Reporters who want to talk to Toledo mayoral candidate Anita Lopez are subject to a “media interview form” consisting of 17 items. They include not only what questions the reporter wants to ask, but also whether he or she is “knowledgeable” and has “a point of view.”
The length of Ms. Lopez’s questionnaire and her stated desire to have a canned answer ready for virtually all questions are departures from traditional Toledo politics. The Blade is not cooperating with this crude attempt at news management. But here is our candidate interview form for Ms. Lopez:
What is your campaign about? Where are your detailed proposals for creating jobs, reforming city government, dealing with gun violence and gangs, and providing parks and recreation services? What tops your first-year agenda as mayor?
Why can’t you debate Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara one on one, and also participate in debates with the other candidates? Do you plan to script your debate answers?
Do you truly believe that you can run for office and be scripted all the time? You are not a political novice; do you expect to run your campaign from a protective bubble?
How knowledgeable are you? This is a blunt but fair question to ask a reporter. Your effort to control your messaging raises the same question about you.
Do you have a point of view? People who know what they think, and how to express it, usually don’t need a lot of “handlers.” Can you describe your viewpoint?
Didn’t your advisers tell you this would be hard? Being mayor is a tough job. You need a thick skin and the ability to think on your feet. If you can’t take the heat of a campaign, in the form of unguarded appearances and unscreened questions, what confidence should voters have that you can run the city?
Have you considered getting new campaign advisers? If nobody warned you against your 17 questions, and if you are so unsure of yourself that you need them, maybe you should assemble a kitchen cabinet of men and women from around the city who can help you apply some substance to your talking points.
Will you learn from this? Instead of programming yourself as a political robot, will you speak candidly and from your heart to Toledo voters about your vision for the city and how you plan to achieve it as mayor?