The candidates’ forums contain elements of surprise — surprise about the questions from the audience, surprise about candidates’ answers and surprise from critics who don’t like the rules or the outcome. Both Idyllwild and Pine Cove water districts’ forums included all of the above.
My job primarily was to introduce moderator, time answers and field questions from the moderator. I experienced more fielding at the PCWD forum but, in the end, an accusation of “rigging” the questions. Hah!
The moderators determined the questions to ask, not me. Anyone who fails to hear the question asked will show bias in that regard. One note passed along suggested that one spouse of a candidate passing question after question to the moderator was steering the forum when that person’s questions rarely were asked.
We received probably as many questions as were asked at both forums, pretty evenly attended. The moderators had to pick and choose, and also handle organizing the cards over a short period of time.
I felt that both moderators, Vic Sirkin and Patrick Reitz, handled their volunteer jobs effectively and efficiently, given the stress of receiving questions repeatedly during the two-hour run with no break, and herding candidates, especially those who ran over their allotted response time.
One current sitting director told me he will never be on a candidates’ forum given what he experienced watching his fellow incumbents. I must admit I probably would decline, too. The few who attended required answers worthy of the Republican debate last week. Those who care about their water district showed up.
Here’s to you who did, by golly.