There was a 37th Ward aldermanic candidate forum held this past Saturday. I was anxious to go because I wanted to know who the other people are in the race. I am very serious about who I give my vote to, so I put off some other very important plans just to attend the forum.
The first thing I noted when I walked into Amber Hall is that they only had about 5-6 rows of chairs set up on each side. I felt that was insulting because one should plan for the crowd as opposed to not expecting one. Also you would think after all this time that those giving the debates would know that most candidates bring an entourage. Especially the incumbent. And as could be predicted, they did have to add extra chairs. Poor planning equals a poor debate and that’s just what we got.
The forum was supposed to start at 10 a.m. All four candidates had taken time out of their busy electioneering cycle to get to the event on time. But the organizations that sponsored the event didn’t respect the candidates’ time nor the time of the people in the audience. By 10:25 they had finished the setup, the delay caused by the man who was filming everything for CAN-TV. Then with less than an hour left to hear from the people who want to represent the 37th Ward for the next four years, precious moments were used introducing the young people on the panel. Trust me, I love seeing young people getting involved. At the same time, those young people got to see how inept older folks are in getting things done right. I felt the forum was more for the CAN-TV audience than it was for the people in the community.
Finally with less than an hour to hear from four candidates, the forum got started. Remember, if each candidate gets two minutes to respond and the question asked might take a minute, that’s literally ten minutes/six questions.
As usual, because Black folks are never allowed to just ask a question directly, we had to put our concerns on the card. The panel posed their own questions, but the audience questions were pretty much overlooked. Personally, I wanted to have my question about the rat situation addressed. We are being overrun with them.
I learned at the forum that there was a mayoral forum that same day. So I rushed over to the Kehrein Center. That event started on time. The Big Three — Lightfoot, Wilson, Chuy — didn’t come. And paid provocateur Ja’mal Green did his best to undermine Brandon Johnson at every opportunity. Just like with the prior forum, community questions were deemed of no interest as the panel instead asked their questions. And when an audience member’s question was finally asked, the moderator was so inept, she could not even phrase it properly.
So to all the community groups that want to host forums, remember this: Many of the questions you guys came up with have been answered before. Do not use forum time to get on TV or to promote your sorority.
Let the community ask their questions the same way these candidates come to the community asking for our vote!