By Jason KUROSU
A forum for the candidates running for the Glendale Unified School District Governing Board was held at Dunsmore Park on Wednesday, March 23. With the municipal elections on April 5, the forum gave the candidates one last chance to connect face to face with the community. Dan Evans of the Glendale News Press moderated the forum.
The candidates appreciated the ability the forum gave them to reach out to members of the community.
Candidate Jennifer Freemon said, “I enjoyed the forum. The questions were interesting and fair. It would have been nice to have a few more people in attendance, but it is hard on a rainy, dismal evening.
“I do appreciate having questions come primarily from those in attendance. They are the ones who have made the effort to attend and should have their questions answered.”
Candidate Mary Boger said, “I thought the forum went well, was well moderated by Mr. Evans and that the questions were pertinent. I appreciated the more relaxed time constraints which allowed for more complete answers.”
Todd Hunt, another candidate, added, “I would have liked more questions that were focused on the unique needs and issues of the Crescenta Valley. Dan Evans did a good job moderating but was maybe somewhat disconnected from the setting of the forum. His questions would have been spot-on if the forum were held in downtown Glendale.”
Hunt appreciated the ability to speak before members of the community, but found that the political forum format was not to his liking.
“I have to say, over the course of the campaign, I’ve been disappointed that none of the forums have allowed the candidates to directly interact with each other. I think it is a disservice to the audience and the greater community when the candidates don’t have an opportunity to question each other. The result is that the audience only hears what the candidates want them to hear, which is almost always self-serving. The direct questioning of statements and positions would give the audience a much greater sense of who the candidates are and what they really stand for.”
While the audience turnout could have been larger, audience members appreciated getting to know the candidates better.
“I thought it was very enlightening,” resident Mike Lawler said. “A lot of the GUSD candidates fly under the radar. I think, with this forum, I was made aware of some of the candidates’ focuses that I didn’t know about before, through their campaigns.”
Lawler has voted using an absentee ballot and says that because of the forum, “I voted for two completely different candidates than I expected to.”
For those who may have missed the forum, visit glendalevotes.org for information on the candidates.