During election season, political junkies find themselves attending a lot of events. It starts with parties for signature-gathering, then there are the fundraisers for candidates and/or issues; finally, there are the debates and forums.
The debates and forums frequently end up being simply Q&A sessions. “How will you vote on such-and-such an issue?” Typically, the candidates are lined up in a row. The first candidate is asked the question, and they answer. The second candidate tries to answer a little differently, but, since we’re in Prescott, they probably agree with the first candidate, so their answer is usually, “What they said, but…” By the time you get to the end of the line, it’s just a rehashed version of what most of the other people already said. Then it starts all over with the second question.
The truth is, on the vast majority of the issues the candidates typically agree. We live in a smallish community, and most issues we face can be answered with commonsense solutions. Sure, there may be one or two items that offer the spice of controversy, or different approaches to the same result, but for the most part we’re pretty much a go-along-to-get-along kind of town.
What we don’t do in normal forums/debates is look to see how the candidates work together to find solutions - which is what will be required if they are elected. Instead, the candidates are put into adversarial positions where they are expected to "one-up" each other.
In our Council Discussion, we hope to discover the following:
- Are they leaders or followers?
- Can they work collaboratively in a group?
- Do they hog all the time, or do they listen to others?
- Do they come prepared - have they read the agenda in advance?
- Can they think outside the box and come up with creative solutions?
That’s what this Council Discussion is about. It will take place at City Hall in Council Chambers. All the candidates have been invited - we truly hope that all can come. The candidates will be given a “mock agenda” 48 hours in advance. On that agenda, will be four items similar to what they may have to consider in the future. At the end, there will be an opportunity to suggest items they’d like their State Legislative counterparts to present and support in the 2018 Legislative session.
As for the audience, they will be given the opportunity to provide instant feedback to the candidates, but with a twist.
What you won't see
There are some parts of the genuine council-attending experience that we have no desire to reproduce, such as meetings that last 3 or 4 hours. We’re aiming to be done in about an hour, or at most an hour and a half. Thus we will not have a bunch of proclamations with a mind-numbing number of sentences starting with “Whereas.” Or several presentations complete with endless powerpoint slides. Or a whole slew of liquor licenses to approve simply because it’s useless to disapprove of them.
4 Agenda Items + A Legislative List
That’s all! Let’s see how they do.