Mayor debate should go on in Warren

Warren Mayor Doug Franklin wants his challenger Randy Law to explain why Law has been getting political backing from a particular Marietta-based group.

Franklin is so interested in the connection between Law and a political action committee calling itself “America’s Tomorrow” that he’s now trying to leverage an explanation from his opponent by refusing to participate in any debates until Law comes clean.

Franklin, a two-term Democratic officeholder, will face Law, an independent candidate, in the Nov. 5 election.

Last week, Franklin accepted Law’s challenge to face off in two debates.

But one day later, the mayor said he was rethinking that decision and instead will not debate Law until he discloses his affiliation with the PAC that has been sending numerous fliers to city residents and using other advertising to tout Law’s candidacy and criticize Franklin.

“I’ve debated all of my opponents before and they received outside money, but (Law’s) entire campaign is funded from outside money. People have a right to know what he promised them in exchange for that cash. All of my funding is local and fully transparent,” Franklin told our politics reporter.

Sure, it’s a curious question, but the fact is, as long as Law follows all campaign finance laws by reporting all donations and support his campaign is receiving by the appropriate deadlines, really he is doing nothing illegal.

On the other hand, we disagree with Franklin’s attempt to limit Warren voters’ ability to hear the two candidates debate important issues facing the city — things like jobs, city operations and crime.

We think it’s wrong for him to use an issue involving Law’s campaign support as a reason to halt a debate intended to assist voters in making educated and informed decisions when they head to the polls in coming weeks. As mayor, we would expect him to encourage voter knowledge and confidence.

We urge Franklin to rethink his position and help give voters the tools they need before casting their votes.

Franklin said he has never turned down a debate. We hope he doesn’t start now.