It’s good to be king

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, in a speech before the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning, announced plans for a long-delayed memorial to the late Dr. Martin Luther King. Details to come.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, in a speech before the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning, announced the creation of a landmark public park space along the waterfront both for greenspace in the city and to deal with rising waters from climate change. Details to come.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, in a speech before the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Wednesday morning, announced plans for affordable housing in nearly every neighborhood in the city funded by the Community Preservation Act revenues as well as proceeds from the Winthrop Square Garage sale. He also announced a new first-time homebuyer’s program. Details to come.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is running for reelection, with the preliminary next week. Coincidence? You be the judge.

When you’re the incumbent mayor of a major city, the power of the throne entitles you to a megaphone that challengers just can’t access. And you also get to write the terms of the campaign, changing them when it suits your purposes.

Walsh is facing little pressure in his reelection, holding a seemingly insurmountable lead over City Councilor Tito Jackson, the consensus runner-up after next week’s primary. Jackson has been dogging Walsh for debates prior to the preliminary but Walsh had insisted he would only participate if the other two challengers, Robert Cappucci and Joseph Wiley, were included. Without them, Walsh wouldn’t appear and without Walsh, no media would likely cover it.

“When we have a debate in the primary, we are going to bring in all four candidates, because that is how it works,’’ Walsh said after a Sept. 7 visit to Brighton High School, according to the Globe.

But finally, after entreaties from a media consortium, Walsh’s folks finally said, uh, no, we can’t possibly fit a four-way debate into the schedule with just one week to go. Never mind that it came down to the final week because of Walsh’s reluctance to commit. When you’re the incumbent with a 2-1 lead over the field, it’s your call.

Walsh also had the rapt attention of the Boston business community Wednesday morning when he started throwing out gifts to every conceivable constituency, most of whom weren’t there. But his speech will be covered by nearly every media outlet in the city because, well, he’s the mayor.

Walsh’s speech had something for everyone: a memorial to a civil rights icon as a nod to minority voters; housing assistance to families being squeezed out of the city; plans to address climate change while at the same time creating an ecological green space in an appeal to progressives; a new education initiative to ready the city students for to acquire knowledge and skillsets to benefit the business community. The target audience is made up of people who would probably vote for Walsh anyway but it doesn’t hurt to peel away support from your nearest challenger, even if he’s barely on the horizon.

What Walsh is doing is no different than what any other politician has done, is doing, or will do. Was anybody any better at using the office for reelection than Tom Menino? And on a wider stage, just take a look at Gov. Charlie Baker’s campaign war chest to gauge the power of incumbency.

But because he is the mayor, those of us in the media will flock to hear his speeches and pronouncements. Because he just might say something.

JACK SULLIVAN


BEACON HILL

Attorney General Maura Healey, working with her colleagues from around the country, is pursuing evidence indicating whether pharmaceutical makers knew the dangers of the opioids they were marketing. (Salem News) One of the companies being investigated, Purdue Pharma, has been targeted by US Rep. Katherine Clark. (CommonWealth)

Advocates at a crowded State House hearing urge lawmakers to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. (Boston Globe) A Herald editorial takes a dim view of the proposal, saying it’s still waiting for an analysis of whether the last hike in the minimum wage had the positive impact proponents projected.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

A Brockton city councilor claims a developer put up a street sign on an access road with his name on it to mock the pol for his opposition to the subdivision. The developer says it’s not a joke but a “peace offering.” (The Enterprise)

The Weymouth Town Council declined a request by Mayor Robert Hedlund to extend the ambulance contract with Fallon, saying it was the mayor’s job to approve the extension. (Patriot Ledger)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Massachusetts would take an enormous financial hit under the new Republican health care bill under consideration in Congress. (Boston Globe) See yesterday’s Download  for more.

A Herald editorial offers rare praise for President Trump, saying he delivered some needed “hard truths” in his speech on Tuesday to the United Nations.

ELECTIONS

Former Foxborough selectman Paul Feeney won on the Democratic side and attorney Jacob Ventura was the Republican victor in yesterday’s special election primary for the vacant Bristol and Norfolk state Senate seat. They’ll face off in next month’s final election, which will also include former WBZ reporter Joe Shortsleeve, who is running as an independent. (Boston Globe)

Gov. Charlie Baker is getting some positive coverage — courtesy of a website sponsored by the National Governors Association that promotes itself as a “new company.” (Boston Herald)

Howie Carr says Pat Payaso (nee Kevin McCrea), the clown candidate for Boston city council, doesn’t hold a candle to the council’s circus acts of old. (Boston Herald)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Worcester officials say they plan to work with the state and Boston on a pitch for Amazon’s second headquarters. (Telegram & Gazette) Give us a break, Amazon, says Evan Falchuk. (CommonWealth)

EDUCATION

The eighth-grade trip to Washington, DC, at Wilmington Middle School, a 40-year tradition, comes to a halt this year as the two teachers who organized the outing said they couldn’t do it any more with the “abusive and unreasonable” complaints from some parents. Uproar ensued. (Lowell Sun)

Teachers unions are calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to fire Paul Sagan as chairman of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education because of Sagan’s recently disclosed $500,000 donation to a pro-charter school organization that was backing last November’s failed ballot question to raise the state charter school cap. (Boston Herald)

UMass Boston is leasing parking lot space at the abandoned Boston Globe building in Dorchester; visitors pay $6 to park there and a shuttle delivers them to the school. (Dorchester Reporter)

The president of a small Tennessee university was forced to apologize after he invited African-American students to his home for dinner that attendees said was a “black meal: of mac and cheese and collard greens and he decorated the table with centerpieces made of cotton stalks. (Washington Post)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

A new study says children who play tackle football when they are less than 12-years-old may face increased risks of behavioral problems and depression later in life. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

State transportation officials announced a new commuter rail station will be built near Interstate 495 in Middleboro for the South Coast Rail project, a move opposed by town officials who say the new station will eliminate the Middleboro/Lakeville stop and create a longer drive for riders. (Standard-Times)

State engineers plan to replace a bridge on Route 3 at the Braintree split at the Southeast Expressway in less than 55 hours this weekend and then do it again with another bridge in the same area in three weeks. (Patriot Ledger)

Charles Chieppo of the Pioneer Institute says outsourcing the MBTA’s bus maintenance makes sense. (CommonWealth)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

A bill on Beacon Hill would eliminate fossil fuels from the state’s energy mix and mandate Massachusetts get all its electricity from renewable sources by 2035. (State House News Service)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

The prosecution and defense traded charges yesterday in opening arguments in the murder trial of the former head pharmacist at New England Compounding Center. (Boston Herald)

A disorderly conduct charge against Max Kennedy stemming from a highly publicized arrest in Hyannis last month was dropped after Kennedy agreed to pay a $150 fine for violating the Barnstable town anti-noise ordinance. (Cape Cod Times)

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled field sobriety tests for alcohol cannot be used as conclusive evidence of someone driving under the influence of marijuana. (Associated Press)