The picture above is of Mat-Su mayoral candidate John Leiner, addressing the crowd of about 80 people. Mayor Colberg failed to show Leiner and the people from all across the political spectrum who attended the respect they most assuredly deserved.
Why didn't Mayor Colberg even respond to requests to either attend or provide a statement for the forum? I invite him to call me, the Mat-Su Democrats' Vice Chairman, Pat Chesbro, or somehow convey a message as to why he refused to participate.
Sometimes it seems that all Talis Colberg brought back from his failed stint as Alaska's worst attorney general except Gregg Renkes (some don't give him that high of a rating), was some of the aloofness and deafness, so commonplace in the Palin administration.
It was a very non-partisan forum. Rather than use the monthly dinner as we usually do, to attend to matters of concern to our local and state Democratic Party, we shelved all that, putting bulletins about upcoming Party activities and other liberal or progressive events on wall notices, or on sign-up sheets relegated to the corner. Even Shannyn Moore, who was asked to give some preliminary remarks, spoke passionately of the values Democrats, Republicans and all other Americans involved in local office commonly share. She managed to get Doyle Holmes and Ron Arvin, two very conservative men, laughing out loud.
Here are the questions we asked the candidates:
QUESTIONS FOR SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATES:
1. What is the chief responsibility of the school board?
Context: Historically school board members have had difficulty defining and adhering to the their roles and responsibilities versus the Superintendent's roles and responsibilities. From time to time this confusion has been detrimental to the best interests of our students.
2. Do you support the use of federal stimulus dollars for education? If so, how should they be used?
3. What should the school district do to ensure a safe environment for civil discourse regarding issues of ideology and race?
Context: Over the past year there has been a significant increase in the number of reports of inappropriate ideological and racial remarks by teachers and students in our classrooms, on our campuses and on our school buses. These remarks are intended to inflame rather than inform. These remarks have also resulted in retaliation against individuals who have had the courage to speak up for civility. To date, we have heard next to nothing from School Board Members, the Superintendent, principals or teachers regarding strategies for reining in these divisive, destructive and, usually, false remarks.
QUESTIONS FOR BOROUGH CANDIDATES
1. What is the biggest issue that convinced you to run?
2. What is the role of government?
3. What land use issues do you see in the Borough?
I wish the Frontiersman or the Anchorage Daily News Valley Bureau had been able to send a reporter. I was helping Pat Chesbro coordinate the candidates, who came forward, one seat at a time to address individual questions from the set. And I had to deal with a sound system that looked and sounded like it was going to blow up any second.
Even with the absence of Colberg, the forum went exceedingly well, and most candidates stayed around for 30 minutes or so, to meet people one- on-one.
I respect mayoral candidate Leiner, who is somewhat of a local muckraker. I'm not convinced he is mayoral material, though.
He told me afterward, "Talis isn't here because he's going to win, and he doesn't care."
I stupidly voted for Colberg in the bye election last summer, but I'm not going to make that mistake again. Any ideas on a write-in candidate?