By GUY KOVNER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Democrats vying to represent the North Coast in Congress will answer questions at two forums next week, one of them live at Petaluma City Hall on Tuesday and the other streaming online Wednesday by a Petaluma media collaborative.
Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams, Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael, Petaluma City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee and Marin activist Norman Solomon will participate in the Tuesday night forum at City Hall sponsored by the Sonoma County Young Democrats.
A fifth candidate, San Rafael businesswoman Stacey Lawson, has not confirmed her participation, said Gabe Kearney, chairman of the group.
The five Democrats and Republican Dan Roberts, a prospective candidate, will also appear Wednesday night in a online forum produced by California North Coast Media and Pixel Corps Studios of Petaluma.
A sixth Democrat, prospective candidate William Courtney of Mendocino County, may join the online forum.
Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s announced retirement created a wide-open race for Congress in a district that runs from Marin County to the Oregon border, excluding Santa Rosa and Rohnert Park.
Woolsey has represented a compact district covering Marin and most of Sonoma County since 1993.
Kearney will moderate the Tuesday forum and pose prepared questions — formulated by the Young Democrats — to the candidates. Some questions submitted on cards by members of the audience also will be included, he said.
The forum is free and open to the public, but seating in the Petaluma City Council chambers is limited to about 100 people.
Only Democratic candidates were invited to participate, said Kearney, a Petaluma councilman, because the forum is part of the Young Democrats’ interview process for endorsing one of the candidates.
The forum will be from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday and will be videotaped by Petaluma Community Access, a local cable television station.
The candidates will gather the following evening for an online forum, starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The debate will open with 90 minutes of prepared questions posed by moderators Jason Davies, a Petaluma technology executive, and Connie Madden, a Petaluma writer, blogger and publicist.
A subsequent 30 minutes will feature questions from a pre-selected studio audience of 20 people and the online audience. The forum, held at Pixel Corps Studios, will not be open to the public.
It will be streamed live online at 6 p.m. at the California North Coast Media web site and will be posted on YouTube shortly after it concludes.
Roberts, a Tiburon securities broker, and Courtney, a Mendocino County physician and inventor, have both announced an intention to join the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat.
The 2012 primary will be an open contest, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the November election.