Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beantown a Mean Town for Some

Boston looks to tweak, not surprise here. In yesterday's preliminary municipal election, virtually all of us can claim prescience. Most figured it would be incumbent Mayor Tom Menino against City Councilor Michael Flaherty in the mayoral final. Likewise, we had a pretty good set of guesses for the final eight of the 15 running for the four council seats.


Then again, not yawn. The final six weeks to the November 3rd general starts from a new gate. Befuddled and overwhelmed voters get less information overload and will largely go to the polls with a sense of the final candidates.
Left Ahead! plug: Catch us at our streaming site here at 2:30 Eastern on Thursday for commentary on Boston and the few other elections around. If you can listen live and want to call in with local news or opinions, use (718) 664-6966. Push 1 on your phone keypad to let us know you want to talk. We'll try to get to you quickly.
I grieved in advance over mayoral candidate City Councilor Sam Yoon's third place finish.

The Globe ran figures online and in print. The online when I saw it a few minutes ago kept the inexplicable error on Tito Jackson's returns (listing 45,880 instead of his 12, 520) that would have had him topping the ticket insted of coming in sixth. Perhaps that was because they endorsed him; seriously, some fat fingers blew that.

Writing of, the council endorsements are the proverbial reminder of how poorly our biggest daily directs voters. The Globe had the first four easy ones, incumbents John Connolly and Steve Murphy with Felix Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley. Three of their picks fell far sort — Ego Ezedi, Hiep Nguyen and Robert Fortes. They called for Tito Jackson, who'll need some serious oomph to climb to the final four. On raw endorsement to vote results, that's 62.5%, fine for baseball, but not punditry. The season's too short, with only two games.

Over at Civic Boston, Chris Lovett loves the absolute numbers. He breaks down the differences among various prelims here.

I had a few thoughts and feelings Monday and hold to them. For one, Flaherty is going to have to start giving voters compelling reasons to leave the comfort zone of Menino's avuncular hug. Despite a generation span, he's too much like him.

Likewise, over at Talking Politics, David Bernstein, ran his quick hits on the vote. I particularly liked and second his judgment that Yoon flew high in coming from relative obscurity to a solid third. Also, Bernstein's view that "He is now unshackled from the city council, and can spend the next few years doing something of actual use to the city. Then, if Menino calls it quits after winning one more term, Yoon is in perfect position to lead the scrum to succeed him."

Of moment in the council race is the likely flying elbows for the fourth seat. Felix Arroyo probably has three in the bag. There's a vague possibility that Tito Jackson or Tomas Gonzalez can come on strong, but I doubt it.

I also figure that it's between Pressley and Kenneally. She did better in the preliminary, but not knock-out better (9% to 7% of the vote). That was with her many endorsements that seemed to ride on her plank-like-pitches — I'm a woman and a woman of color; the council needs some of me, and I'm chummy at the Congressional level with former bosses Rep. Joe Kennedy and Sen. John Kerry.

We-like-Ayanna time is over. As with Flaherty, she'll have to get out of her own comfort zone and put up positions and details that she'll have to debate and defend. She's both bright and sweet and that will be tough for her.

Having interviewed both, I do prefer Kenneally. Now that everyone has gotten over that he had a benign brain tumor cut out, he needs to focus us on justifying yet another Irish-American councilor. He has lots of reasons, vast experience in and out of our city council, and very specific plans and policies. He needs to make a big deal out of the distinctions.

I'm going to enjoy both of these races.

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