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Election roundup: The first debate

The two candidates in the WBZ debate

The two candidates debate at WBZ.

WBZ has the summary of the debate its Jon Keller moderated. More from NBC Boston.

Both candidates were a bit muddied in their answers at times. Essaibi George tore into Wu for supporting "rent control;" Wu said she supports "rent stabilization," but didn't explain the difference. Essaibi George said she would get things done her first day, not wait for studies, then said part of her answer to Mass and Cass would be to re-build the Long Island Bridge, which Wu noted could take years.

The two get a chance to sharpen things up on Oct. 19, when NBC Boston, NECN, the Dorchester Reporter and the Bay State Banner host a debate.

The debate came the same day a WBUR poll showed Wu holding a landslide-style lead over Annissa Essaibi George. Pundits say it's too early to declare the race over.

In District 6 (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, Mission Hill and a sliver of Roslindale), outgoing incumbent Matt O'Malley today blessed Mary Tamer of West Roxbury over Kendra Hicks of Jamaica Plain:

Mary has what it takes to get things done for our neighbors in Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, Roslindale, and the Back of the Hill. As a former Boston School Committee member and as the President of the League of Women Voters of Boston, Mary has demonstrated the ability to bring people together and deliver results, always with a great level of thought, integrity, and compassion for others.

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Comments

“As a teacher, I know how to do this work. You want to fix the Boston Public Schools, hire a teacher, I’ll get it done.”

I find that less than convincing, given recent evidence.

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Voting closed 47

Let's get the theorist from the big big university to study the problem, not actually offer the way she is going to get it done, but just talk big until the next political office comes along.

Your blind chauvinism is showing.

How about get someone who has actually been involved in the system, who knows the bad apples, and gets on it?

(Wu people retort: But she's from Dorchester. She can't be that smart).

I heard more aspirations with no concrete way to do things from Wu last night than a Prosperity Gospel preacher.

The city needs someone who isn't all flash.

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Voting closed 72

Frontrunners don't give out specifics in political debates. If they did, they won't be frontrunners anymore.

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Voting closed 41

Essabibi George's only shot is to attack Wu and force her into specifics and other things Wu doesn't want to talk about in a debate. On the other hand Essabibi George has been involved in committees on public health and homeless issues since she has been on City Council and hasn't done anything about Mass and Cass either (That's for Wu to point out).

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Voting closed 55

I think Wu went a bit too far in trying to stay "above the fray" because she had an opportunity that was missed.

AEG said many times "I did" "I have done" or some other variation and I think Wu had the opportunity to more clearly point out the failure of those efforts to date and how we need a mayor who will continue the local work of the city to address these problems, but also has the connections and will use the office's power to leverage partnerships at the regional, state and federal level to help address it because the problem is not a local one and it can't be solved through local efforts only.

She kind of tiptoed around that, but I think she could have made that position much more clear without it being a direct attack on AEG.

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Voting closed 17

She basically said Essaibi George represents the status quo and the status quo has failed to solve X (for example, Mass and Cass) and it's time to try bolder steps. Similar answer with the question about rent control/stabilization; when Essaibi George said it was a state issue, Wu said a mayor can't just stick with city ordinances, sometimes you have to think larger than that and fight for what you believe in (except she fell into that bureaucratese about "our partners" at different levels of government, which people who deal with the subtleties of inter-governmental affairs will get but most people will not).

Essaibi George kind of own-goaled herself on this in her answer to a question about the 812 city workers who couldn't even be bothered to commit to weekly Covid tests when she basically said, yeah, that's a bit of a shame but (and here she looks right at the camera), city workers ARE WONDERFUL.

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Voting closed 25

It's a debate and if anything that will last until the election comes out it is limited to a soundbite length line. That's more my issue, Wu obviously knew what AEG was going to boast about and knows her own plan so she should have had a better line locked and loaded for that rebuttal.

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Voting closed 9

I thought Wu (who I support) seemed underprepared and over-reliant on sharing her personal story, and not sharing enough specifics on policy. Of course debate performance only really matters if there are significant numbers of undecided voters.

I thought Jon Keller was an excellent moderator and was impressed by how much got covered in 60 minutes.

A big thumbs down on the giant chaotic graphics behind the candidates. I almost wished I was listening on the radio.

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Voting closed 28

Showing lack of leadership and knowing that your main political talking points have no concrete substance to them. Bold vision there.

The other side goes "I have this, this, and this" and people dismiss her.

Do a lot of the Wu people watch TMZ and E!? It seems like they like the shiny pictures instead of the lack of substance underneath.

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Voting closed 34

Actually NO ONE gives out specifics during political debates, because that's not what political debates are for. They're for 30-second summaries, and then some back-and-forth about high-level disagreements about major policy platforms. The format is specifically designed to keep out the specific details.

If you want specifics, go read the candidates' "On The Issues" pages. They both have extremely detailed proposals about how they intend to do the things they've talked about. Complaining about Wu not spelling out the exact difference between rent stabilization vs rent control, when she's devoted three thousand words to it on her easily-googleable site, reflects much more poorly on you than it does on her.

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Voting closed 39

The real question is honestly why we still have these things and why anyone takes them seriously, since they're pretty clearly very different from the actual work involved in the job.

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Voting closed 22

just say you don’t agree with Wu’s politics.

edit: i had a whole diatribe sketched out, but i think this suffices.

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Voting closed 33

I also know lots of people who went to Harvard and actually do things like teach, fundraise, serve on town boards, are stay at home Moms, also ones who make gobs of money.

I also know that they utilize fundamental, sound plans to accomplish stated goals, not behave like they are making pies in the sky out at Table Talk's new Skypie facility out in Worcester.

Remember, Harvard let in Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton. Two more people who talk the talk but fall flat when the walking starts, yet somehow lots of people believe their non-sensical platitudes.

Also, I believe in making the T free, so let's not say I don't agree with Wu's politics. I don't believe in rent control though. I am old enough to see that the people it was meant to benefit got screwed while the better off benefitted. There were people I knew in Cambridge in the early 90's which were playing the payoff game to get cheap rent. It is not fair.

PS - Sorry I missed your diatribe, I have been having trouble getting to sleep with the baseball playoffs being so good. Perhaps you should post it, so it can help me nod off when the games are done.

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Voting closed 24

…. but you’re not wise.

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Voting closed 38

Was the illogical extreme of rent control.

There's probably a happy medium which limits rent hikes to something reasonable-ish to try to limit displacement while at the same time not discouraging new development. I don't think rent control is good economic policy, but there is probably something which can be done which wouldn't destroy the economics of developing housing.

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Voting closed 20

But until someone can come up with some specifics on what that "something" might be, I'm not going to vote for someone advocating for rent control. I have lived in Boston both with and without rent control and for many reasons I'm not interesting in going back to that failed policy.

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Voting closed 30

I thought what Boston had was called something like "vacancy decontrol", and it limited the percentage by which a landlord could raise a tenant's rent as long as their tenancy was unbroken. i.e., you renew your lease, the most it can go up with is x percent (I seem to recall 10% which seems quite generous to the landlord).

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Voting closed 15

After moving here from a large city with rent control, so I know the difference between rent control and rent stabilization. Under rent control, which Cambridge had (I think, somebody correct me if I'm wrong about that), the government sets the rent, basically, and you wind up with people with plenty of disposable income paying low rents if they stick around long enough. Under rent stabilization, which Boston had, landlords can set new rents when a tenant moves out and then raise the rent each year, but by no more than the increase in the cost of living.

If that's what Wu was talking about last night, small landlords (and the husband of a certain mayoral candidate) will still see some sort of restriction on their income, yes, but nowhere near what might happen under a classic Cambridge/New York rent-control scheme. But if it is what she was talking about, she needs to better define it in the next debate.

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Voting closed 34

The values of the properties will go down because the income generated by rent from the properties has decreased.

Landlords will not put money into buildings if there is no profit in it, leading to decreased tax revenue.

The City will raise property taxes, driving down the value of the houses further, but like in the 60's and 70's here, especially in the Fenway, Roxbury, and Mattapan, landlords will realize that it is cheaper to burn the buildings down and collect the insurance. (Did you guys ever wonder why Blue Hill Avenue north of Grove Hall has so many vacant lots still to this day? - It wasn't owing to self-combustion of buildings).

1970's Boston wasn't fun in an aggregate way.

Stable neighborhoods aren't built on academics and people from New York living on cheap rent.

Stable neighborhoods are built on ownership and knowing that some rich suburban kid isn't going to use your labor so they can work less that you.

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Voting closed 28

I'm opposed to rent stabilization/control but not for the reasons you mention which are unlikely to occur. If anything it will just encourage owners of multifamily units to stop renting and turn them into condos where they can get a huge lump payment.

Property taxes are based on the sale value of units and there's no indication that rent limits are going to greatly affect how much people are willing to pay to buy units and buildings.

The reason to be opposed to rent limits is that it does nothing to solve the real problem: Too few units and too much demand. The only solution to that problems is to build build build which means relaxing zoning and building restrictions.

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Voting closed 18

Pulp Fiction (a/k/a Wu's Rent Control Plan) came out 27 years ago today.

Rent control means less rentals.

Please get yourself familiar with the zip codes for Lynn, Lowell, Framingham, and Worcester for those of you who think you are going to "win" the rent control lottery.

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Voting closed 16

How will Cochran and Jennison and the Hamilton Co. put food on the table?

Jokes aside, it’s corporations, not your neighbors, people.

1970s Boston housing, especially in the area of Blue Hill, wasn’t fun because of active blockbusting by real estate concerns, red lining by banks, inflated/fraudulent home valuations leading to untenable mortgages, and fast foreclosures on loans guaranteed by the federal government. But the way you would hear certain old Bostonians talk about it, it was the people moving in, ie Black people, who destroyed the neighborhood.

And for someone who was in the other thread railing pretty hard about out-of-Towners gentrifying Boston neighborhoods, you seem to be for the very thing that was the greatest factor in bringing new people into neighborhoods and displacing locals. There is a direct link with lifting the rent stabilization in 1994 with landlords speculating that capital improvements would bring higher rents and higher property values, which it did, and long-time residents getting pushed out. Just like in the 70s, the gentrification of the last 25 years isn’t the fault of the people that want affordable rent or the new people that can afford to move in, but the corporate and investor classes that have the means to influence the market.

This isn’t a pro or con rent stabilization comment, but so many people want to assign the blame for housing woes on neighbors who have far less power than the banks, investors, construction companies, and developers who have waayyyyy more leverage; and that corporate/investor class benefits from that misdirection and is happy to see it. They know city government is the only real lever of power residents have, and as long as there is enough of a divide, they stay wining.

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Voting closed 44

That's a well thought out statement with lots of good and factual points and not someone saying "Teachah".

Thanks

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Voting closed 16

You love imagining yourself and your allies as victims of prejudice, don't you? Please find me some examples of Wu supporters stating people from Dorchester aren't smart. It's the biggest neighborhood in Boston and far from homogeneous but I assume you only mean people from Ward 16 and 17 of course.

We had a zero flash guy from Dorchester as mayor last time and guess who did actually talk big until he took the next political office available?

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Voting closed 36

"You love imagining yourself and your allies as victims of prejudice, don't you? Please find me some examples of Wu supporters stating people from Dorchester aren't smart."

Very first comment. Someone wrote "Teachah" Another attack on a Dorchester person and the way they speak. I guess you are not paying attention.

Also, EAG is from Ward 13. Get your facts straight.

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Voting closed 21

and she doesn’t deny it. it’s fair game.

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Voting closed 22

It is fake. Therefore it is fair game.

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Voting closed 23

Of course Wu's plans are fair game. That has zero to do with your false cries of classicism because people make fun of AEG's fake accent. In the future, I'd suggest keeping your objections honest, or you end up sounding like a petulant child as you just did right here.

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Voting closed 34

Oh, is a Boston accent now actually actually a Dorchester accent and any jokes made about that are actually anti-Dorchester elitist remarks?

You are the biggest snowflake I've encountered on this website, which is a remarkable achievement.

No clever retort about the 'no flash' former mayor who did fuck all for the city before chasing his next gig?

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Voting closed 25

Blow that snowflake argument out the door.

Actually saying something that goes against the Ward 9 Groupthink, everyone gets their panties in a bunch.

Applying the same standards of conduct back at someone in terms of respect for one's way of speaking and their class, you cry.

There are enough tears shed here by people to fill the Quabbin when someone has the audacity to go against what you say.

Welcome to arguing as opposed to Elysium.

Since you have whipped out the name calling, you are a pansy of the highest order. How's that? Does that change anything? Go find yourself a playground where you fit in with your others of your intellect.

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Voting closed 11

Is a Boston accent only a Dot accent? That's what you claimed, which is absurd.
You seem to assume having a Boston accent is something to be ashamed of, why?

Again, so, so much self-pitying aggrievance and name calling. Why so thin skinned?

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Voting closed 10

How about get someone who has actually been involved in the system, who knows the bad apples, and gets on it?

Would you hire a bank teller to be the CEO of Citizens or Chase Morgan?

Would you hire a pharmacist to run an international pharmaceutical firm?

Would you hire a household plumber to design a municipal treatment plant?

Claiming that because you were a teacher in the classroom you know how to fix the school system is the same basis as making those hiring decisions in my book. If she was talking about things she had done while on the city council and dealing directly with the school administration and budget it might carry more water. Being a teacher is in no way evidence that she has the knowledge and skill set that is needed to fix the large scale problems with BPS.

That's why her "I'm a teacher" schtick falls flat with me.

That you think that it does shows that you are not evaluating her based on the actual skills and knowledge needed to be mayor. Your decision making process is actually more likely to result in the Peter principle when it comes to promotion.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_principle

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Voting closed 28

Would you hire a pharmacist to run an international pharmaceutical firm?

I agree with what you are saying but just have to point this out.

Tom Ryan, a pharmacist, was one of CVS first employees (after they started adding pharmacies in the early 70s), he went on to lead the company and be the CEO for almost 2 decades.

So it does happen. Maybe not a direct hire but promotion...

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Voting closed 17

My point was the direct hire. Obviously you can have people who start on the ground floor and end up with a successful C-Suite position later in their career.

If AEG sold herself as someone who was at the ground level as a teacher, then pointed to successful city council work related to education with the senior administrative levels of BPS it would be a stronger case.

Saying a teacher is the one who can fix the problems is like the simpletons who try to describe the federal budget as a household checking account. They're apples and oranges.

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Voting closed 16

What has she done so far as a former teacher to do anything about the system or these bad apples and why isn't she pointing to those things specifically? I absolutely think we need to listen to teachers more when it comes to education policies and give them more credit for the hard work they're doing, but I gotta be honest, it feels to me like Essaibi-George has been fairly silent on the issue until this election campaign (but I could be wrong).

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Voting closed 33

At around the 30 minute mark those of us watching on channel 4 were told if we want to watch the rest of the debate, we should switch to something called "CBSN". No web address was given. No channel information was given. There was a code on the screen to scan if I had the app.

So somehow channel 4 couldn't pre-empt Jeopardy for one frigging night and couldn't clearly communicate how to watch the rest of the debate with more than a couple of minutes warning.

Seriously channel 4, or CBS Boston , or CBSN, or whatever you call yourself, WTF?

(the Captcha code below includes "SMH". SMH indeed.)

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Voting closed 27

Is this who Michelle Wu is? No specifics, just platitudes about “centering” and “being in community” and other liberal arts professor blather? I’m still planning to vote for her because #AnyoneButAEG, but the whole hour I was hoping for something specific, some story, some commitment — anything! The Mass and Cass options — don’t feed us lines about public health, tell us the pluses and minuses of each proposal, give us a sense for how you think and you’re going to lead. But no, nada.

Maybe her goal as the front runner was to be as noncommittal and uninteresting as possible, and she sure nailed that.

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Voting closed 31

Magoo tivo’d the debate and then would pause it and pretend Magoo was debating also. Magoo thinks that Magoo won hands down. Magoo used crushing logic, empathy, and courage to total nail Moderator Keller’s questions. Magoo is going to win this race in a landslide. Magoo.

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Voting closed 40

.

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Voting closed 59

Boston's soul is waning as it is.

Hail Magoo.

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Voting closed 22

It's clear that your opinion is among a small minority when it comes to this waste of digital space.

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Voting closed 13

Stands at 39% Magoo.

We must define "small" differently.

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Voting closed 5

Didn't it say it was leaving a while back? And yet it's still here, like a moldy refrigerator.

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Voting closed 6

Takes One To Know One.

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Voting closed 5

...I never said I was going away. Cry harder.

I know why you're still here, John -- because if you behaved in real life the way you do here, you'd be facing real and painful consequences.

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Voting closed 6

1/10 of his posts are home runs and this is one of them.

5/10 are so gut wrenchingly unfunny and pathetic that I think removal is warranted.

The other 4/10 are unmemorable.

But it's posts like this one that keeps me on the Magoo Train for the long haul.

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Voting closed 5

Who did the Boston Teachers Union endorse?

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Voting closed 7

why I think this, perhaps it is because I didn't learn math at Harvard (or go there even except to pee once) but if my rent DOESN'T GO UP every year while my income stays the same,

that would benefit ME-the-renter, wouldn't it? Change my mind.....

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Voting closed 14

If your rent doesn't go up, that does benefit you in the short term. And it hurts the landlord. If it hurts the landlord too much, they may decide to just sell the whole building as condos. Now you have to move out and find a new place to rent. That doesn't help you-the-renter.

The details are important. "Rent control" is too generic an idea to support or oppose without nailing down details. Most discussions of it are over simplified.

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Voting closed 16

Why does a landlord need to earn more and more and more? If it to cover a mortgage that says relatively the same? Greed needs to be calmed down.

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Voting closed 16

The landlord can pay for a nice new one, and then pay for good upgrades for tenants and treat them with respect.

You could have a landlord who wants to keep the rent low but is too lazy or cheap to make improvements as well. There are a lot of those.

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Voting closed 13

I have a landlord that keeps rent high for where it is but never replaces anything. When the water heater broke, we had to beg the landlord to shut the water off that was flooding the basement. Another person in the building paid for it so not ruin the stuff in storage. They do anything but the basics for the building.

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Voting closed 19

That's totally unacceptable.

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Voting closed 10

have a landlord who wants to keep raising the rent but is too lazy or cheap to make improvements. I bet you there's even more of those.

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Voting closed 19

I've lived in all sorts of buildings in the past 10+ years and haven't once had a landlord make good upgrades to any of the buildings or apartments. Best I've seen was a new stove when the old one was found to be leaking gas and out of compliance with city code, and replacing a porch staircase after it literally collapsed under someone.

I haven't read up enough to have much opinion on rent control yet, but if anyone actually has a landlord that uses the rent money to make upgrades (or hell, even just generally maintain the place), please send me their info!

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Voting closed 17

I am happy that the candidates and Keller kept to mostly real issues. As opposed to launching attacks on the accents of those running as per the Boston Globe.

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Voting closed 20

Both candidates have no plan, and no idea how to address the situation at Mass and Cass. Both candidates stressed they have been there and walked around, like we are supposed to be impressed. Meanwhile residents, businesses, and the addicts experience the horror every day. Both candidates agree that even while they were allegedly addressing the situation as councilors, it has gotten worse. Great job councilors.

Before the preliminary election I checked every candidates website. Only Andrea Campbell had a comprehensive plan to address the issue. And last night I heard only the same old generalities, and no specifics.

The situation at Mass and Cass is getting worse by the day and our politicians have nothing to offer. From all indications the situation is totally hopeless.

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Voting closed 30

Word salad, she will probably win.
Backtracking on rent control might hurt her with the far left but not enough to lose.

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Voting closed 22