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Candidates differ on post-storm space saving

In their second televised debate, on WGBH, mayoral hopefuls John Connolly and Marty Walsh staked out different positions on the question of how long people should be allowed to save curbside parking spaces after major snowstorms.

Connolly said he would limit residents to just 24 hours - compared to the 48 hours allowed by Tom Menino. Walsh, however, said he would be more flexible - the amount of time would depend on how severe the storm was.

On most other issues, the two expressed similar views. Both called for later T hours, stronger gun laws and more support for the arts. Both said they would have opposed a land-swap deal with the Red Sox - unless the Sox ponied up more money - and said that if school-bus drivers go on strike again, that would be a good reason to fire them. Both said the city needs to do more to address income and social inequities, both opposed the idea of levying taxes on suburbanites who work in the city, both said reducing parking requirements for new development would make sense in parts of the city, such as downtown. Both said there's no way they would close firehouses without a strong recommendation from an independent consultant and that they'll trust East Boston to make the right decision on the casino, whatever it is.

Where they did differ were things we mostly already knew: Connolly accused Walsh of being a union coddler who couldn't look out for the best interests of taxpayers; Walsh retorted Connolly was more of a lawyer than he was a teacher and that he was so inflexible he'd force the city into even more rounds of expensive arbitration than it already goes through.

They also differed on whether Menino has done a good job with schools. Walsh said yes. Connolly said the fact that Menino hasn't done a good job with schools is what got him in the race - back when it looked like he would be running against the mayor.

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If the city did a better job of clearing the streets, the space savers wouldn't be an issue. Lots of other cities have a multi-phased snow emergency. Something like "no parking odd side while the snow is falling" and then after a short grace period, no parking on the even side, so that both sides are plowed during every major storm. Instead, they just plow once down the middle (if you're lucky) and everyone's left to fend for themselves.

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AND WE LIKE IT THAT WAY! Go back to Paris if you want your la-di-da street plowed all the way!

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What has the "education mayor" accomplished as the chair of the City Council Education Committee beyond being the sole vote in opposition to the teachers contract and finding expired food in a school freezer, his two most publicized education related narratives?

Everyone following the race knows John introduces himself as "a teacher who has taught kids from every neighborhood in Boston" when in fact, he taught one year in Boston -- 6th graders at Renaissance Charter -- in 1997-1998, and has been a lawyer since he got out of law school three years later.

Tonight, he was asked more about his education bona fides and these are the accomplishments he highlighted:

masslive.com

Connolly, who has made education reform a central focus of his campaign, said he took on the school assignment system and opposed a recent teachers’ contract “in a way they said no politician should go near.” Connolly stressed the work he did on the city council holding hearings with teachers and parents about the Boston teachers’ contract. He said education is a “point of disagreement” he has with Menino. Connolly said he got in the race because “I didn’t feel our schools were functioning nearly well enough.”

Let's recap.

  • held hearings
  • opposed teachers’ contract
  • "took on" school assignment

Where is the beef? John's leadership on Education Committee is as compelling as his year teaching in Boston, which he described as a "personal failure." Shouldn't the "education mayor" have more substance in his education policy background? He also claims his teaching experience is a "vital requirement" for Mayor of Boston. How is that?

John Connolly is all about announcing that his biography, albeit grossly overstated and narrowly focused on a job he held in his third year out of college, is precisely what is necessary for being the Mayor of Boston. I'm calling bullshit.

On Greater Boston, Emily Rooney asked him John Connolly about his relationship with teachers. He answered, "I'm a teacher's best friend..." No sooner did those words part his lips than she snorted aloud, presumably in disbelief.

In case you didn't know, when John was a teacherin 1997 -- 16 years ago -- he wanted to become a school principal but his year at Renaissance Charter changed his mind. He decided to become a lawyer, instead. Education Mayor my ass.

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And what did we learn about Walsh's perspective on the city's schools? That he believes Menino has done a fine job. If you believe that, then presumably quality education is not really an issue for you anyway. Connolly was unable to accomplish radical transformation to the city's educational system as a city councilor because the city council has no power. This is a mayor's city. I'll take someone for mayor who wants to change the school system but has had a hard time getting results while on the City Council over someone who thinks the status quo is acceptable any day.

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I'm really worried Connolly would try to micro-manage the schools from the mayor's office rather than apply for the job as Superintendent.

I'm also worried he'll get into the weeds on schools -- opening new schools and laying off teachers from old schools and not pay enough attention to the details of running a city. I'm also worried that his lawyer training, the instinct to assign blame, will cause severe dysfunction in city departments.

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Committee on Education, which shall concern itself with the quality of educational services provided to all school-aged residents by the Boston Public Schools. The committee shall monitor educational policy, in particular special education, bilingual education, and technical education. The committee shall work to strengthen cooperation among city and state government, private enterprise, and institutions of higher learning, to provide students with the necessary education, training, and skills for further education and future career opportunities in the new economy. The Committee shall exercise oversight with respect to the Boston School Department.

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Notes/Minutes of Council Staff at Public Meetings of Committees of Boston City Council are public records. Ask for the Notes/Minutes of past years and current Notes/Minutes from Public Meetings of Committees.

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universal.hub:

Walsh retorted Connolly was more of a lawyer than he was a teacher and that he was so inflexible he'd force the city into even more rounds of expensive arbitration than it already goes through.

3 years teaching total, 1 in Boston: 1995-1998
3 years law school, BC Law: 1998-2001
12 years private law practice: 2001-2013 Ropes & Gray, Hannify & King, SCC

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If you're going for full disclosure, you might want to mention his 6 years as a Boston City Councilor At-Large from 2007-2013. I'm also annoyed that Connolly insists on introducing himself as a teacher, but I thought he handled the questions on his years as a lawyer well last night. By mere repetition he is establishing himself as the education candidate, which is probably smart even though it isn't completely honest. Both candidates impressed in a really good debate last night, but Connolly was pretty convincing that he could handle negotiating for the city without getting pushed around.

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I don't think Boston would be worse off having a mayor who is more of a lawyer than a teacher, and I doubt many other voters do either. Harping on that is a personal attack that misses the mark and only makes the attacker look petty. Then there was Walsh's dishonesty in attacking Connolly for supporting the Liberty Mutual tax break - which Walsh himself supported.

The most convincing statement of the debate was here:

"Marty has premised his campaign on the notion that because he's a labor leader," responded Connolly, "He's going to get labor leaders to do things they don't normally do, and they're going to listen to him; and there he is on Saturday saying, stop doing this- two more pieces of mail today. They're not listening to you now, how will we know they'll listen to you when you're actually mayor?"

Walsh had nothing but derp to say to that. You lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

I'm not sure that Boston can afford Walsh as mayor. Labor costs, especially unfunded pensions, are proving to be a major burden on cities across the country, leading some to bankruptcy. How many years of solvency do our city pensions have? The next mayor is going to have to deal with this issue, and special labor-pal magic won't make it go away. The effect of moving somebody who was serving two masters as union boss and state senator into the mayor's office could be to blow a hole through the city's long-term fiscal stability as he gives away the store to his first master.

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As Mayor, Walsh could veto a labor deal approved by city council but he could not approve a labor deal city council voted down.

The argument that Mayor Walsh would give shower money on public unions in a city with a tight budget becuase he worked for a private union -- Building Trades -- is poorly reasoned -- it's bullshit.

Marty opposed the BPS deal the arbitrator decided because it was too expensive. Marty was called the wildcat strike 'illegal' which it was and told the bus drivers to return to work immediately. People who argue that because he worked for a union means he'll ignore the basic responsibility of the office of mayor to lavish working families with high pay is an insult to thinking people's intelligence.

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Walsh opposed it with words. He supported it with actions. His proposed laws would have made the arbitration binding. Walsh's two faced approach isn't a plus.

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When Walsh is buying up campaign endorsements left and right with campaign promises which will cost taxpayer dollars.

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He claims to be a teacher, but he only led a classroom for one year. He actually grew up in West Roxbury, not Roslindale. While these probably don't matter, it's a little strange and people catch on to it - makes you wonder what else he's hiding. He does have a lot of pertinent experience that would make him seem like he'd be a competent mayor, but he really does have no clue what he's talking about with education, and qualifying it by saying "I was a teacher" makes those of us who know many people in education cringe. Plus, he rubbed me the wrong way with that e-mail from "concerned parents" the day the school committee changed the assignment process. Other than that I'm totally fine with the rest of his platform.

on the other hand, Walsh is a bit of a neanderthal (blow up city hall? restart the casey process?).

ugh - these are not the two candidates that should have made it to the final.

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Connolly volunteered for two years in small private church school. He was not "the teacher." There's a world of difference.

Anyone have records of his income disclosure statements from last two campaigns should be able to shed some light on his law work before 2012, when he was planning his mayoral run.
I'm not sure that anything this guy says is actually true, except the parts about holding hearings, etc.

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What I wouldn't give for a giant douche to run in this election instead of one of these two candidates...

Connolly, 24 hours is pointless. Walsh, variable timing based on storm intensity leads to too much confusion ("was this a 48 hour storm or a 72 hour storm this time?").

The irony is that the one election Menino isn't running in is the one where he could crush the competitors. I want to see PPP or someone add a polling question and see what happens: "If the vote were held today and your options were: Walsh, Connolly, or Menino; who would you vote for?".

Whichever of these 2 clowns wins, they better do something so goddamned amazing in their first term that people want them back or I could see ANY stronger candidate beating them easily in the next election.

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And in general I do, although history seems to indicate it's impossible to unseat a current mayor. However, if they really DO follow through and change the way the BRA works - it might get a little easier depending on what they do.

I think both candidates seem like decent people considering they are politicians which pretty much means you have to compromise yourself somewhat- and based on what little I've been able to gather from the debates I've come to the conclusion that Connolly is WAY smarter and much more comfortable with how the city's finances and operations work. Connolly really understands the budget and tax issues and I've been impressed with some of his ideas (like targeted pilot getting the institution to pay for upgrades around their facilities rather than making the city eat that - not an ideal solution - but practical and as someone that has spent years studying this issue, not a terrible solution).

I've had some dealings with John over the years and at least relative to his colleagues - he has always struck me as more honest, more sincere and simply smarter than almost anyone else on the council. My concern on Walsh is that at the end of the day he will just be Menino 2.0. Not horrible, but not a step forward either. My criticisms of Menino aside, for at least the first 10 years he was an improvement over the past and the last 10 years he's just been occupying space. We need someone that can take Boston to the next level. Can Walsh really do that?

I can still be convinced otherwise. Fire away.

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hey all

the comments here are really helpful. I consider myself politically serious and live downtown but cannot figure out who to vote for, they seem to me to be much more similar than differentiated. maybe they are two good candidates? I wish I had more confidence in how I see them.

do you know who you are going to vote for? why?

and, of course, Adam, when you are ready to endorse ... I am all ears.

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One big difference this cat found is that Connolly thinks its fine to bring dangerous diseases like Ebola
into the Roxbury/South End neighborhood and Walsh doesn't want this to happen, and wants to protect our neighborhoods and not bring Ebola and other dangerous diseases into the South End/Roxbury residential neighborhood. Ebola should not be brought into our residential neighborhoods at all! I hear the people don't
want this.

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If I were to somehow contract ebola, I'd like our greatest minds on the topic to have found a solution before I am infected. That doesn't happen if you put the facility in the middle of Montana or Outer Mongolia.

If Walsh is going to make the biolab harder to open, you may have just swayed my vote. Thanks.

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