Last night's so-called Candidate Debate of aldermen and school committee candidates was an unprofessional display of the local League, starting with the fact that they couldn't find (by their own admission) an appropriately unbiased and competent team to run it. They brought in a local attorney, supposedly unbiased because while he practices in Melrose, he lives in Saugus (not a good rationale, meaning no disrespect to the guy, who seemed reasonable enough).
The woman running it was a former (?) head of the Planning Board (hardly unbiased, at least in appearances). She couldn't seem to manage her cell phone, and didn't have the common sense to promptly get up to leave the room when her alarm went off continuously during an answer by Dr. J.D. LaRock (nor did she allow him to repeat his reply without the alarm going off the whole time). (Dr. LaRock had the dignity and intelligence to convey his message effectively nonetheless, but it was an undignified way for the proceedings to have been mismanaged).
The format was a joke. No opening or closing remarks were allowed, and the answers were limited to a minute (2?), ridiculously constraining the answers to only the most superficial soundbytes. The questions were crafted by the local League "steering committee" (anyone who knows how they've conducted themselves in prior election year "candidate debates" knows they are anything but unbiased), with "some questions" sent in by the public (and of course screened by the "unbiased" screening committee). As for whether this was a debate, clearly it was not. There was no back-and-forth or rebuttals. This was a sham, right there on the same scale as the so-called "forum" the night before at the middle school, with the mayor and his hired hands stumping their political speeches on school property, using city employees and resources about a ballot measure and not allowing the other side of the political issue to present or be represented (how could that even have been legal???).
This kind of heavily manipulated political process is shameful and needs to be corrected if Melrose ever hopes to pull itself out of the mire it has allowed to degrade the community. How many more kinds of investigations, fines/penalties, Boston Globe articles, findings of major violations will it take for citizens to demand corrective action of/by its elected officials and governing bodies?
It was an embarrassing production, if you will. The candidates for the most part did the best they could under the miserable circumstances, but the citizens did not get the proper chance to see what they really represent. The local League is really an embarrassment and they should not be allowed to run any more of these election events (ever!). It's a mystery why the state League allows this bunch of women to have commandeered such an important function and mismanaged it so egregiously over so many years.
I suspect that what "The Resident" is really upset about is that their candidates did poorly. The LWV and the moderator
did an excellent job giving all the candidates the opportunity to express their views on a variety of issues
How much more time do you want ? It ran over two hours.
Why do you "suspect" that what the resident wrote was "really" about his or her candidates doing poorly? The resident listed several actual problems with the debate format and execution, so why assume something that wasn't referenced at all?
What station/time is the LWV Forum being broadcast?
Nope, VVoice, you got it wrong. Was actually talking about the event itself. Our choice of candidates (all anti-Override, across both aisles) did just fine and presented themselves quite well despite the messy and amateurish production. The reason it was over two hours long is that it combined several races into one so-called debate (which it wasn't). In the past each race had its own event, opening and closing statements were allowed and a more sensible time for responses. Trying to combine it this way made it unwieldy and only emphasized the Amateur Hour aspects of it all. It was run by that awful local attorney who struts around for the League of W Vultures and who uses these election events to be a pretend big shot and push everyone around. Maybe you think this latest one was well-run because you've only seen these hackneyed things for so many years by comparison. Here's a thought: Melrose could have a professionally organized actual debate amongst candidates sometime, like the one Ms. Wright produced (at her own personal expense) for the SC candidates a few years ago in which an excellent Boston Globe journalist moderated, thoughtful questions were asked, and there was plenty of time and a good venue in the middle school auditorium (thank you Ms. W!).