Thursday, September 3, 2009

Candidate Forum

At last night's candidate forum, 11 of us were asked various questions that were decided by the groups that sponsored the event; the Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Realtors and the Home Builders of Great Falls. Here and here are the articles from the Tribune.

The commissioner candidates received slightly different questions than those of us running for mayor.

When we were first told about this forum, we were told we would receive a copy of the questions a few weeks in advance in order to prepare. They decided not to do that so the first time any of us had any idea of what was going to be asked was 1 hour before the forum.

It did not come as a surprise to me that no question dealt with the pressing issues facing Great Falls; ECP, SME/HGS, Budget, Animal Shelter, Safety Levy, etc. We all know that the incumbents, Bronson and Rosenbaum, do not have worthy track records concerning these issues. Why would organizations they belong to set them up for failure at a forum?

Unfortunately, the questions that were asked gave little to no opportunity for us to hammer home why we are running for our respective positions. I question how many in the audience had ever heard of TIF (Tax Increment Financing) and Impact Fees, much less how these things work? Both of these are complicated topics that can't be addressed on the spur of the moment and with only a minute to speak.

When a question from the audience was asked about funding for the police and fire departments, I was able to get in a comment about ECP being subsizded by the general fund.

Many thanks to all of you who came up afterwards and thanked me for running and agreed with my platform of OTAG; Open, Transparent, Accountable Government.


Anonymous said...

Sandra, the event was 'rigged' for the incumbents by builders, chamber and GFDA boosters and certainly AVOIDED the controversial subjects the current regime has led us into. In any event, you all showed the courage to attend, speak out and it was a good opportunity to reflect and improve upon.

Anonymous said...

I say we have a citizens forum and invite the candidates, bet they will not show up because the hard questions will be answered.

Anonymous said...

It was what it was. I am surprised that they asked Gary Mosemen OF THE Trib to be the moderator. But they had to ask him to give it some feeble look of a real "forum." I was amused by Bronson's answer about impact fees. He said if GF enacted them he would follow state law. He can't even follow city law ala ECP. Most people don't know that he is a commissioner for the next 2 years. If elected Mayor then 4 people will chose a commissioner to fill his spot. lORD HELP US THAT IS HOW WE GOT ROSENBAUM.

Vote For Guynn.

Anonymous said...

The event was not "Rigged" but it was designed for the members of the "Home Builders", "Realtors" and "Chamber". The intent was a forum for their members to judge the candidates on the issues those organizations care about.

Although the Public was invited, it was never intended to be a broad based forum.

If you think about it, this should not come as a surprise to anyone.

If a forum is sponsored by an environmental group candidates should expect questions about the environment.

If the sponsor is the medical community the questions will likely be on health care.

If the sponsor Is the ACLU the questions will be about equality of citizens and civil liberties.

If Neighborhood Council 4 hosts the event the questions will be those of concern to Neighborhood council 4.

Why are those examples accepted and deemed appropriate, but when business groups plan a forum and ask questions of importance to them it is suddenly not only wrong, but some sort of conspiracy to support the incumbents?

Comments and complaints like those being lodged against the forum do not enhance the credibility of the challengers. They only serve to point out the inexperience of those candidates.

I would also point out that some of the challengers responded quite well and answered the questions much better than the incumbents.

The forum served the purpose of the organizers as intended, but it seems you had an incorrect set of expectations.

Ed McKnight said...

My expectations were exceeded because last time the public was NOT invited, the topics were limited to impact fees, affordable housing and we were limited to one five minute speech. I expected the same, so from that perspective, this time around was a big improvement.

I spoke to several people both before and after the event who were not affiliated with the groups.

The insiders may have their "boys", but the exposure was beneficial to those who took advantage and did well.

Anonymous said...

Again. you can remove my post. But based on your performance at the forum, I believe you would be a poor choice for mayor.

Ed McKnight said...

Bill Bronson Quote nine months after I spoon fed him how ECP was deceiving the public -

"I never promised to ask any questions".

Does the oath of office or the code of ethics give permission to remain silent and do nothing while fraud is perpetrated on the public?

Bill Bronson lacks the most important quality for mayor INTEGRITY.

Bill Bronson has made the best argument for why he should NOT vote for him -

Because we have nothing to gain.

Bill is already on the commission and there is nothing "special" (according to Bill) about the mayor except ceremonial duties.

If Bronson wins we will have an appointed commissioner instead of an elected commissioner.

If you want to make an argument as to why Sandra would not be the best choice provide an example. "Based on your performance" is shallow rhetoric at best.

I gave an example of why Bronson should not be mayor at all - lack of integrity.

Care to rebut?

What is your example?