Saturday, July 27, 2013

You Bet Tom Menino Still Draws a Crowd

Lame-duck jokes aren't apt for Tom Menino. Boston's longest-serving, well loved Mayor is not running this fall, but no one seems to forget he's still The Man around here.

I walked down to the bottom of my hill this morning for what was ostensibly just the ribbon cutting for The Fairmount Grill restaurant and bar. Da Mare showed for the cutting and filled the joint at 11 AM.

Fox25 was all over him before he could even get out of his big honking black SUV. Local papers and stations surrounded him outside then inside.

They had to squat or kneel by his table, because pols took the chairs around him. Current and would-be office holders include Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, Councilor Rob Consalvo (running for Mayor), Council President and at-large member Steve Murphy (running for re-election), several running for Consalvo's district 5 seat (including Patrice Gattozzi and Mimi E. Turchinetz of Hyde Park), and on and on.

It was no nice-to-see-you-bye-bye counting coup with the Mayor. Many of the pols were loath to vacate their proximate seats. They had much to say and hear from someone still perceived as powerful. Murphy though did hang back at the bar (club soda only even though they were handing out bloodies) and let the others fawn.

Most of the chats I had were off the record comments, although Murphy noted that two running this fall had decent shots — Consalvo has a path to victory, he said, if executed properly, and Michael Flaherty, one of running for at-large Council seats along with Murphy, in no small part because many of the 19 in the race are unknown and Flaherty was a Councilor, is a familiar name and ran an unsuccessful race for the mayoralty.

With that in mind, as usual Menino had the best quip of the day. As he was walking from his SUV into the Grille with a cane, he overheard me joking with Murphy about Flaherty canvassing Fairmount Hill, where Murphy and I live, yesterday evening. Without even looking up, Da Mare said, "Yeah, he knocked on two doors."

I think we know who's not likely to forget who wanted to usurp him.

Pic left includes Menino, Murphy, Consalvo, and Grille owner Christopher Rassias.

As he walked, Menino honestly did look fitter and trimmer than I'd seen him in quite awhile. I said that to him and he agreed, saying his leg was better and he felt good.

So, he's personally not lame, just limping a bit, and politically he is still powerful. He's sure not a lame duck even though he's in his last half year of his last term.

If today's gathering is any indication, particularly if Hyde-Park based Consalvo wins the mayoralty, the Grille is likely to take over as a must-attend political meeting place as its 81 Fairmount predecessor Townsend's was.

Pix note: Images as usual here are Creative Commons. You're welcome to them so long as you credit Mike Ball once.

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