Was just informed today by those running the Glendora candidates forum next week that incumbent Mayor Ken Herman – who announced he would not seek reelection this spring – will moderate the Glendora council forum.
This raises a number of alarming questions that don’t seem to do any favors for the public.
I have no problem with Herman as a person and he has always been willing to talk about any issue regarding the city when I call. He has never hidden from an issue when I asked and even when the topics haven’t been positive for the city, he remained professional.
But having an incumbent councilman moderator a candidate forum may allow for some to question the political fairness, objectivity and neutrality of the role.
There are some serious questions that can be posed regarding actions of the current council and their impact on the city: i.e. Monrovia Nursery, City Manager Chris Jeffers, administrative contracts/benefits, union negotiations, and more.
Will Herman be willing to bring up issues that may be critical of some of his own decisions?
The conflict isn’t as clear since the majority of the candidates are newcomers with only one incumbent seeking reelection. But the one incumbent happens to be the only other councilman with a tenure close to as long as Herman’s. In fact, Doug Tessitor was part of the group that helped recall the majority of the council back in 2002, with Tessitor functioning as the spokesperson for the group that featured Herman, former councilmen Gary Clifford and Cliff Hamlow. Tessitor won election to the council the next year.
These guys are buddies. I can’t imagine none of the other candidates objecting because of that clear conflict.
Speaking off that, one of the candidates, Erica Landmann-Johnsey is well known by the council, and those who regularly attend council meetings, as being part of a group of citizens that regularly speak at meetings and often chastise the council.
In fact, Herman and Johnsey have had public disagreements that resulted in the two verbally sparring across the council chambers during a meeting. Now Herman will be moderating the first candidate forum for this election where Johnsey is running for his (and/or Terry Kent’s) open seat.
Herman has never been one to hold his tongue. At a council meeting, if a speaker is aggressive, insulting or highly critical, he won’t shy away from rebuttal, as he has demonstrated in the past.
If Johnsey, or another candidate, opines with a critical opinion of the current council – or even Herman – will Herman reserve his comments or will we have an additional debater in our moderator?