.

Candidates Who Missed the T/E School Board Debate Explain Their Decisions

Only on Patch: Where were they?

The two candidates for T/E Schol Board who are taking their critics head-on in interviews with TE Patch.

Republican candidates Tara LaFiura (T/E School Board Region 1) and Liz Mercogliano (T/E School Boar Region 2) sat down for on camera interviews with TE Patch and explained why they were absent. It was a question that was not answered during the debate, leaving both open for pointed criticism from Democrat party insiders who questioned their commitments to the race and to serving should they be elected.

LaFiura, as you will hear in the video clips, said she was keeping a previous commitment. You wil also hear hear what she said when Patch asked her where she was that was more important (a question posed by Democrats on the night of the debate).

Mercogliano explained that hers was essentially a strategy decision. She opted instead to go door to door to meet voters on the night of the debate as she says she has been doing throughout her camapign.

Linda Burgwin November 03, 2011 at 11:24 AM
Neither candiate actually stated where they were. You do not stand up the League of Women Voters so lightly. I do not believe that the candiates did not know when the event was.They both choose not to come.
Bob Byrne (Editor) November 03, 2011 at 11:40 AM
Linda, Your are right in that they both chose not to come. To be fair, Liz Mercogliano told Patch she was knocking on doors in Daylesford talking to voters. Tara LaFiura said she had a previous commitment but essentially said it's not of their business when I asked about opponents who wanted to know what commitment was more important than the debate. Both answered the question of where they were in their own words on camera. Neither claimed not to know when the debate was. Ms. LaFiura did say that when she found out about it, she already had a previous commitment. How the candidates' answers will play with the voters is a question I'm hoping more Patch readers will weigh in on.
RosiesDad November 03, 2011 at 12:37 PM
"The only way I found out about the date of the debate was that I got a form in the mail..." Really? Is that the level of organization for these things? I guess if Ms. LaFlura did not find out about the debate until a few days before and had a prior commitment, that's a reasonable excuse. But it seems to me, then, that these things should be scheduled far enough in advance--with notification of participants--to ensure that such conflicts do not occur. As to Ms. Mercogliano deciding to spend the time knocking on doors--I guess that is her option but she would have done voters a greater service appearing with the other candidates at the debate. Time will tell if this has any effect on her prospects.
Interested Observer November 03, 2011 at 02:07 PM
I do believe Ms. LaFiura. I have friends with the LWV. They are volunteers, not full-time people and they do their best to set these things up but it is not always easy to coordinate schedules among the candidates, the volunteers, etc. especially when there are 8 candidates as in this case. Often, they pick a date and then send out a notice to the candidates telling them when it is. Most candidates try to rearrange their schedule, but some cannot; others choose to keep the commitment they may have previously had. The only bad thing is that when they don't appear because of something like this happening, their opponents bash them for it unfairly. If candidates are out in the public, doing doors, mailing, etc., then they are answering voters' questions. If they aren't doing that and still refuse to participate, then they may have something to hide. In this case, it's the former, not the latter.
Ray Clarke November 03, 2011 at 03:02 PM
Oh come on! A commitment that could not be rescheduled? The US Secretary of State just canceled at the last minute a diplomatic trip to London and Turkey. Just slightly higher stakes there. The more politicians that evade answering questions, the more underlying issues there are. Reportedly the real story is that The TTRC told the candidates not to attend, and only a couple had the character to buck the machine.
Libby Brinton November 04, 2011 at 09:37 PM
OMG, Ray. You really think Mike B told them not to appear? Ii had not heard that rumor.
Libby Brinton November 04, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Apparently Ms. Lafuria had something better to do. What I can't possibly imagine. Maybe she had an appointment to meet an important person, possibly Pope Benedict which couldn't be rescheduled. After all is she so important that she can snub the LWV? Likewise Ms. Mercogliano's decision to go door-to-door is bogus. She probably had an appointment to show a house..
Libby Brinton November 04, 2011 at 10:03 PM
P.S. Their non appearance certainly indicates what their attendance priorities at S.B. meetings & subcommittees will be.
Kathleen Keohane November 06, 2011 at 01:22 AM
I know for a fact that the party chairs discussed a mutually agreeable date well over a month before the LWV debate was held. At the time the date was chosen, only candidate Chris Graham reported she had a prior commitment. Chris obviously changed her plans given the importance to her of participating in the debate. The League was informed that LaFiuria and Mercogliano were not going to participate at the last minute. Thus their name plates and the seating arrangement. The partisan spin doctor who blames the LWV for not giving enough lead time is, among other things, plain wrong. Nothing short of a serious health issue or family emergency should have prevented these women from giving the voters a chance to hear their views. But judging from La Fiuria and Mercogliano's on-camera explanations to a sympathetic Bob Byrne, I think it's fair to say that they would not have distinguished themselves at the debate. Just think of all the time they saved not boning up on the issues school board members will be confronted with from day one. A good indication that neither is prepared to invest in learning what they'd need to know to be a real contributor as a school director. They are each unworthy of serious consideration.
Bob Byrne (Editor) November 06, 2011 at 03:33 AM
Kathleen, your information seems to be at odds with the information that Tara LaFiura herself offered Patch readers in an on camera interview. I did the interviews with Tara LaFiura and Liz Mercogliano on camera on purpose. The purpose was to let Patch readers not only hear but also see their explanations on camera. I was neither sympathetic nor antagonistic. I offered them an opportunity to explain their decisions not to participate on camera in order to let Patch readers make their own decisions and judgements. Ms. LaFiura said she had a commitment. When I pointed out that Democrats who attended the debate wanted to know what the commitment was she responded that it was none of their business. You can -and have-drawn your own conclusions. If by "sympathetic" you mean I gave them a forum to answer questions like yours, then I guess I was sympathetic. However you also decry the fact that voters did not get to hear them at the debate. Patch will present their answers to the debate questions along with all the other candidates' answers from the debate, which is exactly what you indicate you wanted. So it seems nothing short of an editorial decrying these candidates will quench your thirst for partisan politics. I don't need to provide that. You already have. So it appears I have done my job by providing Patch readers information on which they, like you, can reach their own conclusions.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »