Talk about a slap to the face of the community.
At last Thursday’s Meet the Candidates forum, sponsored by the 3C7 Block Club, it wasn’t so much about what the candidates had to say, but who didn’t show up.
Mayoral candidate Abdul Agalzali and city council candidates Abu Musa, Showkat Choudhury, Rashad Almasmari and Mohammed Hassan did not attend.
The Review was able to reach only Musa by phone, who said he had a family commitment. Hassan, the only incumbent seeking re-election, told the organizer of the candidate forum that he had to work.
The Review asked Algazali face-to-face if he was going to attend the event a week before it happened, and he abruptly walked away without offering an explanation.
Not coincidentally, those candidates are part of a slate for the Nov. 5 General Election. Or are they? Despite a flyer being distributed around town, Musa says he’s not part of any slate.
We don’t know what’s going on here but none of it adds up.
Their snubbing of the forum leaves a lot of unanswered questions: Do they have something to hide? Did they fear being questioned? Or are they so arrogant that they don’t believe they have to answer to anyone and that they have the election locked up?
It’s probably pointless to speculate, but it does make one wonder that if they are elected, is this how they will govern? Will they make decisions behind closed doors?
The slate’s absence also causes a division in the community. It’s no secret that their slate is composed mainly of Bangladeshi-American community members (Algazali and Almasmari are Yemeni-American). By not attending the forum, this cultural division only deepens and creates needless anxiety.
What’s even more baffling is that in the past Bangladeshi-American candidates, as well as Algazali, have attended similar events without incident.
For Algazali, this is the second candidate forum he has not attended this election season.
This action is not something legitimate civic leaders engage in, nor should it be tolerated by voters.