I attended the Cave Creek candidates debate at Town Hall last night (July 24th.)
Some of the candidates for Town Council I know well and have worked with on Town issues over the 10 years I’ve lived in our marvelous town. Some of the candidates I knew in passing and a couple I had not met before. I felt duty bound to learn more about all the candidates and the issues. Unfortunately, a couple of the candidates were not there and one left before the council candidates finally were able to speak. I must say those who did speak acquitted themselves quite well. That last half of the meeting left me believing we are likely to elect a very competent council.
The first part of the event (the mayoral debate) was a wholly different story. First our Organizer gave us a rundown on how the debate was to be conducted. She gave us a description of how questions had been selected by her group (exactly who?) and then consolidated into a manageable number addressing the most critical issues facing our Town. She was also quite specific about how the questions had been kept secret until the debate. It all sounded fair and well thought out. But then it started.
In short order it became crystal clear that one candidate was well prepared, too well prepared. When one candidate can so organize his or her thoughts so as to exactly answer in exactly the time allotted – I mean to the second – it raises a flag. When the questions are worded in such a way as to clearly address the issues in the way that mimics how a particular candidate has structured his or her signs, public comments, etc one wonders how objectively they were collected. It became painfully obvious that the fix was in. Whispered comments in the audience echoed my thoughts. Then came the coup de grace. Our Organizer had a video to show. Had our Organizer merely left it at that, she might have pulled it off. Instead she editorialized and made her agenda clear, the clip was expressly chosen to embarrass one candidate and glean sympathy for the other.
I had heard enough. I said (perhaps too loudly and forcefully) what I subsequently learned was on many minds. This forum was a set up and a sham. It raises serious questions about one candidate’s ethics, integrity and total lack of common sense. Up until last night, while at times I disagreed with some positions of that candidate, I believed that person had the Town’s best interests at heart. I was wrong and am deeply disappointed.