Monday, April 28, 2014

Brentwood News Shows How it’s Done: We Can Be Democratic and Handle a 17 Candidate Forum

Brentwood News Congressional Candidate Forum

The Congressional Forum for District 33 was a beautiful sight to behold. The University Synagogue hosted, and were gracious and fair with all of the candidates.
All rounds were in random order, and kept to a very strict time- with a bell.  If the bell went off, you simply needed to “sit down”.  Somewhere around halfway, they had us do musical chairs, so that no one spent the whole time up front.

What seemed to be an unusual level of camaraderie ensued, with candidates who had never met before laughing, joking and teasing as the two-hour program sped forward at an amazing pace.  I think we all realized how 30 seconds to 3 minutes to speak was all anyone really wanted or needed to hear from candidates, no matter who they were, or what they were talking about.

It was astounding to hear the level of qualifications among candidates.  If you can’t find someone in this group of 17 to support, then you aren’t reading about them.  It may seem strange that as a candidate, I’m promoting everyone.  The way the media reports on candidates is unfair- one story this morning had large photos of 6 candidates, and they were, of course the ones who had raised more than $350,000.

This was on the heels of an LA Times story with the ironic headline, “Fundraising May Narrow Field for Henry Waxman’s Seat” (you think?).  I’m working on a comparison chart to see how other factors range amongst candidates.  After this forum I am betting that many have qualifications that surpass money as a sole qualifying factor. 

Many audience members made it clear to me how frustrated they were after the forum after hearing so many “clearly wonderful” candidates that are available- and that they don’t hear about them due to bias at forums (keeping many out), media attention on money only, and the affordability of mailers (needing a million dollars to send campaign materials to voters in the off- chance the slick mailer makes it past the trash can into the house to be read by voters).  And of course, since this is District 33, there were many comments about the environmental ramifications of such waste and abuse of our environment (trees, chemicals, ink, trash, sustainability).
Laughter wasn't unusual at this forum

The bipartisan, unifying theme by most candidates was the corruption that is rife in our institution of elected officials, especially now with multiple indictments in the California senate, and a new indictment of a Congressman this week.  This system of begging for money creates a breeding ground for ethical violations and illegal activity that is often overlooked.  Then everyone steps back at gasps at the public servant “bad behavior”. 

Be brave, vote in the primary and use your free tool to decide:  Google.

You can follow Kristie at @DrKristie or on Facebook at

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