As the editors reported here last week, The Daily News will partner with the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce to present live interviews with candidates running for Galveston mayor and for six district city council positions.
The idea is a lightly moderated conversation during which candidates of each race answer questions posed by Daily News Editor Michael A. Smith and chamber President Gina M. Spagnola.
The plan is to spend about an hour with candidates of each race over the course of those two days.
The interviews will be streamed live beginning about 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday of next week by the newspaper and the chamber and recorded so people can watch them as they happen or after the fact.
Last week, we asked readers to submit questions they would like Smith to pose to various candidates on their behalf. Spagnola plans to ask questions gathered from chamber members.
Response to the newspaper’s call for questions was good. By Thursday, the editors had compiled probably more reader questions than there would be time to ask. The deadline for submitting questions passed Friday.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to suggest questions.
As of Thursday, most of the 22 candidates spread across seven races for the mayor’s office and six district city council seats had committed to participate.
A couple just couldn’t appear because of work conflicts, some over health concerns, and one who won’t be there merits special mention. Mayoral candidate Roger “Bo” Quiroga, who is battling cancer, has a treatment scheduled for the morning of the interviews.
Some of the candidates have expressed worry they are somehow going to be at a disadvantage by agreeing to participate.
That’s an odd position for someone seeking public office to take about free exposure, but to each his own.
What we can say is there’s no ulterior motive or hidden agenda at play here. The thing is what it appears to be — a straightforward attempt by the newspaper to provide its readers with information they can use to make informed decisions about the future leadership of the city.
Some of the questions will be pointed, but none of them will be loaded and none will be beyond the scope of what an informed resident seeking a leadership role should be able to answer.
We urge the candidates who can be there but haven’t committed, to do so before much longer.
We urge residents to lobby candidates they favor, or not, and candidates they want to know about to attend.
As we argued last week, November’s elections will be the oddest in recent history and the most important.
The local races on those ballots are more directly important than state and national elections because the things city councils, school boards and the like do or fail to do have more immediate and sometimes more profound consequences for residents.
Local elections are especially important in Galveston, where the entire city council must stand for election every two years. It’s an unusual and, arguably, deeply flawed system under which leadership, vision and direction can change in a day. That has happened pretty often.
For good or ill, that’s Galveston’s system and makes casting votes for city council extremely important.
This year, like all years, the core question facing Galveston voters is whether it’s time for change or a time to stay the course.
This event will be an honest attempt to introduce the candidates to a broad audience of voters.
We hope the holdouts will reconsider, and that everyone will tune in.
• Daily News Editorial Board