Letters to the editor
Impeachment charges waste time, resources As a student of this university, I cannot help but feel deeply concerned and frustrated over the current ridiculous impeachment charges brought against Student Government Comptroller Matt Handverger. This is wasting time and resources of the university that are better spent elsewhere. I know that President MacCracken has projects and initiatives he wants to work on, which cannot get done if we're focusing on petty things.
I do not mean to downplay the seriousness to which we, as students, hold our executives to their duties. I recognize that Comptroller Handverger, did, in fact, violate a section of the SG bylaws by only working 18 hours one week this summer. However, many other weeks recorded on his timesheet show more than the required 20 hours, adding up to almost 50 extra hours of work he put in throughout the summer.
I believe that everyone in the room at the special session of the Senate Committee on Rules and Privileges could feel the tension that Senator-at-Large Jared Alves, who filed the impeachment charges, directed towards the Comptroller, despite several claims that the impeachment charges were not a personal attack. As previously reported by The Eagle, in an e-mail Alves stated, "ultimately, this is not something that I enjoy pursuing." His facial expressions while Handverger defended himself during the Rules and Privileges meeting leave me doubting that statement.
It is unacceptable to me that an elected official, Alves, cannot find any other way to reconcile the breaking of a rule on a technicality than to impeach an SG executive and remove him from office. Unfortunately, the SG bylaws provide no other punishment once being found guilty of charges brought during impeachment than to remove the executive from office. I feel that if the senator truly wants to enforce Senate oversight, he will agree that Handverger should be found innocent, allow him to continue his great job so far in office, but work hard to enact legislation that more exactly spells out the time and work commitments required of our executives.
After absurd instances such as this, it is no wonder that in my time here at American, I cannot recall a single semester where every office of the SG was filled, be it Undergraduate Senate or appointed positions within the SG. While a select few individuals devote all four years of their undergraduate time to the SG, most students do not want to get involved, for fear of having to waste their valuable time arguing about two hours on a time sheet.
Perry Blatstein Senior, School of Public Affairs
Don't Forget the Planet Much has been said about Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., over the past week. The Liberal Lion of the Senate has been rightfully heralded as a dedicated public servant and a good man. His death has provided a much-needed impetus for reflection both upon the life of this great American and the healthcare debate this summer. In the wake of his death, the madness and bitter rancor of the past month's town halls has largely faded from the front pages, replaced by a more somber, seemingly genuine attempt to conduct a more honest form of politics.
Debate over health care should and will continue, but as Congress reconvenes from the August recess next week, every effort should be made to ensure that comprehensive energy legislation is not forgotten. The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill has precipitously fallen from the public eye ever since concerns over a government take-over of healthcare, so-called death panels, and (as some right-wingers suggest) the tacking on of another trillion to the National Debt.
The Waxman-Markey bill is far from perfect. But, it is a giant step in the right direction as countries around the globe prepare for international negotiations on climate change in Copenhagen this December. After the United States' refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol crippled that regime, the world is looking to the U.S. for strong leadership ahead of Copenhagen. Passage of a strong form of the Waxman-Markey bill is crucial for sending this message. Without U.S. leadership, negotiations are likely to prove futile. So, over the next few weeks, as the health care debate rages on, don't forget the planet.
Alex Thorp Sophomore, School of International Service