I Like a Good Debate

Posted on October 19, 2009

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Tonight, the Highlands Coalition hosted a mayoral debate between Mayor Chip Clancy and Judy Flanagan Kennedy at the Ford School in the Highlands. Clancy sat on the left side of the long table on stage, and Flanagan Kennedy on the right. Over 200 folding chairs were arranged in the school auditorium with an aisle down the middle dividing the audience into two separate camps. Judging by the sustained applause and other reaction, the audience  mirrored their candidates’s position at the table. By 7:15 PM, all the chairs were filled as well as some bleacher stands off to the side.

Other audience reaction included a woman who called Clancy a “scumbag” and accused him of not living in Lynn. As she stormed out, I heard Clancy say, “My wife would debate you on that…”

Prepared questions from Coalition members at first weighed heavily toward neighborhood issues such as voting at the Ford school and the closing of the Ford School Annex, but they later addressed such city-wide issues as the distribution of anti-violence grant money and residency. Other audience members were given the opportunity to participate by writing on notecards and submitting to the moderators.  The Coalition ran a professional debate; one nice touch was the beeping of the alarm on a stopwatch over PA system as candidates ran over their allotted time.

The debate itself was divisive at times, with each candidate drawing sharp distinctions between most their positions. Clancy emphasized his experienced leadership while Flanagan Kennedy stood for change. In any debate, Status Quo usually has a built-in advantage. The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know, so the saying goes. The burden of proof lies with Change. A majority must be significantly dissatisfied by the way the things are for change to win. I hope to examine in detail some of their conflicting positions in future posts.

Lynn Happens was there to record the video which will be posted in 48 hours.

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Posted in: local government