Editor, Daily Nexus,
I imagine that I am not alone in being a little disturbed by Justin Ruhge’s column (Daily Nexus, “Temporary Student Residents Shouldn’t Play with Voting Blocks,” Jan. 28, 2003). Mr. Ruhge suggests that instead of voting here in Santa Barbara County, we should vote at “home.” There are a number of flaws with this suggestion.
First and most important, with rare exceptions, we live here in the Santa Barbara area. The local politicians that are most relevant to us are Santa Barbara politicians. Since we are here for four to six years, we may well see more than one election during our time here.
Second, many of us upon leaving UCSB don’t return to our parents’ constituencies for more than a few months. We find jobs in places where we want to live, which may or may not be near where our family does.
Third, many of us have our permanent residence in Santa Barbara. There are a variety of reasons why we do this, but they all boil down to the fact that we live here for good or ill.
Fourth, many people live in places for less than five years. By Mr. Ruhge’s argument, they should not vote in the places that they live because they will not be there for long. In other words, Mr. Ruhge is suggesting that we disenfranchise ourselves.
I recall that there was a similar letter to Mr.Ruhge’s published in the Nexus shortly before the recall election. Although I am not enamoured with Gail Marshall’s record, I can safely say that it was attitudes espoused by Mr. Ruhge and his fellow recall supporters that helped me make the decision to vote against the recall. The voters agreed with me.