The Arizona Desert Lamp

In which the Desert Lamp infiltrates the news desk?

Posted in Campus, Media by Evan Lisull on 18 February 2009

The Wildcat today features a good investigative report today:

Almost all ASUA elected officials may be guilty of Election Code violations reaching back to last March’s general election.

The code states that all Associated Students of the University of Arizona candidates must remove their campaign materials by a business week after the general elections. This includes online campaign materials, according to the 2009 ASUA Elections Code.

However, as campaigning for the current election race officially began Monday, every sitting senator, as well as ASUA President Tommy Bruce and Administrative Vice President Seema Patel, still had not taken down all of their online campaign materials from last year’s election.

Funny, though; this sounds rather familiar. In fact, it sounds like something written on this site when the Elections Code was approved back in December:

Curiously, the Senate that approved this code is in violation of its tenets: every single standing Senator still has their campaign group in existence, well after the election period. Both of Tommy Bruce’s groups are still up; Patel’s Senate site and Admin. VP site still remain. Curiously, Anderson’s is off, perhaps since she’s the only one that actually read the Code. The ultimately failed “Abolish ASUA” group still exists as well.

The Wildcat then digs back into its own archives:

It was a big deal for Rhonda Tubbs, though, who knows something about election codes specifying online campaign material.

After winning a race for executive vice president in the 2006 ASUA elections, Tubbs was disqualified from entering office. Tubbs, the Elections Commission decided, had violated an Election Code when her friend posted “Vote Rhonda Tubbs” on her America Online messenger profile, the Daily Wildcat reported in Feb. 2006.

Tubbs was also found guilty of not receiving approval to hand out cookies on the UA Mall and sending emails through a campus listserv campaigning for votes.

This was an interesting discovery — when this site made it three days ago:

I’ve commented previously on the absurdly ahistorical nature of student government; and, in a never-ending attempt to make the past present, I present to you the case of Rhonda Tubbs.

Few, if any, of the current ASUA members, or those monitoring them, remember Rhonda Tubbs. Ms. Tubbs was a candidate for executive vice president, way back in 2006. By all regards, Ms. Tubbs was a popular ASUA figure among the student body, initiating the current laptop-loan program during her tenure as a Senator. During the primary campaign, Ms. Tubbs won in the EVP category, defeating future Executive Vice President David Reece by a 34.2% to 31.89% margin.

Yet unfortunately for Ms. Tubbs, she happened to be running for an elected office within ASUA — which means that she was subject to the ASUA Elections Code. Ultimately, she was disqualified for the commission of several ‘minor’ campaign violations . . .

The Wildcat has been very good to me — it provided me the first opportunity to write publicly on a regular basis; it forced me to hone my thoughts and to consider viewpoints I’d never really engaged in prior. Many of my best friends here on campus are former Wildcat writers. The paper continues to pay dividends in the way of source articles, which provide the stepping stone for many a post on this site. By all regards, Mr. Bergan is well-meaning guy; and perhaps this is unintentional, a case of the lightning of insight striking twice on our campus. In the future, though, our simple request is that if you use our research – and please do! – you let the reader know where it came from. A simple, “According to the Arizona Desert Lamp . . .” will suffice.

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7 Responses

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  1. Shain Bergan said, on 18 February 2009 at 10:36 am

    Hi guys, just a little explanation.

    I have recently started becoming a semi-regular reader of the Desert Lamp. In fact, a lot of Wildcatters have begun reading this blog. I like this blog and think you guys do a fantastic job.

    As far as Rhonda Tubbs goes, I did not know about the Tubbs situation until I saw it here and I figured since the Daily Wildcat was the original source of the report, it would appropriate to source the Daily Wildcat. I certainly was not trying to shaft the Desert Lamp or do anything unethical.

    As far as the senators leaving their Facebook groups up, I honestly did not know the Desert Lamp had ever reported it. I had been preparing to write a story about Stephen Wallace keeping his old Facebook group open, but you guys beat me to it. I decided to widen my scope and check to see if other senators and executives (regardless of if they were running again in the current election) also still had their Facebook groups up.

    Once finding out they did, I knew I had stumbled across something newsworthy and began making some calls and visiting some offices to investigate possible code violations. This was Monday, and it all came together yesterday in time for press for today’s paper.

    If I was stealing information from you guys, I probably would’ve written the story months ago when the Desert Lamp had a blog entry about it.

    • Evan Lisull said, on 18 February 2009 at 10:48 am

      Shain, no worries whatsoever. Honestly, I’m just glad that the story is starting to get to a wider audience. I’m pleased to hear that writers at the Daily Wildcat are reading the site – although I do encourage them to start writing comments, to spark an even more informed conversation. As far as the S. Wallace situation is concerned — I have no issue whatsoever with the paper publishing a story about that, and I’d love to hear a quote out of him. At risk of reiterating myself, all that we’d like is attribution when it’s applicable.

  2. […] that being said, Mr. Bergan gets some priceless quotes from your highly esteemed representatives. To […]

  3. Garrett P. O'Hara said, on 21 February 2009 at 9:55 pm

    The issue that came up at the ASUA Supreme Court hearing for Rhonda Tubbs was whether the person who wrote “Vote Rhonda Tubbs” on his AIM profile could be considered “campaign staff,” and therefore responsible for keeping his speech within the confines of the Elections Code.

    The Wildcat link in this post looks to be the one before the Supreme Court hearing. Here’s the one after. They reinstated Tubbs before she was cited for another violation, which finally disqualified her and put David Reece in office. By the way, the poster of the AIM message was fellow presidential candidate Matt Van Horn.

    Watch for the elections commission not to make elections code violations public (probably citing the Family Educational Privacy Act) and less-so for the ASUA Supreme Court to violate the law themselves or even to speak about pending cases, a huge no-no in actual courts.

  4. Garrett P. O'Hara said, on 21 February 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Just to be complete, the Wildcat did issue a correction later on.

  5. […] Code with this provision, most all of them continued to maintain their own groups. This story was picked up in the Wildcat, and the Senate quickly moved to change their group names, lamely offering the […]

  6. […] has done a lot of crazy things with a Dos Equis bottle in hand. But never – except for that one time – has he managed to break into the Wildcat office, turn a snarky post into a page 1 story, […]


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