Candidate analysis, random thoughts, EA deprecation, and who Maayan is voting for all rolled into one glorious post.

Well, voting is now on for the re-vote for the fifth AMS executive position. The VP Administration race was cancelled in mid-campaign two weeks ago. Despite the fact that this cancellation was not allowed by AMS code, and caused confusion and inconvenience, this second round of elections seems to have elicited a better crop of candidates. This race is actually the most competitive, with four strong contenders. I’ve read all the platforms in detail, and I know three of the four serious candidates in varying degrees. Here’s my analysis on each.

Yian Messoloras – Yian ran in the first race, and is the apparent reason it was cancelled (due to bad campaigning), though this was never officially confirmed by EA Brendan Piovesan. Yian doesn’t seem to understand terribly much about the AMS. His answers at Thursday’s debate were a little painful. His main plan is to execute SUB Renew gradually, sutainably, and without increasing student fees at all (of course, that’s what happens in the SUB every year when there’s small-scale renovations). His experience in construction is to help him with this, and he wants student and faculty involvement in the design process itself. He believes consultations to be a waste of money. While Yian has his heart in the right place with his promise not to increase student fees for a new SUB, the extent of unmet need revealed through the SUB renew consultations indicates that pretty large project is what students want. The university, donors, and government are unlikely to give us money if they’re not matching a contribution form students.

Tristan Markle – Tristan has put together a very comprehensive platform – maybe too comprehensive. He’s got plans for just about everything from stopping the underground bus loop (which is already under construction), to sourcing ethical food, to giving clubs anti-oppression training. Tristan is thoughtful and very ambitious about this position. Unfortunately, half of his platform (the half he seems more interested in) isn’t actually the chief concern of the VP Admin portfolio. As an active organizer of Trek Park and last year’s anti-U blvd development petition, Tristan is the most interested in development issues. The internally-focused half of the portfolio isn’t addressed very thoroughly. Though SUB Renew certainly has a link to the plans for U-Square, since the U-Blvd plan revision, Tristan’s assertion that SUB renew makes U-Square irrelevant is pure fantasy. There’s no indication whatsoever that the SUB renew process will cancel other plans for the area. Moreover, it is not remotely within the VP Admin’s power to “stop” the underground bus-loop construction. If you read his platform carefully, you’ll notice repeatedly that Tristan presents things he hopes will be true, or plans to do, as irrevocable fact. This is quite misleading (especially if you don’t know abut this stuff to begin with). The VP Admin this year will have to work fairly closely with Campus and Community Planning, and the UBC administration to make SUB Renew a physical and financial reality. I fear that Tristan’s principled lack of respect for these people will not help him serve students in these interactions. Also, stepping on the VP Academic’s toes constantly about development issues would make the executive team dynamics awkward. Don’t get me wrong, I like alot of Tristan’s ideas (the real-time sustainability counter, rooftop garden, and social justice audit are all great) but I have doubts that he’ll be able to pull of even a fraction of the platform without pissing everyone off.

Steve McCarthy – Steve is the UBC debate society president, former residence advisor, and scribbler for our esteemed VFM rival/partner in awesome, The Devil’s Advocate. Incumbent VP Academic Sarah Naiman actually convinced Steve to run – make your own conclusions from that. Steve’s platform is focused and pragmatic, covering the three main categories of the VP Admin portfolio: SUB Renew, SAC & Clubs, and Student Life. He’s on the right track for all of them. His idea for modeling a once a month activities night after Waterloo’s “warrior weekend” is pretty cool. He plans to restructure SAC into less, better-paid positions, and aims to use AMS Link as an administrative tool as opposed to marketing it as a sub-par social networking tool. He wants to make groups that can’t qualify as clubs into “affiliate groups”, who would have booking privileges, to foster better connections with the AMS. Steve isn’t afraid to say “I don’t know” – which will help him, since he has alot to learn. Many of the ideas here are fairly mainstream, and they’re all practical. Focusing on one special project (as opposed to Tristan’s bazillion) is wise. Also, he’s a got a great personality for this job, and is really smart.

Shawn Stewart – Shawn was a SAC Commissioner this year, so he’s got the most thorough insight into the workings of the VP Admin portfolio. I don’t know Shawn personally, but I’m impressed by much of his platform, despite the silly organization of his website into vague headers like “community” and “efficiency” (and the fact that you have to download word documents to view the full platform. grr). His plans for SAC reorganization, (specifically the creation of a Student Life commissioner) are detailed and make alot of sense. His discussion of SUB consultations and what will happen if this year’s referendum fails was helpful. He’s got generally good ideas about better consultation and engagement with Residence Life and other campus groups, and wants to create an AMS Frosh program for first years. I don’t get how this differs from AMS Firstweeek, but meh. A good emphasis in Shawn’s platform is the “gateway positions” section. Both students and the organization can benefit hugely from having volunteers work on interesting projects in the events and design departments in the AMS. These types of projects are fun; volunteers that enjoy what they’re doing are some of the most committed and valuable members of a society. AMS Connect was supped to promote volunteerism in the AMS – I don’t’ know how successful it’s been. Anyway, Shawn seems pretty good. My main criticisms are that he annoyingly ends every sentence like he’s asking a question, and he’s ruined the future careers of lots of people in his outrageous “Let them Eat Cake” blog.

Mike Kushnir – Mike has been involved in ACF and AUS for years. He decided to go serious after his first bid for this position as “scary” Mike “the rabbi”. Mike’s platform is the shortest, and not very comprehensive, but most of the ideas that are there are quite concrete. He doesn’t address the issues of Clubs and SAC at all. Go read it yourself, it’s short. I think Mike comes from a good place, but he’s ambivalent about SUB Renew, which will need immediate and detailed attention right off the bat. I feel like I need to see more here.

The two non-serious candidates, Aaron Palm and Stephanie Ryan have very different schticks. Aaron quotes fitting bible verses, and Steph spouts off her personal desire for slates to be re-instituted. Weird. I’ll probably vote for Steve McCarthy in this election. He’s pretty awesome, incredibly personable, and I know that he’ll work well with the other executives. Shawn would probably be good too. To me, this race is between them.

Something that’s come up in this race is the realization that the SUB Renew timeline is incredibly short. Choosing one of the thre
e floorplans from Cannon Design to be placed on the referendum ballot through widespread consultation, and then promoting the referendum in about a month is pretty nuts. Maybe a post on SUB Renew is in order. Oh, and Mike and Steve’s posters are way awesome.

Also, EA Brendan Piovesan managed to fuck up again (imagine that). One candidate’s name wasn’t on the electronic ballot for the first 12 hours of voting (see below post). It’s fixed now, but wow. Just wow.

EDIT: This wasn’t actually Brendan’s fault at all. There was some communication problem with the university, which runs the WebVote system


37 Comments so far

  1. Anonymous on February 11, 2008 10:39 pm

    The university (by their own admission), not Brendan, “fucked up” (not my phrase) the candidate names and the problem has been taken care of, as you pointed out. I think people are being very unprofessional in their treatment of Brendan, for the record. There is a process investigating concerns with the elections, and councilors are always welcome to bring their concerns forward to executives- rather than handle HR processes by blog.

    Jeff Friedrich
    AMS President

  2. maayan kreitzman on February 11, 2008 10:47 pm

    Jeff, I don’t “handle” any HR processes at all. I merely complain. I’m happy that this was so promptly cleared up. The email we all got was timely and explained everything.

  3. Anonymous on February 12, 2008 12:24 am


    Yes, there have been a number of unusual circumstances this year, but in this case, yes it was my fault; it appears that Mr McCarthy’s name was inadvertently deleted at the same time as Mr Fredericks. I’m not sure how that happened, but I should have caught it and as we were in a hurry with this “special election” I did not. Further, against my better judgment the election opened at midnight, no one was here to notice; again, my error for agreeing to it.

    My sincere apologies to all affected.

    Christopher Eaton
    Academic Governance Officer
    The University of British Columbia

  4. maayan kreitzman on February 12, 2008 2:15 am

    Blake Frederick actually dropped out so he shouldn’t have been on the ballot.

  5. Anonymous on February 12, 2008 2:28 am

    Jeff, people wouldn’t act “unprofessional” to Brendan if he had carried out the previous election professionally. Yes, this time wasn’t his fault. But my goodness, you can’t blame people for assuming it was!

    You wanna talk about professional? How about…Brendan didn’t do his job in the last election. Why is he running this one? If you want students to take these elections seriously, then they have to be run by someone who takes the job seriously.

  6. Blake on February 12, 2008 4:18 am

    Haha, so my secret ploy to have Stephen removed from the ballot was successful!

  7. Vesania on February 12, 2008 4:21 am

    “SUB Renew certainly has a link to the plans for U-Square, since the U-Blvd plan revision, Tristan’s assertion that SUB renew makes U-Square irrelevant is pure fantasy”

    Toope and Sullivan have already instructed Campus and Community Planning to draw up alternative plans for U-Square which consist primarily of a student union building.

  8. Anonymous on February 12, 2008 4:33 am

    vesania is not a real name.

  9. Mike Thicke on February 12, 2008 4:37 am

    I’m biased, etc, etc.

    But, even if you subtract from Tristan’s platform the parts that stray from the narrowly-defined definition of the VP Admin portfolio, he has a far more substantial and original platform that the other candidates.

    He is not arguing that SUB Renew will automatically solve all UBlvd problems and bring world peace. He is arguing that it *already has* made the old vision obsolete, and *can* lead to a solution that saves the knoll and leaves green space at the centre of campus. Is he overly optimistic? Pessimists would say yes.

    His SUB Renew plan is specific and detailed, and does not simply state facts without offering any new ideas, as Steve’s seems to.

    His student life section is more than one nifty idea that may or may not bear fruit.

    His clubs section is small, but it focuses on what I have felt is the biggest problem with clubs in the AMS: SAC is often felt as needlessly antagonistic, rather than helpful, towards clubs.

    Tristan may have some difficulty with the administration, but we are in serious trouble if we really need to elect candidates based on what we think the administration will think of them.

    I like Steve and I think he’d be a very responsible VP Admin, but on platform merits the comparison isn’t close and you didn’t give Tristan a fair assessment here.

  10. maayan kreitzman on February 12, 2008 4:49 am

    Mike, having written a long and detailed platform doesn’t make you the best candidate. It makes you the candidate with the longest and most detailed platform. I’ve seen Trsitan willfully misinterpret administrators when they come to council, trying to make them out as antagonistic to students when they are not. This is insane for someone that is proposing to be in almost daily contact with these very people in a working relationship. Revisionism, or heavily angled expression, in speech or writing, is a bad habit. I like many of Tristan’s ideas, and he has probably put the most thought and investment into running for this position – but that doesn’t mean I’ll vote for him.

  11. Shawn Stewart on February 12, 2008 5:05 am

    In my opinion Tristan is a good guy, who wants to enact change on campus. I think he would not enjoy the VP Admin position, nor would he excell at it because he has no interest in administration.
    The very nature of this position is to regulate, and administer resources to AMS constituents in a responsible, and reasonable manner- making sure they are used to their best potential. Tristan doesn’t want to do that, he doesn’t understand the administration, and his platform and comments on SAC prove that. For the record he attended one SAC meeting which happened to be the one wherein myself and Michelle the Vice Chair brought a portion of the revised SAC Policy to be evaluated by the commission. He’s labelled SAC to be largely punitvie because that happened to be the section of the code we covered in that meeting. Its a shame he didn’t run for VP Academic as I think he’s a much more charismatic candidate than Nate was and probably would have had a better shot.

  12. Shawn Stewart on February 12, 2008 5:06 am

    uhmm excuse the typos

  13. Blake on February 12, 2008 5:22 am


    Admittedly, Tristan’s platform is a bit heavy on the university relations side of things. I think it would be interesting, however, to explore new opportunities with this portfolio, especially in the context of SUB Renew. That exploration probably can’t be to the extent that Tristan would like, but I still think there is an opportunity there. I sincerely hope that there is a bit more to the position than just regulating and administering resources. This is, and should continue to be, the responsibility of SAC. The Exec positions should be more heavily focused on project work in my opinion, so I think the concerns that Tristan isn’t well suited for the position because he isn’t as interested in the administration side of things are fairly weak. That being said, there are other considerations to look at when voting and I haven’t even myself decided who to vote for yet.

  14. Anonymous on February 12, 2008 6:06 am

    Tristan here:

    Wow, Shawn, i’m surprised at your post about me.

    You said: “He’s [moi] labelled SAC to be largely punitvie because that happened to be the section of the code we covered in that meeting.”…. On the contrary, the reason we discussed the said passages is because I brought them up, because I have been concerned about them for a while – based on grievances I’ve heard from colleagues over and over.

    I have years of experience with event coordination and club administration, so don’t even go there! ;)
    And especially do not make assumptions about my sincerity.

    There is so much more to the position, Shawn, so I don’t know why you’re running on a narrow SAC-reform platform. People will justifiably ask: if you’re such a SAC insider, why haven’t you reformed it already?

    I’ll change SAC’s image to a group that helps, provides adequate resources, doesn’t discriminate, and is supportive and positive.

  15. Anonymous on February 12, 2008 6:21 am

    Question for Tristan: why, as SUS AMS rep, has he never shown up to a single SUS meeting? I’ve heard numerous people complain about it, and if he isn’t dedicated enough to come attend Council once a week, is he dedicated enough to do this job?

  16. nathan on February 12, 2008 6:31 am

    anybody who goes to council meetings knows that Tristan is never antagonistic towards the University Administrators. he is critical, but always respectful, to the point that most administrators don’t realize he’s critical! nor does tristan “willfully misinterpret” administrators. People always say that I do that, but I’ve never heard anybody say that bout Tristan. It’s verging on slander than Maayan would claim that about Tristan, and I’m upset. I feel like if anybody should be accused of misintepreting the administration, it’s, well…everyone else! They willfully misrepresent the administration by insisting that the Administration has the student’s best interest at heart.

    -power to the people or bust

  17. Shawn Stewart on February 12, 2008 6:38 am

    I’m sorry Tristan, I didn’t mean to be unclear. I wanted to say that I really respect your politics, and your abilities- I just didn’t see them aligning well with the Admin portfolio. And maybe I just misinterpreted your feelings about SAC? I guess I would just need to understand your point of view beyond making available resources to a slew of new clubs that we barely have available for the ones that do have unique mandates.

    But to respond to your question of why I haven’t already reformed it- it’s actually in the works. SAC has been working on a restructuring plan with Sarah and Britt for the last few months, and my job outlines are currently being considered by the Comp Review board.

    That aside, it’s just not true that my platform is focused on SAC restructuring. If anything the primary focus is increased campus community- which I think we can both agree is something that seriously needs attention at UBC. I think the creation of a Student Life Commissioner, development of gateway positions, campus community consultation with groups like the Rez Associations etc, and more AMS involvement with students on a social level rather than bureaucratic one is much more central to my vision for the AMS.


  18. Blake on February 12, 2008 7:17 am

    I’m curious – how was the attendance at the VP Admin debate in Vanier?

  19. Shawn Stewart on February 12, 2008 7:35 am

    omg it was terrible blake. maybe because it wasn’t in vanier, it was in totem, and we got there an hour late. And it was in the caf. and they really just wanted to eat. and we were not delicious foodstuffs.

  20. Stephen McCarthy on February 12, 2008 7:46 am

    Well – it was in Totem, so it didn’t start on time since all the candidates went to Vanier. You could say it was well-attended if you count all the Totem residents who were largely ignoring the debate.

    Not all ignoring though – I got a message from one Totemite later saying he actually listened and had voted.

    I’m not going to get involved in Shawn and Tristan’s debate, but I’ll respond to Blake’s other post: I agree that the VP should concentrate mainly on project work, rather than the administration that the SAC performs. This year, that project work is going to be a lot of nitty-gritty though: getting work on SUB Renew done, restructuring SAC … things that almost every candidate has said they’re going to do.

    Mike – I agree, my platform is largely what needs to happen, rather than grand new visions for the SUB. Given that I haven’t been on SAC or council for the past year, I want to assure people that I know what the VP Admin’s role in SUB Renew is. And to be honest, a zero-energy SUB (Tristan) and neat things like commuter nap-spaces (Mike) are awesome ideas, but what goes into the SUB should be up to student consultation, not the whim of one VP Admin. You might notice that sustainability and “sleeping pods and showers” are quite high in the consultation results – so I support them too.

  21. Anonymous on February 12, 2008 8:03 am

    Tristan, this is the first time I’ve seen you attend anything. I agree with the post about SUS council meetings. I knew you were on council these past couple of years, but did not know what you looked like until today.

    Not to be disrespectful, but can you please clarify why you never attended SUS meetings? I like some aspects of your platform, and I’d be willing to vote for you if I knew you would follow through on at least your attendance (among other things of course).


  22. Anonymous on February 12, 2008 8:20 am

    why isnt anyone talking about the flotilla?

    – i think its a legitimate answer to global warming and the student housing crisis


    any bets on voter turnout?
    i’m guessing 800-1000
    that’s generous (but probably terribly off)

  23. Blake on February 12, 2008 8:29 am

    1000?! No, it will be more like 300-400. On the note of voter turnout, I had originally intended to promise that I would donate my entire salary back the AMS if I was elected VP Admin and acquired the votes of at least 6.4% of eligible voters. I was then told that this would probably be construed as a bride, so I quickly retracted it.

  24. Jesse Ferreras on February 12, 2008 8:57 am

    “anybody who goes to council meetings knows that Tristan is never antagonistic towards the University Administrators. he is critical, but always respectful, to the point that most administrators don’t realize he’s critical! nor does tristan ‘willfully misinterpret’ administrators.”

    I agree, Nate, that Tristan never seems antagonistic at council meetings (the ones I’ve attended, anyhow.) Long-winded and prolix, maybe, but never antagonistic. But that’s a lot more than can be said for what he’s posted on this blog.

    “owen will not lobby anyone for anything. if the university ever ‘lobbies’ (which is the wrong word for their capitulation) it is against, not in, our interests.”

    – This is the first comment that Tristan made about Stephen Owen when he took up his job as UBC’s VP External and Community Relations. But he goes a bit further…

    “owen is basically presented as an indian agent who will come and civilize the ‘indians’. …he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, though (because!) he was once minister of indian extirmination.”

    – Tristan may have yet to antagonise a university administrator, but he had no qualms with doing it on this blog about Owen’s previous record.

    If I were you, Nate, I’d shut up about slander. You just don’t know what you’re talking about – libel is written, slander is spoken. I don’t see how labelling someone as a “minister of indian extirmination (sic)” is anything less than antagonistic.

    Maayan was fully in the right to raise a worry about Tristan stepping on people’s toes. Between her and you, Nate, there’s one person devoted to getting her facts right. I would think that after apologizing for misrepresenting me in one of your paper’s editorials, you might heed that more carefully.

  25. Anonymous on February 12, 2008 10:19 am

    “I would think that after apologizing for misrepresenting me in one of your paper’s editorials, you might heed that more carefully.”

    dear jesse,

    for the record, i’m not very good at holding grudges.

    stef “scary liberal” ratjen

  26. maayan kreitzman on February 12, 2008 3:13 pm

    By the way, I didn’t say Tristan is antagonistic (in fact he always come across as very gentle), I said that in his comments he makes others out to be antagonistic towards students when it’s obvious that they’re not.

  27. Jesse Ferreras on February 12, 2008 5:15 pm

    Dear Stef,
    That post had nothing to do with you. I was never under the impression you had anything to do with that editorial. Given what I’ve learned since the elections I am very satisfied that you will not bring the CFS to UBC in the manner I feared.
    Warm regards,

    P.S. I respected how pleasantly you took that when you spoke with me personally.

    P.P.S. Sorry Maayan to have driven this debate temporarily off its track.

  28. Anonymous on February 12, 2008 8:27 pm

    yeah Tristan. If you can’t even communicate properly with a limited (~6000) number of Science student constituents, then how can 40k ubc students be expected to be kept in the loop. You obviously have opinions that depart from the rest of the AMS science councillors, so why haven’t you shown up to the SUS’ council to express your unique opinion and be held accountable to your electorate? SAC is all about inter constituent communication, and it seems to lack the ability to do this.

  29. Anonymous on February 13, 2008 4:25 am

    I don’t want to make it seem like everyone is singling out Tristan, but I must admit a certain, I don’t know, amusement, at his claim that he will deliver a zero-energy SUB. It’s not that I find the concept of such a building erroneous, in fact I think the idea is a very good one, but could someone please explain to me how that option is going to be ready to be presented to students in the referendum. Also, can someone explain how he is going to stop the bus loop construction, considering that’s not even his portfolio? Have ambitious ideas, fine, but don’t deliberately trick students who don’t know s*** about the AMS and the portfolio into voting for you by going on about these ideas in your speeches. I kind of expected better from him.

  30. Anonymous on February 13, 2008 4:58 am

    it seems like everyone has a secret crush on tristan or something…

  31. Anonymous on February 13, 2008 8:15 am

    he’s a dreamboat

  32. Anonymous on February 13, 2008 9:52 am

    Go, Tristan, GO!

  33. Anonymous on February 13, 2008 10:49 am

    I agree, Tristan is the best!

    (I am not the same person as the above)

  34. Anonymous on February 14, 2008 3:04 am

    Aaaand Again Tristan showed his ability to insult people from the administration…

    His questions were all very good, and actually quite pertinent and intelligent.

    The problem was his preface for the questions, “This question isn’t for you, its for your higher ups, the people that make actual important decisions.”

    Its always nice to start your questioning by belittling the people your asking the question of.

    Every other thing he said was great, but you aren’t about to make friends when your first words are outright belittling of who your talking to.

  35. Hayles on February 14, 2008 9:54 am

    The best debates are on UBC Insiders.

  36. Anonymous on February 15, 2008 10:12 am

    This blog is like lame AMS Crossfire.

    Apparently Jesse Ferreras is that douche bag Bob Novak.

    And Tristan is Paul Begala or some shit.

    Steve McCarthy is shaping up to be the next Tucker Carlson. I think he wears bowties.

    Sean Stewart is like a gay James Carville.

    Hope everyone voted in the election.

    I actually don’t care.

  37. Rodrigo Ferrari Nunes on February 19, 2008 8:07 pm

    Oh YES Tristan!! Swooosh! SCORE for involvement and responsibility!

    Finally someone who’s mature enough to deserve a VP position, but who’s sincere with every student, open to suggestions and critiques, thoroughly knowledgeable and involved in relevant issues.

    My advice for the readers of this blog is: take time to get to actually know your new VP Admin, and drop the silly dichotomy inherited from “America” and popular TV mythologies that induces some to believe ‘fearful commies’ will take over the righteous liberal ‘right wing’… It is almost as if Orson Welles returned to life with the Martian invasion hoax.

    Learn to COLLABORATE! There’s a lot to be done, and if we stick to antagonistic mumble-jumble, there’ll be lots of time-wasting.

    And, if you wish to comment on Tristan’s performances at the Council, just check out the minutes from the last two years and make your own assessment (or attend the AMS). Then, next time, people will make informed comments rather than shallow ideological judgment calls.

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