The Boston mayoralty campaign picked up speed yesterday when Rep. Louise Day Hicks (D-Mass.) denounced Mayor Kevin White for refusing to agree to a format for the long-awaited public debate scheduled for next Monday, October 25.
"I was the one to challenge Mayor White to a televised debate and have agreed to his demands for a 'head on head' debate. Now he has sent a new negotiator for a new format. We are in a stalemate," the congresswoman said in her first news conference of the campaign.
Hicks, claiming she wou3ld accept any terms for the debate, said she sent a letter to White yesterday morning requesting further negotiations on the debate. The press office at City Hall has not yet released a statement indicating the Mayor's position on the debate.
This news conference marks a new twist in the Hicks campaign strategy which up until now has been very low-keyed. The congresswoman announced for the first time the details of her four part program for dealing with Boston's financial problems.
The announcement came with only 13 days left until the November 2 election.
In an interview before the news conference Hicks came out in strong support of Massachusetts Attorney General Robert Quinn's decision that students can vote in the cities where they go to school.
"I think we should make it as easy as possible to allow students to vote. I voted for the bill to allow the 18-year-olds to vote and also filed another bill to create a cabinet post for the youth in Washington," she said, adding that there are many "young people" in her campaign.
Reiterating her stance against birth control and abortion. Hicks said, "I believe in following the law; if there is a law against abortion, it should be obeyed until it is changed within the system. From my own background I can't approve of either birth control or abortion; it is against my conscience."
Mrs. Hicks sent a special message to Crimson readers: "I have no intention of ending Summerthing. The youth are not told the truth. I voted for a $300,000 appropriation for Summerthing in 1970. I want rock concerts to be free of charge to students."
Mrs. Hicks has been criticized for calling Summerthing a "frill" and an unnecessary expense in the White Administration's budget.
Running as "the people's chance." Hicks criticized White for spending too much money on his campaign: "We don't have $296,000 to push the message of our campaign on television. I spend my time walking around and talking to people."
In the primaries the White campaign spent about $250,000 in comparison with the $40,000 of the Hicks campaign as well as having about three times as many workers.
John Day, Hicks' brother and campaign manager, said that Hicks' main emphasis in the televised debate next Monday would be the "fiscal irresponsibility" of the four years of White's administration and also expressed his belief that Mrs. Hicks could win by "getting most of Councilman Timilty's votes."
Timilty finished in third place in the September 14 primary. The votes of his supporters are thought to be important in determining the outcome of the mayoral elections. Timilty, however, endorsed neither of the candidates after his defeat.