Semantics cause tangle in sheriff’s candidate’s forum |

Semantics cause tangle in sheriff’s candidate’s forum

F.T. Norton, Appeal Staff Writer

Wrangling over the ground rules overshadowed Tuesday’s announcement of a Carson City sheriff’s candidates forum planned for next week.

Candidate Ken Furlong said he wasn’t willing to attend a debate hosted by the Carson City Sheriff’s Protective Association if the group wasn’t willing to provide some guidelines before the Oct. 3 public discussion.

Bob Guimont and Furlong are vying for the sheriff’s post after becoming the top vote-getters in the Sept. 3 primary. The general election is Nov. 5.

Furlong said he was concerned about what form the candidates’ forum would take before agreeing to participate.

“We called and asked, ‘What exactly is it that you folks are proposing? There are no details here. We don’t know what to prepare for,'” Furlong said. “What was relayed back to me was that this would be an open debate, no rules, no limits and (association secretary Dena) Lacy would handle the microphone.”

By Tuesday evening, Furlong had not received word from the association of its intention and an apparent misunderstanding about the public discussion.

“I will have to see it before I can comment on it,” he said.

Guimont said initially he was concerned about the length of the forum, which is scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 3.

“Four hours seemed like a really long time to me,” he said. “But I was reminded if I want to be sheriff that four hours of my life isn’t a big deal to talk to the citizens.”

Furlong agreed, saying, “It’s a great opportunity; it brings this campaign back into the light of the community, but you have to be careful what you do when you set something up like this. You can’t just rent a room and say ‘There’s a microphone in here, say something.'”

Furlong sent the group a list of 10 terms under which he would agree to attend, including: an impartial moderator; a two-hour discussion rather than the scheduled four-hour forum; a question-and-answer period limited to a hour and a half; and questions to be limited to two minutes and relative to the campaign for sheriff.

Association vice president Darrin Sloan said changing the words “debate” and “forum” in the letter Furlong received may have caused some confusion.

“It’s a forum. Like a town hall meeting,” Sloan said. “It is for the citizens so they may make an informed decision on who to vote for.”

Sloan said the association, which endorses Guimont and contributes funds to his election campaign, would agree to five of Furlong’s “demands.”

“The citizens will be asking the questions of the candidates in what we hope will be a town hall-type setting. That censorship of the citizens is not realistic, nor fair to the process,” he said of Furlong’s terms.


What: Sheriff’s candidates forum

Where: Carson Community Center

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 3