2001-08-25 / Editorial/Opinion

What They Don’t Know Will Harm Them

What They Don’t Know Will Harm Them

There have been a number of political forums held in Rockaway over the past several weeks that have spotlighted the candidates running for City Council in both the 31st and 32nd Councilmanic Districts. These forums are important to both the candidates and to those who must make the very personal decision about who they will vote for. This is especially true in this election where there is no incumbent to claim the high ground. That is why we were so disappointed at the turnout for the candidate’s forum sponsored by the Citizen’s Union that was held last Monday night at Beach Channel High School. The turnout for the 31st district was particularly upsetting. While a dozen or so people showed up for the forum, only one young lady was present not because she was with one of the candidates, but because she wanted to hear them speak on the issues. The young lady left prior to the beginning of the candidate’s presentations, blaming this paper for not publicizing the event properly. We do not believe that for a moment. The event was publicized in a number of ways and it is incumbent upon voters to make themselves aware of events such as this one that take place in the community. The turnout for the 32nd district was better, but not overwhelming. Fewer than 100 people who reside in that district showed up for the forum, and many of them were there specifically for one candidate or the other. There were few residents who had not yet made up their minds about for whom they were going to vote. The major component of the democratic ideal is an informed electorate. On a more global level, voters have daily newspapers and television to provide the information necessary to enlighten voters as to the issues and to the stand of the candidates on each of those issues. On a more local level, this newspaper and the forums sponsored by various organizations serve to provide that information. The Wave attempts to provide a free and open forum to all of the candidates, but it is a fact of life that some candidates know how to play the media game better than others. The political forum provides an opportunity for voters to find first-hand the information they need to make that informed choice. Unfortunately, it is a party to which all are invited and few come. This is a case of what voters do not know will hurt them when they step into the election booth on September 11.

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