Saturday, February 17, 2007

With aplomb

Although videotaping was not permitted, last night's forum of mayoral candidates was memorable for the civility of the participants and the audience, which refrained from applauding (except for sporadic smatterings) until the end.

The candidates were articulate and informed to varying degrees about the topics posed by moderator Darcy Prosser of the League of Women Voters. There were about eight questions, and candidates took turns at having first crack at one. (Where the questions came from wasn't stated. I didn't write down the questions, either, but I'll try to get and post them to the Bytelife blog, along with audio clips of the answers.)

Pictured left to right, Mayor Brad Cole, City Councilwoman Sheila Simon, local social activist Pepper Holder and servant to the community, Jessica Davis, whom I met for the first time after the debate. The other candidates I've known for years, and each held "true to form" in their answers to the questions posed, meaning: Cole = All Business, Simon = Folksy Concern, Holder = Hoary-headed. The new kid on the block, Ms. Davis, is smart and service-oriented. If I were to describe her in one word, it would be . . . "Ringer" because she takes votes from Simon's Law School and the female constituency, and also from Pepper's African-American constituency. She stands for the same issues as they do, and she articulates them more effectively (which is saying something, because Sheila is no slouch in the speech department).

The two leading candidates, Cole and Simon each took a jab at the other: Simon said something about not spending $150,000 "on every building you want" (referring to her disapproval of a controversial purchase by The City), while in another context Cole said something about needing to pay a D.C. lobbyist to help the City acquire federal funds for a new police station, because he didn't "grow up in the halls of Congress." But then Sheila rejoined that now that Democrats are running things in the U.S. Congress, the need for Republican lobbyist has passed.

Overall, I'd give the evening to Brad, but everyone acquitted themselves with aplomb (unlike the old Jimmy Durante joke reprised by local artist Vic DeGraff (7 second .avi).)

The forum will be rebroadcast on WSIU-TV. Not sure when. It's not mentioned on either League of Women Voters or WSIU-TV websites. (links)

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