9/25/2007

Debating the Debate

Wow, I fly to Boise for a deposition, and when I get back to the Internet y'all damn near talk me out of this whole stinkin' enterprise.

Let me premise this whole discussion with one fundamental fact: I speak only for myself. What David at GreaterFalls will or will not do is up to him.

First, to Ms. Kahn and Ms. Jolley: While I appreciate your input I have no intention of allowing the candidates to set the 'rules.' At present, I certainly do not intend to change anything. If David, others, and I decide the something needs to be changed, we will. Without saying more, I will only comment that even your response to the invitation suggests how you might govern.

As far as pulling the questions out of the hat, Ms. Kahn, you can do that at your debate. I am not undertaking the work involved in this event so that I can hear you tell us what your favorite color is, or what animal you think you best embody.

Second, to the anonymous poster who continually laments that this will be nothing but a 'popularity contest,' could it be that you are simply an unpopular candidate? If you are so convinced that the results will be skewed by the attendance of candidates' supporters, let me offer a few observations. First, if you think that the audience at any debate does not contain vast numbers of the candidates' supporters, you're nuts. Second, why not help us fill the hall with independent voters. Third, what if a candidate wins the debate because they offer the best ideas? Finally, who cares who wins; isn't it really about hearing what these folks have to say?

Third, to the anonymous who points out that I am involved in the gaming industry, isn't that really a non sequitor? In other words, do you really think I would not want to know their position on gaming? So I would screen out gaming questions? Ya knucklehead.

Fourth, and this one really gets to me. The idea that I am a shill for Mayor Stebbins is, frankly, laughable. We are going to screen questions because we won't have time for 200 questions. My guess is that a few common themes will emerge. I have also included a neutral mediator and the high school debate team to act as additional layers of neutrality. Until you pose a question of some import that does not get asked, you might just keep your paranoia to yourself.

Further, I have been a very outspoken critic of City Government. In fact, my 'best friend' Mayor Stebbins refused to participate in the Mayoral Forum, won't return my emails, and will probably not participate in this debate either. As far as going to a movie instead, have at it. The candidates are not "hiding" at all; they have nothing to do with this. You might read their comments.

I apologize for my tone...sincerely. It's been a long day, and I want to get home. I am typing this in the SLC airport.

I might soften it later, but for now, I am really surprised at some of the criticism.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind criticism. But really, ladies and germs, some of this reads like you are trying to find problems. Show me how all of the other forums to learn the candidates' views will do so much better.

17 comments:

rooster said...

GeeGuy;

Thanks for the effort you and David have put into this. I plan to attend the debate, and will (gladly) have my $15.00 ready…

I have a suggestion for a debate “question”. I am posting it here, rather than the earlier entry, for fear of being drowned out by the naysayers and LK.

I support the Sign Code (I know, “Groan…”).

Yet I, and others like a-fire-fly, am not impressed with the Sign Code’s inequitable implementation. My specific beef is that the City does not follow (nor enforce) their own ordinance. As it stands, the business owners who are in compliance with the Code are economically disadvantaged to those who flaunt the Code (and here I am assuming that big gaudy unattractive signs are an effective form of advertising).

So I would like to see a question at the debate that a) inquires of the candidates whether they agree or not with the sign code, and b) if so, how would they go about ensuring it’s enforcement, or c) if not, how would they pursue dissolving the code.

Of course, I would depend on someone more glib than myself to frame the actual question (a-fire-fly, are you out there?).

Anonymous said...

GeeGuy,

You do sound tired but I can understand the reaction.

Some of the naysayers read like a Holy Hal and like most anarachists seem to be looking for an event to torch.

Tally-ho, neighbor. May the force be with you....

Anonymous said...

Oh my God! Please understand that I have NEVER meant to "drown anyone out". Anything but. I WANT everyone to have their say. That's why I did what no one else is willing to do. I showed up at the last city council meeting and laid down the law. I basically informed primadonna and chief dorky that there would be NO more arrests or removals for the content of what people were saying. So, please understand that it is NOT my intention to drown anyone out. I love, and do not fear, free speech. I welcome free speech. I relish it. And so should our elected officials.


LK

WolfPack said...

I've got my $15 ready. I was amused by the idea of filling the hall with independent voters as if their apathy somehow makes them superior. In my experience independent voters are usually the least informed and most apathetic amongst us. This apathy also makes them the least likely to pony up $15.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Geeguy for your efforts at helping Democracy and you're no
'shill' for the current incumbents and a fair critic of all. Keep it up, as it's 'Better to have a Wilde Asse than a lame donkey' as the old Irish adage advises. Democracy's messy, noisy, sometimes volatile, but that's it's nature.....if we want silence, let's stay at the morgue.

Anonymous said...

Bwahahahahaha...LK. Only God knows better than you what is your intent -

Love the observation "as if their apathy somehow makes them superior."

Ditto on the "Tally-ho."

Anonymous said...

Speaking of free speech, the Fibune has an interesting ed in the paper today regarding free speech. I too decry the fact that our schools are not teaching the importanc of free speech. I mean, for cryin' out loud, just how many freakin' math and science majors do we need? And why? To simply make more "stuff"? And I too must say that I like wolf's take on undecided voters. But I would suggest also that anyone not firmly in the Stebbins camp has to be somewhat undecided at this point, for I have yet to hear much from the other candidates. That's why the debate idea is a good one.
The only objection I hear from people is the money thing.


LK

Anonymous said...

The entire debate about the debate seems to me to be voicing the extreme distrust of the current administration.

They've not been open and honest with the people. They've been arrogant, abusive, dismissive, and there are great questions about hiding paperwork, their lying, and sub rosa dealings.

The greatest concern that I'm interpreting is that to pay for the debate seems to offer the opportunity to ONE candidate, the mayor, to control - and we all know how she like that! - the format and attendees.

Who really wanted this venue in the first place? IF it's a supporter of Stebbins, then this is a rigged situation no matter WHO attempts to run it correctly. And this accusation is based on her history in office.

So pony up on the originator's name and association, it shouldn't be a problem for an honest person to admit they simply wanted to offer a debate.

However, IF it's a Stebbings supporter, I must ask why the pay-to-play as there are places that might be had for free so as to broaden the general public participation.

If its known who wanted this format then, perhaps, the nay sayers will be more trusting and positive.

Anonymous said...

If its any indication, Stebbins had a fundraiser a couple of weeks ago that flopped badly.

GFgirl said...

How many times does it have to be said that the bloggers, with David at GreaterFAlls and GeeGuy taking the lead, are hosting this event.

I honestly do not understand how anybody can think this is an idea of Dona Stebbins or her supporters. She didn't participate in the Mayroral Forum so what makes you think she will participate in this debate? The money? Get real. She would not have any control over the questions or who else would be in the audience besides her supporters. At this point in time, there is nothing she can say that can undo her missteps and unprofessional behavior.

Anonymous said...

Compromise:

A) DON'T charge admission or for questions.

B) accept donations of any amount at the door to off-set cost of hall.

C) any funds raised over the needed hall rental charge should be equally distributed between the PARTICIPATING candidates.

D) panel may pre-select general topics and questions.

E) participants may be notified of general topics, but not preview questions

GeeGuy said...

I'm not really sure who we're supposed to compromise with. You? In order:

A) DON'T charge admission or for questions. Why not? Because you're too cheap?

B) accept donations of any amount at the door to off-set cost of hall. Ok, I will accept a donation from you for $400.00. Email me for my mailing address. Upon receipt, I will waive the admission charge.

C) any funds raised over the needed hall rental charge should be equally distributed between the PARTICIPATING candidates. No.

D) panel may pre-select general topics and questions. Thank you. That's very generous of you, and that is exactly what we are going to do.

E) participants may be notified of general topics, but not preview questions Participants will be notified of nothing in advance of the debate. Unless we decide to notify them of something.

mary jolley said...

Geeguy you said,
"First, to Ms. Kahn and Ms. Jolley: While I appreciate your input I have no intention of allowing the candidates to set the 'rules.'"

I know I can't set the rules. Did not try too. I was commenting. Get some sleep geeguy. Re-read what I said. I said I'm game and I don't care who asks the questions.

Anonymous said...

"Second, to the anonymous poster who continually laments that this will be nothing but a 'popularity contest,' could it be that you are simply an unpopular candidate?"

Come on, you even admitted that this was a valid point and frankly, accusing me of being a candidate reeks of the same paranoia as the nut who thinks you are a shill for Stebbins. A citizen can't take an interest in a candidate debate?

"First, if you think that the audience at any debate does not contain vast numbers of the candidates' supporters, you're nuts."

My point exactly. I was merely pointing out that if I were a candidate (which I'm not if that bears repeating), I would want to win this debate (meaning get the most votes and money) so I could advertise that fact later. To do that, I wouldn't have to have the best or most thought-out positions, I would only have to mobilize as many of my supporters to come to the debate so they could vote for me.

"Second, why not help us fill the hall with independent voters."

It might be tricky when a couple will have to pay $30 to get in. What about kids under 18? Do they have to pay to get in if they're 17? And if so, do they get a vote?
$30 to you may not be a lot of money, but to the average citizen, it is.

"Third, what if a candidate wins the debate because they offer the best ideas?"

I'd be happy if that were the case, but how can you tell if candidates bring mobs of supporters?

"Finally, who cares who wins; isn't it really about hearing what these folks have to say?"

Couldn't agree with you more - which is the source of my criticism. Why the $10 charge to vote for the winner? Why isn't my vote in the election enough? If I like a candidate, I'm free to support them financially if I choose.

You wanted to have a debate for the public good, which I respect. As a member of the public, I'm not sure why there is such a reaction to some fair criticism of the format (exuding the Stebbins shill accusor).

Sorry to put you off. Good luck with it, and I mean that.

Anonymous said...

Funny geeguy, you think we public would take time off of work and ask stupid favorite color questions if given a chance?

Only your group of high school debaters can decide on a proper question? We already get that treatment at the city commission meetings.

Hope for your sake it goes well and your costs are covered, but I'm not paying to be censored.

GeeGuy said...

To the last two anonymous posters, I guess I will start by offering an apology. I shouldn't have been so prickly about comments. I was tired and it all hit me at once.

That being said, though, please consider the practical effect of what you are proposing. Ever since David and I came up with this idea, we have been deluged with suggestions for change, complaints and "compromises." So...what? Should we just do what everyone says? Because I'll guarantee that if I change the thing to accomodate one of your proposals, there will be someone else who doesn't like it.

I really don't think the basic idea/format is that bad. We took what we felt were reasonable steps to ensure some neutrality and fairness and have tried to do something unusual to make it a little more interesting. Sorry it's not just what you want but, well, that's kind of the breaks.

As far as the person who accuses me of 'censorship,' I can only think you are not a regular reader. I will submit that I have spent as much time challenging the status quo lately as anyone.

But what do you propose as an alternative? Perhaps we should appoint you as the moderator and you can decide what questions should be asked?

I can tell you that, for the most part, so far there have not been many surprises. Most of the proposed questions have fallen into about 5-6 main topic areas, and those are the same ones virtually any reader will come up with.

I'm sorry you won't pay to "be censored," but that's clearly your choice. Hopefully enough people will pay that I can break even or at least not lose my a$$ too badly.

As far as the rest of you, I can only tell you that I am not doing this to support any candidate. I am trying to present an opportunity for dialogue in a fair but challenging environment. I hope you can make it.

Anonymous said...

I will put up the entire $400 fee for the building use for the debate, will accept GeeGuy as moderator, but I want a true town hall debate; No entry fee, no question fee,allow questions from the floor, anyone can ask any question when called upon. Call me: 965-3013,Ric Valois, The Tree Man