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.

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