The Yancey Show

Charles Yancey has no shot at getting elected mayor of Boston in November. Charles Yancey is also a veteran Boston politician whom none of the 11 other would-be mayors of Boston can write off. And because of the convergence of these two sets of facts, it’s looking like no mayoral candidate will cause as much angst as Yancey will. And really, in the end, isn’t that the point?

Yvonne Abraham’s column asks today, “Is Yancey’s run for real?” She asks the question, seemingly knowing the answer already. She nevertheless gives Yancey, the 30-year city councilor from Dorchester, a couple paragraphs to defend his long-shot mayoral candidacy before she shreds it.

Yancey doesn’t come in for abuse because he would be a disaster as mayor; he comes in for abuse because, seemingly knowing the electorate knows he’d be a disaster as mayor, he’s chasing Mayor Tom Menino’s current job while also running for reelection to his own City Council seat. Yancey is best known for delivering long, rambling speeches, and for his willingness to turn any issue before the council, be it school transportation or public safety or hot dog carts regulations, into an opening for promoting a high school that few people aside from Yancey himself want built in Mattapan. The highlight of his political career came when Jimmy Kelly engineered Yancey’s election as city council president, as a way to spite Menino.

After a June education forum, Globe columnist Larry Harmon said Yancey “seemed more interested in touting the successes and educational achievements of his children than in offering new ideas for the city’s schools.” He loves telling war stories about ordinances he passed with the help of Councilor Tom Menino, but he’s done little to convince people he’s actually serious about wanting to be mayor. Thus Abraham’s asking, are you for real? Followed quickly by a shiv.

Yancey tells Abraham today that he isn’t pursuing a no-risk campaign strategy, running for two seats at once, because he’s afraid of taking the same risk that his city council colleagues Felix Arroyo, John Connolly, Rob Consalvo and Mike Ross are taking. He paints his strategy as a concession to his constituents: “My constituents were concerned that if I ran for mayor and did not prevail, that I would lose my voice in city government, and they were pretty insistent about that, so the compromise is, I’m running for both,” he insisted.

Abraham isn’t buying it. “If you’re serious about running for mayor, you shouldn’t be hedging your bets,” she writes. And this isn’t the first time Yancey’s two-seat strategy has come in for criticism. The Globe recently ran a tough editorial that argued, “If Yancey is so eager to make his presence felt at the citywide level, then he should give up on reelection to his council seat and allow new political leadership to blossom in Mattapan and other parts of the district, which suffer from disproportionately high crime and poverty rates. If he believes his local constituents can’t get by without him, then he should abandon the crowded, 12-candidate mayor’s race and leave the field to more committed candidates.”

Yancey, of course, has no intention of giving up his safe city council seat for a mayoral run he can’t win. But the real significance of Yancey’s dual candidacy is what it does to the rest of the mayoral field — folks who don’t just have to listen to him talking about the Mattapan high school at mayoral forums across the city, but who might suffer real political damage at Yancey’s hands, come September.

The same constituents who Yancey says won’t let him abandon his city council seat have elected him 15 times. He’s collected more than 6,000 votes in his last two mayoral-year races. Come September, thousands of his constituents are going to vote for him twice. Every one of those votes will come from some other mayoral candidate’s column, be it Consalvo or Arroyo or Charlotte Richie or Dan Conley. In a race where observers believe as few as 25,000 votes could be enough to send a candidate to November’s mayoral final, Yancey’s votes really matter. Even if this election doesn’t seem to matter much to him.

                                                                                                                                                                         –PAUL MCMORROW


State lawmakers dismiss Gov. Deval Patrick’s warnings about a potential transportation revenue shortfall in 2017 and override his veto of a tax bill, CommonWealth reports. The tax bill relies on revenues that affect narrow political constituencies, like smokers, CommonWealth reports.  Meanwhile, The Bay State Banner outlines its support for the governor on transportation and other issues and faults the media for its coverage.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo says a bill calling for a sales tax holiday for the weekend of August 10-11 will be taken up next week, the Associated Press reports (via Lowell Sun).

The lawyer for former Probation boss John O’Brien says the case against his client is far weaker now that DeLeo won’t face charges for receiving bribes that O’Brien allegedly doled out. Senate President Therese Murray says she has no reason to expect an indictment, either.


The Globe’s Mark Arsenault reports that state investigators conducting a background check on the Plainridge Racecourse in connection with its application for a casino license found that the track’s former president, Gary Piontkowski, made cash withdrawals from the track money room for years “almost on a daily basis,” a finding that apparently led to his sudden resignation in April.

A Globe editorial chastises Mayor Tom Menino, desperate to land a casino in East Boston, for trying to bollix up Steve Wynn’s casino plans in Everett rather than compete with Wynn’s proposal on the merits. The Download offered a similar take on Monday.


Lawrence Mayor William Lantigua’s failure to fill vacancies on city boards and commissions is hobbling their work, the Eagle-Tribune reports.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, who is running for reelection, comes under fire from opponents for changing his stance on Walmart.

To boost economic development, Beverly Mayor Bill Scanlon plans to ask the state for nine more liquor licenses, the Salem News reports.

Peabody Fire Chief Steve Pasdon says it was a mistake to take his job out of Civil Service because it opens the hiring process to political influence, the Salem News reports.

Fall River Mayor Will Flanagan says he is moving ahead with plans to foreclose on 12 properties owned by a landlord who owes the city more than $500,000 in unpaid water and tax bills, the Herald News reports.

Foxborough Town Hall is plagued by flooding problems.


The US Senate votes 81-18 for a compromise student loan deal, with a dozen Democrats, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey voting no, NBC News reports. The New York Times looks at Warren’s role in pushing the Democratic Party away from the center. The Globe’s Joan Vennochi says Warren is right on the student loan debate (and she sends a veiled shot at op-ed contributor Alex Beam when she rips those who have called Warren a “demagogue,” the exact term he happened to use in this Sunday column).

President Obama is nominating Caroline Kennedy as ambassador to Japan, the Associated Press reports.

The Globe’s Matt Viser reports that John McCain is back to his mavericky ways and is at the center of efforts to form a bipartisan middle ground in Congress on some issues.

A new study compares death rates from injuries across the nation and finds cities are safer than rural areas, Governing reports.

A New York Times editorial praises the White House’s new middle-class push.

A new report faults the TARP program for making only minor modifications to troubled homeowners’ mortgages, leading scores of them to redefault.


A spokeswoman for New York mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner confirms that he carried on multiple online relationships after his resignation from Congress. A friend of Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, tells the Wall Street Journal that Abedin almost left Weiner after the sex scandal that chased him out of his last office. Voters in Weiner’s former congressional district in Queens, serve up tea and sympathy, but no political support.


A new study suggests economic mobility, a key tenet of the American Dream, is dependent on where you live, with Boston and the Northeast faring surprisingly well, WBUR reports. Tom Ashbrook examines the American map of economic mobility on On Point. President Obama touches on economic mobility in a speech at Knox College where he calls for greater investment in the middle class, the Washington Post reports.

Berkshire Bank buys 20 New York state branches from Bank of America.

Clover plans to reopen today, even as state investigators continue working to identify the source of a bacterial outbreak that sickened customers.


Steward Health Care says its plans for Quincy Medical Center won’t change even though the hospital’s president abruptly resigned, the Patriot Ledger reports.


A New York gasoline wholesaler pays a $50,000 penalty to the Empire State for price gouging after Hurricane Sandy.


The apparently random kidnapping, robbery, and murder of a 24-year-old South Boston woman heading out for an early morning trip to the gym has stunned the city and devastated her family and friends. Former mayor Ray Flynn, in a Herald column, suggests we need to return South Boston to the good old days when young women were safe — which is not exactly the picture of life in Southie for young females that is emerging at the Moakley courthouse.


A new study from the Investigative Reporting Workshop attempts to measure the impact of nonprofit news outlets.