A NIGHT OF DEFEAT : THE CHARLOTTE GOLAR RICHIE TALK

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^ Charlotte Golar-Richie gives a talk : ‘all the isms are alive and well…racism, sexism…”

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The Mayor of Boston campaign of 2013 may be over, but evidently it’s not over. Last night Charlotte Golar-Richie, who finished third in the September Primary, was the key speaker at a conference hosted by University of Massachusetts’s Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy.

NOTE : If there were any doubt about the institutional colossi that encumber Boston politics, the very length of that host name — “University of Massachusetts Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy” — should set our heads nodding, But I digresss…

The topic for discussion was “Opening Doors : Women’s Political Leadership in Boston.” It seems a timely topic, given the prominence of several women in elected office within the City. One thinks of State Senators Sonia Chang-Diaz and Linda Dorcena-Forry (and of former State Senator Marian Walsh), of Councillors Ayanna Pressley and (newly) Michelle Wu, of State Representatives Gloria Fox and Liz Malia. One might also think of Abby Browne and Marian Ego, school committee members back in the day, and even of Elvira “Pixie” Palladino and Louise Day Hicks longer ago — but Palladino and Hicks were severely incorrect politically and thus not “women’ despite being women; and one could even mention the late, fishwife-mouthed Katherine Craven, a City Councillor, and State Representative Katherine Kane (who died about two weeks ago), both women in politics long before there needed be an educational institution hosting said discussion.

One could have mentioned all of the above; and mentioned the significant involvement of women in Boston politics well before that, from Abolitionist champions to Progressive era women of conscience to civil rights and civic leaders like Susan Story Lyman, Melnea Cass, Stella Trafford, Alice Hennessey, and my own mother. Mentioning all of these, one wonders what sort of “doors” still need to be “opened.’ Are they not already wide wide beckoning ? But no. Evidently the failure of one woman candidate to become Mayor of Boston trumps all of the successes that women in politics have had, are having, and, likely, will have in Boston.

In any case, the night being given over to defeat, it was quite appropriate for Charlotte Golar-Richie to trumpet the notes of defeat’s song :

“The isms are still alive and well in Boston…racism, sexism…along with that misogyny thing.’
“For women the stakes are high. Women of color, the stakes are higher.”

To which lament many Forum pundits added their oboe and bassoon :

Priti Rao : “I think there’s a lot of voter fatigue in this state.’
Joyce Ferriabough Bolling : “Charlotte lost because her base did not come out.”
Paul Watanabe ; “Globe’s editorial op-ed was devastating.”
The entire discussion panel : “EMILY’s list failed her.”

Golar-Richie then summed up this Sonata of Defeat by saying that she “opened the doors, someone else will have to walk through.”

As you have doubtless surmised, I shrug both my shoulders at Golar-Richie’s speech. Not once did she allow that perhaps she was not exactly an authoritative candidate. Not once did she acknowledge that in a field of twelve, whence eleven candidates ended up losing, she was hardly alone in being among the eleven. Why was Golar-Richie entitled — I use the verb on purpose — to a better result than the other ten losers ? Were John Barros, Dan Conley, Mike Ross, and Felix G. Arroyo not equally worthy candidates  ? Not to mention John Connolly.

Fact is that, in the 17,000-odd Forums that i attended at which Golar-Richie spoke, I found her performance wildly uneven ; strong one day, out of focus the next; vague sometimes, insightful at others. There was no such vaguery about Mike Ross, john Connolly, John Barros, Dan Conley, Marty Walsh, and even Charles Yancey and Rob Consalvo.

But in assessing Golar-Richie as a candidate there is no need to measure her performance at Forums. When her crunch time truly came, after the primary, and she had to decide, quickly, whether to endorse John Connolly or Marty Walsh, she flubbed the role. She delayed her decision, hemmed and hawed; when after some days she finally endorsed Marty Walsh, all of her support group went the other way, to John Connolly. Compare her handling to the focus and unity that Arroyo and Barros brought to their Walsh endorsements..

So, to respond to Charlotte : no, I do NOT think that “all the isms are in place.” Nor do I think that the bar is doubly high for women of color. Tell me how Michelle Wu’s finishing second out of eight, for City Council, on her first run ever for public office, demonstrates either of Golar-Richie’s assertions. Golar-Richie is simply WRONG. She did not fail to become Boston’s Mayor because she is a woman. She failed because she wasn’t a strong enough candidate.

And finally, Golar-Richie’s assertion that she lost because “all the isms are alive and well in Boston” disrespects Marty Walsh. Did he beat Golar-Richie because he is male, or because he simply had a stronger base of votes, as a sitting state representative and respected union leader ? Golar-Richie’s suggestion tells me what she really thinks of Walsh. It’s not pretty.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

BOSTON MAYOR : MARTY WALSH WINS

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^ Boston’s new Mayor : Marty Walsh of Dorchester

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Yesterday at about 10 pm the result was in : Marty Walsh is the new Mayor of Boston.

John Connolly conceded at about that time and, in his final speech to about 500 supporters at the Westin Hotel, said “I know Marty wants to do good things for Boston. He WILL do good things for Boston. He has my full support.”

And so the long campaign ended.

Unofficial City results give Walsh 72,514 votes to John Connolly’s 67,606. The margin of victory for Walsh was 3.49 % : a small margin but a telling one.

John Connolly won only the following :  the reform-minded “new Boston” Wards — 3, 4, 5, 9, and 21 plus Fort Hill (Ward 11, Precinct 1) and the Seaport Precinct in Ward 6 ; his home Wards 19 and 20; and his special, personal bastion in Charlestown (Ward 2). The City map of results suggests that he also won Ward 22. Everywhere else it was Walsh’s day.

Walsh won large in South Boston and huge in Dorchester, took about a 15 to 20 point majority in Wards 12 and 14, carried Wards 8, 10 and 11, held Connolly’s margin down in some parts of Roslindale west of Washington Street; and then defeated Connolly in the decisive Wards : very narrowly in East Boston (Ward 1 — by 3803 to Connolly’s 3739) and strongly in Hyde Park-Mattapan (ward 18). Walsh did especially well in the Readville part of ward 18, where Tom Menino lives but also Angelo Scaccia, the long-time State representative whose endorsement of Walsh may well have proved the most significant of all. Next most significant was surely the quiet blessing given to Walsh by Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, who won twice yesterday : he helped Walsh carry Ward 1 (albeit narrowly) and he now gets Walsh out of the House, where he has been a thorn in the side of the last two speakers.

This result is no surprise. it has been in the cards for three weeks at least.

Walsh won because :

1.he had almost unanimous support in his “traditional Irish” base

2.vast money and people support from Labor (although not from all Unions; Local 103 stayed neutral)

3.even vaster national Labor PAC support in money

4.endorsements by three of the Primary season’s major mayoral candidates — all of them of color, and thus significant to the City’s voters of color; but also all of them tremendously beholden to labor unions, SEIU 1199 especially. Charlotte Golar-Richie, Felix G. Arroyo, and John Fl. Barros together gave the Walsh campaign an air of racial inclusiveness. Who will ever forget that iconic picture of them and Walsh walking together up a Dorchester street ?

5.endorsements by State Legislators , several community groups, and two (2) Congressmen, also answering to Labor constituencies, one who cam aboard early (Stephen Lynch) and the other (Mike Capuano), who saw the above endorsements happening and calculated that they had better get on board too

6.the decision by many people on the margins of work that they need a better job first, better schools later

7.institutional and money support from developers and contractors whose profits depend on the Boston building boom which requires building trades workers in order to build

8.even more entrenched institutional support from the colleges, zoning lawyers, BRA administrators, and lobbyists whose profits, epansion plans, and just plain connections and co-operation in planning and zoning matters help each other to do their do’s

9.endorsement by about 22 “progressive” Legislators, whose support allowed Walsh to magnify his limited, albeit genuinely heroic, “progressive” credentials

10.his own, low key personality and confidence in his authenticity, which stands out maybe best when  he doesn’t have a ready answer for a question — moments that happened a lot in his campaign.

11.the campaign’s 40 position papers, written with contributions from (says the Walsh campaign) 600 people, who thus became invested in their success and so part of Walsh’s GOTV army. These position papers, unleashed in the last two weeks, made Walsh look authentically Mayoral.

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^ conceding : John Connolly speaks

Against this vast array of established support, John Connolly could muster only (1) a citizen reform movement, one that had barely existed until his campaign coalesced it (2) his two personal neighborhood bases, West Roxbury-Roslindale and Charlestown (3) demonstrable mastery of the City budget and (4) his opponent’s binding arbitration bill, which almost derailed the Walsh campaign and gave Connolly a major issue.

Connolly also raised big money. He actually raised a bit more than Walsh did, though less in the campaign’s “crunch time.” He obviously looked a winner to many.

But it was not to be.

The newness of the citizen reform movement begun by Connolly’s campaign, its vulnerablity to entrenched push back, its untested status, and Connolly’s own air of high-mindedness — so long unheard in Boston’s municipal politics that many voters, likely, did not know what to make of it — all put Connolly on the shade side of the election sundial as soon as the Primary was over and voters started to look closely at what was what.

Frankly, that Connolly came so close to actually winning yesterday sends a strong message, i think, to Marty Walsh that he has a lot to prove; and to entrenched Boston power that while its strength remains barely good enough to win, its days are almost surely numbered as we move forward into the new era of non-union work ; of nightlife and nerdy ways ; of  schools that either do their best or see themselves lose all public conscience (and rightly so); and of  small innovative units collaborating competitively via conferencing and social media — as un-institutional a life as one can possibly imagine.

The break-up of entrenched power is coming. The power knows it. This time, it has held on — just barely. Next time, the liberation.

—- Michael Freedberg / here and Sphere

STORY UPDATED 11/06/13 at 7:55 PM

BOSTON MAYOR : MEL KING ENDORSES MARTY WALSH

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^ to the levers of power : Mel King standing with Marty Walsh

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On Wednesday, Mel King, grand man of the Old Left, endorsed Marty Walsh for Mayor at a press conference in the South End. Joining him was former State Representative Royal Bolling, Jr, of Grove Hall, as well as Felix G. Arroyo and John F. Barros. All was friendly; all joined in a ring of hands as King declared that “I stand with Walsh” and “there’s a new rainbow coalition !” It was a moving scene. At age 85 King won’t have too many more such moments; but he is well entitled to this one. Thirty years ago he himself was in a Mayoral Final versus South Boston’s Ray Flynn…

Thirty years ago ! King’s history in Boston politics goes farther back than that. Like Walsh, he was a State Representative. Before that, he was a very vocal, confrontational activist, of a type then common, brought to prominence in the late 1960s by President Lyndon Johnson’s Anti-poverty program. There was lots of money in that program, and a great deal of community planning power — the Model Cities Program overlapped and abetted it — and King was at its center along with activists gentler and, it has to be said, more lastingly effective. Yet effective or not, King drew a following — devoted — on the Left and the Far Left, and this he kept intact, it following him into that 1983 Mayor election in which he lost badly, like Barry Goldwater an ideologue before his time.

Would it be too melodramatic to say that King’s time was yesterday’s press conference ? This was the not the first occasion that Mel King has endorsed a candidate from a constituency not close to his own — in 2009 he and Ray Flynn held a joint endorsement conference for Mike Flaherty; but that was a challenge to an entrenched incumbent, one whom King — and Flynn — both felt had overstayed his time or forgotten “the people.” This time King was endorsing in an open election : endorsing the candidate of established power. So the question presses for an answer : why did he do it ?

One is tempted to conclude that, as Walsh has successfully coalesced all the strands of Boston’s Labor Left, so King the Old Left icon simply joined the party — gave it his imprimatur, as it were. That’s the obvious answer. i think it’s the wrong answer.

For King, the Left is oratory. His objective has always been something else : get people of color to the levers of power. For King, the Left is a means to pry those levers away from the established forces. And Marty Walsh has finally been revealed, this week, not as “the union guy” (though he Is that) but as the quintessential levers of power candidate. The BRA insider candidate. The candidate of developers needing Building Trades union laborers, multi-million dollar money deals, zoning persuasiveness, and planning clout.

Thus the endorsement. The levers of power now reach out from Walsh to King and his fellow seekers of the elvers.

I do not mean to suggest that for King, union solidarity and power to the workers do not matter. They’re part of his life mission.

Prior to the Primary, King was closest to Charles Clemons, a radio station owner whose economic views aren’t much different from Herman Cain’s. King did not support Felix Arroyo — though 30 years ago he and Arroyo’s father Felix D. Arroyo were strong allies — nor did he support John Barros or Charlotte Golar-Richie. It is simple to figure out why : Clemons’s radio station is a lever of power. All media are levers of might. Barros, Arroyo, and Golar-Richie had none, or lesser such levers. Thus King’s support for Clemons, a candidate who was not going to get to the Final in any scenario. King seemed to be saying that he’d prefer to stand by a lever of power that he could count on rather than chance things with the other three.

The Primary proved his skepticism correct : none of the three made it into the Final. King was now free to choose a candidate on better odds : one of the finalists WOULD win. For an entire month he did not choose. But then came polls showing that the wind was blowing in the Walsh direction, and doing so because Walsh’s campaign was wielding goliath-an levers of Hulk power :
$ 2,400,000 — and counting — of special interest money is one hell of a power lever !

King’s choice was thus a simple one, and the man who made his reputation on confronting Irish politcians from the seaside Wards joined hands with one in a “new rainbow coalition.”

Keady beaming ... 10.30.13

^ high point of a thirty-plus year career in Irish Democratic Boston politics : Tom Keady praying that this is not just an illusion

And, symbol of the power levers thus levered, there was Walsh’s reported svengali, Tom Keady — now Boston college’s Director of Development, but long known to me from a time when, as a young political, he worked for then Speaker of the house Tip O’Neill, whose Congressional District included Keady’s home precinct in Brighton’s Ward 22.

Not for himself, at age 85, did King link to Walsh power.This was done, rather, for the next generation of King people. It was a gift from the Grand Old Man of “Arise Ye and take what is rightfully yours.” As such, it is likely to be a powerful endorsement, if it hasn’t come too late in the race in which the tide seems to have already turned..

— Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

BOSTON MAYOR : NATE SILVER-ING THE CONNOLLY-WALSH NUMBERS

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John Connolly — Marty Walsh ; time to prospect the numbers

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Enough polls have been taken of Boston’s Mayoral Final now that we can already conclude much about the race. By the numbers, taking the average of all five recent polls, John Connolly holds a lead of about 43.4 % to Marty Walsh’s 37.3 %. The remaining 19.7 % of voters say they’re undecided. The next ,most important statistic is how steady the two candidate’s support has been. Since the first Final polls appeared, Walsh has polled either 36 % or 37 %, with the exception of one poll that gave him 39 %; Connolly, meanwhile, has polled 44 % or 45 % since before the primary, although two of the five recent polls showed him backing to 41 and 40 % respectively. And in those two polls, his lost voters did not move to Walsh. They became undecided. Walsh’s okay performance in the first debate moved some, his endorsement by a platoon of well-known’s moved the rest — but as i said, not to him; only to undecided.

My former editor in chief at the Boston Phoenix, Peter Kadzis, says that the race is now all about Walsh; that Connolly is “holding on” — his words — and Walsh is moving ahead. I see it just the opposite. Connolly’s support seems consistent, unshakable. The question in the minds of the 55 to 60 % of voters not yet moving to Connolly is whether he really SHOULD be the next Mayor. They are either giving Walsh a second look or — more likely — just learning who he is and willing to hear more. that does not translate, in my mind, to “moving Walsh’s way.”

A closer look at the Globe poll’s numbers seems to weaken Kadzis’s argument. If the poll’s “leaners’ are added to the committeds, Connolly has 47%, Walsh 38% of the vote, with only 15% undecided. this is a significant gap. A candidate who is 9 points down with only 15% undecided practically has to win every undecided vote or else lose.

The poll also suggests that all the energy that Walsh put into winning his spate of endorsements hasn’t helped him much,. Though he gets Arroyo’s September voters by 15 to 9, and Barros voters 13 to 9, he loses Charlotte Golar-Richie voters 19 to 26. Winning his three endorsers; votes by 47 to 44 won’t cut it.

No poll yet done reflects Connolly’s commanding performance in the second debate, held two nights ago. My guess is that that debate moved a measurable chunk of the 14.7% undecideds to Connolly. Even if that is true, however, even if a new poll shows the race Connolly 46-50 and Walsh 37-40, the race is far from wrapped. This is not a presidential election, where almost every voter is sure to vote. many voters won’t bother unless they are TAKEN to the polls. Which means organization, a field army, as all pollsters take care to point out. Walsh is the field-army candidate. That his army may be mostly union activists is a problem impression for him to risk, but on election day that doesn’t matter. Even if the burliest union guy who ever snarled on a picket line shows up at your door to take you to the polls, you will go, because yes, you know it’s your duty to do so. And your almost uncast vote will count just as much as the most dedicated supporter’s.

How much is a dedicated field army worth ? In the many Boston city campaigns that I field-directed, each election day door-knocker could bring eight to ten voters to the polls, of whom maybe half would not have voted without that contact being made. The biggest precinct organization I ever worked with had about 16 people aboard. So, assuming all 16 do their job all day long, good “field’ can add about 64 votes to the total. Walsh probably can’t do much “field” in Wards 4, 5, and most of 3, but in the other 19 he can do plenty. They total 227 precincts. If all his “field people” do their job all day, they can add 227 x 64 = 14,528 votes to the total turnout. that equals about 9.5% of the likely final turnout number.

Of course his “field vote” WON’T total 14,528, for four reasons:

1.On Primary day his people already turned out almost all its vote, in walsh’s strongest precincts. There isn’t much new vote there to get.

2.Some voters whom “field people” bring to the polls don’t vote for that candidate. Not many, probably, but some.

3.All of Walsh’s field people can NOT “do their job” all day long. Traffic, missed communication, voters not answering the door — the fog of election war degrades even the finest field organization. From personal experience I can attest that if Walsh’s field works accomplish two thirds of their goal, they’ll have done well.

4.Connolly may not have a ready-made army of union activists, but he is hardly without committed, hard-working volunteers. Whatever vote Walsh people bring to the polls, Connolly can bring at least half that.

My conclusion ? Walsh can probably add about 8,000 votes to the total, Connolly 4,000. Which gives Walsh a net plus of 4,000 votes. that will likely be about 3 % of the total turnout.

in the Primary, of course, that 4,000 additional vote was good enough, with 12 candidates on the ballot and nobody having a huge number, to move Walsh past Connolly into first place. He managed slightly over 20,000 votes on that day. His field 4,000 comprised 20 % of it. No such bump will Walsh get on November 5th. If he is to win — and he well might — he will have to EARN it, not bring it.

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^ 1967 : Tony D’Arcangelo, who was John Sears’s East Boston guy in that campaign

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Melnea Cass : what Clayton Turnbull and the Black Ministers have been to John Connolly, she was to John Sears in 1967.

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^ John Sears, 1967 :much of what John Connolly is this year, he was in 1967.

POST SCRIPT : Is this 1967 again ? It seems that it is. Then we had a patrician urban reformer, John Sears — a Republican, even — running against the ultimate, South Boston Irish traditionalist, Louise Day Hicks. Sears did not win in the Primary — being a Republican hurt — but Kevin White, who did win, stepped right into Sears’s shoes. And what sort of voters did Sears command ? The young and well educated voters of Wards 3, 4, and 5; italian voters; and the black community. Does this look familiar ? Of course it does. John Connolly has John Sears’s vote, to which he has added his own Wards 19 and 20 and his mother’s home Ward 2 in Charlestown.

It almost amazes me to see how little has actually changed in Boston’s voting patterns and community alliances. The one thing that Has changed is the political party. in 1967, high-minded, education-oriented, parks and green, visionary urban reform was the hallmark of the Massachusetts Republican party — and still very much in power — as was the party’s solid connection to Italian voters and the Black Community (Melnea Cass, after whom the Boulevard was named, was a pillar of 1960s Black Boston — and was, in those days of senator Ed Brooke, a Republican state Committeewoman very active in the Sears campaign.) Today, the policy and community descendants of the 1967 Republican party are almost all Democrats : Obama Democrats, in fact. But then, is Barack Obama himself not precisely the educated, urban, high-minded reformer who would have been that kind of Republican two generations ago ?

— Micahel Freedberg / Here and Sphere

BOSTON MAYOR FINAL — CHARLOTTE’S ENDORSEMENT ANALYZED

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^ center field and left field : Charlotte Golar-Richie and Marty walsh

On Saturday morning at 10 A.M., at a rally called by herself, Charlotte Golar-Richie endorsed Marty Walsh for Mayor.

With her at the endorsing conference were Felix Arroyo and John Barros, both of whom had already endorsed Walsh a few days prior. Seeing the three of them walking with Charlotte Golar-Richie to the conference like the Beatles — as Dorchester’s Joyce Linehan put it — on their Abbey Road LP cover was quite the experience. It seemed a seminal moment in Boston city politics : the Four Horsemen of the “Working families” Apocalypse…

Walsh’s face wore a stun, as if he too couldn’t quite believe he now had the support of the Primary ballot’s three leading candidates of color. Frankly, I was stunned too. But not for long. Hardy had Golar-Richie finished speaking when the news broke that basically her entire campaign staff — finance chairman, field director, and the staffs of several of her local headquarters — were all joining the John Connolly campaign.

Now I was beyond stunned. What the dickens was going on here ? You endorse one guy, and essentially all your people go to work for the other guy ? The same day, no less ?  Surely Golar-Richie had to know. And if so, what was the significance of her endorsement ? I began to ask myself some questions :

1.Why did Golar-Richie not endorse at the same time that Barros and Arroyo did ? Reportedly they asked her to join with them. But she did not. Why ?

2.Why did she wait three full days thereafter — during which time the CUPAC and Black Ministerial Alliance, both of which groups had backed her in the Primary, publicly endorsed Connolly — before finally doing what Barros and Arroyo had asked her to do on Tuesday ?

3.Why did she not endorse John Connolly, since almost all of her staff did so ?

Only Golar-Richie herself knows the answer to these questions. Maybe she will tell us. until she does, however, a few answers suggest themselves simply by the nature of the events. What i think happened is this :

1.Golar-Richie did not want the impact of her endorsement to be diluted as part of a group. She would endorse alone and draw all the attention.

2.She was always a careful candidate whose campaign hallmark was caution and flexibility to all sides –in keeping with her persona as a manager impartial. Thus the waiting period, during which she “carefully assessed” Connolly and Walsh. “Careful assessment’ would lend gravitas to her decision when it came.

3.Meanwhile, she was known to have been one of Menino’s choices to succeed him, and she had been part of his administration; and Menino had already and obviously chosen to give help to Connolly. The period of “careful assessment” allowed her staffers quietly to make their arrangements to join the Connolly camp and thus put a smile on Menino’s chin.

4.Now having assured her staffers of a safe haven — and herself of having gifted Connolly the meat of her campaign — she was free at last to take care of a significant task of personal politics :  ( a ) an endorsement of Connolly by her would allow Arroyo and Barros to box her out, among voters of color (if she chooses to run for elected office again) as not being for “working families”; of favoring the “banker’s candidate” — the ‘school privatizer” — as folks in various camps close to Barros, Arroyo, and Walsh were aleady saying; and ( b ) an endorsement of Walsh would prevent that. Thus Walsh it had to be. A gamble, but a well planned one.

I am guessing that the feverish phone calls back and forth that the Herald’s Peter Gelzinis said took place from Thursday into Friday were about that very issue. Charlotte’s Menino friends told her to get with Connolly : and so she pondered, and gave her staff (and the PAC’s) time to do exactly that. Meanwhile, Charlotte’s Walsh-supporting friends told her to endorse Walsh or be boxed out. And so, once the backstage work was safely done, she endorsed Walsh.

Simple. Shrewd. The reward of caution.

Many smart politicians play both sides of a divide. It’s one of the most successful ways to occupy the political center. Occupying the center — what former Boston Mayor candidate John Sears calls “Playing center field” — was Golar-Richie’s campaign theme, its tone, its distinction, its claim to seriousness. She owns it, and as long as she can “play center field” without errors, she’ll be a serious force in political baseball no matter which man becomes Mayor.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

BOSTON MAYOR FINAL : CHARLOTTE DECIDES

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^ Abbey Road (as Dorchester’s Joyce Linehan says) : Charlotte joins Team Walsh

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The picture that heads my column is one that I admit I never expected to see in this Mayor election. Charlotte Golar-Richie, the quiet, cautious, middle of the road administrator, endorses Marty Walsh, her opposite in every way.

It’s a big boost for Walsh and will certainly have an effect on the November 5th vote. Until Golar-Richie came forward, Walsh’s campaign looked lost and losing. Just in the first five of Boston’s 22 wards he looked down by 10,000 votes. Now that margin looks quite less.

I opine thus not because of the mere fact of Golar-Richie’s endorsement but on account of WHY. The answer is not simple or obvious. Sure, there are personal issues and policy differences that have developed over the years of Connolly’s service on the Council, between him and some activists who certainly Golar-Richie talked to. But i prefer not to think that Golar-Richie chose because of personal stuff. She’s bigger than that. And her endorsement speech offers a wider clue : she talked about Walsh being a Mayor for “working families.” That phrase never crossed her lips during the Primary. They are Walsh’s theme. So who was she saying them to ?

There’s answer for this question too : she was saying them to the union activists who oppose the school reforms that John Connolly wants. These reforms have drawn the ire of Teachers’ Union activists since they were first bruited. Yet they are exactly the reforms being advocated by President Obama’s education secretary, Arne Duncan, and, in Massachusetts by Democrats for education reform.

Why would union activists, Democrats all, oppose so resolutely reforms being proposed by a Democratic President ? In the twitter-sphere — and the blog-o-sphere — one finds out. There one finds a growing anger among progressive people against the radicalized GOP and also against a President whom these activists see as “giving away too much” to the GOP. The radicalization of the GOP is, as Bill Moyers writes astutely, the big political story of the year. Almost as big a story is the like radicalization taking ground inside the Democratic party. You cannot radicalize an electorate in only one direction; voters who differ aren’t going to just sit still and let a radical party take over — or block — the nation ‘s direction. Activists DO things. And so activists on the progressive tip are doing.

In Boston’s Mayor election that has now come to mean opposing a school reform led by Democrats ! The verbal overkill abounds : that Connolly’s school agenda means “privatization” of the public schools, that it’s “some outside group” doing it, that “he’s a jerk,” etc etc. In fact, John Connolly is about as traditional a patrician urban reformer as you can find. What is there in his suggestions for a longer school day, greater leeway for principals to choose teaching staff, core curriculum, and support for charter schools as an alternative, that requires raising the hue and cry ? Horace Mann’s school reforms of the 1840s were no less ambitious, nor the much more radical reforms advocated by John Dewey 110 years ago. 50 years from now, John Connolly’s reforms will look as obvious as Dewey’s and Mann’s reforms 50 years after their day.

The older a nation and its institutions become, the harder it is to reform them. Our nation has aged greatly since 1840, 1900, even since 1965. Reforming our associations today seems almost impossible to do; those vested in them simply WILL NOT change. We see it in Washington, where he Tea party opposes everything and anything that will make this nation fairer and better. Now we see it here in Boston.

Reform of Boston’s schools should begin with the teachers; and with the parents; but for too long there has been disconnect — indeed, a widening of it — that has made school reform a bridge broken; and John Connolly, himself a former teacher and a public school parent, has stepped in to span the reform forward. For this he has incurred the enthusiastic support of school parents, and the support of education-agenda Obama Democrats — and the ire of teacher activists and many economic progressives.

I have had personal experience of this disconnect. I read the Boston Teachers’ Union ten-page schools manifesto several times. For some months I have tried to moderate between friends in the Union and the Connolly agenda. I suggested that the BTU should endorse Connolly, saying we differ on how to reform the schools, but we are one in making schools the top city priority.” I failed. I hope we can still talk and be friends.

I suspect there are many, involved in Boston’s civic matters, who are saying something like.

The education-issue split in the Massachusetts Democratic party seems a portentous event. Add to that the economic split : progressive activists dislike the Obama administration’s ties to big finance. In Boston, some fear that John Connolly is the banker candidate. The business development candidate, he surely is. It’s where Boston is headed and has been headed for at least the last dozen years. But Connolly is by no means a Koch Brother or ALEC guy. He might say, in his own words, that the business of Boston is business, but Connolly’s business looks as if it will be a business culture tolerant, diverse, and open to all who have talent; with all lifestyles fully respected; a “green” business culture and one that supports living wage legislation. This is controversial ? Seems that it is.

The Tea Party first arose in very “red’ states, where the “reformers” were all GOP. Massachusetts is a very “blue” state. Here the Democratic party is almost all, and, as the people of a democracy usually find themselves on the opposite side of issues, splitting the Massachusetts Democratic party is the only option. But ; if that were all that is now happening in this mayor election, it might be set aside afterward. it isn’t. The national Democratic party is splitting too, as progressive activists, tired of President Obama’s cautious generosity of style, are taking the matter of opposing Tea regression into their own hands. We see it in Texas with Wendy Davis, in California thanks to Governor Brown, in the talk of nominating Elizabeth Warren for President rather than Hillary. We see the fight everywhere against Wal Mart and for a much more livable minimum wage.

Yet John Connolly agrees with progressive activists on all those issues — passionately and uncompromisingly so. Only on the issue of school reform do he and the activists differ; and that one difference is now enough to cast him as the activists’ bogeyman, the evil enemy. To those who have watched the Tea party demonize conservative GOP Senators who “aren’t conservative enough,” it all looks depressingly familiar.

This is what Charlotte Golar-Richie has decided to take sides with. People do what they are gonna do.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

BREAKING : Just as I began to post this column, word came that Charlotte’s campaign field director Darryl Smith, AND her Finance chairman Clayton Turnbull are BOTH going to work for John Connolly. Talk about timing !

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^ Golar-Richie’s Field Director announces that he is joining John Connolly : (Connolly seen here with former Council candidate Philip Frattaroli and his Dad.)

BOSTON MAYOR FINAL : THE NUMBERS BEHIND MARTY WALSH’S BLACK COMMUNITIES PUSH

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^ planting his flag in precincts of color : Marty Walsh at Bartlett Street Garage (ward 9 Precinct 5)

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Marty Walsh’s big effort to win at least a majority of voters of color continues. He is getting advice from a respected operative who knows where Walsh should up, and he is showing up and doing it relentlessly. It is essential if Walsh intends to get into the win game for November. Why ? Let us look at the numbers. (I ask my readers’ indulgence on this. It’s a lot of statistics to read, but voting is measured in statistics. They matter totally.)

We have selected 40 precincts dominated by voters of color, by which we mean Black community voters, not Cape Verdean or Hispanic. 40 precincts is, I think, a lot fairer to both candidates than the Globe’s recent one-precinct story featuring a precinct that is far from typical. Here is the list, and the September 24th result. Keep in mind that by far the majority of voters picked Golar-Richie, Barros, Clemons, and even Arroyo.

Ward 12 Precincts 2 and 4
(along the West side of Blue Hill Avenue) ……….. Connolly 68 Walsh 55
Ward 12Precincts 6 and 8
(further up the west side of Blue Hill Avenue to Grove Hall)
…………………………………………………………….          Connolly 42 Walsh 37
Ward 12 Precincts 3 and 5
(along Warren Street along M. L. King Blvd) ……. Connolly 48 Walsh 46
Ward 12 Precincts 7 and 9
(south of M. L. King Blvd to Seaver Street) ……..  Connolly 93 Walsh 73
Ward 14 complete (14 precincts)
(easterly side of Blue Hill Ave from Fayston Street all the way to walk Hill Street, and across Blue Hill west to Harvard St from Talbot Ave south) .. Connolly 479 Walsh 371
Ward 18 Precincts 3 and 21 (Almont Field area) .. Connolly 125 Walsh 81
Ward 18 Precincts 2 and 4 (Mattapan Sq)………… Connolly 85 Walsh 77
Ward 18 Precinct 15 (along River Street, railroad underpass to Hungtington Ave)\
…………                                                                     Connolly 54 Walsh 29
Ward 10 Precinct 7 (Bromley Heath housing)…… Connolly 29 Walsh 27
Ward 11 Precincts 2 aand 3 (along Washington Street from Cedar Street to Columbus Ave)
…………                                                                     Connolly 60 Walsh 60
Ward 17 Precincts 1 and 3 (Washington Street Dorchester from Park Street south)
…………                                                                     Connolly 80 Walsh 108
Ward 17 Precincts 5 and 7 (Codman Sq. west) … Connolly 33 Walsh 40
Ward 17 Precincts 8 and 10 (Codman square South and Norfolk Street west)
………….                                                                   Connolly 84 Walsh 68
Ward 15 Precincts 2 and 8 (Richfield Street / Bowdoin-Geneva and Charles Street north of
Fields Corner ………………………………………….       Connolly 45 Walsh 71
TOTAL VOTE IN 40 PRECINCTS ………………….       Connolly 1357 Walsh 1188

On Final election day these 40 precincts will likely cast a total of about 16,000 votes. If so, it means that about 13,470 votes are up for grabs, with — if the September proportions hold — an advantage to Connolly of about eight points = 1100 votes. It’s a small advantage, but as the precinct numbers show, it was, except for areas close to Walsh’s Dorchester, a consistent one for Connolly. Given how poorly Walsh performed on Primary day outside of his South Boston / seaside Dorchester base, it’s a consistent 1100 vote loss he can’t afford. But there is more to it for him than just the 1100 votes. Look:

White candidates of good will often campaign in Black communities not simply to try to win Black voters’ votes. These candidates know that many white voters are watching them and are assured of these candidates’ progressive or reformist bona fides thereby. Walsh’s serious effort in Boston’s most Black voter precincts is thus an effort to impress white voters in neighborhoods dominated by progressive or reformist whites, all of which he lost decisively on September 24th. He can’t BE Felix Arroyo, or John Barros, and certainly can’t do Charlotte Golar-Richie; but he can try to impress their white, reformist allies.

Will it work ? It might. All depends on how strongly progressive or reformist voters rate winning voters of color’s confidence, compared to the campaign’s hottest agenda issues : school reform, jobs and the building boom, the bicycle/Hubway movement, restaurants and liquor licences, diversity in the police force and Mayor’s cabinet. Yet even if Walsh’s larger objective fails, the vigor of his campaign in the 40 precincts (and some others) will keep him from being beaten decisive therein by John Connolly. This is no minor factor. Historically, Boston’s communities of color have been much more easily drawn to patrician, even Brahmin reformers like Connolly than to candidates with rough edges and laborer’s hands, who Marty Walsh personifies.

Anybody who meets Walsh sees pretty quickly that he is as passionate a reformer as he is about Labor. The only question is, how many voters of color will meet him ? And believe him ? His success on Novemnber 5th probably depends on it.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

BOSTON PRIMARY DAY : WHAT IT MEANS

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^ And now the political theater begins : Marty Walsh

112,804 Boston people cast ballots in yesterday’s Preliminary Election. That’s way less than the 157,041 who voted in 1967’s equally intense mayor primary, but it IS more than voted in 2009’s FINAL. It’s a good number, and not far short of the 119,000 we predicted would vote.

You all know by now the result. Marty Walsh, with 20,838 votes, made good on his election-eve claim that he would “top the ticket.” John Connolly finished with 19,420 votes — in second place. Charlotte Golar-Richie finished third — 3900 votes back of Connolly; Dan Conley finished 2800 votes behind her, and Felix Arroyo took the fifth spot some 1900 votes behind Conley. John Barros finished a close sixth, 750 votes short of Arroyo. Consalvo and Ross finished seventh and eighth.

For the 12 primary hopefuls, it was a polite campaign. No one wanted to go negative and this excite the others’ supporters to come out in larger numbers. Indeed, that 112,804 people turned out to vote in a love fest is a credit to the civic-mindedness of some 30 % of Boston’s registered voters. It was far different in 1967, when there was passion and drama all over the campaign, anger between candidates, riots at times in the city, and unrest the rest of the time.

We can do without the riots, but everything else that made 1967 such a Shakespearean campaign we need plenty of. We need debate, we need anger; we need the two remaining candidates and their supporters to go at it hammer and tong. Because Walsh and Connolly really are very different men with very different agendas and support bases. None of it should be glossed over with pretty talk and grins. If the huge differences between these men do not collide with the sound of shoulder pads and helmets clanging, so to speak, it will man hiding these differences in the closet, to taint the administration of whomever wins, and to make the winner’s agenda distrusted from the start.

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^ thespians all : john Connolly

As for analysis, here’s how we see yesterday :

1. The “base” vote. Walsh did much better in his South Boston/Dorchester “base” than Connolly did in his West Roxbury/Roslindale homeland. But Walsh did not have to compete with a seriously strong candidate in his base, as Connolly did with Dan Conley. Had Walsh had to give up 30 % of his home vote to a competitor, as did Connolly, Charlotte Golar-Richie would be in the Final today, not Walsh.

2. East Boston, Charlestown, North End, Downtown. These areas were to be John Connolly’s trump, his claim to city-wide strength, and so they were. He beat Marty Walsh convincingly in the region. But the turnout here was small. Connolly’s field organization did not do the job here that it should have. Had turnout in this region come even close to that in Ward 20, Connolly would have finished convincingly in first place.

3. Communities of Color. Despite valiant efforts, neither Walsh nor Connolly broke 75 votes in any precinct of Wards 8,11, 12, or 14. Nor in most precincts of wards 9, 10, 17, and 18. This entire region — maybe 25% of the City — now stands up for grabs, with no obvious inclination in either man’s direction.

That said, John Barros should be on John Connolly’s first-call list right now, and Felix Arroyo on Marty Walsh’s. The supporters of each have a natural place in these respective campaigns. Charlotte Golar-Richie’s support, however, is the prize — and the mystery. Her agenda fits, more or less, with both Walsh’s and Connolly’s.

4. School Transformation. It was Connolly’s mantra, and it carried a lot of weight. But not enough. As Walsh well said on election night, “I am not the one-issue candidate in this election !” Connolly should immediately, if not sooner, grab the administrative reform issue that made Dan Conley a serious contender. Connolly should in particular pick up Conley’s brilliant series of neighborhood brochures listing specific administrative reforms, most of which hit the bulls-eye. Conley and Connolly are natural allies. If Connolly hasn’t called Dan already, he should do so NOW.

5. Unions. Huge, football fan-like support from union activists gave Marty Walsh a big Primary day field force. They got their vote to the polls. Nonetheless, Union support is not a strength for Walsh going forward. Labor activists can get 20,000 voters to the polls. They cannot get the 80,000 or so which will likely be needed to win in November. Unions generate strong opposition even in progressive Boston. No one liked the pressure the Firemen brought to bear on the City budget at their contract time; and the Big Dig, albeit an economic boon, is not forgotten for huge cost overruns in part generated by Union wages. Personally, I have no problem at all with union wages; hard working people deserve great pay. But the Unions that negotiate such pay often use tactics that alienate large swaths of people — who do not forget. Walsh needs badly to convince those who did not vote for him that he is not Walter Reuther.

That said, the construction workers and the Firemen at least have strong ties to Boston people, ties that remain, at least in part, because these Unions are led by shrewd political leaders (of whom Walsh himself was one). The same cannot be said of the Boston Teachers Union (BTU). It endorsed two losing candidates — Felix Arroyo, justifiably; Rob Consalvo much less so — and now stands out in the cold. Neither Connolly nor Walsh are likely to enact the BTU’s agenda, especially its opposition to charter schools — schools backed by a huge majority of Boston voters — a meaningful longer school day, giving principals power to choose their teachers, or the seniority rules that caused 2012’s “teacher of the year’ to be laid off because he was junior in time on the job. Had the BTU acted shrewdly — by endorsing Connolly, for making the schools a prime issue, saying something like “we differ with Connolly on how, but we agree with him on the need for reform” — it would now be in a strong position to see some of its agenda included in the Connolly package. Didn’t happen.

6. A majority of the November winner’s vote will come from people who DID NOT vote for him yesterday. How does a candidate win the votes of those who did not choose him first ? One principle cries out : these voters will now vote for the candidate they DIS-like less. Thus the need that I presented earlier, to run a negative campaign; to DIFFER with the opponent, passionately. And there is plenty to differ with, for both Connolly and Walsh. Plenty on many fronts.

—- —- —-

A Final word from me : the campaign trend that I most reject is already developing : both campaigns are becoming institutionalized. Television theater. Connolly’s already had done so. Now Walsh’s too. This I hate. It makes the campaigns look phony and sound plastic. We have enough Plastic Men in our politics. I do not want to see Walsh or Connolly standing on a stage with an American flag behind them, like a President — which they aren’t — and what looks like a diversity audience at an Oprah show. Diversity is wonderful, but in such calculated displays it looks like window dressing. Let’s see Connolly or Walsh on stage by themselves, with no flags or fooforaw, just them, speaking to us all out in the crowd, on the street like a jury of 175,000.

— Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

BOSTON MAYOR RACE : TIME TO CHOOSE

The Primary takes place Tuesday. The deciding time is now.

To help you decide, we now present what in our view is the strongest argument for each of the nine candidates who have impressed us. Some carry more authority than others; this is inevitable, for people do differ. Still, all nine hopefuls deserve support. How MUCH support is for YOU to decide.

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1. John Connolly.

He owns the campaign’s number one issue — public school reform — and articulates an encompassing plan with passion and detail; a plan which he connects convincingly to two other issues that really matter, with solutions that he articulates persuasively : better jobs and public safety in the neighborhoods. He has broad support all across the city. He has a hip understanding of the new, burgeoning Downtown. If school transformation, cultural awareness, and support from every corner of Boston are your idea of what the next Mayor should be, John Connolly is your man.

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2. Marty Walsh

If John Connolly is a cool dude, Walsh is a hot button, a candidate of urgency. No candidate in the race matches Walsh’s civil rights record. His supporters embrace him with a passion no other candidate approaches. Walsh owns the campaign’s second biggest issue : the Downtown Building boom — which he wants extended by school construction, the potential East Boston casino, and an entirely redeveloped City Hall Plaza. He has the most forward plan for recruiting business es to locate in Boston.

Curiously, for a man so committed to a booming Downtown, Walsh seems culturally very unhip, even unaware. And his education plan seems limited compared to Connolly’s, though it has its strong points, especially on emotional and social education — very cutting edge curriculum items. Walsh has the backing of most Boston labor unions — but not the Teachers — and this has hurt him as much as helped.

Still, if extending Boston’s construction boom, bringing in new business, and having a Mayor who doesn’t view union workers as the opposition are your agenda, Marty Walsh gets your vote.

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3. Dan Conley.

He’s received almost no endorsements — Connolly has almost all of them — but he doesn’t really need endorsements. Conley is known well already and, as Suffolk County District Attorney, he represents and has been elected by the entire City. He’s even less hip than Walsh — is exactly whom you’d expect to find at a VFW Post or an Elks lodge — but makes up for it by having as progressive a record on staff diversity as anyone seeking to be our Mayor. No candidate would be tougher on reform of the City’s Police and Fire departments — both much needed; Conley displays a better knowledge of City administration, and its failures, than any of his rivals in this race. He doesn’t like casinos much but isn’t obsessed with stopping them. If thorough reform of the City’s various administrative departments is your top priority, Conley gets your vote.

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4. Charlotte Golar-Richie.

She is of course the only woman in the race and has become the top choice of Boston’s African-american political community. (Note, however, that the Caribbean Political action Committee endorsed John Connolly.) Golar-Richie has authoritative experience in Boston government, as Tom Menino’s Director of Neighborhood Development, represented Dorchester’s least politically active ward (15) in the Legislature, and worked in Governor Patrick’s administration. She has gained the support of State Representatives Moran and Michlewitz; they are actively campaigning on her behalf. Golar-Richie’s advocacy of issues often lacks depth or detail, and it’s not clear what her top priorities are — other than advancing women to top positions in the Police and Fire departments — but her broad base of support, ability to command Boston’s African-American politics, and advocacy for women moves you, Golar-Richie is your vote on Tuesday.

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5. Felix G. Arroyo.

We have known Arroyo since he was a small child growing up as the namesake son of Felix D. Arroyo, Massachusetts’ s most successful politician of Latino heritage. Arroyo has his Dad’s passion for raising the disadvantaged and the poor up into the economic mainstream; they — and the City’s children who find themselves set back in school because at home they speak languages first other than English — are his top priority for attention. He also advocates assuring disadvabtaged kids a sure connection to better jobs, and he seeks the formation of new businesses (his “invest in Boston” program, whereby banks in which Boston deposits its billion dollars are required to lend to and invest in local businesses first, has just been voted favorably by the City Council).  He speaks of securing crime plagued neighborhoods from youth violence, which he rightly sees as the result of lacking opportunity. If attention to raising people usefully out of poverty is your first priority for Boston’s next mayor, Arroyo is your man.

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6. John Barros and Mike Ross.

They’re a matched pair, really. The campaign’s two smartest and most visionary candidates forsee a very different Boston than the City we live in today, a City radically evolved in transportation, working wages, environmental green, effective housing plans for every income level, and smart entrepreneurs — all of which both men articulate eloquently and in very practical detail. The mayoralty of either would be an adventure. Hardly any City department is deployed to anything like the City they want to bring about. Voting for Barros or Ross, rather than Connolly — who would likely be the more cautious choice for voters considering these two men — depends upon how successful you think Barros or Ross would be in making their visionary Boston happen. Many voters will decide that adventure into tomorrow is needed right now. They will want to vote for Barros or Ross.

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7. Rob Consalvo and Bill Walczak.

I’ve paired these two very different candidates because both have made a single issue their campaign gravatar, and those for whom either man’s single issue is the vital necessity for Boston may want to give that issue greater attention by so voting. For Walczak the issue is stopping casinos– in particular both the East Boston casino AND the casino project planned for Everett, right next door to Charlestown — and building an East Boston “innovation district” instead. (why we can’t have both, Walczak does not say.). If you agree that a casino in Boston or Everett needs be stopped so badly that all other issues come second, Bill Walczak is your man. For Consalvo the issue is advocating the Boston Teachers’ Union (BTU) plan for Boston school reform : first principle of which is to curb, if not end, charter schools. There is much in the BTU reform plan — a ten page manifesto well worth reading from top to bottom — that commands support, especially its commitment to give all students, including the difficult kids, equal access to core curriculum attention well beyond the MCAS requirements. No one should plan a school reform that does not command the enthusiasm of school teachers, whose job is so exhausting, exciting, demanding. Those who want Boston school teachers to be heard at school reform time may think the surest way of getting there is to vote for Consalvo.

8.There are three other candidates on the ballot, good men all — Charles Yancey, Charles Clemons, and David Wyatt — but none has drawn significant voter support, mostly because each has run a limited campaign often lacking in depth beyond a demonstrable passion for issues that the major campaigns have not focused upon. You may decide to vote for one of these men. They all deserve attention to their issues : Yancey, his long experience and knowledge; Clemons, making the City administration “look like the City”; Wyatt, his skepticism about the ability of City government to do much better than it has. For us, the significance of their candidacies lies in their infusing their issues into the campaign discussion. A vote, though, seems one infusion too far in such a deep field of strong candidates.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere

BOSTON MAYOR RACE : WHAT THE THREE POLLS TELL US

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^ John Connolly : the school issue is his and very possibly the election

—- — —

You’ve all seen the three new polls published on Boston’s Mayor campaign. (If you haven’t seen them, go look.) Taken together, they show the following percents of vote for the top nine contenders :

Connolly at 14 to 16
Walsh at 10 to 12
Conley at 8 to 12
Golar-Richie at 10
Arroyo at 6 to 8
Consalvo at 6 to 8
Barros at 3 to 6
Walczak at 4 to 6
Ross at 5
Undecided : 19 to 22

There isn’t, or shouldn’t be, much doubt about what these numbers tell us :

1. John Connolly will be in the Final. He appears very much in command of the race. School transformation is his issue, it’s the voters’ number one issue too, and he articulates his agenda for schools with authority, detail, conviction, and a convincing tie-in to the other two major issues, jobs and public safety. His field organization — “ground game” in this campaign’s argot — is broadly based, in very diverse communities of the city, and well versed in what field organizations are supposed to in a primary : get out the vote. Plus, his Mom’s from Charlestown. That, dear readers, is authenticity.

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^ Marty Walsh : the voice of Urgency

2. Marty Walsh should be in the Final, because his issue is a clear alternative one to Connolly’s : keeping the construction boom going in Boston — and expanding its reach, because it furthers economic development and creates good jobs. Unfortunately for Walsh, his issue is a smaller one than Connolly’s. There are 58,000 public school parents in Boston and lots more who would be public school parents if they could perceive the city’s public schools as good enough. There are far fewer than 58,000 construction jobs in city. The particularity of Walsh’s vision threatens to keep him out of second place — more on that below; but, fortunately for his chances, he is backed by a field organization as large as Connolly’s (and maybe larger) and passionately dedicated to this campaign’s “candidate of Urgency.”

It also helps that he is a true son of Boston’s land of on-street parking and rows of three deckers. That, dear readers, is grit and lumber !

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^ Dan Conley : administrative reform may not be sexy enough to win a spot in the final

3. Dan Conley might edge past Walsh to the second spot because as Suffolk County District Attorney (and former District 5 Councillor) he is already a proven city-wide administrator who speaks in authoritative detail — and with conviction — about the reforms he would bring to city administration, the police and fire departments most of all. He has tons of money and a field organization as dependable — if less passionate or diverse — as Walsh’s. His problem is that city administration reform isn’t an issue that hits voters where they live, as do schools and jobs. A Mayor can always hire an administrative reformer.

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^ Charlotte Golar-Richie : political history is her mother earth

4.Charlotte Golar-Richie has risen in the polls. She now contends. This she has done by dint of being the only woman in the candidate list — something she rarely neglects to mention — and the most prominent of color. This is, oddly, a candidate of identity politics, a winner 30 and 40 years ago but probably not today. Voters of color give her strong backing, but by no means overwhelming. Today they want results, not image. Golar-Richie is also hindered by her forensics. At Forums and on the stump she sometimes articulates a vision, sometimes not. Even at her best the vision seems flavorless — a less punitive version of Conley’s “I Will Reform City Administration.” Uneven articulation of mild reform excites no one, and thus Golar-Richie’s field organization — and her voters — seem lacking the necessary force to “get out the vote” on Primary day. That is why she polls in fourth place.

UPDATE : as expected, Golar-Richie today received endorsement by State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and state Rep. Russell Holmes. BUT … State Rep. Byron Rushing endorsed Felix Arroyo….

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^ Particularist candidates ; Felix arroyo (above) and Rob Consalvo

5.Felix Arroyo and Rob Consalvo seem matched pairs. as Consalvo’s poll has declined, Arroyo’s has increased. They now poll the same. Each has the Boston Teachers Union (BTU) endorsement. Each man has a campaign theme that no rival encroaches upon : Arroyo’s theme is a “pathway out of poverty,” through full-day schools to jobs which, with union organization behind them, can pay well. (Arroyo never fails to mention how as an organizer of janitors, he got their pay boosted from $ 9.00 an hour with no benefits to $ 16,.00 an hour with full benefits.) He also talks “invest in Boston,’ a program — just now voted favorably by the City Council — to require banks in which the City keeps its money (a billion dollars) to invest in Boston businesses. Consalvo, meanwhile, has taken to being the BTU’s voice on school reform, an agenda quite unlike Connolly’s, one which takes the risky position of defending Boston Public school performance. The problem for both men, and why they poll at only 6 to 8 percent, is that the voters either do not agree (Consalvo) or are to narrow a constituency (Arroyo) to get either candidate close to a second place Primary finish. Limited visions with limited constituencies may well exhibit great passion ; both Consalvo and Arroyo have that from their supporters. But a passionate vote counts no more than a coolly reflective one, just as the keys on a laptop only punch one letter at a time no matter how hard your finger hits them.

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^ Brilliance : Mike Ross (and John Barros) speak vividly of tomorrow. But the elect is today.

6. Mike Ross and John Barros poll lower still. The two men are the brightest and most progressive visionaries of all the candidates. No one speaks more eloquently. None has a surer grasp of what city life will be tomorrow. So what is the problem ? First, neither man leads a large constituency. Ross’s Back Bay / Beacon Hill / Mission Hill District has little in common, economically or culturally, with the rest of the City. Barros is a hero to the denizens of Dudley Square, which the organization that he founded has revitalized; to the citizens of Uphams’ Corner, where he lives; and to Boston’s Cape Verdean community. But even if you add up all three of Barros’s bases, it’s small potatoes compared to the city as a whole. And this is his first race ever for elected office.

7.The 19 % undecided. It’s still the largest number of any in the three polls. theoretically it’s large enough to anoint or eliminate anyone. That will not happen. undecided voters do one of the following : ( a ) not vote at all ( b ) vote for a perceived winner, because they know him or her best anyway or ( c ) decide on the issues, among several who they are considering. The first group doesn’t count. The second trends to John Connolly. the third will likely divide in many directions. My guess is that the undecideds won’t change the current poll very much. They’ll simply fatten its numbers.

—- Michael Freedberg / Here and Sphere