Campaign 2016 – City Organization Forums Avoid Substantive Questions

Voters relied on Laguna Beach’s leading civic organizations to hold public forums to provide information on the 2016 City Council candidates’ views, priorities and vision. After attending a majority of the forums, LagunaBeachCHAT came away questioning the value of this entire process and what appeared to be forums held for narrow and organization-exclusive purposes. Incumbents were rarely (if ever) asked to defend their voting records from the previous years.  Too little was done to try to match past experience/accomplishments with current promises.

Are the civic organizations too polite to ask tough questions about voting records?  Are they too focused on only their pet issues to care about the bigger picture?  This writer found that overall, the forums had very little value, with some asking downright embarrassing questions.  An exception to the mediocrity was the 1st forum held by the Laguna Beach Taxpayers’ Association; an attendee could have come away from that forum with a good idea about each candidate’s views on taxation, budgeting, prudent use of surpluses, etc.  However, it would have been very useful if the incumbents’ answers were checked against past votes, as a means of “keeping ’em honest”.

A primary mission of LagunaBeachCHAT is to provide voters with the DATA to easily determine how their elected officials have acted in the past.  If we are successful, come 2018, it will be easy to determine how an incumbent voted, took donations, discussed, etc. during their time on the City Council, and to ask them direct questions.  No more fluffy, softball questions, no more “tell ’em what they want to hear” answers.  Click below to see a transcript of the questions asked at 5 of the 8 public forums.

2016LB City Council Forum Questions

What do you think?  If you attended the forums below, please share your experience with us and rank these organizations on value to the voter.  Rank 1-5:  (5 being the most valuable and informative forums)

8 Organizations held Candidate Forums 2016:
Laguna Beach Taxpayers Association
Arts Alliance
South Laguna Civic Association (members endorsed Candidate Verna Rollinger)
LB Chamber of Commerce
Village Laguna (ex-board member V. Rollinger running for CC & funded/endorsed by same)
LB Board of Realtors/Laguna Beach Indy
Canyon Alliance of Neighborhoods Defense Organization (CANDO)
KX93.5 (city funded radio station)

Listen to Mayor Steven Dicterow blame Riverside residents for our unmanaged tourist problems at City Council Chambers during one of the forums.