Mayoral hopefuls face off with Newsom
October 12, 2007 6:10 PM
The voters weren’t the only ones looking for brains after Thursday night's mayoral candidate forum at the San Francisco Public Library.
A "zombie mob", which attempted to wipe blood on people and candidates exiting the debate, were in direct contradiction to mayoral candidate “Chicken” John Rinaldi’s statement during the debate. “We are not a city of zombies.”
In the only scheduled mayoral debate in which incumbent Mayor Gavin Newsom agreed to participate, all 12 candidates for mayor participated in a question and answer forum discussing issues facing San Francisco.
Most of the candidates, which include a nudist activist, a homeless man and three SF State alumni, said the biggest issues facing San Francisco include poverty and violence.
“Poverty is the core of so many of the challenges this city faces,” said Newsom in response to a question about the biggest issue facing San Francisco.
Candidate Lonnie Holmes, an acting director at the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Department, said that the city’s high homicide rate is not taken seriously by the current administration.
“We need to stop sweeping these issues under the rug and face them head on,” he said speaking about the crime problems in the Bayview-Hunter’s Point neighborhood.
Candidate Quentin Mecke shared Holmes's sentiment that crime should be a pressing concern of the San Francisco government.
“Violence is a product of poverty, hopelessness and a lack of education,” said Mecke, program director for the Safety Network partnership, a citywide public safety program that promotes community-driven responses to crime and violence.
These were a few topics discussed in the forum organized by the League of Women Voters that also included transportation efficiency, earthquake preparedness and surveillance cameras in San Francisco neighborhoods.
The candidates answers to questions were limited to 30 seconds, causing some frustration for the candidates.
“It’s like speed-dating,” said candidate George Davis, who wants to make Golden Gate Park clothing optional, when his response was cut short.
Mecke said that the debate format was too limiting.
“We need to have another substantive debate,” he said afterwards.
Former SF State student and mayoral candidate Josh Wolf said there was not enough time to adequately address the questions, adding that the debate’s format was a “farce.”
For some of the questions Rinaldi avoided direct answers and talked about unrelated issues.
He said that he was running for the number two spot on the new ranked-choice ballot being used for the first time in a mayoral election in San Francisco.
“I’d like you to remember me as first choice for the second place,” he said, adding that he doesn’t think he can win it.
Audience member Ken Brophy is looking for a new face in the mayor’s office. He said he would vote for Mecke.
“A lot of people are disappointed with the current administration,” he said. “We want accountability from the government.”
Kevin Bundy said he was impressed with the range of views he heard, and he thinks the election should be taken seriously.
“It’s a shame that people are treating the election as a foregone conclusion,” he said.
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