Candidates for city council are slated to participate in the East Side Costa Mesa forum, the last scheduled debate before the November election.

The debate, hosted by the East Side Costa Mesa Neighbors’ Group, will be Thursday starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Avenue, Costa Mesa. 

A meet-and-greet with candidates will begin at 6:30 p.m. followed by the debate at 7 p.m.

There has been some controversy in recent weeks after the city declined to broadcast the event on television at the recommendation of their legal counsel, Mal Richardson of Best, Best and Krieger.

Richardson advised the city to be politically neutral and avoid using public resources to broadcast political debates hosted by private groups, although he also was concerned about the city agreeing to participate in one debate but not another.

Two previous debates were broadcast by the city, one hosted by Mesa Verde Community Inc. and the other sponsored by the Daily Pilot, OC Register and Voice of OC.

Broadcasting the debate could ultimately be funded by two bitter political rivals — incumbent Mayor Jim Righeimer and the Police Association, according to the Daily Pilot.

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