The local League of Women Voters prematurely advised the press that, with the exception of Commissioner of Public Works Skip Scirocco and county Supervisor Matt Veitch, none of the other Republican endorsed candidates would be participating in their forum.
I say “prematurely” because all of the Republican candidates have notified the League that they plan to participate.
The candidates had missed the League’s deadline for responding, but the League had still encouraged them to participate which they have agreed to do.
Saratoga Today will also be sponsoring a candidate forum. Their deadline for the candidates to respond was September 15. While all Republican and independent candidates have responded, the Democratic candidates have yet to agree to participate. A person in a leadership role on the Democratic Committee assured me that they will attend, but so far nothing has been confirmed. We will have to wait and see if all or any of them participate.
All of the Republican and independent candidates have agreed to participate in both forums.
The followers of this blog know that I have been highly critical of the League. For me, in the past few years, it has squandered its traditional and well earned reputation for scrupulously fair dealings and being above partisanship.
Curiously, in the past when the majority of League members were Republicans, Republican candidates frequently did not participate in League events whereas the Democrats consistently showed up.
The old League would do everything it could to avoid a hint of partisanship. That League would never have gone to the press because they were sensitive that it would be used to embarrass one party and make it that much harder to work with them. Their decision this year to publicize the fact that the Republicans had failed to meet their deadline would never have happened in the past. It also explains the Republicans’ current reticence regarding participation.
The Times Union was happy to write a story alleging that the Republicans would not be participating in the League’s forum. It will be interesting to see whether they now publish a story that the Republicans will in fact be participating, but the Democrats have yet to agree to the Saratoga Today forum.
Prior to the decision by the Republicans to participate, I asked Robin Dalton, who is running as an independent, if she planned to attend the League event. She responded:
My feeling is every debate is an opportunity to tell the voters what I stand for. I don’t care who’s moderating.Robin Dalton
It is important to note that Democratic candidates Ron Kim (Mayor), Minita Sanghvi (Finance), James Montagnino (Public Safety), and Dillon Moran (Accounts) have also ignored requests from myself and from The Real One Saratoga to address specific policy issues whereas all of the Republican candidates and most of the independents have responded to both requests. The Democrats, with the exception of their Public Works candidate, passed up the opportunity to write unedited answers to questions about important and substantive local issues. In my case it was on the UDO. The Real One Saratoga asked questions on a variety of issues facing the city including development, policing, and taxes. They are publishing the unedited responses of the candidates who replied on their website and Facebook page.
[An explanation regarding the “Real One Saratoga” name and site. This bi-partisan group of individuals had originally planned to name their site “One Saratoga” but Dillon Moran (candidate for Commissioner of Accounts) learning of their plans created another One Saratoga site. His site incorporates unpleasant attacks on this group.]
It is apparent that these four Democrats prefer to limit their social media presence to only those sites that they feel are clearly friendly to them.
I will be posting a link to Real One Saratoga and giving a brief history in a later post. They are asking thoughtful questions to the candidates about substantive issues.
All this runs against the stereotypical myths about Republicans and Democrats.
It is the current slate of Republicans who are willing to engage about issues wherever the opportunity arises.
I would note that I do not agree with some of the positions taken by some of the Republican candidates, but I applaud their willingness to go on the record.