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Candidates spar in only televised debate

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.

Education

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.

Crime

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.

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Comments

Does Davis actually need "help" to pick commanders? Or did the candidates just fall into his trap and mention it so people think he did.

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I didn't get the chance to see this debate, but I heard that the moderation sucked, and there are indications in this report here that it left a bit to be desired. Anyone have a take on that?

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Battenfeld... who was that guy... acted like he was a Herald commentator.

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I think once the group has been thinned out, we'll see much better debates (I certainly hope there are more). All I heard from Clemons was "Hire more people from 'diverse' cultures".

It was hard to hear since they all started talking at once, but it sounded like all candidates wanted to keep unpaid internships. This made me pretty upset. How the hell is a student supposed to pay rent, eat and get to work if they're not paid?! I don't buy the whole "they're getting experience" argument. I always pay interns and students I hire.

They didn't seem to talk much about guns. There was some mention of 128 shooting happening between the Marathon bombing and now. Then there was also Rob Consalvo's idea of using the Shotspotter in conjunction with cameras to catch shooters. I'm a person who likes to go target shooting and hunting. I'd like to hear more about how the candidates want to punish illegal gun users, and protect lawful gun owners.

There was mention of schools. I have no kids, and therefore have no kids in school. So I can only hope students are getting a good education, and will become valuable members of society.

I didn't like how many of the candidates want to get rid of Ed Davis. He saw us through the Marathon bombing. I felt as though he held himself together rather well, and really worked to find those who are responsible for the devastation.

Hopefully we'll have a much better debate next time.

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Came down to the fact that Battenfeld works for the Herald and a lot of tweeters objected to that fact. They would have complained if Solomon himself had moderated if his paycheck said Boston Herald in the upper left corner. Couple of weak moments - but bottom line a 12/11 person debate was not moderatable.

There was very little substance in the whole thing if you've been following the election - but I think Ross and Walsh scored some style points for poise and Conley lost some for breaking out a prop (some jobs plan publication from his campaign).

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We started watching late and had no idea who the moderator was and both said "wow--this guy is a total a**hole."

The debate highlighted one essential fact--it's really too bad that the field couldn't be thinned to, say, three or five candidates before the election. Going from this huge gaggle to two seems too drastic. It was hard to hear the voices last night. Both ads afterwards for Bill Walczak and Mike Ross were terrific, I thought.

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...were terrific.

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I'm not sure I can stand watching the hour televised on my DVR; it may sit there as long as the Cheers finale has been on there.

The candidates have all done a great job of outlining their positions on all the major issues. Go to their websites for details.

The TV "debate" doesn't help anyone. The questions certainly don't help. "How about public transportation?" "Are you for or against illicit drugs?" and, really? "What about Chik-fil-A?" and, really? "Climate control?" Yes, maybe these are important issues to you but are they important issues to the city, important enough to crowd out detailed answers to other questions?

Crime, casinos, schools, housing are worthy of an hour and a half each. Instead, you get questions that make it look as though the moderator just watched one of his own station's newscasts.

This isn't the campaign for it, apparently, but I wish someone somewhere somehow had nailed the candidates on what they plan on doing to alleviate the problems with homelessness / drug addiction / mental health in the city's core.

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Couldn't believe how rude Conley was to Clemons. Wonder if the DA has the temperament to be Mayor.
Do we need another bully in City Hall. Does he treat his staff like this?
Did I see Consalvo on his cell? Maybe he was calling Menino?

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What was that all about?

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Golar Richie and Mike Ross are two of the best well spoken candidates, Mike Ross' s commercial is one of the best Ive seen in years , Battefeld shot a question out to Dan Conley about if Conley or members of his family attended public schools, his answer was no!! Now, why would a Bostonian vote for a person who is running for Mayor of Boston who's parents have payed his way to a private school and simply has nothing in common with the average Bostonian who grew up in Southie or Dorchester with parents who didnt have enough money to pay for a Boston School lunch!! If Conley did not have the experience of having a tough struggling education in the Boston School system then he shouldnt be talking about the subject.

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because he's not and idiot. He knows the school system in Boston sucks and has chosen to send his kids to private schools. He's not the Mayor, BPS is not yet his mess. I would be afraid to vote for him if he sent his kids to BPS and thought it was a competitive choice.

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No, I didn't think so. But thanks for playing.

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If you're the one making decisions about the future of BPS, and you don't send your own kids there, then that's a statement. I don't want to vote for you.

And yes, I know people with kids in the system. White people, even.

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I actually enjoyed the debate. We got a sense of/feel for the personalities of the candidates. There was no way the moderators could control the aspiring Mayors. They showed no respect for "_one person at a time "_consideration. It's hard to control people with big egos. Alison was good. Battenfield was rude & nasty.

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Despite the lack of control the moderators had and the chaotic way candidates were allowed to answer questions, I felt that I gained a lot from having watched. I did not know much about many of the candidates, and now I do, and I think I have a person to vote for now.
Also, the two times that Wyatt spoke were entertaining enough to keep watching Battenfield be a bitter moderator.

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He was rude, nasty, combative, disrespectful and provocative in a bad way. He really didn't help shed any light on anything. Quess what, Mr. Battenfeld? It's not about YOU!

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Boston Herald is a tabloid newspaper! 99.1% of its readers are ignorant.To be employed by them as a political writer is more embaressing!! And to take Battenfeld questions seriously, is like answering questions from sara palin!!

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Whats your point!

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you watch the Mayoral Debate? Yes he work for the Herald, 11 of the 12 candidates are Democrats (The one Rep looked homeless) and he's questions were rather simple, strait forward and non-bias. Example.. The above article (which you obviously didn't read) is full of Q & A's which aren't party specific.

But hey, way to help the image of the far left, cool-aid anyone....

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I didn't think any of his initial questions were out of line, it's the way he did followups on some of them I found annoying, like when he basically tried to goad the other 10 awake candidates into smacking Walczak around for refusing to say how much he got paid to leave Carney Hospital. Props to Marty Walsh for sticking up for Walczak in that circumstance (even though Walczak didn't return the favor on the question of whether Walsh could fight with unions).

The one time, maybe, when snarling worked was when Battenfeld finally got Conley to say why, exactly, he didn't send his kids to public schools. That Conley had to be forced into answering the question with what wound up being a fairly simple answer that didn't say anything about the quality of local public schools might signal that Conley's gotten way too used to the adversarial system employed in our courts, where you don't want to give you opponent an inch. That might not be the best quality in a mayor, though.

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I think there were three times when Battenfeld was a bit "testy" - and all of them were when candidates tried to duck a question - Walczak on the compensation (for very good legal reasons), Conley on the school question (also for good personal reasons) - and he probably pushed both of those too much. I think a lot of people objected to his persistence on the Walmart/Chik Fil A question - but he caught several candidates - especially Consalvo - trying to play both sides of the fence on that question.

I think this was by design for journalistic "cred" - don't let them off the hook when they try to dance. I think this was a specific strategy going in and had nothing to do with the specific questions. A lot of people chalked it up to his connections to the Herald - which I think is a bit of a stretch.

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It was the Patriots who were stopped from building a stadium in South Boston.

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Remember Frank McCourt and his parking lots?

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At the time. But there was a guy who drove around with a scaled replica of Fenway on the roof of his car protesting the destruction of a historic ball park.

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