Sunday, September 23

Candidates work on refining platforms


Council hopefuls' proposals address issues like housing, BruinGo!

  Daily Bruin File Photo De Neve Plaza, a part of student
housing, remains a topic of concern to USAC members and
candidates.

By Marcelle Richards

Daily Bruin Senior Staff Students are packed into study lounges
like sardines, there’s a line every morning to get a parking
space, and the cost of living in Westwood isn’t getting any
lower. These are obvious problems with not-so-easy answers that
Undergraduate Students Association Council candidates will need to
find. The planned course of action is still undetermined in some
cases, though proposed ideas include increasing the number of
triples in the dorms and keeping BruinGo! alive.

Up on the Hill: more people, less space The popular sentiment
regarding housing issues is “keeping people informed.”
Presidential candidates David Dahle and Bryant Tan, who have both
worked as resident assistants for housing, voiced opposition to
students in study lounges. Dahle wants a USAC member at all housing
meetings and brought up the possibility of organizing. Tan would
like to “experiment,” even if that means increasing
triples. Unopposed facilities commissioner candidate Annie McElwain
doesn’t know what her top goals are ““ but she’ll
have them ready by her endorsement hearing Friday, she said. Like
Tan, she said more triples may be a solution to overcrowding in the
dorms. Avneet Kaur, internal vice president hopeful, wants a
speedier process to move people in and out of lounges, but lacked
suggestions for how to accomplish this. IVP candidates T.J. Cordero
and Justin Levi were unavailable for comment, as was external vice
president candidate Christopher Neal.

Tackling rent and homeowners Off campus, Tan wants to meet with
the Westwood Homeowners Association, which oversees rent control
and the city council. His plan: to dialogue. This would namely
involve including students in long-term housing plans, such as the
construction of new housing. Then comes creating policies to cap
rent and getting the university to purchase more apartments, he
said. Dahle ““ who said USAC’s top two priorities should
be housing and transportation ““ is pushing to get students
involved in homeowners’ decisions by having people attend all
meetings “to make sure nothing’s going to sneak up on
you.” He said concrete solutions are hard to come up with but
did suggest conducting a study of apartment complexes and making
flyers with contact information and pricing. If this doesn’t
work, he said he will “organize.” Kaur and McElwain did
not address off campus housing.

Buses and shuttles and cars, oh my… BruinGo!, the program that
provides free Big Blue Bus rides, may soon hit its death bed if the
chancellor does not approve its continuation next year. Candidates
support the program, saying it will relieve parking problems. But
none commented on how to save it, though the Graduate Students
Association expressed interest in working with USAC on the issue.
Tan is trying to expand BruinGo! benefits to the Culver City bus
line, but did not say how he would add this to an already
endangered program. In the meantime, he wants to promote car
pooling and increased van routes ““ and get the chancellor to
build more parking structures with earmarked state funds that USAC
will somehow find and lobby to secure. UCLA is tight on space; the
current work in progress is being built below the intramural field
at $31,000 a space because above-the-ground space is scarce. Tan
did not say how he would enlighten the chancellor about where to
find space to build more structures. Dahle wants to target parking
services and give an ultimatum because students shouldn’t
deal with any more fee increases. Starting July, parking will
increase from $6 to $7. Dahle wants to work with GSA to keep
pressure on administrators behind the price hike. He did not
comment on how to keep BruinGo! alive or concretely, how he wants
to prevent what he sees as an imminent parking fee raise. Kaur
offers a different take, suggesting an extension of time given on
parking meters to counter the competitiveness of getting a permit.
Increasing the frequency of shuttles and bus routes may be viable
alternatives, she said. Reports from Noah Grand, Rachel Makabi and
Teri H.P. Nguyen, Daily Bruin Senior Staff.

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