Tuesday, February 8, 2011
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Debaters gonna debate
Arden Zwelling is blogging daily fromthe campaign trail. Follow his musingsevery morning at wgaz.ca/blogthevote.
I met Andrew Forgione’s mom lastFriday.It’s easy to forget in all of thecraziness surrounding the Universi-ty Students’ Council elections thatthese candidates are just real peoplewith moms and dads and problemsof their own.I think it’s a byproduct of thecampaign’s ridiculous branding —which is unfortunately 100 per centnecessary to winning this thing —that we don’t really think of For-gione and his colleagues OmidSalari and David Basu Roy as hav-ing lives outside of the race. Whenall you see is a smiling face, a colourscheme, a polished website, anovertly friendly Twitter feed andsymbolic logo, you forget that just aweek ago these same folks werewalking around campus just like you. Marching class-to-class, bare-ly recognizable amidst the sea of Western students.Meeting Forgione’s mom actu-ally reminded me of Mike Tithe-cott’s dad who was something of afixture during his son’s ultimatelysuccessful campaign for USC pres-ident last year. The moment imme-diately after Tithecott was namedpresident, when him and his fatherembraced each other crying, wasprobably one of the more power-ful, emotional moments a USCelection has ever seen. It wentmostly unreported but anyone whowas there knows just how affectingthe moment was. I certainlyhaven’t forgotten it.Don’t worry, I haven’t gone soft. It’s just moments like those that reallygive you perspective on the zaninessthat is USC elections at Western. Themoment I had to talk to Mrs. Forgioneon Friday was a small one. But a real-ly nice one at the same time.
The debate over debate in thedebates
As usual, the
is driving thediscourse when it comes to Westernand the USC, this time by pointingout, justly I might add, that this year’s debates so far haven’t featuredany actual debate.For me, the USC debates are real-ly just question and answer sessions.And while it’s nice to hear the candi-dates elaborate on their platformsand explain how they would handlecertain predicaments, it’s franklyplayed out.
Read the rest of this post online at wgaz.ca/blogthevote.
Zwellin’ itlike it is
Happy b-day, texting law
Ban on phones while driving widely ignored
“Crackberries” may be as dangerousas crack — while you’re on the roadanyways.Last week marked the one-yearanniversary for the ban on textingand talking while driving, howeverpolice are concerned the new lawhas had little effect.“There has been approximately46,000 tickets given out [for textingor talking while driving] throughoutOntario in the past year, with 630handed out in London,” Tom O’Brien,London Police Service trafficsergeant, said. “[It’s] disappointingand disturbing that people continueto flout the law rather than changetheir behaviour or buy a device thatallows them to change it.”O’Brien noted the London policeforce will be trying a multitude of new tactics in the coming months inhopes of reinforcing the law.“It’s easier to get people when you use unmarked cars, so we’ll like-ly step up our unmarked car effortsand we’ll continue to educate andenforce,” O’Brien said, adding therewill also be officers on foot and outof uniform around the city handingout tickets to texting drivers.While it’s beneficial to continueeducating people to the dangers of distracted driving, not everyoneagreed it’s a problem that can besolved.VincentManzerolle, lecturer inthe faculty of information and mediastudies, urged police to look at tech-nology from the perspective of cul-ture.“We live in a media environmentas I see it; our contemporarymoment is full of the idea of ubiqui-tous connectivity,” Manzerolle said.“Whether it’s cellphones, laptops,whatever, we’re always connected. Itreally is a part of our everyday life.”Manzerolle pointed out it’s near-ly impossible to disconnect fromtechnology and keep our attentionson the road.“Texting while driving becomessuch a big problem because you’resupposed to be focused on this veryspecific task of driving. But every-thing else in our culture says you’realways supposed to be multitasking,always supposed to be available,”Manzerolle said.“The best that they can do is toactually remove the control of the dri-ver over the car, so that the car is actu-ally doing the task of driving and youcan do all these other multitaskingthings with little concern. That’s thedesire, to almost remove the humanelement from driving so there’s lessroom for human error,” he concluded.Manzerolle agreed with O’Brien,saying until technology advances toa level that will prevent human error,it’s prudent to be weary of cellphoneuse while driving.“I don’t care who you are, you cannever underestimate,” O’Brien said.“You might think you’re a goodmultitasker, but it’s not multitasking,it’s divided attention. You can’t con-centration on both. It’s one or theother.”
Photo illustration by Corey Stanford
THE FUTURE INCLUDES MAGIC FLOATING PHONES.
A law banning cellphoneuse in cars received 46,000 tickets in Ontario over the past year, prompting policeto increase enforcement.
because the poster used purple — acolour banned by election policy —and used the word “damn.”Adam Smith, chief returning offi-cer for the University Students’Council, said the word “damn” waspart of the reason why Basu Royreceived 10 out of a maximum of 15points, but said the colour purpledidn’t play a part. Basu Roy thenreceived another 5 points for the dis-tribution of the poster.With a loss of $6 per demeritpoint, Basu Roy’s team lost a total of $90 from their $1,576 budget.Andrew Forgione received fourdemerit points for campaigning at ameeting by the Chinese StudentAssociation and soliciting supportprior to the beginning of campaign-ing. This is considered pre-cam-paigning under the USC’s electionsbylaw.“A lot of the members on myteam aren’t involved in politics sothey didn’t know they were goingagainst the rules,” Forgioneexplained. “But I explained my pointand they understood where we werecoming from. They were verylenient.”Forgione mentioned he met withhis campaign team soon afterwardsand discussed the issue with them.“We told them how to get clubendorsements [for me] and how togo about them. We also went overthe bylaw points, because they’vebecome very strict this year. So wemade sure the entire team knewwhat the protocol was to ensure itwouldn’t happen in the future.”Junior felt the USC’s ruling inForgione’s own case was less severethan it should have been.“I think soliciting clubs for sup-port before campaigning has begunis a more serious offence than dis-tributing and using the word ‘damn’in a poster,” she said.But Smith reiterated the impor-tance of candidates being informedof the existing bylaws in place.“In the past, candidates have triedtheir best to find loopholes or playthe innocent card, but this year weare trying to not let that go,” he said.“Violations will be looked into andpunished if appropriate.”Smith noted while 19 points havealready been doled out, the ElectionsCommittee is still looking into someissues and will react on a case-by-case basis.
Demerit points disputed
>> continued from pg.1
WHAT’S THE DEAAAAL WITH CORN NUTS?
Candidates for the University Students’ Council presidency continued their cam-paigning yesterday across campus. David Basu Roy held a campaign event in the Spoke while Andrew Forgione and OmidSalari campaigned in the University Community Centre and elsewhere.