Wednesday, November 04, 2009

One City Council Spark Unlit


Boston went status quo yesterday, literally at the mayoral level and both literally and figuratively at the council level. That's not bad, just kind of conservative and old fashioned, well, like an old town.

First, I accept my lump on Andrew Kenneally, one of my endorsements for council at large. That's trivial for what must be his exhausted disappointment at not snatching one of the two newly open seats. He and we deserved his victory. I think very highly of him politically and personally. I hope he is inspired to stay in Boston and end up as a councilor or legislator.

Traditionally, council candidates lose one or two times before winning. Because of the two seats with no incumbents running as Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon stepped down in mayoral tries, two newbies, Felix Arroyo (no, no, his son) and Ayanna Pressley, stepped up. So Andrew goes back to the start of the line in the traditional path in the traditional town.

At its most extreme, voters re-elected District Councilor Chuck Turner over challenger and reform candidate Carlos Henriquez by about 60% to 40%. That was not as big as his normal margin but plenty convincing. His voters are not tired of his self-serving wind and don't seem to believe he is a crook as the feds allege in his corruption indictment that has yet to come to trial. Let us haul out the perennial allusion to James Michael Curley, re-elected as alderman while in jail for corruption. We have a history here in many senses of the term.

The only sad part is that this was in the pattern of votes from mayor down where voters rejected chances for change and improvement. They went with comfort level instead. Not too much, not too quickly, thank you.

As I noted in my posts here, I think both new council winners are likely up to the task. A small good too is the obvious cultural and racial pluses. Just having a bit more diversity on the council should be good. If nothing else, voters may feel increased ownership in the government whose public personae look more like the city itself.

I do think that Kenneally would have been a better choice than either of the winners. If nothing else, he had specific goals and methods to get there.

Too much of the council does constituent services well but are vague and not driven in the big issues. Thus after each year, too little big change occurs or is even proposed. They just don't know where to go, how to get there or whom to buddy up with on the trip. We need some Andrew Kenneally types to lead the sluggish.

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