I am a fan of the video show Saratoga Podcast featuring Robin Dalton, Dan De Federicis, and Adam Israel, but I do have a caveat.
I have been a guest on their show on a number of occasions and have posted links to their shows routinely. Their podcast has been quite critical of the current Saratoga Springs City Council, at times harshly but deservedly so. The three of them have very different perspectives on the local political scene, and it makes the show quite lively. I continue to recommend their podcast to the readers of this blog, but these three are missing an opportunity to better serve the community.
They have had Commissioners Minita Sanghvi, Dillon Moran, and James Montagnino as guests on their show. These interviews could have been valuable educational opportunities for the community by seeking answers for many of the most troubling actions these Council members have been involved in. Instead, Robin, Adam, and Dan have squandered these opportunities by engaging in the most banal conversations. To characterize their questions as timid would be an understatement. Assertions made by these politicians that were false or exaggerated went unchallenged, and there were no questions asked that might make these Commissioners even slightly uncomfortable.
These are just a few examples of questions they might have asked.
Someone might have asked Montagnino why he has made adultery by the police the basis for employment termination.
Dillon Moran might have been asked something as simple as why it has been months since his announcement that barriers for outdoor dining were going to be deployed, and for better or for worse, they have still not appeared. This is an over two-month mystery, and he has said nothing, and not one of his colleagues on the Council has had the temerity to ask why.
It would have been interesting to ask Minita Sanghvi how links to her Facebook campaign site appeared on the city website, something that the city Ethics Board recently ruled violated city policy.
Some might defend the podcast’s approach as civil dialogue. This would be a disservice. I frequently watch British Broad Casting (BBC). They have excellent reporters who show no reluctance to ask tough questions, but they do so in a professional and dignified manner. They do not let the politicians they interview filibuster, and they have no qualms about doing follow-up questions when their veteran politicians resort to dodging answers.
Thoughtful, tough interviews can be done civilly if the goal is to make elected officials accountable. Otherwise, why bother?
I expect that our politicians may not agree to appear on this podcast, though, if they fear they would be asked questions they would prefer to avoid.
I would welcome a post on this website by Robin, Dan, or Adam explaining why they do not ask tough questions of our elected officials when they invite them on.
I leave it for the readers to decide whether it is better to eschew probing questions in order to get Saratoga Springs politicians on the Saratoga Podcast.