There was to have been a debate among three of the leading mayoral candidates tonight (Nov. 12), sponsored by the League of Women Voters and televised by UT-TV.
Some time ago, Nathan Fletcher said he could not come, but the debate was still going forward. "Yesterday morning I heard from [Kevin] Faulconer," who said he couldn't come, says Kay Ragan, co-president of the league. "Faulconer didn't give any reason; his office said something had come up."
The debate was to include "three or four questions about finance — I don't know how you could have a forum without talking about city finances," says Ragan. "I am very disappointed that these two men [Faulconer and Fletcher] didn't see a grassroots organization, non-partisan, important enough" for their participation.
The league and UT-TV jointly decided that two candidates (Mike Aguirre and David Alvarez) would not be enough and canceled the debate.
Charles Langley, communications director for Aguirre's campaign, says that one of the questions certainly would have dealt with the claim of Faulconer and former mayor Jerry Sanders that pension changes would free up a billion dollars for infrastructure improvement. But even the U-T, which backs Faulconer, said the claim was "flawed."
Aguirre has pointed out that there is an $8 billion deficit in the pension system. Canceling of the debate (and a previous debate that was abruptly canceled) "is handing the election to Faulconer, stifling a meaningful debate on finances," says Langley.