Recently elected Democratic Process Party candidate Bethlehem ‘Betty’ Aynalem stepped down from the position of Associated Students External Vice President of Local Affairs earlier this week, relinquishing the title to runner-up Rhandy Siordia.

Aynalem was elected to the EVPLA office late last month but resigned this past Monday, leaving the position to Open People’s Party opponent Siordia, who will assume the position — which handles local affairs within Isla Vista, Santa Barbara and Goleta — at the association’s weekly Legislative Council meeting next Wednesday.

Since Aynalem’s decision came prior to inaugurations, she said Siordia will have a smooth transition into the office. According to Aynalem, further action by a special elections committee, such as re-elections, will not need to be enacted.

Tim Benson, who is serving as this year’s EVPLA, said he was surprised at Aynalem’s resignation as she seemed excited to fill the role and had never openly expressed any doubts.

Nonetheless, Benson said the office will be in good hands as Siordia has served as the Vice Chair of Isla Vista Community Relations Committee as well as the Major Events Coordinator for the EVLPA office, planning local festivals such as Chilla Vista and Pardall Carnival.

“It’ll be really nice to pass it off to someone’s who’s worked at the office and has experience within the association,” Benson said. “That’ll be good for the students, I think.”

Siordia said he is eager to lead the office and added that he hopes to see some of his campaign platforms enforced, including alternative events for Halloween such the position.

“I am very, very excited,” Siordia said. “This is something I have worked toward for three years and [something that I] have been looking forward to throughout the duration of my undergraduate experience up to this point.”

According to Siordia, he also plans to hold alternative events during Deltopia and wants to implement “safe zones” above Isla Vista’s Grafikart to serve as designated hubs of support for underrepresented students and community members.


— Staff Report