Thursday, August 05, 2010

Guest Blog on the Last Council At-Large Forum

Leisure World resident and Democratic Party activist Paul Bessel sent us the following guest blog about last week's County Council At-Large forum, which the Gazette characterized as an all-out attack by the incumbents on challenger Hans Riemer. Your author was not present, but Bessel was, and the following is his reaction to the event.


I attended the July 29 County Council At Large candidates’ debate hosted by Progressive Neighbors and I was upset by what I saw and heard. Some of the candidates, especially some of the incumbent Council Members, behaved in a way that disheartened me and I think should disappoint all citizens.

Several times, some of the incumbents (not all) laughed and whispered among themselves, and sometimes interrupted, while other candidates were speaking.

I understand that these incumbents may have felt that some statements by their challengers were inaccurate or exaggerated. However, in my opinion that is no excuse for acting in a manner that was disrespectful to others and presented a very poor image to voters.

Toward the end of the debate some of the incumbents said they would welcome working with any of the challengers who might win in the coming election, but their earlier comments and actions did not support those statements.

Challenger Hans Riemer seemed to be the target of most of the attacks, yet in my opinion he handled himself with courtesy towards others. I feel that he and other challengers presented themselves and their ideas well.

The behavior of some incumbents indicates that the County Council could benefit from the addition of some new people with new perspectives, especially younger people who have good ideas for the future of Montgomery County and who show respect for others. Hans Riemer seems to fit that description well and in my opinion the attacks against him backfired and should cause more people to support him. The same applies to the other challengers, too.

My hope for future events is that all candidates, especially current office holders, will show respect for all other candidates and voters, and will focus exclusively on telling us why they feel we should vote for them.

Paul M. Bessel