Election time means one thing for Contra Costa Times reporters: lots of candidate forums to let the public know about.
For candidates in Mt. Diablo, West Contra Costa and other school districts, the CCTV forum moderated by political reporter Lisa Vorderbrueggen is the kickoff for election season.
I sat in on the MDUSD and WCCUSD forums Thursday, where candidates sounded off on a variety of issues.
In the Mt. Diablo race, incumbent Sherry Whitmarsh faced challengers Brian Lawrence, Debra Mason and Barbara Oaks in a discussion that touched on Propositions 30 and 38, valuing district staff, resolving friction on the board, reigning in health and pension costs, and strategic planning. Candidate Ernie DeTrinidad was unable to attend the taped forum and incumbent Gary Eberhart is not seeking re-election in the race for two open seats.
In back-to-back tapings, all four West Contra Costa board candidates were on the hot seats next. They included incumbent Antonio Medrano and challengers Robert Studdiford, Randy Enos and Todd Groves, who traded opinions about Propositions 30 and 38, discontent in Hercules and Pinole, the district’s November parcel tax and bond measure, and pension and health care reform. Incumbent Tony Thurmond is not seeking re-election in this race for two seats.
You can catch the Mt. Diablo forum on CCTV Channel 27 at 9:30 p.m. Oct. 4, 7 p.m. Oct. 7, 9:30 p.m. Oct. 14, 7 p.m. Oct. 21, 9:30 p.m. Oct. 28, 7 p.m. Oct. 30 and 7 p.m. Nov. 4.
The West Contra Costa forum will air on KRCT Channel 28 at 8 p.m. Oct. 3, 1 p.m. Oct. 5, 10 p.m. Oct. 9, 9 p.m. Oct. 13, 10 a.m. And 6 p.m. Oct. 14, noon Oct. 16, 10 a.m. Oct. 22, 1 p.m. Oct. 26, 9 p.m. Oct. 29, 8:30 p.m. Nov. 2, 10 p.m. Nov. 3, 1 p.m. Nov. 5, and 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Nov. 6.
In addition, both forums — along with forums for most other school boards and city councils in the county — will be archived at http://www.contracostatimes.com/.
Both the Mt. Diablo and West Contra Costa candidates are also slated to participate in the following forums:
— The district’s special education Community Advisory Committee will host a Candidates’ Question and Answer Panel from 6-7 p.m. Oct. 2 in the district office at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord.
The candidates will be asked questions that are important to special education selected in advance, but the candidates will hear them for the first time that evening. Each candidate will be asked the same question and will have 90 seconds to respond. It is open to the public and will be followed by the committee meeting at 7 p.m.
— The Pleasant Hill Education Commission will host a forum from 7-9 p.m. Oct. 18 in the Pleasant Hill City Council chamber at 100 Gregory Lane in Pleasant Hill. Email email@example.com.CA.us to submit a question. The forum will be broadcast after the event on Comcast Channel 28, ATT U-Verse Channel 99 and Astound Channel 29.
West Contra Costa:
— The PTAs of Kensington, Hilltop, Madera, Harding, Portola and Mira Vista elementary schools are hosting a forum from 6:30-8 p.m. Monday in the Harding Elementary Auditorium at 7230 Fairmount Avenue in El Cerrito. Candidates for school board will answer questions from the public. To submit questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The League of Women Voters will sponsor two additional school board candidate forums:
— From 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 11 in the El Cerrito High School cafeteria at 540 Ashbury Avenue in El Cerrito; and
– from 6:30-8 p.m. Oct. 16 in the Murphy Elementary School multipurpose room at 4350 Valley View Road in Richmond.
The League of Women Voters, West Contra Costa Chapter will moderate and keep time for these forums. More information is available by contacting the League of Women Voters, West Contra Costa Chapter at 510-525-4962.
What questions would you like the candidates to answer?