Saturday, October 19, 2013

Boston Pol Pitches Keep Coming

What are we politics addicts to do on November 6th? Careering from one event to another has been the norm for many months. This morning it was a cluster event, slightly modified. 
The informal Harry S Truman Society here has long held a meal and then an election-eve rally. For this year's municipal, they combined it at the West Roxbury Pub, under the aegis of City Councilor Matt (everyone's favorite ginger) O'Malley. Ostensibly, everyone running for the final was to show up and nearly all did. 
Seven of the eight at-large Councilor candidates appeared and spoke. Martin Keogh's dad died a couple of days ago, Matt noted. Neither of the mayoral finalists did (probably a boneheaded decision considering 150 or or so hardcore voters in the pub). One of the two District 5 Councilor candidates (Rob Consalvo replacement), Tim McCarthy, was there, Jean Claude Sanon was not. One candidate for next year's gubernatorial race showed.
This was a tasting menu of pols. Each person got up to three minutes, under the eye of a timer, one who actually enforced the sked. So we got truncated stump speeches. Oh, and the tables were heaped with lit.
Pix notes: Click a thumbnail for a larger view. If it opens in the same window, use your browser’s back button or command to return.I apologize for the grainy images. The lighting was bad and I brought my lesser camera. The pic below of Steve Murphy is not from the even because I didn't get even a remotely OK shot. 
License note: All pix are Creative Commons-Attribution. Do what you want with them. Just give Mike Ball credit once.

Ever sincere, O'Malley got into his goals and accomplishments before asking for reelection as District 6 Councilor. Millennium Park (we all call it Mt. Menino) will get more jock fields and be "the premier destination for athletes" and Billings Field will get a tot lot. His office did over 600 constituent services cases. He was at his best though blending humility with all that, as "the former skinny red head kid who used to bag your groceries (and who) gets to be your voice in City Hall."

Joe Avellone is running for governor in 2014. He's an oddity in our political world, as surgeon, Naval Reservist, and health company founder and CEO. He said the #1 issue here is jobs, which he promises to create in every region. His was a teaser speech and he promises much more over the next year.
He's back. Former Councilor and a candidate for mayor last time, Michael Flaherty pitched his experience at the job. He said he'd be ready to jump right back in as at-large Councilor. He spoke of education and wants a year 13 of school to prime BPS grads for college. As it is, he said, if they don't get into an exam school, they're lucky to qualify for a community college. He also wants treatment on demand for both kids and adults. Finally, he went with the tangible; "my hope is that we'll have snow melters," instead of "touching each snowflake five time."  He looked good, sounded confident and competent. 

Annisssa Essaibi-George was one of the two sports-oriented candidates for at-large Councilor. While she is a BPS teacher, mom of kids in schools, and a knitting-shop owner, she used most of her minutes to talk about her kids' hockey and other sports. She did say her election would let her "sit at the big-kids' table" to help better the school system. 
Michelle Wu said exactly the right thing to me. She brought up my rambling and uncharacteristic Left Ahead podcast in which I figured out my endorsements for the preliminary in real time. She apparently listened to the half hour. She was both candid and smart, also sweet, commenting about her parents immigrating from Taiwan for better lives for their children and her mother developing and coping with mental issues. She tied it all back into how government has a role in such crises and how she became the de facto BPS parent for her younger sisters. She is a real package and reinforced my endorsement. 

Luis Valerio won the handout award; his was the fanciest and most heavily coated. English is very obviously not his first language and his presentation here and what I have seen on TV suffer. He stressed adult ed, like using schools in evenings to advance adults, like Brookline and Newton do. He says he'll be "the voice of the parents of West Roxbury residents in City Hall."
Jeff Ross made passing mention that he'd be the first openly gay Councilor. He spoke of progressive goals — uplifting Boston's impoverished, universal pre-K, early childhood evaluation to ensure equal opportunity, and leveraging the city's money with banks that lend locally. 

If I could hand out awards, Ayanna Pressley would get the Best Speaker. She was burning and reminded me of my Southern roots. She spoke powerfully of transcending neighborhoods and the benefits of diversity of thought on Council. "I champion these issues not only out of moral imperative but because they have economic effects," she said. She noted she had "led the charge" on issues like violence against women," adding that "an oracle didn't whisper that in my ear. You did." Great stuff.
My neighbor and friend Steve Murphy was his charming and casual self. He's president of the Council and the guy who understands money and budgets like no one else. He did mention his work on PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) that will bring in $50 million extra from non-profits by 2018. His main thrust though was the great working relationship the Council and Mayor have had. The city is strong "because we have worked together and partnered," he said. 

Jack Kelly, also for at-large Council, seems still in his mind to be captain of the Matignon High hockey team. That was 14 years ago, but he riled the locals talking about how his team beat CM a few times. I suspect he turned off far more local parochial-grads than he interested. 
This is not the first time I saw Tim McCarthy in action. He was on his game for this and is likely the new District 5 Councilor to be. This time he was positively literary in his eloquence. He spoke of what you'd see if you looked out your front door. If you were happy with the mundane issues (safety, services and such), "that's what keeps people here." Then, if we have happy, dedicated residents, "the bigger things we can address." He's done constituent services for the Mayor for a long time and seems more than ready to replace Consalvo.

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