EDITORíS DESK: Proof of equal opportunity
The next time I hear somebody say they're not knowledgeable enough to run for office, I will direct them to the video of last week's Westside candidate forum. It
ought to stand forever as testimony that in America opportunity exists for everyone.
Are you good at platitudes? Here's one you could try in front of a mirror: "I am for what's good for the entire city." That was actually said at the forum by a candidate whose name I won't reveal. (I'm looking to make a point here, not permanent enemies.) But while we're at it, here's another one: "I'll ask the tough questions." You mean like "What is it we're talking about?" The heart of it is, if you haven't really dug into what's going on and figured out where you stand and why, how will you know which of your questions are challenging and which ones are just leading into a trap for some clever politico's agenda?
Another phenomenon I noticed at the forum was a kind of me-tooism. You'd think that someone devoting the time and money to be a candidate for office would want his or her views to stand out as unique, clear and defensible. As an example, I remember Bob Isaac, when he was mayor. No matter what the subject was at a City Council meeting, you could lay odds that Isaac had prepared himself on it as well or better than the paid staff. And that was when mayors worked for free, not the $96,000 that the new charter ensures our "strong mayor" will earn.
One mayoral candidate actually announced at last week's forum that he would take less than that amount, by the way. What's that supposed to mean, that we should vote for him because he comes with a discount?
That's not to say there aren't some candidates who seem to have done their homework. That's where these forums and our question/answer articles can be useful. But for now at least, don't look here for recommendations. My only "tip" is to be wary of those offering simple solutions. If you're anything like me, you hang up on telemarketers who come on that way, so why should you believe it in some clueless candidate?