Update: After writing this blog post, I spoke to The League of Women Voters, and SFGTV and the City Attorney's office. After making these phone calls, I was assured that the public would in fact be able to videotape the debate and on Thursday night, I did see plenty of cameras in the audience. To the best of my knowledge, everybody was provided full access to the debate.
In the city of San Francisco, a dozen people are running for mayor of San Francisco. I am one of them.
Most of us are serious candidates pushing real issues and innovative solutions to the city's problems though you might not think so reading the local newspapers or watching the television.
In fact, many people in San Francisco don't even know there is an election next month. Of those who do, many are unaware that Gavin Newsom, the incumbent, is not running unopposed. By all accounts the mayor is running a very quiet campaign, and has refused to participate in any candidate forums or debates. Except one.
Almost all of the candidates, including Newsom, will be taking part in a candidate forum tonight. It's sponsored by the League of Women Voters
and will take place at 6:00PM in the Koret Auditorium at the main branch of the public library. The event will be taped by SFGTV
, the local government television station, and according to an e-mail I received from Jolinda Sim, the Candidate Forums chair for the League of Women Voters, "no videotaping or flash photography [will be] allowed due to the fact that SFGOV TV is taping this forum for broadcast."
Given that this is a public event being held on city property and pertaining a to government election, the mere suggestion that the media not be granted full access to the event is deeply troubling. The fact that the government is actually involved in taping the forum means that the city is complicit in denying the media access. This is not only alarming, it may even be illegal.… Read more