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Avoiding free and open debates is nothing new for Boughton

cross post from HatCityBLOG

Boughton on avoiding open debates: October 2007

During her closing statements, [Helena] Abrantes challenged Boughton to three debates that would be open to the public and held at night or on weekend when more people could attend.

Boughton said Wednesday that he hasn’t decided on Abrantes challenge but said he would try and see what will fit in his schedule.

“We’ll look at any request.” he said, pointing out that he will attend upcoming candidate forums held by the PTO and volunteer firefighters. “Beyond that, we’ll have to look at the dates and see what we can squeeze in.”

Boughton on avoiding open debates: September 20 2009

As for other debates in the mayoral race, Goncalves said he has agreed to participate in an event sponsored later next month by the League of Women Voters of Danbury.

Boughton, however, said he had not yet received an invitation to the event.

“There are already several events planned for next month,” he said. “Anything beyond that may be difficult to fit into our schedule.”

Boughton on avoiding open debates: September 25 2009

Goncalves said it was “slap in the face to the voters” and a “display of arrogance” when Boughton said last week that he likely couldn’t attend a debate being offered by the League of Women Voters of the Danbury Area.

“As a Danbury resident and taxpayer who was born, raised and educated in Danbury, I consider the mayor’s response that he had not seen the invitation, that his schedule was filling up and that enough other forums were scheduled, totally unacceptable,” Goncalves said during an outdoor press conference.

Goncalves, who made reference to a debate being held next week before the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce at a cost of $45 per person, added that residents have a “right to hear the opposing viewpoints of the candidates in an open and no-cost forum.”

In response Boughton said he only received the invitation to the league debate late last week and he will evaluate whether he can attend the event.

“It’s already late in the (election) cycle and we do have a full schedule of events,” he said. “I also have a responsibility to run the city of Danbury.”

Avoiding open debates is nothing new for Mayor Mark Boughton…just ask 2007 Democratic mayoral candidate Helena Abrantes.

Citing the concerns Gary Goncalves has with the chamber of commerce luncheon/forum (not free to the public, held during a time when most of the public would be unable to attend, etc), throughout her campaign two years ago, several times Abrantes called upon Boughton to agree to an open forum in which the public would have an opportunity to hear the two candidates debate the issues.

Unfortunately, the public never had an opportunity to see the two candidates debate each other in an open forum.

Earlier this week, I caught up with Abrantes and talked to her about the similarities between Boughton’s refusing to open debates with her back in 2007 and his refusal to open debates now.