Saturday, May 18, 2024

A candidates forum is scheduled for Wednesday at Cambridge College’s 1000 Massachusetts Ave. location, where the sponsoring Mid-Cambridge Neighborhood Association has hosted several events. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Eighteen candidates seek your vote Nov. 8 for City Council. Do you know who they are, or do you think you know?

Find out answers for yourself in four forums. The first is Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m. at Cambridge College, 1000 Massachusetts Ave., on the ground floor.

Sponsored by the Mid-Cambridge Neighborhood Association, the forum follows a format that veers from the traditional: Following two- to three-minute statements, candidates separate and sit three to four to a table for roundtable discussions of selected topics. Each table will have a moderator.

“We have a unique forum in that we do not ask each candidate each question,” explained Joan Pickett, association president. “Candidates are assigned to tables and attendees rotate around the room.”

Asked what topics are expected to be the focus, Pickett listed the environment, city leadership, city finance, neighborhood issues and public safety.

“We do not provide candidates with questions in advance,” she said, “and we will accept written questions from attendees time permitting.”

You can email topics to [email protected].

She said 17 council candidates have responded that they are attending. Gregg Moree has not responded.

She said she expects about 50 attendees in a venue that can hold at least 200.

“When there is no vacant City Council seat, attendance is a challenge,” she said, “but we hope the format, which is distinct and we think more interesting, is itself an attraction.”

Neighborhood groups hoping to overcome October’s electoral inertia have a climb ahead of them.

Fewer than one in four registered voters show up for the off-year city elections, as this one is. That and the city’s rare and complicated form of voting, called proportional representation, offer an edge to incumbents. Some say this leads to a less-qualified pool of council hopefuls.

This post was updated Oct. 11, 2011, to correct names.