Update: The original blog stated that the organizers did not change the time of the debate to accommodate Linehan. That was false. An email was circulated on Tuesday night stating that the time was changed to 6pm-7:30pm. Caught in Southie was not on that email list. The following is an updated version.
Due to a scheduling conflict and accusations of dirty politics, the neighborhood forum for District 2 City Council featuring candidates Councilor Bill Linehan and challenger Suzanne Lee slated for Thursday, October 24th has been canceled.
According to the Linehan campaign, Councilor Linehan had an event – The Gavin House Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner – he was already committed to. Linehan requested the forum time be changed with a 6pm start. Linehan was also unhappy with the choice of the forum’s moderator, WGBH’s Peter Kadzis.
The local neighborhood associations who organized Thursday night’s forum changed the time to 6pm but kept the formum’s moderator. Linehan then withdrew from the debate because he believed he was not being treated fairly and accused City Point Neighborhood Association’s Joanne McDevitt of being biased towards Lee. In a statement release Tuesday night, Linehan stated:
The event organizer refused to cooperate with the Linehan campaign requests of having a South Boston moderator and a 6pm to 7:15pm time restriction due to a prior commitment for the Gavin Foundation’s Annual Awards Dinner. Event organizer, Joanne McDevitt who is a known Lee supporter was handed this responsibility by fellow group members but could not keep her politics and bias under control. The Linehan campaign will work with other neighborhood association members to reschedule something. “I’m appalled that a South Boston civic association leader would use this forum for her own political purposes and ignore not only my campaign, but the South Boston community” added Councilor Linehan.
Suzanne Lee’s campaign released a statement yesterday:
The Lee campaign was disappointed to learn that Councillor Linehan has withdrawn from participating in the debate scheduled for Thursday. Suzanne was looking forward to the opportunity to discuss her positions on the issues that are important to the residents of South Boston, and believes that residents are best served by an impartial moderator. The campaign looks forward to working with members of the host committee to find a time that will allow all parties involved to participate.
Another debate has not been scheduled. The election will be held on Tuesday, November 5th.