The Chelsea Record and Chelsea Collaborative joint Candidate Forum on Monday night was by all accounts a great success.
It was also the first of its kind in Chelsea where a private sector media company joined hands with a non-profit human services agency to promote better knowledge of the candidates up for election or re-election next week, and to enhance civic participation.
There were some skeptics, naturally, who felt neither the newspaper nor the Collaborative could host such a thing and be fair about it all.
From the beginning of the planning for this effort, this partnership sought to prove them wrong.
On Monday night, their fears should have been put to rest – both those who were there and those that chose not to come. Such partnerships in many different forms are just part of the dawning of an even newer Chelsea.
Things are not just changing at City Hall or in the development world or on Everett Avenue.
That said, the stars of the show were the candidates themselves – both from School Committee and from the City Council District and at-Large races.
The questions were tough and they were random and the candidates had no idea what to expect beforehand.
Virtually everyone who participated answered completely and with a good amount of thought and knowledge of the issues in Chelsea. This is one of the more impressive groups of candidates that a Chelsea election has fielded in quite a long time.
Civic participation is up, and that’s good to see after so many years of disinterest, lack of information or just low priorities. Certainly, it’s hard to be concerned about City politics when one has to figure out where their next meal will come from or how they’re going to make it through a freezing cold day in an apartment without any heat.
But times are changing and circumstances for people who have been in Chelsea for some time, in many cases, are improving. Now those folks, and the folks who always had a sense of civic responsibility, are getting involved.
The voters will have some careful thinking to do before they go to the polls next Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The choices will be tough, as evidenced by the thoughtful answers of all who participated in the forum on Monday.
If one missed the forum, there’s still a chance to see it on Chelsea Cable. Make sure to tune in before you cast your vote on Tuesday.
Beyond that, there is a debt of gratitude owed to the Chelsea Schools for allowing this partnership to use the Mary C. Burke Auditorium and to be so accommodating in setting up. Kudos go to Supt. Mary Bourque and David Ferraro of the Burke.
We also must thank Chelsea Cable Executive Director Robert “Duke” Bradley for filming and broadcasting the entire event.
The Chelsea Police were also kind enough to send an officer to monitor the event and the school grounds in case something were to happen – which it didn’t.
The information is out there.
Now it’s up to the voters.