A letter from the editor:
Last night, I hosted the fourth Milton Neighbors social. About 50 Milton neighbors turned out over the course of over three hours to mingle, chat, and enjoy one another’s company.
Many 2016 election candidates were in attendance and one thing dawned on me as we neared the close of the event. Even though it is election season, which comes with a great deal of stress for many of us, we are so fortunate to have so many people who truly care about this town and are willing to work countless hours for little or no money in order to better Milton, MA.
And how excellent is that?
Last night, two candidates won new Milton Neighbors mugs using a random number generator app associated with a list of people who signed up for the event. A few people suggested this was rigged. Now, don’t get me wrong, the mugs are pretty awesome, so any jealousy is understandable, but the drawing was 100% random. Given the large percentage of candidates in attendance, it was bound to happen.
Tonight, I am moderating the East Milton Neighborhood Association’s candidate forum.
The forum will not be a debate, but rather, an opportunity for candidates to introduce themselves, and for individuals in East Milton to ask questions. You can view the format and schedule here: emna02186.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/2016-candidate-forum-handout-v3.pdf.
Last year, EMNA Board Member Arthur Doyle did a fantastic job moderating the event. This year, Mr. Doyle had an unexpected work event that prevents him from attending. The EMNA Executive board asked me to fill in as a substitute for Mr. Doyle. The EMNA Executive Board gave careful thought to how to best conduct the forum to ensure fairness for the candidates and in a way that works to eliminate any real or perceived bias, including whom they asked to be moderator and time keepers. All Board members commented on the format and ordering of candidates – and I am not a board member.
That said, I am grateful, excited (and a bit nervous) to have the opportunity to introduce each candidate.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way came the assumption that I am actively in the “camp” of one of the selectmen candidates. I’m unsure as to how this assumption started, but to date, I have been politically neutral with respect to all public statements or comments about the privacy of my vote.
Furthermore, the role of moderator is to facilitate the forum. I will not be selecting the audience members who have questions; the candidates will do this themselves. In this role, the format and schedule is very strict. There will be at least one timekeeper to assist in being standardized and fair with allotted time. The East Milton Neighborhood Association’s board members have also agreed to help move things along, if needed.
In short, it is nearly impossible for the moderator to execute any bias during the forum.
And given the caliber of our candidates, I know that they will be respectful of the rules.
For anyone wishing to attend the forum, it is tonight, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. at the East Congregational Church. Precedence for questions to attendees will be given to East Milton residents. You can view the format and schedule here: emna02186.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/2016-candidate-forum-handout-v3.pdf.
Please get to know the candidates by attending the forum tonight or the Council on Aging Forum on April 21. You can also read election news and announcements, and visit candidates’ websites and Facebook pages:
- Michael Chinman, Moderator candidate
- Katie Conlon, Selectman candidate
- Bob Hiss, Moderator candidate
- Richard Wells, Selectman candidate
And please vote this April 26, 2016.
Melissa Fassel Dunn