The Allston Brighton Community Development Corp., along with several other local groups, is hosting a Zoom forum at 6 p.m. today for four candidates for the local city council seat: Three who will have their names printed on the ballot next month and a fourth who is running as a write-in.
The issue is the way the write-in candidate, Sarah Iwany, was invited to the forum, then un-invited, then re-invited.
Eric Porter, one of the three candidates whose names will be printed on the ballot (along with incumbent Liz Breadon and Michael Bianchi), noted darkly in a message posted to local e-mail groups that Iwany is a member of one of the sponsoring groups, the Allston Civic Association, and asked: Why should she get special treatment when he and the other two followed the rules and collected signatures and registered their campaigns (and so their finances) with the state? And why didn't the two groups have the courtesy to notify him of the on/off/on again changes when he had called their leaders directly to find out what was going on? "Disgusting lack of professionalism," he wrote.
I have nothing against Sarah Iwany, I share/support many of her views, and I would have rather she properly qualified and properly set up her campaign bank account so that she could accept donations making her a more viable candidate.
But unfortunately, this is not the case and makes people of Allston-Brighton question why is the ACA, CDC and 24 others bending over backwards to lift this particular write-in person up so much and yet disregarding other potential write-in candidates?
Jason Desrosier, who organized the forum for the non-profit CDC, takes all the blame, but rejects what he called Porter's "personal attack" on him.
Since this is a forum, and not a formal debate, it was decided that Sarah should be given the opportunity to share her ideas, along with the formal, balloted, candidates - this forum was organized by a group of organizations who made a decision (out of consensus and not 100% agreement) that is unpopular, but I stand by the decision that was ultimately made. I will take the proverbial stones that are/will be thrown.
He writes that, unlike other write-in candidates, Iwany actually notified the city elections department, if not the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, of her campaign and so merited an invitation to the forum.
This forum is about ideas and vision, not advancing the status quo or gatekeeping. There was/is no preferential treatment being given to this, or any other candidate - as all candidates were invited to participate (that statement has appeared on the promotional materials). I find it unfortunate that two candidates for D9 are thinking of withdrawing from the forum, but that is their decision.
On the invitation, dis-invitation, invitation again - that was a rash decision that was made and I accept responsibility for those actions and the confusion it has caused. I folded under the pressure of a few and sent an email to Sarah notifying her that her invitation had been revoked - after sending a poll to the members of the planning committee, the majority of folks felt (again) that Sarah should be given the opportunity to participate (again by consensus, not 100% agreement) - 16 organizations agreed to have Sarah participate while 3 voted against.
The two candidates with the highest vote tallies on Sept. 14 will advance to the final election in November.