It’s been nearly 15 weeks since Councilman Mickey Kearns announced his bid for mayor of Buffalo. Brown announced his bid for reelection 3 days later. It’s now 4 weeks away from the primary election on September 15th, and nary a shot has been fired from either camp, though Kearns has thrown a few slight jabs.
Kearns went about gathering signatures and granting interviews, while Brown has been doing his daily mayoral chores, but there has been no public debate, no gauntlet thrown down, no community meetings where the candidates engage in a face-off and address real issues, point by point, agree or disagree.
While the public at large is hungry for information on which to base their votes, the media outlets haven’t put a lot of pressure on the two candidates to get together in a room for anything other than polite handshaking. So what’s a public to do?
For our part, BR will be videotaping another interview with Mickey Kearns later this afternoon, and we’ve invited Brown to do the same in the near future. This is all well and good, but nothing will take the place of live debate. Short Q & A monologues that put each individual’s ideals out there are rhetorically yawn inducing. If there’s something we haven’t heard already from these individual diatribes I’ll be the first one to be surprised.
It’s not unusual for the incumbent to drag feet on a campaign they think is a sure win, absent an aggressive challenger. It’s not unusual for a councilman to have lower visibility than a mayor. So really, the only way of assessing suitability for election is in the discussion with one’s opponent — the discussion the public fears may never happen.
Does the mayor’s campaign manager feel any heat to get her man out there? Brown has had a less than stellar year due to some hearty staff problems. Kearns has had a quiet year. The silence is killing. Can we talk?
We’re a poor city, a jobless city, a post-industrial city that has many questions about where our future is headed, no matter how scary some of the questions about the past may be. Still, we’re hopeful. A good potential leader will instill further hope by talking to us about plans, and yes — by arguing, publicly, about why his plans are best. So let’s hear it Mickey and Byron; let the real campaign begin. How about fielding some questions in the same room?