One week to go until election day and the candidates are inundating us with advertising blitzes trying to convince the voting public to vote for them. Each candidate tells us how they will be responsive to the needs of the public. Each one tells us how important the citizens are to them.
Last week we tested each of the candidates with our Candidates Responsiveness to their Constituents Test. Of the six Mayoral Candidates, only two took the time to answer questions posed by the general public. Were the other four candidates too busy to take a minute or two of their time to answer questions from potential voters? Was their staff negligent or also too busy to respond to the questions posed by our readers? Or, maybe they just thought that our readers were just not important enough to take the time to address their issues? Maybe the questions were just too tough to address?
On April 23, 2001 we asked our readers to submit questions to the candidates. On Friday, April 27 at 5:00pm, we submitted two of the questions to each of the candidates via Fax and E-Mail. Each candidate or one of his staff members were given the opportunity to take one to two minutes of their busy schedule to answer the two questions submitted.
So we wonder what the excuses are going to be.
1.It is not fair to expect us to answer questions from a minority of the constituents during our last days of our busy campaign. Aren’t all constituents important?
2.You didn’t give us enough time. Is your staff not adequate enough to take a minute or two to address an issue? Or is your staff not well versed on your position of the issues?
3.We never received the questions. I guess the fax machine and e-mail are just for show only.
4.It is not the mayors position to micromanage the city, that is the councils job. How would you know what affects everyday El Pasoans if you don’t take a minute or two to listen to them.
Casting an informed vote for a mayoral candidate requires an in depth understanding of the issues affecting our city. Issues from public safety to family harmony are important and we shouldn’t expect our mayor to be an expert in all of these. What we should expect from each candidate is a mechanism in place that will listen to our concerns. The mayor represents all of El Paso, not just special interest groups or big business. Each and every El Paso resident should be able to submit a question to the mayor so that at least the issue can be brought to his or her attention. It is not very difficult to assign a staff member, familiar with the candidates position on issues to respond to the general public. Cataloging and addressing issues from the general public should not be a difficult task to manage. An entry level assistant can be assigned to this task with a weekly or monthly report being given to the mayor. This allows the mayor to get a feel for what is on El Paso’s mind. The majority of El Paso residents are hard-working, families with little time to attend public meetings and forums or city council sessions. It is these individuals that the mayoral candidates should reach out to during these elections, as they are the majority of the candidate’s constituents.
We should commend Mayoral Candidates, Larry Francis and Carl Starr for addressing the true constituent, El Paso’s hard working families.
We just hope that the rest of the candidates don’t forget that it is the average El Pasoan that suffers or benefits from your actions. Take a moment to ask what is happening to the average citizen and remember that special interest groups are just that, special interest.
Thank you readers for your participation! Of all your wonderful questions, we decided to pick two that were representative of all your concerns. As this was just a test of each candidates responsiveness, we felt that these two questions would be representative of the issues that concern you and also a great opportunity for each candidate to prove that they really do care about their constituents. As you go to the polls on May 5, 2001, remember who took the time to address your issues and who just paid lip service to it.
The questions and the responses:
QUESTION # 1 R. Chumsae
What do each of the candidates know about and think about converting to a City Manager form of government rather than the Strong Mayoral form now in use? I feel that El Paso is badly out of step with most other large cities in relying on the Strong Mayoral form of government. I believe that a schooled and experienced municipal manager could provide the foundation required to move our city toward a new vision. As smart and as caring and as giving as our present and past mayors have been, I believe that they generally have lacked a consistent and cohesive vision for the future and an accompanying plan to achieve that vision. I would much rather see the mayor and city council acting as an executive board overseeing a professional city manager.
Larry Francis supports a strong Mayor form of government because it is greatly more efficient than any other form.
Carl Starr supports a city manager form of government.
QUESTION # 2 J. Chavez
What is your opinion on Bilingual Education?
Larry Francis supports bilingual education in the primary grades.
Carl Starr supports bilingual education.