Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Michael Flaherty Against the World

The Boston Courant related it to the Iowa Caucuses, and one city council at-large candidate called it the "bell weather" of this election cycle. A forum for at-large Boston city council candidates packed a Back Bay community room this past Tuesday, kicking off the 2011 election season with a nice burst of interest.

My ward committee, the Boston Ward 5 Democratic Committee, hosted the forum, which drew six of the seven candidates-- Incumbents Stephen Murphy, Felix Arroyo and John Connolly; and challengers Michael Flaherty, William Dorcena and Sean Ryan. Only Ayanna Pressley-- also an incumbent-- couldn't make it, and she had a very acceptable reason. Her mom is very, very sick.

Numerous outlets, including Universal Hub, Dorchester Reporter, Boston Courant and The Boston Phoenix, have written about the forum, so mostly to get things off my chest I add my own observations:

1) This race is Michael Flaherty vs. the world. Flaherty was an at-large city councilor until two years ago, when he decided to run for Mayor (and was defeated by Mayor Tom Menino by a large margin). Now Flaherty wants his old job back, and it's clear the incumbent councilors are not in his favor. Councilor Connolly was the most direct, basically telling the audience at the forum that the current slate of at-large city councilors was the best slate since the current City Council makeup was introduced. Flaherty followed by noting he is "beholden to no one." To me, Flaherty seemed a bit off during the night.

2) The First Church in Boston doesn't have air conditioning. The forum's venue, the First Church in Boston, became quite warm during the event. It also didn't help that the room was packed.

3) The three candidates who earned the ward committee's endorsement all contacted members directly. Ward 5 dems endorsed Connolly, Arroyo and Pressley. Arroryo sent committee members a letter. Connolly called members ahead of the forum, and Pressley both made calls and submitted a letter that was read aloud to the membership.

For the record, I cast my endorsement votes (as a member of the committee) for Pressley, Connolly, Arroyo and Murphy (the four incumbents).

Thanks to all who made the forum an overwhelming success!


Anonymous said...

What's the deal with Steve Murphy and why does he have your support? He doesn't raise money and never seems to put in the effort campaigning as others.

Ross Levanto said...

Ben-- Excellent question and I appreciate your asking. This year was the first I actually did vote for Councilor Murphy. Honestly, I agree with you that he doesn't put in the effort that the others do. However, I can tell you that he made some excellent points during the forum. I like his pressing for changes to the school system and lottery. He also is a huge advocate for BH/BB when it comes to the groundwater trust issues. Others had similar views, but his longevity on the council provides a level of know-how that was also impressive. I know the last comment is ironic, given that he has tried to run for numerous other offices while a city councilor.