Could ASI slates be on way out in 2004?

Jason Okamoto

I love slates. Slates, slates, slates. I can’t get enough of them. I love seeing their signs in the library quad, I love watching them debate at Round Table and I especially love collecting their buttons and T-shirts.

I can’t wait ’til early April, when Associated Students, Inc. candidates will begin campaigning for a spot in the university’s student government. In the past, the major candidates and likely winners haven’t done this alone; they formed teams that the Sacramento State political world called “slates.”

In U.S. politics, it’s nearly impossible to imagine a time when the Democratic and Republican parties would be non-existent. At Sac State, however, party slates seem to be going into extinction.

Before last year’s elections, ASI passed an amendment that allowed only one name per promotional item. For example, a slate could no longer print fliers featuring all of the candidates’ faces. Despite this change, almost every candidate ran on a slate, which is essentially a group of student candidates who share a logo and pool their money together when purchasing promotional T-shirts.

Last year, Peter Ucovich won ASI’s presidential election as a member of the Unity slate. This year, Ucovich is proposing a revision to the election code that helped get him into office. The change would not permit slates to turn in one budget — basically, a change that would limit the bulk discount when purchasing T-shirts.

Well, maybe it isn’t that simple. If approved, the amendment will also allow students a higher spending budget. Executives budget would up form $300 to $500, and board members from $200 to $300.

ASI Vice President of Finance Luke Wood would like to do away with only having one face per promotional item. “Seeing (candidates’) faces together helps identify individual members of the slate,” Wood said. “This allows for voters to accurately assess the ideas of the person, not just the slate.”Coincidentally, Luke Wood plans to run in the upcoming election with his twin brother, ASI University Affairs officer Josh Wood.

I’m sure this killer combination would be a shoe-in (as would their slate) if they were seen side by side of fliers and buttons. In my experiences with Josh and Luke Wood, politically and personally, if you don’t like one, then you have to like the other.

Luke Wood is not completely against the reform because it does filter out less committed members of slates. He says that the limitations are a good way to filter out “people who don’t know what they are doing.”

Ucovich says that with individual budgets, candidates will work harder to secure a position in ASI.

So Ucovich and Luke Wood both acknowledge the positive effects that the changes may create. But the reason for the change is in question, seeing that Ucovich is a graduating senior.

“These changes are better for the students and not just the political posturing,” Ucovich said, referring to the “posturing” that looks to favor the Wood brothers this spring over Ucovich’s own vice-president, Julio Velasquez.

I appreciate the idea that individuals should be financially responsible for their own campaigns. These students should all put forth maximum efforts to the limits to be our school’s honored leaders. But what would an election be without clashing logos and whiny bickering between slates?

Campaign time is the most exciting time of the year here on campus. Our major sports programs don’t offer much competition against other schools, while the battle of the slates takes place right in the quad for all the students to see. If the changes to the election code are approved, prepare your eyes for the viewing of the plethora of even more cheap ill-conceived campaign materials. Let the T-shirt wearing begin.