Sunday, June 21, 2009

First City Council Debate Tuesday Night

On Tuesday of this week, the Boston Ward 4 and Ward 5 Democratic Committees are hosting a forum for the candidates running for the four Boston City Council at-large seats.

Given that the Mayoral race in Boston has attracted two current at-large City Councilors, and by running for Mayor those two cannot also run to be re-elected as Councilors, this year's race has attracted a regular bevy of candidates.

Tuesday's event will be held at the Community Church of Boston, 565 Boylston Street, in Copley Plaza (over the Globe Bar and Restaurant). Beginning at 7 p.m., it is the first time the candidates will debate.

Following the debate, the committees will consider endorsing candidates. As a member of the Ward 5 Committee, it will be a tough choice. As of right now, I have decided to vote to endorse one candidate (I can pick up to four). And that's one of the incumbents, John Connolly.

Councilor Connolly has done a good job since he took office less than two years ago. I am impressed by his dedication. I hear he is often in the office very late at night and very early in the morning. He also called me personally to ask for my vote, which means a lot. To be fair, candidate Tomas Gonzales has also called me, but I have not decided if I will support him or not.

I am also hearing that the forum will feature new rules regarding how the forum will proceed. Candidates will receive the questions in advance, and the forum will be moderated by David Bernstein of the Boston Pheonix.

Here's what I am looking for at the debate:

-- Candidates that understand the limitations of the Boston City Council. Boston has a Mayoral form of government, and city councilors are not really given much power. However, given their staffs, they can greatly assist with constiutent relations and as feeton the street for pressing day-to-day challenges. I will be watching for candidates who know that a city councilor cannot effect sweeping change.

-- Candidates that have done their homework and know the issues of concern to Ward 5 residents. Given that Ward 5 includes portions of Beacon Hill, Back Bay, South End, Bay Village, and Fenway, we certainly have our hot-button issues.

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