Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kenneally, Connolly, Arroyo, Murphy

Boston's At-Large Councilor race has confounded most voters this year. I can make it simple:
  • Vote for the two competent incumbents
  • Vote for the only other two with direct City Council experience
  • Vote Connolly, Murphy, Kenneally and Arroyo
  • Vote positions 1, 3, 6 and 7
All things are not equal this time. First, because Councilors Sam Yoon and Mike Flaherty stepped aside to run for Mayor rather than re-election, there are four spots open, really two when you subtract the two well-respected and accomplished incumbents. There's nothing voters would gain by replacing the two, particularly Connolly. He runs the education committee and is essential in efforts to upgrade our public schools. Keep 'em there.

Second, the original field of 15 candidates had a couple of oh-really and joker types, but was otherwise solid. Only one run-screaming-from-him candidate (crypto-Republican, no-plans, clean-streets Doug Bennett, the scooter guy) snuck into the final.

Tito Jackson and Tomas Gonzalez are bright enough and I can't question either's sincerity. Yet, neither has the chops yet for the job. Electing them would be taking a real flier, just hoping they could rise to the task. No thanks, not yet.

Pressley is the press' darling. Moreover, numerous interest groups who are happy to vote gender and race politics correctly point out that our Council doesn't come anywhere near to mirroring the cultural, gender and racial makeup of the city. It's not as bad as City Hall staff, but it falls short. Some would vote for her to put more check marks on the underrepresented side of the chart. My pinko reflex is to agree and I was surprised to find that I ended up strongly favoring yet another Irish-American from West Roxbury as the best challenger.

Arroyo seems to have captured the third seat after the incumbents, judging by his solid preliminary showing last month. Many of us have concluded the only real race here is between Kenneally and Pressley, with her leading in donations and preliminary vote.

I had to weigh this one carefully. Here personally and at Left Ahead!'s podcasts, we spoke with both. In fact, if you didn't catch their podcasts, click the single post at BlueMassGroup with players for both in one.

Judge for yourself. Pressley is personable, bright and confident. She has grown into her candidacy in the past couple of months. The huge difference is that Kenneally has done the job in Boston for Councilors Maura Hennigan and Michael Flaherty, and more important that he has the one thing Pressley does not. He has specific plans for accomplishing his/our goals.

In one area after another, Pressley says she'll work and try real hard — schools, safety...whatever. That seems to reflect the years of D.C. instead of Boston experience and expertise. She sounds like a member of Congress, with high-level aims and the knowledge that any path to them will have many guides and detours.

I'm a simple guy who grew up from country stock. I'll go with people who know where they're heading and how they want to get there.

Kenneally, Connolly, Murphy and Arroyo on November 3rd.

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Anonymous said...

How does Arroyo have the chops but Gonzalez- no yet. Gonzalez has ten more years of professional experience working in city government and the community. He's the only candidate with kids in BPS. Gonzalez was chief of staff at the Elderly Commission. Arroyo was an aide for Chuck Turner. Laughable!

massmarrier said...

I stand by that one -- directly applicable experience is a differentiating factor among a list of quasi-qualified non-elected officials running.

Gonzalez seems bright enough for sure and his community-organizer/Latino-liaison experiences were substantial...if not directly related.

I laugh about Turner, with whom I have my own issues. In almost five years of putting up with him, while doing budget, education and safety work in the office, Arroyo honed many skills and acquired considerable knowledge that most of the other candidates haven't.

It's tough for voters to have to choose among six who have never done the actual job. I went with those who were the closest. Everyone is a bit of a gamble, but these are less so.

Anonymous said...

Arroyo also worked as political director for SEIU, been part of JPCC and coached little league within his community. He attended Boston Public Schools and his wife and mother both taught in them. The idea that he has less community experience than Tomas is laughable