Berkeley's Conservative Voice

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bearcardo Watch

Last year, this cute little bear started showing up randomly on the sidewalks of Berkeley. Turns out it belonged to one Ricardo Gomez, affectionately known as "Bearcardo." Bearcardo was best known as the founder of the group Berkeley Students Against the Cuts. That was until he decided to run for the ASUC's External Affairs Vice President (EAVP) position. He won by 32 votes thanks to a Daily Cal hit piece on his primary opponent.

All was well and good until I checked my e-mail this week and up comes an e-mail from Noah Stern, ASUC President entitled "Greetings from your ASUC Executive Officers." Since I was bored, I opened it instead of relegating it to the spam file like the other 99% of the student body. Sure enough, it was a lot of the usual 'Thank you for letting me serve you and please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you!' until I got to Ricardo:

"Hi! I'm Ricardo "Bearcardo" Gomez and I'm your 2010-2011
External Affairs Vice-President!

What does this mean? I am responsible for organizing
and mobilizing students to engage in direct action
and direct advocacy. This year the External Affairs
Office will be a laboratory for social justice organizing
against budget cuts, discrimination, and unjust wars and
for democracy, justice, and peace. If you are interested
in becoming a social justice organizer, the EAVP office
is for you! Internships are available starting in the Fall.
To learn more about how to get involved and issues affecting
the campus community, check out
http://eavp.wordpress.com.
First of all, it's obvious Ricardo hasn't actually read his job description, or if he has he simply doesn't care. I won't waste space posting it here, but you can find it in Article II Section 4 of the ASUC Constitution. Anyone who can find "responsible for organizing and mobilizing students to engage in direct action and direct advocacy" or anything similar wins a prize for creative interpretation. The EAVP is supposed to represent the position of the ASUC to external groups and lobby to that effect, nothing more. That might have something to do with budget cuts, but certainly not the other five out of six items on Ricardo's list.

That wouldn't be the worse crime though. Indeed, many past ASUC officials have believed themselves to have much more power than they actually do (which is about as much power as Hamid Karzai has over 95% of Afghanistan). But at the end of his message he directs readers to a website which in turn redirects to the blog http://mobilizeberkeley.com/. Among the things posted on this blog: That Oscar Grant was killed because he was black, that UC Berkeley is trying to keep latino students away, that the university's deal with BP will somehow lead to higher fees, that the university is trying to steal student's DNA through a voluntary program, and that a divestment from Israel is in order. On none of these items has the ASUC taken a position - indeed on the last one they specifically declined to take a position.

My beef isn't with Ricardo's radical views - indeed, his right to express them is protected by the very system he deplores - but with his use of ASUC resources in promoting them. The blog he linked to in a student body wide e-mail is clearly only a personal blog. Being elected EAVP should not give the officeholder a soapbox to espouse his or her personal beliefs. Doing so is, if not illegal, completely unethical.

That's not the most troubling thing on Ricardo's site though. He includes a link to an internship application. It's all pretty typical until you come to this question:

If you had to choose, what area are you most interested in working on?
Direct Action Organizing (mobilizing students through protests, strikes, sit-ins, teach-ins, educational events, occupations, etc.)
It gets worse with the next question:

Are you willing to engage in non-violent civil disobedience?
Based on this, it seems that Bearcardo is planning to use his office not only to express his personal views, but perhaps to act on them as well. Which is especially troubling considering his office receives $13,000 in mandatory student fees each year. Is he planning to spend that money on civil disobedience ie, breaking the law? Might things like the Wheeler occupation of last fall and running onto freeways during rush hour become "ASUC Sponsored and ADA Accessible?"

Time will tell. But we will keep watching. In the meantime, here is a musical representation of how Ricardo Gomez plans to spend his time as EAVP.

4 comments:

This Guy said...

you have no life

Will Grizzly said...

just thought you should know, someone seems to have trimmed off the top of the t's in your logo and replaced the letter i with an l

you might want to open an investigation

Andy Nevis said...

Will, that's been our logo for years.

Ryann said...

wow, that was really informative. Thank you.