Heres some good news for folks who missed out on general admission tickets for next months 12th Congressional District debate at Lindenwood: The university is graciously opening the upper balcony of its auditorium for additional spectators. Free tickets for the upper balcony seats will be available beginning 9 a.m. Monday at the Belleville News-Democrat, 120 S. Illinois St., and at the main office of Lindenwood University-Belleville at 2600 W. Main St. Look for the advertisement in Fridays BND for more details. Tickets will be limited to two per customer this time and are first-come, first-served. If you already have tickets, please do not ask for more during this round. We are counting on the honor system to make that happen. Were also asking candidates organizations, political party activists and all of their supporters to refrain from seeking these tickets so that the general public has a chance to attend. Tickets went so fast when we first offered them on Monday that many people from the general public were left out. Some people in the political world believe there may have been skullduggery involved; that one group was intentionally left out to help another. Well, to those of you in the world of local politics, heres a challenge: Stay out of this round. Let the public have the first swing at these balcony tickets. If youre an activist or party person and really need a ticket, contact the campaigns of Paula Bradshaw, Jason Plummer and Bill Enyart. They ought to be able to help you out. They each have 40 general admission tickets for supporters, plus VIP seats for their family members and handlers. After all, the debates are opportunities for the public to hear unfiltered views from the candidates; theyre not a pep rally for the campaigns and their supporters. If you did get general admission tickets but now do not plan to attend the debate, please return them to the BND or Lindenwood so someone else can use them. The debate is set for 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Lindenwood Auditorium. Doors open to ticket holders at 6:15 p.m. This is the third and final debate in a series sponsored by the BND, Lindenwood, WSIU Public Television, the Paul Simon Institute and The Southern Illinoisan newspaper. As in the first two debates, a panel of journalists will ask questions, but we are also looking for your help. We want to hear what questions you would pose. You can send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or to me at PO Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222. Well also give spectators at the Oct. 10 event the opportunity to submit questions in the lobby before the debate begins. Our panel will consider some of those for a lightning round of questions during the debate. Incidentally, for those planning to attend Oct. 10, the sponsorship team is changing the applause rules, partially due to incidents of boorish behavior among some spectators at the second debate. Our moderator, Jak Tichenor, will explain those guidelines at the beginning of the Lindenwood debate, but they are generally designed to limit applause and reduce opportunities for yelling, booing and other nastiness so the focus will be on the candidates statements. If you cannot attend the debate, you can watch it at bnd.com, where it will be streamed live and available on video later in the week. We hope you find the debates useful as you decide your choice for the 12th District seat. As always, we thank you for your ideas, feedback and support.
-Jeffry Couch, editor and vice president of the BND and bnd.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or 618-239-2551 and follow him on Twitter @jcouch.