THREE PEOPLE came in to our office with plans. Only one made sense.
The A.S. president is the face of the entire association. The president is the person freshmen first see when they come to campus and the person the administration looks to as a representative of the student body. Daniel Plotkin can be that face, and we feel confident endorsing him.
Because the budget will likely be the most pressing issue facing students next year, we want someone well-versed in the matter. Daniel is the only other student who sits on the Coordinating Committee on Budget Strategy along with J.P. Primeau, the current A.S. president. Daniel is also a member of Finance Board, which is arguably the most powerful A.S. entity because it is responsible for distributing A.S. funds (A.S. budget for this year was $9.8 million). He has been a proxy for many Legislative Council meetings as well, so he knows how such meetings should be run (and, more importantly, how they could function more efficiently). We like his idea of creating a staff for the president so he can be better informed on various campus groups’ goals without having to attend hundreds of meetings. Instead of being bogged down in meetings, he’ll be able to dedicate himself to the most important tasks at hand. Daniel also had the kind of personality we want to see in a president: not overly optimistic or idealistic, but still believes in A.S. and the possibilities. He’s never been in the inner circle of A.S. — those “recycled” people that so many in A.S. lament about — so he’s able to have a third-person perspective on everything. He’s been jaded by A.S. in the best way possible.
Charlie Arreola is not wholly unqualified or unready for the position, but he fails to compare to Daniel. We would love to go to a barbecue with Charlie, but we’re not convinced he has the political or leadership skills we want in a president. While he does have relevant experience as president of the Residence Hall Association, we don’t feel he’s quite qualified to be the leader of all Gauchos. If Charlie were to become president, we’d highly recommend he hire a staff to help him become quickly acquainted with the ins and outs of A.S. and to stay informed on student issues in general.
Paulina Abustan is not qualified for this position. Although she has a detailed 10-point plan, we don’t agree with all her points, and it’s clear her ideals are not in line with all the students at UCSB. She also wants A.S. to take stronger, official stances on political issues, but this would cause A.S. to lose its standing as a nonprofit, and we’re not sure it’s worth it.
We recognize that Daniel Plotkin, as a third-party candidate and thus without backing of many members currently in A.S. — and therefore a majority of past voters — is a long shot, but he is easily the most competent for this job and a vote for him is not a vote wasted.