Last night I took pretty detailed notes on the last debate for Mayor. I know it's probably too late for this sort of thing, but I wanted one more post to add my commentary.
Some Comments on the Debate Overall
First of all, I can't say it enough how frustrated I am with the lack of technological investment on the website that offers these debates streaming. Very few people watch these debates in real-time. I pay fairly close attention to these things, but I had no idea when they were coming and was likely too busy to watch them exactly when they aired. The news coverage for this race has been sparse. Debates are the best way to get informed.
I really wanted to watch this debate earlier. But it took approximately two hours for it to buffer and it's not something you can easily stop and restart. My life is too chaotic to conform to this kind of nonsense.
With that said, I was also frustrated with how slow it took to really get into the crux of the debate. I think the first question was almost 10 minutes into it. I sat through a bit of that, but I was basically not interested in any of what happened in those first ten minutes. Let's dispense with the procedure and get on with it. At the very least, don't televise it.
General Commentary on the Debate
Regarding the proposition, Mitchell was the only person to oppose it. The proposition basically calls for ending the city elections and dispelling with the runoff if only six candidates run for three open positions (two per slot). I'm voting a resounding no. I learned a lot about the issues the last two months. This was invaluable for me and money well-spent. We need more time not less. If we want to shorten the process, then we need to spend more money in less time to get awareness out there. This is a Democracy. You can't short-change it.
Overall, I didn't see much separation on the issues between the candidates. Kolby Granville took more time explaining what the issues mean than the rest of the candidates. I also loved Granville's answer on what to do with Papago Park. This park can be and should be our Central Park. We need to think of ways to draw more people into it. I'm not sure how to do it and nobody really answered it. But I've often thought this, Granville expressed it. Foreman's answer was a bit small bore for me - too much broken glass.
I loved Granville's basic view of placing priorities especially when times are tough. His priority is on neighborhoods. We made bad decision in terms of code enforcement and library hours and park and pool closures. I agree. I also loved Foreman's answer that he believes in investment. Foreman supports building a pool in Tempe Town Lake, something I also support. Foreman and everyone but basically Granville supported city funding for neighborhood gardens. This is also something I support. However, I understand Granville's point that we just don't have the money and we need to prioritize other issues first.
Summing It Up
I think Granville showed the most passion, energy, and charisma. He really knows the issues and this comes because of his activism and volunteerism. He's been to every city council meeting in the past ten years, attends neighborhood association meetings and is incredibly engaged. Foreman has the most experience by far and is also the oldest of the group.
I'm sorry, but I think the two mayor candidates were the weakest of the four. Not too surprising, both got what they got largely on the shoulders of famous fathers. Mitchell seems to have a better grasp of the issues, but his answers were concise and didn't show enough vision. Monti showed vision, but he seemed sporadic and slightly sloppy in his thinking.
Monti has also been the most negative in this campaign. I think for the most part, his negative attacks have had an important role and has been illuminating. I think there is a place for it as long as it doesn't go too over the top. He questioned Mitchell's trips to conferences around the nation on tax payer expense and Mitchell's prison record (he was questioned but not arrested in his 20's for some small bore issue in a bar). I want to get to know these candidates I don't have a problem with these kinds of things.
I wish I could vote for both Granville and Foreman of the four, but I can't.
My vote will be Mitchell, Granville and No on the proposition. Happy voting.