Monday, October 29, 2007

City Council Claw Contest

I've never seen stolid Tom Menino literally running and he certainly isn't figuratively in a mayor's race this year. Yet the whole City Council is up for grabs, without the powerful draw of a big election.

Question number one, will Team Unity survive a low-interest contest?

Two of the four Councilors of color, as they describe themselves, look to be at risk. They have done a fine job, in city business, constituent services and proposing laws. More risk comes from having nine candidates for eight fields, one who just missed two years ago.

You can check links to websites and emails for candidates who have them at this Boston Online post. You can see nearly everyone's responses to a specific GLBT position poll two years ago at this In Newsweekly one.

Sitting Pretty

The two district councilors are opposed, but in great shape. In District Four, Charles Yancey is up against chronic candidate for the spot, Joseph (J.R.) Rucker. Over in District Seven, Chuck Turner's opponent is Carlos Henriquez.

Rucker is an old hand, having lost six times to Yancey. He seems to like the Sisyphus thing. He doesn't have an organization, doesn't respond to position requests, and doesn't even have a website. Meanwhile, Yancey says he will take any challenge seriously and is out campaigning. For him at least, this is another chance to renew contacts or make new ones with his voters. That can't do anything but make him better at what he does.

Henriquez is an aide to Michael Flaherty, and is decidedly not Chuck Turner or anything like him. You can get a hint of that from his website, which is the only Council contender's on MySpace. He is a 30-year-old ward heeler, but his profile and campaign pitches make him seem much younger. For example, his general interest are:
Politics, Money Investment, Writing, Music, Internet, Poetry, Love, Family, Dancing, Education, Real Estate, Social Justice, Sustainable Economic Development, Youth Development, Basketball, Xbox 360, Football, Dancing.
About the race, he concludes:
What this means to me is that we all have something in common. We’ve all politicked with one another. We have all connected. We have done it socially, to find out where the party is, maybe get on a guest list or even for marketing and promotion. That’s all good. But now, I want to take those politics to the next level. Politics is simply about people connecting to do business. Many of us younger people have left this to our parents and grandparents, thinking that it is something complex that comes with age. It’s not. We are the best at it. We have the vision, the knowledge and the spirit to continue on the work our parents and grandparents have done before us. It’s time we work together to change Boston.
It's not his year.

Nine for Four

Two Team Unity members, Sam Yoon and Felix Arroyo, are at risk though. As at-large candidates they face a crowded field. Again, turnout should be light and interest has been low, with scant attendance at and coverage of fora.

The present at-large Councilors are:
  • Stephen J. Murphy
  • Sam Yoon
  • Felix Arroyo
  • Michael F. Flaherty

The field also includes:
  • John R. Connolly
  • David James Wyatt
  • Martin J. Hogan
  • Matthew Geary
  • William P. Estrada
The real spoiler is Connolly. In 2005, he came within 1% of the vote and was edged out by Murphy. He's personable, he's pretty progressive (particularly for an Irish-American sort from West Roxbury), he's a teacher, he has a long, deep reputation for good works. He can talk reform. He can talk education. A lot of voters can identify with him.

Murphy has been elected four times, but at least one blogger at Municipally Wasted figures Connolly has his best shot at Murphy and that the other four newbies are also-rans-to-be. Murphy is a good buddy of Albert (Dapper) O'Neil, the long-term, retired, ill, and socially reactionary Councilor. His hard-line politics are at odds with Team Unity members, and Connolly as well.

There's no race for President, Governor or Mayor. There are no huge ballot questions. I'm betting both Yoon and Arroyo are working hard and are nervous. Both are wildly popular with their voters, although Arroyo is infamous for missing Council sessions. They deliver for their folk and are top-notch committee chairs (Yoon chairs Housing and Arroyo Economic Development and Planning).

Can they get people out?

Well, they'll get me out. and I'll either bullet vote Yoon and Arroyo, or depending on how it goes when I spend a little time with Connolly down the block on Sunday, add him.

Meanwhile, Sam and Felix are likely visiting every public gathering they can and ringing those doorbells. That's the final risk, their other challenge — they have the whole damned city to cover.

Add-on Note: The Boston (né Bay State) Banner has a good analysis of the risks.

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POPS said...

FYI - Henriquez's site is The myspace site is just a marketing tool.

massmarrier said...

Many thanks. That is better, still dreadfully vague, but much more professional and clearer.