Saturday, April 25, 2009

"An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere."

A fitting quote since this afternoon's forum was held at Mark Twain Elementary, and let me tell you, it was a free for all. Half way through I started wondering if that Sudafed I had taken earlier today was expired or something because everything about this gathering was…louder...crazier...more...uh...participatory to say the least. The appeal of this one was that none of the questions were screened, you wrote them, put them in a bowl and they were picked by the candidates to answer at random.

There was a lot of hollering and shouting, applause was sometimes just applause but other times it was boisterous jubilation; shouting and cheering, as mere clapping would not suffice, which brings us to my first highlight:

I might as well just rename this blog I promise we're not in cahoots, it's just every single forum I go to I become a bigger fan! This afternoon he was standing up for women's rights in government, I swear he's stolen my diary or something. Being raised by a single mother he said women need to be on this council...even though one of those women is his opponent Diane Wardrup. The crowd went wild as Tom went on to declare the Richardson Coalition to be nothing more than a handful of people who want to run Richardson.

Sheryl Miller stood up with the RC mailer stating it was ‘propganda.’

…go ahead and hand me one of those neat tin foil hats ya got there Sheryl, I think we’re all starting to see your point now. Scary.

Diane Wardrup told us during her opening that it was time to ‘bring ethics back to the place 4 seat.’ Ziiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!

Thomas Volmer drew a question asking when he was ever interviewed by the Richardson Coalition and if he thought the mailer, itself, should be considered a form of manipulation, to which Volmer replied he was never interviewed and that, yes, he did believe it was manipulative. He went on to say parts of it were even just “flat out not correct” and that you should “form your own opinion.”

Bill Denton was asked who he would support for mayor, his reply was Steve Mitchell.

Steve Mitchell was passed the question regarding Oncor and their tax hikes to which he told us the City Council has very limited say and we should contact Gov. Perry on issues such as this.

Gary Slagel was asked about his company’s $5,000 donation to Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and then them coincidentally being shortlisted for a contract in Illinois for which they were later chosen. I must admit I had a hard time focusing on his answer because of all the eye rolling and heavy sighing going on behind him.

By the end of the forum I believe only 3 questions were passed to other candidates and it was eerie how many of the right people got the right questions. Gary drew a question about executive meetings, Jimmy drew one about Agendas, Jennifer pulled one asking how her work experience would help with budgeting, and Amir grabbed one regarding the Israeli Chamber of Commerce.

During the closing Amir boldly stated that he had received help from certain groups and also from certain other groups that hated the first group and he tells them all the exact same things…..hmmm, cryptic.

Over all a very kooky forum, the only way it could of gotten zanier were if we all took tequila shots every time someone said the word ‘transparency.’


  1. "The appeal of this one was that none of the questions were screened, you wrote them, put them in a bowl and they were picked by the candidates to answer at random."

    Destiny, I will have to point out that this really isn't what happened. When I arrived 30 minutes early, the bowl that held all the 3x5 cards with questions was already full with cards - and there were no voters there yet, only the few insiders of a small group of people who are vocally opposed to everything out of City Hall. And only a few questions were added during the course of the forum...most of them coming from the table were the insiders sat.

    So there was no need for screening, because this small group of people - one of whom currently has a lawsuit against the mayor personally over the Charter election - had already written all the questions and approved them. Unfortunately, instead of being open and fair, they showed their clear political bias every time they applauded loudly in unison when one of their accusatory questions was answered in the way they wanted. Since they were all sitting at the same table, it wasn't hard to see.

    Another attendee, who sat in the back of the room near me, currently has a lawsuit against the entire Council over open meetings, even though that was cleared up 2 years ago when 83% of the people voted to change the Charter. No, this was not an unbiased audience.

    The tone of the questions was so negative that it moved Bob Macy to complain about it, and he was right. Quite a number of questions were phrased in such a way that you knew that they were intended to try to embarrass someone rather than elicit information.

    Too bad, because the tone of the questions destroyed any sense of openness or fair play, even for those questions that were legitimate.

    I will say that the all the candidates did fairly well, especially since they weren't told the format in advance and since the air-conditioning wasn't turned on until I asked the facilities person to do it (why did I have to do it? That seems like a strange thing to overlook by the people hosting the event).

    As the final forum of the campaign, it actually ended on a pretty quiet note, as nearly half of the people there were the candidates and their campaign supporters, not independent voters - I had a good view from the back and counted.


  2. Yeah, I did hear that most of the long questions were typed up by Nathan before hand.

    And perhaps the reason there were so few people was because of the time change. I actually learned of it at 2pm.

  3. "And perhaps the reason there were so few people was because of the time change. I actually learned of it at 2pm."

    Yeah, I didn't hear about it until the night of the League of Women Voter's forum a few days before, although I thought that this was because it wasn't organized until quite late.

    As for the attendance, I can't be sure, but I heard (take it for what it's worth) someone say that they were just over at the barbecue or picnic or whatever it was that was being held beforehand, and that "no one was leaving that to come to the forum." Well, a few people did, but I am sure the organizers would have wished for a bigger turnout of people who weren't already committed one way or the other...


  4. I thought it was cozy....cozy like a good ole fashioned extremist militia meeting held in someone's basement. (: