Sunday, September 25, 2005

At-Large Daddy's Kids

My favorite for at-large Boston City Council is unquestionably Sam Yoon. Among all the others running, the two that bring baggage without ever serving in the office are children of former mayors.

While both Ed Flynn and Patricia White paint themselves as liberals, they contrast considerably otherwise. One is a DoMA sort who says he is his own man. The other claims to be solidly pro-SSM, while campaigning unabashedly on her father's name.

Note: SSM is a theoretical issue for city councilors. The benefits issues are not up for discussion at the moment and they cannot vote on SSM anyway. We still find the position a good touchstone.

Coincidentally on the marriage issue, the current South End News got responses from most candidates on questions including that one. To Do you support the civil marriage rights of same-sex couples? it got Yes from Michael Flaherty, John Connolly, Matt O'Malley, Kevin McCrea, Greg O'Connell, Joe Ready, and Stephen Murphy. It got a slightly more emphatic Definitely from Felix Arroyo, Absolutely from Yoon, and an I do from White.

Althea Garrison, Larua Garza, Martin Hogan and Roy Owens did not respond. Joseph Ureneck replied, "I support traditional marriage. I actually wrote a brief in opposition to the decision that came down from the [Supreme Judicial Court]."

Ray Flynn's boy is liberal on many issues, but is between the field and his anti-gay father. Ed Flynn answered, "From my experience, it's not a political philosophy, it's my life philosophy. I treat everybody with respect and dignity, anyone I come in contact with, although I do support traditional marriage between a man and a woman."

White does a lefter-than-thou routine. That is probably smart, but it did not get her elected the last time. Nor did it get an endorsement from NOW. Apparently, the women's group questioned her commitment to and sincerity on their issues, including abortion rights.

According to the Boston Irish Reporter's September issue she thinks "her 2003 bid fell just short that a 'liberal explosion' had stung her candidacy, and she seems determined not to be left out of any such dynamic this time around." That reads very much like her father Kevin, who tailored himself to the electorate to stay in office.

While associating Patricia with him may be unfair, many of us who were here during his terms remember that he was no friend of the underclasses. He pandered to realty interests. Many of us are still surprised that with the indictments around him and the rumors of corruption that he managed to leave without being in real trouble himself.

It remains a question for each voter whether daughter is like father.

Similarly, Ed Flynn says he is populist like Ray, favoring universal healthcare and living wages for the blue-collar residents. According to a piece in the Boston Globe last month:

His policy pronouncements at this stage are longer on rhetorical flourishes than meaty details.

Still, there was a receptive market for the brand of old-fashioned populist politics that Ray Flynn peddled so successfully in the 1980s. Whether Ed Flynn can roll out an updated model that will sell two decades later is the open question.

In the Dig, Flynn cites his good intentions and the areas he wants to improve. He doesn't give much detail there either. In fairness, if he gets into the runoff, he will surely speak at depth with Ray and advisors, and then have some real platform planks for the general election.

Bottom Line: We don't trust Patricia or Ed enough to vote for either.

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