On Oct. 21 at Wines Elementary School, The Ann Arbor Chronicle hosted a forum for city council candidates in Ward 5. Two of the three candidates participated: John Floyd, a Republican, and Newcombe Clark, who is running as an independent. Choosing not to participate was the Democratic incumbent, Carsten Hohnke.
The format of the event was a departure from familiar question-and-answer schemes. Candidates were provided with 10 specific topic areas in advance, and advised that on the night of the event, they’d be presented with a list-making task they’d be expected to complete collaboratively for each topic area.
To give a flavor of the chemistry between the candidates at the forum, after the event one attendee wrote about John Floyd: “… the city would be lucky to have his service … but I’m still not voting for him.” That attendee was Newcombe Clark. Also during the event, the two candidates were able to find an effective strategy for working through the tasks. We’re reporting how they completed those tasks in a separate article.
In this column, we discuss why The Chronicle would invest its limited time and resources in the effort to stage a candidate forum for Ward 5 city council candidates, and why we would opt for a somewhat unusual task-based format.