Monday, October 7, 2013

Other Side scoop: establishing an on-line candidate forum, with no holds barred. And no bars held, either.

Having heard nothing so far about a public forum in which Brunswick Town Council and School Board candidates can be asked to state their positions on a variety of important issues facing our perfect little town, Other Side has decided that we need to fill a vacuum that probably no one has noticed.  Some folks just can’t hear a sucking sound.

To do so, we put forth below a series of questions for the candidates, and we look forward to receiving and publishing their answers here on a timely basis.  While we have no space restrictions per se, we ask that they limit their answers to reasonable and customary lengths.

According to our Town Clerk, these are the candidates:


Council District 1:  W. David Watson (unopposed incumbent)

Council District 2:  Stephen S. Walker (unopposed)

Council District 6:  Alison Harris; Jane F. Millett

School Board District 1:  Richard P. Ellis (incumbent); Byron D. Watson

School Board District 2:  Brenda D. Clough (unopposed incumbent)

School Board District 6:  Janet C. Connors (incumbent); Daniel R. Hammond, Jr.

So lets begin.

Questions for Town Council Candidates:

1.  Do you think an Amtrak Maintenance and Layover Facility should be built at the Brunswick West location, adjacent to the Bouchard Drive neighborhood, and if so, why?

2. If not, where do you think it should be built?

3. Do  you believe the Amtrak train, all things considered, has provided an economic benefit to Brunswick?  Please explain your reasons for your position.

4. Who do you think the assets held and dispensed by the Brunswick Development Corporation belong to?  Are these funds private or public?

5.  Do you think the BDC’s grant of $247,000 to the Brunswick Taxi Company was a legitimate use of their assets, and that local businesses should expect such preferential treatment?

6.  Do you believe there is an upper limit to the tax rate that residents should be expected to pay, and if so, what is that limit?  If not, how do you explain that?

7.  What is the primary responsibility of a town councilor?

8.  Describe how the town is governed, with particular focus on the relationship between town staff and the town council.

9.  If you are not a native of Brunswick, why did you move to town?

10.  What do you consider to be the greatest strength of Brunswick?

11.   What do you consider to be the greatest challenge facing Brunswick?

12.  What do you consider to be the greatest weakness of Brunswick?

13.  Do you think Brunswick collects enough from taxes and other sources to cover legitimate town expenses?  If not, how much more do you think would be enough?

14.  Is there any question we didn’t ask that you think or wish we would have?

15.  Please consider this item a ‘clean sheet of paper’ to make any statement you would like to voters.

Questions for School Board Candidates:

1.  Do you think the Brunswick School Department exercises responsible stewardship of our physical building assets?

2.  Do you think the School Department should institute a merit based pay system for the teaching corps, or retain the current automatic increase, one size fits all pay scale system?

3.  How should the School Department evaluate its performance?

4.  How should the School Department plan for and implement continuously improving student achievement?

5.  Should the tax rate for School finances be capped to an upper limit, or allowed to increase continually? And how much per year is a reasonable increase?

6.  Do you think recruiting students from Asia and other distant lands is a legitimate function of the Brunswick public school system?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

7.  Do you think the virtual doubling in per student budgetary costs in recent years is justified?   Do you think $15,000 per year per student is not enough, just right, or too much?  If not enough, how much should that increase?

8.  Do you think children are the first priority of the Brunswick School Department?

9.  Describe the primary responsibilities of a school board member.  Emphasize the relationship between the board and the department.

10.  Did we miss any questions you wish we had asked, or that we should have asked?

11.  This item is a place for you to make any statement you wish to town voters.


We hope these questions spur a lively exchange among readers, and more importantly, an open and forthright response from the candidates in the upcoming election.

Lord knows we could use some straight talk around here.  We’ve seen precious little of it in recent years.

1 comment:

  1. But those questions are so could one expect a candidate in Cape Brunswick to give a response? You're ruining their "mean spirited". (sarcasm)