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Candidates for municipal office in the City of Santa Clara will have a unique opportunity to deliver the “Final Word” to voters at a televised Candidates Forum on the night before the election. Instead of campaign promises or last-minute attacks on opponents, candidates in Santa Clara will discuss how well they fulfilled the promises they made to conduct honest, fair and respectful campaigns that focused on community issues, qualifications and vision. Campaigns can be hard hitting and critical but should not mislead or deceive voters. The Final Word Forum will be broadcast live on Monday, Nov. 5, from 7 to 9 p.m. on Cable Channel 15, and streamed live on the City’s website, http://santaclaraca.gov/FinalWordForum. The public is invited to attend the forum, held in the Santa Clara City Council Chambers, and to submit questions and topics for discussion prior to the event. No questions or public comment will be taken at the event.
The election-eve Final Word Forum is part of the City’s “Vote Ethics” campaign, which asks voters to pay close attention to candidates’ campaign conduct and to hold them accountable at the ballot box. The City’s goal is to deepen the public’s trust and promote good government.
At the forum, voters will have the opportunity to hear candidates for City Council Seats 3, 4, 6 and 7, Chief of Police and City Clerk, discuss any mailers sent to voters in the final week before the election, or review other campaign strategies that raise issues of honesty, fairness and respect. Issues raised should be current in the last week of the campaign but may also include unresolved issues from any time during the campaign. Candidates and residents are also invited to compliment candidates who conducted campaigns that may have been hard-hitting but were also fair and issues-oriented.
Dr. Tom Shanks, consultant for the City’s nonpartisan, nonpolitical Ethics & Values Program, will moderate the “Final Word.” He will select topics for discussion with assistance from neutral third parties who neither support nor oppose candidates in Santa Clara’s municipal election.
All issues and compliments must be submitted in writing and include available supporting documentation. They should be placed in a sealed envelope, addressed to Dr. Shanks, and delivered to the Santa Clara City Clerk’s Office or City Manager’s Office at 1500 Warburton Ave. no later than 12 noon on November 5, 2012. They may also be emailed to the moderator at firstname.lastname@example.org. The name, U.S. Postal mailing address, and telephone number of the submitting party must also be included, as submitting parties may be contacted prior to the event for additional information. On rare occasion, at the discretion of the moderator, candidate materials arriving late Monday may be accepted for consideration at the event. Questions will be reviewed beginning on Sunday, November 4. Early submission is invited.
This is the fifth election cycle in which the City of Santa Clara has held the Final Word Forum. “We know that scheduling a forum on the night before the election encourages candidates to conduct honorable campaigns, so voters can make their decisions based on accurate information and relevant comparisons,” said Dr. Shanks. “But if campaigns use ethically-questionable strategies, the other candidates will have this forum opportunity to set the record straight.”
The “Vote Ethics” campaign is part of the City’s ongoing Ethics & Values Program, now in its 11th year. At the heart of the Vote Ethics program is the City’s Code of Ethics & Values, developed by the community and City officials. During the past five municipal elections, the City has held workshops for candidates, their campaign workers and supporters to discuss ethical campaign strategies. This is the fifth election cycle in a row that the program has taken the next step to include outreach to the voters themselves.
“We are not telling people who to vote for, but we are asking voters to study the campaign tactics used by candidates and to judge for themselves who is trustworthy and deserves the honor of representing the people,” Dr. Shanks added. On Election Day, voters in Santa Clara will select the Police Chief, City Clerk, and four members of the City Council. More information on the City of Santa Clara’s ethics program can be found on the City’s website: www.SantaClaraCA.gov or www.VoteEthics.org.
Dan Beerman - (408) 615-2228 or (408) 504-6731