Saturday, April 15, 2006

Should candidate forums be open to the public?

Should the elected Democratic precinct committeemen of the Illinois 17th Congressional District try to determine who the Democratic primary voters in their precinct would vote for to be the Democratic candidate for Congress given the choices now available by soliciting opinions and asking the primary voters in the precinct who they would vote for or should the precinct committeemen simply educate themselves and make the decision on behalf of their precinct? It would make no sense to ask the other primary voters who they favor unless all the voters have had a chance to meet and find out about all the candidates. Since Don Johnston has decided that only elected precinct committeemen, the candidates, people invited to speak on behalf of the candidates and reporters will be allowed to attend the candidate forums apparently he has decided that the precinct committeemen will be making the decision on behalf of their precincts.

My guess is that Don made that choice more as a mater of what is practical and possible rather than what would be best according to a theoretical ideal. How big a hall would have to be found for these forums if the public were invited? Could halls that size be found on such short notice? How much more would have to be paid for security and logistics if the public were invited? I can imagine that if I were in Don Johnston’s position I might have ended up making the same decision. What do you think?

53 comments:

moline83 said...

I was at the forum along with 150 to 175 others. It was standing room only. Even though this morning's Dispatch indicated it was not open to the public, no one was turned away at the door. All of those who were not precinct committeemen or press were asked to sign in as "guest". Each candidate was given 10 minutes to speak. No Q&A, but all of the candidates hung around to answer questions on a personal level.

paladin said...

Channel 8 said that only committeemen were allowed to attend the forum.

moline83 said...

If that is what they said, Channel 8 is wrong.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that all of you public types were kept away. We committeemen were there in force to carry our choice Phil Hare to the finish line. 75% of those in attendance had on Hare for Congress buttons. Phil Hares congressional staff was there and most had on the most beautiful thank heavens for Lane Evans blue t-shirts. Every one payed attention to all of the speakers, however everyones minds were made up before the thing started. We were there to support Phil Hare. You could feel Lane comming through Phil Hare. It was great to see democracy in action. All of you cry baby's should get used to the name.

Congressman Phil Hare.

Anonymous said...

I was at the event - at one point a lady started clapping and a man looked at the lady and said, "it is not time to clap yet" - this is the applause meter you are putting so much faith in. This tacky use of supporters was not only sophomoric - it was not lost on the other candidates and their supporters. Hare's candidacy has been built on a house of cards - nice looking on the surface, but ZERO staying power.

Dave Barrett said...

"...this is the applause meter you are putting so much faith in"

This comment was originally posted on the "taking a crack at it" blog as a comment to a blog entry that referred to Phil Hare "winning" the round according to the applause meter. It seems to have been copied and pasted here where it seems out of place since there was no previous mention of an applause meter.

I urge people who post comments on this blog to at least try to pretend they are commenting on the blog entry or previous comments on the blog entry to which the comments are posted.

RockISLANDer said...

No, this business is too important to be left to the public. The law recongizes this and gives the power to appointed precinct committee people.

Now that Lane has directed us, we are doing what he wants. That is the law and the American way.

paladin said...

Anon@8:47pm said: "You could feel Lane comming (sic) through Phil Hare." Yikes! Hare channeling Evans----now THAT'S scary. It will be interesting to see how Hare is received at the remaining two forums in the other parts of the district.

Anonymous said...

First Dick Leibovitz thinks he can ram this hog plant down our throats and now Leibovitz thinks he can tell us who to vote for. I am sick and tired of this guy opening his pie hole and inseting his foot all the time. I don't have to vote for Hare I can vote for Boland and you can't stop me. We did stop your little hog factory.

Anonymous said...

No, these forums should be what they are --- rubber stamps for Lane's choice. You might not like it Dave, but that is how Democracy works!

CarbonCliff said...

It's good to see so many people pushing for Lane and Phil. These two Democrat leaders are people we can allbe proud of. Imagine if Zinga was in ciongress, she would be voting for the war and stuff like that. We need anti-Ira people, not those that are going to embrace the enemy!

Anonymous said...

We the people of the 17th district will get Lane and Phil appointed to the congress so that we can keep this great representation working for us. Look around at all the good that they have done for us.

Anonymous said...

Lane Evans has always made endorsements and they have usually been for the loser. Even Obama was not really the exception as he lost big in RI County. In the Appellate Court primary race just held, Lane's endorsed candidate came in third. It's nice to have endorsements but they carry limited weight.

Anonymous said...

Endorsing a candidate is nothing like appointing one. Duhhhhh

Tacky said...

Is that annonymous comment correct?bama lost big in RI County?

Anonymous said...

Just to let you losers know. Lane endorsement means little I agree, however John G. has the power to get all of the appointed committeemen's votes to Phil Hare by proxy. You people thoink that this thing isn't wired. Wake up and smell the coffee. This was over when John G. endorsed him.

Anonymous said...

to anonymous,

yes, that comment about obama losing Rock Island County is true.

Illinois State Comptroller Dan Hynes won Rock Island County by a big margin in the 2004 US Senate race.

Anonymous said...

Now that I've thought about it, I don't believe that the forums should be open to the public. These are forums for the Congressional Committee. The Precinct Committeemen and the candidates need to meet each other. The Precinct Committeeman have a job to do and need time with the candidates and the candidates need to have time with the Precinct Committeemen. There is some serious work to be done and those who are charged with the task have things to work out. These are business meetings not campaign rallies.

Dave Barrett said...

thisguyisgross,
I removed your comment because it contained a serious charge (sexual harassment) against a named individual who is not running for office. If you would like to see this story publicized I would be glad to do so if you could provide some more information (if I could talk to the young lady involved or if she is pressing charges I would consider breaking the story. [Maybe a start for me in a new career as journalist])

the fax said...

Paul Rumler was too late to speak at the forum on Saturday but he will speak in Canton. Only candidates, elected officials, and committmen were allowed - plus new people.

the fax said...

I meant news people. Sorry. Not new people. tee hee

Anonymous said...

This process is a partisan one, not a democratic (small d) one. That is why only precinct committeemen were invited to attend. Hare was very popular, with lots of people clapping, as would be expected in RI County. Let's see how that fares down in Canton or Carlinville.

paladin said...

The Dispatch/Argus is reporting that Lane Evans' brothers have been granted temporary limited guardianship over Lane's personal and financial matters. The reason given for the guardianship is Lane's "intermittent cognitive impairments." I wonder if Lane was in his right mind when he appointed Phil Hare to succeed him?

Anonymous said...

Now that the truth of Lane Evans has surfaced it will be interesting to see if John G, Dick "Pig factory" Leibovitz, Jeff Teronez, and Lou Ann Kerr will take there endorsement away from Phil Hare. It is looking more and more like the rumor that Phil Hare has been running Lane Evans for years. Evans has given power of attorney to his brother for property and self. Phil Hare didn't know that Lane was this bad. Please!! He got Lane to stay in and to endorse him when he isn't even in control of his faculties. Kind of reminds me of how Anna Nikole Smith changed her husbands will to try and get in on the money when he couldn't even think anymore. Some people will stop at nothing for power. This is turning into a big mess that will be hard for Phil to clean up. Phil's die hard congressional staff must be in on the con also. Or they are the most naive people that walk the earth. If neither of these are true then we will see if they are still backing Hare. I am a die hard Lane Evans fan and to think how this group of people run by Phil Hare has degraded him and minipulated him for there own job interest shows their ugly side. This has to be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Okay people - Lane did NOT appoint Hare to anything. He ENDORSED him running for the position on the ballot. ENDORSED... look it up.

Anonymous said...

If Lane isn't in control of his faculties then how could he even ENDORSE Phil Hare.

Rob Mellon said...

I would say - the only clean way out of this nomination process is to nominate an unconventional candidate - one that does not have ties to any political network of any kind. The only one that can bring that to the table is me - Rob Mellon. I also offer a great chance to beat Zinga and an even greater chance of holding on to the office for the future.

www.robmellon.com

Anonymous said...

Rob the used car salesman convention is somewhere else.

Reason said...

Used car salesman? I am not following. You are assuming at some level that Rob Mellon is dishonest, which I do not think has any basis in truth. If you want to discredit someone please use some factual data not a simpleton’s name calling tactic. If you lack rationality and must resort to name calling at least make an attempt to base your comments, at least in part, in fact. I like Rob Mellon – I don’t see any negative aspect to his running. Ignore the ugliness Rob.

NoMorePinocchios said...

All I can say is that of all the candidates running, Mr. Mellon is the only one that seems to offer a fresh look away from the dirty game politics has become. Look at the continuing lack of voter’s interest in the elections over the years! Right now in this country a handful of people are going into the voting machines and making the decisions that rule the life of everyone. And when you factor the processes used by the parties to offer up their anointed political icons, the voters get to choose a nominee that has been selected from the party official’s boot-lickers. Talk to the people whom don’t vote and there is a recurring theme in all of the conversations. They are unhappy with the product they are being offered, from the political parties. I can tell you one response I continue to hear; Why vote, whether you vote for a Republican or a Democrat you are getting the same can of worms, dirt and corruption. In other words you are allowed to vote for what the party thinks is the right image-maker for their personal gains. Both parties have lost face with the American public. And when someone, like Mr. Mellon, comes out with an approach that has a public appeal that might draw in the disillusioned voters of the area they do their best to squash the life out of the campaign in an effort to maintain status quo. The political parties of this country have evolved into special interest puppet-masters that trot out their marionette shows for the public while they wheel and deal our families future away for their thirty pieces of silver. The media mostly ignores the problem as they feed from the same troughs that keep the politicians fed. And the voters have turned into Nietzschian sheep blindly pulling the levers for their own slaughter and destruction.

Anonymous said...

Pinnochio,

Rob Mellon isn't qualified to lick the bosses boot!

I've never seen anyone so intent on getting to the public trough. Anytime someone wants to get into office as bad as Mellon does, watch your pocket books!

Mellon should run for county board of mayor of wherever he's from. Mellon is not a serious candidate and should be barred from future forums as he has no support and is an unkown. While he may have blog support, but that is meaningless!!

paladin said...

To anon@9:39am (4/18). I know this will come as a shock to you, but according to the official biography of Saint Lane Evans, he never ran for any elected office either until '82 when ran for and won his current position. St. Lane has been at the "public trough" ever since.
To nomore,etc.: Kudos to you for the hilarious/scary mental picture you gave me with your phrase that voters are like "Nietzschian sheep blindly pulling the levers for their own slaughter..."
And finally, to anon@3:16(4/17): You are correct, I should have said endorsed instead of appointed. I stand corrected.

Herb C. said...

Dave,

I'm a novice to the blog. I've been reading the blogs through QCOnline for a couple of weeks. For what it's worth, I thought I'd add my single $.02 as a comment to your post.

I've been closely watching this whole thing play out from afar because I still vote in Rock Island and because I have a very strong personal and professional interest in ensuring that democracy works. In effect, I've dedicated my entire adult life to it.

Congressman Evans has had my support and vote since before I turned 18 in 1986. He's had a very direct impact on my life, and I am very grateful for all he has done for me personally and for all veterans, particularly Gulf War vets. I'm saddened to hear that his health has suffered and I pray for him.

I understand that Congressman Evans endorsed Phil Hare to represent us next year in Congress. I'm sure his endorsement carries significant weight for the voters and for the party leadership.

I also understand that the party has a keen interest in putting a strong candidate forward for the November election, and it appears that there is strong leadership support for Mr. Hare. I'm certain that Mr. Hare is an excellent candidate, just as I'm certain that there are other excellent candidates. It's a tough choice to make.

Unfortunately, it is too late for this choice to be made by the voters in the district. Because of the likelyhood that the Democratic candidate will succeed in November, whoever is chosen stands a very high chance of becoming the next representative of the people of the district.

So the choice made by precinct committeemen will choose who sits in the seat through 2008. We're not choosing someone to ride out a vacant term, so for the sake of democracy it's important that this decision is not taken lightly.

The process to make the decision, however it is conducted, will can have a positive or negative impact on the voters' perception of the party's integrity, credibility, and relevance.

I hope that we continue to craft this process in a way that will reflect positively on the party. This isn't a once-in-a-lifetime decision. Rather, it's just one major event in a continous process that ensures the Deomcratic Party remains strong and viable.

Ideally, the voters would make the call. The next best thing is a district-wide vote by the precinct committeemen.

I feel strongly, for the good of the party, that the process to select the candidate for November be as transparent to the public as possible.

The forums should continue to be open to the public, and be held in facilities that can accomodate both the precinct committemen and the public. Just as we hold open city council meetings and school board meetings, these forums can and should be conducted with rules of order that allow the committeemen an uninterrupted opportunity to make the best decisions possible. Each committeeman's vote should be public, so that the voters of each precinct can know how they were represented in this process.

The press is a critical piece in maintaining transparency in this process. I'm disappointed that the press did not provide transcripts of each speaker's remarks during the Moline forum. Frankly, I feel the coverage so far has been weak. To my acquaintances in the media back home, I hope that you'll take this criticism constructively.

As we move forward toward the rest of the forums and complete the vote that decides who will replace Representative Evans on the ballot, I hope that the party leadership understands the full and long term impact of the decisions they make. I hope they choose to maintain a process that is transparent and accountable. I also hope that the media kicks it up a notch and fully reports on how this all plays out.

I wish the party continued success, locally and nationally; and I wish I could be actively participating at your side.

Keep Fighting!

paladin said...

Well, one thing is for sure. If Hare gets the nomination, Zinga will have a ready made campaign talking point---fighting Democrat cronyism.

Anonymous said...

Herb C. What kind of a hokey whak job are you. This whole process is a dog and poney show. It has all been taken care of. You live in a makebelieve land with sugar trees and beautiful angelic music but the rest of us have been living in the real world where the strong servive and crazy people get locked up. Lane Evans, John G., Dick Leibovitz, Louann Kerr have this thing wired. Phil Hare is the choice. Get used to it and get ready to vote for him come November. Don Johnston and M Boland have done all that they could to get M Boland MR. appointed. Hare has it wrapped up. You live in a makebelieve world. You must favor Mellonforcongress.com. Get on board or get run over.

Dave Barrett said...

herb c.
Thanks for your thoughtful post. I appreciate your point of view.

armydude said...

Nomorepinnochios says: "All I can say is that of all the candidates running, Mr. Mellon is the only one that seems to offer a fresh look away from the dirty game politics has become."

Steel on target, Nomorepinnochios! I'm with you there. Even some of us who still hold out hope for true democracy are starting to feel like it's all a bunch of b.s. I also love the Nietszchian sheep metaphor that Paladin enjoyed imagining. Splendid.

Paladin said: "according to the official biography of Saint Lane Evans, he never ran for any elected office either until '82 when ran for and won his current position. St. Lane has been at the "public trough" ever since."

Thank you, Paladin. I'm glad somebody finally threw that out there.

Do people think experience somehow comes from experience itself? Damn, people have to start somewhere right? Whether Mellon is the man for the job or not remains to be seen. If the committeemen think he's good enough, maybe we'll be watching him mop the floor with Zinga come november.

Personally, I hope he gets the chance. To speak out against a newby just for being a newby is dumb. Learn about the newby and size him or her up against the field. Then judge the newby.

Mellon taught college political science and he's lived in the district all his life (except for when he was serving his country in the army all over the world). He's a family man, a teacher, and doesn't mind being crapped on by the idiots of the internet. He's giving it a shot instead of sitting on his couch bitching about stuff or wishing things would just magically get better on their own.

I like him. Wish I had a vote...

Anonymous said...

Read Herb C's comments couple times. Who is this guy? Read what he says:
1) not endorsing Hare
2) not slamming anyone...directly
3) wants the opposite of what's actually happening.
It may read "hokey," but I see it as a slam on all this stupidity written in an idealistic way.
Now the latest: Johnston's questioning the validity of Evans' stamped endorsement letter from April 14th. Hare's looking all shifty eyed on that interview tonight on Channel 8. The more stuff surfaces, the worse Hare looks.

Anonymous said...

If I wanted a GI JOE, I would go with Hale Baines. Baines is e vet of Vietnam and Korea. He's also a doctor and weel-traveled.

Where did you serve Mellon?

Rob Mellon said...

Ask Anonymous and ye shall receive.

I guess that is a request for my military biography. I joined the Army in 1994 and attended Basic Training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. I was actually at Basic Training when Richard Nixon died - they fired off a 21-gun salute and we were told that former President Nixon had died. I also remember that OJ Simpson was arrested when I was at Leonard Wood, too. I distinctly remember Drill Sergeant Hightower say, “the Juice is through”. We did not know what he was talking about until later. After Basic I attended the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, CA. I completed the intensive DLI Spanish Course. Amazingly, they teach 27 languages at DLI - the Army determined what course I attended. After Advanced Individual Training at Goodfellow AFB in Texas I served with the 10th Aviation BDE of the 10th Mountain Division. I flew in a helicopter almost every day for two years. I was selected to return to Language school in 1997 - which was a real honor. Most soldiers only get to attend one course at DLI - I completed Level II Spanish and was stationed at the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Center in Ft. Huachuca, AZ. At the Intelligence Center I first worked on a "Top Secret" counter-narcotics mission. Details and travels associated with that I am not at liberty to discuss. I am trying to be open, but that information I cannot provide. After completing that mission I worked as an Instructor for the MI School. I taught officers and foreign soldiers how to deploy MI equipment. I applied for OCS while at Ft. Huachuca and was accepted - another real honor. I attended OCS at Ft. Benning. Let's just say it was interesting - those that have worn the blue helmets and ascots know what I am talking about. "Far across the Chattahoochee...” I will pause while the OCS grads finish the Alma Mater……….After OCS I went to the US Army Field Artillery School at Ft.Sill, OK. I was then sent to Korea where I was a MLRS platoon leader at Camp Stanley in Ujijongbu, South Korea. Interesting yet again. A good deal of my time in Korea was spent in Rocket Valley and other areas close to the DMZ. After returning from serving with the 2nd ID I was stationed with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR) in Ft. Carson. When I left Ft. Carson I left active military service. I was transferred to the Illinois National Guard and stationed in Quincy. I served as a Platoon Leader in Illinois National Guard until about a year and 1/2 ago. In total, I was in the Army for about 10 years. Too much information?

Anonymous said...

Mellon, Why don't you get out of the race for the good of the party. If you realy want to help get out and stoppimpeding John Sullivans chances. I believe you to be a plant for the Northern machine so that they can keep Hare as the congressman. He has a 10th grade education and after what we are finding out about the way Hare and his staff have been using Lane Evans for there own good is appauling. We need to send a strong candidate from the southern part of the district. That cnadidate is not you but John Sullivan. Don't play the spoiler for the northern machine.

JackWayton said...

I saw Mellon speak last week and felt like he wasted my time. He didn't have a single important thing to say and was the only candidate on the stage that doesn't have a single committeemen supporting him for Congress.

Anonymous said...

Hare should resign his appointment from John G. He has hood winked us all. He stated that Lane endorsed him after Lane had been deamed incompitent. This like stealing. It is an insult to us all. I think that Hare's manipulation was self serving and very manipulzative. He should be brought up on charges.

anti-pig said...

Today's forum in Canton was wild. Phil Hare, Mike Boland and John Sullivan clashed. While newcomer Gail something another "hit a home run."

Look for Gail to garner ground quickly as she seeks to crowd Mellon out of the "anti-status quo" candidate.

Anonymous said...

I thought the new candidate had some great ideas. She seems like the true outsider. She hasn't been at the government trough like Mellon has since he was 18. He has never had a non gopvernment job and now he wants to suck miore out of the government. All he ever says is that he is new. This new Gal is truely new. Never a government job and she had some real ideas. She seemed to nock Mellon out of the outsider box.

Anonymous said...

Yes, candidate forums should be open to the public, but not the press.

I noticed that a rival corporate d blog is calling on Rob Mellon and Hal Bayne to get out of the race for congress. While this point has some merit, I don't think it is Jophn Beadlers' place to make choice.

This decision should be made byn Mellon, his family, his doctor and his church. Yet, some know-it-all corporate blog owner thinks he, not the individual in question, should determine when Mellon pulls the plug on his fledgling politcal life. Who does Beadler think he is?

paladin said...

Good lord anon@10:28am (4/23) you are an idiot.
If you are looking for corporate media, that would be QCTimes, owned by Lee Enterprises---or maybe WQAD, owned by NYTimes.
"Beadler" writes for the Moline Dispatch/Rock Island Argus which is (are?) owned by the Small family.
Pathetic.

Dave Barrett said...

paladin,
I believe the Small Newspaper Group, the owner of the Dispatch/Argus is a corportion. You may be correct that the Small Newspaper Group is controlled by the Small family and is not a multinational corporation but it is a corporation nonetheless. Applying the term corporate media to the reporting in the Dispatch/Argus is correct and also explanatory in that often the interests of the corporation are refelected in the reporting.

paladin said...

OK Dave or Bret or Bart or Whoever, I could be wrong about the corporate ownership of the Small Newspapers, but please explain to anon why it is wrong that the forums should be "open to the public, but not the press."

Newswatcher said...

The press doesn't have a vote in Congressman Phil Hare's appointment. This decsion was made by LAne, John G and the Jacobs.

All the press wants to do is pick the candidate themselves. that's really all they ever want to do. They want in the very worst way to be in control, but are too timid to say so. Instead they snipe and smear who they don't like.

The Small family newspaper is a huge corporation. They have handed this family business down through generation after generation. Not a single vote of who runs the business has ever been taken!

If people don't understand that the corporations want to take over the blogs, look what has happened to the insidedope, since the Passing Parade and Beyond Print went into effect.

The fact is corporate owned newspapers are losing ad revenue. This year alone D/A's ad revenue was down 40% (source: News Report, April 12, 2006). That explains why they have gotten so heavily into blogs.

Remeber how they used to qoute the DOPE, now they don't even qoute him. Instead Blog Editor John Beadler rips off his ideas and doesn't credit the Dope anymore. All one has to do is look at the number of commentors that have posted on the DOPE since the Passing Parade was installed.

If anyone thinks the Small Family isn't trying to steal the blog market from local start-ups like the Dope, I have a ranch to sell you in the Sahara!

Dave Barrett said...

paladin,
I took his suggestion for admitting the public but excluding the press as a diatribe against one particular reporter that he does not like for some reason rather than a serious proposal that I should argue against. If you feel a need for that point of view to be refuted you will have to do it yourself.
Have you given any thought to uploading a picture of Paladin from the old tv show to your blogger account?

lifelongdem said...

The last thing we Democrats need is a Republican owned corporate BLOG telling us (Democrats) who to run for office. The Rock Island Democrat Party Leadership has proven time and time again that they know how to appoint an electable candidate to high office. (Craig, Verstrate, Verschoore, Harmon, Boswell, Jacobs and now Hare).

Anonymous said...

How about Chris Beiderbecke?