Youth Governor Candidates Influence Each Other

By: Emmanuel Fonseca

The 71st Youth Governor race between Scott Nagatoshi, Nick Falk and Emily Kopp has been a competitive, yet fair, run. All candidates discussed their platforms and how they think they have influenced other candidates.

Politicians often adapt from each other’s views and present them in their own unique way. Nick Falk says, “Cole (Cahill) has had views that have been favoring the caucuses that’s important for him and I remember Ariana Trujillo (69th Youth Governor) she helped create the small delegations caucuses that is also influential.”

Nick Falk focuses his platform on caucuses because both of the previous candidate’s passion on supporting and keeping the caucuses in Youth and Government. Emily Kopp also says, “I think caucuses are such an essential part of this entire program, for me personally, I’ve been attending the Female Leaders in Power Caucus and Small Delegation Caucus pretty frequently.”

All candidates agree that peers and predecessors have influenced their focuses on the caucuses, but does this mean that these candidates adapt each other’s ideas on purpose? Or soulfully  believe that caucuses are a crucial part of Youth and Government? Scott Nagatoshi says that, “I think caucuses are an extremely crucial part of this program, personally I have been a part of Delegates of Color and I have been since freshman year (Three Years) and I hear all these stories and ideas for change but they’re not being integrated into the program as I’d like to see it and ideas are not good unless they have a place where they can actually implement them into their mission of change.”

Delegates have been discussing that Youth Governor candidates’ platforms are very similar and implement each other’s views. Members from the Gold Party say that policies from Scott Nagatoshi’s platform were similar to Nick Falk’s, however, a member from the Redwood Party, Tristan Neal, says that, “I think they’re different in the way that Nick focuses more on local businesses and where conservative while Nagatoshi goes the other way in that and contradicts that and goes the opposite so I think that’s the biggest distinguishment between the two.” Candidates have confirmed that even though their platforms are similar in terms of caucuses, they have different ways in implementing them to Youth and Government. 

Following the claim that politicians influence each other’s views on the caucuses, current Youth Governor, Cole Cahill states, “I wouldn’t say it was, I think I tried to say I was independent, if anything the candidates worked together to just support each other and get through the tough process that is campaigning for Youth Governor, but I definitely made an effort to not have any sort of negative campaigns to any other candidates because I really have a lot of respect for everyone else and I wanted to focus on the issues more.”

Focusing In: Minorities

By: Haleigh Wilton

With roughly 3,000 delegates it can be hard for everyone to feel like they have the opportunity to make their impact on Y&G and how they reflect on certain issues they find important. Caucuses help people have a safe place for their voices to be heard.

Emily Kopp, a runner for the 71st Youth Governor expressed her concern for the voices in FLIP (Female Leaders in Power) and her thoughts on how to further advocate for their work as a part of Youth and Government. Emily described the “push aside” that comes with being apart of a minority and how that affects the motivation of young women delegates to run for higher office positions and puts them at a disadvantage mentally. Emily further elaborated on this thought later on, “Working with Sydney, and the other leaders of FLIP have helped me become more empowered myself and understand the need for more females  in Youth and Government and politics in general especially on women’s issues. It should be the women speaking out on those issues and women defending themselves.”

 When it comes to the Delegates of Color caucuses two chair members explained how their part in that specific minority has played a role in their overall experience of Y &G. Kayla Dangerfield, expressed how the caucus has motivated her to stay in Youth and Government because the voice she feels the group has given her is strong.

“Advisors of colors are a big reason why I have stayed in the program and if it were a less diverse group of delegates and advisors I probably wouldn’t have stayed,” said Kayla. The other chair, Simelia Rodger, further elaborated on that and the impact advisors have in DOC. “I definitely believe that our voices are safe and heard in DOC, due to advisors fostering it to be that way, it’s in a safe approved place by Youth and Government but I think it comes down to the culture created by the people in the space.”

Revolutionary Delegate Pioneers New Program

By: Stephane Mazumdar

The new party system, scrutinized as it is, has caught almost every delegate’s attention. But how did it come about? Meet Isabel Musselman, delegate from the Culver-Palms YMCA, one of the creative forces behind Issues and Activism.

Initially, the goal with Issues and Activism was to get delegates more involved in the community. To continue, she explained how she worked with Delaney Ivy, and multiple MLC deans to implement the program area based off the original loosely structured, ‘Parties’ program area. She explains, “The goal in creating the new system was to give a voice to delegates that had previously been underrepresented by the large political skew of the program, and to allow people to see commonalities in political opinion as opposed to focusing on differences.” Isabel originally presented her ideas to Deans, Collin and Nate, in hopes to bring them to fruition. After it was just an idea floating around, Isabel collaborated with other MLC delegates to manifest it into an actual program area.

Musselman added that because the Issues and Activism is a brand new program area, she foresees multiple changes taking place for the 71st Model, Court, and Legislature year. She noted that she believes there needs to be a lot added related to communication and streamlining the way the parties display information. She revealed how Issues and Activism has been a serious learning curve and she believes, “as individuals we like to obtain results more tangibly,” and next year she’d like to see more connection with the political parties and the general Y&G public. 

Lastly, Isabel delved into her responsibilities as the Poppy Party chair. She explained that it is her job to make sure everyone knows where their session is and their task, whether it’s creating posters or helping with campaigning. Furthermore, she sets out the goals for the day, oversees the “four verticals” and works with a team of executives to present a progress report and make sure everything is on track. She stated, “There are a lot of broad tasks going on, and it is my job to make sure they stay afloat, and the overall goals of the program are being reached.

Isabel believes Issues and Activism is headed in the right direction. She believes, that after a couple more trials, it will be the go-to program area everyone wants to join. Isabel later explained how the five political parties will most likely carry out the same names next year.

She was thrilled to explain how the parties actually got their names and how they’re all related to the state of California: the Poppy party stemming from California’s state flower, the Grizzly Party from the famous California state animal, the Redwood Party from California’s state tree, the Gold Party from the historic ‘Gold Rush’ series of events in the mid 1800’s, and lastly the Avocado party which got its name from popular Californian food culture. Isabel hopes to see the Issues and Activism program area back and bigger than ever next year. She sees a bright future for the program area and its political parties.

The Future of Con-Con: Hannah Trumbull and Kevork Kurdoghlian

By: Aladdin Wang

With Tim Brice and Brian McCoy–the main Lead Volunteer Staff with the Constitutional Convention program for the past 25 years–retiring, Con-Con’s future becomes uncertain. But Hannah Trumbull and Kevork Kurdoghlian who will be filling their spots in their spots as lead staff next year think that future is brighter than it may seem to some heartbroken delegates.

Trumbull who joined Y&G in 2013 and Kurdoghlian who joined in 2012 both have a great deal of experience in Y&G having volunteered for ConCon for multiple years.

Kevork talks about his recruitment from Tim and Brian directly saying, “Tim and Brian reached out to me to come back as a volunteer. Now this will be my fourth year volunteering in the program.” Kevorks first year in ConCon was “phenomenal” and he really enjoyed the program.

Both future leaders believed that there will not be much change to the program, instead just working off the past achievements. Their ideas are aimed towards a better experience for delegates.

Maintaining the original methods is described by Kevork who says, “We will continue to do the exact thing that Tim and Brian have been doing over the past few years. Which is tweaking things based on the group of delegates we have, based on the observations we have made over the past four years volunteering.” Kevork believed that the past nine years of Con-Con have been incredible and he would like to add to that.

Hannah sees a future with a really strong and relatively small program area for ConCon. She does not want to expand without equal expansion of resources as well. Alongside that she wants to introduce some new things. She says, “I hope in the future of ConCon to be able to integrate issues and activism in new interesting ways and keep making ways for delegates to have their voices heard.”

While Hannah is justifiably intimidated by the importance of the role she is adopting. She talks about why she believes it is so important what she will work her hardest to achieve saying, “I think it’s really intimidating because it’s such an important program. Y&G is so important to everyone in it and has such a big impact……I think it’s good to be a little bit nervous about how it’s gonna play out and I’ll put in my best to make it play out good.”

There was shared excitement over the future of Con-Con between the two future leaders and also a little intimidation. Regardless, Kevork says the future looks promising and is fired with enthusiasm.

Legalizing Heroin Questions in Opening Joint Session Leads to Changes in Support?

By: Emily Rapp

Youth governor candidates addressed the legalization of hard drugs in joint session this morning.

Joint Session, led by Morgan Knight, included a Meet the Candidates for the 71st Youth Governor. The candidates were Emily Kopp, represented by the Trout party, Scott Nagatoshi represented by the Gold party, and Nick Faulk, represented by the redwood, Avocado, and Grizzly parties.

Emily, Scott and Nick gave opening campaign speeches about giving more people who have not had that many opportunities to speak and share their point of view a voice.

Next was the questions portion of the session, which included questions from Ben Holtzman and delegates in the audience. One of the last questions in particular was controversial and caused the room to break out of decorum. This question was about heroin and was a strong shift from the previous question, which was about favorite breakfast foods. A delegate from the trout party confidently walked up to the microphone and asked the delegates if they thought that hard drugs like heroin should become legal and if they should be able to be distributed. Many of the audience members broke into laughter, while the others sat in suspense waiting for the candidate answers.

Nick Faulk stepped up to the microphone and opposed the liberation is heroin and hard drugs. He justified his belief by explaining that hard drugs are extremely unhealthy and kill many people every year. Emily Kopp followed, and echoed his ideas of opposition. However, Emily thought that it would be okay to legalize hard drugs if they were restricted and had requirements surrounding them. Finally Scott Nagatoshi stepped up to the podium, and explained his view on legal heroin distribution. He says that he believes that there there should be heroin dispensaries, because it would lower the death rate caused by heroin, and give out safer doses and needles. At the end of Joint Session, there were many conversation surrounding the candidates speeches speeches and their answers to the questions asked.

Jessica Erikson, a first year delegate, thinks thatScott Nagatoshi should have explained where he got his quote. “I hope there’s research, because that’s a pretty drastic answer without any research.”  Most of the audience had no idea where Nagatoshi got his information from, and did not know if it should be trusted. Jessica disagrees with Nagatoshi’s statement and believes that there are better ways to prevent the damage heroin does to people.

Kevin Pappas, an adviser, also attended the meeting. “The youth governor candidates answers affirming legalization definitely changed my perspective on his views of policy. I think it will affect the race for sure.”

Second year delegate, Emma Jacque, thought Nick could have lost and gained supporters in this event. She knew “a few people that are changing their vote based on his answer of not wanting to legalize [heroin].” Jacque does, however, admired that he “had the guts to speak up on [the controversial topic].”

The Most Ambitious IAC Proposal Yet

By: Ben Whittier

This afternoon in the Capitol halls, refugee track IAC group 7 presented an ambitious proposal to solve the ongoing crisis.  Some groups proposed developing mobile relief centers for displaced refugees in European countries or ensuring them legal protection. In contrast, group 7 opted for a large scale permanent solution to the Libyan civil war.

Special Rapporteur of the refugee track Jenna Kaplan said that “no other group is doing Libya” or “something on that scale…involving as many actors.” Redlands delegate Isabel Cholbi said the proposal “earned points for originality and creativity” and for “taking a different route then what the other groups chose to do.”

Group member, Nick Sinolopi of the Conejo Valley YMCA, said that “[instead] of putting a Band-Aid on the wound of the refugee crisis we’re stopping the bleeding at it’s source and stopping the cause.”

The group proposed an expansive, well-detailed three prong plan that they believe will resolve the Libyan civil war and stabilize the region.

The first prong would develop a coalition between the GNA and LHR, the two conflicting factions, with loans from the World Bank as an incentive to cooperate.  This incentive along with stationing troops from Operation Inherent Resolve to act as peace officers would create a ceasefire between the two powers.  The second step would then be to grow the economy with these loans by investing in agricultural and oil infrastructure with the final step being  to partition Libya into eastern and western regions.

The presentation was followed by a questioning period where delegates brought up the 1947 Partition of India and the more recent example of South Sudan gaining its independence in 2011, both of which were messy events to say the least.

Nick Sinolopi in response said that the borders of the partition were drawn considering population, oil pipelines, and political ideology.  With all these factors considered he said the partition would be “splitting it [Libya] into two autonomous regions that have their own acting political groups” and that “[t]his will incorporate the refugees with their beliefs.”

Another concern brought up by delegates present was the scale of the solution. Sage Paroni from the SPASM delegation said that the scale “hurts [the proposal] because [he] think[s] it’s definitely possible but they might be spreading themselves too thin.”  A similar opinion was shared by Jake Goldman from East Valley who said the proposal isn’t “as feasible as the other ones just because of how large of a scale it is.”

In contrast Julian Johnson also from East Valley said “that just because there’s a lot of prongs doesn’t mean it’s inherently a weak proposal.”

The group members recognized this problem themselves and said that their plan, due to its scale, would take anywhere from ten to fifteen years to fully implement.

This timeline sparked new questions of how the proposal would benefit the immediate, more pressing needs of refugees.  Isabel Cholbi said “[she] had trouble seeing how it would address refugee issues.”

In the group’s closing remarks they addressed this issue saying “[t]his will not be a short fix but a permanent fix.”

Creating a New Constitution

The Constitutional Convention, otherwise known as ConCon, is a Youth and Government program area that gives delegates the opportunity to rewrite the Constitution.

ConCon’s debates are different from traditional debates because they do their best to ensure that every delegate understands the proposal presented, while also making sure that everyone’s opinions are heard.

ConCon also ensures that their is order and professionalism amongst the delegates by making sure that their opinions are not offensive or inappropriate. ConCon also ensures that every delegate has a place in the program and that each speaker, whether pro or con, plays a role in the debate.

Delegates are given an opportunity to support or disapprove of proposals brought to the board. They are given a brief summary of the proposal and are given a time period to discuss and decide whether they are in favor or against the proposal. Afterwards, the pro and con speakers for the proposal are given a brief period of time to discuss why this proposal should or should not pass.

As ConCon members in the audience are then given a few minutes of clarification to verify any questions that they may have for the proposal. During the end of the proposal, when it is time to vote on the fate of this bill, the pro and con speakers for the proposal are given permission to shake one another’s hand as a sign of respect for each others opinions and beliefs, even if it contradicts with theirs.

A current ConCon delegate, Anya Giarla, feels that ConCon is “one of the few programs where we get to create government laws and don’t have to follow some of the parli pro (parliamentary procedure) rules.” She also believes that current lead staff member, Tim Brice, is great addition to the program because he brings plenty “happiness and dedication” to the program.

Jenna Arnold, A first year delegate, believes that the program is potentially too overwhelming because the criteria is hard to understand and the directions provided aren’t as clear as needed to be. “You learn as you go and there is always room for improvements.

There are some limitations as to what you can say, but ConCon ensures that your ideas are heard and that your beliefs won’t remain silent. ConCon isn’t just for delegates who are very outspoken and forthright as well as ConCon welcomes all delegates to their program; whether that being first-year freshman or seventh-year seniors.

Elayne Carbajal, a first-year sophmore, says that program is “back-and-forth” with the debates, and regardless of how many times you stand up and speak, your voice won’t be denies and your presence will not be ignored. Elayne has made it clear that ConCon is the place for you if you want to stand up for what yo believe in and enjoy debates that are not only controlled, but informal.

Being the Chief Rapporteur

Chief Rapporteur, Samantha Miller, of International Affairs Commission, or IAC, watches over one hundred and fifty delegates. Some may think that all it takes to become the Chief Rapporteur is a simple election against a few other candidates, but according to a Special Rapporteur and some delegates in the program area of International Affairs Commission, or IAC, there is so much more to the position.

The International Affairs Commission is split into three tracks: refugees (led by Jenna Kaplan), flora and fauna (led by Aakriti Singh), and disease (led by Sam Greenberg). The refugee track is about how refugees around the world are affecting the United States. The Flora and Fauna track is about how ecological implications around the world affect the United States and the disease track is about how diseases in other countries are affecting the United States.

Clay Hutchison, former Cheif Rapporteur candidate, the Special Rapporteurs are required to have a “greater understanding of that particular area.”  Special Rapporteurs need to know what they are talking about for their track to help delegates form their proposals. Chief Rapporteur, on the other hand, needs a vast “knowledge of foreign policy and international [affairs] because their main [job] is to go around and help stimulate ideas.”

Special Rapporteur Jenna Kaplan describes her job as helping delegates in her track and “finding the flaws in their arguments” in order to create a stronger proposal for that delegate. It is also important to “make a personal connection” with the delegates, so that they feel that they can trust her and feel more comfortable sharing their ideas with her, understanding that she is there to help them improve their work. According to Kaplan the Chief Rapporteur leads the program area as a whole, making sure “that all of IAC (International Affairs Commission) moves in the right direction.”

A first year delegate, who preferred to remain anonymous, felt that the job of Chief Rapporteur requires “a lot of confidence,” due to the high stress of making sure everyone finishes all of their work by the deadline, as well as being required to speak in front of around one hundred and fifty people at a time on multiple accounts. The “Chief [Rapporteur] needs to speak confidently and take power over the crowd,” in order to keep her audience both informed and engaged with factual information.

Delegates share how they really feel about bonding

Different sized delegations have different ways of bonding. At home, delegations seem to stick more to meetings and icebreakers, while at Sacramento, they get more personal with sharing feelings through friendship circles and sharing food at their delegation dinners. The bonds delegates form through Youth and Government last forever.

We all know the feeling of fulfillment and unity we get after a bonding session with our delegation. Be it a beach day, a shopping trip, or a meal in Sacramento, these precious moments together are extremely meaningful and strengthen the lasting bonds we form with our fellow delegates. Obviously, delegations spend more time in their own cities, therefore spend more time bonding there than in Sacramento, but the special time set aside for bonding at the conference is equally as important. Especially with Sacramento being the last conference of the year, and for seniors, their last conference ever, the time spent with friends is crucial and nothing any of us will soon forget. This bonding time is even more important for members of larger delegations because their volume of people makes it difficult for everyone to talk to each other most of the time.

Coming from East Valley, a large delegation of around 250 people, Marlena Goodman considers her delegations bonding exercises to be very beneficial. At home Marlena’s delegation has holiday parties, karaoke nights, and icebreakers. At Sacramento, they hold meetings every morning, have a friendship circle to talk about feelings, and have dinner together. The bondings have helped her become closer to her fellow delegates. “We’re pretty big so it’s hard for us to be close but I think in individual groups and stuff everyone is really nice so we all just know each other.” The fact that it is so hard for big delegations to feel close to each other is what makes bonding sessions so important. It gives them a chance to all come together as one and unite.

Smaller delegations also benefit from bonding both in Sacramento and back home. Grayson Irwin, from the delegation of Triunfo with only 25 delegates, emphasized the fact that bonding is very important to him and his fellow delegates. At home, Triunfo holds their weekly meetings where they share and do icebreakers. In Sacramento, they continue this tradition, but everyone is always present for the meetings and games, so it feels more intimate. “I think at Sac it’s just more inclusive, more together, and more personal compared to general icebreakers at home.” Amelia Zehnder from SRV/Valle Lobo agreed that, even though their delegation doesn’t do much more than icebreakers, she feels that the bonding that comes from them is meaningful and important. She does however say that in Sacramento they also have friendship circle and a delegation dinner to further strengthen their bond. “I definitely feel like the bondings helped us get closer.”

Different sized delegations have different ways of bonding. At home, delegations seem to stick more to meetings and icebreakers, while at Sacramento, they get more personal with sharing feelings through friendship circles and sharing food at their delegation dinners. The bonds delegates form through Youth and Government last forever.


Small Delegations Can Make a Big Impact Too

By: Martin Avila and Luis Chavez

When looking at Y&G, the rule of thumb for delegation influence is often the bigger the better, leaving delegates from smaller delegations feeling powerless–something this years’ Youth Governor candidates hope to change.

Delegations like East Valley’s huge size leave delegates such as Ezequiel Armenta from SVC/EPA to believe that “coming from a small delegation, means you have less say in the end results of the voting elections.” Delegates from larger delegations believe sometimes you can get “lost” in such a big group of delegates.

Some say it’s important to let Youth Governors have an equal chance running. When interviewing Delegate Emily Kopp she stated, “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run but it was their support that put me in the position that I’m in right now I don’t really think the size of your delegation really matters but just how much they care about you and how much they put into your platform and for me I’ve been really lucky.” Emily speaks about how running with great support from a delegation you can achieve a lot. 

Candidates running from larger delegations see how someone could get lost in such a large group.  When asked what small delegations can do to have a bigger impact in Y&G, Nick Falk said, “We need to make sure Issues and Activism are really expanded on because they’re a platform that can give smaller delegations a larger impact in the program.” It’s important for small delegations to have an equal say in the program, because otherwise everyone’s experience can be equal. 

Scott Nagatoshi said he wants to “See coalitions form between the small delegations where they can be a support system for each other’s  candidates,” in order to allow smaller delegations to have a bigger impact in the program. Scott also expressed his wishes on what goals he wants smaller delegation to set for their delegates, saying “I wanna see small delegations have more delegates running for higher positions and I think it’s important we encourage them to run people and make that change in the program.” If small delegations can band together to run campaigns as a team they can accomplish great things. 

On the other hand, there are still many who believe that delegations such as East Valley should have the right to have a bigger influence in the election because they have more delegates. Jack Rothman, from the East Valley delegation voiced his opinion on the matter by saying, “the current voting system is a good representation of how our actual voting system works today.”