January 20, 2011

Brief report on the Lakewood city council candidate forum Jan 19, 2011

Update: Please see our Transparency Pledge for Candidates and our Candidate Review

Supposedly there were more than 100 people in attendance last night (not including organizers, staff and other gadflies). I don't know. Barely over 100 maybe. Lots of questions not asked. The questions were being cherry picked for a "mix of softball and hardball" questions and there was a preference for questions that were not multi faceted or hard hitting. The last question was "Who inspires you" I guess they could have also asked what the candidates favorite color was! There were at least 5 people that I heard complaining that their questions were not asked (they all seemed like good pointed questions albeit likely difficult to answer...but that's what we all came for right?)

A number of candidates talked abut experience (as is talked about in national elections) but as it has been said time and time before experience does not often matter as much in these small part time offices. What generally maters more is general "organizational competence" and intelligence, thinking outside the box, being independent and a self starter and not being a sheep and following what the other council members do just because "thats the way it has always been done" Our feeling is that existing council members prefer that candidates serve a long time on the city's commissions (before they run for office) so they can get to know them and see if they will be a "team player" once on the council.

All the candidates were pro-LASD, green initiatives, attracting more business etc. Again this stuff is all easy. Who is against trees? Thanks to LAAG forcing the issue most seemed to be in favor of transparency but talk is cheap on that subject. We see no evidence in the track records of some candidates that they are true promoters of /believers in transparency.  LAAG plans on getting all the candidates to sign or agree to a "transparency pledge" before the election. (this includes Mr. Von Nostran) More on that later. I think the city of Bell debacle taught us that lack of transparency and voter complacency/ignorance is a deadly mix. I think we all know from national elections that even IF you get a pledge in writing the candidates still flip flop and weasel out of their commitments. But its better than vague and aloof statements made at a meeting.

The entire program was taped by the Chamber of Commerce staff and we have an email in to them (and all the candidates) asking that the entire video be placed on the web for all to see at their leisure. City representatives stated that they did not want it posted on the city website as it was a political matter. We are waiting for the Chamber's response. Surely they cant be in need of funds.

Once we get back all the candidates questionnaires we will post them online. We hope to have them soon. We then plan on posting a transparency pledge and once the candidates have had time to support that or not we will then make our recommendations for who should fill the two council seats March 8, 2011.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | www.LAAG.us | Lakewood, CA A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™ click here to receive LAAG posts by email

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