Incumbents’ Refusal To Participate In Public Forum Reveals The Weak State Of Our Democracy

Only five days to election. I’ve been enjoying going door to door talking with voters. I’m trying to talk with citizens who voted in the last “off year” election, in 2007. About 15,000 of Kettering’s 40,000 voters went to the polls in 2007. Everyone I’ve spoken with has been very nice and seems to appreciate the fact that a candidate for office is at their doorstep. Kettering is a great community.

I’m distributing a new flyer. Probably the most significant news on the flyer is in a boxed article with the headline “Community Meeting Canceled.” The content says, “School Board Candidate Forum Scheduled for October 29, Sponsored By Ketttering Kiwanis Club is CANCELED Because the Three Board Members Seeking Re-election Refused To Participate. See DDN Article.

I’m surprised that the incumbents would cancel out on the Kettering Kiwanis Club — and cancel out on the public. One big message I’m trying to communicate in my campaign is the importance of transparency, the importance of positively informing and engaging the public. The incumbents’ action in canceling this meeting could not underscore more emphatically how different their point of view is from my point of view.

The incumbents’ refusal to participate in a public forum, I find amazing. It’s a decision that goes along with a web-site that fails to post any working documents used by the board in their deliberations, and that goes along with a campaign to renew a 6.9 mill operating levy that focused on using misleading marketing to manipulate the public, rather than attempting to authentically inform and engage the public.

The refusal of the incumbents to participate in a public forum to me shows the stark reality of how weak our democracy actually is. The incumbents evidently feel that their refusal to participate is a politically smart move. They are probably right. Why give the challengers a platform?

But, only in a weak democracy could a calculation to snub the public be a smart political move. It would take an informed and engaged citizenry to punish such cynicism at the polls. Only a few of the 15,000 Kettering voters (out of 40,000 possible) who will go to the polls on November 3 will even know about their refusal.

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