Today, anyone with a shred of political ambition is staring at something that hasn’t been seen in Boston since 1983: an open mayor’s seat.
Boston Mayor Tom Menino tipped his hand in an interview with Globe editor (and former columnist) Brian McGrory. Menino strongly hinted to McGrory that he was preparing to announce that he won’t be seeking a record sixth term in November. He’s settling for five — a record he set four years ago.
“This is a decision that has torn me apart for a while,” the mayor told McGrory yesterday. “I’ll tell you something, when you love something, you don’t want to walk away. The people in the neighborhoods” — here, McGrory writes, Menino’s voice trailed off — “they know I’ve never walked away from a fight in my career.” And with that, he walked away.
Outside his Hyde Park home this morning, Menino joked about a last-minute change of mind, before saying, “When you have something you really loved, you lived 24/7 the last 20 years, it’s tough to say no. But there’s a time and place for everything. I’m excited about it. It’s a sad day, but it’s a day that will always come in your career.” A formal announcement is planned for this afternoon, at Faneuil Hall.
The Herald’s columnists flood the zone this morning. Margery Eagan calls Menino a legend and, in his own odd way, a natural. Joe Battenfeld sees the mayor, though slowed by recent illness, going out on top. Howie Carr does exactly what you’d expect him to do. Peter Gelzinis looks ahead to the first wide-open mayoral race in three decades by talking to one of the combatants in the last one, Mel King. King sees an opening for a candidate of color to shift the city’s focus from downtown development, and onto neighborhood residents who find themselves at the short end of gentrification, as he did 30 years ago. Tellingly, King insists that if a candidate held such a platform, they should have been running, regardless of whether or not Menino stayed in the race.
The bigger question for Boston is what the city’s next mayor makes of the job Menino has dominated, and redefined, over the past two decades. Five years ago, Boston magazine argued that Menino’s astounding staying power derived in large part from his ability to make the job seem both small and unappealing: “Sixteen-hour days, seven days a week, endless brain-numbing chats with nattering old biddies in diners and death-smelling senior centers, dour micromanagement of every facet of city government all the way down to the boob and sub-boob levels — all without the consolation of the sort of flashiness, low-level corruption, and big pulpit-punching speechifying that old-time powerhouse mayors indulged in to keep things interesting. Not only has Menino made it next to impossible for someone to take the job from him, but he’s also made the job itself seem so lousy that few in their right mind would want it.” It remains to be seen whether Menino has redefined (and ruined) the mayor’s job for good, or whether his successor rewrites the job description as much as he did.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump uncovers sex offenders living at the same address as child care facilities, the Associated Press reports (via Lowell Sun). A Leominster day care provider loses her license, the Telegram & Gazette reports.
The State Ethics Commission finds a Haverhill selectman broke the law when she pressured the police chief to restore her son to active duty, the Eagle-Tribune reports.
An assistant clerk magistrate in Quincy District Court determined there was insufficient evidence to bring drunken driving charges against a top aide to Mayor Thomas Koch who had crashed into the Fore River Bridge on her way home from a microbrewery.
Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone taps a local newspaper publisher to head the city’s zoning board of appeals.
Newbury readies a property tax relief plan for beleaguered Plum Island homeowners.
Steve Wynn’s emissary, Everett casino renderings in hand, comes courting with a new come-on: Would you like to see my etchings? The renderings appear to have polished the chronically polluted Mystic River into a sparkling waterway.
The New York Times speculates that the Supreme Court won’t push hard on same-sex marriage because gay rights are spreading through the states on their own. New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait details the slow death of the anti-gay marriage movement.
The New Hampshire House approves a 12-cent hike in the gas tax, the Eagle-Tribune reports.
In back-to-back televised debates, the three Republicans vying for the US Senate nomination square off, followed by the two Democratic hopefuls. No knock-out punches delivered.
Two business groups in Holyoke are gathering signatures to put changes to the city charter on the ballot this year. One of those changes would increase the mayor’s term from two to four years, MassLive reports.
A report funded by the Greater Boston Real Estate Board says a proposal by Mayor Tom Menino to require large commercial property owners to monitor and report energy and water use in their buildings will impose undue financial burdens without necessarily leading to energy savings.
A Superior Court judge has ordered a couple to either comply with 2011 restraining order to limit the number of sites on their Middleboro campground or shut the place down completely. The couple has been renting out over 100 campsites each season, ignoring the permit issued in 1984 that limits the number of sites to 57.
Students at Framingham High School protest the failure to prosecute or even punish a student allegedly involved in two sexual assaults, the Metrowest Daily News reports.
A damning report paints a picture of gross incompetence — and worse — among administrators of Roxbury Community College under the regime of former president Terrence Gomes.
Paul Levy is in a Twitter tiff with the Commonwealth Fund over his savaging of a report the nonprofit funded on health care payment reform.
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a new drug made by Cambridge-based Biogen Idec to treat multiple sclerosis. It is the first Biogen pill approved for MS; the company already makes two injectable treatments for the disease.
The Atlantic takes a run at runaway health care costs.
A bill proposed in North Carolina would require hospitals to disclose their prices on the most common medical procedures, the News Observer reports.
Tennessee won’t expand its Medicaid coverage under Obamacare.
Shades of Sen. Elizabeth Warren: The International Monetary Fund says ending subsidies for fossil fuels around the world would ease government deficits and help address climate change, the Wall Street Journal reports.
A convicted serial rapist from Rockland who has been on the run for 34 years was found and arrested in Maine last night.
MEDIADavid Bernstein of the late Boston Phoenix breaks the Menino story (sort of) on Twitter, Poynter reports.
Veteran Boston rocker Tom Scholz loses his defamation lawsuit against the Boston Herald and its gossip-fueled Inside Track columnists.