Forest Park forum set for Tuesday

By Ed Brock

On Tuesday night the four candidates in Forest Park's Dec. 6 run-off election will once again face the public and each other in a discussion of the issues.

Forest Park Mayor Chuck Hall will once again face former City Councilwoman Corine Deyton for the mayor's position. City Councilwoman for Ward 2 Debbie Youmans will try to hold her seat against the challenge by history lecturer Frank Brandon.

And all four candidates are expected to be at the offices of the Clayton County Branch of the NAACP at 1044 Main Street for a two-hour forum that will begin at 6:30 p.m.

About 30 to 40 people turned out for a similar forum that the NAACP hosted before the elections earlier this month.

“We've been trying to get the word out through e-mail and the media (about the forum,)” said Clayton County NAACP President Dexter Matthews.

The Forest Park election is very important, Matthews said, since the winner will have a lot of decisions to make. Those decisions are related to topics like the redevelopment of Army Garrison Fort Gillem, the possible coming of a commuter rail line to the city and revitalizing Main Street.

Matthews said the NAACP wants a good turnout for the forum and the election.

“Both of these races are going to be so close that two or three people can make the difference,” Matthews said.

Hall also said he's concerned about the possibility of a low turn out for the runoff. Of the over 6,000 registered voters in the city only about 1,000 voted on Nov. 8.

“I think a lot of people are just going to forget it,” Hall said. “I don't think you'll have any more turn out for the runoff as did for the primary, if that many.”

Hall and Deyton both say they have been campaigning hard.

“I've been out there trying to get my message out,” Hall said.

About two weeks ago the third candidate for mayor in the primaries, Darnell Moorer, officially endorsed Deyton for mayor. Hall said he's not sure how that will affect the outcome of the race.

“That's up to the voters, that's their call,” Hall said.

Deyton said she's been very busy talking to the people.

“We're doing the best we can and hoping to come out on top,” Deyton said.

She added that she's had some trouble with her signs being knocked over and Hall said he's had the same problem. Hall also pointed out that the city, under state law and city ordinance, will confiscate signs that are placed on the right-of-way.

Youmans admitted that, before she became involved in city politics, she was also guilty of not coming out for local elections.

“Now I tell you, it's so important,” Youmans said. “I really feel like it's more important than voting for the president.”

Like the mayoral candidates, Youmans and Brandon have been going door to door and talking to people.

Brandon said traditionally runoffs do have lower turn outs so he has been trying to call all of the voters who came out for the primaries and others.

“We're really working hard and hitting all the issues,” Brandon said.