I decided to dig a little deeper into why the incumbents were no-shows at the Civic Forum this past Monday night. This is my way of striving have a fair and independent blog, so here are both sides of the coin. I corresponded with the forum organizers first. Here’s what they had to say:
“The moderator at the Civic Forum was completely impartial, has no party affiliation. Doesn’t vote in Long Beach and is the president of the Point Lookout Civic Association. None of the Civics have officially endorsed any candidate…. so it was absolutely non-partisan.”
“They [Incumbents] knew everything in a timely manner and if they had issue with any part of it, they never made it known. My guess is there were only two issues they could have with it: 1) was because Runnie [write-in candidate] was added and 2) because of [live] steaming.”
Scott Mandel, on the other hand, assured me that his absence had nothing to do with either of those issues. He was more concerned how some forum organizers were donors for his opponents campaigns. To him, it didn’t seem like a fair situation being how these are the people selecting the questions and making the moderation rules. He also said one of the rules regarding the moderation was changed last minute.
When faced with the question of his absence at Tuesday’s council meeting, Scott said he wasn’t able to clarify his reason because it wasn’t appropriate for him to speak about his political campaign during a City Council meeting. He said he needs to keep his campaign separate from city issues. Scott is an attorney, so I am assuming there are legal issues to consider that he would know about.
The incumbents sent the following statement to both the LB Herald and Dina Fiore at about 6:00pm prior to the forum from their campaign spokesman:
HelloI am the spokesman for Scott Mandel and Chumi Diamond. Below is a statement from them regarding tonight’s forum.“The most recent changes to the format of the Joint Civic Association Candidates Forum, including the rules, process and the restriction of speech, which we were notified of late yesterday, are disheartening. It is with regret that we are no longer able to attend this forum.We are looking forward to the League of Women Voters’ Forum on October 30th at the Long Beach Public Library and encourage residents to attend.”Sagar Mehta
One of the forum organizers told me the incumbents never responded to multiple requests about the live streaming. Another organizer said, “Every candidate was called & spoken to and given the same opportunity to voice their opinion, thoughts, comments or concerns. I think the forum was fair and honest and very successful in the end, their loss and their lost votes.”
With that, I’m done with this story. What we have here is a battle of words.I do wish Scott Mandel and Chumi Diamond showed up. They could have voiced their issues before the forum started. But I will say this, if you are involved with a public political forum, you should disclose whatever political connections you have [that’s including me with this blog!]. I cannot wait for the October 30th league of Woman Voters Forum. I really hope they stream it live. How can we make that happen?
MY DISCLOSURE: I haven’t contributed to any candidate. I have no lawn signs in front of my house. I am friends with Allison and Joey. I would say I am acquaintances with John and Leah. Also, in case you are wondering, Scott never once asked me to take down my post.