On Monday evening, Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede posted on her public campaign Facebook page that she wanted the Hamilton Post to host a debate. Yaede’s post was in response to an offer from the Trentonian to sponsor a debate, which the mayor declined.
Her Facebook post blindsided us, particularly because it came before our staff had a chance to discuss internally whether the Hamilton Post wanted to sponsor its own debate, let alone iron out details with the candidates themselves.
While we are honored the mayor thinks so highly of us, we feel the public manner of her request—particularly in pitting the Post against another media outlet—draws suspicion on the editorial integrity of any event sponsored by the Hamilton Post. We have always valued being an open and honest publication, editorially independent from political influence.
Anyone who has actually read the Hamilton Post’s coverage of municipal matters this year knows this is the case. We have not been soft on Yaede, and the Post has been far from Yaede’s preferred news outlet in the past.
However, in a political environment as charged as Hamilton’s is currently, perception is reality. We do not want perception to distract from the matter at hand: an election between two people who want to be Hamilton Township’s chief executive. The public deserves straight answers from both candidates.
We believe—at this time and with such short notice—the Trentonian has the experience, the resources and the willingness to best pull off a mayoral debate. We encourage both candidates to do what is in the public interest, and agree to the Trentonian’s offer without hesitation or stipulations.
Trentonian columnist Jeff Edelstein has volunteered to withhold questioning on hot-button issues like the animal shelter and criminal charges facing administration officials. But we believe everything should be fair game during a mayoral debate. Everything was during our in-depth conversations with Martin and Yaede, published online at hamiltonpost.com and in print yesterday. And it will be when residents vote, either by mail or at the polls Nov. 5.
The Hamilton Post will continue to cover our community as we have for the last 14 years, and we will use this opportunity to further explore ways to serve the residents of Hamilton Township in the future.