Call the caterer in the mayor’s race
I’ve already voted absentee, but I watched the last televised mayoral debate anyway to get a sense of what we’re in for. (OK, I TiVo’ed through some of it.)
I didn’t hear anything inspiring, but concluded that we’ll probably be OK with the top candidates that are most likely to win. A few impressions:
- Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell had the most command of the details of city government, as would be expected after his two-year stint as managing director, but he didn’t capitalize on it as much as he could have because of a tendency to fall into technical jargon like “workforce housing.” Still, he looked more confident and at ease than the last time I saw him in a similar setting. I wish he didn’t seem to feel his campaign depends on how many times he mentions his wife Donna Tanoue.
- Peter Carlisle knew Caldwell would ask about his pay raises as city prosecutor, but blew an opportunity to put it to rest by failing to prepare a clear answer that fit within the time limit. He blew his chance to nail Caldwell back on a juicy issue like property tax exemptions by asking him an obscure question about blank votes counting as “no” votes on state constitutional amendments. Perhaps his strongest issue is his promise to break up the pay-to-play contracting system, but he mostly buried it.
- Panos Prevedouros promised at the start of the campaign to broaden his issues beyond opposition to rail, but everything always seems to come back to rail, rail, rail. As a result, it’s difficult to see him broadening his voter base beyond his third-place finish in 2008.
- Rod Tam was forced to answer questions in the most public way ever about the police investigation into his city restaurant tabs and his legislative proposal to give government workers naps and snacks. All I can say is he often didn’t use all the time allotted to him.
Caldwell said in his closing remarks that he was glad the debate was over because he was hungry. I’m feeling that way about the whole primary campaign.
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