I’ve had this exchange with three women from the League (starts with the last e-mail below, my response to their letter requesting my Campaign Finance Statement to my suggestion as to how they might serve voters well in our first real test of instant runoff voting on the 5th of November):
Thank you for your response, but you are still dead wrong.
I think your policies need to be completely reworked in light of supporting justice and transparency in democratic elections using alternative voting methods like instant runoff voting where there will always be more candidates than in conventional elections using plurality voting. Frankly, I am surprised that you have not attempted to do so.
The debate format you have traditionally provided will not do for Minneapolis and you need to do something different long before November 5 to maintain any sort of legitimacy that you once had.
You need to take advantage of the ubiquitous technology in use everywhere today to provide a clear picture of every candidate relative to the others.
KFAI is the only news outlet providing a modicum of information about each candidate, probably the only exposure than some of us will ever get in the news media, with their short interviews aired on the Morning Blend this month. I believe they did this after I suggested via e-mail that KNOW do the same when their reporter, Curtis Gilbert, libeled me in his post to the MPR blog, The Cities (I also balled out Gilbert, as this was indeed libel and quite actionable; but it would not have served me well to sue, I think, although it still rankles when it pops up in web searches).
The KFAI interviews suggest a path for LMVMpls.
LMVMpls can sponsor in partnership with some public television or radio station (MTN or TPT or MPR or perhaps a paper), rounds of video interviews with each candidate using identical questions, providing each candidate the answers of every other candidate for rebuttal should they choose to address any of the issues that come up (they may ignore other candidates and their issues at their peril), and subsequent rounds for elucidating the different arguments.
Such a video debate broadcast over the air or on the web along with Minneapolis cable 14 & 79, will provide a better service for Minneapolis voters than picking winners based on money raised. The debate could be broken down into programs for each question or topic in the debate as a whole, i.e., do it as a series.
You have eliminated participation for over three quarters of those candidates in the race; this is directly contrary to your mission and is unacceptable. You must act to remedy this error, now.
Dear Mr. Kahn,
Thank you for your email. We appreciate your questions and concerns, and will take them into consideration for future forums. Due to the new challenge of a large candidate pool in Minneapolis and limited organizational resources, the LWV Mpls Board made a best effort to create fair, inclusive selection criteria for this year’s forum. As was mentioned in your invitation, all candidates were invited to submit their information to the LWV Mpls for consideration, and only candidates who chose to submit their info to the LWV Mpls office were considered for participation, regardless of campaign finance status. Additionally, all candidates, regardless of participation in the forum event, are welcome to bring literature to display at the designated tables outside the event.
The LWV Mpls believes strongly in its mission to encourage informed and active participation in government, and is acutely aware of its nonpartisan status. The League plans to revisit our policy for future forums, and welcomes constructive feedback for consideration.
Candidate Forum Coordinator
From: Bill Kahn [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 11:43 PM
To: Vote LWVMpls
Subject: Regarding Your Minneapolis Mayoral Debate
Hi,I have not registered my campaign committee as I’ve spent a little over $30 so far, just my filing fee plus a domain registration fee and a month’s worth of hosting services, so I haven’t filed any Campaign Finance Reports, either; however, all future Campaign Finance Reports from me will show the same number of contributions: none.I’ll be tied for dead last with a number of the other 34 candidates.I hope you find other criteria for choosing who will participate in your debate than financial support, from supporters or the candidate’s own deep pockets, and you can find further advice and hopes at my website.Sincerely,Bill Kahn