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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Boston) - All 12 candidates for mayor of Boston faced off Monday night in the only televised forum before the primary, and there were definitely fireworks.
In a 90-minute, jam-packed forum between all 12 candidates sitting on one stage, a variety of topics were covered, including casinos, job creation, education, city development, unions, crime and drugs.
The fine differences between the candidates were also exposed.
The first topic covered was on the proposed resort casino at Suffolk Downs, and if just East Boston or the entire city should vote on it.
"My view is that it's a public health disaster. What we need to do is we need to stop casinos. This is becoming a national debate now because casinos are happening all across the country and Boston should not have a casino. If elected, I will stop the casino," Bill Walczak says.
"A public health disaster? A disaster is guns on the street of neighborhoods. That's a disaster, that's a crisis and that's something that we need to step up and address," Charlotte Golar Richie says.
"This is new revenue coming to our city, a legal business that our legislature has already decided. The referendum, no matter which one it is, is not a re-vote on the morality of casinos. Our legislature already decided that," Rob Consalvo says.
Unions are obviously a big part of the city of Boston, and several candidates jumped in to say they would be the best mayor to handle labor negotiations.
"I actually had the opportunity to stand up to the firefighters union as president of the city council and I was the lone voice, and we were able to save money," Mike Ross says to Marty Walsh. "We were able to save $50 million, Marty."
"You stood up after the award was done," Walsh countered.
Education was also a big topic Monday night. In fact, District Attorney Dan Conley was questioned over why he's the only candidate out of all 12 to not send his children to Boston public schools.
"Parents don't play politics with their kids' education. I don't, and I don't think any member here who is running for mayor does so as well. I care very deeply about the schools. I believe education reform is the key to growing the great middle class," Conley says.
"I attended the Boston public schools. All of my brothers and sisters attended the Boston public schools. All of my nieces and nephews attend Boston public schools. I am the son, the husband and the brother of Boston public school teachers. I am deeply invested in the state of our Boston public schools. To me, the real question is who has the best plan to close the achievement gap," Felix Arroyo says.