Many of you may be wondering what the bright blue shirts reading “You Down With O.P.P.?” are all about. The people wearing these shirts are supporters of a student group that will alter the way student government is run at UCSB.

The Open People’s Party (O.P.P.) was formed in order to bring the focus of Associated Students back to the issues that pertain specifically to the UCSB community. We feel that the incumbent Students’ Party has lost focus of the issues that directly affect the student body. O.P.P. has brought together representatives from athletics, the arts, the Greek community, multicultural and professional organizations, as well as experienced Associated Students members. Our intent is to utilize our diversity to better represent you, the students.

O.P.P. is committed to addressing student concerns first. Associated Students’ money is your money, and must be spent on student issues. Our community is UCSB, and our community is our priority. We are tired of a university system that continues to balance its finances on the backs of students, thus we will continue to push for lower textbook prices and to end the constant increase of our student fees.

There are many issues that we need to address in our own backyard. In our community, landlords overcharge us for substandard housing that teeters at the edge of a rapidly eroding cliff. In our community, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol routinely oversteps the boundaries of its authority. In our community, permanent residents are attempting to charge us for parking in front of our own homes. In our community, oil companies continue to push for offshore drilling in the Santa Barbara Channel. And in our community, the many groups and organizations that advocate and program for students are grossly underfunded. It is more than appropriate that our mantra is as follows: O.P.P. will ensure that every dime of your money is spent on you.

Along with tackling the aforementioned issues, O.P.P. is also committed to making Associated Students more financially accountable. The current administration has spent time and money sending large delegations of students to Sacramento and Washington D.C. The fact of the matter is that working with such a large group of representatives is not only more costly, but we also feel it is less effective. O.P.P. will strive to work on national and statewide student issues through more effective measures that place less of a strain on the Associated Students’ budget.

O.P.P. will pursue a stronger relationship with media outlets like KCSB and the Daily Nexus, in order to give students a better view of how their government is being run. We feel very strongly that students should know how and where their money is being spent. Giving you a better view of Associated Students can only serve to benefit everyone involved. Transparency in student government will further our goal of making sure that money is spent on issues that really matter to students.

Change is essential to the health and well being of any organization. After an administration has been seated for a certain amount of time, legislation becomes more and more specialized. The current administration is pursuing interests that do not necessarily reflect that of the typical Gaucho. With so many issues plaguing the community here in Santa Barbara, national politics should play a smaller role in our student government.

The Open People’s Party feels that it is time to bring pride back to UCSB. We want to show the surrounding community that the Gauchos have a great deal to offer them. Our aim is to make the community aware that this university produces students with strong ethics and values. We want to establish a student government that you can be proud of.

Constructing pragmatic solutions to issues while realizing appropriate limits to Associated Students’ authority and resources will ensure that our actions will match our rhetoric. We believe that the time to change is now, and we look forward to serving you for years to come.

We encourage you all to vote on GOLD from April 24-27.

So, you down with O.P.P.?

Ajay Deshpande is a junior business economics major. David Gate is a junior psychology major. Both are running for Representative At-Large for the O.P.P.