[Update: Seems that WXXI is doing a televised Mayoral debate on September 3rd and Alex White is NOT invited. Alex just finished participating in the 19th Ward Forum and he added a perspective that wasn't brought by the candidates from the other party. Channel 8 & WXXI are supposed to use the public airwaves to serve the public. This does not serve the public.]
Up until now, Green Rochester candidates have been primarily talking about issues. If you haven't had a chance to check out our platforms, I highly suggest you do so and give us feedback.
But it's important to take a moment and talk about politics. As we have been pointing out, there hasn't been a non-democrat elected to office in the City of Rochester in decades. Partisan or not, that's not good for our community.
There are a lot of reasons for this, but I'm going to focus on just one.
The conventional "wisdom" in Rochester is, win the democratic primary and you're in. It's understandable why that's said, because that is what has happened for years. Because of this, the media, community groups and, yes, voters pay a lot of attention to the primary election. Whatever conventional wisdom says, it's not acceptable for the media and community groups to do this. Why?
Those who run in the primary are invited to community forums and debates. The media provides extensive coverage. Heck, every year, City Newspaper makes sure to say at some point that the winner of the democratic primary wins the general election. It's the same as announcing the winner before the polls close - it stifles voter turnout and gives an unfair advantage to certain candidates.
By the time the general election season starts, the winners of the democratic primary have already had months of coverage, giving the voters the chance to get to know them much better than those who are already on the ballot for the general election. Even if other candidates are given attention and invited to post-primary forums, the winners of that primary also get additional coverage. It's as "fair and balanced" as the network who coined the phrase.
That is why this year the Greens have begun to fight "conventional wisdom". We are arguing to be involved in democratic primary events that are open to the public. In a surprise move, the Democrat and Chronicle has insisted that our Mayoral candidate, Alex White, be included in such events and the 19th Ward Neighborhood Association has agreed.
Ironically, the local League of Women Voters and Channel 8 have excluded Alex from their televised debate. LWV claims that voters will be confused if a non-democrat is in the debate. They think you're too stupid to understand that Alex will be on the ballot in November and not September. I thought the LWV's mission was to educate voters. Oh, and they haven't committed to another debate for the general election. So, they're non-partisan, but voters in the Republican, Independence, Green, Working Families, and Conservative Parties as well as those who choose to be in no party don't seem to count. Epic fail!
You can help change this. Whatever group, church, organization or neighborhood you belong to, have a candidate forum or debate and invite all the candidates! We need more voices and discussion, not less.
It's time to put an end to this political monopoly! We deserve a Rochester for ALL of us!