The Jamaica Hills Association has invited the Mayoral candidates to their monthly meeting on May 13th. They have asked that each of us speak for 10 minutes and then take 5 minutes worth of questions. It will not be a true "debate" with give and take, but it could get all the candidates into the room at the same time.
They have put forth a caveat: they will only go forward if at least 3 of the candidates accept their offer. Of course I will accept their offer, I would bet that Sam Yoon will, but will Michael Flaherty? Will Mayor Menino come out and actually take questions from the public so early in the election season?
Interestingly May 12th is the last day that someone can sign up for the Mayoral Election, so the Mayor will either be in or out on that date.
If people are concerned about their neighborhoods, the schools, public safety, etc. they need to start demanding debates and answers from their candidates and elected officials. I encourage all neighborhood associations to invite the candidates to come and speak and answer questions about where they stand on the issues, how they would deal with the BRA, institutional expansion, taxes, lowering health care and pension costs, etc. It is the time that the citizens have to hold their elected officials responsible. If they won't show up to answer questions, the public can judge whether they deserve your vote.
The last time there was a real Mayoral race in 1983 there were approximately 70 Mayoral forums around the City and there was a 70 percent turnout in the election as reported by the Phoenix.
Wouldn't it be great for this city to get a similar airing of the issues?