District 5 candidates differ on charter schools, casino vote, Wal-Mart

Seven of the eight candidates running to replace Rob Consalvo as city councilor in District 5 (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan) made their pitches last night to a packed house at a forum sponsored by the Fairmount Hill Neighborhood Assocation (Ava Callendar had a previous engagement). Some excerpts:

Education

Everybody hates all the money spent on school busing and said Boston schools need to be better.

TurchinetzTurchinetzMimi Turchinetz, Patrice Gatozzi and Jean-Claude Sanon said they would oppose lifting a cap on charter schools in Boston. "Schools are built, they're not bought," Gatozzi said. Margherita Ciampa-Coyne said she would be willing to consider lifting the cap if it meant more great schools for parents and their children. Tim McCarthy said the issue is too complicated for a simple "chip in a political debate," and said he couldn't make a decision on the issue without a lot more study.

Ciampa-CoyneCiampa-CoyneCiampa-Coyne called for a "hybrid" school committee with a mix of appointed and elected members.

Cousino said the former Hyde Park High School "needs to be revamped," and that it would be a good place to put a new vocational school.

Ciampa-Coyne said she wants to see at least three vocational schools in the city - and an end to the city's plan to marry Madison Park High with Roxbury Community College. "You're taking two underperforming institutions and you're expecting success?" she asked.

GatozziGatozzi"68% students cannot even read," Gatozzi said, citing what she said are figures from Stand for Children.

Vote on the Suffolk Downs casino.

WellsWellsWells said only East Boston should vote on the proposal. "It affects that community the most," he said. Gatozzi agreed, saying Hyde Park residents wouldn't want people in East Boston voting on something in their neighborhood. McCarthy, however, said the entire city should vote, because it sets a dangerous precedent in "splitting up the city pie" and because city resources will be needed to deal with it. Ciampa-Coyne agreed. East Boston is only seven miles from Hyde Park and the city needs to consider such ramifications as a loss in lottery revenue when people go to bet at a casino. "We should have the whole town vote on it," Cousino said.

Wal-Mart in Boston

SanonSanonNo way, Sanon said: It would suck money out of Boston and if it failed, Boston would have to deal with the mess. He said he had worked on a campaign against Wal-Mart when it looked like they might open in Roxbury. Ciampa-Coyne worried about the impact on mom-and-pop businesses. Turchinetz said she didn't like big boxes in general, but especially Wal-Mart, because they're anti-union, don't pay very well and the profits go out of state. Gatozzi also opposed the idea of a Wal-Mart.

McCarthy, however, said he'd be willing to talk to Wal-Mart - or any other big chain. He recalled that when a Home Depot was first proposed for West Roxbury, many people predicted the end of the world. Then he asked how many people in the audience had gone there in the past couple of weeks. He did not mention what happened to the local NHD and Ashmont stores after Home Depot opened.

Public Safety

All the candidates are for better public safety. "I'd love to change the name from Murderpan to Mattapan," Sanon said.

Development

There's virtually none of it in the district, and several candidates said that needs to change.

Ciampa-Coyne said River Street in Hyde Park is "a very disappointing main street ... so much more can be done." She said Hyde Park should learn from Roslindale Square, which is thriving.

Gatozzi would work to have Hyde Park declared "a cultural district" and said she would do more to attract businesses to Hyde Park.

McCarthyMcCarthyMcCarthy, also a strong proponent of culture, said everywhere he goes in Hyde Park, people tell him "Cleary Square is a mess." He says he remembers when Roslindale Square was a dismal hole with used needles in every alley, and now "there's an hour and a half wait to get into a restaurant in Roslindale Square."

McCarthy said he'd revitalize Cleary Square partly by pouring "serious money" into improvements such as sidewalks - but that he'd try for something even larger, such as re-doing the streets around the square into a circular pattern, similar to Roslindale Square. He compared trying to park near Delfino's in Roslindale with parking near the Fairmount Grill in Hyde Park: In Roslindale, if you don't get a space right away, you turn and you turn and you're back where you started and then you find a space, but in Hyde Park, if you miss the Grill, you find yourself who the hell knows where on Truman Parkway or something and "you say the heck with it" and flee the area.

Ciampa-Coyne said the old Stop & Shop warehouse in Readville would be ideal for new businesses.

Turchinetz, an advocate of affordable housing, said the BRA is building up a huge "linkage" fund from development downtown and that some of that should be coming to the city's southern tier.

McCarthy said the reality is nobody wants low-income or homeless programs in their backyards and came out against building crime-spewing giant housing projects in the district, although he added he could get behind single-family homes or three-bedroom units.

Commuting

Wells said he wants to get the state to reconsider its plan to replace the Forest Hills overpass with surface roads. "It's such a ginormous project," one that will affect motorists in the district, even though it's in Jamaica Plain.

Other

CousinoCousinoCiampa-Coyne called for term limits for councilors and the mayor.

Cousino said he would pay for better services for the homeless and hungry in part by extending the term of city councilors from two to four years, which he estimated would save $500,000 for each eleciton not held. Wells called for rebuilding the Archdale project in Roslindale. Gatozzi said the Hyde Park food pantry could be better promoted and said the homeless really need a place where they can go during the day for basic things, such as taking a shower. Turchinetz would set up an Office of Financial Empowerment to help the homeless get back on their feet, and said she favors the construction of more affordable housing in the district.

McCarthy said he would seek money to revitalize the Hyde Park community center.

McCarthy said his 21 years in city government, currently as a DPW manager, have prepared him for the tough challenges Boston will face over the next couple of years maintaining its good financial status.

Sanon said he would be a voice for Haitian-Americans, new immigrants and people across the district not currently getting fair representation from city government.

Wells said one of the most important parts of his job would be to listen, in particular in Mattapan, with which he acknowledged he was not familiar - he conceded he didn't even know it was part of the council district before he ran.

Voters will have two other chances to hear District 5 candidates: Wicked Local Roslindale moderates another forum at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 12 at St. Nectarios Church, 39 Belgrade Ave. in Roslindale; MassVOTE, the Boston NAACP and the Future Boston Alliance sponsor a forum at 6 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the Mattahunt Wheelock Community Center, 100 Hebron St., Mattapan.

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Comments

Terribad?

You give them that much credit? I can't think of a word to even describe how low my confidence of any of them is. This election isn't going to be won by the "best" candidate, it's going to be bought by the sleaziest.

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McCarthy

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McCarthy is the most qualified.
Hes done so much for the district and city wide.
Cousino is longwood security - and says he is 'boston special police'

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McCarthy is supporting Dan Conley!

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McCarthy is supporting Dan Conley for Mayor! I would really like to know more about the people that lost there jobs because McCarthy mishandled the budget. Real experience there!

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Lets focus on education,

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Lets focus on education, since it's obvious you don't know the difference between "there" and "their".

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Auto-correct isn't always

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Auto-correct isn't always right! McCarthy has done a great job as a manager with Public Works! Its funny when you call them about a problem they take forever to respond or not at all. Typical City Employees...that's all we need! More of Nothing!

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Seems like you have a hidden

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Seems like you have a hidden agenda or maybe, just maybe, you're not smart enough to use the Citizen's Connect application (where you get a response within 36-48 hours).

I heard he supports Yancey

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I heard he supports Yancey for Mayor. (see how easy it is to lie anonymously online)

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Longwood Security does employ Boston Special Police Officers

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I just made a phone call and found out that Longwood Security and other private security companies hire Boston Special Police Officers under Boston Police Department's rule 400 and their job is just as dangerous as a Boston Police Officer's job sometimes.

I am curious why you only attack one candidate "Cousino" is it because that is the person you are more concerned about beating your relative "McCarthy"?

So Tim is a great public speaker. Does this make him the best candidate? The last city councilor from District 5 who wasn't good at Public Speaking made a great Mayor! Andrew Cousino reminds me a little of Menino.

McCarthy endorsed by long-time friend

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Sean O’Brien, President of Teamsters 25 endorsed Tim McCarthy without giving the other candidates a chance to earn the endorsement. McCarthy represents the corruption that continues to go on in local government. I hope Mimi wins! She is the Best Candidate!

So let me get this straight

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they basically approve of the status quo / party line-narrative?

And what is this morbid loathing of charter schools? Oh right, the teacher's union, and by extension the 'progressives' do not approve.

How about instead of 'dumping' $ into Cleary Square, you simply encourage and streamline business opportunities? How about we modernize antiquated zoning? And in the cases of places like HP, please don't ever forget how crucial the issue of crime or even just it's perception is.

Walmart: does the gentleman who disapproves of their entry into Boston proper realize many of those 'poor' city folks drive out to the suburbs to Walmart? Does he approve of price gouging that often occurs in inner city 'neighborhood' stores? Again, I understand 'progressives' loath Walmart because they aren't union and 'pay poorly'. I'm not a huge rah-rah fan of big box stores, these retail oligarchies, but c'mon ... the city and it's people don't exist in a vacuum or bubble. Walmart has it's place. Boston isn't a small town where all the other retailers will close after Walmart opens a store.

Some of these other characters simply want to get their hands on public $ and shake down developers and others in order to dole out goodies and favors to friends and create a political machine. Same old, same old.

Unintended consequences

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Just as an unintended consequence of the fix for unequal schools - busing - was the increased segregation we see today, an unintended consequence of the desire to provide housing for the poor has been the creation of ghettos with high crime and low expectations for the youth.

Politicians should do a better job understanding the consequences of policy and if being able to admit when policy has failed.

In Boston, we should abolish both busing and the projects.

That explains it

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McCarthy said his 21 years in city government, currently as a DPW manager...

Is that why there has been so much work along Washington this summer? We're used to the spruce up before Menino runs but we couldn't figure out what accounted for the frenzy this year.

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Sanon

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Great job as usual Adam!

I predict Sanon will win after all the white voters are split up amogst the white candidates.

Too bad there isn't a good strong candidate :(

Write in Adamg!

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Great Article, but

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Great piece. Wish I could make it to one of the forums, but this is a close substitute.

However, in the section on Wal-Mart there is a typo, unless Margherita gazed into Andrew's eyes and said "that's it, I'm leaving Coyne for this tall drink of water and becoming Ciampa-Cousino."

Not that I'm one to talk about typos. I cannot even get a subject line straight. Or figure out how to log on.

Ciampa Coyne Cousino

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Hi Adam. I so glad you made the correction! I also wanted to note that my comments about "mom and pop businesses"' regarding Walmart omitted the comparison I was making with the East Boston casino. Why is the impact of a Boston Walmart on small business an issue while the impact of the East Boston casino is not?

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To be fair about it (even though I don't reside in Boston),

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Neither the Casino or the Wal-Mart should be allowed in Boston...anywhere. If I were a Boston resident, i'd vote against both the casino and the Wal-Mart, because they'll both do heavy damage to the communities. Wal-mart, with its expansionism and lousy labor policies, has done almost incalculable damage to every community that it's moved into, because it's killed off all the mom-and-pop businesses and they sell cheap third-world junk, plus their workers have to collect welfare in order to get even the bare necessities (i. e. healthcare, etc.).

As for casinos...what the hell are casinos necessary for? We don't need another Atlantic City, Las Vegas, or another Mohegan Sun here in Massachusetts.

Thanks for the write-up,

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Thanks for the write-up, Adam. Keep 'em coming. My schedule is awful right now, so I probably can't make it to any/many of these forums. But as a District 5 voter, I don't know how else to decide between these candidates. I'm sure not seeing this race covered in any of the other local press.

I had two reasons to go last night

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One was just being a reporter, but the other was because I live in the district and had no clue whatsoever who any of these people were, except sort of Sanon, whom I vaguely remembered had run for an at-large seat before.

Tim McCarthy and his family

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Tim McCarthy and his family are from my corner of Readville, so the old timers on the block can tell me what he was like as a kid. Nobody knows his positions (or anyone else's for that matter) on the issues. I'm relying on your coverage to make my decision based on something other than the number of yard signs in my hood.

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Casey Overpass

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"Wells said he wants to get the state to reconsider its plan to replace the Forest Hills overpass with surface roads. "It's such a ginormous project," one that will affect motorists in the district, even though it's in Jamaica Plain.”

good - now I know at least one candidate I won’t be voting for.

just FYI - the overpass, when all 4 lanes were open - saw around 2000 cars an hour at peak rush hour - sounds like a lot, however not so much if you knew that a single lane of 30mph road can handle 2000 cars an hour. The DOT - to appease the “OMG! TRAFFIC!” idiots - are designing a 6-lane highway with a capacity of 12,000 cars an hour - right next to one of the busiest subway stations in the system - and a well-used bike commuter path.

It’ll become a speedway like the rest of the parkways.