Friday, November 16, 2012

Will Will Wow?

I'm all over this Will Dorcena candidacy for Boston Mayor. If Tom Menino goes for a sixth term next year, this could make for a grand political theater.

Locals who have spoken to me directly say even with a year head start, he is doomed, doomed and doomed. He though radiates optimism and confidence, figuring he can be yet another grassroots miracle fable.

Dorcena had a re-kick-off event last evening in Dorchester at Phillips Old Colony. This was a relaunch because while he announced at the beginning of 2012 — regardless of whether Da Mare is running, he has been sidelined with his wife and new son. He had to square all that and make sure everyone was hale before simultaneously working for a mortgage bank and running for Mayor.

So last night, his 40th birthday, he wished the ailing Mayor well. At least, as he concluded, "I hope the Mayor gets better we can go out there and do the battles."

Disclaimers:  I as well as the present and would-be Mayor live in Hyde Park. Dorcena's house and home office is only 1.6 miles from Menino's home. I know Da Mare and consider him charming. I've gotten to know Dorcena and both like and respect him as well.

He seems to think he can tap more deeply into aspirations than anger. Running solo, Dorcena started in January and again yesterday saying he's not running against Menino. It's just Boston can do a whole lot better and be a lot smarter. Think Deval Patrick for Governor and Barack Obama for President; he wants to plug into hopes and dreams, not revenge.

His platform is beefy and based on the one he used in his come-in-late/lose-big-as-unknown run for City Council. Then he described and offered solutions in five areas. Unfortunately, his new campaign site does not yet have positions or even a bio. It went live a few days ago. You can go to the old site to read his bio and proposals.

His four planks in the slightly edited platform are revamping the school system, reducing crime, hiring local, and engaging and informing the public at every stage of decision making. Those are standard challenger areas. The difference is as Patrick did with his initial campaign, Dorcena puts his neck out with detailed proposals. He risks all by giving other candidates targets.

From A to B

We Bostonians love to play experts on our sports and politics. We had to drop the the Sox-always-break-our-hearts, but we keep the suicide-to-run-against-Menino shtick.

In January, I asked Dorcena how a not so high profile newcomer planned to beat the big guy. Last night I tweaked that with a question about how badly taking off most of the year for family blunted or changed that strategy.

He beaming candidate wants to stay on track and keep the same plan, including:
  • ringing every doorbell in town, talking one-on-one, two or however many
  • holding town-hall meetings in all 22 neighborhoods to introduce himself, put out his platform, and fire up those who want those massive improvements and changes
  • broaden his team to create a sizable field organization
He admits he's unlikely to win a money and ad battle with Menino. Last evening, his minions got the 40 or so to sign in with phone and email, but did not ask for money. He still plans front-stoop visits and his every-neighborhood stump speeches with question sessions.

It was unlike other such campaign events in several ways. First, there were no bribes. The hall got lined with dozens of his posters and yard signs. Otherwise, there were 2x3-inch stickers for him on the tables and ice-water pitchers and cups on a sideboard. No noshes, no beer, no swag. He was about his message.

Second, that message along with his name and face will dominate. His signs have a clean, modern font in our flag colors. In the posters, which his crew put at every city polling place last week, his smiling face is there. That makes it stand out from typical campaign signs. They tend to go with what they think will be a winning, memorable slogan instead.

What Media?

He seems in this for real. As the campaign gets going, he may flag, but he shows great confidence and optimism. He rented the biggest hall at Phillips Old Colony in Dorchester to accommodate the 120-some folk who responded to his FB invite. About one third of those showed and the room looked like it had been cleared for the wedding-reception dancing.

Dorcena was nonplussed. He also kept with his theme of disclosure and candor, saying how many he expected.

While it's nearly a year before the voting, local media could have roused themselves from their fall naps. None of the we-run-anything local TV stations showed. The event was within shouting distance of the Globe. While the Herald ran a short saying the announcement would happen (apparently unaware that he had kicked off in January already), there was nothing today.

The closest the Globe got was Brian McGrory's column on various possible candidates for Boston offices and higher. Near the bottom, he dumped out some dark horses for mayor, apparently to show insider cred. He's never good at that.

The Herald's Peter Gelzinis ran a juicy gossip piece that didn't mention Dorcena either. Instead he speculated on the pending fight to become President of the City Council in case Menino has to step down due to his multiple body troubles. The column delights in predicting blood on the fifth floor, figuratively at least. None of the Councilors loses sight that the prez becomes Mayor in such cases, as Menino did when Ray Flynn went off to the Vatican.

I suspect that Dorchester News' Gintautas Dumcius and the Phoenix' David Bernstein will do their usual jobs  — solid news and cute/speculative respectively. The lumbering dailies and broadcast are likely to wait until late spring or summer, or if Menino decides to swat at Dorcena, before noticing.

Even with diminished staff, the bigs could do better by us with political coverage.

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