- In Metro, a page B1 story about John Connolly meeting with gang members, and a page B4 story reporting Marty Walsh’s meeting with arts advocates and releasing his arts plan, and a separate item on Walsh’s environmental plan. So the Connolly story gets better placement, but to be honest, the story is a more interesting one.
- On the opinion page, I’d describe Derrick Jackson’s piece noting Walsh’s admiration for Maryland Governor (and former Baltimore Mayor) Martin O’Malley as pro-Walsh (it doesn’t mention Connolly at all).
- Lawrence Harmon’s weird op-ed piece describing Walsh as “Boston’s minority candidate,” on the other hand, strikes me as distinctly pro-Connolly – and also, at the end of the day, disrespectful to the leaders who are supporting Walsh. I think it’s worth picking this one apart a bit. Harmon notes the strong backing that Walsh has gotten from “elected officials and leaders in Boston’s communities of color.” But he also seems to think that those leaders are being short-sighted for backing Walsh rather than Connolly.
Particularly odd is Harmon’s treatment of John Barros, who has endorsed Walsh. Barros, Harmon says, “actually seems a better fit with Connolly” because “both are policy wonks with Ivy League diplomas [Barros went to Dartmouth for college] and young families. And each is an unapologetic supporter of lifting the cap on charter schools.” But none of that makes any sense at all. Obviously, whether your diploma has an Ivy League school’s name on it should have zero to do with which candidate you support, as should the age of your children. And saying that both Connolly and Barros are “policy wonks” while Walsh is not is little more than an unfounded slam against Walsh. It’s also frankly unfair to Barros, whose policy wonkery exceeds that of either mayoral candidate. As for charter schools, Walsh supports lifting the cap, just like Connolly does. WTF.
So why, in Harmon’s view, does Barros support Walsh? Well, he says, “Barros favors Walsh’s disposition, sense of urgency, and leadership style. He likes the candidate’s collaborative skills and is put off by Connolly’s combativeness.” OK, fine. But when it comes to actual policy, Harmon clearly thinks Barros doesn’t get it (even as he praises Barros’s “grasp of complex policy issues”). ”Barros said that many minority leaders were turned off last October when Connolly unveiled a plan to change the city’s student assignment plan…. But that criticism doesn’t stand up…. The simple truth is that Connolly — like Walsh — would knock himself out to do right by Boston’s communities of color, and especially for the city’s poor.”OK, so what, in Harmon’s view, is really happening with Barros and the others? Harmon says that Walsh’s and Connolly’s “approaches do differ. And in that regard, the flood of endorsements for Walsh makes good sense. Just a few months ago, hopes were high in many quarters of the city that Boston would elect its first minority mayor. That’s not happening in 2013. But Walsh fulfills that desire for a bigger share of the action in a way that Connolly does not.” And then Harmon notes that Walsh helped Barros increase the share of jobs that went to “minority workers” in the construction of a community center in Dorchester.
Connolly, Harmon says, “works in a different time frame” than Walsh does, and, he says, “[i]f successful, the impact of Connolly’s education plan would dwarf Walsh’s approach.” His conclusion: “Connolly represents a richer future. Walsh represents a more favorable present. And the city’s leaders of color aren’t in the mood to wait.” It’s fascinating how Harmon simply assumes, without apparently feeling the need for discussion, that Connolly’s plan is obviously the superior one that represents “a richer future” for Boston.
So Harmon’s bottom line appears to be that the folks backing Walsh are doing so because they see him as the ticket to more goodies, not to a better city. Nice.