Over 100 students and community members attended a voter education session in Isla Vista Theater on Monday night to hear about the candidates and propositions on today’s ballot.
The UCSB Mu Kappa chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the Stephen S. Goodspeed Intern and the League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara sponsored the nonpartisan event. Alpha Phi Alpha member and Goodspeed Intern Michael Jackson, the event’s coordinator, said the groups sponsoring the information session encourage people to vote, but they are not endorsing any specific candidate or proposition. The UCSB chapters of the Campus Democrats, College Republicans and Campus Greens spoke in favor of their respective candidates and their party’s stances on different issues. The first 100 attendees to the event were treated with free burritos supplied by Freebirds.
Ben Sheldon-Tarzynski, Campus Democrats political director, said presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry would be better for national education because Kerry plans to provide $4,000 in tax breaks to middle-class families with students in college. His plan would give another $2,000 in tax breaks to college students who tutor children in the community, Sheldon-Tarzynski said.
Hillary Blackerby, Campus Democrats public affairs director, said she urged voters to elect Paul Graber for California State Senate because he supports women’s reproductive rights. She also said he is the better candidate for education because of his previous experience in the field.
“He is a history teacher making history,” Blackerby said.
Campus Democrats President Marissa Brown said she endorsed Lois Capps for re-election to the U.S. Congress because Capps is concerned with the environment and higher education.
After the Campus Democrats had spoken, Campus Republicans Chair Antony Mascovich presented the group’s election endorsements, including re-electing President George W. Bush.
“National security is the most important issue,” Mascovich said. “[In the past,] Hitler, Mussolini and Lenin all responded to strength. Terrorism is our generation’s enemy.”
Mascovich said he endorsed Bill Jones for the U.S. Senate and Don Regan for the U.S. Congress. He said Regan intends to open an office in Isla Vista, which would give students a better opportunity to voice their opinions on political matters. Mascovich also said attendees should vote for Tom McClintock for the state senate because he is fiscally responsible.
“[The Republicans] care about the environment but also care for jobs at home,” Mascovich said. “We can’t decimate the economy.”
Sociology professor John Foran, a Campus Greens member, said the Green Party is using this election to educate people, spread its message across the country and encourage people to support their presidential candidate, David Cobb.
“John Kerry is a corporatist and a militarist sellout,” Foran said. “George W. Bush is qualitatively worse.”
Foran also said the Green Party was for social and economic justice, the inclusion of all citizens and respect for the planet.
Campus Greens member Jennifer Rogers said the next four years could be very scary, but the next 40 years would be even scarier if every election came down to voting between the lesser of two evils.
Chris Dunstan, also a member of Campus Greens, said the Green Party was the only party of the three at the session that was against war and was not funded by corporate interests.
After all three political groups finished speaking to the crowd, League of Women Voters of Santa Barbara co-president Irene Stone described the 16 propositions on the ballot. All three on-campus groups then told the audience which propositions they found to be the most important.
First-year undeclared major Jessie Nieblas, who attended the event, said she thought the session was informative.
“It was good to have three groups instead of just two and give them equal time,” Nieblas said.