Walsh plays it cute in council contest

It’s less than a week until Boston’s municipal election, which means we’re officially in the silly season phase. This stage of the race is the one in which we’re reminded of a time-honored Boston act of political hair-splitting: the offering of support for a candidate, but not a formal endorsement.

The silly season episode this year takes place in the race for the open district city council seat representing East Boston, Charlestown, and the North End. The finalists are Stephen Passacantilli of the North End and Lydia Edwards of East Boston.

Both candidates have worked in City Hall for Mayor Marty Walsh, which puts hizzoner in a bit of pickle. Endorsing one candidate over the other would seem a bit like declaring which of your children is your favorite. But that’s basically what the mayor seems to have done.

Passacantilli, who narrowly edged Edwards in the three-way September preliminary, is distributing fliers featuring a picture of himself with the mayor. The fliers have a headline, in various languages, including Spanish and Mandarin, that translates roughly, according to the Globe’s Milton Valencia, to “I support Stephen” or “I’m with Stephen.”

Walsh told MassLive reporter Gin Dumcius that he’d seen the flyer and approved it. “I’ve known Stephen for about 15 years,” Walsh said. “He quit his job four years ago to work on my campaign, I’m forever grateful for it. Lydia works for me as well, works for the city. She’s a great candidate and I wish them both luck.”

But he seems to be wishing Passacantilli a little more luck.

Walsh told Dumcius that there were “unauthorized” literature pieces during the preliminary election that linked him and Edwards. These were apparently produced by an outside group separate from the Edwards campaign, however, that was supporting both her candidacy and Walsh’s reelection.

The District 1 race is one of the more interesting contests on next Tuesday’s Boston ballot. As former city councilor Larry DiCara recently wrote in CommonWealth, the race pits the forces of new Boston against the city’s traditional voting blocs. Edwards, a Michigan-born black attorney who has championed the rights of domestic workers, is part of the big demographic change in what was once overwhelmingly Italian-American East Boston. Passacantilli, meanwhile, is a lifelong North End resident whose grandfather, Fred Langone, served on the city council.

Given those competing crosscurrents in what could be a very close race, Walsh seems to have decided it’s best to offer Passacantilli his support, but hold back an official endorsement. Even if that seems to be a difference without a real distinction.

–MICHAEL JONAS


BEACON HILL

Gov. Charlie Baker balks at some provisions in the Senate’s criminal justice bill, saying some parts don’t make a lot of sense. (State House News) Criminal justice reform moves to the House, which is preparing to take up the issue — though one top House leader yesterday tamped down on expectations for how broad its bill would be. (Boston Globe)

Political infighting between the House and Senate causes Massachusetts to miss its deadline for settling the books for fiscal 2017. (MassLive)

Senate President Stan Rosenberg says he will beef up training regarding sexual harassment policies for senators and Senate employees. (Boston Herald)

Supporters are making a renewed push for legislation to ban or limit the use of noncompete clauses in employment contracts in Massachusetts. (Boston Herald)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch has hired a major Washington, DC, law firm to file suit against major pharmaceutical companies on behalf of the city. The suit alleges the manufactures bear responsibility for the opioid crisis by underplaying the addictive qualities of their drugs. (Patriot Ledger)

Preservation Worcester released its annual list of the most endangered structures in town, and churches and triple-deckers predominate. (Telegram & Gazette) The rebirth of Crompton Place in Worcester is in many ways the story of the rebirth of Worcester. (MassLive)

A Berkshire Eagle editorial said the Berkshire Museum’s plan to sell off artworks to build an endowment is a misguided approach to the organization’s financial problems.

Voters at a special Town Meeting in Holliston, who had already approved a ban on recreational marijuana sales in the community, voted in favor of a temporary moratorium on pot shops until the end of 2018 after officials said the language of the earlier ordinances was inadequate because it did not include zoning restrictions. (MetroWest Daily News)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

A man drove a rented pickup truck through a crowded bikeway in New York City in what officials declared a terrorist attack, killing at least eight people and injuring 11 others before being shot and wounded by police. (New York Times) A Newton man is among those injured. (WBUR) Sayfullo Saipov, the alleged suspect, was an Uber driver.  (CBS)

Republican leaders delayed the rollout of their $1.5 trillion tax cut by a day, signalling some trouble for crafters of the bill in addressing concerns over eliminating popular deductions to pay for the measure. (New York Times)

President Trump and his allies have launched an all-out attack on the credibility of former campaign aide George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and is a cooperating witness with the special counsel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. (U.S. News & World Report)

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt dismisses his environmental experts, saying he wants a more diverse group. (Time)

Officials say key parts of the story of two women who claim they were lost at sea for five months before being rescued aren’t adding up. (Associated Press)

ELECTIONS

It’s tough for a progressive challenger such as Tito Jackson to outflank incumbent Mayor Marty Walsh on the left because mayoral candidates in Boston these days all lean left. (CommonWealth)

A Lowell Sun editorial strongly condemns the nonbinding ballot initiative on whether the existing Lowell high school should be renovated and the slick and misleading campaign behind it. The campaign is being financed by folks from the predominantly white Belvidere neighborhood that don’t want the school located there.

There’s never a dull moment in the race for mayor of Lawrence. First, challenger and former mayor William Lantigua gives a very public interview, then someone anonymously circulates a flyer attacking Mayor Daniel Rivera’s “gay agenda,” and, finally, 50 people show up outside City Hall to denounce the flyer. (Eagle-Tribune)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Kronos completes its move from Chelmsford to Lowell, opening its new headquarters in the Cross Point towers, the previous home of Wang Laboratories. (Lowell Sun)

EDUCATION

Three male professors at Dartmouth College are under suspension and facing criminal investigation over alleged instances of sexual misconduct. (Boston Globe)

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

Open enrollment for insurance under the Affordable Care Act begins today despite President Trump’s best efforts and Massachusetts officials insist nothing has changed for the state even though federal officials have rolled back the enrollment period and slashed advertising. (MetroWest Daily News)

For-profit hospital chain Steward Health Care sues the state in a bid to block efforts to access its complete financial picture. (Boston Globe)

Southbridge officials have faced 15 overdoses since Sunday morning by 14 different people. All of the individuals were revived with naloxone, one of them twice within hours. (Telegram & Gazette)

Michael Botticelli, executive director of the Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center, outlines what the federal government should do on opioid abuse. (Stat)

TRANSPORTATION

The MBTA has set a January 2 date for closure of the Red Line stop in the Wollaston section of Quincy for 20 months to overhaul the station to  bring it up to code. (Patriot Ledger)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Lawyers for families of victims of a Bridgewater State University student convicted of raping children at the school’s day care center have filed a federal discrimination suit against the university charging officials didn’t do enough to protect the victims after learning about Kyle Loughlin’s actions. (The Enterprise)

MEDIA

MassLive Media and The Republican hold a party celebrating record online growth in the third quarter. (MassLive)

NPR’s top editor, Michael Oreskes, was placed on leave after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced. (Washington Post)