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Wu, Essaibi George set the parameters of the election last night

In addition to thanking their supporters and the voters of Boston last night, Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George tried to define each other:

Wu: "This is about a choice for our future. This is a choice about whether City Hall tackles our biggest challenges with bold solutions or we nibble around the edges of the status quo."

Essaibi George: "Let me be very clear about this: The mayor of Boston cannot make the T free. The mayor of Boston cannot mandate rent control."


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Can someone explain the logic behind free T? Instead of targeted transit or income subsidies?

And rent control doesn’t seem like a winner, but i assume that’s easier than reforming our awful zoning rules and easement process so we can expand the housing stock to meet demand.

Of course, I’m all in for Wu because Karen “tough talk” George isn’t trying to nibble around the edges, she’s trying to double-down on the status quo with more cops (…why?) and more corruption.


Administering means tested programs for free/reduced cost transit service costs money. Lots of money.

Not means testing transit access at all means you not only don't have to spend money on administration of the means testing program, but you save money because you don't need to run a ticketing system at all.

The two reasonable choices are 'subsidize all tickets at some general rate and keep your ticketing system' or 'remove your ticketing system'. The middle ground of 'keep your ticketing program, subsidize all tickets by a certain amount, subsidize some other tickets by a larger amount based on means testing' just eats cash that could instead be going towards improving service or lowering cost of entry.


Did a little research into this after I posed the question. Free local buses would be fairly cheap, local bus revenue accounts for $34m out of $700m revenue (and $2.1b budget — so a -300% margin overall), making that free with some other adjustments would cost a little more. So that wouldn't going to break the bank. Follow-on question is how much would free local buses (or free T overall) help get people out of cars, help poor people get around to access work and services.


There is a simple solution that avoids all the administration. T Buses that service low income areas which is pretty much all of boston are free. Entry fares go away at orange, red, blue like stops that are in poor areas.

Drivers get billions in handouts. Letting people ride the bus for free is the least we could do.


Remind me how they are being paid for again?


How is trash removal paid for?
How are schools paid for?


I am the daughter of a T bus driver and that is so not true. EVERYBODY should be getting their basic benefits. It should not be an outlier.

Can someone explain the logic behind free T?

Same as the logic behind free roads, free parks, free schools, etc.


Speaking of taxes, would the “let me be very clear” George family ever pay their taxes (sales and property) if they didn’t have the Globe to remind them?



24¢ / gallon does NOT cover the cost associated with maintaining our roads.

We pay taxes that fund our "free" services.

Our taxes pay for libraries. We don't pay to check out books.

Now, simply replace "MBTA" for "libraries" and "ride the bus" for "check out books." Even if you're rich or own lots of books or are from out of town.


Lets drive 10k miles a year.

Lets assume 30 mpg. Lets assume a 5 year old car, pretty average all around numbers here.

2016 Camry MSRP of 23,840

26.6 cents a gallon in MA gas taxation

Excise tax = ((.1X 23,840)/1000)x25= $59.6
Gas tax= (10,000/30)x .266= 88.66

Total taxation? $59.60+ $88.66= $147.66

AGAIN annual MA revenue from car driver? $147.66

Now the cost to ride the MBTA? $90 per month

$90 x 12= $1080 per year

So a MBTA commuter is paying 7.3x the amount that a driver is. 7.3 TIMES THE AMOUNT.

nothing about Wu's housing polices suggest anything to expand the housing stock. She's for more "community input", and more input from district based city councillors. That's code for nothing gets built.

really feels like post Marty Walsh, housing production will head downwards. And that isn't just for Wu but probably all five of the top contenders yesterday.


Are you comparing Wu's approach to housing with Essaibi George enabling her developer husband's approach?


That's fine because we actually need housing in Concord and Lexington. Boston is not going to solve the regional housing crisis by itself, though it certainly has been trying. Anyway, if you think they're having a hard time throwing up buildings in Boston, you must be pretty drowsy.

Both statements accurate!


The future mayor definitely won't be able to make any bold changes if she has a NIMBY mindset and is focused on preserving the status quo.


The other clenches fists, stomps their feet, and cries "NO! NO! NO!"

Party affiliations aside, it's pretty easy to tell who represents the "Get Off My Lawn" caucus and who wants some progress that perhaps we *all* can come to a concensus on.

George's key demographic lives in the Riviera and tosses money up north to keep *them* from coming down *there*.


You mean JP people?

The problem is JP people keep expanding into Roslindale and parts of Dot. Roxbury is next. JP people are displacing the urban working class from areas of the city by driving up rents.

This forces working class people into Weymouth, Randolph, and Holbrook. They could have stayed in the city but someone with a Masters in French Poetry and grew up in Simsbury who is really, really into urban living "discovered" Elm Hill Avenue and is telling all their friends.


This is ridiculous for a lot of reasons but let’s start with the fact that someone is by definition not a JP person the second they move out of JP. There are zero JP people in Roslindale or any other neighborhood.


I meant to say people who can't afford Brookline or Cambridge.


is almost everybody


Holbrook has been working class for a while.

You do see that she bested 3 other real candidates along with the two who no one knew for a reason.

I'll give you that Essaibi-George campaigned to the right of the other candidates, but that wasn't hard given the platforms of the rest. If she were running in most American cities, she'd be seen as the center-left candidate that she is.


I hadn't actually paid much attention to AEG's policy platforms until the election news broke today, when I went to read the meat of her proposals. Some of it is pretty progressive stuff. She wants to totally overhaul BPS and BPD, introduce universal childcare, and expand Vision Zero. I'm personally in Wu's corner, but if AEG is the "moderate" choice, then I'd say we're doing a hell of a lot better than we were when it was Walsh vs. Connolly.


AEG seems to be pro vision zero right up until it gets hard.

Eg. Centre St.


if she's so into it, why is none of it happening in the neighborhood where she lives and why have I never heard a peep from her advocating for it, again, especially in the neighborhood where she lives?


Except when she holds a press conference to greet voters at Forest Hills.


I assume you know the difference between the two?



I assume you knew that, right, or did your snark just get checked?


You'd have this announcement burned into your memory: "face coverings are required on board MBTA vehicles and in stations."


My heart says Wu but my brain can't help but agree with Essaibi George. All of Wu's incredibly unrealistic pandering with rent control and a free T really turned me off.


At least it isn't the same thinking this city has been stymied with. We need bold thinking and to move forward.

We don't need the same old status quo from someone that panders to the police and isn't willing to think outside the box. We don't need another "West Roxbury" mayor.

Sure Wu has some ideas that I may not 100% agree with but I am willing to try something, anything other than doing the same old same old. Boston needs to change. We are one big mess of traffic. We cannot add more roads to appease car owners. We haven't raised the gas tax in 25 years and it shows. We can't continue to let the T crumble b/c that's all that has been done in the last 30-40 years.

Michelle has a vision for a livable city and that is what I want. Just my 2 cents:)


This is why Essaibi George will be mayor :/


I know it's framed as "Free T", but I like think of it more of not spending tons of money on german barriers and constantly breaking pass machines.

The point of infrastructure is to support business and residents, improving productivity and hopefully accessibility to opotunities. As counter intuitive as some things sound at first blush, in the whole, it might be cheaper. And doing things in the cheapest way is a good goal.

I know the right wing voice in everyone's head tells them not to give things to *the undeserving poor* (see Victorian slums), but I promise, that voice is wrong.


It’s a negotiation. You say free T and you likely get a bunch of free bus lines.


Or is one not like the other?

I actually think the T should be free, but I am having trouble seeing why just one bus line is free while everyone else pays.


All public transit should be 100% funded through general taxation.

But I am willing to start anywhere.


It's one thing to have vision and then have to compromise on how far you go with it. That's negotiation.

It's another thing entirely to just pander to what people think they want with unrealistic promises, and it's another even to pander by promoting a policy that has proven detrimental to the thing it is supposed to fix.

Maybe this is just my perception, but in the past Wu has seemingly presented herself as well-read and knowledgeable on policy, yet is championing a policy, rent control, that has been proven not to work.

Maybe all the other good ideas she has makes up for it, and she did do more on the council than probably anyone else, but i just wish she wasn't promoting such a bad policy that has actually been proven to be bad.


Rent control does work. It works for the connected. It works for those smart enough to game the system.

Rent control was great for the Cambridge and Brookline of the 80's and early 90's for those who were smart enough to get into a unit.

Rent control worked fabulously against the poor. Anyone go through Somerville in the 80's and early 90's? That's where the working people lived because the rent controlled apartments in Cambridge were taken by many, many college educated / well paid people.


It is not the old rent control of the 70s and 80s.


Oooo the new and IMPROVED rent control. Thank goodness!

Again the is Wu pandering which is all she seems to do. Rent control was prohibited at the state level, enacted by voters in 1994.


I don’t see a detailed rent control plan on her campaign site. I’m curious what it is.

San Fran has rent control, and is the most expensive city in the US to rent. I’m more curious as to how her plan is different, and will prevent the rental shortages that San Fran has.

If a reader happens to know the difference, please comment. I’m genuinely curious.

proven by whomst?

the MBTA is a state agency. the mayor has no ability to alter fares. You (non-mayor) have as much ability to negotiate as the mayor. If you want this discussion, talk to your state rep.

The mayor has some say in the discussion because Boston currently pays some amount (last I checked, $85 million, but that was awhile ago) to the T annually just for the right to have the T exist, on top of whatever residents pay in fares.

Beyond that, though, there is the bully pulpit. No, the mayor of Boston does not set T fares. Yes, the mayor can speak loudly and often about problems at the T - actually advocate for her constituents. That the previous non-T-using mayor did not reflects more on him than on whoever will be sitting on the fifth floor of City Hall come November.


Regardless of which one here wins, this city will ultimately regret not electing Andrea Campbell, the candidate who best combined smarts, personal history, and progressive pragmatism.


Her questionable stances on being for Charter Schools and their repeated failings say otherwise.

I actually think Michelle Wu would be the better leader and should be the next Mayor of Boston.

I also think that AEG is hitting the nail right on the head here. I wish Michelle Wu would focus on real things that she could do as Mayor. AEG is being very smart here because up to now voters may not have noticed that these promises are impossible to keep. In a week or so you will hear people suggesting that maybe Wu should run for Lt Gov or State Senate where she could have a better direct say in the issues she cares about. It would be in the best interest of Wu to keep the info on her website but focus on real things at events and with voters. The line has already been drawn with Wu as left and AEW as right. She does not need to win over the socialist wing anymore. She needs to convince others how her agenda would affect them on day one.


They can help change the perception of it. Work with the state to get it done.

I voted against AEG and Flaherty and all of their like.

A quality I definitely love in my elected officials is saying everything is impossible.

As I said on twitter earlier, is AEG technically correct? Yes, the T is run by the state and rent control is banned by state law. Can the mayor of the state’s largest city possibly attempt to influence the state to make changes? Seek alternative solutions the city can undertake? Not be such a freakin' downer? Also yes.


Can someone name a single world class city with a free T?

You keep posting these links to a list of 100 cities, but can't give one specific example.

Did you open them?

Kansas City, the entire country of Luxemburg (Europe is more world class than Boston), Tallinn.

Los Angeles is also considering this. They have been doing it during the pandemic. Is LA less world class than Boston?


So Tallinn and Luxembourg. I'd take any of those over what we have.


But perhaps rather than agitating for the system to be free, Wu may want to look into what King County has done.

Why are you trying to ruin our discussion with facts. We were just learning how Boston is akin to Luxembourg and Tallinn.


The system in Tallinn is run by the city. Those who don't live in the city still have to pay their fares.