Mayoral candidates invited to Observer-sponsored debate

The Observer newspaper has invited all three candidates for Mayor of Kearny — Peter P. Santana, Carol Jean Doyle and Sydney J. Ferreira — to participate in a live-streamed debate, the first of its kind for the area.

The event will take place on a date to-be-determined, based on the candidates’ schedules (if they elect to participate.) The Observer has set a deadline of noon, Sept. 15, for the candidates to respond to our request.

Invitation letters were sent to each of the three candidates at around 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 8, to each’s email address.

The format will be 100% virtual, with each candidate participating virtually by beaming into The Observer’s live-streaming software, and broadcast to our website,, and our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch and Kick. Observer Editor Kevin Canessa will moderate the debate. The public will be invited to participate by sending questions ahead of time by email. While we cannot guaranteed every question will be asked, The Observer will do its best to choose a cross-sampling of questions that are most relevant to all three candidates.

The three candidates, to participate, must agree they will not be provided any questions ahead of time. Only Canessa will be aware of all the questions to be posed.

Each candidate will be offered a 60-second opening statement, followed by questions and answers. Each will have 60 seconds to answer questions, with the possibility of 30-second follow-ups as needed (or if one candidate addresses another in a response.)

At the end of the debate, each candidate will be offered 90 seconds to offer a closing statement pleading their case as to why they are the best person for the job. The start time will be at approximately 7 p.m. on the date that is ultimately chosen and we anticipate the event lasting between 60 and 90 minutes.

The Observer will reserve the ability to silence the microphones of any candidates who continue, in responding, to go over the allotted time. This will be the first live-stream debate The Observer has ever sponsored. Links to the broadcast will be provided in the coming weeks.

Residents who wish to submit questions, please do so by noon, Friday, Sept. 22, and send them to


Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.