Only eight days until the Candidate Forum at Jensen Hall

One morning in the old newsroom off the plaza then Lassen County Times Editor Dave Moller (the best editor I ever worked for) slammed the phone down so hard the noise attracted everyone’s attention. As he looked up and saw all of us staring back at him wondering aghast, he shouted out, “I hate elections!” Gee, do I know what he means!

As I hope everyone in Lassen County knows by now, Lassen News hosts a local Candidate Forum at Jensen Hall at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 29.

Let me set the record straight about this forum. I alone came up with the idea of hosting this event as I pondered what good I might do and how I might better serve my community regarding the upcoming election. It is now and always has been my idea. My event. I alone take 100 percent responsibility for it.

I’ve never done one of these before, but begging your pardon, I promise I’ll do my best, despite the mumbo jumbo some grumbling naysayers have cast into our public square. I have no political intentions here. I am not trying to make or break any candidate. I am not trying to pinch anyone’s election.

Are there candidates I prefer over others? Sure. Please — somebody tell me exactly what’s wrong with that. Isn’t that my right as a citizen and a voter in Lassen County — to find my preference and then cast my ballot? Having a preference makes me biased? What? I can’t prefer one candidate over another because I’m a journalist? Come on.

In every case, I keep my choices to myself. I do not aim to make you agree with me. In fact, neither I nor Lassen News will endorse any candidate for any office. I respectfully leave your decisions regarding your votes completely to your wisdom.

And I seek neither fame nor fortune through this event. I simply seek to serve my community. I don’t intend to agitate, implicate or infer. Instead, I want to help us all discover the answer to perhaps the most important question of them all in an election — “Why should we elect you?”

I’m claiming the high ground. I want to be fair to all the candidates, and to that end, I will ask all those running for a particular office the same questions. No I got ya questions. No attack journalism. No questions designed to benefit or harm any particular candidate.

Thank you. I have received some email questions, but I’d like more from which to choose to use at the forum. You still may submit questions to me at swilliams@lassennews.com or call me at (530) 310-0459. Attendees also may submit questions at the forum. I promise all questions submitted will get fair consideration. What do you want to know? Let’s find out. The more questions I have to consider, the better the forum will be.

A couple of days ago, a reader told me some in our community don’t want to make any comments about this election because they fear a backlash from some candidates or their supporters. That saddens me. Be brave.

I have no fear. Send me your question and I may choose to ask it for you publicly. I have one simple purpose for this event — giving the public an opportunity to get to know these candidates for public office so they may cast an informed vote come election day. That’s it.

If I took the slings and arrows I’ve caught over trying to arrange this event personally, I would be offended by those who stand against it. I believe I have let my journalistic flag fly during my quarter of a century career here in Susanville. I believe most everyone in the county knows what they can expect from me. Frankly, you may like it or lump it as you choose. I really don’t give a hoot. Either way, this event is a go.

So, let me ask you to join me, the candidates and the public at this Candidate’s Forum at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 29, at Jensen Hall. Together, let’s get to know these candidates. Give me a hand with your questions if you can.

And let me thank the Lassen County Chamber of Commerce and KSUE for helping me promote this free community event.