Letters to the Editor
ASUCI Executive Vice Presidential Candidate Responds
First and foremost, I would like to thank all of my supporters. Your heart-warming well wishes are very inspiring.
Next is the situation regarding the Lakers tickets, which created quite a buzz. The New University editorial board commented on this creative idea and I believe it was completely blown out of context. I am writing in response because there is nothing more valuable than my reputation. Silence is perceived as acceptance and being perceived as somebody who is corrupt enough to bribe people is unacceptable.
The paragraph about me came after the paragraph regarding the big spenders, which implied that I was a big spender as well. I found this statement unfair since I spent a majority of my summer working and saving up for elections expenditures. Based on the spending of my competitors, all of them could have afforded and offered Lakers tickets to potential voters. I might also add that my competitor spent roughly double the amount I spent.
Encouraging people to vote was the only objective of the Lakers ticket giveaway. I did not care if they voted for me or not, but I was sure that after reviewing each candidate’s political platform, undecided voters who were motivated by the Lakers tickets would conclude that I am the best candidate. In retrospect, it would have been better if I had donated the tickets to ASUCI and allowed them to conduct the raffle.
Moving on, the editorial board implicitly accused me of pecuniary corruption or bribery. This claim is completely unfounded because the voters were not required to vote for me in order to win. I was very conscious about being ethical. To satisfy my concern, I contacted my professor who was key in pioneering www.honesty.uci.edu. She agreed that my actions were completely ethical and legal.
I hope this letter clears up any questions regarding my elections activities. If there are any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Executive Vice Presidential Candidate
Second-year business economics major
Editor’s note: The editorial stated that the ticket giveaway’s disclaimer “clears [Patel] of potential accusations of bribery,” but the editorial board still maintains that such a promotion was indicative of campaigning that relied on large expenses in order to encourage voting, even if voters were in no way obligated to vote for Patel to receive the tickets.
Reader Argues that Candidates Have the Wrong Focus
I agree with the New University’s editorial “Paying to Play: Buying the ASUCI Presidency.” You’ve got my vote. Although I don’t think that most students are convinced by the candy bars, I have noticed that the candidates have been distracted by the marketing. I barely heard anything about the issues unless I actively looked for them. I think that most students don’t stop to read about the issues, they just vote for the name they recognize (if they’re voting at all).
When I receive candy or energy drinks from the candidates, I like the free stuff but it does not make me want to vote for them. It might even adversely affect my chances of voting for them. If they only spend money on the campaign without having a clear stance on issues, they definitely lose my vote. If they waste money like that for the elections, how are they going to manage funds while in office?
Fourth-year English major
Past Lawsuit Renders Election Spending Caps Unlawful
Concerning your editorial entitled “Paying to Play: Buying the ASUCI Presidency,” I wanted to clarify a few points regarding the implementation of spending limits on ASUCI elections and your coverage of the elections on the whole. In previous years, before 2001, spending limits were imposed on the candidates for reasons which were mentioned in the editorial. Mainly, they were imposed because elections were becoming too prohibitive and students felt that the elections were unfair and catered to those with more financial backing.
But on Nov. 30, 2001, a suit which had been filed by David Welker, Ian McGrew and Nathan C. Masters resulted in the elimination of the spending limits on any ASUCI campaign; as such, spending limits violated the first amendment rights of students. Information from the James Madison Center for Free Speech indicates that “Judge Robert J. Timlin granted David Welker’s request for a preliminary injunction requiring the University of California, Irvine to reinstate Mr. Welker to his position on the ASUCI Legislative Counsel,” and quoted James Bopp, Jr., general counsel to the James Madison Center, who stated “The Court’s opinion…sends a message to public universities that regulations teaching our students that American elections are not free, but thoroughly regulated regardless of the impact on the free speech and association rights protected by the United States Constitution will not be tolerated.”
Thus, the ASUCI Elections Code was amended as a result of the lawsuit and the court’s decision dictating that such limits were unconstitutional. The suggestion made by the editorial that such limits be reinstated is in direct contradiction to this decision and would do nothing more than lead to additional lawsuits in the future, regardless of how unfair the current situation may appear.
Furthermore, the editorial board contends that “Anteaters don’t need candy, pink flyers and DJs to be coerced into voting,” but rather need “planned changes and platforms.” I find it incredibly ironic that your coverage of the ASUCI elections fixated on the candy and pink flyers rather than the debates that took place. While the debates were covered by your newspaper, your reporters misquoted every candidate, misrepresented their ideas and platforms, and in doing so convinced me once more that the New University is in greater need of students interested in journalism and not mere propaganda.
Fourth-year English major
Administrative Affairs Vice President, ASUCI
AGS President Criticizes Apathy, Not Spending Caps
In your editorial, “Paying to Play: Buying the ASUCI Presidency,” the editorial board states, “It’s the job of candidates to make sure students know what they are voting on and make sure they care about what’s going on at UC Irvine.” This is not how democracy is supposed to work! Democracy is not dependent on the candidates educating the people but the people being educated enough to choose the right candidate. The burden is on the people to be informed and educated. Democracy is predicated on an informed and educated populace.
The only check the people have on their government is knowing what that government should be doing and holding the elected representatives accountable to that mission. If we start relying on our government to tell us what to think, what to believe and what to do, then we no longer have a democracy! This apathy and passive approach that you espouse is not only dangerous, but, in the end, would be ruinous to a democratic nation.
Candidate spending is in direct response to voter passivity and apathy. Rather than berate individuals who care enough to get involved and serve, perhaps you should work to target the apathetic amongst us who make candidates jump through hoops in an effort to educate the voters who were too lazy to educate themselves. Solve that, and spending caps become unnecessary.
Associated Graduate Students President