This year’s mayoral race, the first time there has not been an elected or interim mayor seeking to hold on to the office in thirty years, hardly seems to exist in Allston Brighton. There are few yard signs, and even those have not been up long. I have yet to receive a single piece of mail, flyer or phone call from any candidate, despite the fact that I am as reliable a voter you will find.
Locally, the Ward 21 Democratic Committee has, to its credit, hosted candidate forums and posted the responses of the candidates to their questionnaire. But is is a far cry from the frenzy of activity in 1983 or even 1993, when Menino scored his first mayoral victory.
There are some reasons for this, I think. The staff cutbacks and circulation decline experienced by the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald are part of it. Boston political news no longer gets much attention on the main local television stations. We no longer have a local newspaper of any significance. The 1983 campaign also was the first year for district representation, with a horde of candidates knocking on doors for both city council and school committee seats. Some of the mayoral candidates had local offices (David Finnegan and Mel King during the preliminary, Ray Flynn joined Mel for the final, not sure of any others.)
It takes an enormous amount of organizing to engage people to vote in any Allston Brighton election. The Elizabeth Warren campaign did an outstanding job last year, but had the advantage of turnout that was also driven by interest in the presidential race, as well as intense attention to her battle with Scott Brown from both local and national media.