Tomorrow is 9/11. Why don't you want neighborhood cops to be armed with semi-automatic weapons?
Menino: I don't believe that these guns should be in the hands of every police officer. Not a police officer walking the streets. We have a good record on homeland security. FBI says so.
Yoon: I happen to agree with the mayor. This is what we have a SWAT team for. This takes us off what should be the real issue: Keeping illegal guns off the streets. Commend the mayor on his work in fighting illegal weapons.
Menino: I understand the 2nd Amendment, I understand that, but we need a national policy on guns.
McCrea: We don't need assault rifles on the streets. But all sorts of violence in our streets. We have to get jobs in the inner city and we have to get jobs to our inner youth.
Flaherty: I led an effort to fight guns. We are not prepared. We do not have a comprehensive evacuation plan. We should not have Biolab. And we should have high-powered weapons in the hands of specialized officers.
Hey, Yoon, what have you personally done to cut bloat and costs?
Yoon: Mayor has too much power, needs to change. City Council now doesn't have oversight powers. This past year, I brought out community an agenda with $74 million in savings. I tried to have a meeting on this at Codman Square and was shut down by the mayor's office.
Flaherty: I didn't vote for this year's budget. What about $66 million in unpaid parking fines? Consultants that permeate the budget. I didn't support the meals tax, we cannot tax our ways out of a down economy.
Menino: For the first time in 15 years, the budget is smaller than the previous year's. The council has budget power - they can cut it.
Yoon: We need basic checks and balances. Mayor controls constituent services. City councilors depend on constituent services to keep getting elected. So when the mayor submits a budget, it forces whole budget process to be a dog and pony show. Let's be honest.
McCrea: We have two city councilors running because they say the council has no power, and yet they've increased salaries by 20%, they evade the Open Meeting Law. Last ten years city budget gone up 50%, compared to 20% increase in cost of living. Flaherty voted for last nine budgets, when it went up and up and up.
Flaherty: This is a completely different budget: We were talking about laying off workers, closing schools and fire stations. Real pain. Again, what about the $66 million in unpaid parking fines. Also: Health care costs skyrocket. Get employees onto state programs and Medicare. We can no longer sustain that costs.
McCrea: And you voted for it every year.
Yoon: I voted against it four years in a row.
Menino: The city council has budget power. We have great bond ratings.
Yoon: Those Wall Street ratings. They report to Wall Street, not to residents. I don't care how well we do in terms of our bond ratings!
Menino: Yeah, well those bond ratings save us $30 million.
Flaherty: School busing system is a colossal waste of resources.
McCrea: Politicians predicted $20 million deficit. What'd the they do? Mayor and city council gave their staffers raises.
McCrea, are you saying City Hall is corrupt?
Absolutely. Cuts in school nursing buddgets even at the same time as the sales of property at below market rates to friends.
Menino: That's ridiculous what you said, that's not corruption. 664 parcels, only two had issues.
Yoon: You've been sitting in that mayor's chair for 16 years. It's almost like you've become the chair.
Flaherty: Have a public auction for those parcels. It needs to be less of a one-person Boston, less of ribbon cuttings. Developer and builder Filene's project, financing for that is imminent.
What about the T?
Flaherty: I intend to have a seat at that table.
When's the last time you rode the T?
Flaherty: Just the other day.
You did? Where'd you go?
How much does a ride cost?
Flaherty: I don't know.
Yoon: I have a CharlieCard. I have to put more money on it.
McCrea: Last time I took the T: My mother and I used it to get to Dorchester to visit Kennedy's body. Asia and Europe have far better subway systems than us. I'd hire head of the Tokyo transit system (tell him Dice-K is pitching in the World Series). And we need high-speed rail to Boston, New York and Washington and ultimately Montreal.
Menino: There is a problem with the T. I've had converations with the governor. I've been a big supporter of the Indigo Line (Fairmount Line). I been working those community groups the last three years to make sure they have service. Michael mentioned the Filene's building: We're not there yet, but we're getting close. Silver Line's great also. Dana Farber in South Boston because of the Silver Line. I did take the T, about three weeks ago.
What about sucky schools?
Yoon: This is a crucial question. There can be a quality school in every neighborhood. We actually have to believe that's possible. Why did we waste so much time and effort on the five-zone issue? We have to begin by saying this (good schools) is possible. The Athens of America.
Flaherty: As lifelong resident and father of three BPS students, nothing bothers me more than to hear stories of people leaving the city because of the schools. Why I support lifting the charter cap. Many parents don't get their top choice and worse, many students are unassigned. We have too many underperforming schools.
McCrea: Douglas MacArthur said lead from the front. I will not cut the education budget. I will visit every single school over two years and will meet with parents and teachers and students and find out what's going right and what's going wrong. I ask these three polticians if they will spend one day a week on the schools.
Will you spend one day a week, Mr. Mayor?
Menino I think the BPS are making progress. Yes, issues, that's why I proposed in-district charters. I don't want to create more schools in Boston. Boston's population has increased over the past 10 years. We have a good school system. Carol Johnson has done a good job. The dropout rate has dropped 33% in my administration.
Flaherty: 10 years, 24,000 kids have dropped out. I think of that desk as 24,000 empty desks out there.
Yoon: What you're hearing from us and what we're hearing is a sense of urgency. 40% of ninth graders today aren't going to graduate with their class. There is a problem, Mr. Mayor. All comes down to system that's controlled by just one man.
Menino: We have a superintendent of schools just named best black supt. in the country. We have a number of programs to help kids through the college level. This year, 10% more parents chose BPS than last year.
McCrea: 7,000 fewer students than a few years ago.
Flaherty: School atheletics are an embarrassment.
Yoon: There's a reason there are three challenges in this race, Mr. Mayor. We have heard it's time for a change. We can't rest. We can't move forward into the 21st century they way we're operating. I've been calling for term limits. Join me.
Menino: I have term limits every four years. The residents of Boston. I ask them every four years if I deserve to get elected. I'm not running for senator or governor.
McCrea: Notice no one mentioned whether they would spend one day a week in the schools. Athletics: They would have known about the problems if they had spent time in the schools instead of waiting for the Globe to report the issue.
Mr. Mayor, does it bother you that some people think you have a poor speaking style?
Yoon. This is a stupid question. The issue is listening to people and innovation.
Flaherty. It is unfair. What Yoon said.
Crime and violence
Flaherty: Perps get younger and younger. We're not going to be able to arrest our way out of the problem. Not just summer jobs, We need year round programs. E-policing - instant crime notification to residents.
Yoon: Community policing is the key. Credit Ed Davis with community policing emphasis. What I would do top to bottom review of the police department, which we haven't done for 30 years. Civilian review board. More diversity at leadership levels, have to look at how offices are promoted.
McCrea: Crime is a jobs and education issue. We need to enforce the Boston jobs policy: Hire locals. So inner-city people turn to life of crime. I've done that in my company. The police don't want to be out there doing details. They want to be paid a good wage so they can be fresh for eight hours of crime fighting a day. Low-interest loans so they can live in the city.
Flaherty: In order to prevent crime, in order to solve crime, we have to build trust, we need a more diverse leadership in the department.
Menino: Crime's lowest rate in 40 years in Boston. We have safe street teams and programs in high-crime neighborhoods. 59 street workers. We're doing all those things. We're first city in country with a texting system for reporting crime. 680 community crime watch groups.
Flaherty: Crime watches don't tell the real story. People's homes are being broken into, people are being assaulted.
McCrea, mandatory drug and alcohol testing for firefighters:
McCrea: I agree with the mayor - it should be part of their contract, shouldn't even be an issue.
Flaherty: Mandatory testing - and mandatory random testing. Our mayor has never negotiated that. Not only for public safety personnel but anybody who runs heavy machinery.
Yoon: I agree, and no giveback to the unions for it. Mayor has had four opportunities to do this and he never has and now he's bashing the unions, kind of disengenuous. I'm pro labor: I believe in unions. But there is an art and science to negotations, and we don't do that.
McCrea: He wants to expand the charter-school cap and get rid of unions.
Menino: I want mandatory testing, but they want to get paid for it. No CDL license in fire department - which would require annual testing. I even filed a bill, because I'm not making any headway in the negotiations, to make testing statewide.
Flaherty: That's not random.
Menino: We brought in professionals to fix the firetrucks.
Yoon: Turnout municipal elections has been really low, so the unions turn out and the mayor is beholden to them.
McCrea: I want to change mayoral elections to same time as presidential elections. Lessen special influences and save money.
Flaherty: If we don't have manadatory random testing and trucks with brakes that work, then it's the mayor's fault.
It's time. Our mayor has had 16 years to get the city on track. Now he wants four more years. Why? Boston stuck in neutral. Too many people dropping out, getting shot.
Menino: My next four years will be about: Improved schools, green jobs, safer city. A real future. Not a future of confusion. Continue to move Boston forward.
Yoon: A lot of people might be thinking, jeez, if it ain't broke, why fix it? It is broke. City government is broken and it needs to be fixed. We need to change a system in which one person controls everything. It just doen't fit with the 21st century. It's your power, please turn it on.
McCrea: They never answered the question of spending one day a week in the schools. These are three good people who have all stood by while the Boston Public Schools have gone downhill. Abe Lincoln reached out to his political rivals. I'll reach out to my political rivals. Tom, you deserve a vacation with your wonderful wife Angela, and when you return, City Hall will be open to you. Openness and transparency.