This past week, it was announced that Cheryl Calhoun, a candidate for Ward 2 commissioner, was to be disqualified due to the fact that she does not live in Ward 2, but Ward 1. This mistake was not on Cheryl's behalf, but on the behalf of the elections office. Instead of the elections office being open and apologetic after realizing their error, they took the back seat. The other candidates, myself being one of them, to my knowledge were not ever notified. Two days passed before I decided to call the elections office to verify what I had heard from the media. The story received little media coverage, and the elections office has yet to publicly apologize or put the public's concerns at ease.
Sunday morning, I read the editorial by Carlton Fletcher only to discover that "(o)ne of the other candidates in the Ward II race -- reportedly Melissa Strother -- questioned Calhoun's eligibility," making her ineligible to run for Ward 2 commissioner because she lives in Ward 1. Not only is this completely false, but I find it incredibly discourteous that I was never contacted in reference to this accusation because it is inaccurate and untrue. I learned of Ms. Calhoun's disqualification from the media, just like everyone else. To date, not one person from the media has contacted me about this matter. Altogether, I have been disappointed in the lack of coverage the commissioner candidates have received. There has only been one opportunity for the commissioner candidates to speak at a public forum. This event was held at Albany State University in which each commission candidate was allowed time for a brief three-minute introduction. No questions from the audience were allowed, and again the media did not cover this forum.
Isn't the election of a commissioner just as important as the election of the mayor? Albany was designed to operate like a business with the mayor serving as CEO, and the commissioners acting as the board; and, like with any other business or corporation, the CEO is at the will of the board. That being said, the election to be the next commissioner is every bit as important as the mayor's election.
Along with mayor, voters will determine three commissioner seats on Nov. 8. Have voters really had ample opportunity to learn about the candidates who will represent them? Albany citizens need a reason to restore their faith in this city. I would like to invite all city commissioner candidates to participate with me in an open public forum, where citizens can ask questions and see those seeking to represent them in an unrestricted setting. If you are interested in being a part of this forum, or would like more information, please find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/melissaforward2.