The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

October 6, 2008
What to watch for in the mayoral debate tonight

HA2_3877.JPGMayor Heather Fargo will face off against former NBA hoopster Kevin Johnson at 6:30 p.m. tonight in their first debate since the primary.

The Swarm will be offering commentary after, and possibly during, the mayoral debate. While it probably won't draw the viewership of the Palin-Biden smackdown, we'll be interested in your reaction.

Here are five things I'll be watching for as the two-term mayor debates Johnson, an Oak Park businessman and community activist making his first run for office.

1. Will either candidate articulate, in detail, how they will guide the city through what could be an extended recession, with increased crime and a downturn in tax revenue?

2. Which candidate will be the first to "go negative" on the other? Both have run a relatively clean campaign since the primary. Will that end tonight?


3. How will Johnson react when asked about the ongoing federal investigation into his St. HOPE organization and its use of federal money and volunteers? To date, he has tried to minimize the seriousness of the allegations against St. Hope, saying he is confident the U.S. attorney won't press criminal charges. But will that the stock answer be enough to put voters' minds to rest about the probe, especially if the U.S. attorney doesn't take action before Nov. 4?

4. How will Fargo react when asked about the water meters that went missing and other irregularities, and alleged criminal activity, in the city's utilities department? So far, she's tried to distance herself from the debacle, saying it was a matter of mid-level managers not following proper procedures. Here's a question that should be asked: Why didn't you call for an audit of all departments long before this missing-meter scandal surfaced?

5. How many times will each candidate use the term "world-class city" when referring to Sacramento or its future? And how would they define "world-class"? Paris? Portland? Or Phoenix?




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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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