Categorized | Editorial

EDITORIAL: It Was Easy, But it Wasn’t But Thank God, It Fell Into Place

Our first Mayoral Forum was a success. Planning it was another story.

The Mayoral Forum 10/23/12 at Temple Beth Mordecai. *Photo by Katherine Massopust

First we had to decide if we wanted to do it on our own or with others. We sought out advice from others who conducted debates in the past. We even Googled “Rules and Regulations” of a debate vs. a forum. (No we are not going into the difference in this editorial)

We also wrestled with whether or not we should have questions submitted beforehand be it by email, snail mail or text. Or if we should have oral questions from the audience uncensored. After going back and forth several times it was decided to have questions prepared plus allow written questions submitted from the audience. What also concerned us is that we had our debate five days after there was a Mayoral debate that had a huge turnout at the High School.

Originally, the debate was supposed to be held at a facility that would have held only 170 people. We decided after several people called to ask where our debate would be held and when that we should move it to a much bigger venue.

We would personally like to thank our moderator, Professor Ron Miskoff who suggested Temple Beth Mordecai which he is a member of. This turned out to be a wonderful blessing to us, since everyone was aware that the forum was in a house of worship and acted accordingly.

We would be amiss if we didn’t say there was a tug of war on who should be the moderator and the format of the forum. We decided upon a neutral umpire and we were pleased when Professor Miskoff agreed to moderate. His reaction when we asked him was that of utter delight.

Dot Daniel who was our Sergeant-at-arms (that’s the title I gave her) wanted to know if there was anyone who was going to introduce Ron Miskoff. “You have the job,” I told her and she was delighted to do so. Thanks Dot.

Rabbi Saks was very hospitable and made sure all the requests that we made were met. The Amboy Guardian also wishes to thank Elliot Rubin and Larry Deutchman who were also extremely helpful.

Ron, Katherine and myself had a meeting the Sunday before the forum to go over the format and how we were going to lay out the program. We also had a tug of war as to what issues were most important. This was already given to the candidates beforehand. Our main concern was that there would be the same questions that were asked at the previous debate. We compiled over twenty questions which we felt were significant.

There was one question that I think that all the candidates blew. That question was: “Everyone talks about the conditions of Smith Street as the entrance into Perth Amboy, what about the conditions of the entry way from outer State Street into Perth Amboy. What could be done immediately to improve this area?” For some reason most of the candidates talked about the Celotex property which is not on State Street. Two candidates touched on State Street briefly in regards to the abandoned warehouses with broken windows. The crux of the statement is “Something that could be done almost immediately that could improve the appearance of outer State Street.”

The answer I was looking for is to perhaps have the Royal Garden Club do some landscaping in that area with hearty, easy to care for perennials. You can even go and ask the businesses down there if they would be willing to do some inexpensive landscaping to their property to make it more pleasing to the eye.

I’ve walk passed boarded up buildings and houses, but if there is beautiful landscaping on those properties, it catches my eye.

We would also like to thank all of the candidates for participating. It is very difficult to have to think spontaneously, on your feet for 2 1/2 hours. It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback.

I know some of the questions were tough to answer. Remember when you are in the limelight, you will have tough questions to answer and difficult decisions to make. Its not always a bed of roses.

For the most part, we’ve had a positive response to the Forum. There were some complaints but as Abraham Lincoln said, “You can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.”

We also enjoyed the lighthearted moments during the Forum and there were a couple of chuckles and that’s a good thing

C.M.

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