BOSTON MAYOR FINAL : THE ITALIAN VOTE ? YES INDEED

Image

^ Two Sal’s Two : John Connolly receives the Yes — at Warren Prescott School in Charlestown

—- —- —-

Today at 1:30 PM John Connolly received endorsement from two Sal’s : State Senator Sal DiDomenico, representing Charlestown and parts of Allston-Brighton, and District One City Councillor Sal LaMattina. Aboard the Connolly campaign they join State Representative Carlo Basile of East Boston, former District One Councillor Paul Scapicchio, District Nine Councillor Mark Ciommo, the North End’s State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Susan Passoni, and top Menino fundraiser Vinnie Marino of Roslindale.

Yes, dear reader, as you can see, there is an “Italian vote” even in supposedly Irish Boston. And it counts. But first, indulge me in a little trip through Boston social history :

1. Voters of Italian name continue to reside, chiefly, in most of the Boston places that their grandparents lived in : much of the North End; half of East Boston; Readville; one precinct of Ward 6 in South Boston; a significant scattering in Roslindale, Fairmount Hill, and West Roxbury; and a tight little area hard by Brighton Center, to which Italians from the region of Frosinone and San Donato came, three generation ago, to work in quarries. They amount to about 14 percent of all Boston voters.

2. Because the ancestors of most Boston voters of Italian name arrived in Boston later than the forbears of most Bostonians of Irish name, voters of Italian name still show some connection to ethnicity.

3. Since voters of Italian name proved strongly outnumbered by those of Irish name, the custom grew in Italian-name neighborhoods of backing for Mayor not an Italian candidate –who was presumed unlikely to win — but an Irish name candidate who would make a deal with the Italian communities — by way of their political leaders. Italian-name voters tended to vote as a family group; and, not knowing particularly well the Irish-name candidates — who almost always lived elsewhere in the city — they followed their leaders’ recommendation. More than once, the “block” vote in Boston’s Italian-resident areas won the Mayor’s office for the Irish name candidate -chosen by those leaders. It was stupendously true in 1959 — when Collins beat Powers -and importantly so in 1967, when Kevin White beat Louise Day Hicks.

Scroll forward again to now. We have John Connolly and Marty Walsh. Walsh lives in Dorchester, far from any Italian-name neighborhood. John Connolly lives in West Roxbury, at opposite remove from most Italian-name sections of the City. It is a very 1959 situation.

Yes, via social media and a flood of news sources almost every italian-name voter of 2013 knows at least something about both men. Yet few voters know them well. In this voting situation, sponsorship by a trusted local leader can still make a difference. One or two such sponsorings might not turn many heads in this the internet era; but six or seven leaders of same heritage banding together — plus an issue; in this case, school reform — surely will turn lots of noggins.

There was an issue in today’s Sal and Sal endorsement. The event took place outside Charlestown’s \Warren Prescott school, and both Sal’s talked of their working together with Connolly on school reform agendas.

Image

^ LaMattina — Connolly — DiDomenico

Connolly’s band of Italian name pols may even arouse the really BIG Italian name I have yet to mention, a guy you are probably already thinking : Tom Menino, the only Italian-name Mayor that Boston has ever had. What will he do in this election ? Will he do ANY thing at all in it ?

I think that he will. I think that he is already doing it. The events taking place seem to prove that he is involving himself mightily. They cannot be an accident. One endorsement, maybe. Seven ? Not just chance. Menino is indeed involved. And not just among “The Italian vote.”

Did I say “just” the “italian vote” ? It matters a lot more than “just.” Come to the Columbus day Parade this Sunday as it winds through the North end, and you will see much. Come to the after-party at Filippo Restaurant (hosted by Philip Frattaroli, who was a City Council candidate this year). But most of all, think of the families that stand out. In Brighton, Salvucci, Mummolo and Cedrone; in the North End, Passacantilli, Anastasi, Coppola, Anzalone, Langone; in East Boston, Buttiglieri, Aiello, Aloisi, Mangini, Lanzilli, Faretra, Marmo. Readville : Scaccia, LoConte and Pulgini. Fairmount : Pagliarulo and of course Rob Consalvo. From Roslindale, Vadala, Iantosca, and Ferzoco; from West Roxbury, Settana. And the Iannella’s….

So what’s it all add up to ? Pretty basic if you ask me. Yes, the race between Walsh and Connolly is turning into a battle of economic classes (as we all knew it would be). But not every Boston voting bloc identifies by economic class. The “Italian vote’ has almost always — as my list above shows — identified by family and neighborhood. John Connolly is smart to pursue, in this matter, the strategy that won the 1959 race for John Collins and the 1967 race for Kevin White.

Come to think of it, Kevin White looked a lot like Connolly, lived in the same area, pursued a “new Boston vision” just as Connolly is doing, talked the language of “downtown,” and — again like Connolly — came from a family long involved in Boston politics. And had the good sense to court East Boston’s Mario Umana. For the Kevin White of 2013, it’s “so far, so good.” Only 26 days remain until we know if it’s good enough.

Tomorrow : The Walsh strategy

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

photo (8)

^ City Council colleagues : LaMattina and Connolly

BOSTON MAYOR FINAL — THE EAST BOSTON CASINO REFERENDUM

photo (84)

^ casino = construction jobs — East Boston’s State senator Anthony Petrucelli endorsing Marty Walsh (backdrop : the City Hall that Walsh wants to sell, on the Plaza he proposes to develop)

—- —- —-

However many East Boston voters you thought would turn out on Mayor Election Day, double it. For “Eastie” November 5th isn’t simply going to be about choosing a new mayor, important though that is for the only Boston neighborhood that has to pay a toll to get into “town.” Much bigger a deal is the Suffolk downs casino project, approval — or not — of which only East Boston will vote upon. The casino is a huge game changer for Eastie. It will likely employ over 4,000 people, many of them surely from the neighborhood. There’ll be much traffic, lots of excitement, entertainment, tourism, the works.

“NIMBY” people hate the idea. So do the busybodies who think that gambling is evil and want to prevent the rest of us from doing it. They’ll be voting in big numbers on referendum day. But so too will the project’s supporters. Already the campaign signs — “It”S ABOUT THE JOBS” and “VOTE “YES” FOR SUFFOLK DOWNS” — have arisen on many many East Boston houses and lawns.

The mayoral campaigns have taken notice and profited by it. Yesterday State Senator Anthony Pettrucelli endorsed Marty Walsh, who as the candidate of labor, including construction workers above all, is all for the casino project. It will give jobs to Walsh’s stand-out volunteers, door-knockers, and contributors — and to Senator Petrucelli’s constituents. This is a political marriage almost ideal for both men. As Walsh lost East Boston on Primary day by a significant percent, the endorsement by Petrucelli, plus a huge vote turnout, can only boost Walsh’s campaign significantly.

Yet John Connolly is not without his Eastie strength. He supports the Suffolk Downs casino project as much as does Walsh : it gives the City $ 55 million (at latest count) in “mitigation” money. Connolly was endorsed by East Boston State Representative Carlo Basile before the Primary; and Connolly carried the Ward. Often a neighborhood’s State Representative is “closer to the ground’ than its State Senator, who has an area six times as large to cover. It is hard to imagine Basile not commanding a strong and much larger poll on November 5th and, other factors being equal, winning for his candidate over Petrucelli’s.

Carlo Basile 1

^ East Boston’s State Rep Carlo Basile : endorsed John Connolly in July

D 1 sal LaMattina and Mayor

^ Sal LaMattina, East Boston’s City Councillor is ….said to be close to…..

One major political voice of East Boston remains to be heard : East Boston’s City Councillor, Sal LaMattina. (He also represents Charlestown and the North End, but those neighborhoods aren’t voting in the casino referendum.) LaMattina is said to be close to Mayor Menino. The rumors about Menino’s feelings with respect to this election have already gone public. I can personally attest two indications that Menino is giving assistance to John Connolly : (1) for the vacant District Five Council seat, city worker Tim McCarthy is receiving assistance and support from state Rep. Ed Coppinger, Connolly’s top campaign chief and (2) Vinnie Marino of Roslindale, a real estate developer said to be very close to Mayor Menino, is hosting a fund-raiser for John Connolly next week.

So what of Sal LaMattina in that equation ? Surely his supporters will be wanting jobs at the Suffolk Downs casino as surely as Basile’s and Petrucelli’s. Will he be helping Connolly win East Boston’s big November vote ? After all, Menino’s support for Connolly is sai to come, in part, because he wants “his” people “protected” in the jobs they now hold. Or maybe moved comfortably to the casino ? It does happen. I wanted to ask LaMattina his opinion on these matters; but he has not, as of this writing, returned my phone call.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

UPATE : I should probably include in this East Boston gumbo Patty Campatelli, who last year won election as Suffolk Register of Probate — defeating Sal LaMattina, in fact, by 800 votes. Campatelli had been unknown politically prior to running for that office; yet she won. She lives in “Eastie.” i wonder whom she is going to support in this showdown. So far, not a clue.

SECOND UPDATE : Boston, October 9th, 10.20 AM : we are informed that Sal LaMattina will endorse John Connolly at a press conference today, along with two other major endorsers.  We will be reporting from that conference. — MF

BOSTON MAYOR RACE : DAN CONLEY FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL ?

 

Image

^ Dan Conley : more a law officer than a Mayor ?

—– —– —–

Question : has any Suffolk County District Attorney ever been elected Boston’s mayor ? This writer can’t think of one.

Perhaps this is why rumors abound that Dan Conley, the current “DA,” will leave the Mayor race to seek the office of Massachusetts Attorney General instead. Supposedly all that Conley is waiting for is current “AG” Martha Coakley announcing her candidacy for Governor – a decision that all observers expect.

If true, the move by Conley makes sense. He has amassed barrels of money – at last report his account had well over $ 1,000,000 on hand – and proposed a bold agenda, yet still lags in recent polls that show him running third to Marty Walsh and John Connolly. It is Connolly and Walsh who have won the past week’s major endorsements; Conley was passed by.

The murder of Amy Lord and the pending indictments of Aaron Hernandez have brought enormous publicity to Dan Conley. Yet none of it has helped his Mayoral hopes. If anything, the publicity has actually hurt Conley. Crime and prosecution are certainly big matters to voters; but they are not matters that people identify with being Mayor.

The issues that voters ascribe to their Mayor are these : zoning; schools;  development;  civil rights; and, most sweeping of all, quality of life – in the neighborhoods, with street cleaning and snow removal as well as road repair, and Downtown, moving it to a closing hour more progressive than the current 2 A.M. absurdity. Conley, as District Attorney, deals with hardly any of this.

Were Conley to leave the mayor race, who would benefit most of the 9 % of voters that current polls give him ? Nine percent of the likely Primary vote totals about 14,000 votes. Obviously the 14,000 will not go only to one Mayoral contender. That said, as we see it, the largest block of this 14,000 will go to the remaining “traditional” candidates. And not just any of them; the most significant benefits will surely go to Councillor-at-Large John Connolly and State Representative Marty Walsh, and not to District 5’s City Councillor, Rob Consalvo.

Image

^ Rob Consalvo : being squeezed out ?

Here’s why we see Conley’s support going chiefly to Connolly and Walsh:

Conley lives in Ward 20. So does John Connolly. Connolly is polling in first p[lace. As voters like to pick winners rather than give up a vote on someone who won’t likely win, Connolly is sure to pick up most of the “local guy” vote that Conley is now drawing. Consalvo, too, has strong support in Ward 20; but he has failed to win recent endorsements, indeed was passed on by St. Rep. Carlo Basile of East Boston. If Consalvo can’tr win  the support of an Italian-name legislator, who can he win that he does not already have ? He will pick up some Conley votes, yes; but not nearly enough.

Image

^ John Connolly : will benefit if Conley leaves Mayor race

But that’s not the whole story. Conley has paid much attention for months now to South Boston. He campaigned there on April lst, when that neighborhood (and Dorchester) chose a new State Senator. (Here and Sphere photographed him that day campaigning among voters at Gate of Heaven parish hall, where two South Boston precincts voted.) South Boston  is still home to large numbers of city and county employees; and Conley’s Irish name surely still draws many votes in the City’s archetypal Irish-name neighborhood (though that is changing, as we all know).

Image

^ Dan Conley campaigning at Gate of Heaven parish hall on April lst.

In Southie, the winner of most Conley votes would likely be Marty Walsh, not John Connolly. Walsh lives in Savin Hill, the Dorchester neighborhood closest to “Southie” culturally and proximately. Like Connolly, Walsh, looks a winner. He polls a close second to Connolly and has significant support from Labor Unions both public and private – groups strongly represented in the South Boston’s vote.

Image

^ Marty Walsh : major support from the City;’s Unions – strong in South Boston

For some time now, the September primary for this year’s Mayor race has looked like a Walsh and Connolly “final.” Dan Conley leaving it to run for Attorney General makes this Primary result almost a certainty. It WILL Be a certainty if the many “new Boston” candidates now dividing about 25 % of the likely Primary vote don’t stop chasing their own individual dreams, none of which can come true if all keep on chasing. The “new Boston” vote can command the Primary and win the “final.” But it can’t do anything if it continues on its current eight-candidate course.

Dan Conley’s momentous decision awaits.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere