Friday, May 17, 2013

Consalvo Powers On

The myriad Boston mayoral candidates have four months to stand out from the other 23 running. Last evening, Rob Consalvo did a very credible job at that.

In his kickoff rally, his opening acts of supporters wound up the crowd of four or five hundred filling the Cedars of Lebanon hall in JP. Then his wife, Michelle, humanized him with personal and family vignettes. He kept the energy with a rousing stump speech.

One-on-one, Rob is a serious, sincere pol. I wondered whether he could put the hammer to the anvil. No problem last night.

He hit on the high points, what used to be called the vision thing, following the list items on his scant website. He'll surely get more detailed heading to the September preliminary. Meanwhile the skillfully skirted the border of specificity that would give his many opponents targets. Being out early brings big risks.

His skeletal platform hits constituent passions:

  • High quality education, a tier-one school in every neighborhood. (Promises longer school days and year, with more funding, and somehow getting teachers, unions and parents working together.)
  • Strong fiscal foundation for the city. (That seems to mean growing businesses, fostering high-tech and other innovation, and not from austerity.)
  • Improved public every neighborhood. (Some technology like ore ShotSpotter installs, but mostly funding police, fire, youth groups, neighborhood watch and more.)
  • Finding and eliciting ideas and innovations from citizens, businesses, academicians, and government in MA and beyond. 

The emcee, MA Sen. Anthony Petruccelli, three constituents and his wife heaped on his credentials to advance that he can deliver.

He works absurd hours, apparently without fatigue. He solves constituent problems, like ensuring vacant land became a neighborhood's green space. He innovates as in pressing for John's Law to prevent drunk drivers from getting right back in their cars happened in MA; he takes credit for helping it spread nationwide. Maybe even more effective and memorable was Michelle's tale of how he stopped when they were on the way to a hospital for her to deliver their youngest  but he noticed graffiti on the Grew Elementary and hod to call it in before heading to delivery.

She claims it didn't surprise or upset her.She is what Rob called his best asset in the race and Petruccelli said was his "greatest campaign prop."

He's been at it for 11 years on City Council, representing District 5 with parts of Hyde Park, Mattapan and Roslindale. That was Mayor Tom Menino's district.

Disclaimer: Rob is my district councilor. I know him and he has been a guest on Left Ahead a couple times.

During his tenure, Rob has been known for his constant innovations and sticking his neck out on what he decides are good ideas. He comes up with some of those on his own, gets some from constituents and makes no bones about eagerly accepting or adapting others from Councilors, other politicians and elsewhere. He has been one of the few on Council with the reputation for proposing projects, regulations and what they like to call legislation on the fifth floor of city hall.

Missing last evening were politicians likely to support and endorse early. With two dozen declared candidates — maybe 10 to 12 likely to get enough signatures for ballot slots — pols are necessarily very cautious about such displays. I had to think of 2010 when Matt O'Malley ran in a special to replace Councilor John Tobin and had a monster, politically starry kickoff. No one can beat that kind of display for this race.

So far, no one in the race has advanced either a brilliant slogan or a revolutionary platform. Rob's catchphrase Making Boston Better is more than adequate. He simply has to convince enough voters that he can pull that off, that he can harden up his kind of spongy goals and achieve each one. Last evening was promising.

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