Sunday, September 13, 2009

Boston Globe Goes Fishing: Gets Little for Dinner

The Boston Globe today published an investigative piece that evaluated emails sent by staffers of Mayor Menino to determine if they cross the line between being civic and being political. After what the Globe admits was an expensive effort, the reporters didn't uncover much.

One staffer sent an innocent email to a friend who decided to support one of the Mayor's opponents in the election. Another staffer sent a note offering women's basketball tickets from the Mayor to community children's groups in the city. Another admitted he paid attention to those who had contributed to a competitive effort.

This is not exactly Watergate stuff (and while I am not a lawyer, I don't think any of it is illegal). I appreciate the Globe's commitment to investigative reporting, but I think everyone out there should keep the discoveries in context.

The Globe hints to an underlying theme-- also pushed by the Mayor's opponents-- that many of the Mayor's most ardent supporters on the campaign trail also work for City Hall. Which to me brings up a basic point: Should it surprise anyone that people who work for the Mayor think he's a good guy and that he should be re-elected? I actually would be quite concerned if they decided NOT to work for the Mayor's re-election efforts.

While I work in the private sector now, I remember interning for Vice President Gore in 1996. I remember that the interns often volunteered to help with the Clinton/Gore re-election campaign that year. I remember being upset when I heard of friends who were supporting Senator Bob Dole. I was working so hard for my candidate, I couldn't help but take it personally.

I also remember that one of my fellow interns, Ryan Hart, was thrown into an effort to help save his own position shortly after he started. USAID, where he interned, found itself on the chopping block in budgeting negotiations. Ryan hadn't even interned for a week, and yet he was stressing the successes of USAID while we watched TV at night. For employees in Boston's City Hall, who themselves will likely have to change jobs if the Mayor loses this campaign season, it should not be a shock to anyone that they work long hours during volunteer time to support the Mayor's campaign.

If there's one part of the Globe story that I can attest to first hand, and which cannot be overstated, it's this:

"The liaisons, who make an average of $37,000 annually, are known as some of the hardest-working employees at City Hall and many residents give them high marks for helping them take care of everything from unplowed and trash-strewn streets to finding new housing after a fire or securing a permit for a block party."

As I have pointed out before, the tireless efforts of the Mayor's staffers are collectively one of the main reasons he has my vote. Given that they are young, the sad commentary here is the Boston Globe has decided to investigate a group of 20-somethings whose only fault is they work their butts off for their boss, during public and private time.

And speaking of my vote, I am looking forward to casting it for the Mayor tomorrow night, when the Ward 5 Democratic Committee meets to consider an endorsement in the race.

1 comment:

ben said...

I'm disappointed in how low a threshold you set for supporting a candidate. Constituent services? Its the least a 16 year incumbent mayor (or a 46 year incumbent senator) can do in terms of achievement. And its also impossible to compare another candidate against. Schools, business development, ethics and a grasp of the 21st century would be more valid starting points.