Mayor Marty Walsh is making a move in Brighton. His first “Mondays with the Mayor” will be held this Monday, March 24 at 20 Warren Street, home of Another Course to College, formerly known as the Taft Middle School. It is a town hall format, so ask your questions, bring your perspective, but please leave your soapbox at home.
Charlie Vasiliades, also known as the Mayor of Oak Square, was interviewed by WBUR about the race to replace that other mayor, Menino. Charlie brought up all the points that are important to the entire Allston Brighton community, as well those specific to Oak Square. Keeping the square’s library and fire station open, the need for quality schools to keep families, the plague of poorly maintained, absentee-owned property that afflicts the neighborhood.
In the last few days canvassers for both John Connolly and Marty Walsh were on my doorstep, Marty represented by his cousin. I raised the issue of keeping the Faneuil library branch open. It would be great if the two candidates could address this.
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.
The most important election Tom Menino ever won was capturing the office of City Council president in 1993. Later that year, he gained the mayor’s office when Ray Flynn resigned to become the US ambassador to the Vatican. It put him in a strong position for the special election that he won later that year. Of the twelve other councilors then serving, only Charles Yancey remains on the council. No doubt he is writing a congratulatory resolution saluting hizzoner right now. Jim Kelly, Dapper O’Neil, Bruce Bolling and Tony Crayton have passed on, while others are now retired, serve in other government postions or work in the private sector. Maura Hennigan ended up as Clerk Magistrate of Suffolk Superior Court after losing badly to Menino in 2005. Bob Travaglini progressed to president of the Massachusetts Senate. Rosaria Salerno settled in as city clerk after coming up short in her bid to become mayor in the same election that removed “acting” from Menino’s title. She is now retired.