One day before the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce is set to host a highly anticipated City Council Candidate Forum, a Chamber spokeswoman says only 350 people will be accommodated — not the original 500 it originally said would be seated.

The spokeswoman also said there are no plans to accommodate an overflow crowd as the tools and technology needed to do that are already in use for the evening.

For weeks, the Chamber has touted this public forum, advertising the fact that 500 people would be accommodated on its Events calendar. Why the reversal of plans?

It begs the question as to how prepared the Chamber of Commerce is to host the event. Any event designed to educate the public should ensure that all steps are taken to maximize participation, not minimize it.

What other last-minute changes will the Chamber make before the Forum?

The forum begins at 6 p.m. at the Rancho Mirage Public Library, 71-100 Highway 111.

Candidates are not allowed to campaign in any way, including, but not limited to distribution of literature.

“This is not a debate and participants will not be given time for rebuttal,” Samantha Tweddell, executive director of the Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce, said in a letter to candidates. “Participants are asked to stay on topic, time allowed and refrain from personal attacks. The audience will be directed to remain quiet, and any outbursts or inappropriate behavior will result in their immediate removal.”

At 5:50 p.m. a random draw will be conducted in public view for order of sequence. All candidates will have the opportunity to answer each question. Each participating candidate will have the opportunity to be first to answer a question.

Each candidate will have the opportunity to make a one-minute opening statement and a one-minute closing statement.

Questions have been prepared in advance and will include those submitted by residents/business community by prior open solicitation, and vetted by the committee, to be read by the moderator.

Participants are the six candidates vying for three seats on the Rancho Mirage City Council in the April elections. There are three incumbents and three challengers. Incumbents are G. Dana Hobart, Charles Townsend Vinci and Iris Smotrich. The challengers are Katherine “Kate” Spates, Robert “Bob” Mueller and Michael Harrington. Each of the three open seats is a four-year term.