Grayson in, Williamson out at forum

Published 11:18 pm Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A public forum for all Demopolis city candidates will be held tonight at 6 p.m. at the Alabama Southern Community College Demopolis University Center at the Demopolis Sports-Plex.

The forum came about as part of a challenge issued by mayoral candidate Mike Grayson at the end of the public forum held at the Demopolis Civic Center on Aug. 12.

As in the previous forum, Demopolis City Council candidates will also take part. Each candidate will be allowed three minutes for opening remarks.

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The forum will then open to questions from the audience. Questions must be submitted in written form to Johnny Brooker, who will serve as the voter list verifier.

Questions must also include the questioner’s name and address. Brooker will then check to make sure the person submitting the question is a registered city voter, then will hand the question to moderator John Lenning of ASCC.

Lenning will scan the question to ensure that it is not a personal attack and is a valid question for the candidate. He will then address the question to the candidate for whom it is intended.

The candidate will have two minutes to answer the question. Kelley Smith of the Demopolis Area Chamber of Commerce will serve as the official timekeeper.

“This is what I’d like to see,” Grayson said. “An open government allowing its citizens the chance to ask questions where they can see what their elected officials say about things.”

Demopolis mayor Cecil Williamson, running for a second term as mayor, said she would not attend tonight’s forum.

“This forum was proposed by Mr. Grayson,” she said. “If he feels he needs another forum in order to get his message across — I just don’t feel like I need another forum to get my message across.”