Monday, May 16, 2011

The Mayor, the Munchkins, the Marigolds


I can't believe there is another mayor who loves his job as much as Boston's Tom Menino. He was on his stage, performing his script today at one of his neighborhood coffee hours.
Another Chance Note: Tomorrow, TU, 5/17, is the Roslindale version. It's at Fallon Field from 9:30 to 10:30 AM.
This was a much shorter, much grayer version of his annual July 12th block party on his Chesterfield Street. Those are on the anniversary of the day in 1993 when he stepped up from Council President to Mayor as Ray Flynn split to become U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. During his street party, the pol of pols stands all day meeting, greeting and chatting up all comers.

Under the playground's open shelter this morning, he played that role again. This time, he handed out pots of flowers with has snappy patter. He greeted most of his neighbors by name and caught up on familial details for them and answered questions about his wife, his health and more.

He loves this stuff. The national media may focus on his malapropisms, but Bostonians to a one seem to find him charming.

I learned:
  • About his pending return to bicycling, and his comments about Council President Steve Murphy's cycling, which I'll pass along as a challenge.
  • That he has in the past been a gardener, and that his division was the same as ours here, with his wife doing the flowers and the men doing the veggies.
  • That he refers to my neighbor (BPD Superintendent in Chief) Daniel Linskey, who used to be his driver, as a good kid. When I mentioned the coyotes on our side of HP, Da Mare noted that if they become dangerous, they can be taken out, and that Linsky has lots of guns.
During our chats, I kept with the spirit of the day. I did not try to force conversations about the pending City Council races. Moreover, as maybe 90 or 100 neighbors arrived in the cold, windy drizzle, the only candidate I saw was the ubiquitous, often-running Sean Ryan. He's out for at-large Councilor this time.

He's confident he can get the 1,500 valid voter signatures to get on the ballot. He thinks many of the 13 who pulled papers won't. He figures it might even be under nine, which would mean no September preliminary, only a November final, for the four at-large seats. That would certainly change strategies.
Podcast Plug: By the bye, over at Left Ahead, we'll be speaking with the at-large incumbents and a few of the hopefuls. The first will be Michael Flaherty, former at-large member and Council President as well as contender against Menino a year and a half ago. That will be Tuesday 5/17 at 2:30 PM Eastern. Then the next week 5/24 at 11:30 AM, we'll have popular incumbent John Connolly. Check Left Ahead for future guests in the series.
Back to the playground shelter. The Mayor had a grand time. While chatting us up, he got around to handing out dozens of pots of marigolds or salvia. He was a lot bigger draw than the freebies — Dunkin' doughnuts and coffee.

He also drew the raffle ticket for a big basket of Dunkin' coffee and related goodies. Of course, it ended up going to one of his friends. Yet, the odds favored that. Nearly everyone except a few kids who showed up with their parents were friends on a first-name basis, rather their given names and Your Honor.

In another aside, the other Plexiglas® box on the table next to the raffle one was for comments and suggestions. I asked a Parks & Recreation employee if they'd ever start up the Tour de Graves bicycle rides again. She lit up and said that had recently been discussed in staff.

I put a form in saying how much fun they had been, that I still had a half dozen or so skeleton-on-cycle shirts and what a good way to raise money for burying ground maintenance while teaching about iconography and history. If you can't make it to tomorrow's coffee to do the same, you can do the equivalent online at the P&R contact page.

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