Monday, August 26, 2013

Dunwoody City Council Elections and Debates

This the week for those of us considering a run for city council to file the paperwork.  As of today it seems as there are at least two people interested for each of the three spots.  That means people will need to evaluate the candidates before making a decision.

I was recently alerted to the idea of small debates based on your district.  By example, District 1 (west side) would have a public event open to District 1 candidates only. In this year's election voters in Dunwoody have one item to vote on, just one.  It will be a ballot with one question - for whom do you want to vote for from your district to be on city council?  Nothing else on the ballot - one question.  So why do we need citywide debates?  Maybe the DHA need not host an event.  If I can't vote for someone in District 2 and 3 why should I bother attending a debate where they are present?

The setting would be more intimate.  The questions would require more detailed answers.  You could really get a good feel for each candidate.  Of course there is no way to keep out attendees from other districts, perhaps showing up to support or sabotage a candidate.

There are no rules or guidelines for these micro candidate sessions.  Nowhere to hide.  District 1 can have Ernie's Barbershop sponsor the first event.  Ernie pays for the venue, and people show up.  A moderator can ask questions and the candidates can answer.  With what seems to be enhanced interest in city politics is it time for small town hall type candidate forums? Do we need one large event?


Bob Lundsten said...

Do both

Bob Fiscella said...

Rick - perhap the DHA can announce, beforehand, the order of the forums/debates for each district. For example, District 1 is at 7:30 ... District 2 is at 8 ... District 3 is at 8:30.
This way any interested voter who has no interest in the other two debates/forums, can show up late and/or leave early.
Personally, I want to hear from ALL the candidates.

Ken Thompson said...

I'm inferring from the post and previous comments that these are not audience participation events. If that is true it is not clear what value a live audience offers. Not saying they should be banned, but if the rules are moderated debate w/o audience participation then I think it should be video taped and posted and question suggestions should be solicited from the public on an open internet forum as one of the sources of debate topics.

If I infer erroneously then I'll channel my inner Emily Litella: "Never Mind".

Kerry said...

Unfortunately these debates are generally attended by supporters from both camps and a very small handful of interested citizens...and I do mean small handful. In my opinion and experience they add very little to the decision making process of the general public. Not saying we shouldn't have them, just that these events do very little to differentiate the candidates. Let's place a vote to adopt and fund the Master Transportation Plan @ "X" $$ per year, and that projects must occur in the order of prioritization within the plan. Then you'd have a turnout! Just the end of the day, if we implement something like this and take it out of the hands of people more concerned about getting reelected Dunwoody will grow and prosper at a much more predictable and peaceful pace.

Anonymous said...


Can you give an example of a successful City that governs the way you envision?
By the way, if most of this council was only concerned about being reelected, I suspect the decisions would be very different, given the amount of outcry.