(E) None of the Above

Actually, that’s not a wholly accurate title. What I would opt for after watching tonight’s 7-way Mayoral Debate on channel 10 would be (F) Neither of the two likely winners.

In what was nearly a model debate (attention George Stephanopoulos),  the seven candidates for Sacramento Mayor faced off over questions evenly divided between general issues of concern and their particular areas of strength – and, more interestingly, weaknesses.  Enough questions were directed at Kevin Johnson and Heather Fargo to clearly indicate who the serious candidates were and were not – though I give them credit for at least inviting all candidates.

What struck me most: the average candidates – the five whose names you likely don’t currently know and never will – offered more concrete ideas (not all winners) than either of the marquis candidates could muster.  Perhaps this is because they weren’t viable to begin with, thus, they enjoyed the freedom to say whatever they wanted and actually create a record.

Kevin Johnson managed to speak without saying anything for much of the time.  And he relied on his already disproven facts about local crime without getting called out for doing so.  I’m not sure what the professional analysis will say tomorrow, but I think he gave the weakest performance. (No, I’m not necessarily on Team Fargo yet, I’m just callin’ it like I see it.)

Fargo, for her part, certainly sounded like a policy wonk, using acronyms and political shorthand that’s likely unfamiliar to most voters (then again, maybe not to the people most likely to be watching a local mayoral debate).  She sounded like she knew what was going on – for better or worse.

But the rest of the field did a good job representing the rest of us: calling out Johnson and Fargo for their very real personal and professional failings and their rhetoric.  It was an awesome display of honesty and a breath of really fresh air in this already tired political season (nationally speaking).  There were some nutty moments, but I’m glad they were there.

Did you watch?

4 Comments so far

  1. sac92 on May 8th, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

    I watched and I was unimpressed.

    The mediator (is that what they are called?) could have done without the silly jokes. They felt forced, not funny and at times uncomfortable. At one point he tells Sharon Ito (fellow News10 anchor) to keep her question short because we all know how she likes to go on. He came off a bit as unprofessional.

    Towards the end, he asks a candidate (who appeared to have just woken up btw, elderly man, I forget his name) if he is still in the race (this was after the other guy quit his campaign). Why the heck would you do that? I watched and shook my head at both.

    Other than Fargo and Johnson, it felt like the other candidates were there just because it required almost no effort to join the race.

    Kevin should stop saying "in terms of.." in every other sentence. Get your point across in as few words as possible, and do it eloquently! You want to be a leader, please speak like one. He sounded like a teenager at times.

    Heather was the only one up there that seemed ready. Well I guess, since she already holds the job. I am a Kevin supporter but Heather outdid him IMHO.

    The answers to "what city would you most like to see Sacramento resemble" were interesting. Kevin’s response on Phoenix was not serious. We get it, you played ball there. The most interesting answer was from the guy that ended up withdrawing from the race. He mentioned San Francisco because of their public system and how the residents take advantage of it. The others that said Portland (why? because of all those studies that showed Portland as a model city with a revitalized downtown?) took the easy way out.

    Oh and Muriel Strand, the one that suggested a local ordinance to let people raise chickens and have the roam Sacramento is out of her mind. Isn’t that the small cow town image we are trying to shake?

    After seeing all of them up there, f*ck it! Keep Heather Fargo.

  2. Radio Matthew (radiomatthew) on May 12th, 2008 @ 5:01 am

    Sadly, I did not watch. None of the Mayoral candidates have really "Wow"ed me yet. All seem to be focusing on the personal skeletons of the other party; rarely have I heard anyone coming down on the issues. Though I guess a debate would’ve been the place to hear that now, huh?

  3. Radio Matthew (radiomatthew) on May 12th, 2008 @ 5:01 am

    By the way, Sac92 is thinking of "moderator" not "mediator"

  4. Ursula (sac_ursula) on May 12th, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

    My neighbors have chickens. Should they have permission? Hmmm. And we’re right near Florin Road in the Pocket.

    I’m glad Muriel wore a flowery dress. It helped with the gender question. (Someone had to say it!)

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