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Keep 'em smiling

By Dan Cassino
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
March 10, 2000
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It's the Friday before Spring Break. The campus looks like a set from "the Omega Man," and even those that would even consider going to class are being dissuaded by the "celebration" brought on by the basketball team's win over Stanford. No one's around, but those students in Cancun worried about the ASUA election have a great deal to think about.

For the second year in a row, a freshman was the top vote-getter in the Senate side of the election. Matt Bailey beat the runner-up, Kristel Miller, by more than 100 votes- a sizeable amount in the tight Senate race, where 22 votes pushed out Gino Duran, the best-spoken of all of the candidates. In one way, he deserves it; by all reports, he spent more time campaigning than any of his opponents. This isn't to say that the other candidates didn't spend sufficient time on the campaign trail- rather, it's that the other candidates, not being freshmen, or having jobs, have something else to do.

Of course, the previously mentioned second place senate candidate, Miller, is also a freshman, but I'd like to think that she got there for better reasons than Bailey. Sure, she did a lot of campaigning. But, unlike Bailey, she actually had something interesting to say. It would be nice to improve advising, or have better housing for grad students. But you know what would be really great? If all the clocks on campus gave the same time. Or if the restaurants in the Memorial Student Union were open late enough that reasonable people could have a dinner that didn't begin with a "Mc." She also campaigned on a roommate matching service for freshmen- a smart move, even if she just fell into it. This year, as in years past, freshmen were the largest class group in the election, and Miller proved that the best way to get elected is to work on their issues.

Ben Graff whipped his opponent, Ty Trujillo, but good. In an election that no one seemed to care about, it's reassuring to see that most people figured out that Trujillo didn't know what the heck he was talking about. His finish-in-four scholarship would have been one of the most ill-concieved programs to hit the university- and that's saying something. I say would have been not because he didn't win, but because he didn't even fully concieve of the plan. He had been working on the damn thing for a year, and he still hadn't figured out all of the details. Graff, on the other hand, was poised enough to stay away from issues that can't possibly take effect anyone outside of current seniors in high school. Graff was the better candidate, even if it does always seem that he's wearing the same suit. Maybe the stipend from the president position will help out with that.

Probably the most surprising outcome was the large win that Tiffany Podbielski pulled out over Lauren Beth Hickey in the race for administrative vice president. It's surprising because more people have heard of Hickey- she's a minor celebrity as the former Miss Tucson and "that one girl who wears revealing outfits at ASUA meetings." What's most surprising is that voters made such a clear choice between the two. They were remarkably similar on the issues, and the factor working best in Podbielski's feature is her experience with the all-important Escort Service. Thankfully, though, the candidates will probably be working together in the months to come, with Podbielski running things and Hickey getting the corporation dollars to keep the wheels turning.

As well informed as the voters seemed to be on some candidates, they missed the boat entirely on others. On the list of the senate candidates who didn't make the cut-off, the top two names are also the best candidates. Duran and Bron D'Angelo, the two Senate candidates who did the best job of presenting themselves and the reasons for their candidacies didn't make it, both by less than 50 votes. If more people had been attended the debates between senators, if more people had taken the time to know how they were voting for, they would have gotten in. If D'Angelo had campaigned on his first name instead of his last, he would have gotten in - who wouldn't vote for a guy named "Bron"? Instead, we've got Seth "I'm not a raving lunatic. Really." Frantzman and Roby "whoah" Schapira, and that's a shame.

Oh well. People argue that ASUA is always about the same, and maybe they're right. We didn't get all of the best candidates, but we didn't get all of the worst ones, either. For most of us, student government is a spectator sport, and next year, if nothing else, is going to be entertaining.

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