As we head into the final stretch of the first open Boston Mayoral election in many of our memories, it’s time for dotrider to make a selection and post it here. Of course we’ll have fun trying to remember who all 12 are and give some up/down on them too… There are 12 candidates and 6 of them would easily satisfy me, although I’d obviously be happier with some than others.
First, I have a bias against anyone who has been in the same elected position for more than 10 years. We voted for term limits and the Massachusetts House of Representatives set aside the overwhelming plebicite thanks to discraced Speaker of the House Tom Finneran. Sadly most elected folks didn’t seem to get the message. That eliminates any of the elected officials running today then, although I write later about their good things as I do like many of them and if they make the final one of them would be sure to get my vote.
However it’s too easy to be an incumbant, particularly in Boston. You don’t have to do much, just glad hand the right folks and treat the employees well. Given that fully half the folks who vote work for, or are related to someone who works for the City of Boston the status quo is something most voters like to maintain. So I instantly discount anyone who has a sign up at the home of the long-time City employees I know. The same with City Council candidates. Anyone backed by the Fire Fighters Union is off my list too.
Given the above, there are three finalists in the plus side and sadly these three together would be in the lead but apart they are probably drawing from each other’s base. We’ll see.
Finalist #1 is Charlotte Golar Richie. I know her personally and I hold her in high regard. She doesn’t stay in a spot too long, but she’s competent and inteligent. I was a little irritated by her idling car when I stopped and said congratulations to her when I saw her in front of a polling station trying to collect signatures. She does have a bit of status quo working for her in the Mayor’s insider, but I’ll give her a pass on that. She hasn’t taken many controversial positions, but I would expect her to hear things out and take a long view. She’d be a great choice.
Finalist #2 is John Barros. I had very little idea who this guy was, but the more I see he’s the real deal. I don’t know enough about his positions as I won’t vote for him, but he would be a great choice. He just isn’t mine, although I believe he merits mention here.
Finalist #3 is Bill Walczak. Bill’s really my #1 choice and he’ll get my vote as of this moment. First he rides a bike! Second he made sure there was bike parking at the Codman Square Health Center and he added significantly to it when he was at the Carney. He has advocated for parks which is another favorite issue of mine.
When I first moved to Dorchester from the West Fenway I couldn’t help but notice the boarded up buildings and general abandonment of Codman Square. Bill was already there fighting the good fight. I met him at the reception desk in the Great Hall running the show. Today, Codman Square has few if any empty store fronts. The NDC there has been great and done a fine job. The Health Center keeps growing. The weakness there is that these institutions have set off some resentment related to institutional creep, but overall the results are better than the alternative. I feel for small business people who see higher rents and a new clientele as not being the best for their business, but hey the world changes so get in front of it. The number of great community initiatives that have eminated from the Health Center outweigh that little blind spot by far.
He’s also not afraid to take a controversial position like being against casinos. That sealed the deal with me as I’m dead set against them. They’re a scourge on any community that gets one and they’re losers. How many Chapter 11s has Donald Trump led? $23,000 for a dealer? Liveable wage? NOT. Increase in crime? Guarenteed. NO NO NO…
The bottom line on Bill is that he has worked with just about every facet of government that can help the city. He’s worked with the Feds, the State, the City, big health and insurance, construction and neighborhood advocates. He’s been a success too. He’ll listen (although some folks say he seems distracted if he’s not agreeing with them) and he has a good sense of right and wrong. Finally he raised a family in Dorchester and his adult children both live here still. That’s a good thing.
So why not Marty Walsh? (See above) Good smart fellow, but he’s frankly is too close to unions. I support unions, but we need someone who isn’t beholden to them. Also, on education he undermines the teachers union with his Charter School stance, so… I also just saw a post of his supporting those trying to save the Casey Overpass. WRONG! He’s got some good liberal views and he’s from Dorchester so he may get another look when we get toward the final.
How about John Connolly? He rides a bike now and again and has used it as a political tool. He was an early advocate of Hubway, which of course we were against. He stifled any dissent on that and didn’t insist on having a hearing. Hubway wasn’t part of any public process and NO RESIDENT was advocating for it while there were plenty of us advocating for an increase in infrastructure and educational investment for riders. He’s saying all the right stuff now, so may be he’ll be okay. He’s a smart guy, but my experience is that he’s not that great a listener. I do like that he dared to run before Menino stepped down, but anyone who had any familiarity with the complex medical situation facing Menino with diabetes and crones disease would have been able to predict the Mayor’s retirement. So smart move not a particularly daring bet though…
Dan Conley? Too close to the cops. Probably as smart as anyone and we would be okay if he won. He has some pretty smart ideas though, so probably not a total loss if he won.
Rob Consalvo? He’s actually impressed me more than I thought. We couldn’t lose. My only issue was that when we were advocating for Parks to plow the Glen Road section of Franklin Park he wouldn’t sign the petition that already had over 200 residents signatures on it, instead demuring saying he had to “check with Bernie.” Bernie Walsh who was resisting the community uprising that was demanding attention. The Bernie Walsh who still does a half-assed not everytime it snows job on Glen Road. Who does Rob work for? The voters or the employees?
Mike Ross? Smart guy but too Downtown for this neighborhood activist.
Felix Arroyo? His dad was the first politician along with Bill Clinton who I voted for who ever won, so that should bode well no? He’s a nice guy, but I’m not sure if he’d be up to running the city. I think he’d get run by the bureaucracy frankly. I like his position on schools though and he might pull it out who knows?
Charles Yancey should quit both campaigns. I love Charles but he’s been there toooooooooooooooooooooo (an o for each year in fact) long… PERIOD.
The former cop Charles Clemmons seems like a smart dude but not my style.
The radio dude, David James Wyatt seems like he’s given up…
So vote for Bill Walczak on September 24th folks! Ride your bikes to the polls and remember who would have as well.