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All six candidates for Dixon’s city council attended the Chamber of Commerce’s debate last night (Thursday). At the previous debate, candidate Drew Gaska couldn’t attend, so it was good to compare all of them at this second debate. Despite both the 49ers and the S.F. Giants playing, there was still a good audience turnout in the council chambers, with an unknown number watching on TV at home.
Rather than looking at the actual stances that each candidate took, I decided to rate them on several separate abstract categories: opening and closing statements, if questions were answered directly, how well the candidates knew the subjects raised by questions, the candidates’ sense of humor, if the candidates went negative, and finally, their appearance.
I used a rating system of from one to five. I tended to take away points when candidates read from prepared statements or notes. I think it’s fine when they refer once in a while to a couple speaking points, but to read prepared statements verbatim indicates a lack of confidence and loses contact with the audience.
The winner in the opening and closing statements category was Ian Arnold with a five. Following him in order were Drew Graska (4), Ted Hickman (3.75), Yaqinah Abdurrahman (3.5), Steve Bird (3) and Jerry Castanon, Sr. (2.5).
Arnold also led in the “answered question directly” category with a 4.25, followed by the other candidates in the exact same order as in the previous category.
Arnold also led in the “knew the subject of the question” category with a 4.3 score, followed by Graska and Hickman (tied), Bird and Castanon (tied), and Abdurrahman.
The only candidates that delivered a definite spark of humor were Hickman and Arnold.
On the other hand, the only candidates that delivered some negativity were Graska and to a lesser degree, Abdurrahman.
All the candidates rated high on the appearance scale (wearing business suits or appropriate female attire) with the exception of Drew Graska, who wore street clothes.
The overall winner in terms of all the speaking categories, then, is no surprise: Ian Arnold with a 13.6 score, followed by Graska (11.5), Hickman (10.8), Abdurrahman (9.65), Bird (9.16) and Castanon (8.7).
Arnold impressed me with an easy speaking style and impressive knowledge of city affairs. Newcomer Ms. Yaqinah Abdurrahman impressed with her intelligence and candor, but having lived in the city for only two years, she didn’t have in-depth knowledge of many city issues. I was especially interested in hearing Drew Graska’s take on city affairs, since he was absent from the first debate, but his somewhat “in-your-face” style alienated me.
I look forward to your own estimates of who did best in the debates.
Thanks to the civic organizations which orchestrated these debates.