Two minutes, two minutes, two minutes. Why I hate candidates’ forums.

I’ve got a lot to say. We’ve got a lot of issues. And two minutes isn’t enough to talk about anything in depth.

I just was at “the last” candidates’ forum- at Wayman A.M.E. on Hoover. No Q&A- just 2 minutes.

Should I have talked about being a veteran and a small business owner? Or, my plan for opening up lines of communication between city hall and neighborhoods, or the implementation of a 311 system? Not in two minutes.

I’m even embarrassed about the brevity of “the Esrati Plan” which is about 4 pages. This site has almost 1,100 posts- where do you begin? The only question you can ask is do you want more of the same, or something different?

Go to the other candidates’ sites- find their most erudite posts or brilliant ideas- and then copy and paste them in the comments of this post. I’ll try to point you to where I’ve already talked about the subject- and let you compare.

I can’t wait for this election to be over. We’ve got real work that needs to be done, and all this talk about what we’ve done, or what we’ll do is two minutes wasted from actually doing something.

Some notes for future candidates’ forums:

  • Always going alphabetically is a mistake- draw straws, or numbers- and then make sure that everyone goes first or last at least once.
  • Allow candidates to go 4-5 minutes for an opening intro. If time is short, allow incumbents less time than challengers- since incumbents already get more media time, money, and have inside info. It seems unfair- but, challengers aren’t covered on public access every week.
  • Questions should be posed by individuals, not moderators. They should be focused, single questions so candidates can’t wiggle. Responses should be at least 2 minutes each.
  • Anyone who starts to make a speech from the floor- should be cut off and excused. This is time for people to hear from candidates.
  • Have a microphone and a podium- and make candidates use them- so that it’s easier for video recording to go on youtube. Make sure the podium is well lit.
  • Try to be respectful of candidates’ time. Don’t make school board candidates have to sit through Commission candidates, etc. Schedule them in advance. Realize, we hear the same speeches night in and night out.
  • Allow for a central literature drop point- and signs etc. to be left. Have someone to pick up any extra and hold for pickup the next day so candidates can move on.
  • Plan events at least 3 weeks in advance. Promote them well.
  • Have an official timekeeper- with signs for time remaining- and be firm and fair when cutting speakers off.
  • If you want to be really interesting- let the candidates ask their opposition at least one question. It’ll tell you a lot more than the normal questions.

That’s all I can think of right now. If you have other ideas- add them in the comments.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog, please head over and use our services at The Next Wave Printing for all your printing needs. We have 4 Color Business cards starting at just $13.50.

7 Responses

  1. Wesley Wellbilly October 25, 2009 / 2:50 pm
    What interest would it serve the local power structure to keep citizens informed?

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. truddick October 25, 2009 / 5:19 pm
    David, while I agree that candidate’s nights can be done better–and your suggestions are by and large fine ones (but I don’t get the distinction: if there is to be no moderator, then one must expect pontificating from the floor–maybe the solution is to have all questions in writing and the moderator must ask each in turn?)…
    But the flip side is this–we in education know that if you information-overload a listener, she/he will only remember a fraction of the information.  So your duty as a speaker is to keep the level of information comfortably within the limits of their short-term memory.  I have coached many on these points; I’m available to consult with candidates (at least ones I don’t despise) in the future.  If your people didn’t prepare you to hammer home a few persuasive points during your two minutes then you need better people.
    By the by–expanding it to five minutes would not mean that you got to make more points.  You should still make only a few hard-hitting points, and then give some specific detail for each.
    Having more than 3 or 4 bullet points on your 4-page plan is fine because a reader can re-read.  Having more than 3 or 4 bullet points in a speech dilutes the power of each point.
    Potential for improvement next time.  (Win or lose this time)

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Jeff October 25, 2009 / 7:13 pm
    If I had two minutes I would have asked McClin and the commission members why they allowed over 200 mid managers, executives and directors in the city of Dayton to take a “step increase” during times such as these.  When DPSU, IAFF and the FOP were begged to take a negotiated wage freeze the city turns around a gives these upper management types a 4+% raise, disguised and re-worded as a “step”.  That way they could look us square in the eye and say “no one took a raise this year!  It might be a hard question to answer right before election time.  A press conference will be held tomorrow morning with the details, both the IAFF and the FOP are going to be asking some tough questions.  I would think they will need more than two minutes for their reply.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. David Esrati October 25, 2009 / 7:56 pm

    @truddick

    The canned speech is not my style. Maybe it should be. We have different audiences every time- and different order of speaking. Depending on where in the order I get the mic- is what makes the difference.

    @Jeff- I agree, the “step” increases- while calling for wage freezes and furlough days is total B.S.

    But- it won’t take Rhine more than two minutes to reply- you should hear how fast she dismisses criticism of her negative campaign piece.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. truddick October 26, 2009 / 8:40 am
    Not talking “canned” speeches, David.  Rather, understanding clearly what points you wish to make, and practicing discipline in providing those points clearly and with the strongest supporting details for the audience at hand.  Not scripted, but thought out.  Not rehearsed to the point of memorization but visited enough to come easily.  Not rigid, fully open to inserting specific rebuttals or corrections when available.
    Well, OK, it does help to have a couple of slogans.   We shall all regionalize together or we shall all hang separately?  Hmmm, needs a little work.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Patrick October 30, 2009 / 7:00 am
    David,
    I’m late to your campaign but after reading almost all of this site over the last few days, you’ve got my family’s vote.  Thank you for being there.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. David Esrati October 30, 2009 / 7:35 am

    @Patrick-

    Thanks for taking the time to be informed- hope you read http://www.esrati.com/plan too-

    now, if you could, please tell everyone you know- and ask them to “bullet vote”- one vote in the commission race- not 2, since a vote for either of the incumbents helps them stay there. One of them will be elected no matter what, can’t say that for me. Thanks.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *