate.

Tubbs' argument seemed to state that because Miller was supposed to let the Senate take care of this that the Elections Commission was beyond its purview in disqualifying her on the final day of primary elections. It doesn't sound like this is going to fly.


Arizona Revised Statues 38-431.01 (Open Meetings)

The hearing was held in room 122 of the law school: a seminar room. Only the parties, attorneys, justices, ASUA advisors, and members of the Wildcat were allowed in. I was deemed a member of the public and joined between 20-25 people outside the open door listening to what was going on. Thus, by no means is this account complete. It certainly says something about prior planning, as this day has been potentially coming for some time now.

ASUA Constitution section II.2 states "All Senate Meetings shall comply with Arizona Revised Statutes, herein ARS, 38-431.01, regarding open meetings." Numerous parts of the Bylaws require meetings to be "open to the public."

I found nothing specific about the Supreme Court other than Elections Code section 10-1.04: "The Supreme Court shall conduct formal procedures, referring to the Arizona Revised Statutes and the State and Federal Constitutions for all matters not specifically provided for in this Election Code or the ASUA Constitution. A copy of the Arizona Revised Statutes will be available at all times in the ASUA Elections cubicle."

So if this sticks the Supreme Court within the bounds of ARS 38-431.01, guess what happens: "All legal action transacted by any public body during a meeting held in violation of any provision of this article is null and void..." (ARS 38-431.05.A)

More later...

ASUA Supreme Court effectively closes Tubbs hearing to the public

Verbatim:

Mr. O'Hara,

The hearing today will take place in Room 122 at the law school. However, because it is not a large room, only the parties, their attorneys, ASUA Advisors, and the Daily Wildcat will be able to be in the room during the hearing. All other witnesses and members of the public will be asked to wait out in the hallway. While we recognize the public has a right to be in the hearing, because of the last minute scheduling, we were unable to secure a larger room to accommodate everyone. Also, there will not be an official record from today's hearing -- all the Justices will be taking their own personal notes.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Baker
Chief Justice
ASUA Supreme Court

Disappointing really, but I'm still going to try.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Public thanks

My roommate and I have much for which to be thankful. Short story: his backpack, including my wallet, went missing. Fortunately, it made it to UAPD while I was running back to from the station to check on the apartment.

Whomever you are, thanks!!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Brother Jed returns Monday

Brother Jed
BRETT FERA/Arizona Daily Wildcat

I am told that the website of controversial mall preacher Brother Jed reports that he is returning to the University of Arizona campus on Monday for a weeklong stint.

Last time the Wildcat reported that he'd be heading to ASU the following week as Smock's schedule claims. He stayed an extra week.

As I found last year, Brother Jed thinks he doesn't sin. Mockers of Bible Babble Jim are sure to have a ball.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

AIM profile downs Tubbs (?)

The Wildcat reports that Exec. VP candidate Rhonda Tubbs' disqualification was because of a friend's AOL instant messenger profile.

In comparison, I found the ability of individuals to independently campaign last year to be rather free. A good friend of mine even started an unofficial Xanga site in support of candidates Michael Franklin and Keven Barker. By this standard, Matthew Boepple and Michelle Gregory would have one violation each for my endorsement if it wasn't for the disclaimer "The opinions stated herein are mine alone."

The issue brings into question the extent of freedom of speech in the election. Do friends have the right to endorse candidates on personal space? In principle, they should. In the meantime, friends of candidates should start labeling online plugs and endorsements personal and unofficial.

Update (9:42 pm - 9:50 pm): It has been pointed out that Tubbs claims it was an AIM profile, but the violation being an AIM profile is by no means a report from the elections commissioner. Moreover, I recognize that my endorsement would not cause a violation citation in actuality because I'm not by any means a member of their "staff[s]".

Section 7-4.01 of the Elections Code states that candidates agree in their disclaimer form in part that "I will train my staff in the Code and will be entirely responsible for their actions." The Wildcat calls the individual who supposedly wrote the AIM profile a "friend", not a "staff member." There's no telling what exactly happened here without official word from the elections commissioner, who has set a standard of keeping such records of violations private.

So if the elections commissioner's records are private, then what obligates candidates to tell the truth about what these violations really are?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

2006 ASUA Primary results in; Tubbs DQ'ed

The following are the results as I heard them down while elections commissioner Jordan Miller announced them. Executive VP candidate Rhonda Tubbs was disqualified for campaign violations, so Patrick Cook will be in the running despite coming in third.

President

NameVotesPercentage
Hertzog191653.97
Van Horn85924.19
Erickson77521.83

Executive Vice President

NameVotesPercentage
Tubbs*110634.2
Reece103131.89
Cook68319.58
Gregory46314.32

Administrative Vice President

NameVotesPercentage
Reinsch145144.04
Reece98329.83
Salido86126.13

Senate

NameVotes
Conway1676
Anderson1557
Schwartz1535
Dang1500
Henao1381
Kerr1351
Ingam1320
Adams1279
Boepple1235
Gerner1212
Hawes1180
Hill1179
Burns1106
Connor1071
Hougen908
Keyt861
Navas814

* Tubbs disqualfied by elections commissioner
Red color indicates elimination from general election.

Ty Reece appointed as newest senator; Results announcement tonight

Current administrative vice presidential candidate Tyler Reece has been appointed ASUA Senator. The swearing-in apparently was shortly before tonight's just-completed Senate meeting.

Results for the primary election are being announced tonight at 9pm. I'll be there for it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Two candidates can't campaign; Bernsen releases statement

After intially failing to put it on the website, the Wildcat late yesterday afternoon, student body president Cade Bernsen's statement to the senate is now up. He makes a scathing argument, including claims that senators Boepple and Tubbs must abstain per impeachment procedure.

Meanwhile, Tubbs and fellow Exec. VP candidate Patrick Cook aren't allowed to campaign because of committing two violations. They're still in the running, but can't campaign. My question is, if they can't campaign, why is the website up? It's linked from both her platform and the Wildcat. I can understand pre-existing flyers in classrooms still being up, as I saw flyers for both candidates in classrooms yesterday. I guess websites only apply if "campaigning" means actually meeting people in person.

The other issue is control of staff. Tubbs notes that "Everyone is going to mess up at some point...A person can't control everyone on their staff, so violations occur whether you want them to or not." I suppose controlling one's staff is an aspect of leadership, so I at least find it reasonable to hold candidates accountable to that unless it gets so malicious that candidates send out fake supporters of opponents. Then we will have reached a new low.

According to the ASUA website, undergraduates will vote on this page, but as of posting this the election has not opened. Granted, it's 5:20 am. I'm up too early.

Update (8:33 am): While it is impossible for the creator of a Facebook group to cause a group to immediately cease to exist, both candidates banned from campaigning are still members of their own respective campaigns' facebook groups (Tubbs | Cook).

Monday, February 20, 2006

Anonymous coward(s)

Seriously, folks. Have some backbone.

The most recent comment to the Factor (which I rejected for posting) reads:

you have just endorsed the worst two candidates for their respective offices, seriously.

Not only is there no argument, there is no identity. Keep this up, and I will keep publicly chastising you. Garrett O'Hara is my real name, and I'm sticking it on the line. How about yours?

Primary election endorsements

I didn't do this last year, but then again I didn't send out questionnaires, either.

At this point, I have received only two responses to the questionnaire sent out earlier, the respondents being Matthew Boepple and Michelle Gregory.

By no means am I endorsing their platforms or responses. In fact, I have sharp disagreements with all of the above. But considering the circumstances, the only two candidates on whom I have adequate information to make an informed decision are the two who responded.

In the spirit of students having adequate information to make an informed decision in the general election, I am endorsing Matthew Boepple for Senator and Michelle Gregory for Executive Vice President as picks for the primary election.

The named victims

I don't know what I'm supposed to do at this point other than to keep my mouth shut in order to avoid getting sued. Heck, even the Wildcat is keeping its mouth shut. Every individual at the university who knows the names of the accusers, both journalists and officials, know there's more to this story than what the Wildcat or the Factor can report without getting sued.

Who knew something like this could ever happen in a student government? The entire situation, regardless of whomever is at fault, is truly a tragedy for the students of this university. We could be discussing how to most wisely spend ASUA's budget. We could be working on class availability. We could be debating whether students should have the right to be armed. We could be working to restore dorm resident's freedom of speech.

Instead, we're discussing secret meetings, underhanded tactics, threats, firings, and LIES. I won't speculate whether Bernsen is a victim or an agressor, nor will I do the same of his accusers. I do know who are truly being victimized at this point: students.

Happy Presidents' Day

Now go to school. Stupid white men.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Boepple the first respondent

Current ASUA Sen. Matthew Boepple is currently the only respondent to the questionnaire. I don't expect to completely agree with all answers by any means, but he deserves credit for responding. Boepple is looking to retain his senate seat.

Read his responses.

Michelle Gregory has responded. Note the new sidebar on the right, which I will manually update whenever new responses come in.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Personal contact policy

As those of you subscribed to the ASUA listserv may be aware, I've been asked by one of the candidates to a personal talk over the weekend. While I appreciate this as a kind gesture, it does call for me to issue a policy regarding such personal contact.

While I would love to sit down with each and every candidate, there simply is not enough time to do so, hence the questionnaires.

This doesn't mean that I can't talk to candidates should I happen to run into them, especially considering their mall presence. Nonetheless, formally interviewing only certain candidates for whom I have time is unfair.

Speaking of those questions, candidates please have them in by Saturday at noon.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

ASUA Elections Commissioner posts candidate platforms

Campaigning began as of 4am this morning. In turn, the ASUA Elections Commissioner has posted the platforms of all the candidates. Analysis from me will come after questionnaires are answered.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The questions are posted!

The ASUA campaign officially starts at 4am tomorrow morning. The questions are posted. Let the debates begin.

Yes, there are two questions number five, but I have other work to do.

Reaction to Wildcat redesign overwhelmingly negative

Reaction on the Arizona Daily Wildcat's message board is overwhelmingly negative. One notable positive comment can be found: in the mailbag.

The message board comments seem to contain much webmastering experience, which is good to see. Editor-in-chief Aaron Mackey makes the occasional defense/thank-you, so maybe we'll see some positive changes as we go on. It would have been best, however, to set up a test site and get user input before making this sudden change. Nobody in the public had advance notice of this.

Meanwhile, does anybody else think the Wildcat might be skewing the reactions a bit by printing only a positive comment? I know it's not reasonable to publish a message board post in print, but perhaps they could have told the letter writer to post to the message board.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Server was down

In the process of making the previous two posts (and this one), the public side of this blog went down. Grrr...

Were I a conspiracy theorist, I'd say it has something to do with Google censoring Chinese internet access from gaining access to my site (which they're not).

ASUA senator touts campaign early?

I mentioned in the previous post that certain individuals ripe for running for ASUA have previously-created "is cool" or "be friends with" groups which, in spirit but not letter, may violate the ASUA elections code website regulations. This may cross the line.

ASUA senator Rhonda Tubbs gives apparently-intentional hints over an upcoming campaign on her self-created group "Rhonda G Tubbs is Cool." These clues include:

  • The description "Get Ready, cause I'm Coming :)"
  • The announcement "Get all your friends to join :) And start gathering support..."
  • An officer of the club whose position is listed as "CM". Does that stand for "campaign manager"?

Let this be a warning to everybody involved in the campaign: if it's accessible to all UA students, it's fair game. Watch yourselves.

ASUA issues Facebook regulations for election

And exactly how are you going to enforce this?

The PPT presentation used during the mandatory meeting for ASUA candidates includes a certain explanation of rules concerning Facebook.

  • May have Facebook “groups”
    • Must be pre-approved by the Commissioner
    • May not send out “invites” (You may email individuals)
  • Any changes made to online campaign material must be approved by the E.C.
    • No message boards on groups (constitutes change)
    • Photos must be pre-approved
  • May not utilize other Facebook groups to campaign unless they are affiliated with a recognized club or organization, even if you are an “administrator” of the group.
  • Get all groups pre-approved by the E.C. if you intend to send listserv-type messages.

No mention of specific Facebook regulations is made in the elections code; it's simply applying the code to Facebook. The 'change' regulation existed last year, preventing candidates from keeping up with current issues efficiently. Now with Facebook, it's a stupid regulation that easy to circumvent: have somebody else not affiliated with you form a group.

Why can't a candidate operate a campaigning blog? What is the elections commissioner (or the Senate) worried about?

Meanwhile, groups from the 2005 campaign still exist all over. See next post for more on that.

Michael Franklin and Michael Vick
Rather than banning such Facebook activity, they ought to ban editing one's face or body next to celebrities. Yes, Michael Franklin's campaign website from last year is still public.

Wildcat redesigns website

The Arizona Daily Wildcat has introduced a redesign of its website.

As a webmaster, I think it stinks. The space on the screen dedicated to content is minimal, and the advertisements are even more intrusive than before. Take out the useless right-side column, and the silly tabbed headline browsing, and the announcement, and the page will be fifty times better.

As a blogger, I'm happy to find that we have the forums back. The previous forum was riddled with pornography, so let's hope there's enough moderation to prevent the same problems as before.

Forum user "dailywilbur" hits it in his design analysis, so I suggest you check that out.

Update: It now seems that every single link I've ever made to the Wildcat from this blog is now dead. This needs to be fixed, or the Wildcat will have done significant damage to itself.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Wildcat starts publishing corrections online

Earlier, I called for the Arizona Daily Wildcat to start publishing corrections on their online edition. They've listened.

Regardless of whether it was because of my post, kudos to the Wildcat.