There’s a saying in politics that all government is local, yet even the most politically engaged of The Coast Report’s staffers remain generally ignorant of our own governments —  Associated Students of Orange Coast College and Student Government of Orange Coast College.

As the eyes of the country have been glued to political dysfunction in Washington, D.C., we’ve neglected to take a look at our own homegrown dysfunction.

How ASOCC and SGOCC allocate a several million dollar budget effects the lives of every student on campus, whether they know it or not.

From parking rates to approving clubs and club events to funding arts and athletics programs, ASOCC’s fingerprint touches almost every aspect of a student’s life.

So why do we all seem to know very little about the people who control so much of what we see and do on campus?

The Coast Report Editorial Board believes that a major part of the problem lies in accessing information from ASOCC.

For our staff, the ASOCC office which also runs SGOCC, are notoriously difficult to get ahold of.

One staff writer had three appointments canceled in the course of writing one story this semester by someone whose entire job is to be available to talk to students.

As student-journalists, we are already struggling with overpacked schedules.

Needing to sit outside someone’s office because they won’t return your calls or keep canceling appointments is ridiculous. Also, it’s disrespectful to the value of students’ time.

Being students first, the stories we print are all being done for a grade and are also the beginning of careers.

When a student journalist has to devote so much time to getting someone to actually show up for an interview, their story and therefore their grade suffers.

What does it say about a school that denies its students access to information that is crucial to the completion of an assignment?

The ASOCC has said that it wants to increase voter turnout in elections and we commend them for this. We heartily agree with this and would like to be a part of their efforts through our reporting.

But it’s pretty hard to get a community to show up to vote when the paper of record for that community isn’t given adequate information to inform voters on their decision.

This department-wide reticence begs the question, why?

Are they chronically under-staffed and overworked?

Are they attempting to conceal something?

Or do they just not care because this behavior has gone on unchecked for so long?

Whatever the reason, the answer seems highly on trend — vote.

The Editorial Board urges students to learn about the candidates for SGOCC for a term that will oversee the addition of dorms to the campus in the fall, a move for which the school at-large seems woefully unprepared.

Recently, ASOCC endorsed a parking fee increase that will raise daily rates by $2 and semester rates by $10.

When the dorms open next semester, students will have the pleasure of paying more for less available parking as the current plan does not provide one spot per resident.

So, if the thought of paying more to have to fight for a spot then still walking a mile and a half to class sounds appealing to you, then don’t worry about voting.

If not, then get informed on candidates and vote. Ask questions of the people asking to represent 22,000 students.

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