Gone To A Political Debate

"Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?"
Robert Orben

Tonight after work, I went to the University of San Francisco to watch the first debate between the candidates for mayor of San Francisco.  This was in a forum format.  Modeled on the 2008 Presidential Candidate Forum on Service, this event let the candidates answer questions about “the future of service and engaged citizenship.”

I got to the debate fairly early ,and the room was pretty empty.

There were six sections to this forum:
  • -Welcome and Introduction
  • -Ground Rules
  • -Candidate Introductions
  • -Candidate Opening Statements
  • -Panel Questions
  • -Candidate Closing Remarks

There were nine candidates (from right to left):
  • -Michela Alioto-Pier, former San Francisco County Supervisor
  • -John Avalos, San Francisco County Supervisor
  • -David Chiu, President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors
  • -Bevan Dufty, former San Francisco County Supervisor
  • -Tony Hall, former San Francisco County Supervisor
  • -Dennis Herrera, San Francisco City Attorney
  • -Joanna Rees, entrepreneur
  • -Phil Ting, San Francisco County Assessor
  • -Leland Yee, California State Senator

The nine candidates played nicely tonight, and it was nice to hear about each of their backgrounds.  The common thread between all the candidates was that they all love this city, and they all have backgrounds in serving this city.

The general consensus is that the city doesn’t have enough money to cover all of the problems that exist and it’s going to have to rely on the citizens to cover what public programs cannot.

The bulk of the event came from the panel questions.  What I enjoyed was that the questions were asked by students from San Francisco high schools as well as from USF.

I left with a great impression of the forum.  Because there are so many candidates, not all the questions were answered by all of them.  Regardless, I felt like I got a good feeling about each of them.  We’ll see how my view of them changes as the November election approaches.

Here are the closing statements at the end of the event.

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