Hark! The Herald! (Listen Up! Edition)

November 5, 2013

From our Walt Whitman desk (Lost in Cyberspace bureau)

It’s no news that the Boston Herald devotes the better part of a news page every day to flacking Boston Herald Radio.

Representative sample from [Monday’s] edition:


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Every now and then, though, the Herald surrenders the entire page to self-promotion.

Representative sample from [Tuesday’s] edition:


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Boston Herald Radio executive producer Tom Shattuck related his past experience of producing lousy election-night coverage for a real radio station (presumably WTKK) and promises real election-night coverage for his virtual station.

Beginning at 6 p.m. tonight, Boston Herald Radio will air the most comprehensive coverage of the mayoral election available anywhere.

The Herald’s political team of Joe Battenfeld and Hillary Chabot are real reporters and they will serve as in-studio anchors for the evening. Not only do they live and breathe local politics, but they love what they do and they know the subject matter like no one else.

And speaking of resources …


And etc.

The hardlistening staff will try to check it out. Not sure how much company we’ll have.

UPDATE: We forgot to listen. Pretty sure we had a lot of company there.

Class Notes from Boston’s Op-It Gals

October 24, 2013

Two of the best columnists in town – the Globe’s Joan Vennochi and the Herald’s Margery Eagan (yeah yeah, she’s technically not an op-ed columnist but couldn’t resist the headline) – land on the same square today in their coverage of the Boston mayoral race: The “phony class war” as Vennochi puts it, or the “‘washerwoman’ fixation” as Eagan has it.

From the former:

BOSTON DOESN’T need a phony class war, fueled by labor supporters of mayoral candidate Martin J. Walsh — not when it faces the prospect of a real one.

Forget about new Boston versus old Boston. The real issue is rich Boston versus poor Boston and whether the next mayor cares enough to do something about it.


From the latter:

This “washerwoman” fixation is about politicians battling over who’s had a tougher life. That’s supposed to determine which candidate would make the better mayor, senator or governor — though I’ve yet to see any proof.


Both pieces are worth reading. Vennochi’s conclusion:

Where the next mayor came from matters less than where he wants the city to go — and how many Bostonians get there with him.



[Y]ou can’t fight class warfare if you’re both smart, powerful men in the same class. Vote Connolly or vote Walsh. But prince vs. pauper this race is not.


They’re both right.


Tom Menino: I don’t run a dictatorship [Ha!]

October 14, 2013

From our LOL desk

Mistah Mayah makes an appearance in both local dailies today with a story less believable than Bill Clinton on Saturday night. Start with the Boston Herald :

Menino warns: Endorsements only go so far

The two candidates for mayor fought hard for key endorsements last week — with both Martin J. Walsh and John R. Connolly claiming IMG_3337.JPGvictories in that fight — but the current occupant of City Hall, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, said yesterday endorsements aren’t worth the breath they’re uttered on if supporters can’t back it up with votes.

“Endorsements are great to have, but people have to get out and vote. I don’t just say that. When I ran for mayor, I had no endorsements and I won,” Menino, who insists he’s staying neutral, told the Herald, referring to his first race 20 years ago.


But here’s the best part:

Menino maintained yesterday he’ll stay out of the fray.

AN3V4060.JPG“Some of my people are with Walsh, some of them are with Connolly,” Menino said. “If anyone comes to me, I say, ‘Do what you want to do. It’s up to you … I don’t run a dictatorship.’ … Unless it gets personal. I don’t intend to get involved in this campaign at all. It’s really great to watch from the sidelines.”


Yeah, and he’s also looking forward to spending more time scrapbooking.

Crosstown, it’s much the same eyewash at the Boston Globe.

In this race, Menino loyalists are on their own

Their arms have hoisted green Mayor Menino signs for 20 years. Their fists have knocked on doors from Oak Square to Neponset.suarez_12mayormachine(2)_MET_003

They have driven sound trucks blasting get-out-the-vote messages in Spanish through Hyde Square and lashed political placards to the fence outside East Boston High School, dressing the polling place for Election Day.

They are the members of Team Menino, the vaunted political machine of Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Some loyalists joined upstart mayoral campaigns as soon as Menino announced in March he would not seek a sixth term. But the mayor’s vow to remain neutral in the 12-candidate preliminary election kept many on the sidelines.

Until now.


Nut graf:

“I said, ‘Do what you want to do,’ ” Menino said in an interview. “It’s not a dictatorship. I have an organization that’s committed to things I believe in in government. They want to make a choice, let them make a choice.”


Yep – they won’t have Tommy to kiss around anymore.

Local Dailies Wax . . . Different about Mayoral Candidate Pledge

October 3, 2013

Boston mayoral candidate John Connolly has pushed opponent Marty Walsh to sign a People’s Pledge to keep third-party money out of the race. But – no surprise – the local dailies present Connolly’s initiative in very different terms.

From today’s Boston Globe editorial page:

Marty Walsh should join Connolly in rejecting super PACs

MARTY WALSH has more to lose by refusing to disavow super PAC support in the mayor’s race than he seems to realize. With every dollar of third-party spending that oozes into Boston to elect the Dorchester state representative, Walsh wastes an opportunity to stick up for clean elections and dispel doubts about his own independence. His opponent has agreed to a pledge to discourage spending by super PACs and other independent expenditure groups, and Walsh owes it to the city to do the same.

Then comes the to be sure graf:

Walsh has called the pledge . . . a gimmick. He points out that John R. Connolly, his opponent in the mayoral final election, flip-flopped before signing on. Connolly did reverse himself. But at least he landed in the right place, spurning the help of an outside group that was prepared to spend $500,000 on his behalf. Walsh has also flip-flopped, but in the wrong direction; he earlier indicated he’d sign the agreement.


Crosstown at the Boston Herald it’s a whole nother story, one not so understanding about Connolly’s conversion.

IMG_2828.jpgConnolly changes tune on ‘people’s pledge’

City Councilor John R. Connolly yesterday renewed his call for a so-called “people’s pledge” in the mayoral race, saying he wants to “level the playing field” by barring the windfall of union cash flowing in to state Rep. Martin J. Walsh’s coffers . . .

The “people’s pledge” was proposed by Councilor Rob Consalvo during the preliminary but Connolly, who at the time had an education reform group ready to back him, dismissed it as a “gimmick.” He later said he would sign it, if other candidates agreed, but that never happened.


Not gonna happen this time either.

All Those Dollars and No Sense in Boston Mayoral Coverage

October 2, 2013

Go figure the way the local dailies cover the cash cache of the two Boston mayoral finalists.

Start with the Boston Globe’s Page One Metro piece.


Picture 1


It’s what left that counts, though.

“Thumbnail figures provided by Walsh’s campaign show he collected $381,647 in September, leaving him with $181,115 cash on hand, down significantly from the $700,000 he had in the bank at the end of August . . . Connolly took in $163,419 in September, leaving him with $191,473, far less than the $589,000 he had in his account at the end of August, according to his campaign.”

So, pretty much neck-and-neck, even-steven, whatever you want to call it.

Except at the Boston Herald, which calls it very differently.

Walsh drubs Connolly in campaign cash haul

Boosted by new infusions of union cash to his campaign war chest, state Rep. Martin J. Walsh is drubbing City Councilor John R. Connolly in their head-to-head fundraising clash, hauling in a staggering $381,000 in September — more than double the dough raised by his West Roxbury rival, both camps told the Herald.TED_8061.jpg

Connolly and Walsh jockeyed for the top fundraising position throughout the preliminary race but last month was no contest as Connolly’s campaign reported raising just $163,000. Walsh beat that total in the first two weeks of September alone, when he raised $206,000, records show.


The piece focuses on “powerful unions — many of them out of state — [pouring] money into Walsh’s coffers.” Nowhere does it mention that Connolly now has more money on hand than Walsh does.

Doesn’t fit the Herald’s story line as well.



Boston Herald Redefines Exclusivity

September 17, 2013

The Boston Herald was on the proposal by state Rep. Marty Walsh (D-Boston Mayoral Race) to redevelop City Hall Plaza like Brown on Williamson.

Monday’s front page:


Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 12.17.04 AM


Inside story:

Marty Walsh pushes City Hall redevelopment

Mayoral candidate state Rep. Martin J. Walsh is pushing a dramatic downtown development plan that would put a new City Hall under private ownership and open up Boston’s most coveted site to a hotel, apartments and stores.

“You could put a hotel boutique here. [We think he meant boutique hotel.] You could put a full hotel here. You could have an office building. You could put so much in this area,” Walsh told the Herald while walking through the vast, deserted brick plaza yesterday morning. “We could have shops … that would fit in with 
Faneuil Hall Marketplace.”

The Dorchester Dem­ocrat’s plan, which he 
unveiled exclusively to the Herald yesterday . . .


That is, of course, if by “unveiled exclusively to the Herald” you mean “also unveiled to the Boston Globe.”

From Monday’s Globe Metro front page (print edition headline):

Walsh proposes City Hall sale

Boston mayoral candidate state Representative Martin J. Walsh announced a proposal Sunday to revitalize downtown by selling City Hall Plaza to a private developer and moving government services somewhere nearby — an idea sharply criticized by some of his opponents.

“This area must evolve from a 9-to-5 weekday government-dependent culture to a culture economically driven to add value 24/7,” Walsh said in a statement from his campaign.


Apparently a nonexclusive statement.

Not to get technical about it.

Fun fact to know and tell:

Both dailies reported that City Hall could “fetch” between $125 million and $150 million. But the Globe added this:

The idea of moving City Hall has been discussed for decades. In 2006, Mayor Thomas M. Menino proposed selling the plaza to private developers for between $300 million and $400 million and using that money to build a new City Hall on the South Boston Waterfront.


So, wait – City Hall is now worth half as much as it was seven years ago?

Tom Menino has some ‘splainin’ to do.


Sunday Herald Wins Boston Mayoral Race

September 8, 2013

If you’re looking to dig into Boston’s mayoral scrum, today’s Boston Herald is the place to go.

The feisty local tabloid devotes three full pages to the preliminary race.


Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 1.43.40 PM


Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 1.44.08 PM


The City Hall bakeoff also gets a column from Suffolk University’s Herald embed John Nucci, along with half of Matt Stout’s Pols & Politics piece.

Crosstown, the Boston Globe has . . . well, a lot less. There’s this story on B2 (print headline):

Lee_conley2_metConley criticizes rivals on casino

Says councilors should back citywide vote

Suffolk County district attorney and Boston mayoral candidate Daniel F. Conley on Saturday doubled-down on his calls for a citywide vote on a proposed casino in East Boston and sharply criticized the city councilors running against him for not holding community hearings on the issue.

But despite his repeated calls for a citywide vote, council members continued to stand by their decision to allow East Boston residents exclusively to decide if their community becomes home to casino gambling.


The stately local broadsheet also features this opinion piece by Boston Review managing editor Simon Waxman.

wide-cityhall0908Can Boston break identity politics?

In Boston, identity politics have been such a powerful influence in local elections that candidates have literally changed their identities. Early in his career, future US House Speaker John McCormack rewrote his family history to better align it with those of the local political bosses and to erase any hint of Protestantism. Among other revisions, his Scottish-Canadian father and Boston-born Irish-American mother became Irish immigrants. He was inspired in part by John Way, a Yankee Democrat who repeatedly failed to win office despite running on a staunch pro-Irish-Catholic ticket.

In the 1960s and ’70s, Louise Day Hicks, William Bulger, and others updated identity politics in Boston. Hicks gained popularity as a defender of working-class white interests against desegregation and what she called “civil rights infiltrators.”


And, Waxman writes, “in 1983, the only time a black candidate made it to the final round of a Boston mayoral contest, an electorate sharply divided on racial lines handed Ray Flynn a landslide victory over Mel King.”

What does he want?

For Bostonians to rely less on racial identity in their voting decisions, and “for the candidates to set out individual agendas and give the voters more, and perhaps better, reasons to support them.”

When does he want it?



Being Ed Davis

June 28, 2013

Police Commissioner Ed Davis has officially become a litmus test in Boston’s mayoral race.

It started with this piece in Wednesday’s Boston Herald:

STON1329.JPGConley promises to retain top cop

Puts feud with Davis behind him

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley yesterday vowed to keep Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis if elected mayor, as a rift between the two men appears to have ended.

“Commissioner Davis and I have had a very close working relationship for many years now. We are in constant communication anytime there are issues involving the public safety in Boston,” Conley told the Herald.

In the past, the DA and Davis have clashed over jurisdictional issues and strategies for dealing with Boston’s homicide rate.


That triggered this piece in Thursday’s Boston Globe (which credited the Herald for raising the subject):

Boghosian_11menino3_METHalf of hopefuls for mayor would retain Davis

Following the Boston Marathon bombings in April, Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis was praised for his steady presence during the ordeal and regaled with an honorary degree. His name was even bandied about as a possible candidate for mayor.

Davis decided to sit it out, but his name has remained part of the race, with questions arising about whether he would keep his post under a new leader at City Hall.

Half of the 12 mayoral candidates contacted by the Globe Wednesday said they would ask him to stay on. Five would not commit to keeping him. One did not respond to the question.


(Interesting foreground/background contrast in the photos, yeah?)

Related Globe piece on the mayoral candidate breakdown:

Yes: Felix Arroyo, John Barros, Bill Walczak, Robert Consalvo, Martin Walsh, Dan Conley.

Still deciding: Charles Clemons Jr., John Connolly, Charlotte Golar Richie, Michael Ross, David James Wyatt.

Did not respond: Charles Yancey.

Yet to comment: Ed Davis.

Stay tuned.

Herald a Lively Index to the Globe (Mayoral Hopefuls’ Income Edition)

June 12, 2013

From our Compare and Contrast in Clear Idiomatic English desk

Coincidentally (or not) both local dailies have salary surveys of the Boston mayoral candidates today, with – wait for it – mostly different numbers.

Start with the Boston Herald:


Herald review shows top earners in mayor’s race

Dorchester health care executive Bill Walczak is the wealthiest among the top tier of mayoral candidates, reporting a staggering $450,000 salary, while state Rep. Martin J. Walsh and City Councilor Michael P. Ross each reported earning more than $200,000, and two others hauled in a quarter-million dollars with their spouses, a Herald review of candidates’ tax returns found.

Walczak, co-founder of the Codman Square Health Center, and his Boston schoolteacher wife, Linda, reported earning a combined $526,000 in 2011, according to a tax return supplied by the Walczak campaign.


Like that “staggering”? That’s the Herald all over.

The feisty local tabloid also listed the incomes of former state representative Charlotte Golar Richie, Boston School Committeeman  John Barros, Boston City Councilors Felix Arroyo, Rob Consalvo, and John Connolly, and Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley.

Crosstown at the Boston Globe, the story looked like this:

Income of Boston mayoral hopefuls varies

Many looking to succeed Menino now earn more than city’s median income

There are no Mitt Romneys in the bunch, no nine-digit personal fortunes, no eye-popping investments. But roughly half of the candidates hoping to succeed Thomas M. Menino as mayor of Boston earn more than double the city’s annual median household income of almost $52,000.

Four of the aspirants would face pay cuts if they move into the fifth-floor office that belongs to the mayor, a job that pays $175,000 a year.

As campaigns clash this summer over affordable housing and the plight of the middle class, tax returns can provide a glimpse of each candidate’s socioeconomic status. The Globe requested 2012 state and federal tax returns for all 15 people running for mayor and found that income varied from roughly $59,000 to $700,000. One candidate gave almost $19,000 to charity; another donated a few hundred dollars, the returns showed.


The stately local broadsheet also included this helpful chart.


Picture 5


Notice not just the different numbers, but the Globe’s inclusion of Robert Cappucci, “a former School Committee member and retired Boston police officer who collects a pension,” and its listing of tax rates and charitable donations – both quite telling.

Notice also who failed to provide tax returns, most conspicuously Councilor Charles Yancey.

Follow-up, anyone?

One of the Boston Dailies Can’t Count

May 22, 2013

Wednesday’s Boston Globe:


Picture 5


Wednesday’s Boston Herald:


Picture 6


Go figure.

(Official Two-Daily Town tally to come.)