Last night's nine-candidate debate at 1800 Oakdale was exciting!
Nine candidates were selected from those who'd returned a questionnaire to the Young Democrats who hosted. Candidates were selected by committee vote, which didn't sit well with some candidates not invited.
The format of the debates led to some fireworks. The questions were not always easy, either. The first round saw one question go to three candidates, then another question to the next three, and so on until everyone had answered two questions.
This was followed by a lightening round, in which candidates had ten seconds to name a city supervisor-passed law from the past year that they would not have voted for. This showed us who'd been paying attention to the workings of city hall, and who'd simply been out campaigning. Enea, Jackson, Bowers, Smith, Kelly, and Moss all came up with a city-passed law they disagreed with and answered the question. Sweet and Lacy tried to get around the question by mentioning state laws they disagreed with, but weren't let off the hook by the moderator, and came up empty in the end. The rest said they liked all the laws passed this year, and wouldn't have voted against any of them.
Some candidates were prepared with specific examples of what they'd done already and had specific plans of what they'd do as our Supe, while others stumbled to fill their 60 second answer with anything substantive. Some awkwardness ensued in the second part of the debate where one candidate had to ask another something. For instance, Enea asked Cohen a reasonable Hunters Point policy question, and got nothing more than a, "As Supervisor, I'll continue your PAC work," answer.
In another exchange, Smith asked Kelly how Kelly felt that he, as a white man, was qualified to represent D10. This was one of the few times that the crowd reacted negatively to a question. With a very even racial mix throughout D10, something Steve Moss pointed out in answering one of his later questions, no one candidate is ever going to racially match 3/4 of the people they represent.
Some candidates - Bowers and Lacy among them, suggested opening up the port as a way to stimulate out local economy immediately. Moss suggested funding replacement of old refrigerators in 30000 if the city's rental units as a way to create jobs. Enea suggested bringing police and community members together to get to know one another, especially with the number of new officers we have on our streets.
These are just a few of the things that come to mind in recalling last night. I think the winners of the night know who they are, and those who performed badly, for whatever reason, need to prepare better, figure out some answers to the tough questions, or else get out of the race. Some candidates showed their abilities to work alongside others, while others clearly showed they weren't ready for primetime and were running on name-recognition alone.
One of the candidates not invited made her presence known by disrupting an otherwise polite debate. Not the way to endear oneself to the crowd, I'm afraid. With 20+ candidates, it simply would have been impossible to have had them all up there.
I think the next event is at Velma's on August 24th. Velma's - one of D10's great night spots.
This was a great and tough debate, and I strongly encourage participation in future events to get to know the candidate who speaks to you. If anyone else out there has thoughts on last night's meeting, please add your thoughts or even give a different perspective to what I've recalled.
The best way to get a full sense of these meetings is to come and listen for yourself!!