San Diego politicians speak at campus forum

    A group of four elected officials addressed UCSD students, staff and faculty Friday regarding current political issues pertinent to the San Diego region.

    State Sen. Dede Alpert, California Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe, City Councilman Scott Peters and San Diego City Attorney Casey Gwinn spoke at the event.

    Chancellor Robert C. Dynes and other UCSD officials also attended the forum.

    The forum took place at the Copley Auditorium at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies..

    Eleanor Roosevelt College senior John Lek, an intern in public policy at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, helped plan the forum to increase political involvement among San Diego’s students.

    “”My goal is to get students more involved, to combine the interests of the students and the Chamber of Commerce,”” Lek said.

    About 30 people attended the forum.

    Planners and representatives alike were a little discouraged by the small turnout, especially in light of the influence the speakers have in shaping policy that affects UCSD.

    “”It’s disappointing that more students don’t come out to get to know their representatives,”” Lek said.

    The politicians called for increased political participation from students.

    “”With 55,000 students [in the San Diego area], you could own us,”” Peters said.

    “”I hear from people who have a stake in the past of San Diego, [but] you are the people who have a stake in the future of this town,”” he said.

    The politicians maintained an upbeat candor throughout the session fostering a friendly environment with the audience.

    Students who attended heard how these officials are working to improve education and environment in California and San Diego.

    Kehoe, who represents La Jolla in the California Assembly, spoke about the area’s traffic woes and UCSD’s prominent role in the community.

    Peters, who represents La Jolla on the San Diego City Council, addressed the same topics.

    Alpert discussed her current work on California’s Master Plan for Education, which is currently being revised.

    Peters promoted the Clean Water Task Force, which would help modernize the San Diego sewage system and reduce urban runoff into the ocean.

    Some students brought questions while others commented on local urban sprawl and the availability of housing around campus.

    In their replies, the representatives attempted to convey a sense of respect for UCSD.

    They said that they appreciated UCSD’s role in diversifying the San Diego economy with the influx of biotech and communications capital and also in improving local education.

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