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The debate was organized by Melamed’s campaign team to give the public more information on their candidates. Candidates fielded seven questions from the press, delivered by mediator Dave Davenport, and got a chance to ask one question to another candidate.
The format throughout the meeting was firm: after the primary candidate responded, each other candidate had a chance to speak. The primary candidate then had a final rebuttal.
The first press question of the night was aimed at Melamed, asking how he proposed to close the $5 million-$10 million gap currently painted in the financial plan.
“First of all, there is the long term financial plan steering committee, which is looking at trends and opportunities,” said Melamed, warning that the municipality is going to have to be very “austere” with its money in the coming years and that there are “no sacred cows.”
Wells argued she wants to cut operating costs on infrastructure like the compost facility.
To this, Melamed said: “It is interesting that Wells had no more inventive solutions than that.” He added that in her past terms on council, Wells did not show hesitation about increasing taxes.
Next, Wells was asked to explain her opinion that the bed cap is “archaic”.
She said that she believes here should be a system of growth management within the valley, but there are better tools out there than the bed cap.
“It is about time we become modern and move away from a system that is 40 years old,” said Wells.
In retaliation, Melamed said whether he supports the bed cap is not an issue, because it is the community that has asked for it.
Wells Fired back: “Let’s not kid ourselves, it is a shell game.”
“There is not a lot of room. The athletes’ village was subsidized by market units, which were over the bed cap. This happens continually. There are better ways. Let’s move into the future with better planning policies.”
The evening took a strange turn when Walker accused Wells of illegal campaigning and asked her to withdraw immediately from the campaign.
Walker said Well’s participation in the “Vino and Votes” event on an advance polling day was against the law because it advertised alcohol in exchange for votes.
“No, I will not be withdrawing,” said Wells.
She explained that one of the restaurants had asked her to participate in the event, which she understood was open to all candidates.