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September 27, 2002

Does It Take A Double-Dog-Dare To Create A Debate?

David 'Kip' Koontz

Well this weekís excitement in the State Senator Mooney vs. Delegate Sue Hecht campaign comes about because the two sides are haggling over whether there should be debates where the two will actually discuss the issues.

Of course, there should be.

At one point during the days of Abe Lincoln and Andrew Jackson, debates and public forums across the country were key methods through which candidates met people and got out their message.

Even at that time the nation was bigger than District Three, so why is SS Mooney - who is seemingly afraid of the idea of a head to head meeting with Ms. Hecht - so recalcitrant in wanting at least one head to head match up with his hard charging opponent?

One would think heíd want people to hear the reasonís why he wants to be re-elected.

Youíd think that there could be a series of debates, from the Dearbought clubhouse to the municipal building in Brunswick, if you were interested in sharing your message with the public.

While it is true that not a lot of people may show up to observe, isnít it better that the candidates will have attempted to reach out to the public beyond the distortion of campaign brochures, flyers and the regular mishmash of advertisements?

SSís campaign manager wants us to believe that a discussion on the pages of an upscale Frederick lifestyle magazine constitutes a true and open discussion of the issues.

Additionally, SSís campaign wants us to believe that the Frederick County Association of Realtorís August lunch meeting, where Delegate Hecht and SS Mooney had the opportunity to speak individually on issues they deemed important, is in someway a forum.

THE PUBLIC COULD NOT ATTEND, so how do we know what they said?

THE TWO DID NOT ADDRESS EACH OTHER, so how does that constitute any type of discussion of the issues?

Further, the Mooney campaign wants us to accept that a question and answer session at First Nationwide fulfills the necessary requirements of a forum.

Again, where was the public?

Of course, if SS would participate in an actual forum/debate type format, he would actually have to stand in public and answer questions about his record in Annapolis and therein lays his problem.

He has no record on which to stand.

Even those issues he is advertising as reasons to vote for him are suspect in nature.

For instance, he is crowing about voting for a 10% pay raise for schoolteachers that is stretching the truth to say the least.

That bill was funding a part of a 10% increase that the state would help fund as long as the counties pitched in their portion (which was more than the stateís share) so the state did not fund 10% to begin with.

To boot SS voted against the budget that would have funded the stateís portion of the 10% anyway so how much good was his vote to support the concept when he voted against funding the concept?

On top of this, SS voted against incentive grants for teachers who become nationally certified (SB272, 1999), against creating home ownership opportunities for teachers (SB206, 2000), against in-school breakfasts (SB 744, 1999), against after-school opportunities to help occupy the time of children which could be a highly risky time for unsupervised children (SB 632, 1999) and against raising the cigarette tax and having the revenue earmarked especially for education (SB 856, 2000), so claiming to be pro-teacher and pro-education again stretches the truth.

But that is a digression from the point that even though there are issues on which Delegate Hecht could be criticized, at least she is willing to stand before the public and state her case and reasons for her votes.

Unlike SS Mooney.

Come on, SS letís hear what you have to say.

Accept the challenge and answer the questions posed by the people.

It may make us laugh, but at least bring it on.

We dare you.

Heck, we double dare you.

And for the fun of it, we even double dog dare you if that is what it takes.

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