Kevin McCrea, the businessman who is running for mayor of Boston, seemed to land some body blows during Wednesday's debate, but analysis by The Boston Globe seems to indicate that the accusations were trumped up and misleading.
First, McCrea said that all three of his challengers -- Mayor Tom Menino and City Councilors Sam Yoon and Michael Flaherty -- got their children into their first choice of schools. Information gathered by the Globe shows that some of the kids in question (including the mayor's grandchildren) did get their first choice and some didn't, which seems right in a system where more than half the students are awarded their first choice.
Second, the most serious charge of the evening seemed to be McCrea's accusation that a City Hall employee had been given a sweet deal on property that was signed off by the mayor. Today's Globe has a story discussing various programs that the city uses to move a backlog of lots that it owns back onto the tax rolls. Many of the properties in question appear to be small and to have building limits attached to them and they are, therefore, offered to abutters at a discount. The case that McCrea alluded to seems to be within the framework of these programs.
I think that the rushed format of the debate contributed to the lack of explanation and response on these matters -- none of the three elected officials objected to McCrea's schools allegation and the mayor brushed off the property claim with a couple of words. With four candidates and several commercial breaks, one hour is just not enough time to say much about anything.
Beyond that, however, McCrea should think twice about leveling charges that, at this point, appear to be somewhat misleading. There is plenty, I think, to criticize about city government, but if McCrea is positioning himself as the outsider against three "typical politicians," it doesn't help him to use tactics that are typical politics.