New ASUC Party Formed by Senator

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Defectors from the political party Student Action have created one of their own, charging the two major ASUC parties of being "campaign machines."

Former Student Action presidential hopeful Senator Jarod Buna said yesterday that he formed A People's Party for Loyalty and Experience in response to his previous party's slating process and its centralization of leadership.

"Student Action is to Microsoft as our party is to the Apple computer company in the real world," Buna said. "We're trying to give students the opportunity to choose their leaders instead of having a group of five people from one party decide for them."

But Student Action party leader and ASUC Executive Vice President Conor Moore said Buna left the party because he was not selected to run for the top executive position.

"We were sorry to see Jarod leave Student Action because he didn't get slated for president," Moore said. "Obviously he's upset and frustrated because the slating process didn't go his way."

Buna criticized Student Action's Core - an exclusive group of student leaders that chooses the party's executive candidates - for placing too much emphasis on popularity.

"(APPLE) is going to last because we are going to change the way we slate our people," Buna said. "(This new process) will reward hard work and loyalty within the party and within the entire ASUC. The current driving force behind the selection process of other parties' slates is

popularity and demographic appeal."

Buna said the competition between Student Action and CalSERVE prevents focus on ideological goals and will lead to the demise of both organizations.

"What makes a party fail is they start to lose sight of what makes them a party to begin with and that is loyalty, teamwork and commitment," Buna said. "Right now the senate is made up of seven independents and two electoral machines with no common goals or ideology."

Moore, however, said that APPLE seemed more dedicated to politics than student service.

"It just seems like an ironic time to bring about the beginning of a new party," Moore said. "If APPLE really was concerned with student service, why didn't they do this earlier in the year?"

Moore said Buna and his cohorts are exactly what they claim to be striving to avoid - an election-based party machine.

"The question I think a lot of people have is whether this is just another political move to try to get their people elected," Moore said. "If they really wanted to make changes in Student Action, why did none of them come to us and voice their concerns?"

Buna responded to Moore's allegations by saying he has nothing to gain from establishing the new party since he will not be running for office in April.

Theodore Liaw, president of the student group Asian American Association, announced his ASUC presidential candidacy under the Student Action party Wednesday. Buna said Liaw is an outsider chosen for his ability to win and that his selection helped catalyze APPLE's formation.

Liaw said yesterday that questions about his experience serving students are unfair.

"I think it is completely absurd that people believe I have no qualifications or leadership experience," Liaw said. "I have a proven record of being a student leader on this campus through my involvement in student groups, residential life and the ASUC."

Student Action Senator Chris Wendt said predictions that his party will disintegrate within the next two years are not entirely accurate.

"I don't think (Student Action is) as strong as people make it out to be," Wendt said. "I think there may be issues. But I think it is still very respectful of all of the members that make up the party."

Wendt said the new party is a positive addition to the ASUC because it will provide voters with a greater number of options.

"I think there is an interest in making this election about choices and giving the students a real set of alternatives," Wendt said. "I think each of the parties has something different to offer."

He added that the new party was started out of a legitimate desire to improve student government.

"I think (APPLE) was formed because individuals thought there was something missing in the ASUC and that they felt that they were the best ones to fill that void," Wendt said.

For president, APPLE will be running Senator Priscilla Hernandez, creator of the Vision Party. Hernandez declined to comment on her impending candidacy.

No independent candidate has won an ASUC executive election in more than six years.


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