Friday, August 05, 2011

Three Ogden City Mayoral Candidate Debates Coming Up Prior To The 9/13/11 Primary - Updated

Plenty of chances for Ogden political wonks to take a good long look at all eight Ogden City mayoral candidates prior to the September 13 primary

In connection with our ongoing 2011 Ogden City Municipal Election, we're pleased to post this press release, which we received from mayoral candidate Steve Van Wagoner's campaign this morning, concerning the scheduling of three pre-primary election mayoral candidate debates, the first of which is set for Thursday, August 11, 2011:
Ogden City “First Mayoral Debate”

Ogden, Utah (August 03, 2011) –After the success of the last event “Meet your next Mayor”, held on July 28, 2011, a second event was agreed to by the seven candidates in attendance and on August 11th the candidates will meet again. Save the date because you will not want to miss this first election debate.

Thursday August 11, 2011 from 5:30 -7:30 PM the “First Mayoral Debate” will be held in the Lecture Hall in the Business Building, Room #BU162 at OWATC located at 200 North Washington Blvd, Ogden, UT 84404. The candidates will meet again for the “First Mayoral Debate” organized by the Vote Van Wagoner campaign. It will be an informal setting for the citizens to have their questions answered by all of the candidates. Once again we have invited all registered candidates and the community to come and meet the candidate(s) for the Ogden City Mayoral election scheduled for September 13, 2011.

Questions will be presented by the community and asked through a neutral moderator from out of the area. Each candidate will be given a one minute opportunity to answer the questions. The goal is for the citizens to ask the important questions that they want to know about and the focus will be on every aspect of Ogden City.

We look forward to full participation with the community, the candidates, and the press. The following candidates confirmed on July 28 that they would be willing to participate: Brandon Stephenson, Neil Hansen, Mike Caldwell, Susan Van Hooser, Jason Goddard, John Thompson, and Steven Van Wagoner.

You will also want to save the date of August 24, 2011 for the second debate organized by the Ogden Ethics Project. This debate will be held in the Browning Theater at Union Station from 6:30-8:30 PM.

We would also like to ask any willing organizations and citizens within Ogden City to help by sponsoring and/or hosting the third debate tentatively scheduled for September 01, 2011. We seek public input. The date may change but we hope this will help make all candidates feel comfortable and get everyone in Ogden City involved in our democracy.

Once again join the candidates on August 11, 2011 for the first Ogden City mayoral debate.

Steven Van Wagoner
Candidate for Mayor of Ogden City
Be sure to mark your calenders, folks. It appears that Ogden City political wonks will have plenty of chances prior to the September 13 primary election to take a good long look at all eight Ogden City mayoral candidates.
ItalicUpdate 8/6/11 10:21 a.m.: Oops! Looks like it might be "back to the drawing board" for Steve Van Wagoner's August 11 debate event. Per the ever-alert Dan S.: "Looks like only half the candidates will be at the August 11 debate:
Of course candidate squabbles over Ogden Municipal Election debate sponsorship, rules and format are really nothing new. In the interest of maximizing the number of opportunities for Emerald City voters to observe mayoral candidates to "strut their stuff" however, we'd hoped all candidates would ignore any irregularities and just go along with a sponsorship which candidate Neil Hansen rightly refers to as "unusual." Alas, it appears Ogden voters will have no such luck, and that at least four candidates will "play it by the standard candidate strategy book."

Update 8/10/11 9:00 a.m.: the SL Trib has a story up this reporting that five of the candidates for mayor will not attend the candidate forum organized by Candidate Waggoner. Who will be there? here's the story:


blackrulon said...

As we approach the primary election I would like to ask people to remember a simple slogan in evaluating  the various candidat. "Follow The Money" Deep Throat

Carolyn Saam Bennion said...

Somehow it does not seem right that one of the candidates for mayor is sponsoring these debates.  Mayoral debates  should be sponsored by a group or third party that is not directly connected with any one candidate.

Tom said...

Well, I'm no fan of Van Wagoner but until you give a reason I can't agree with you.  Since he's just a Mr. Mom maybe he has more time on his hands since the rest of the real candidates have a job.

BeckyCleanShoes said...

Meanwhile,  over at the S.E.,  a citizen writes an opinion praising all things Mayor G, lamenting the leadership-hole his departure will create.

You seriously cannot make this stuff up.

OgdenLover said...

Rather than co tacting the candidates privately, van Wagoner announced the next debate at the end of the Meet the Candidates, asking them if they would attend. How about being out on the spot!

Sejones said...

The Ben Lomond venue is fantastic! They should be commended for volunteering the use of their facility. The credibility of these events is in question as long as it is hosted by a candidate. The fact that VanWagoner put all of the candidates on the spot about a follow-on event without prior discussions was unbelievable. I encourage all of the candidates to decline this event and put their efforts into supporting truly unbiased events.

Dan S. said...

Looks like only half the candidates will be at the August 11 debate:

Dan S. said...

In case anyone is wondering, let me explain how the August 24 forum has been organized.

Back in May when the Ogden Ethics Project got started, we realized that with at least five announced candidates, a pre-primary candidates' forum of some kind would be very helpful to voters. We initially wanted to collaborate with one or more other groups to put together such an event. So in June we contacted the League of Women Voters and the WSU Political Science Department, but both said they wouldn't have the resources to organize anything before the primary. We also asked a few of the candidates if they knew of anyone organizing such an event, and at that time, none did. Fearing that nobody would put together a pre-primary public event for the candidates, we decided to do it ourselves.

We then contacted the Union Station Foundation regarding use of the Browning Auditorium. They generously agreed, with the firm understanding that we would give all the candidates fair and equal treatment (in a whole variety of specific ways which we discussed). We then picked a date based on availability of the room.

Only after the date was set did we notify any of the candidates. That is, none of the candidates were consulted in advance regarding the date. Fortunately, with a month's notice, all were available and agreed to participate.

We have also found an excellent moderator who lives outside Ogden and is not affiliated with our organization or with any of the candidates.  Soon we will start assembling a list of questions for the candidates, inviting input from across the community. We'll also have to come up with a format that allows the candidates to address a broad range of issues while each getting to speak for only ten minutes. Whatever the questions and the format, we will take steps to ensure that all candidates receive the same information in advance.

Ozboy said...


What is wrong with just letting the public at this event ask questions directly to the candidates?  Any "moderator" in between the public and the questions ask will tend to give the impression that the fix is in and the candidates are being protected from what is really on the mind of the public.

Stupid and aggressive questions that are meant to embarrass any given candidate will be recognized by the audience as such and popular reaction should be enough to stifle such actions.

There should be no filters between the candidates the the public!

Dan S. said...

Oz, I see your point but I think there's a real danger that some of the questions would end up being "softballs" thrown to a candidate by his or her own campaign volunteers. Also, even when this isn't the intent, off-the-cuff questions can sometimes end up being pretty vague, eliciting nothing but platitudes from the candidates. This event will be a tremendous challenge because we have so many candidates. Each candidate will end up getting to talk for no more than ten minutes so we need to make every minute count.

That said, nothing is set in stone at this time and all suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

Ozboy said...


It has been my observation at numerous candidate nights, or debates, that the ones where the questions are not filtered through a moderator are the most successful and informative.  The questions end up really representing what the public is thinking and interested in, not what the moderator thinks is proper or pertinent.  I think open questions with no filtering are also the most popular forums for the audience and the hard questions have a much greater chance of being ask than if they are filtered first.  A good moderator should be able to handle ringers and abusers in the audience as they appear.   I think the moderator should also be approved by all the candidates who are participating - not just by the sponsor of the event - to insure complete neutrality.

This is an important gloves off election coming up, not a ward ice cream social where pussy footin around is the name of the game.

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