Monday, November 03, 2008
Ever Say Di, 2nd Suffolk End Game
Marva's Hair Salon had a lot more action than the Dianne Wilkerson HQ next door today in Roxbury. A few miles South in JP, there were more people and a lot more smiles at Sonia Chang-Díaz' version.
I dropped by both Wilkerson and Chang-Díaz HQs on election eve day. I found both the expected and a few surprises.
Over in the Roxse, the door was locked and the curtains closed. Through the signs taped to the door, a man was visible sitting on a dinette-style chair with an open flip phone on his left thigh.
When I tapped on the glass, he opened the door and waited for me to speak. Behind him were piles and layers of Wilkerson signs, likely ready to be mobilized for polling places, had she not stopped her sticker campaign for Second Suffolk Senate. I asked if there were any stickers.
He greeted me then. I think he was political consultant Louis Elisa. He was tall and good looking, distinguished with graying hair including thick mustache. He offered a hand and said there were stickers. Then he called to a second person in the back, asking for some.
It took a couple of minutes and a second request for the other man to locate some. I wondered whether they were already in trash bags or recycling bins. In that time, he said wistfully, "She's already given up, but some of us are just diehards."
Take Tremont less than a block until it turns into Columbus and then follow it to Washington. Down on the right just below Green is the Chang-Díaz center. It's low-key and plain inside and out.
She's still perking along, after winning the primary and recount. Only Socialist Workers Party candidate William Leonard is on the ballot with her and surely some voters will write in or use the stickers for Wilkerson.
Chang-Díaz was a surprise find at her HQ. I figured she'd be walking and ringing today. She said it was always a judgement call and there was computer and other work to do at the office.
It also surprised me that she is not hoping for a huge victory, just a win. She said she knows and respects how disappointed some Wilkerson supporters are. She also exhibited no malice for all the nasty things some Wilkerson supporters have said about her recently and earlier.
While several workers used the phones or recorded poll-worker assignments, she was calm. You'd expect that of an almost certain winner, but I have never seen her otherwise. The closest to flustered I've seen her was in her happiness at the post-primary party at the Alchemist in September.
She agreed that it would take some time to overcome the repeated chant of some Wilkerson supporters that she was not well enough known and was not attune to constituents' needs. She said that for months as she walked through Wilkerson turf in Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester, people were pleased to meet her and often told her that she had already visited relatives or friends, so they knew of her.
Chang-Díaz figures it is a small, vocal minority who resents her. So she doesn't think it will be much extra work to make people feel comfortable with her.
Down on Washington Street, everyone seemed confident but not cocky. Up on Tremont, resignation was the mood of the day. Perhaps that's the wrong term to use with a legislator who may in fact resign her office on Wednesday. Wilkerson's leaving behind some faithful and now doleful minions. Chang-Díaz is planning her election-night party, again at the Alchemist. There was no talk of parties uptown.
Tags: massmarrier, Massachusetts, Chang-Díaz, Wilkerson