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Opinions differ on outsourcing questions for forums

By Staff | Oct 3, 2011

While some Cape Coral City Council members agree that outsourcing the upcoming general election forum sponsored by the city is a good idea, others think the $400 cost is a waste of money.

City Manager Gary King said the process changed because the city received negative feedback from several citizens and groups in Cape Coral following the primary forums. He said they expressed that they did not like how the questions were presented.

“I believe the decision was made based on the fact that the National Research Center are experts and they specialize in this type of research,” King said. “They will construct these questions based on what our citizens want to hear from these candidates.”

He said the National Research Center removes any group, individual or special interest from forming questions.

Mayor John Sullivan said he is a little disappointed by the questions the newspapers asked the candidates because they did not ask questions from the citizens. He said he did not believe a handful of people should be responsible for asking questions.

“Whoever polls the residents finds out what they want to know,” Sullivan said. “It is a lot more important than what the media wants to know.”

He said the people should be asking the questions, rather than specific groups because he would much rather see questions that were formed by the residents.

Councilmember Bill Deile is also in favor of outsourcing the questions to the National Research Center because it takes bias out of the questions that the media were currently asking.

He said the fact that the questions were chosen by the media is not the best way to go because they have control of what they want the candidates to talk about.

Councilmember Marty McClain, on the other hand, said he thinks it is a waste of money to outsource the questions for the general election forum sponsored by the city.

“I think it is a waste of $400,” he said. “I think it could be done here.”

McClain said the media was formulating questions from comments that they heard in the council chambers or on the streets. He said those questions that Cape Coral News-Press Editor Tom Hayden and Cape Coral Breeze editors Valarie Harring and Chris Strine were asked because people ask them.

The questions the editors formed, McClain said, were difficult questions that were asked from both sides.