The Codcast: Boston and Lawrence narrow mayoral fields
When it comes to the November match-ups for mayor in Boston and Lawrence, it looks like very different tales of two cities, one where a highly competitive race is now on tap, and one where that seems unlikely.
That’s the assessment from this week’s Codcast with Yawu Miller, senior editor of the Bay State Banner, and Ted Siefer, a CommonWealth contributor who penned a feature for the magazine’s summer issue taking stock of Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera’s first term and teeing up the reelection race he was facing.
Both cities narrowed the field of mayoral finalists on Tuesday, with Boston voters giving incumbent Marty Walsh a resounding reelection boost as he took 63 percent of the vote in a four-way preliminary. City Councilor Tito Jackson, as expected, placed second, grabbing 29 percent, and will now face Walsh in the final.
Jackson, who is now only the second non-white finalist in Boston mayoral history, will face a significant uphill climb. Walsh’s campaign operation already put on a display of “overwhelming force” in the preliminary race, says Miller, and the first-term mayor is still sitting on $4 million yet to be deployed.
Working in Jackson’s favor, Miller says, is the fact that turnout will go up in the final — and more minority voters are likely to be part of that equation. Walsh has had a “free pass” so far, says Miller, with no debates and limited press coverage of the preliminary race. Both of those will change. Miller says he also senses real anxiety among Boston residents over economic inequality and the spiraling cost of housing. “I heard that from voters at Walsh’s polling place,” he says.
In Lawrence, on the other hand, the outcome of November’s race is far from certain. Rivera took first place in a crowded preliminary field with 43 percent, but not so far behind was the city’s former mayor, William Lantigua, with 33 percent. Rivera ousted Lantigua four years ago, running as a good-government reformer against the colorful Lantigua, who had a passionate following in the city’s heavily Latino precincts but whose reign in office saw a steady swirl of scandals in City Hall.
Some compared Lantigua to James Michael Curley, who was probably Boston’s most colorful — and corrupt — mayor. But unlike one-time federal inmate Curley, none of the scandals caught up with Lantigua himself. He is “like Curley, minus the convictions,” says Miller.
Though both candidates are Hispanic, race and ethnicity will figure in the race.
Rivera has benefitted from backing he’s received from white politicos and Lawrence voters — Siefer says there were reports that Gov. Charlie Baker made a “robo” call on his behalf in the run-up to the preliminary. But that could be a double-edged sword as Lantigua tries to position himself as the more authentic champion of the city’s majority Hispanic population. “He’s a hero” in the Hispanic community, Siefer says of Lantigua. At least one of the also-rans on Tuesday looks ready to throw-in with Lantigua, who could coalesce a lot of the non-Rivera vote from the preliminary.
“I think it’s going to be a very close race,” says Siefer.
The Sex Offender Registry Board didn’t have addresses for 1,800 sex offenders it was supposed to be monitoring, according to a state audit. (State House News)
Central Massachusetts legislators are pushing a bill that would amend the Good Samaritan law to permit volunteers to drive seniors to medical and other appointments. (Telegram & Gazette)
The Gloucester City Council approved Cape Ann’s first medical marijuana dispensary and growing facility, which should open next year. The facility is expected to employ 97 workers and return at least $100,000 a year to the city. Gloucester Times) Meanwhile, Berkshire County’s first medical marijuana dispensary opens in Great Barrington. (Berkshire Eagle)
With enrollment on the upswing, Quincy officials are looking to build new elementary schools in the Squantum and West Quincy neighborhoods. (Patriot Ledger)
A new Boston program will look to match-up empty nesters with extra bedrooms and grad students looking for housing. (Boston Herald)
Hingham selectmen are mulling a “welcoming statement” that opens the door to undocumented aliens, a response to a failed attempt to place a question on the Town Meeting warrant to make the town a “sanctuary community.” (Patriot Ledger)
Massachusetts residents would be among those taking the biggest hit under the Republican tax reform provision calling for elimination of deductions for state income tax and property taxes. (Boston Globe) Who benefits? It seems the wealthy, including President Trump, will reap a windfall while middle class wage earners will see a modest cut and low-income get very little. (New York Times)
President Trump says he is “not happy” about Tom Price, his health and human services secretary, using private planes at the cost of $400,000 to fly around the country and has ordered an investigation. (U.S. News & World Report)
Michelle Obama, in a speech in Boston, says women who voted against Hillary Clinton last year “voted against their own voice.” (Boston Herald) The Herald talks to a Melrose woman who voted for Trump who calls Obama’s statement “ignorant.”
Mayor Marty Walsh says he has accepted debate invitations from WBZ radio host Dan Rea and WGBH’s Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, whose shows he regularly appears on, but challenger Tito Jackson says he’s reviewing various invitations from media organizations. (Boston Globe) Walsh is looking to build up strong support in minority neighborhoods even as he faces Boston’s first non-white mayoral finalist since 1983. (Boston Globe)
Lydia Edwards’ strong showing in the Boston district city council race covering East Boston, Charlestown, and the North End is the latest sign of the rise of minority women in Boston city politics, says David Bernstein. (WGBH News)
Women could hold the power in Framingham’s first city government, with a female candidate the top vote-getter in the mayoral preliminary and, with seven women making the cut, could control the majority on the 11-member city council. (MetroWest Daily News)
Town meeting members in Savoy rejected a proposal that would allow a wind power operator in town to raise the height of its turbines by 28 feet. (Berkshire Eagle)
More than 200 people turned out for the second debate between Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and challenger Paul Prevey. (Salem News)
Gov. Charlie Baker dismissed as “routine” a Department of Revenue lawsuit against Amazon over sales tax issues, trying to tamp down any idea that it could hurt efforts to land the company’s second headquarters in Massachusetts. (Boston Herald) Amazon’s Jeff Bezos has lots of Boston connections despite never having lived here. (Boston Globe) Senate President Stan Rosenberg would like to see Amazon set up shop in various parts of the state. (Boston Herald)
A national Jewish rights group has slammed the Stoughton school district for its response to several anti-Semitic acts. School administrators are under fire after one teacher was suspended and two others reprimanded for chastising students who allegedly made swastikas and for revoking a letter of recommendation for one of the students. (The Enterprise)
Federal funding for community health centers may disappear if Congress fails to extend a program set to expire Saturday. (Lowell Sun)
A coalition of business groups is giving $500,000 to the MBTA on Monday to help with recruitment and retention of employees. (CommonWealth)
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito says the Baker administration is going to create a new transportation finance commission, but it sounds as if a lot of details need to be worked out. (CommonWealth)
Middleboro selectmen are upset that the Department of Transportation chose a site in town for a new commuter rail stop without consulting them even though they informed state officials any plans should coincide with replacing the rotary at Route 44. (The Enterprise)
Bids are due today for the biggest contract on the MBTA’s Green Line Extension into Somerville and Medford. (Boston Globe)
There’s the Cape Flyer, which connects Cape Cod and Boston, and now folks in western Massachusetts are pushing the Berkshire Flyer, which would run between New York City and Pittsfield. (Berkshire Eagle)
Violent crime stats down for sixth year in a row in Massachusetts. (State House News)
Federal officials have filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against a Fall River fish processing company claiming women were subjected to a hostile work environment including solicitations for sex and lewd comments. (Herald News)
A 37-year-old New Bedford woman was arrested and charged with sending emails to more than 25 police departments, colleges, and universities throughout the state threatening to blow up the facilities and gun down police. (Standard-Times)
While much focus has been on Kremlin operatives using Facebook to attempt to sway the 2016 election, evidence is arising that Twitter may be more compromised by Russian accounts looking to move public opinion and disrupt American influence around the world. (New York Times)PASSINGS
Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, the male symbol of the sexual revolution, has died at the age of 91. (New York Times)