Every 2 years, for the past 30, the Carmel Residents Association has sponsored the Carmel Candidates Forum. These 15 Forums have allowed voters to assess candidates seeking election to mayoral and council positions. What makes this election different from the others is that for the first time in its history, Carmel will hold its Municipal Election in November, coincidental with the national election. Public interest in reducing costs of our municipal elections made it inevitable that the stand-alone Carmel election would merge with the national as all other Monterey Peninsula cities have done.
This is decidedly a break in tradition. Formerly, city elections were held in April, with members of the Monterey County Election Department at City Hall to reveal to expectant candidates and their supporters, results of the election. Although there will be no representatives from the election department on election eve, the City will still host a party in City Hall Chambers.
As in years past, the room will be filled with the candidates and their supporters all in a state of excitement, anticipation and dread. City staff will serve cake, punch and cookies from tables festively festooned in red, white and blue. Instead of the city clerk tallying results on a large white board as they slowly trickle in, this new system will have results periodically posted on a large screen.
First to be tallied by the county election officials will be the absentee ballots. A hush will fall over Chambers as people read the incoming results. Slowly over the next several hours, we will wait for results from the two voting precincts. Finally, photographers and reporters from the various papers, eager for the best shot or best quote, will surround the winners.
The change in posting results will in no way diminish the public interest in the Candidates Forum. In fact, standing room only is always forecast for the Carpenter Hall event.
Monterey County District Attorney, Dean Flippo, will return as moderator of the Forum and will direct questions to the candidates which have been written by the audience. The candidates, sitting at tables draped with bunting, will give opening and closing statements and answer the questions posed by the moderator.
CRA timers will make sure that opening and closing statements are kept to the times set and that questions will be answered succinctly so that all candidates may have a fair shake at representation.
Pencils and cards for questions will be given out by CRA members attired in red/white/blue, and runners will pick up cards from the audience.
The community is encouraged to come early for best seating. The meeting, which will start promptly at 7:00 p.m., is free and open to the public.