The needler in the haystack.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

For drama, Council's WBLS inquiry trumps LWV Candidate forum

|Freeholder candidates took up first hour of LWV's Wednesday forum.

The testimony of Mayor Robinson-Briggs was at times surprising and riveting.
Wednesday's special Plainfield City Council meeting continuing the probe of the circumstances around payment for a live WBLS broadcast definitely was more dramatic than the candidate forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters at the Plainfield Public Library.

The WBLS inquiry found the mayor dramatically mounting an argument -- the very first time it has been made -- that Plainfield was spiraling out of control under a barrage of gang violence and that she viewed the situation as an emergency justifying the way in which she found money to pay for WBLS' live Town Hall broadcast. I will deal with this lengthy and complicated matter in a separate post (testimony went on 'til nearly midnight, as Olddoc notes).

As for the LWV forum, I am very glad it was held, but it was -- in my humble opinion -- a gauge of the low voter interest in the 2011 races.

The Freeholder candidates (3 Dem, 2 Republican) took up the first half of the evening. Once one subtracted the Democratic claque of County employees and Dem operatives (sizable) and the Republican counterpart of party faithful and friends of the candidates (much less sizable), there were very few who appeared to be curious voters. For a video of the complete Freeholder forum by John Bury of CountyWatchers, see here.

After the Freeholder forum, the session reconvened to hear from Ward 2 candidates Cory Storch (Democratic incumbent) and Bill Michelson (Republican challenger). About a dozen attendees were left in the meeting room from the earlier portion of the evening.

Regrettably, I cannot report on their debate as I had to leave to make the special Council Meeting at City Hall at 8:00 PM. Hopefully some readers will enlighten us through the comments section.

More later.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Anonymous said...

The turnout for the forum sounds like the usual for the past 10-12 years. If you discount the parties that are involved in the campaign, you have a very small handful of interested individuals. I owe this in part to the fact that the LWV no longer publishes a Candidate Information paper as was the practice years ago. As a candidate I can remember having to submit a platform statement that was published and distributed throughout the community. I am guessing that the League can no longer afford to do this, resulting in the lack of interest on the part of voters.

I have counciled candidates that while it is probably not a good idea to skip this forum, not to expect any positive outcome from the time spent there. (Although the year that I ran, my opponent never showed up and he still won the election) Until voters learn to vote for the individual that will represent their interests the best and not by party line, things will never change. It doesn't matter if you are an "R", "D", or "ND", forget the label and vote the person!


Joan Van Pelt said...

As one of the few who did not depart for the fireworks at city hall, I can report that the 2nd Ward forum went forth without incident. Both gentlemen (and they conducted themselves as such) detailed their histories of involvement in the life of Plainfield. Cory went to some lengths to make the point that he is not beholden to anyone in Plainfield, and that he frequently disagrees with other Democrats, the leadership in particular, but makes an effort to seek common ground for the good of Plainfield. Bill reiterated his theme that as a Republican he would bring a truly independent voice to the council and emphasized that since we aren't any better off now after 8 years of having Cory on council, maybe it's time for a change and new blood. The usual topics of taxes, economic development, PMUA and paving South Avenue formed the basis of most of the questions.

We stopped before the time allotted as those of us left in attendance had no further questions to put to the candidates.