Tonight's mayoral debate
Notes from the debate at Channel 5:
Is City Hall too white?
Menino: Several my black people taken by Patrick. But look at service in minority neighorhoods. "I don't see color out there in the neighborhoods." We have diversity in neighborhoods, no racial tension like 16 years ago. Look at the services we provide in the neighborhoods. We're already working on hiring more minorities, but our boards and commissions are 50% minority.
Flaherty: I intend to make sure supervisors represent the face of the city. Only two people of color currently in cabinet-level positions. That will change.
Flaherty, what about your slob father with the unkempt property?
Menino: I love my dad. Everyone would be so grateful to have a dad like him. But he's not running for mayor. One of the people you interviewed was a drug dealer. He bought the property 30 years ago, not a giveaway, kept up like all other private lots.
Menino: We clean up vacant lots on a monthly basis. I'm not getting into family issues, that's Michael's issue.
Isn't Yoon just an act of political expediency?
Flaherty: No. He will be working on dismantling BRA. His background is in planning. The mayor has somebody else.
Menino: Yoon thing is just an attempt to get votes. Dismantling the BRA? BRA done a good job over the last few years. Setting up new departments will cost money. Neither Yoon nor Flaherty showed up at critical budget hearings.
Flaherty: It's a little mean spirited to accuse Sam of that. Transformational leadership. Invitation is transparent. It's open, there are no secrets.
Menino: I will not promise anybody new jobs before I'm elected. You cannot assume anything. I'm not promising jobs. I'm not going to get involved in actions like that.
Flaherty: Then get rid of the naughty list.
Menino: There's no naughty list, Michael.
What do the e-mails say about you?"
We always thought e-mail was backed up. We bought a new program, $1 million to ensure this never happens again. I'm not autocratic.
Flaherty: I won't have a naughty list.
Menino: I don't have a naughty list.
Flaherty: Yoon. Will add value, smart kid.
Menino: We get 10 million e-mails a year in city government. Question how long we have to keep them. I want to ensure transparency there. Put the e-mail online. I want continue work with people who live in the neighborhoods.
Can you categorically say noone has ever deleted mail to hide something?
I can categorically say that and no one has ever accused us of that, except certain political people.
Flaherty, what are you proud of as a councilor?
Flaherty: Law to remove loophole that let people keep illegal guns at home.
Also: let city workers take time off to donate an organ. Also: SAT prep program for Boston Public Schools.
Menino: I signed both of these pieces of legislation. Also, I worked with Bloomberg, nationally, to close gun loopholes. Gun issue not just a Massachusetts issue. Can't just deal with it in Boston. Have to deal with it national. Illegal guns a real problem.
Boston firefighters union
Give us drug and alcohol testing. Stop clouding the issue with hazmat pay. They want 20% pay increase. We're there, at the table, trying to negotiate with them.
Flaherty: Need mandatory random testing. Menino's yet to negotiate that. There will be under a Flaherty administration for police, EMS, firefighters and anybody who operates heavy machinery.
Flaherty: What are you going to give them in return for their endorsement?
Flaherty: I will give them post-9/11 training. Trucks that work. No political brownouts of neighborhood stations. Just because he can't negotiate with the firefighters doesn't mean nobody can. We need a fresh set of eyes.
Menino: I've been able to negotiate 42 of 42 contracts with other unions. It's just this union wants more. We can't get to yes on it, because they want to continue to add things to the discussion. You can't spend money you don't have.
True, we don't have a hazmat unit, like the union says?
Menino: We have five hazmat units, but they want more money for it.
Flaherty: We are home to over 5,000 labs in the city of Boston and LNG tankers. We don't have a dedicated hazmat. No urban search and rescue. Boston was launching pad for 9/11. Nearest search and rescue is in Beverly.
What does failure to get contract say about your ability to manage?
Menino: Nothing. It takes two to agree. Who in today's economy is getting 14%? Nobody.
Hazmat was number 1 issue we got e-mail about.
Menino: Firefighters were at T stops handing out fliers about it. They want just one unit sit there wait for a hazmat call, take them out of fire stations. We've had many reviews said we're prepared to deal with these issues. Biolab gone through more reviews than any other facility in the country.
Flaherty: We should have dedicated hazmat: You never know when somebody hellbent on wreaking havoc. Let's not forget firefighter who lost life because brakes on his truck failed.
Menino: Firefighters fixed those trucks. We went out and got civ. professionals to fix them.
Flaherty: Decentralize police. E-policing. We need to start putting people back to work. Lot of crime is repeat offenders who can't find jobs.
But crime is down 40%!
Flaherty: Those numbers don't tell the whole story. Number of shootings don't result in death, thanks to our great trauma centers. If these shootings took place in East Boston, our murder rate would almost double. Plus, unreported crime. Currently, we react to crime, don't plan for it.
Menino: Crime is down in the city. Those are real numbers. We have 68 crime watches. Work with community groups. We have community centers with night problems. But also, CORI is an issue. Kids can't get jobs. I keep filing legislation to help those kids get a job. Dropout rates been cut 1/3 since I've been in office. Start in first three years of life, even. 65 street workers. High-crime neighborhoods: We have door-to-door violence-prevention programs. 10,000 kids put to work this summer. Captains have monthly meetings to discuss what they need.
Emerson ranked most dangerous campus in America. How can you assure parents their kids are safe?
Menino: I'd want to look at how they came up with those numbers. We are working with youth to reduce violence.
Flaherty: Youth violence is on rise at time when number of youths are down. A lot of people don't feel safe in their communities.
Menino: ShotSpotter helped improve response to gunshots.
Flaherty: Once again we're reacting to the shots. Let's be proactive. Let's not forget drugs: Substance-abuse epidemic. We need treatment on demand.
Menino: We have program at Boston Medical Center, methadone clinics, education in schools and boys and girls clubs.
Public schools. Better student/teacher ratios?
Menino: We're doing the best we can with the finances we have. We've made a lot of progress: 75% kids go onto college. Program to help kids once they're in college. Full-day kindergarten, now K1 and K2. Best urban school system in America. We take in every kids, we don't discriminate.
Flaherty: My wife and I talk about this all the time: student/teacher ratio. My goal is to reduce the ratio. Eliminate wasteful spending at bloated bureaucracy at Court Street. Overpaid consultants, bloated transportation costs. Most of those 75% drop out after the first year. We're not preparing our children to attend those fine institutions (colleges in Boston area). Create more autonomy for principals and headmasters, school-site budgeting.
Menino: 10% more kids apply for BPS this year than last year. Five colleges put $10 million in to work with underperforming schools. In-district charter schools.
8,000 kids waitlisted for charter schools. What does it say about BPS?
Menino: I'm not talking about charter schools.
Flaherty: It says it's an embarrassment. Very successful charter schools. More families have left our city in search of quality education. That waiting list is unacceptable. We need to bring families back to Boston.
But would all those charter schools essentially suck all money out of public school system?
Flaherty: No one size fits all. Hold charter schools accountable. No leadership in Boston for 16 years on charter issue. We're not in a position to receive Obama Rise to the Top money. We should be giving families options to stay in the city.
Menino: I want flexibility in my schools. We want merit pay for our teachers in the schedule. We're not out of the contest yet. We don't need more schools. We just need better schools. Why do we give more to charter schools per student than public schools? We need to even it out.
Flaherty: I will enforce Boston jobs policy: 50% of construction to go to people who live in Boston, 25% to minorities. That will change, no more workers from RI. Green economy. Creative economy, bright, talented artists are going to Rhode Island.
Menino: I set a real high standard for ourselves. Do pretty well on public projects It's private construction jobs where we haven't done as well. Two new companies coming to Boston. Job training programs. Brigham and Women's radiology training.
Flaherty: Construction project, only 2% of jobs at Charlestown High went to city residents. Time has come for mayor to put pressure on his developer friends.
When are they going to clean up the streets, get rid of the bums and winos at bus stops?
Menino: 5,900 homeless in the city. Different reasons: Mental illness, CORI. We have programs. Some of these people just will not go into programs. We have job-training program, farm, laundry business on Long Island. There are mental health issues. Some people lost their jobs, their homes. We can't force them into a shelter. Annual December survey.
Flaherty: Streets of Boston are filthy. Take our old parking meters, use them to collect money for the homeless, for services and training.