I was pleased to hear Sam Yoon propose debates. I saw him at the Mass, Inc. forum on why people don't get involved in politics and suggested that we have a series of monthly debates, that we could start by having one in late April before signature gathering is required, since citizens can only sign for one candidate they need to make a choice.
Sam and his campaign manager both agreed that is sounded like a good idea, that we could invite Michael Flaherty, and if the Mayor decided not to participate we could have a cardboard cut out of him on stage not participating. Because as we have heard from the Mayor he is too busy to participate in debates. He can open burrito stands but not discuss the future of the city in public. He comes to everything in the city, except a debate!
I spoke to Michael Flaherty's campaign spokesman last week and talked about the idea for the three 'announced' candidates to have a debates about the issues of the day. He initially flat out rejected the idea, but said he would bring it up with Michael and if interested they would get back to Sam and I in a week. He did say that their basic premise is that Michael will not debate unless the Mayor is there.
I have spoken to one Globe editorial writer who tells me that the people should demand debates. I'm not quite sure how the 'people' do that. If I was the Globe or Herald, or Mass, Inc. and wanted to be relevant and push political discourse I would invite the candidates to the Copley library for a debate. Perhaps I am wrong, but my feeling is that the citizens would be interested in hearing what the candidates had to say, and would appreciate the news source that brought them that information. I believe in a strong press, and I hope that they try and make themselves relevant so people will want to buy their wares.
Perhaps even more importantly, if I was a member or a head of a neighborhood group that had some major issues in front of it for example development in Fort Point Channel, Charlestown, Allston or Brighton, Roxbury or I would invite the candidates for a debate or forum and get them to commit to where they stand on different projects that affect the community. People should take advantage of this election cycle to better their neighborhoods and get solid commitments from their elected officials.
If we don't hold our elected officials accountable we have no one to blame but ourselves if we don't get satisfaction later on.