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Vote Nandagopal in the Presidential Runoff

April 8, 2004



Editorial
The UCSD Guardian Online

After three days of voting, the general election is over.

Time to vote again.

In the runoff election, our first choice for A.S. president, Steve York, has been eliminated, and the remaining combatants are Students First! candidate Harish Nandagopal and independent candidate Jenn Pae. Nandagopal is the most effective of the two, and deserves the support of UCSD undergraduates in the runoff.

Although Nandagopal focuses on off-campus issues more than we would like, he has made an attempt to be more inclusive this year. His efforts to include groups traditionally ignored by the slate show that despite his fiery rhetoric, Nandagopal does believe in uniting the campus and bringing people together. He has expanded Students First! to include the Greeks, and his platform even calls for reaching out to the College Republicans during a planned voter registration drive. While he is an outspoken political liberal and a progressive activist on campus, he still cares about issues facing the average student: Triton Taxi, concerts, athletics and, above all, diversity.

Next years A.S. Council will face a $175,000 shortfall, regardless of who becomes president. Nandagopal has a plan, albeit an intimidating one, to show students the reality of what would happen with such cuts. He wants to pass two versions of the A.S. budget one that incorporates a proposed fee increase to compensate for the cuts, and one that does not. Students would see their favorite clubs and events getting cut, and understand the reality of the situation. No other candidate has such a realistic plan. Nandagopals telling it like it is: Things will be cut unless fees are raised.

And thats one of his most attractive qualities unbridled honesty. Where other candidates traipse around an issue or seek to avoid controversy, Nandagopal says what he believes. In that respect, he is very similar to York. There is no doubt that Nandagopal would be open with his constituents. In one-on-one encounters, he is charismatic even if his public persona is sometimes off-putting. Nandagopal has the knowledge of the campus necessary to get things done. He knows about every nook and cranny of UCSD, every backdoor, every opportunity available for students to fight for their rights. He knows how to negotiate with administrators and work with them, but, in his words, he will never work for them.

Pae is also an approachable personality, and has a full resume of leadership positions, but lacks the foresight and concrete plans of Nandagopal. Her past experience ranges from Vice President Internal to student representative of the UCSD Chancellors Search Committee, and Pae recently captured Triton Athletic Councils endorsement. She has competently chaired this years A.S. Council meetings, but those meetings have not yielded much change in the campus community.

Campaigning on a platform of sincerity, integrity and ambition, Pae alludes to the problems UCSD faces, but is quite vague on what the solutions are. Pae does not approach the position with as much visible excitement, thought and planning as Nandagopal.

Nandagopal was one of the few qualified candidates on the Students First! slate, and he deserves to be elected A.S. president.

The runoff system gave students a chance to vote for independent candidates like York. Next years implementation of Instant Runoff Voting will be even better for UCSD democracy.

York must remain involved. There is an open senior senator position on Muir College Council, and MCC chair-elect Billy Lieberknecht should seriously consider the eloquent York to fill the seat.

 


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