Thursday, October 9, 2008

Green Blackout

Nice election. Lots of candor and openness. Steve Fournier, 1st district Green candidate, reports on the marvels of democratic process up there:  

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Steve Fournier <>
Date: Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 1:23 PM
Subject: [CTGP-elections] Green Blackout

I participated in a candidate forum on Sunday at St. Bridget's Church in Manchester. It's the only opportunity I've had so far in this election to discuss issues in public with the incumbent Democrat John Larson and his Republican challenger Joseph Visconti. With the commercial media focused so completely on the presidential election, there's precious little to help voters decide which congressional candidate to support, especially those who might be disposed to vote for a non-Democrat/non-Republican.
The Connecticut League of Women Voters is sponsoring a candidate forum in my district, but I'm not invited to participate because, according to the decision-makers at the League, I'm not a serious candidate. The League didn't tell me exactly what the criteria for seriousness are, but they were clear on this: I haven't raised enough money. I made a complaint, but I don't expect to get anywhere with it.
There's some irony in the League's decision. The League was kind enough to invite me to submit answers to questions for its on-line voters' guide. I put some work into the answers, exhausting the word-count limit, and I tried to cram as much information and detail as I could into each response. I visited the site to see what the other two candidates had submitted. John Larson's responses refer voters to his web site for answers (there are no answers on his web site), and Joe Visconti gives brief, general responses with little detail and no commitments. Anyone consulting the League's guide would conclude from the three sets of responses that I'm the only serious candidate and would be surprised to hear that I was disqualified from the League's candidate forum.
Channel 3 also seems determined to keep me out of the public eye. Dennis House interviewed me for eight minutes in June on "Face the State," but the station didn't archive the segment for over two months, impeding my petition drive. Interviews with Democrats and Republicans were featured prominently on the show's web site, but I had to press hard for a couple of months to get my interview posted. This past Sunday "Face the State" featured Larson and Visconti, but Dennis didn't call me.
At the forum on Sunday at St. Bridget's there was a camera team from CT-N, which broadcasts events of public interest on local cable and on its web site. I visited the site a couple of times each day to find out when the segment would be broadcast. It never showed up on a schedule, but it was broadcast Tuesday evening and again Wednesday morning. There was no opportunity to announce it, and I missed both broadcasts. CT-N, which is a state government agency, has no plans to rebroadcast the 1½ hour segment, nor is it slated for inclusion in the CT-N on-demand archives, linked from the site. Partisan Democrat and Republican events are archived in profusion, but this substantive discussion of issues won't be. I made a complaint, but I don't expect to get anywhere with it.
The lesson of all this is not that I'm unelectable. If ever there was a year to vote against Democrats and Republicans, this is the year. The lesson is that voters will have to discuss the issues in this congressional election among themselves. The media aren't going to cover it, and they especially aren't going to give a dissident candidate a soapbox. So when you talk to people who vote in the First District, ask which candidate they're supporting for Congress and why. Send them to my website. If you don't do it, it probably won't get done.

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