In progressive field, Essaibi George stands out

In the world of Twitter and activist Boston, the unfolding contest for mayor looks like a battle to be crowned the undisputed progressive champion ready to lead the city in a new direction. In the world of early polls of the electorate, an imperfect yet probably much better snapshot of where the race actually stands, what’s clear is that there is room for a more moderate candidate to be competitive in the six-way race. 

That survey-centered handicapping of the race, which has been the talk of political operatives and insiders for months, came into even sharper relief with the release of a new poll showing CIty Councilor Annissa Essaibi George leading the field. 

The poll, carried out by two progressive political consulting firms and reported yesterday by The Bay State Banner, shows Essaibi George with 22 percent, followed by fellow at-large city councilor Michelle Wu with 18 percent and Acting Mayor Kim Janey with 16 percent. Trailing considerably far behind are City Councilor Andrea Campbell with 6 percent and state Rep. Jon Santiago and former city economic development chief John Barros, who each garnered 5 percent. The largest share of those polled — 29 percent — were still undecided. 

The September preliminary election that will narrow the field to the two top finishers is still three and a half months off. But the poll suggests more moderate voters, at this stage, may be coalescing around Essaibi George. She made the biggest gain of any candidate compared with an April survey carried out by the MassINC Polling Group for WBUR, the Dorchester Reporter, and The Boston Foundation. 

That poll had Wu and Janey running neck and neck with 19 percent and 18 percent of the vote, respectively. The four other candidates all trailed far behind, with support ranging from 3 to 6 percent, while nearly half of those polled — 46 percent — were undecided. The 17-point drop in the undecided number in the new poll, carried out by Poll Progressive and Emancipated Group, seems to have benefitted Essaibi George the most. 

Essaibi George, Santiago, and Barros are seen by many as more moderate candidates in the field, but Santiago and Barros appear to have gained little traction in the roughly seven weeks between the two polls. 

Asked on this week’s episode of The Codcast whether she is looking to carve out the more moderate lane and appeal to the political base of former mayor Marty Walsh, her Dorchester neighbor while growing up and a close political ally, Essaibi George answered by saying she thinks of herself as a “pragmatic and practical” elected official. 

A former Boston high school teacher, Essaibi George has decried the “school to prison pipeline” that she says traps too many black and brown boys in special education classes where they are separated from mainstream classrooms, yet she parts ways with mayoral rivals who favor removing school “resource officers” from schools. 

Against the backdrop of protests against police killings of black Americans, she says the city needs to hold police officers accountable, yet she has the largest share of campaign donations from police officers in the field, and recently won the endorsement of former police commissioner William Gross. 

Essaibi George’s more moderate positioning may have left-leaning voters crossing her off their list as they weigh their choice, but there are plenty of voters looking more toward the middle, and right now they seem to be leaning her way. 



White’s counterattack: Boston Police Commissioner Dennis White is promoting a new narrative that raises disturbing questions about the rush to fire him, which could come as early as today after a hearing with acting Mayor Kim Janey. Over the course of the last week, White has portrayed himself as the victim — not the perpetrator — of abuse and suggested former mayor Marty Walsh, despite his protestations, knew most of the details before promoting White to the police department’s top job.

  • Using affidavits from his eldest daughter and the sister of his ex-wife, White portrayed himself as the victim of abuse at the hands of his ex-wife. That narrative runs counter to the one put forward by an outside investigator hired by the city, who reported allegations that White abused his ex-wife in 1999 and a niece in 1993. The investigator’s report was based on information from four unnamed individuals — White’s daughter and the sister of his ex-wife were not interviewed.
  • White also recorded a sworn interview with his attorney in which he said he shared with Walsh that his ex-wife falsely sought a restraining order against him in 1999. Walsh has denied knowing anything about the allegation against White before appointing him commissioner just before leaving to become President Biden’s labor secretary. White buttressed his claim with an affidavit from the police department’s former chief of professional standards, who said he pulled internal affairs cases dealing with the alleged 1993 and 1999 incidents and shared them in 2014 with then-Acting Police Commissioner William Evans when White was promoted to the command staff. Evans, like Walsh, has said he wasn’t aware of the allegations.
  • Janey, in the midst of a campaign for mayor, seems intent on dismissing White despite the police commissioner’s counter-offensive. In a radio interview, she indicated the allegations of abuse are not the only reasons for his firing, referring to a letter she wrote to him in which she cited his “lack of cooperation and judgment” and his failure to “express any appreciation of the importance of domestic violence concerns to the public.”

Read more.

Partner up: In recent municipal elections in Milton and Needham, candidates running for two open seats decided to partner up, sharing staff, voting lists, and other resources to broaden their base of support. The strategy paid off, as the candidate partners in Needham won two open seats on the Select Board and the candidate partners in Milton won two open seats on the School Committee. 

  • In both races, racial equity figured prominently in the campaigns. The Milton campaign featured a Black and White woman; the Needham campaign featured a Black man and a woman of Indian descent.
  • Could partnering catch on? It would only work in races where candidates are vying for two or more open seats, but it has potential. “We brought out a lot of newer voters who had never voted. In this situation and the times we’re in, it definitely made sense,” said Marcus Nelson, who won a seat on the Needham Select Board.

Read more.

Billions at stake: Massachusetts received $5.2 billion in COVID relief funds from the federal government, and now the Democrat-controlled Legislature is moving to pass legislation to gain control over how it is spent. Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration, which has control of the funds now, is worried legislative interference may delay the release of the funds. Read more.

Testing at jails: At a hearing before the Supreme Judicial Court, advocates for prisoners at county jails pressed for regular COVID-19 testing and more videoconferencing, but several justices seemed skeptical. One justice pointed out that the availability of vaccines made it hard to argue that county sheriffs are “deliberately indifferent” to prisoners’ health. Read more.


Peakers make sense: Ronald DeCurzio of the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electricity Co. makes the case for building a new gas-fired power plant in Peabody to provide electricity at times when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining. Read more.




Sen. Diana DiZoglio wants the Senate to get sworn testimony from Gov. Charlie Baker and other administration officials on the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home scandal. (Boston Herald)


Municipal workers will be eligible for emergency COVID-19-related time off under the sick leave bill signed by Gov. Baker, despite Baker’s earlier opposition to including public workers in the bill. (Eagle-Tribune)

Boston city employees are scrambling to figure out child care arrangements after Acting Mayor Kim Janey ordered all city workers to return to their offices in the coming weeks, with some saying they may have to quit their job because the difficulty finding child care. (Boston Globe

New Bedford City Councilor Hugh Dunn is facing potential criminal charges, including operating under the influence, related to a car crash in which he hit two parked cars. (Standard-Times)


Cambridge-based Moderna says it will file applications for full FDA approval of its COVID-19 vaccine, which has been distributed so far under “emergency use authorization.” (Boston Globe

A veterans’ group is seeking an apology from Gov. Baker for firing Veterans’ Services Secretary Francisco Urena, who they believe was scapegoated for the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home COVID-19 outbreak. (Eagle-Tribune)

Globe consumer reporter Sean Murphy has a cautionary tale about savings on health care coverage that may seem too good to be true. 

A five-year study funded by the Boston Foundation indicates housing stability threatens the health of low-income Boston residents. (WBUR)


The Globe profiles Massachusetts political operative Roger Lau, who hopes to use his new perch as deputy executive director of the Democratic National Committee to increase Asian American political power and representation. CommonWealth profiled Lau in 2019 just as Elizabeth Warren was about to launch her presidential campaign, which he directed. 


Three of the six candidates for mayor in Boston — Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi George, and Michelle Wu — have pulled out of a debate scheduled by the Boston Pride because of complaints that the LGBTQ organization lacks racial diversity as well as transgender representation in its leadership. (Boston Globe

Rick Green, the CEO of 1A Auto Parts, is a key behind-the-scenes player among conservative Republicans in Massachusetts. He currently employs Republican Geoff Diehl, who is considering a run for governor. (WBUR)


At a roundtable in Salem, business owners tell Sen. Elizabeth Warren that difficulties hiring staff and the high cost of housing are making it harder to resume business. (Salem News)

The director of Our Father’s House homeless shelter in Fitchburg resigns in the wake of allegations of verbal and sexual harassment. (GBH)

Stories of sexism spur a reckoning in the craft beer industry. (Telegram & Gazette)

New Bedford steelworkers are entering their third month of striking for higher pay and a fair contract from Pennsylvania-based Allegheny Technologies. (Standard-Times)


Four Boston high school students call for the resignation of school Superintendent Brenda Cassellius over her handling of complaints about an unlicensed counseling program that was operating under the district’s auspices. (Boston Globe

The Archdiocese in Boston is planning to open its first new Catholic school in half a century, which will be partly virtual, partly in person in Braintree. The in-person education will mostly involve field trips. (Patriot-Ledger


Musicians at the Springfield Symphony Orchestra are battling with management over labor issues and the organization’s future. (MassLive)


Amtrak’s new 15-year plan includes expanded service between Boston and Springfield, and between Boston and Manchester and Concord, New Hampshire. (MassLive)

Lawyers for Civil Rights wants US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to investigate whether the MBTA committed civil rights violations in shutting down several T stations in May 2020 when violence broke out following a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Boston. (Boston Herald)


A new state panel is exploring ways to detect and remove PFAS chemicals from drinking water. (Gloucester Daily Times)


The Supreme Judicial Court says text messages are admissible in court. (WBUR)