The article--"The debate over the debates," written by John Mason--is essentially based on a press release issued by the mayor on Tuesday and a response from his challenger, Tiffany Martin Hamilton, issued yesterday. Gossips is happy to publish both in their entirety and without editing. First, the mayor's statement:
Mayor William Hallenbeck, Jr. again challenges Opponent to debates.
After several weeks of trying to communicate debates with mayoral opponent Tiffany Martin-Hamilton, talks have broken off between parties according the the Mayor. The Mayor, after a request from the Register Star and the Hudson Rotary to host debates has attempted to have Tiffany Martin-Hamilton agree to these debates. "Over and over and time and time again there is always an excuse coming from my opponent why the location, moderator, or debate format is no good." "Enough is enough!" Hallenbeck stated.
I have secured the Elks lodge for a 6:00 PM debate with Tiffany Martin on October 14, 2015. I have advised the Rotary Club and the Register Star that they have my blessing to set up the debates as they wish with the moderators and format of their choice and that all I need to know is when they would like me to arrive. I have secured the American Legion for October 28, 2015 for a 6:00 PM debate, but now my opponent has an issue with my affilitation with Veterans which she believes makes the location for this debate and the one at the 601 Union Street building a disadvantage. "Are you kidding me" stated the Mayor. I have also confirmed a radio debate on WGXC next week October 7th, without hearing confirmation from my opponent. A continuous barrage of social media posts to the contrary continue with false information and inaccurate details coming from post created by my opponent. I am a busy Mayor running a busy City. I do not have time to play these political "Cat and Mouse" games.
I again challenge my opponent and demand that she come out from behind the computer and face the residents with that she has to offer. My position again is that I am ready to debate tomorrow if these hosts call me and advise me to be somewhere.Now, the response from Tiffany Martin Hamilton:
This is nonsense and I am sure voters will see through it. The Mayor simply doesn't want to debate and is using his usual smear tactics to get out of it.
We have seen this sort of performance from him in the last two election cycles, including 2013 where he nixed debates altogether. At issue here is his insistence that the format and questions be left to the discretion of his supporters. He booked venues without consulting us, a "my way or the highway" approach that reveals why so little has been accomplished on his watch. If only the Mayor’s claim to be ready to debate anytime, anywhere were true.
That said, I wholeheartedly consent to a debate sponsored by the Register Star, to be conducted at the American Foreign Legion on October 14. I will agree to a second debate provided that it is also sponsored by the Register Star, to be conducted at John L. Edwards Primary School by my campaign and held October 28.
The Mayor’s smear that I am anti-veteran is an old smoke and mirrors trick, designed to shift attention away from his performance by creating false divisions. I fully recognize that we would have no elections were it not for the freedoms secured and protected by our veterans. They were willing to sacrifice everything, including their lives. To throw them into this matter for his own political expediency is deeply offensive.
Since the Mayor calls my truthfulness into question, I am making our entire correspondence on this subject available here (click links below to access each item). This supplements several face to face and phone discussions that my campaign initiated in good faith. The messages make clear that he has been nothing if not entirely confusing to deal with.
I know the voters of Hudson expect more. Let’s get on with it. I trust the Mayor will return to civility, and agree to this very fair arrangement.
NOTE: At 1:35 p.m., the Register- Star posted "The debate over the debates" online.