A.S. Slate Politics Distract From Fulfilling Campaign Promises

Last April, this year’s A.S. Council said goodbye to slate-dominated politics, but judging by recent activity on council, you wouldn’t guess that was the case.

Now-former Associated Students Speaker John Weng’s resignation from council on Wednesday, Oct. 2 was not preceded by any formal calls for his departure; however, this signals that tempers on council are still flared. Weng said he resigned because he felt that council was “moving away from its original mission to serve the students” and that that he felt he “could no longer stay impartial.”

If his accusations are valid, councilmembers need to stop fighting among themselves and move forward. Personal issues should not prevent them from enacting the campaign promises that got them elected in the first place.

Weng is not the first councilmember whose differences have taken center stage at A.S. Council. His resignation follows months of speculation about the fate of Vice President of External Affairs Vanessa Garcia, who has recently been the subject of informal calls for impeachment.

Garcia’s trouble with council was most recently illuminated when council released a motion for the “Resignation of Vice President External Affairs Vanessa Garcia for Failure to Perform Duties, Improper and Unethical Use of Authority, and Willful Violation of ASUCSD Rules, Regulations, and Procedures” on Oct. 2. The resolution has since been moved to “unfinished business.”

While council’s official argument was that Garcia violated A.S. policy by listing Raquel Morales instead of Brianna Nelson as a legislative liaison at the UC Student Association’s summer congress, the motivation behind the call for resignation reeks of old, slate-dominated politics.

There seems to be a clear link between the council’s motion for resignation and slate partisanship. Garcia’s mistake, which did cost UCSD a vote at the summer congress, could have been intentional, a clerical error or a simple misunderstanding, but the reaction of a mostly Keep it Real-dominated A.S. Council feels extreme.

Just after the election results were announced, we encouraged the elected councilmembers to let go of their slate-affiliations and learn to work together despite their initial differences.

Keep it Real’s Facebook page still states that its goal is to build “councils … that don’t necessarily have to agree on everything 100 percent, but are willing to be agreeable and work toward concrete solutions.” But it seems like council is increasingly letting its actual agenda take the backseat in favor of battling out disagreements that are increasingly moot. Perhaps council’s bickering this year — and every other year — indicates that slate-dominated elections simply can’t translate to a council that can work together to form a cohesive agenda.

Three weeks into the school year, it looks as if things may be hopefully moving forward: Andy Buselt released his Undergraduate Bike Report this week, and we’ll look forward to see what his Transportation Town Hall leads to.

We know the beginning is always the hardest part, but it’s time for council to snap into gear. After all, they’ve got just 20 more weeks in office until next year’s council comes in, their own differences in tow.

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