Mayoral Q&A a SUCCESS, and a SURPRISE!
Mary Wacker proved to be an excellent choice for moderator, skillfully organizing the questions and segwaying from one topic to another. Mayoral candidate Cindy Kilkenny answered question after question without missing a beat. You would have thought they did this type of thing every day.
The audience of 66 listened attentively for over 1 1/2 hours. The Q&A session ended with a round of applause after Kilkenny summed up the night by saying, I did not realize when I started out 3 1/2 years ago that this was my going to be my calling. I appreciate the opportunity to tell you about why I am running (tonight). Running is becoming a wonderful experience for me. Thank you.
So, what was the surprise?
Alderman Schellinger arrived unexpectedly 6 minutes after the forum began, marched up uninvited onto the stage, and interrupted Cindy Kilkenny in the middle of answering a question. (Remember, he declined our original invitation stating, "It does not fit into my campaign schedule".)
The moderator asked if he would like to join us. He declined again, but stated, "I have a couple issues I would like to clear up" and indicated he wished to address the audience. The moderator said we have already started the formal presentation, but added, "if he would like to meet with the community afterwards..." indicating if he did not want to participate in the forum, he would be welcome to stay in the audience. (I reviewed my video tape to make sure of the events.)
The audience grew agitated with him; he left the stage. Mary skillfully got the Q&A back on track.
Mike Lilek (another Kinsey Park leader) and I conferred privately that if Schellinger still wanted to participate, he should be allowed to, which is why we went looking for him. That is when we found him upstairs with Lisa Sink, the MJS reporter. We asked if he wanted to join the forum and answer questions. He declined again, mumbling that he needed to campaign?
I think we all found his actions rather bizarre. His actions were no more appropriate than a person getting up during a council meeting and demanding to speak during some debate on the council floor. Just as a resident would not be allowed to address the council during a council meeting because it is not the proper venue, so the moderator rightly refused Schellinger's request to address the audience. It was not the proper format.
Incidentally, I have known Mary Wacker since 1990, years before Cindy Kilkenny moved to Brookfield. Tonight's unexpected events and Mary's skillful handling of it all confirmed just why she is the head debate coach: she's good! Cindy Kilkenny, despite that startling distraction jumped right back into answering questions and explaining her platform. The night progressed on without further interruption.