Mario Umana

^ Mario Umana, iconic voice for an iconic Senate District, way back when.

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Does anyone want the State Senate seat — First Suffolk and Middlesex — that will become vacant sometime next month ? The seat that once claimed as its voice Mario Umana, Bob Travaglini, Mike LoPresti Sr and Jr ?

So far the list of possibles is growing large enough to fill Spinelli’s, yet of actual applicants, none.

Not sure I’ve ever seen a situation like this, much less in an emblematic Senate District such as ours. One can easily see a classified ad blazing in the newspaper :

“on offer : one State Senate seat with a prestigious history, original and unrenovated, all applicants considered. Ready for occupancy in the Spring. Apply at Boston City Hall during normal working hours.”

The list of coy aspirants grows : Joe Boncore, Jessica Giannino, Dan Rizzo, Lydia Edwards, Max Tassinari, Jay Livingstone, Aaron Michlewitz, Ed Deveau, Ernani DeAraujo, Philip Frattaroli. Adrian Madaro ? He isn’t saying. I’m not sure the list hasn’t a long way to grow. Why not Paul Rogers ? Jason Aluia ? Pat Moscaritolo ? Veronica Robles ?¬† Daniel Cordon ? Carlos Rosales ? Francisco Urena ? Frank Conte ? Mary Ellen Welch or Evelyn Morash ? Phil Giffee ? Alice Christopher ? Margaret Farmer ? Celeste Myers ? All well qualified, all admirable activists.

And Cambridge, several precincts of which stand within the district : surely there must be six or seven activists in Cambridgeport ready to rock and roll ?

Only three names seem not to be on offer : Winthrop School Committeeman Tino Capobianco, who tells me he has decided not to run, Joe Ruggiero, who has said the same, and District Councillor Sal LaMattina, who would take a pay cut if he were to move from Council to the Senate and who proclaims himself a city-issues guy. But hey — their deferral is YOUR OPPORTUNITY, dear reader.

You know what ? Maybe I should run. I know the District as well as anyone, and for a much longer time than most (back to 1969), I’m Team Baker, I need a paycheck, my roots in Eastie go back 120 years. (I don’t live in the District yet, but the rules say only that a State Senator must live in the District on election day.)

I’m kidding, of course; I enjoy far too much being an operative to ever do anything as crazy as being a candidate. In fact, I’m all in for Adrian Madaro — if he runs. If not ? I’ll probably have 65 hopefuls calling me up to seek my support. This could get very interesting.

The word I get all day long is “everybody is waiting on Aaron.” That’s Aaron¬† Michlewitz, who represents the North End, Chinatown, Leather District, and much of the South End, the seat held previously by Sal DiMasi. Michlewitz is universally respected as a nice guy (by me too). Supposedly Michlewitz is “struggling with the decision” to run, knowing that victory would mean giving up a powerful House committee chairmanship (Financial Services) leading perhaps — according to one observer — to being House Speaker; giving all that up to become … a freshman Senator ?

Really ? If Michlewitz is on a path to becoming House Speaker, his decision is no “struggle” at all : he doesn’t run.

So why is he taking long to figure out his future ? I dunno.

And why are the obvious other candidates waiting ? The answer is money. By the most recent OCPF report, Michlewitz has $ 177,254.70 on hand, while Adrain Madaro reports $ 16,745.15 and Jay Livingstone claims $ 35,072.05. Michlewitz’s dollar advantage is larger still : his District includes some of Boston’s highest-income census tracks, while Madaro’s East Boston remains essentially a working class community; the political money in it c0mes chiefly from Massport circles. There’s also Michlewitz’s committee chairmanship and four-term experience versus Madaro the special election freshman.

Money talks and effluent walks. It is unfair, perhaps, to Michlewitz to decry the possibility that a District designed to elect an East Boston person, and which has done so for eons of time, might be purchased from Downtown; but that’s right now the prospect that has so many aspirants hesitating to plunge and others reluctant even to aspire. I hope that that will change.

Meanwhile, an historic, iconic State Senate seat goes on offer, unclaimed.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere