The Commerce Industrial Council and the League of Woman Voters on Monday night held a forum for candidates running for three city council seats up for grabs in the March 5 election.
The forum was filmed, and will be televised on the city’s public access television channel in the run up to the election.
Incumbents Lilia R. Leon, Tina Baca Del Rio and Ivan Altamirano and challengers Joanna Flores, Jaime Valencia and Art Gonzalez faced off on a series of topics. The incumbents are running as a slate, while Valencia and Gonzalez are also running together. Flores is running solo.
League of Woman Voters’ Margo Reeg, who moderated the event, took questions from the public for the forum that lasted well over an hour. The candidates were given time for opening and closing statements and one minute to answer most of the questions.
Candidates were quizzed on how they would stimulate the economy and create jobs, whether they can make difficult decisions, their priorities for spending voter approved Measure AA funds and their willingness to adjust the salaries of city employees who took pay-cuts last year.
Incumbents were asked to give an accounting of what they accomplished while in office, while their challengers were asked to detail what they hope to achieve if elected and how they would go about accomplishing their goals.
A broad range of topics, from whether the city should pay for Ms. Commerce’s attire for public events to whether city employees should be allowed to endorse candidates, and whether contracting a “motivational speaker” to address city staff was a wise decision given the city’s tight budget, were addressed during the forum.
Candidates also answered questions on public safety, sports programs and projects such as the Washington Blvd Project and the stalled Urban Entertainment Center.
The forum will be broadcast continuously on Commerce’s Cable Channels 3 and 6 until Election Day, according to Commerce Industrial Council Executive Director Eddie Tafoya.
To find your ballot and voting place, visit http://smartvoter.org