There is a League of Women Voters (US) rule that when there are two candidates vying for a seat and only one is willing to participate that the candidate forum will not be held with just one candidate. Is it surprising they don’t follow the rules in Minnetrista? I declined their invitation for reasons specified here and they held the forum anyway with only the incumbent mayor.
I received an invitation to participate in an online League of Women Voters (LWV) candidate forum in September. LWV claims to be a nonpartisan group so I wanted to find out if it was true. I had reason to be skeptical from watching their local 2018 forums (see blog post “Were incumbents given forum questions?”) but was curious about their claim of nonpartisanship.
I looked up their organization on http://www.Guidestar.org, a site that publishes the IRS 990 forms of nonprofits. From their most recently filed 990 I found the names of their Communications Chair (Jeorgette Knoll) and Executive Director (Amy Arcand) and looked them up on Facebook to see if they appeared to be objective nonpartisans as advertised. Below is what I found:
No bias there on the part of those in charge of communications and running the Minnesota League of Women Voters organization. No doubt these two will be reprimanded and their Facebook accounts locked up tight going forward but I think I’ve seen enough to know this group is not transparent about their ideology.
The email I received from LWV indicated the forum would not be live-streamed (what if someone says something they don’t like?) but would be recorded “in case there are technical difficulties” and broadcast later. Candidates appearing must agree to the airing of a possibly edited version of the recording at a later date. Sorry, I will pass.
It’s time for people to stop accepting the fraudulent claims of “nonpartisan” nonprofits when there is evidence to the contrary. The League of Women Voters is obviously a partisan organization. There’d be nothing wrong with that if they were just honest and didn’t pretend they weren’t. No doubt our incumbent mayor will be more than happy to play that familiar game with them.
An observation watching the LWV’s Minnetrista candidates forum: Not a single question posed to candidates mentioned taxes, fees or debt growth. Something else noteworthy is there was NO information online ANYWHERE about the scheduling of the forum. It wasn’t on the LWV events calendar, City of Minnetrista events calendar and doing a search the morning of the event turned up nothing (I’m good at searching). Yet, the room was packed with “Our Minnetrista” people supporting the incumbents. Since when are public forums by invitation only?
Were the League of Women Voters candidate forum questions given ahead of time to incumbents? It certainly appears that way. Watch the two clips below and decide for yourself. I can assure you they were not provided to challenger Elroy Balgaard. Also note how the questions were designed specifically for incumbents starting off with eliciting gratuitous praise of current council members.
Mortenson indicates a question will be coming up:
Mortenson again knew the question was coming up:
It appeared answers were memorized and rehearsed rather than extemporaneous. Residents want to know who candidates are, not how well they can memorize “Our Minnetrista” scripted responses.