A forum featuring potential candidates for Riverside president and trustee scheduled for Oct. 16 has been called off by the Riverside Community Caucus due to COVID-19 restrictions, according to the organization’s leader.

“The Riverside Community Caucus voted unanimously last night to suspend our bylaws calling for a public candidate forum,” said caucus President Kevin Smith in an email to the Landmark on Oct. 8. “COVID restrictions make it almost impossible to conduct a meaningful public forum. The best case scenario wouldn’t even allow half of our membership to attend, not to mention the public.”

In place of a forum, said Smith, the caucus’ recruiting committee will produce videos featuring each candidate individually and post those videos to various social media platforms.

“That way all of our members and the general public will be able to access information about the candidates and get a sense of who they are,” Smith said.

While there’s no firm date for when those videos might be available, Smith said the goal was to have them up in the next couple of weeks.

 “The goal is to have the videos up by the end of the month, so that we can vote on endorsements in early November,” Smith said.

The Landmark understands that there may be as many as six or seven candidates who have been interviewed and hope to be nominated by the caucus, a private community organization open to all Riverside voters.

The non-partisan group exists to identify, nominate and endorse qualified candidates for municipal elections.

The caucus will nominate one candidate for president and three for trustee.

So far, three Riverside residents have come forward to say they’re running for office next April. Former trustee Joseph Ballerine has confirmed he is seeking nomination for president, while current trustees Doug Pollock and Wendell Jisa have said they are seeking the caucus’ endorsement for re-election.