I've been going to a bunch of candidate forums, some as a participant, and others as an observer.  The formats differ slightly, but for the most part, candidates are allowed a set number of minutes to give their "stump speech," and then they take questions, either prepared questions from committee  members, or spontaneous questions from members of the audience.

I just finished reading VSmoothe's comments on the subject in her blog, A Better Oakland. I highly recommend this blog, for factual information, interesting perspectives and just flat-out entertainment.  Anyway, on the subject of candidate questions at forums, VSmoothe says, "I just don’t really think the goal of a debate should be to find out who is the best off the cuff speaker. Of course, it’s possible I just think that because I am terrible at answering any question without having plenty of time to think about it, and tend to sound like a babbling idiot when people ask me things."

I have the same issue.  In fact, I would go a little further than VSmoothe, and say that the audience shouldn't want to have elected officials who can offer opinions and make decisions on the spur of the moment.  Certainly, I belong to that group of people who like to consider a question, and get input from stakeholders and other interested parties, before putting forth a response.  I also value that quality in my elected officials. 

Incidentally, you can sign up to receive notification when there is a new post up at A Better Oakland.  Just search online for " A Better Oakland," and voila!

Other:  I went to a Mayoral Forum this week, sponsored by a nearby Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council (NCPC). Nine of the candidates were present:  Quan; Kaplan; Hodge; Young; Candell; Mcleay; Tuman; Harland; Fields.   Always interesting to see how candidates treat their 5 or 6 minutes.  I was fascinated to see the OPD officers lined up at the back of the church where the forum was held.  I thought for some reason they were expecting trouble, but after Rebecca Kaplan presented (part of her speech was to assure the audience, and I guess OPD, that she had voted against the police layoffs), the police tromped out of the room.  Their steps made enough noise that Marcie Hodge's opening comments got drowned out.

I also got word this week that I am being endorsed by Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, which was encouraging.  I am now endorsed by Supervisor Miley; Union City Vice Mayor Richard Valle; the Green Party; and former AC Transit Directors Dolores Jaquez and Joe Bischofberger.  I'm awaiting word on a couple of other endorsements.  In the meantime, I continue my grassroots campaign strategy.  More news as it comes...



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