campaign notebook

3 mayoral candidates discuss host of topics at forum

From left, Martin Walsh, Felix Arroyo, and Bill Walczak discussed housing prices, late-night parties, and backyard chickens during a mayoral forum Tuesday at the Globe.
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
From left, Martin Walsh, Felix Arroyo, and Bill Walczak discussed housing prices, late-night parties, and backyard chickens during a mayoral forum Tuesday at the Globe.

Three candidates for mayor — Felix G. Arroyo, Martin F. Walsh, and Bill Walczak — discussed topics ranging from backyard chickens to housing prices Tuesday, as they debated ways to encourage college students to settle in Boston after they graduate.

In an hour-long debate sponsored by that focused on Boston’s role as a college town, the candidates all said they wanted to make the city more welcoming to young people by encouraging more late-night dining, entertainment, and transit.

Walczak, a former health care executive, and Arroyo, a city councilor, both said they would loosen city rules to allow clubs to host more shows for people under 21.


Walsh, a state representative, said he would need to study the idea, but added that he was concerned that it is too difficult to host major events in Boston. He said the NHL needed 91 city permits to bring the 2010 Winter Classic hockey tournament to Fenway Park.

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“I do think the city of Boston has to relax on some of its rules,” Walsh said.

Yet even as the candidates sought to appeal to young voters, they said that, if elected, they would crack down on student partying in residential neighborhoods.

“It’s important that people be able to sleep at night,” said Walczak, 59, who lamented that he can hear music coming from a club near his home at 1 a.m., “and it’s really annoying.”

Arroyo, 34, said stopping late-night partying is a matter of public safety, but added, “we have to have places in our city where young people — or older people — can go and be out and have a good time and party.”


Walsh, 46, agreed that “some of the partying is way over the top,” but added that he would also crack down on landlords who pack students into rental housing, saying those houses can be fire traps.

All three candidates said Boston police must be involved in investigating sexual assaults on college campuses, an issue that prompted a passionate response from Arroyo.

“We have to stop talking about this as a women’s issue,” he said. “This is, in fact, a men’s issue because the aggressor, more times than not, is a man. The men are the ones who have to be responsible here.”

Tackling a mix of questions during a “lightning round,” Arroyo and Walczak said they oppose Councilor Bill Linehan’s push to triple the fine for smoking marijuana in public, from $100 to $300. Walsh said he supports the measure.

On the matter of backyard chicken coops, the candidates all said they would encourage more homegrown poultry in Boston.


As they contemplated the city’s relationship to its young residents, the candidates said they would draw lessons from their own college experiences.

Walczak, who graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston, said the school was “filled with people who have real-life experiences, and I really would love to see that in more of our colleges.”

Arroyo, who also graduated from UMass Boston, said he worked three jobs in college. He was a weekend security guard at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a busboy at Sonsie in the Back Bay, and a work-study student at the Donahue Institute at UMass. The experience, he said, gave him an appreciation for the diversity of the city’s student population.

Walsh, a former union leader, said he dropped out of college after high school and did not get his degree until 2009, when he graduated from Boston College. He said a woman in one of his classes was 71.

“What I learned,” he said, “is it’s never too late to go back to school.”



Arroyo, Consalvo, Ross call for a second TV debate

The debate is now up for debate in Boston’s topsy-turvy race for mayor.

All 12 candidates met on the same stage Monday night for the campaign’s first — and only scheduled — television forum. Moderators asked pointed questions, sometimes focused on an element of a candidate’s background, and encouraged their competitors to weigh in. The debate also touched on topics such as the Suffolk Downs casino, the quality of education in the city, and recent drug overdoses.

On Tuesday afternoon, candidate Felix G. Arroyo, a city councilor, called for a second debate because he said the first, “did not allow the candidates to spend a lot of time on the substantive matters affecting Boston.”

At least two other campaigns quickly seconded the call for another debate. City Councilor Rob Consalvo, who is also running for mayor, said via Twitter that he supported Arroyo’s idea.

“Always happy to talk about the things that matter to voters,” Consalvo said.

City Councilor Michael P. Ross followed suit on Twitter.

The debate at the Modern Theatre was organized by Boston Herald, Suffolk University, and New England Cable News, which televised the first 60 minutes live.



Mayoral candidates’ schedules as provided by campaigns

Felix G. Arroyo

7:45 a.m. — Greeting voters. JP Licks, 659 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain

10:30 a.m. — Visiting seniors at Malone Apartments, 61 Summer St., Hyde Park

4:00 p.m. — ABCD forum on poverty, 178 Tremont St., Melnea Cass Room, 3rd Floor

6:00 p.m. — Boston Teachers Union forum, BTU Hall, 180 Mt. Vernon Street, Dorchester

John Barros

1 p.m. — forum, 135 Morrissey Blvd., Dorchester

Daniel F. Conley

1 p.m. — forum

Rob Consalvo

6:30 a.m. — Meeting voters at Maverick Square T Station, East Boston

8:30 a.m. — Flag lowering, moment of silence, reading of Sept. 11 victims’ names, State House lawn

11 a.m. — Petersborough Street Senior Day Center, 42 Peterborough St., Fenway

4 p.m. — ABCD Forum

7 p.m. — Boston Teachers Union forum

Charlotte Golar Richie

1 p.m. — forum

Michael P. Ross

10 a.m. — Visits Ausonia Senior Center, 185 Fulton St., North End

11 a.m. — Visits Margaret M. Shea Senior Center, 229 River St., Mattapan

4 p.m. — ABCD forum

7 p.m. — Boston Teachers Union forum

Bill Walczak

10:30 — Volunteers at Rosie’s Place for 9/11 National Service Day, 889 Harrison Ave.

1 p.m. — Appears on “All Things Considered” on WBUR

4 p.m. — ABCD forum

7 p.m. — Boston Teachers Union forum

Martin J. Walsh

10 a.m. — Greets seniors at the Hebrew Senior Life, 1200 Centre St, Roslindale

11:30 a.m. — Tours the Perry School, 745 E 7th St, South Boston

4 p.m — ABCD forum

7 p.m. — Boston Teachers Union forum

9:30 p.m. — Addresses Boston College Democrats club, 300 Higgins Hall, 140 Commonwealth Ave.