My choices tonight at 6:30 p.m. were to watch Monday Night Football, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer (zzzz), Jeopardy, Entertainment Tonight, Judge Judy, Friends or, over on the E! channel, the 25 Most Memorable Swimsuit Moments.
For some reason, I decided to watch the mayoral debate. Was that the right choice?
If nothing else, the Sac State debate further defined the differences between Mayor Heather Fargo and her rival, Kevin Johnson. Fargo thinks the city "is just fine." Johnson cites statistics that Sac is the second most dangerous place in California. Fargo touts what "we" have done for the city. Johnson touts what he's done, except when it comes to matters involving the ongoing investigation of his St. HOPE operation.
Fargo made the claim that the Sacramento Teachers Association "has chosen to support me because of my support for education." Johnson noted that she got STA support "because of the status quo." In other words, Johnson is willing to take on the STA over school reform and charter schools. Fargo? Not so much.
Fargo wants a gang tax. Johnson thinks you can raise the same amount of money by cutting other city services. Fargo sounds like she would marry gay couples in front of city hall. Johnson would oppose ballot measures to block gay marriage, but claims to have the same position as Obama-Biden -- keep government out of it.
Johnson wants to "align priorities with the resources we have." Fargo wants more resources. Johnson touts change. Fargo touts experience. Johnson says officials should be held accountable (except for his own troubles with St. HOPE). Fargo likes to blame others, such as President Bush, who she blames for the economic meltdown. Johnson attempted humor by talking about his discovery that trajectory would increase his jump-shooting percentage. Fargo didn't laugh. She also was the first to go deeply negative (as noted in an earlier post.) Ms. Mayor, lighten up.
All in all, this debate probably didn't change many votes, but it was interesting to see and hear the concerns of Sacramento state students. My main regret is that KCRA didn't keep the camera on both candidates as the debate ended. You can tell a lot about a person about how they react to the conclusion of a pressure situation. Did they both smile? Did they look at each other? Was one angry, and the other relieved?
We need to get the tape. A picture tells a thousand words. (And I'm reaching my limit.)
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the California Teachers Association had endorsed Fargo. It was the Sacramento Teachers Association. Thanks to a commentator for pointing that out.