Two points: Lovely Warren should debate Alex White, and equating public debate between candidates with private editorial endorsement processes is ridiculous.
That Warren is heavily favored to win is no excuse for ducking debates. She was heavily favored to lose the primary and we saw what happened. Moreover, who is favored to win has nothing to do with it. Ms. Warren has a moral obligation. Forums which took place during the primary do not excuse her from such scrutiny in the general. A debate between Alex and Lovely would be good for them both, and for the city. I hope Lovely will reconsider, and honor the desire for a more inclusive civic life here, which helped drive her own primary victory. I would qualify this by pointing out that the format, the rules, the questioners, and other such matters, are legitimate topics for negotiation and clarity between campaigns and debate sponsors. Advance attention has not always been given such matters in the past, and fair play has been diminished.
I take strong exception to Christine's assertion that failure to seek editorial endorsement of a publication is similar to ducking public debate. This community suffers from power being too closely held by manifestly unserious people. This was vividly on display last summer, when an unconsciously humorous sense of entitlement was expressed by one of our local Press Lords. City publisher Towler attempted to smear Lovely Warren as implying she had this newspaper's endorsement when she did not. I am not a supporter of Warren, but Warren did no such thing. Warren accurately quoted flattering things City newspaper, which endorsed Mayor Richards, had said about her. Towler's response was to grumpily suggest she would never say anything favorable again about a candidate she didn't endorse. This is a very revealing insight into Towler's thinking, and ought to establish her as exactly the sort of Rochester "opinion leader" we all should pay less attention to.
To go hat in hand to Ms. Towler, Mr. Lawrence, or any other self serving and self selected arbiter of the "public interest," to privately plead for their support, is NOT the same thing as a lengthy and uncensored public debate between candidates.
These "endorsement processes" are particularly demeaning to candidates, and their supporters, who observe a lack of open mindedness, or even simple honesty, by the stewards of such media outlets. It is lunacy to expect such candidates to legitimize such media outlets, or the temporary stewards of such outlets, particularly in this era of more partisan media, and declining standards of media conduct. A journalistic institution that conducts itself ethically will usually command the trust, respect, and cooperation extended a mediating institution in a community. Institutions that do not conduct themselves reasonably -- and City and the D&C certainly do not -- will find candidates, community leaders, and the public in general stepping around them, and it is long overdue here.
So Ken took the signs down and apologized? Wimp. No wonder he lost. I had a similar experience in my first school board race in Hilton. I took the signs down, apologized, and blamed John Abbott.
A decade ago I called for a return to nonpartisan board elections, a far better governance reform than mayoral control. A return to neighborhood schools has also long been warranted. Having spent several years (to no avail) howling at the moon in support of these ideas, it is nice to see them taken up again. Thanks to Van for raising them, and to City newspaper for drawing attention to them.
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