City Council candidates: Demand more money from colleges, hospitals

12 candidates

12 candidates for city council. The 13th, Felix Arroyo Jr., arrived late because he was busy formally launching his campaign. Two other candidates did not attend.

Colleges and hospitals would face greater demands of payments in lieu of taxes and the Boston Redevelopment Authority 2ould face a threat to its existence if most of the 13 at-large City Council candidates had their way.

The 13 talked at a forum sponsored by the Wards 4 and 5 Democratic committees on Boylston Street tonight. Here are their answers to three broad questions:

What makes you different and what would your priorities for the first six months be?

John Connolly. First-term councilor. Said his first six months would be "focused on safe streets, great schools and a healthy, sustainable Boston." He said as a former teacher, he is particularly concerned about education, but also about making Boston a green city.

Ego Ezedi. As executive director of Roxbury YMCA, turned a $1-million deficit into a $250,000 profit in a year. "I will deliberately look for opportunties to cultivate and develop leadership from across the city" and hold office hours across the city.

Tomas Gonzalez: Senior level experience in City Hall and non-profit and for-profit organizations. Expert in urban affairs. "I don't need a road map to figure out City Hall. I've been there for the last seven years."

Tito Jackson: Born and raised in Boston. Last two years working in state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development as industry director. "I'm the only candidate here with experience in delivering jobs." Use my proven experience in job development to bring jobs to the people of Boston.

Andrew Kenneally: Lifelong Bostonian. "My lifetime theme is public service." Worked for Joe Moakley, on conflict resolution in Northern Ireland, came back to work as aide to Councilor Flaherty. We have the highest unemployment rate in decades. "We need somebody who can hit the ground running." Running because he was diagnosed with a brain tumor 10 months ago, is OK now, but decided he didn't want to have any regrets in his life.

Stephen Murphy: 13th years as an at-large councilor. "It's a privelege to be before you today." Tax and budget issues are foremost. What's being cut are schools, police, fire because of ever growing demands from fixed costs such as pensions.

Hiep Nguyen: I have a strong background in tax, accounting and finance. CPA by trade. My life experiences include coming from a different country, having to adjust to a totally different environment, as a small businessman. First time running: "I am not indebted to any special interest."

Ayanna Pressley. Worked as aide to Joe Kennedy and John Kerry. Knows how to use relationships and resources to get things done. Only woman in a field of 15. "There has never been a woman of color on the Boston City Council."

Sean Ryan. I was born and raised in JP. Helped me to see people as individuals, rather than as members of groups. I went to Boston public schools for 14 years. Believes in limied government, would end busing, decriminalize marijuana use, try to make Boston more independent of the state and federal government.

Bill Trabucco: 41, Born and raised in Dorchester, Spent 12 years in Boston public schools. Hospitals and non-profits need to pay more. Not accepting campaign donations.

Scotland Willis: As a single parent, raised three boys and put them through the Boston school system. I have non-profit experience as a consultant, former small-business owner. Government accountability needed.

Doug Bennett. Taxes are too high. "There's a lot of corruption in City Hall and we need fresh blood. I'll take City Hall, flip it upside down and shake the change out." Lower taxes, less violence and cleaner sidewalks.

Felix Arroyo. Born and raised in this city. Product of BPS. "I'm an organizer, that's what I am. I'm proud of the fact I have been trained to be a community organizer." Worked to organize cleaning workers for SEIU, now a healthcare organizer.
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Budget challenges

Ego Ezedi. Teamwork is the key to solving city budget issues, as he did at Roxbury YMCA.

Tomas Gonzalez. We could lose $80 million in local aid, but possibly gain $95 million in increased meals and hotel taxes. Use the money to get smart, get more efficient. Things we cannot cut are public safety and schools.

Tito Jackson. People can't afford to pay more taxes, can't afford more fees, can't cut essential services. Key to balanced budget is economic development. Example of his ability to do this: We worked with Microsoft and Cambridge to bring Microsoft into Cambridge.

Andrew Kenneally. Need to look at new technologies, such as project tracking. Colleges are not paying their fair share. We need to stimulate business. Look at the hole in the ground in Downtown Crossing.

Stephen Murphy. The only revenue we get is from the property tax. We don't get revenue from the sales tax, we don't get revenue from an income tax. PILOT is not high enough. Only getting $15.4 million in PILOT; we should be getting at least $87 million.

Hiep Nguyen. As a CPA, call for internal audit of city workstaff. Limit overtime. Not cut fudning to schools, public safety, clean streets, park. "Increase real-estate taxes on those big buildings downtown, South Station, Copley."

Ayanna Pressley. Concentrate on maximizing what's already there, a lesson she knows as a parent. Supports meal and hotel tax increases.

Sean Ryan. Opposed to the government taking any more of our money. All city workers should take at least a 10% pay cut. Phase out school busing. Cut DPW. Save money by not enforcing laws against non-violent drug use.

Bill Trabucco. Held up a handwritten sign: GREED! Harvard University owns probably half of Allston/Brighton. They don't want to pay their fair share. We can suffer more for them. I say they pay their fair share. And if they paid their fair share, we wouldn't even have a deficit.

Scotland Willis. We've got to raise more money. Economic and housing growth. Trade, tourism, manufacturing. We cannot take money out of the pockets of residents. We have to make sure non profits are held accountable.

Doug Bennett. Go after utilities, make them pay for use of city street resources. Universities and hospitals need to pay their fair share as well.

John Connolly. 60% of our revenues generated by property tax. We're overly reliant on that. End up squeezing people out of the city. It's about PILOT reform as the number one key given the amount of land and commercial square footage our non-profits take up. We don't want to squeeze non-profits, "we just want our fair share."

Development and the BRA

Tomas Gonzalez. Community-based master plan: Excellent schools, job creation, smart management, safe streets. Community input required. BRA probably needs to be split.

Tito Jackson. We need a strategic plan for the next 25 years. Split up the BRA.

Andrew Kenneally. I have my master's in city planning and urban affairs. Unless you plan, they're never going to happen. BRA has no plan, so developers get away with a lot. We want more greenspace and smart growth. Split up the BRA.

Stephen Murphy. New development coming online will help with new property taxes, but development has to be done with input from nearby residents. Fatalistic about BRA because it was created by state law and the powers that be don't want to give up their grip on development, "so it's probably not going to happen."

Hiep Nguyen. 25 years too long for a plan. We should focus on a greener Boston: bike paths, green energy, transit-focused development.

Ayanna Pressley. I would consider the separation of BRA and planning. Would support whatever would make the BRA an efficient agency. Real community input required for a master plan, for each of our neighborhoods.

Sean Ryan. Abolish the BRA. Complete overhaul of zoning to allow denser residental development and taller buildings downtown. Allow for triple and even quadruple-deckers. Facilitate lower rents by increasing supply of affordable units.

Bill Trabucco. We have too many problems need to be resolved right now, but if we have to talk about planning: Denser housing development, transit-focused.

Scotland Willis. I sold both my cars and motorcycles as commitment to going green. Growing density is the way to go. Dismantle the BRA. But you can't just rip down the BRA, you have to replace it with something: inclusive process of planning.

Felix Arroyo. Break up the BRA: "Sometimes they forget there's a community they respond to."

Doug Bennett. I think government should stay out of planning, unless you absolutely need it. I don't see how we're going to be growing that much more (in population), but to grow economy, I have a program to add 10,000 jobs through maintenance of air conditioning and heating systems and replacing light bulbs.

John Connolly. Yes, a master plan is a good idea. Make Boston the greenest city in the world. On BRA: Transparency and accountability, didn't say whether he'd favor splitting it up..

Ego Ezedi. Absolutely there should be a master plan, absolutely be dictated by the needs in the community, not by businesses or politicians.

Education

Tito Jackson. We could have one of the best school systems in the world. We have great teachers who are doing great things but they don't have the resources or the time that they need. Mentorship program for all 55,000 public-school students.

Andrew Kenneally. My mom is a nurse in the BPS. Parental involvment is vital, increase that. First, need to let parents send kids to schools closer to their homes. Not charters or changing the schools around, but more resources. Also need mentors, especially for single-parent homes.

Stephen Murphy. Money is the problem, obviously. We're not routing the buses properly. We need more early learning centers, more after-school and tutorial programs. MCAS, teaching to the test is a mistake, drop MCAS requirement.

Hiep Nguyen. Product of BPS, got a good education. High dropout rates. Invest in K-1. In high school, invest in programs to help kids succeed in college. Get parents more involved.

Ayanna Pressley. Biggest problem facing our school system is disparity. Every child deserves that same quality of education. Some neighborhoods don't even have schools. Mentoring.

Sean Ryan. $14,000 a year per student now already. Charter schools are the answer. "Bring competition back. Bring free-market principals back to the school system." Eliminate busing, spend money on sports and arts.

Joe Trabucco. Teachers are heroes. Set up Boston City College: Free college education for Boston residents. Everybody should have access to a Boston Latin-quality education.

Scotland Willis. Mentoring. We need to think about the importance of relationship between public, charter and pilot schools, how each can improve the other. Busing: Can't just tear it down in one day. Green buses, green police cars could save money through lowered fuel costs.

Felix Arroyo. Five years ago, drove his wife to her first job as a teacher in a school in Dorchester. "We saw a classroom that didn't even have chairs." Where is the money going? After-school programs are vital. We need to link our schools and community centers better. We need to change the thinking of some folks in BPS: All children deserve a chance.

Doug Bennett. Very alarming dropout rate. 54 "underperforming" schools. Get rid of busing. Invest the money in the underperforming schools.

John Connolly. Former teacher. "Education is my passion. I know urban schools can work, because I taught at an urban school that worked." We need to try different things. Build an environmental-science academy. New approach to truancy - those kids on a pathway to drop out and things just get worse from there.

Ego Ezedi. Holistic approach to education. "Education is more than just what happens between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m." Use our street workers to pull our youth into our community centers - more enrichment and educational opportunities. Let's not get caught up in the small stuff, such as neighborhood schools vs. school choice.

Tomas Gonzalez. Wife is a teacher. Half the candidates here are BPS graduates. Education can be top notch. Biggest thing is choice. As parents, we want the choice that's best for our kids.

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    Comments

    Get it from Hospitals and Colleges

    Good luck with that.

    How about a blight tax on empty storefronts and vacant houses? Make it worth a bank or landlord's while to keep them all rented out.

    Where is the money going? Good question - moreover, where is the money going to come from?

    A tax on a

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    A tax on a non-revenue-generating property, to make it worth the owner's while to make it a revenue-generating property? Where are you getting your logic from? What makes renting a property out worthwhile is--renting the property out. That's why people do it.

    Who Won?

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    Who do you think did the best? Did they endorse candidates tonight?

    Ward 5 endorsement

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    Ross Levanto, a Ward 5 committee member tweets the committee endorsed Ayanna Pressley and incumbent John Connolly (whom they endorsed in his successful run two years ago).

    As for who won, I couldn't say. Given that there are so many of them, they didn't really have enough time to get in depth on anything (they had 30 seconds each to explain how they'd fix the school system). And it wasn't a debate - each one of them gave their answer one after the other. I think we'll have more substantive debates after the September preliminary.

    Three things did stand out in particular, though: If Doug Bennett isn't different enough for you, check out Sean Ryan, an actual Libertarian. The one guy who's running as an actual Republican (as opposed to Bennett who isn't making a point of it) wasn't there (grr, what's his name?).

    Also, it was kind of striking to see all these relatively young candidates - and Steve Murphy. And it was striking to see all these men - and Ayanna Pressley.

    FIX THE BRA!

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    Good.

    Glad to see two of the biggest issues facing Boston are actually being discussed by some people in Government. Imagine that!

    Boston's PILOT system needs to be overhauled and even more importantly the BRA's systematized corruption, disregard for the needs of the communities it claims to serve, bloated bureaucracy, and near-unlimited power needs to be tempered. Better yet eliminated altogether.

    We can have a normal planning and permitting process like every other city that follows zoning, respects due process, and the rule of law.

    Thanks for reporting, Adam!

    i fear for the future of this city.

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    I really fear for the future of this city/state....

    I am getting out of here asap.

    and before you just disregard my post just note that i was born here, grew up here, went to college here. Boston is going to find itself struggling to keep its young population upon their graduation.

    Feel free to think whatever you like, but my opinion is shared throughout my young demographic.

    This rant is a cumulation of recent statewide political events.

    Good riddance

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    Let my landlord know you left so they'll start lowering my rent again around here.

    up
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    NH?

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    What is this magical NH place that everyone keeps talking about?

    I still haven't figured out whether Boston/Cambridge is going to be one of the healthiest US cities in the next few years, or is trapped in a decline that the electorate is not smart enough to vote its way out of.

    I will be glad too. Your

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    I will be glad too. Your answer was more predictable than the outcome of the sox game tonight.

    We'll see which part of the country will be better off in 15 years. Hint...it won't be bankrupt MA. Young talent will be fleeing for the attractive south. Think Life sciences will save us? NC is looking more attractive to biotechnology companies these days.

    what do i know though? I mean i only graduated in may and can't wait to get the f out of this state and find somewhere where i can actually afford a decent quality of life.

    I love this city and pray that I am wrong, but with leadership like this, its hard to keep your glass half full.

    you are right about some things...

    The affordabity part.

    If you have no ties to Boston and don't care about where you want to work, why would you stay?

    It of course depends on what you do and how much money you can make. You can bet the housing situation in NC is a hell of a lot worse than the housing situation in Boston and suburban Boston.

    We are actually very lucky compared to a lot of other areas of the country.

    But hey, if you wanted to be a teacher, why not teach in a place where you mike make a little less, but you can buy a fantastic house for 300K?

    To many who choose to stay

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    To many who choose to stay in this area, quality of life is much more than owning a McMansion on the cheap.

    Oh yea, thats why I stay (stayed)

    I love knowing that if someone calls me with some extra sox tickets, I can just zip right in or out with no problem. Or I can head into the city for a night out at one of 100 of my favorite restuarants. Or that my kids might go to a great college because they went to a great school system.

    I once lived in upstate new york right after college and told myself that I never wanted to live that far away from Boston or in a place where there simply wasn't that much to do when it came down to it.

    But every now and again I look to see how much 200-500K will get you for a house out there and it makes me wonder for a few seconds. But I always go back to thinking at how I knew I didn't want to live in a place like that.

    Its just me, but I have a feeling that is why many people do live in larger cities, and why upstate new york is still upstate new york (or why NH is like NH or Maine is like Maine).

    Great places to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there right now.

    You tell 'im!

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    Boston has all the 'Irish pubs' and price-gouging baseball seats a fellow could ever want!

    Interesting

    I'd be interested to hear what you graduated in. Pretty much the main reason I live in Boston is that this is where the good jobs are. It was the obvious place for me to move from rural New England upon graduation.

    I've lived places that are going to have trouble keeping their young talent... but Boston? No, this is where young talent goes when it flees places like Michigan.

    Is the problem really that you're not talented enough? Or not old enough to know where your real talent is? Or mistaking a temporary recession affecting the whole country with a permanent condition of the one place you know? It took me several years of trying things, and a stint in grad school, before I was ready to have the kind of career that buys you a house in Boston.

    If you grew up in Boston, went to school in Boston, and just graduated in Boston, then it's probably a very good idea you go find out something about other parts of the country and world. I expect you'll be back.

    While I agree with most of

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    While I agree with most of this post, Massachusetts, including Boston, has been loosing it's young population at a pretty good clip. While there are good jobs to be had, the competition is fierce, and the COL is very high compared to other places. Add that to student loan debt, and recent graduates that want to actually save some money, and you get the flight you're seeing.

    The other poster was right that Boston and Ma politicians really do need to find a way to offer incentives for young people to stay and compete in the workforce.

    Otherwise, those good jobs you speak of won't be here.

    More and more, I've seen friends move away because it just didn't make financial stance. The ones staying are living off their boomer parents dole. And while Biotech, Tech, and Medical services dominate the MA economy, we can price out other areas of the economy hat we need to have a functioning, well rounded state.

    Yeah, same here

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    Putting aside how I'd rather not live somewhere where the goal in life is to have a McMansion and drive a car everywhere, places that are expensive have better jobs for me.

    But what that really means for people who aren't me is that Massachusetts has better human services in place than a lot of places.

    Among my clients who have ongoing special needs (mental retardation, major physical disabilities, etc.) about a quarter have families who've moved from other states because they lacked basic services like having supported apartments and day programs for adults with disabilities. Some of my younger school-age clients attended schools in other states where they went to a full-day special ed program that was pretty much a holding tank, then their parents shuttled them around to clinics in the evening for their speech therapy and physical therapy and everything, because the schools don't have these services even though federal laws require that they do.

    A relative in Washington state (which isn't even one of the bad ones, but isn't quite up there with Massachusetts) will call me and ask for clinical advice regarding how to deal with something that's come up with his foster kids. I'll tell him what sort of place to contact, and he'll either tell me they don't have those, or he's contacted them and they don't provide much in the way of services.

    Similarly, my relative in Missouri who has two kids with sensory issues and learning disabilities tells me about how her first grader's principal is frequently calling, saying the boy is in big trouble for having the tantrums that he has because he doesn't understand social cues and doesn't understand how to regulate himself to stay calm. He gets in trouble rather than getting help because they don't have anything like a smaller classroom or an occupational therapy group or anything like even the crappiest schools in Massachusetts have.

    But look on the bright side -- at least it's easier to afford a McMansion in these states!

    http://1smootshort.blogspot.com

    Send us your tired, your poor....

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    "Among my clients who have ongoing special needs (mental retardation, major physical disabilities, etc.) about a quarter have families who've moved from other states because they lacked basic services like having supported apartments and day programs for adults with disabilities."

    I hope that we can continue to afford to serve that function for the nation. We need to make more revenue-generating universities, teaching hospitals, and biotechs, quick!

    Sock_Puppet, anon here (i

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    Sock_Puppet,

    anon here (i really need to spend the 5 mins it takes and register!)

    I graduated with a degree in Political Science from Boston College. Its not that i am not talented enough (i hope), but more the fact that i do not yet know what i would like to pursue. I fully expect I will be back in Boston as well. As i said, i love this city.

    To all who seem to be equating quality of life with McMansions: that was not what i meant at all. (I am looking to move to the pacific northwest btw. Admittedly, the job market is not as fortunate as Boston, but cost of living seems significantly less as well.)

    I would like to live in a decent urban environment without having to pay $1100 a month for a studio. I would like to stay out later than 2am and pay less than $5/beer. I would like to enjoy my young age without breaking the bank and asking my parents for money.

    I never intended my post to be an attack on Boston as an urban city. My original post was an attack on the politicians that are crippling our beloved cities ability to retain youth. It is foolish to ignore the problem and wish me well on my way. And yes, Boston is still and incredibly attractive city for any age. Let's not kid ourselves though, Boston is no longer an innovator. Souther cities have started to catch on to the whole urban thing and have begun building mass transit systems and filled their parking lots.

    I would like nothing more for Boston to continue to be one of the greatest cities in the world, but I am not confident we can achieve that with our current leadership.

    I apologize for this rant and wish everyone well. I'm typing after a few beers so please ignore the grammar mistakes as well.

    Cheap beer

    Some good points there - Boston is not the place for cheap beer. Or cheap rent. The cost of living here is undeniably above average for the States. But then again, that also rules out most cities in California, the DC area and the NYC area as well. Several major cities, notably including Chicago, are cheaper. And minor cities are almost all cheaper.

    I can completely understand why you'd want to go somewhere cheaper to figure things out. I have lived many cheaper places. I spent most of the decade between 20 and 30 in the third world, in places where it's really damn cheap. I didn't live in Boston until I was 33 and on the way to a decent salary and could buy a condo.

    I agree that we have some problems here in Boston, although I'm not sure they aren't mostly the same problems almost all cities are going through right now. I hope we get some shakeup in our leadership, and changes that will improve our city. However, I don't think any of the changes we might get are really going to make beer or rent any cheaper.

    I think we might get changes that, say, make the MBTA run better, or improve the schools, or cut some of the dead wood out of the bureaucracy, or make the desolate parking lots of the South Boston waterfront into an actual liveable area instead of a suburban-esque office park.

    But none of those changes will make the cost of living here drop. All of them might tend to make it increase instead. The more successful Boston is at attracting business and professionals, the higher the cost of living will be.

    A BA in Political Science isn't going to qualify you for a damn thing. It's as good as a BA in Dance, except you can't dance. So go and enjoy your young age. Waste it with a vengeance. Cheap beer, up all night, losing jobs you found in the back of the newspaper. Go teach English abroad. That's fun. Join the Peace Corps. Volunteer on a political campaign.

    And then, when you get sick of being poor, go to grad school in something relevant and, when you're done and ready to have a career, move back to Boston or one of the other expensive metropoli. Beer will be seven bucks by then.

    Um, no?

    Wow.

    Based just on your scribbles on the back of a napkin notes, it doesn't seem as if any of the candidates have any clue how the city of Boston's government works or what has worked / not worked in the city during the past decade or two.

    The idea that the solution to the city's revenue problems is to ... simply raise more revenue ... is silly, simplistic, and ignorant.

    Did one person say anything about the 100% increase in the city's budget during the past decade? Did anyone talk about moving the city from its over-dependence on the property tax? Did anyone talk about what the city spends its money on and how we can fix that?

    My partner, Terry, works at the Museum of Fine Arts. They pay no property tax. Some might say this causes my opinion on the PILOT program to be biased. Perhaps, but no one's even suggested that tax-exempt organizations such as museums, etc., be asked for more money, so I don't think the criticism is valid.

    I just see no reason to rock the boat and ask (or demand) that universities and colleges pay more.

    Plus, it's a moot point. The councillors (again, with the extra 'l' for no reason) can complain all they want about the inequities of the property tax but it's a state law and nothing they do can change that.

    Suggestion to the councillor wannabee who actually wants to do something about the situation: if you're serious about wanting change, submit a bill through your state legislator to cancel the PILOT program. You can even have a big press conference about it, on Beacon Hill.

    Otherwise, you're just pandering to the masses trying to win votes.

    Also, take a look at the city's budget for 2010. Show me where you can cut 10% or even 5%, then we can talk about adding revenues.

    Oh, that reminds me; the Mayor said if the state got rid of the tax exemption on telecommunications, the average property tax bill in Boston would go down $200.

    True story. (Boston Globe, January 14, 2007)

    Well, the 2010 state budget as proposed closes this "loophole".

    So, we should all expect lower tax bills, next year?

    Yes, yes and yes

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    Murphy (and, I think, Kenneally) talked about the over-reliance on the property tax. The problem is that, unlike cities in other states, Boston is limited in what it can do by state law: We don't have an income tax, for example.

    Several of the candidates talked about increasing efficiencies, getting rid of school busing, looking to cut fat, etc., sorry if that didn't come through in my chicken scratchings. And then there was Sean Ryan, who pretty much wants to take an ax to all of city government.

    From what I've heard from

    From what I've heard from many people I know who were in attendance it was a great night, and all the candidates did well.

    On that note I have really enjoyed watching Andrew Kenneally at other campaign stops and I believe he deserves one of the open seats. He seems to understand the limitations of the office, but also knows where he can push for reform.

    Scooped the field

    Many thanks for offering up your suffering, Adam. You seemed to have beaten everyone with the recap. You did it so we didn't have to.

    Thanks for report!

    Great write-up, Adam. Thank you for that! Some reactions:

    1. Good Lord, you'd think there's a hue and cry to close down the BRA! Bookmakers, it's time to post odds on whether the BRA will around in, say, two years. Though I agree the BRA needs rehauling, I'd put my money on the status quo.

    2. The time to squeeze colleges for taxes or other financial contributions was four years ago, not now. Harvard may be in the headlines because of its highly public layoffs (not to mention that every time Harvard passes gas, the Globe covers it like the final stage of global warming), but many of the more modestly financed colleges are taking it even harder.

    3. Lamentations: I'm sure all of these candidates are sincere about their devotion to fixing what needs to be fixed in the public school system. But I just don't see the City Council as being a major player in the drive for positive change in that regard.

    ...I guess my cynicism is ruling my day. This seems like an interesting, talented, and dedicated group of people. But I think Boston is going to hit tougher times before it hits better ones, and I'm not sure the level of debate in this campaign will face that music.

    David Bernstein's take

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    The Phoenix reporter moderated the forum. He posts his impressions on how each of the candidates did, adds:

    The field is a tremendous disappointment to those of us who enjoy the entertainingly off-beat candidates who usually hop into the race. I can listen to thoughtful, professional pols any time I want; in the preliminary city-wide election, please give me at least a couple of people who make you cringe in anticipation when it's their turn to speak -- a conspiracy theorist; a Bible-thumper blaming every city woe on abortion and absentee fathers; a raving communist; a zealous single-issue obsessive; an off-kilter enthusiast with no apparent knowledge of the city.

    I blame Stephen Murphy and his 1500-signature requirement for providing us a field of perfectly decent, reasonable, serious candidates.

    The odds in her favor

    Just realized ... so, there are 15 candidates for the at-large city councillor positions but only one woman running??

    Why would that be?

    ... could be because 80

    ... could be because 80 percent of the lost jobs in the recent downturn were lost by men! They are unemployed looking for work ;)