Dan Watson

Two ASI presidential candidates; one tough decision.

After interviewing each candidate, the Mustang Daily feels confident both would do a fine job in representing the Cal Poly student body.

But the Mustang Daily editorial board also feels Todd Maki is the stronger candidate and better choice for ASI president.

The Cal Poly student body will choose between Maki and Anne Giapapas when it votes in the ASI elections on Wednesday and Thursday.

Maki’s experience over Giapapas was the selling point for the Mustang Daily editorial board, which voted 8-1 for Maki; two members abstained from voting.

While Giapapas is quick to point out the negative aspects of ASI – that UU Hour was better freshman year, that many of her friends complain about student government and that she once looked upon the organization as simply a “clique” – she also admits that until last year she didn’t even know the University Union had student offices in it.

With three years of ASI involvement, Maki has an affinity for student government, an impressive resume and a much-needed connection with key figures.

Through his past experiences with ASI, Maki developed a strong network of contacts. His various projects and university involvement afforded him the opportunity to form solid relationships with a wide range of individuals ranging from Vice President for Student Affairs Cornel Morton to Interim Provost Robert Detweiler to Mayor Dave Romero. These preexisting relationships would give Maki a great foundation right from the beginning of the presidential term.

Giapapas said she’s not interested in politics, and comparatively, Maki has managed to transcend political boundaries. Maki has the support of both the Cal Poly College Republicans and the Cal Poly Democrats. Current ASI President Tylor Middlestadt supports him. As does last year’s ASI President Blake Bolton.

Last year, Middlestadt promised to make ASI more visible on campus and ran on a platform that set sustainability as the top priority. Maki has been involved in the “Experience ASI” campaign that has been so effective this year.

Maki places an emphasis on finding a solution to the transportation problems in San Luis Obispo. After conducting a survey with ASI Lobby Corps, Maki gained the background knowledge necessary to change the transit system to better accommodate students’ needs. He pointed to SLO Transit’s limited hours of operation as a system flaw, and also noted the pick-up and drop-off times do not coincide with Cal Poly’s class schedule. Maki spent several hours a week riding the SLO Transit buses to survey 386 students on the successes and failures of the system.

After the Safe Ride program – a late-night transportation system many students relied upon to get home after a night of drinking – was cancelled, Maki researched how other schools had addressed the problem. He is ready to act.

Last summer, Housing and Resident Life removed red handprints from the freshman dorms. The controversial action caused students and faculty to speak out; some agree with the office’s decision to make new students feel comfortable and safe, while others, like Maki, consider the removal unjust. Maki believes the handprints increase awareness of sexual assault and are an important part of the campus.

He also plans to continue work toward opening the communication channels between students and Housing and Residential Life. He has already been involved this year with a resolution between ASI and Housing and Residential Life. A rift occurred between the two groups when a controversial pamphlet was distributed in the dorms. The pamphlet accused fraternity members as being more likely to perpetrate rape. Maki promises to provide a strong voice for the greek system at Cal Poly.

Maki has provided a detailed rundown for how he would choose his Chief of Staff and how he would like to reorganize the Executive Staff. Both of these changes would put students’ needs first and open doors to greater student body involvement.

Our reservations about the opposing candidate centered on a lack of experience and lack of knowledge regarding significant campus issues such as sustainability and co-sponsorship. Giapapas explained her hope that ASI could present a “Mardi Gras” event next year, but had not spoken to police or administrators about the plan. She also spoke briefly about receiving a donation for her campaign from San Diego Chargers owner and fellow Greek American Alex Spanos, but admitted she “hadn’t spent that much money” because she is “a cut-corners kind of girl.” She then said, “I like to make sure I’m not going above and beyond.”

With a goal of a 25 percent voter turnout, expectations are lofty for this year’s elections. It is important for every student to cast his or her vote for the next ASI government. The Mustang Daily believes Maki would best serve the student body.

Editor’s note: Endorsing a candidate in an election is a common practice for most community newspapers and a tradition at the Mustang Daily.

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