Yesterday, the second and final debate was held between County Executive Chris Collins and Comptroller Mark Poloncarz. It was held at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Academy at 8:30 am, a great educational opportunity for that school and its AP Government class, but a
horrible opportunity for average voters to get a second opportunity to vet the two candidates for county executive. The debate wasn’t just held at a time of day when most people are at work on en route, it wasn’t aired on radio or television. Your only opportunity to see it was to watch a poor quality live stream at Channel 4’s website, or inaudible audio at the Buffalo News’ site. Here’s Channel 4’s report. Here’s the Buffalo News report. I have to hand it to the students, they asked some great and relevant questions.
Unfortunately, nary a voter will ever see it.
However, one interesting thing occurred. The Poloncarz and Collins campaigns were specifically ordered not to film the debate in any way. The school didn’t want this educational event sullied by politics (i.e., didn’t want the campaigns to use video from the event for campaign purposes). Indeed, when I inquired of debate organizer Ted Lina, he did not issue a denial, but sent along this:
We sought to provide an educational experience for our students with this morning’s debate. We do not wish to involve them or St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in the politics of the debate itself. We have no further comment at this time.
I had inquired about reports I was hearing that, despite the school’s prohibition against videotaping the debate, the Collins campaign blatantly refused to abide by this simple request. Poloncarz’s camp did not record it, but here’s a picture of Collins’ press guy, Stefan Mychajliw, videotaping after being asked repeatedly to stop – and refusing.
What is it about Chris Collins that makes him above the law? What is it about Chris Collins that he and his people can disobey the reasonable request of a Catholic high school that’s hosting a debate? It’s a sense of entitlement that lets Collins think it’s ok to park his car in a handicapped spot, or in a no parking zone.
Apparently, rules are for other people.