I have to say, I am disappointed that three of the six candidates for Apopka City Commission have elected to drop out of tomorrow’s upcoming candidate forum hosted by the Apopka Chamber of Commerce. Sam Ruth, incumbent for Seat 3, and the two challengers for Seat 4, Kyle Becker and Young Kim cited various reasons. Both Sam and Kyle cited the fact that with the upcoming Town Center meeting this Friday and not being able to take two days away from work, they would rather take the time for the Town Center meeting. Young Kim stated objections to the format and pricing of the Chamber event as his reason for leaving the forum.
Here’s the thing. As a former candidate for City Commission myself, if an opportunity to appear in public to state your position on the issues, you take that opportunity. You make it work. The group hosting the event is free to determine the format, and any charges to attend this event. Members of the Chamber are not only members of the Apopka business community, but many are also residents of the City.
The whining by many about the closed nature of this forum and the perceived exclusion of many does not hold water. In a city the size of Apopka, there will be people associated with one or more of the candidates at any scheduled forums. Anytime you have two people that agree on something, that group can be classified as a special interest group. There are various ways for people to be informed of candidates’ stands on the issues: their websites, their facebook pages, twitter feeds, etc. By hosting this candidate forum this early in the campaign, The Chamber is showing good judgement in helping residents make informed decisions. I hope the three candidates who have dropped out of the forum reconsider and attend the forum. In order to make an informed decision, members of the Chamber and general public, need to hear from all six candidates.