The Marin League of Women Voters announced yesterday that it and the Novato Soroptomists will sponsor a 6th District congressional debate on Oct. 13. However, this debate will be recorded in a small studio and no audience will be allowed to attend. The League claims that this restrictive format has been followed before and that there simply isn’t room for an audience in the studio they have chosen.
The Sonoma League of Women Voters was able to both record the Sept. 20 debate in Santa Rosa AND hold it in a location (the Santa Rosa City Council chambers) where 200 or so people could attend. Anyone who was there or saw the video knows that the event had no significant disruptions; it went well.
Why won’t the Marin League of Women Voters do both as well? Why won’t the Marin League accommodate and embrace a live audience? This is ridiculous and rather alarming. Campaigns should be open and transparent. The whole idea of a debate is to allow the voters to see their candidates up close and personal. A sterile debate held in a closed studio suggests the Marin League can’t handle a forum with an audience. If that’s the case the organizers should find themselves another activity to occupy themselves. If they can’t conduct a debate in front of actual voters, they don’t deserve the name League of Women Voters. I’m dismayed and embarrassed for the Marin League.
If you would like to contact the Marin League and ask them to reconsider their no-audience restriction, here is the address and telephone number:
League Of Women Voters Of Marin County Ste 108, 4340 Redwood Hwy, San Rafael, CA 94903-2131 (415) 507-0824 ()