Left, right and wrong from Oct. 5 forum
by Tracy Press
Oct 11, 2006 | 561 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Biased forum panel


I was disappointed with Thursday’s candidates’ forum sponsored by the Tracy Press involving Congressman Richard Pombo and Jerry McNerney. What should have been an equal opportunity for each candidate to express his stand on the issues ended up being a biased, unorthodox and an unprofessional target upon Pombo.

Neutrality is paramount in these types of forums; it was clearly not the case. The panel did not exemplify the professional inquisitive decorum, but instead took time prior to each audience question to express their own opinion thus tailoring the questions to represent their views. This slant on the forum did not allow the audience to fully participate but instead filtered their questions through a biased panel.

Despite the way this forum was handled, Pombo showed professionalism in answering each slanted question and ignoring the unsubstantiated attack on his character. These particular types of forums are important for all voters to understand the individual candidates’ views, and when their purpose is not carried out professionally, it harms the candidates, the political process and the voters.

Pombo has done a good job representing our community, and this poorly executed forum purposely did not allow that to be shown.

Nanette Speaker, Tracy

• Editor’s note: The community panelists that asked their own questions were a registered Democrat and a registered Republican.

Unmanaged ‘rally’


We were disappointed how Thursday’s campaign forum with Richard Pombo and Jerry McNerney was managed. We thought we were attending a debate between two candidates for the 11th Congressional District, but it felt more like a rally.

At the beginning of the speech, Pombo clearly asked that his supporters refrain from booing and other negative responses so the two candidates could be heard and the debates could move forward in a professional manner. McNerney did not make this request of his supporters, and they disrupted the debate constantly.

In most debates I have attended, the host has very clear rules for the audience. There did not seem to be any rules, making attending this debate uncomfortable for those wishing to hear the candidates’ positions. If you plan to sponsor future debates, please manage the audience so we can all learn from what the candidates are sharing with us. If not, please advertise your event as a rally.

Monica Dias, Brad Dias, Joanne Souchek, Tracy

• Editor’s note: The audience was not allowed to hold up campaign signs in the seating areas. Both campaigns complied. Decorum was the responsibility of those who attended and their candidates.

Disrespectful audience


Thursday’s campaign forum with Jerry McNerney and Richard Pombo was anything but fair. Pombo might not have done everything right in Congress, but he deserves better from the people of Tracy for his services to this community.

I went there expecting to hear about the candidates’ positions on issues that are affecting the people of Tracy, but most of the questions were geared to make Pombo look like a corrupt politician. Most of the people there were McNerney supporters and had no call to be disrespectful to Rep. Pombo.

McNerney has got nothing to back up his comments, and is ambiguous and indirect. I would much rather have a politician that can make a difference in Congress than someone who hasn’t got a clue as to what he’s talking about.

If records speak for themselves, Pombo has one of the best records in the House. I hope that next time we have the chance to hear the candidates debate, it won’t be so biased that you’re embarrassed to be part of it. I was.

Steve Wilson, Tracy

McNerney owned night


Those at Thursday’s 11th Congressional District forum know that Jerry McNerney owned the night. Sadly, Rep. Richard Pombo couldn’t fill one-quarter of a grade school gymnasium of his supporters in his hometown. When Pombo entered, he was assailed by a chorus of boos that drowned out the cheers of his supporters. The debate saw Pombo start off with a tinge of apprehension. Soon, however, he settled into his tired Washington-speak, spouting off cryptic and inane responses that skirted issues rather than tackling them head-on.

But the audience did not imbibe the swill Pombo was serving. Rather it met his hollow rhetoric with you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-me laughter, which provoked the unsettled Pombo into exchanges with the audience.

Those who read the Tracy Press Friday morning might be under the impression that it was a balanced debate. In actuality, the paper provided balance where none existed. There is no doubt that McNerney and his supporters overwhelmed Pombo.

William Fraser, Tracy

Pombo must go


I was impressed by Thursday’s 11th Congressional District candidates’ forum. Richard Pombo and Jerry McNerney spoke passionately about the issues.

Pombo told the audience several times about issues he cared about and was working on, including small government and local transportation.

But he has been working on these for 14 years, and what do we have Record budget deficits (so much for small government) and terrible highways, or as he puts it, two hours in the car each way going to work (so much for transportation).

Pombo would be better off if he didn’t remind the voters just how ineffective he has been as a congressman. McNerney has a clear understanding of the issues and gives the impression that he will make an excellent congressman. It is time for a change. Pombo must go.

Bruce Germolus, Tracy

Pombo spoke longer


Tracy Press Associate Editor Jack Eddy played the clock as timekeeper again. His attention span is either short or he has a problem with colors.

Rep. Richard Pombo was talking much longer than Jerry McNerney, or maybe it just the same old dialogue. It was boring.

Tom Benigno, Tracy

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