Hey, there! Log in / Register

2013 elections

Mon, 09/16/2013 - 3:58pm

This just in from Geraldine Cuddyer, chairwoman of the Boston Board of Election Commissioners:

It has been brought to my attention over the weekend that voters are receiving telephone calls regarding voter preferences. The callers are identifying themselves as being from the Boston Election Department. Voters should be aware that any caller conducting a survey, and claiming to be Election Department personnel, is engaging in fraudulent behavior. The Election Department staff is working around the clock getting ready for the September 24 Preliminary Election. The Election Department prides itself on conducting fair and impartial elections, and I take great offense at anyone misusing the Department's name.

Mon, 09/16/2013 - 11:52am

Mike Ross traveled to Uphams Corner this morning to criticize Marty Walsh's plan to let a developer bulldoze City Hall - and to push his plan to build 10,000 housing units along the renovated Fairmount Line.

Boston is hungry for new ideas, not just a recycled debate about moving City Hall. The next mayor needs to be focused on developing our neighborhoods, many of which haven't shared in Boston's boom.

The Connolly campaign might want to double-check photos before posting them (h/t Kevin Gilnack):


Mayoral candidates are all alarmed after all the shootings this past weekend.

The State House News Service questions the candidates on medical marijuana.

Mike Ball tries the process of elimination to figure out whom to vote for next week. So far, he's down to nine of the twelve mayoral candidates.

If you need some information, any information, on city-council candidates, David Bernstein has compiled all his candidate chats.

Sun, 09/15/2013 - 6:59pm

City Hall front

Marty Walsh says he would pay for universal K-1 classes by selling off City Hall. Unlike Mayor Menino, who once proposed selling off City Hall as well, however, Walsh says he would keep city offices downtown rather than trying to move them to South Boston.

Walsh says the money from selling off the 4.5-acre property would raise up to $150 million and add an estimated $6 million in tax revenues to city coffers from a landlord willing to buy the property, tear down the nine-story concrete bunker and build a new mixed-use development on it.

Walsh says he'd issue a "reverse RFP" to find a developer willing to build Boston a new City Hall and then lease it to the city, somewhere within walking distance of the current Government Center edifice.

By creating this one-time large infusion of revenue, and returning one if not two large public parcels of land to the tax rolls, the City will be positioned to pay for many of the services citizens have told me they want. We would seek to provide Universal Early Childhood Education; and invest in parks. A portion of the new tax revenue can be dedicated to public art, an important piece of our robust tourism industry. In addition, there will be a portion of revenue added to the rainy day fund. I will seek counsel from Bostonians about how to allocate this revenue, derived from an ambitious and visionary plan to expand the tax base and move our beloved City forward through the 21st century.

Thu, 09/12/2013 - 10:49pm

Four of the five candidates running to take Mike Ross's place on the City Council said tonight it's way past time for the city to give District 8 more elementary schools.

The fifth candidate, Angelica Addivinola might have agreed as well, but she didn't attend a forum sponsored by the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay at the Copley Square library. The field will be winnowed down to two in the Sept. 24 preliminary.

Tom Dooley said he would work to stop busing and use the money to immediately open new schools in the district. "This district pays a disproportionate amount of city taxes. We're entitled to public schools. ... Mayor Menino has been stopping us from reopening our schools."

Gloria Murray said both district 8 and families of color need more schools, "quality schools in their neighborhood."

Michael Nichols and Joshua Zakim said the city should bid on buildings Suffolk University is readying to sell for use as schools.

The city's purchase of the old Mitt Romney headquarters on Commercial Street just isn't enough to satisfy the demand for schools in the district Zakim said. He added he would look at a variety of approaches, including possibly seeking to place schools in the lower floors of some of the new towers that could be going up across the district.

Nicols said the building which the Boston Arts Academy could move out of would make a great elementary school for the Fenway and Back Bay.

It was at this point that Nichols and Zakim got into one of several disagreements.

Nichols said the school/development idea would give the BRA another tool with which to beat a neighborhood into submission no matter how much the tower would affect it. "The second we tie a school to a skyscraper, it becomes nearly impossible to oppose that project," he said. "You know how the BRA works."

Zakim said he was in no way in favor of giving "carte blanche to any developer," but only to look to see how cities such as New York have used the approach to get new schools built.

Nichols said that suggests a certain inability to deal with the reality that is the BRA.

The BRA and development
Dooley says he would move to dismantle the authority, which he compared to the Russian mobsters he says he once had to pay bribes to when doing business in Moscow. He added the BRA is "simply a vehicle to violate city zoning and city laws." He would then move to sell what he said were the 250 parcels of land the BRA now owns.

Zakim and Murray said the BRA doesn't do a good job at looking at the cumulative impact of all new buildings in a given area, such as on Boylston Street in the Fenway. Murray said there's a lot of buildable land across the city and maybe it's time for other neighborhoods to start getting some of the high rises. She added she would seek to split the BRA into a plannning department and an economic-development department, and look at a Back Bay version of the Main Streets programs, which has helped business districts in other neighborhoods.

Zakim called for help for small businesses. In addition to helping retail, he said he would try to work with local colleges on innovation centers that could help entrepreneurs and small startups.

Nichols said he's worred about expansion by local non-profit institutions, which he said "threatens pretty much every part of this district." He added that, unlike certain candidates he could name - but didn't - he's not in the pocket of real-estate developers and labor unions. He added that while he'd like to break the BRA up, he's not sure the City Council can do that, so instead, he would seek to have the BRA develop master plans for each neighborhood "with us, and not for us."

Liquor Licenses

Candidates agreed: The cap on liquor licenses in Boston should be lifted. Not for the Back Bay, mind you, but for other neighborhoods that have been priced out of the licenses.

Nichols said he is working with some current councilors on a sort of lien program that would let the elderly and people on fixed incomes stay in their homes by paying only what they can afford - and making up the rest when they do sell.

Dooley said he would insist that tax revenue from new development go to reducing the taxes of existing residents and businesses, not go into the general city coffers. He added he wants to see more payments in lieu of taxes from local colleges. He said he would move to eliminate the restaurant meals tax and the hotel tax on inns with fewer than 100 beds.

Murray and Nichols said the city needs to stop giving large tax breaks to large companies, especially when studies show it's small businesses that are responsible for most job growth in the city. Nichols also called for more PILOT funds and said colleges reluctant to pay up could find themselves charged fees for city services, such as police and ambulance service.

Zakim said he would work with urban legislators to try to find ways to give cities new ways to raise revenue, to reduce their over reliance on property taxes.

Crime in Copley Square
Murray said a crackdown on crime in the Public Garden has pushed ne'er-do-wells into Copley Square. That the 9 and 10 buses disgorge homeless people right in the square doesn't help either. She called for more community policing, more surveillance cameras.

Nichols said there are some steps residents could take - for example, by combining old gift cards and using the remaining funds on them to help the local homeless.

Zakim said the area needs fewer cops in cruisers and more cops on walking beats - because walking cops can see things cops in cruisers might not. He added that enforecment needs to be coupled with getting people the services they need.

Dooley said the city should hire 1,000 auxiliary officers, at $30,000 annual salary - to supplement the regular police patrols.

Preserving the walkability of the neighborhood in the face of more bicycles
Murray said drivers need more education on not causing problems. Nichols said the city could have done a better job in alerting motorists to impending bike lanes, said bicyclists need more education themselves. Zakim, who doesn't own a car, agreed more education of people with wheels of any kind is needed, but said police also need to do more enforcement. Dooley wondered why cops can't stop motor miscreants, take away their keys and have their cars towed away.

Groundwater preservation

All four candidates agreed this is very important.

Three of the four candidates said groups that use the parks in or near the Back Bay should be held accountable for any damage their events do. Nichols said groups should help with routine maintenance but that he's not liking the thought of pitting arts groups against parks, because Boston is a world-class city and major events in the neighborhoods that best represent Boston around the world are part of what make Boston special.

Thu, 09/12/2013 - 8:40am

The Globe reports the mayoral forum sponsored by the Boston Teachers Union was just what you'd expect: Candidates opposed to expanding the cap on charter schools (Consalvo, Ross, Yancey and Arroyo) got a much warmer reception than those who didn't (Connolly, Walsh, Walczak and Barros, with the strongest charter supporter of them all - Conley - not present). Golar Richie continued her position of not really taking a position on the issue.

Marjorie Eagan declares Charlotte Golar Richie our next mayor, well, assunming she gets into the final.

Two of the three Conguys - Connolly and Conley - would fight an Everett casino. Walsh and Ross say they're not happy City Hall decided not to fight to get Boston declared a casino war zone "host community," given the impact on Charlestown. Still no word from any candidates if they feel the same way about Suffolk Downs and Winthrop.

Over at CommonWealth, James Aloisi (yes, that James Aloisi) begins a series on what we can learn from pre-Menino mayoral elections, you know, like back in the 1800s. Over at MassPoliticsProfs, Maurice T. Cunningham looks at the election of 1925, which he says involved "America's most corrupt politician" - and no, he's not talking about Curley.

The Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay holds a forum tonight for the five candidates running to replace Mike Ross. Starts at 6:30 p.m. in the Rabb Lecture Hall at the Copley Square library.

Bonus fun fact: While there are five candidates in District 8, there are eight candidates in District 5.

The Dorchester Reporter introduces us to the three people running against Charles Yancey in Yancey's other race, to keep his seat as District 4 city councilor.

Wed, 09/11/2013 - 9:26am

The Globe reports on a forum in Dorchster last night, in which Barros, former head of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, compared the law-enforcement response to the Amy Lord murder with the response to murders in Roxbury.

The Improper Bostonian got back answers from half the candidates on several sports-related questions, including the Olympics, building new stadiums or arenas for the Revs and the Celtics, beer sales at Fenway and the Yawkey Way deal with the Sox. They split on the issue of building a Celtics-only arena.

Daniels in the lion's den? The Boston Teachers Union holds a mayoral forum at 7 p.m. today at its headquarters at 170 Mt. Vernon St. in Dorchester. The union has yet to endorse anybody, but it will be interesting to hear how the pro-charter candidates are received.

John Carroll post-blogs the two debates on Monday, tells all the candidates to get off his lawn.

Menino to Walsh and Walczak: Back off, bubs, he's still the mayor.

The Herald endorses Conley and Connolly, but says it's really in favor of anybody but Walsh.

At-large Councilor Ayanna Pressley was endorsed by Mass. NOW:

She has been an outspoken champion of women and girls in Boston during her tenure on the City Council.

Perplexed District 5 residents get another chance to hear from the eight people who want to replace Rob Consalvo at a forum, 5:45 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, at St. Nectarios Church, 39 Belgrade Ave. in Roslindale.

Mon, 09/09/2013 - 10:46pm

In a debate that at times devolved into an incomprehensible roar as moderators did little to try to keep order, 11 candidates offered their opinions on everything from a casino vote to education. David Wyatt also attended, but spoke only during the two times he was asked a direct question.

Casino vote

John Connolly said East Boston residents will be hit far harder by a potential casino than anybody else, so they should be the ones to vote.

Dan Conley, however, says all Bostonians should vote. "It will affect our character, our culture and it needs a citywide vote." Almost said he opposed the casino when he compared it to the proposal to move the Red Sox to the South Boston waterfront. "Can you imagine if that had happened?"

Bill Walczak opposed the casino, period, called it "a public health disaster."

Charlotte Golar Richie didn't say who she feels about the vote - although she said she would oppose ramming a casino down East Boston's throat if it voted against it and the rest of the city voted for it, but said she would take some casino revenue and use it for crime prevention.


Other candidates defended Conley from questioner Joe Battenfeld's badgering about whether he should be sending his kids to parochial schools. Conley said he and his wife "wanted to get more of a religious and character education" for their children.

Connolly said public education is the key to Boston's future and that he would make significant cuts at Court Street and give more responsibility to local schools. John Barros, who resigned from the School Committee, said the school department knows how to turn around failing schools. "You haven't turned around a school," he told Connolly. "You don't know what it means to turn around a school." Connolly said his daughter goes to a turn-around school - the Trotter.

Consalvo said he would fight to keep pro-charter corporate interests away from Boston schools.

Black elders trying to get minority candidates not named Golar Richie to drop out

Golar Richie said noted the presence of six white candidates. "Hopefully you pose that to the white candidates as well" (ed. note: The panel didn't). She said she had nothing to do with the meeting and if anybody feels bullied by anybody on her campaign, they should talk to her.

Wal-Mart and Chick-fil-A in Boston

Battenfeld couldn't let this go, either. Rob Consalvo said both companies have the legal right to come to Boston but that he would use his bully pulpit to try to convince Wal-Mart change its policies on health care and exploiting workers.

Ross said they have "no place in this city." Yancey said he would fight against chains that exploit workers and have a record of discrimination. Connolly, Conley and Arroyo said the answer is creating better jobs for Bostonians.

Can Marty Walsh say no to unions?

Yes, Walsh said, he's done it before in the legislature on pension and educational reform and pointed to his role on the board of a Dorchester charter school.

Walczak said he didn't think Walsh could stand up to unions. "The next chief executive of the city of Boston, the next mayor, needs to be a manager."

Mike Ross said he was the only councilor to fight a firefighter contract that the city couldn't afford. "After it was done," Walsh said. Ross and Felix Arroyo said their work on that contract saved the city $40 million.

Drugs, including Molly

The candidates who spoke said they were against them.

24-hour public transit

Ross said he worked with the T and students in 1999 to get Night Owl bus service on weekends, and vowed to work to extend late-night service in particular and T service in general. "We're not going to grow" without better public transit, and recent legislative action "was a lost opportunity" because it doesn't provide for much more than the status quo.

Barros said Ross and other city leaders failed to do their job by not doing more to lobby the legislature and drum up support for better transit. "It was a failure of local leadership."

Walczak called for the return of the Urban Ring project and expanding the Silver Line.

Charles Clemons said the city could fund all the public transit it needs if it only taxed colleges and universities at the same rate as everybody else - which he said could raise billions.

Connolly said the city should do more to work with local businesses on transportation issues. He pointed to the new Brighton commuter-rail stop that New Balance is paying for.

Hey, Walczak, were you fired from Carney Hospital?

Walczak said he wasn't, but instead quit over "philosophical differences" with the hospital's owners, specifically, that he felt strongly the hospital needed to develop a family-medicine program with obstetrics beds, and they didn't. He said he couldn't reveal his severance package under the terms of his severance deal. When Battenfeld started to ask the other candidates if they thought Walczak should reveal the amount, Walsh jumped to his defense, saying that as the state rep for Carney's service area, he felt Walczak did a good job and that he wasn't going to ask him to break a confidentiality agreement.


Consalvo called for 200 more police officers, and expansion of the ShotSpotter program, which can detect the sound of gunfire.

Conley, currently Suffolk County DA, and Clemons got into a tiff over shootings and murders. Conley said they were down dramatically from 2006; Clemons said, yeah, well explain the 128 shootings in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan since the Marathon. "We are experiencing a modest increase in shootings," but candidates shouldn't be panicking voters, Conley said. "Modest?" Clemons answered.

Golar Richie said crime stats in Boston are really "a tale of two cities" and that we need to do more for "those neighborhoods that are still wracked by violence."

Connolly said Boston Police "dropped the ball" on the Amy Lord case, by night issuing a public alert after the first or second attacks in the 18-hour period that ended with Lord's murder.

Arroyo said solving poverty is the key to long-term crime prevention.

Hey, Wyatt, who are you, anyway?

In one of the two times he spoke all night, Wyatt said he is the only Republican and is pro-life and that people like him need representation, too.

Mayor's $16-billion housing plan

Walsh said "I would ask Mayor Menino to scale back on some of these plans," to avoid hamstringing the next mayor, who might have his own ideas. He said he is concerned that Menino's plan calls for selling off city land for housing.

Walczak agreed: "Mr. Menino, please stop."

"The amyor cannot stop doing his job," Ross countered, adding he is amazed some candidates want to disassemble the BRA in the middle of a development boom.

Golar Richie, Consalvo and Arroyo praised the mayor for continuing to do his job. Consalvo said the plan is "a blueprint" that the next mayor could still modify.

Barros said he would split the BRA into separate agencies for planning and development and agreed with Walsh it's premature to be selling off city land.

Ed Davis

Charles Yancey and Clemons want to replace him. Consalvo and Connolly said they would keep him. Several candidates called for reform of civil service to let the commissioner more easily pick his commanders as a way of increasing diversity within the ranks.

Climate change

Consalvo said his BRA director will need to have experience with climate-change and green-development issues. Ross said he would treat climate change the same way Menino and Michael Bloomberg treated guns. Walczak said it's vital to protect our infrastructure - if ocean water gets into our subway tunnels and the O'Neill tunnel, we'd be facing billions in repair cost.

Mon, 09/09/2013 - 2:57pm

Starts at 6 p.m., details here.

Mon, 09/09/2013 - 7:57am

Bill Walczak has bought ad time on NECN tonight for this commercial. Why NECN tonight? It'll be broadcasting the not-Joyce-Kulhawik debate at 8 p.m. Meanwhile, Dan Conley, who hasn't really said if he's for or against a Suffolk Downs casino, might go after other candidates on the issue of a citywide referendum on the question - he's in favor of one, rather than the East Boston-only vote that Mayor Menino is backing.

Mike Ross thinks we need more fiber in our diet:

Boston's economic growth relies on its reputation as a hub of ideas and technological innovation, but our knowledge economy is only as strong as the backbone supporting it. Boston's high-tech businesses, for whom the speed and power of fiber-optic networks are essential, pay exorbitant prices to private providers for specialty packages that are prohibitive for smaller businesses and individuals. Affordable fiber service and infrastructure would not only help our existing tech companies keep their overhead costs low, it would give Boston competitive advantage in attracting new entrepreneurs in high tech fields, and encourage them to settle here for the long term.

It's part of his job creation plan.

Rob Consalvo says we need to make public schools safer, in part by requiring keycards for entrance to every school (currently, only 53 require them), install more security cameras in schools and install new classroom doors that would let teachers lock the doors should a maniac get loose inside the building. He'd also increase access to mental-health counseling for both teachers and students.

Oh, in case you've forgotten what Consalvo's campaign slogan is, here's a handy reminder:

John Connolly stands firmly in favor of the arts. More specifically, he says he'd work to support "live-work space for artists" (anybody remember when that's basically what Fort Point was?) and "streamlining permitting to make it easier for events and pop-up galleries."

Charlotte Golar Richie announced a Saturday press conference at which "20 of Boston’s leading clergy members" were to endorse her, then sent out an alert not long before that the event would be rescheduled. So far, no new date and time has been announced.

BNN has posted interviews with all 12 candidates (yes, even David Wyatt).

Fri, 09/06/2013 - 4:31pm

Press Pass TV sits down with the candidates and takes their views on the crime rate and the ongoing violence for Boston's first mayoral race in over two decades.

Fri, 09/06/2013 - 8:23am

Seems that instead of unifying the black community around a single candidate, a closed-door meeting of elders may have only fractured it.

The Golar Richie campaign yesterday issued a statement denying involvement in the effort to get certain candidates (who happen to be named Yancey, Clemons and Wyatt) to drop out:

No one from the Charlotte Golar Richie Campaign attended the event, nor did Charlotte or the campaign have any affiliation with the event or the individuals involved.

Kevin Peterson attended the meeting as a member of the Boston Black Leadership group, in his capacity of New Democracy Coalition.

Mr. Peterson's attendance at the event should not be considered representative of the Charlotte Golar Richie campaign. He attended in his personal capacity and that is formal statement of our campaign. The campaign was not involved, nor was it represented at all at this meeting.

State Rep. Carlos Henriquez, a Barros backer, says he and several other elected black officials had to crash the meeting, because:

It should be noted that myself nor 10 of 11 other elected officials were invited. There was almost no one under 40 invited. We invited ourselves because we know we are leaders and everyone needs to do the same. It's time to take our place, no torch or baton is going to be handed to you.

Adrian Walker writes that the meeting wouldn't have even been necessary if she sucked less as a candidate:

[H]er inability to formulate a winning message and galvanize voters is her own failing; it is not fair to ask other candidates to drop out, to help her consolidate support she should have mustered on her own.

The Ross campaign announced that housing policy wonk Barry Bluestone has signed up as senior advisor on housing and economic development. The Barros campaign announced that acting wonk Danny Glover has signed up as some star-power muscle.

In addition to a dedicated city office for people in recovery from substance abuse, Marty Walsh is very pro public health.

The last person in the entire city to register to vote will vote for Arroyo.

Wed, 09/04/2013 - 10:07am

Connolly will be out in front of the Apple Store on Boylston Street today to convince voters he will install a genius bar in City Hall create the kind of customer-driven attitude in City Hall that Apple customers expect, specifically, by "making city services, licensing, and permitting easier and more user-friendly."

Marty Walsh says the city needs its own Ethics Commission to ensure officials and their families don't suckle at the public teat:

The Code Chapter would require that no elected official/designated municipal officer use their office to influence any city governmental decision in which the official knows or has reason to know that the official, or any member of the official's immediate family, has any economic interest. This Code Chapter would establish a fiduciary duty by all municipal officials owed to the city.

Ethical conduct would require that no past or present elected official/municipal employee disclose confidential information, other than information used in the performance of their official duties or as required by law.

City officials and employees must not hold any beneficial interest, direct or indirect, in any contract whenever the expense is paid with funds administered by the city.

Bill Walczak wants the fire department to modernize; this "Boston Way" stuff needs to end. Or as he wonkily puts it:

Bill Walczak, candidate for mayor of Boston, today released a policy statement on the Boston Fire Department and its need to modernize. The statement calls on the BFD to adopt the National Fire Protection Association’s standards (NFPA 1500), national standards adopted by most urban fire departments in America.

His complete statement is attached.

Mike Ross says he would meet monthly with his counterparts from Cambridge, Somerville and other nearby communities to "coordinate strategies, iron out differences, and move the region forward."

There's relief on the way for JP and West Roxbury residents who don't think they have enough campaign signs to look at: Matt O'Malley told supporters yesterday that, yes, he'll be unleashing a flood of O'Malley signs (no doubt still in BLS purple) later this month.

Tue, 09/03/2013 - 9:29am

In this post-Labor Day world, it's no longer sweetness and light and pick-up basketball games on the campaign trail, the Herald warns:

The gloves are coming off in Boston's mayoral race with candidates trading accusations of ideas-poaching and flip-flopping as they head into a red-hot sprint to undercut their opponents and sway undecided voters before the 12-way Sept. 24 preliminary election.

Union guy Marty Walsh was, of course, the hit at the Greater Boston Labor Council's Labor Day breakfast, where he gave a speech.

Dan Conley also gave a speech, outlining his plan for more jobs for Bostonians. Charlotte Golar Richie also released a jobs plan yesterday.

With little money, Felix Arroyo is counting on knocking lots of doors and shaking hands at lots of T stops, CommonWealth reports. But, hey, the campaign did raise $102,000 last month.

At-large candidate Martin Keogh says the city could get more affordable housing built by setting aside the "thousands of potentially buildable lots" he says the city owns specifically for inexpensive single-family homes. A lottery would determine which eligible Boston residents could then buy the parcels and build homes on them - with help from a city fund.

Sat, 08/31/2013 - 8:16pm

The Arroyo campaign provided this snippet from a pick-up match in a city with enough candidates to field two entire teams, including, of course, Rob Three-Pointer Consalvo.

Via Gintautus Dumcius.

Sat, 08/31/2013 - 10:28am

The Bay State Banner says Yancey, Clemons and Wyatt should drop out of the race and help get one of the other minority candidates who actually has a chance get elected:

Sometimes it is heroic to quit. Politicians are competitive, highly motivated and aggressive individuals who will fight to the end. It is unnatural for them to throw in the towel before the political battle is over. However, there is a strategic aspect of politics that just might call for such a maneuver.

Should Yancey get elected, he has some ideas on education.

Marty Walsh raised the most money in August.

The Fenway News posts the priorities of three candidates running to replace Mike Ross in District 8 (Mission Hill, Fenway, Back Bay, Beacon Hill). Only one of those candidates has a bridge named after his father.

Tim McCarthy, running to replace Rob Consalvo in District 5 (Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan), has gotten endorsed by the Carpenters and Unite Here Local 26.

Mass. Voters for Animals has endorsed Ayanna Pressley and Michelle Wu (at large), Matt O'Malley (District 6), Joshua Zakim (District 8) and Mimi Turchinetz (District 5).

Fri, 08/30/2013 - 9:07am

Charlotte Golar Richie was endorsed by former state Senator Bill Owens, and former state reps Royal Bolling, Doris Bunte, and Shirley Owens-Hicks.

The Globe reports a bevy of mayoral hopefuls attended a Boston Common rally for higher wages for fast-food workers. The story doesn't mention Mike Ross, but maybe because he protested with the workers earlier in the day

You've got questions, Ross has answers.

At-large council candidate Martin Keogh was endorsed by Pipefitters Local 537 and the Utility Workers Union of America Local 369.

After a hard day of canvassing and phone-banking, volunteers at the Felix Arroyo office in JP take a salsa break.

Thu, 08/29/2013 - 12:21pm

Mike Ross says he's with the striking fast-food workers:

This morning, I stood with striking fast food workers in support of their efforts to fight for higher wages. I want to make Boston the best city in America in which to do business, but I also want to make sure that all of those businesses pay a living wage and treat their employees fairly. Strong communities are filled with people who can provide for themselves and their families.

It's unacceptable when businesses retaliate against employee organizing or if they force employees to rely on Commonwealth benefits instead of paying those workers a fair, living wage to begin with.

Rob Consalvo says he's with the Liberty Mutual workers having their retirement benefits cut, says he would seek to block further tax breaks for the company unless it rescinds them, writes the insurer's CEO:

When Liberty Mutual came to the City Council in 2010 asking for tax assistance to build a new $300 million office in the Back Bay, I supported your request because I believed your company had every intention of being a good neighbor, but this isn't how we should treat people in Boston.

I hope you will reconsider this action and reinstate the benefits your employees deserve. If not, I cannot in good conscience support any requests from Liberty Mutual for assistance from the City of Boston in the future.

Dan Conley says he would work to get better paying jobs for Boston residents, in part by changing the "Boston Residents Jobs Policy," under which large construction projects are supposed to hire at least 50% Boston residents and at least 25% minority and 10% women workers to increase those numbers and to try to actually enforce the quotas and would work with local employers and unions on more job training for Bostonians.

He says he'd also focus on neighborhood jobs by removing some of the hoops people now have to go through to start businesses in the city and to create "a revolving loan and equity investment fund" for new small businesses.

Conley says he'd also work with Councilor Ayanna Pressley to regain control of Boston's liquor licenses.

Bill Walczak has a petition site where you can "sign" a request to have the Suffolk Downs issue decided citywide on either Nov. 5 (what the site says) or the Sept. 24 primary (what Walczak's press releases say).

Marty Walsh vows to double the number of early-education seats in local schools within four years:

There is no greater equity issue than ensuring that all students start kindergarten with foundational skills and ready to learn. The achievement gap begins before current universal public schools are part of a child's day. It is up to us- as legislators, teachers, parents, and Bostonians - to create a City in which this is possible for every single child in every Boston neighborhood.

John Barros is pro-arts.

Planned Parenthood has a guide to candidates for mayor, at-large city council, and District 9, based on questionnaires it sent out.

Thu, 08/29/2013 - 9:05am

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:


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.


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.


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.


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.

Wed, 08/28/2013 - 10:31am

UPDATE: Herald says it's changed the time of its forum to "accommodate a scheduling conflict by some candidates," which is certainly an artful way to put it.

Marty Walsh, John Barros and Bill Walczak say that on the evening of Sept. 9, they'll be honoring their commitments and appearing at a mayoral forum sponsored by MassCreative, which was announced weeks ago, rather than the forum announced just yesterday by the Herald, Suffolk University and NECN.

Walsh, who has a top advisor who's pretty well known in local arts and entertainment circles, tweeted:

Also, I'll be at @MASSCreative because I've been in Boston long enough to know I DON'T want a bad review from @JoyceKulhawik. #BosMayor

Felix Arroyo, John Connolly, Charlotte Golar Richie and Mike Ross remain to be heard from, although Arroyo's, Golar's and Ross's campaign site still lists the arts event: "Mike will share his message on culture and the arts."

Anti-casino candidate Walczak quips:

The Trojans thought the horse was a great deal too...

Help is on the way for District 5 voters confused as to which of the eight, yes, eight, candidates to pick to replace Rob Consalvo: Forums.

The Fairmount Hill Neighborhood Association holds a forum starting at 7 tonight at the Boston Police Academy, 85 Williams Ave. on, well, Fairmount Hill in Hyde Park. Wicked Local Roslindale moderates another forum on Sept. 12 at St. Nectarios Church, 39 Belgrade Ave. in Roslindale. Starts at 6:30 p.m. MassVOTE, the Boston NAACP and the Future Boston Alliance sponsor a forum on Sept. 16 at the Mattahunt Wheelock Community Center: 100 Hebron St., Mattapan. Starts at 6 p.m.

Mike Ross reminds you he is running:

Ross scored a hometown win last night: The Ward 10 Democratic Committee, which includes part of his home base of Mission Hill, endorsed him.

The Globe reports black business leaders are coalescing around Charlotte Golar Richie.

David Bernstein chats with incumbent Allston/Brighton Councilor Mark Ciommo.

Tue, 08/27/2013 - 10:06am

Bill Walczak, who says Suffolk Downs should be turned into an Innovation District instead of a casino, says Harvard should turn its vast tracts of land in Allston into an Innovation District:

I believe the residents of Allston would welcome an opportunity to work with Harvard on plans for an Allston Innovation District. The "enterprise research campus' formerly discussed with the community would provide a critically important complement to the nearby Harvard Innovation Lab and Startup Lab Boston.

Question of the day: Will any of the candidates bring up Liberty Mutual's decision to cut worker benefits? And if they do, will they also talk about the sweet tax deal the city and state gave the insurer to build its new headquarters? Like, say, Mike Ross, who bitterly complained about the company back in the day?

Marty Walsh wants just East Boston to decide the casino issue.

See how mayoral candidates stand on city funding for the Greenway and expanding South Station.

Left Ahead interviews Felix Arroyo at 2:30 p.m. today.

Teamsters locals 25 and 122 say Mike Flaherty's their man in the at-large race. Massachusetts NOW goes for Annissa Essaibi-George in the race.

David Bernstein interviews Tim McCarthy, a DPW worker running to replace Rob Consalvo in District 5.