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Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Supervisor Benjamin Pitts confirms no attendance for bloggers forum

At least one of the bloggers on tonight’s forum for the Spotsylvania supervisor candidates is unhappy with Supervisor Benjamin Pitts’ decision to exit the forum because of a "prior engagement."

In an e-mail today, Eric Martin, a Republican who operates a local blog on political issues, blasted Pitts for making his decision to opt out so late in the process.Martin is on the panel, along with Fredericksburg City Councilman Matt Kelly.

"He could have said no from the start, and had one other said the same, we would have cancelled it altogether!"

Pitts did not elaborate on what the prior engangement is, but he did say he could not get out of it. What does this mean for Chris Yakabouski, his opponent?



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  • lgross

    not mean much depending on what he makes of the
    opportunity, how many unaffiliated citizens are
    present – and how it gets reported.

    It won’t kill Pitts..(but it’s not a plus) IMHO as long
    as he continues to campaign the other venues and
    makes the rounds with his constituents.

  • livngnva

    by not showing up after agreeing to the forum? I think it might make the voters wonder why. I know that it makes me wonder if he thinks his re-election is a sure thing or just does not care what the voters issues are.

  • lgross

    it might.. if he also does not get out to other
    venues and/or campaign.

    One non-appearance – as long as it’s not a
    pattern would not kill him IMGO. it won’t help
    him but it could help his opponent simply
    because his opponent will have unchallenged

    but it sounds like if Skinner becomes a no-show
    that the whole affair might fold.

  • livngnva

    and campaign, but I am a stickler for keeping committments and find that if Pitts agrees to something and then backs out with nothing more then a got another committment, then maybe he won’t always be there for me as a resident of his district. If Skinner backs out to that would be a shame, but I can’t imagine that would cancel the whole thing at the last minute.

  • gramps

    like these two fellows (Pitts and Skinner) decided they had nothing to lose and everything to gain by opting out of this affair. Perhaps they thought they were about to walk in to some kind of trap??

  • lgross

    the PERCEPTION is that the panel is a bit more
    tilted towards Republican panelists and they bill
    themselves as “omni-partisan” which might be a
    tad bit unnerving for candidates that not really
    affiliated with either party – and their opponents

    and the format itself is a bit unique and
    unfamiliar enough to add to the discomfort level.

    Ideally – a forum wants to be perceived as much
    as possible as fair and straightforward with flat
    terrain devoid of potential potholes.

    I’m just not sure that the current approach is not
    going to be perceived as a bit too much “in your
    face” for some.

    Remember, most of these guys are more citizen
    than politician and feel more comfortable taking
    positions on county issues that are not
    Republican or Democratic.

    just my two cents worth.. and my apologies to
    anyone (Eric?) that it might upset.

  • brochureman

    No offense taken LarryG, but consider this. Both are public officials *now*. Both have been through the election process at least twice from start to finish. What could possibly be *asked* of them that is so scary?

    They are given “pass” cards to use- can’t get more fair than that, can you? Moreove, both *confirmed* they were coming and were given a 7 page packet with links to our sites and knew in advance exactly who was on their panel and what the topics of discussion would cover.

    We had the identical panel and Forum in Stafford last week, so they could have even come then to scout things out– At least 4 Stafford supervisors past and present were doing just that for their future elections! All said they loved the idea and pre-confirmed 2 years in advance!

    The mere mention of this around the blogosphere has both Democratic and Republican congressional candidates calling US to set dates for their forums for our region in the spring for their primaries. City of Fredericksburg leaders are asking if we’ll be hosting this in the spring for their May elections… so we’re obviously on to something good.

    We invited every blogger in this region that we knew of, including the most liberal of them all, Fred2Red and the writers from RaisingKaine, and they were too busy to do it this time (obviously over-worked trying to make Deeds appear viable!!) so we kept things as balanced ideology wise as best as humanly possible.

    That said, we can’t lose sight of *committment* to coming with long-range advanced invitations and follow-up as recently as Monday to confirm. That’s a decision and leadership flaw. Skinner was too sick to call us, but he can call Dan Telvock?? Shows you just how *seasoned* he is I think.

    Did Pitts all of a sudden look at his calendar and realize he forgot about his appointment with a Moon Spa massage that he pre-paid for or something? Again, he tells more to the newspaper than his hosts.

    No courtesy, no class, no free pass on this one.

    Skinner was not so deathly ill that he couldn’t also drag his limp body from his death bed and send Dan his information packet to post here either. How did that call go?

    “Excuse me Dan, I’m really ill, I think I’m going to barf right now *cough cough* …. Oh that’s right, you said you wanted a copy of the rules they gave me … hang on it’s right here in my in box… no that’s not it… no …. no.. oh here it is! Let me go ahead and forward that to you, any thing else? No? Okay thanks. Oh yeah… I gotta go because I’m sick. right. now. Thank you- bye!”

    Did he think we *wouldn’t* blog about it?? LOL!

    Heck, I didn’t even have any questions prepared for him, I was too busy the last couple days to do my homework!

    For the record, we had 3 Republicans and one Independent, and one Moderate Democrat on the panel tonight. FOUR were sick and would have been perfectly happy if it were cancelled, but didn’t want to let down the candidates and the audience, and came from as far as 30 miles away to volunteer for this.

    … Priorities …

  • brochureman

    I pulled a Jona Beals… I mistakenly typed we invited the most liberal bloggers around including Fred2Red. That should have been Fred2*Blue*.

    Mea Culpa.

  • StaceyG

    Pitts always seems to skirt the issues and this was his way of getting out…

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