Tag Archives: archives

Cookies for Admissions Equality (2003)

Welcome to another edition of Highlander Archives, these are pieces that were submitted to the newspaper. Many articles were printed, but this one was not.

In February 2003, the Berkeley College Republicans challenged the dominant political establishment on their campus by participating in a demonstration by having an affirmative action bake sale. The bake sale offered baked goods on a sliding scale price structure depending on what ethnicity and gender you are a member. The organization’s president believes that holding people to different standards based on their race is inherently racist. The demonstration at UC Berkeley and UCLA were inspired by the impending Supreme Court case in April regarding the University of Michigan admissions policy retaining affirmative action.

Demonstrations regarding wedge issues do not escape controversy unscattered. Former State Senator Art Torres, chair of the California Democratic Party took offense of the actions of the College Republicans of California. Art remarked that, “Once again we see hard working students of color subjected to racist Republican rhetoric for simply seeking a good education and equal opportunity” and that “These college Republicans have opted to perpetrate the legacy of Trent Lott.” However, Affirmative Action is indeed reverse racism because assumes depending on your race or status you need a leg up. Democrats are not perfect angels either where race relations are a factor. Our Lt.Governor used the n-word accidentally during a Black History Month presentation while presidential candidate Al Sharpton perpetrated racist and anti-homosexual remakes at Kean University in New Jersey. Continue reading Cookies for Admissions Equality (2003)

Orange County Assembly Race Calls Unwanted Attention to Candidate’s Non-Profit

This may be an Orange County story, but it has unwanted implications for Bill Leonard who is running for State Controller and Barbara Alby who is running for the Board of Equalization Seat in 2010.

It all began when Assemblyman DuVall allegedly got in a sex scandal and resigned out of embarrassment, now there is a special election to fill his seat and the two leading candidates are Supervisor Norby and Linda Ackerman, the wife of former State Senator Dick Ackerman.

Right now the scrutiny is with Linda Ackerman. Aside from charges that she does not live in the assembly district having moved from Fullerton a decade ago, the professional experience she is advertising is being a co-founder and board member of an organization called the Pacific Policy Research Foundation a 501(c) (3) organization according to the IRS. The organization’s purpose is to promote the common good and welfare of the community. This is not a charity that is for feeding the poor or teaching children how to read folks, it’s a charity to help feed legislator’s bank accounts for upcoming elections

This event was a junket originally funded by the people at the prison guard’s union, and then the funding disappeared so it was established under this non-profit. The crew that leads this organization is led basically by retired state legislators and their spouses. Barbara Alby, who is Bill Leonard’s chief of staff and Sharon Leonard who is Bill Leonard’s wife are two of the five members also of interest. This organization does have problems with quid pro quo because most of the organizations who have issues in the Board of Equalization are big donors to this junket in Hawaii to help skirt the $250 campaign contribution limits that BOE members are faced with.

The spouse of a legislator does have a right to make a living, but should not be used as a conduit to circumvent campaign finance regulations. Even though there are loopholes in regulations the past behavior is not perceived as ethical. If a City Council Member was employed by a business that had dealings with a city you would recuse yourself from the issue so you would not have a conflict of interest.

This article was unpublished, but I felt it was worthy enough to put in my archives.

Absurdity Runs Rampant

Originally written for the Highlander for the last issue of the school year in June 2003. Some of the situations that happened on campus have an eerie similarity with drama happening on campuses on colleges today in 2015.

UC Riverside becomes stranger by the minute with how our leadership manages affairs on our campus. Whether or not it is administration at Hinderaker Hall or with ASUCR, it is increasingly hard to keep a straight face with what happens on campus.  ASUCR senators want the Highlander to play toady and our administration is self-deprecating where they fund their own personal attackers.

The racism conference held in May was unintentionally a misnomer. It ended up promoting racism on campus. The return of the Down Low in “The Real” is no way to promote peace and harmony among the different ethnic groups on campus. There is very much spite and malice towards our administrators on campus. Jim Sandoval and David Warren are marked men according to the radical extremists on campus. These individuals helped to fund the slime and grime that leads towards libel, slander and defamation and its ironic that it came back right on their laps.  The administrators are not willing to hire an investigator to substantiate the claims from the events that happened last year.  The campus radicals do not want the truth to come out and they would rather have their own fantasyland reign supreme. They would rather have the campus investigate fantasy instead of investigating real events that have happened on campus.

Next year’s administration of ASUCR needs to build bridges due to the lousy leadership of last year’s senate. Their arrogance regarding the Highlander is immature and selfish due to their desire to make the Highlander loose their independence. It will be impossible for them to undo the referendum that gives the Highlander money from the undergraduate student community. The Highlander received almost seventy percent of the vote during the spring 2001 election with the twenty percent voter turnout. This fee helps to preserve the independence of the newspaper so the staff does not have to beg for money from ASUCR for each issue.

ASUCR needs to hire sensitivity training to the new senators to make sure they remember they represent all people not just the people of color that make up the majority of UC Riverside. Comments made by our senators last year were tactless and inappropriate during these senate sessions. Unchecked arrogance only diminishes the legitimacy and credibility of our student government. When questioned during the June senate meeting about the new mural for the new commons academic affairs director Elisa Haro remarked “I see some pilgrim invaders here” when she saw the lack of people of color in the mural. While in May Cesar-Olyervides-Cisneros remarked that people of color couldn’t be defined as racist against white people.

However, other newspapers have not been as successful because they do not serve the broad student community like the Highlander. The X-Factor tried to compete against the Highlander yet they collapsed by the end of fall 2002. I would love to see competition with student publications, but I do not believe there will be any viable competing publications with the reallocation of referendum funds. The Highlander has been the established student publication for over fifty years and has been established unlike the other publications. The Highlander has a staff of diverse backgrounds and perspectives yet they are perceived as unacceptable because they do not follow the agenda and prerogative of the senate and their allies. If the Highlander had the editorial content of The Real, they would become a niche newspaper with no broad appeal.

UC Riverside needs a culture of calm and good relations between all groups on our campus. I had enough of theatrics at UC Riverside. As a graduating senior, I will be watching from a far to find out if UC Riverside can learn from the events from previous years so we can become a unified campus community.

Empty Resolutions for Symbolism

The anti-war movement is in full swing especially with the resolutions against the war that failed in the city Los Angeles. However the machinery of war has already began. I would like to explain why these reasons are futile especially in the Inland Valley. Our federal legislators are Republican except for Joe Baca in Rialto and they would not change their position even if all ten thousand plus students of our campus came to their offices to raise hell with them. UC Riverside is a liberal oasis in a conservative town and the constituents of Ken Calvert’s district are more Republican and obviously more of a proponent of the ideas and practices of our president and the Republican dominated congress.

Resolutions are merely symbolic, they have little power to change hearts and minds of those people who make the decisions that affect the Middle Eastern crisis. I would rather have ASUCR concentrate on issues of parking, quality of food on campus, book store operations than issues that did not have importance than issues that they have very little power of. The energies should be focused primarily on legislators who speak for the side against the war, not in the territory that is a proponent for the war. For those students who are living on campus, but have residences elsewhere they should find out if a Democratic legislator represents them back at home and they should contact them to become more active for their cause.

Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss mentions that he does not support either resolution because resolutions for or against the war are not relevant towards the business of the city. We have much more pressing issues despite where we live in the United States. Soldiers and their equipment have been delivered to the Middle East for the last month and it would be very pointless to send the troops home because they have been trained for action ready to serve in conflict. Despite how each of us may define if the war on Iraq is just, the Just War Theory can manipulated either for a pro or con position. We need to focus on improving our economy by providing jobs and opportunity, protecting our cities and people from external or internal threats.

Recalling Davis a Risky Impediment

By Matt Munson – Originally Published in the UC Riverside Highlander March 4th 2003

Last month the boards of the American Independent, Libertarian and Republican Party agree on one individual principle that Governor Davis should be removed from office. The opponents of a recall believe that our governor is dually elected and he should serve his time in office, while the proponents believe that our governor has committed so much fiscal errors that he nearly crippled our state government.

However, the Republican Party failed to offer a suitable candidate to beat Governor Davis during the November 2002 elections. If we only had a Republican nominee that would have had the confidence of the voters of the entire state, we may have had different leadership governing us today. The progressive reforms of Hiram Johnson give us the tools to remove negligent government officials and replace them with someone who truly represents the Californian voter. The problem with using the recall may portray the Republican Party however marginal even more irrelevant.

Notable Republicans including Assemblyman Dave Cox of Sacramento believe that a recall is merely a distraction towards the work the party needs to do such as working to construct alternatives to the Democratic Party’s budget plans. I agree with Assemblyman Cox that the recall should not be on the ballot, but if it does get on the ballot I will definitely remove our governor from leading our state. Recall is merely a gamble that may drain necessary funds from a party that is a half a million in the red. There are higher priorities of importance for the Republican Party in 2004. Defeating United States Senator Boxer and the long shot campaign to win California’s 55 electoral votes for the president should be of higher importance for the party in planning their upcoming political strategy.

Due to the low voter turnout, the requirements to recall the Governor has been easier to obtain despite the 12 percent requirement of the last vote for that respective office which is approximate to 900 thousand votes. Two proponents are organizing the campaign to recall the governor, People’s Advocate that helped to get Proposition 13 and a group organized by former Assemblyman Kaloogian of San Diego. However, People’s Advocate is the proponent who is quiet while Kaloogian’s group is the most vocal out of the bunch. Proponents must receive the necessary signatures within 160 days for an election that will be placed on the ballot during late summer if successful.

The charges filed against the governor are about how we were deceived on the condition of the state budget so the voters would not know how bad of shape our budget is. How our governor made our energy situation worse by implementing red tape in construction of electricity plants and implementing price caps that constrained the supply of energy. Gray Davis made many people unhappy including the Democratic dominated California Teachers Association where the governor has stalled the agenda of the union.

Governor Davis cannot be everything to everyone however, he will remain as the governor who came up as a prince and left as a disgraced fool. Nevertheless, I support our Governor crashing our state until it crumbles so in the future the Democratic Party would become irrelevant like the Republicans of today. Not rushing to a recall may benefit California in the end where they will realize voting for Democrats in general is not a wise move.

Mass Transit an Arduous Option

This was another column I submitted to the Highlander, but it did not make the cut.

Our campus is growing each year. Parking is one obvious factor that gets worse as the years go by. New buildings have taken away parking spaces close to campus where transportation hub number one becomes the de facto choice for parking. Not all of us utilize the mass transit system that helps to get motorists off the street. The loss of individual freedom in where you want to go is one reason why many individuals still keep on using their automobiles. We come to campus from many different places, but for those who do not live close to UC Riverside commuting with mass transit is not pretty. People who I have come across mention one word when one has to travel a long trip which is the Metrolink commuter rail system. Metrolink has done wonders for the people who wish to avoid the 91 freeway when commuting to Los Angeles or Orange County, but there is a strong bias for those suburbanites who could not afford living in those counties. Looking at the San Bernardino line which goes from San Bernardino to Los Angeles and the Riverside line which goes from Riverside to Los Angeles the trips are not evenly balanced throughout the day. This leads to some to consider the bus system, which also has it’s benefits and it’s flaws.

Mass transit has its benefits. You can unwind by reading your assignments for class and get them done by the time you get home. Environmentalists will also like the fact that Riverside Transit Agency uses Clean Natural Gas fuel. The bus stop is located near Lothian Hall or Banockburn placed near the campus compared to the majority who has to use the transportation hubs. Parking services will gladly sell students, staff and faculty the necessary passes from Metrolink and the Riverside Transit Agency. The problem with fixed route service is if you are not taking a direct connection to the destination you need to go to you may end up waiting for the difference between the other bus. You are able to attend over 75 percent of the classes on campus without the need for a car, but for some you may have to take your car to class or beg for the kindness of strangers for a ride back.
The way home is also a problem because the bus operators are not likely to make their destinations during the approximate time. Traffic congestion at night has made bus service intolerable for many. Route 16 from Moreno Valley going to Downtown Riverside on Iowa and University around 5:10pm has been consistently late ever since October 2001. Route 100, a freeway express route to San Bernardino operated by Omnitrans fluctuates like the lottery due to it’s use of the freeway. The 91 freeway makes up a significant portion of the route and during rush hour I have cringed when I have missed my connection due to bottle neck traffic.
The late bus unfortunately causes missed connections to the routes needed to finish the journey. Los Angeles County has a superior transportation operation that makes life easier without a car a better option. Unlike San Bernardino and Riverside County most of the routes in Los Angeles County have a better frequency interval that makes getting to your destination painless along with 24 hour service for a half dozen routes. Unfortunately Southern California is not New York City, a car is strongly recommended. If these inconveniences can be fixed for the rail and bus system then the university population would reconsider using their vehicles to lighten the loan on the roads. First, Metrolink needs to partner with neighboring mass transit agencies to consider bus routes to supplement service during off peak hours. Second, the Riverside Transit Agency should consider signal manipulation technology as demonstrated with the Los Angeles MTA in their Metro Rapid may be necessary for RTA’s high demand routes. If the agencies can do the above then mass transportation will become a positive option for all.

A New Affirmative Action

Originally Submitted for consideration for the Highlander back in January 2003. Since the Highlander does not have their archives of older articles, I am not aware if this was published.

As someone who would like to become an academic, I would support bringing forth Affirmative Action for ideological purposes only. The academic world is a left wing dominated institution, and it is time for a wider scope of ideologies to be represented on campus. We need instructors who are independent and who are willing to come out for a greater marketplace of ideas. As ideological minorities, we should play hardball with the left, but we should play by the rules. Just like the Fox News Channel in the classroom should be “I present, you decide”. As students, we should be explorers not revisionists. The university nor the professors should not force ideology or their worldview on the students. Thousands of young brains full of mush enter the hallowed halls of UC Riverside and we should not aim to convert them to the prevailing worldview.

The left wing follows an ideological dream land where they have an indifferent reaction to differing ideas. They may want to invite Maxine Waters to speak on campus, but they are not as eager to have black conservative economist Walter E. Williams to speak. The leadership on campus may worship on the altar of diversity making sure that we have a wide variety of students from their racial background, but we are already diverse in ethnicity. We need to focus on the next step on diversity where ideology becomes the new frontier. We already have MECHA, but why not encourage the formation of a chapter of the Riverside Young Americans for Freedom? It may be stereotypical to think that white people are the only right wing folks around, but opening up the campus to conservative ideology also benefits people no matter their gender, ethnicity or even sexual orientation because they can be right wing too.

Universities are the place where we receive divergent views on the issues and policies that dominate the community today. It is only fair that we receive both sides of the story. As Highlanders we should not be known as African-Americans, Asians, Latinos or white people, but for what ideas we bring forth to the marketplace of ideas. Now is the time for us to be liberated from the mindless mush of identity politics. It is an insult to the undergraduate students on campus when our student government would rather focus protecting their racial identities from Regent Ward Connerly instead of protecting their constituents from massive fee hikes during the California budget crisis. Diversity should not be defined as becoming clones of the establishment where we have to think exactly like them to be diverse, but it is for us to become individuals.

Simon’s failure endemic of state GOP’s woes

Originally Published November 11, 2002 – UCR Highlander

One of the several columns I wrote for the college paper during my tenure as a student at UC Riverside where I graduated with a BA in Political Science in ‘03.

The California Republican Party is in a time of crisis after election day. The base was more motivated this year, but the swing voters were motivated to vote for incumbents and the Democratic Party as a whole.

Bill Simon came out in a stealth campaign in the March primary. Many observers expected former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan to easily win the Republican gubernatorial primary, but Simon motivated the fringe of the GOP to pull for him in a low voter turnout election. Gray Davis is still unpopular according to opinion polls; he never received higher than a 45 percent job approval rating this year.

Voters wanted better candidates this election cycle. Many Democrats and independents wanted to vote for Riordan, the man that Bush operative Karl Rove wanted to win the state for the president. Instead, thanks in large part to a Davis-funded $10 million hit campaign on Riordan before the March primary, the state GOP fielded a novice candidate who was running against a thirty-year plus veteran of politics. What did Bill Simon do right this election cycle?

Compared to 1998 Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Lungren, Bill Simon got the base out to vote for him. The base is composed of the dedicated activists who are the lifeblood of its party. Simon got the values crowd, the gun rights people and the conservatives to come out for him. What did Bill Simon do so wrong that caused him to lose this year?

Simon first had the income tax scandal; Gray Davis pressured Simon to release his tax forms to see if Simon was hiding anything. Then, Simon had a lawsuit against him with one of his business dealings for $78 million in July that made voters think that Simon was an inept executive.

Even though the lawsuit was overturned, people still thought of that verdict. The recent stories on corporate fraud and greed made it a bad time for people in business to run for office because of the downturn in the economy. Political candidates know that in campaigning the first to define his or her opponent has an advantage in keeping that picture in the minds of voters until the election.

Bill Simon also alienated his base by trying to outreach to swing voters with the California Log Cabin Republicans, an organization of gay and lesbian Republicans and their allies.

The Log Cabin Republicans sent Bill Simon the group’s questionnaire, and Simon surprisingly said that he would sign a proclamation for Gay Pride Day and support domestic partner benefits. The news of this development infuriated the values community from Lou Sheldon to Randy Thomasson, and the base was devastated. Bill Simon then decided to close his bridge to the moderates and swing voters by disavowing that he ever did sign that questionnaire. Bill Simon had a chance to reach out to a wide audience, but he was stuck with his political bedfellows for times of good and bad.

A strategy that could help California Republicans in 2006 is examining how Linda Lingle, Mitt Romney and George Pataki won their respective gubernatorial elections in Hawaii, Massachusetts and New York, respectively.

These individuals courted everyone that made up their party and reached out to the other side to achieve victory in their states. Courting voters that want to ban abortion, legalize discrimination against homosexuals and own firearms without restrictions may bring hardcore members of the GOP to the polls, but it certainly does not enhance the turnout of independents and weak partisans. The idea of “Inclusion Wins” is only the first step towards Republican victory, but the next step is to also carry on the good fight.

Voters want substance, they do not want to hear the typical sound byte platitudes. California may be facing a horrific budget deficit, but there was no good argument to elect Bill Simon even though Gray Davis was the culprit of many of these financial troubles. Let the Democrats implode on their own problems.