Yes, there have been many, many mayoral forums. Like 10, or maybe 11. And all the mayoral candidates are suffering from “forum fatigue.”
But only 3 were televised. Tuesday at LSUS, Wednesday at Centenary College and Thursday at Southern University Shreveport.
These forums allowed every voter in Shreveport to see the candidates, or almost all of them, answer live questions in a well-structured forum. The recorded forums are online with KTAL, KSLA and KTBS and can be viewed any time between now and the November 6 primary.
The Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce provided great venues, moderators, and subject topics.
Mayor Ollie Tyler made the first forum (LSUS) along with the other serious candidates---Adrian Perkins, Jim Taliaferro, Lee O. Savage, and Steven Jackson. Tyler skipped the next two—saying she had “city business” to attend to. Perkins, Taliaferro, Savage and Jackson were in attendance at all times.
On Wednesday (October 17), Tyler went to a local church to get endorsement from the minister. One can only wonder why this endorsement event could not have been on a Wednesday night that did not conflict with a televised forum.
Since Tyler is the mayor, its logical to assume that she can schedule any city business in working hours. Or at least not to overlap with an hour long forum starting at 6:30 pm.
No matter what excuses she may tender, her actions smell to high heaven of “politics”, in the bad sense of the word. This is not like the 2014 run off election when she had a commanding lead and declined forum invitations.
There is little doubt that Tyler will be in a run-off election, probably with Perkins. But does she owe the citizen voters of Shreveport a duty to appear and answer questions?
In her 3 plus years as mayor she has been very, very reluctant to allow “live” interviews. Now that she is a candidate in a hotly contested election, and she decides to go underground.
There is a time for “politics” and a time for statesmanship. At this juncture in this election, Tyler should have taken the high road and participated in all three forums.
She constantly reminds the public of all the accomplishments of her administration. She publishes annual reports of everything, everybody does at city hall that is positive.
So why not show up and answer “live” questions. There is nothing positive about Tyler’s ducking the show, with less than 3 weeks until the vote.