No debate for Precinct 5 candidates

GREENFIELD — One of the three candidates for the Town Council seat in Precinct 5 has failed in her somewhat unconventional attempt to organize a candidates’ debate for next week.

Local activist Penny Ricketts, who herself tried to schedule a debate because she said no one else had stepped up to the plate, wanted former town firefighter John Lyford, and local lawyer Robert Wainstein to participate with her in a debate before the town’s preliminary election on April 15, but Lyford said his schedule is “too tight.”

Wainstein said he did not want to hold the debate without Lyford.

“It would be unethical without all of us there,” said Wainstein. “It wouldn’t be fair to not have John present.”

The three-way race for a spot on this year’s general town election ballot has been a civil and respectful one.

“Penny brought this idea to me too late,” said Lyford. “I just can’t do next week. I have too many campaign things lined up. It was all about scheduling.”

Residents will vote for two of the three in the preliminary election and the two with the most votes will continue on to the town’s annual election in June.

Ricketts said she feels bad for Precinct 5 voters.

“I thought a debate would be a chance for voters to get to know us,” said Ricketts. “I’m disappointed, but I guess they can get to know us at the polls on April 15.”

Ricketts said she decided about a week ago to plan a debate and approached Lyford and Wainstein earlier this week.

“I wanted voters to see how alike we are, yet how we all differ,” said Ricketts. “Most people don’t know where we stand on some of the issues.”

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