Linehan’s total isolation

Bill Linehan held on to his Boston City Council seat two years ago, but it appears that victory cost him the support of much of the city’s political establishment. Now, as Linehan heads into a November rematch against Suzanne Lee , Linehan looks as isolated as any city incumbent has in recent memory.

The Globe endorsed Lee over Linehan today. That was to be expected. Linehan’s district is centered on South Boston, but it stretches from Chinatown through the South End to the edge of the Back Bay. It’s a district that’s seeing remarkable levels of development. New residents are flooding in, and old ones are leaving. Noting the proliferation of condominium complexes around the Broadway Red Line stop, the Globe paints a picture of Linehan’s district as one that’s passing him by. 

More surprising, and noteworthy, was yesterday’s Herald endorsement. The Globe’s editorial pages are no haven for old-line Southie pols. The Herald, on the other hand, is a city paper read heavily by Linehan voters. But in the Linehan-Lee race, the Herald lined up alongside the Globe, and was even stronger in its anti-Linehan bent. The tabloid noted that Linehan’s district is “growing and changing and crying out for new leadership.” But it also singled out Linehan for his reluctance to oppose a rich arbitration award for city police patrolmen.

Just as noteworthy, an overwhelming majority of city political insiders surveyed by Boston magazine’s David Bernstein have predicted that Linehan will fall to Lee next week.

Linehan topped Lee by just 97 votes when the two faced off two years ago. As chairman of the city council’s redistricting committee, he doubled that cushion by shedding some of the precincts he fared most poorly in. (The Globe calls out this act of self-preservation in today’s endorsement.) More recently, Linehan engaged in a bizarre nativist bid to wrest control of South Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day breakfast from Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, and was seen complaining on the council floor about having to take an up-or-down vote on the police arbitration award. None of this makes Linehan look good. It makes him look like a guy scrambling to hold on to the trappings of office, but punting on the use of political power.

Linehan might well survive Lee again. Despite the drastic changes in his district’s demographics — outlined in this CommonWealth piece by Larry DiCara and James Sutherland — traditional voters, not new arrivals, dominated September’s mayoral preliminary. The more old-school the electorate looks, the better Linehan’s chances of reelection are. Marty Walsh’s turnout machine certainly boosts Linehan’s odds. But even if he survives, he survives alone — abandoned by both dailies, and nearly every wiseguy in the city. Two years ago, Peter Gelzinis wrote that a district map that began at Andrew Square and ended at City Point soon wouldn’t be enough to save Linehan, that his political extinction was a question of when, not if. The Southie councilor hasn’t done anything over the past two years to prove Gelzinis wrong.

 

–PAUL MCMORROW

 

 

BEACON HILL

Gov. Deval Patrick promotes his style of investing in central Massachusetts, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A member of Easton’s Finance Committee has resigned after an email was made public in which he referred to town employees as “Jerry’s kids,” a reference to children with special needs.

A Board of Public Works meeting in Acushnet turned into a shouting match when scores of angry residents showed up to protest a drastic increase in fees on their water and sewer bills.

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

Sen. Elizabeth Warren says President Obama “dropped the ball” on the website rollout of Obamacare, State House News reports. The enrollment period for Obamacare is extended six weeks, NPR reports. The Atlantic asks whether the left will turn on Obama like the Tea Party turned on George W. Bush.

Sen. Marco Rubio is abandoning immigration legislation he once championed, instead deferring to the House.

A Texas judge rejects sweeping abortion restrictions.

A Nevada assemblyman comments that he would vote to institute slavery if that’s what his constituents wanted him to do.

The race for Virginia governor that many see as a bellwether election for the two parties in 2014 is breaking big for Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who is holding a huge advantage among women voters over Republican Ken Cuccinelli.

David Ortiz inspired the Red Sox, but who inspired Big Papi? None other than Bill Clinton.

ELECTIONS

Republican Richard Tisei takes an initial step toward another run against US Rep. John Tierney, the Salem News reports.

As part of his CommonWealth series on Boston politics, James Aloisi says the city is more integrated today but also very divided. The Herald endorses John Connolly for mayor, and suggests that Mayor Tom Menino is angling to protect a number of current City Hall employees.

The Globe contrasts the school-reform approaches of Connolly and Walsh, who both say the race is a dead-heat heading into its final week.

Brockton Mayor Linda Balzotti and challenger William Carpenter faced off in a raucous debate that included charges of nepotism and clashes over police and fire contracts

The Wall Street Journal editorial page disagrees with Bill de Blasio in so many ways.

The New Bedford Standard Times experimented with an online interactive debate for School Committee candidates with laudable intent but less than rewarding results.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Greater Boston takes a look at how much money a World Series actually brings to a city and the answer is more than not having a World Series but less than the rosy predictions from civic leaders and Red Sox officials.

An amateur baseball complex is proposed in Leominster, the Telegram & Gazette reports.

EDUCATION

Penn State is preparing to pay nearly $60 million to 26 men over claims of child sexual abuse at the hands of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, ABC reports.

HEALTH CARE

The Globe has the story of a nasty feud over blame for the problem-plagued healthcare.gov website that is now playing out here between Don Berwick and Michael Astrue, former Obama administration officials who were involved in the early planning for the Affordable Care Act.

Paul Levy finds that his new plan under Obamacare is not as expensive as he first thought but still higher than what he had been paying with the Massachusetts Connector.

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu dropped in on the Broad Institute in Cambridge — and dropped off a $74 million check to help fund research on Latin Americans, who get short shrift in genomic research that often focuses on those of European descent.  

Quincy city councilors say a medical marijuana dispensary in the city is “inevitable” and are pushing to frame a host agreement that would ensure mitigation payments.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

News outlets go to court seeking the release of search warrant documents in the Philip Chism murder case. Chism is accused of murdering Colleen Ritzer, his Danvers High math teacher, the Salem News reports. More than 1,000 people turned out for Ritzer’s funeral.

The New York Times rounds up state efforts to keep juvenile offenders out of the adult criminal justice system.

A Polish immigrant who had been living in Quincy after his tourist visa expired has been arrested and charged with animal abuse in the infamous “Puppy Doe” case of a year-old pit bull that had to be euthanized after its injuries were deemed too severe to recover form.

MEDIA

Dan Kennedy offers his take on John Henry’s message to readers of the Boston Globe.

Bob Woodward seems to be taking a more active role at the Washington Post now that Jeff Bezos owns it, the Huffington Post reports.

Suzanne Somers goes nutty on Obamacare in the Wall Street Journal and makes up a quote, New York magazine reports.