John Connolly: Gutless candidate

Connolly's campaign is admitting sending out an anonymous mailing attacking incumbent city councilor Stephen Murphy.

I agree with the point the mailing makes - that Murphy seems bored with being a councilor, as shown by his repeated efforts to get another job. But if a gutless wunderkind thinks the only way to make a political argument is through an anonymous mailing, then he is equally worthy of scorn - and equally unfit to be a city councilor. There are seven other candidates besides these two running for the four at-large seats. How about voting for one (or two or four) of them?

Thanks to Ron Newman for noticing the statement on the Herald site.

Earlier:
A look at two mailings
What would a Boston election be without last-minute scurrilous attacks?

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      Can anyone explain to me how

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      Can anyone explain to me how any of this matters? The Boston City Council is about as relevant to life in Boston as the Knights Templar.

      Think of it as the minor leagues

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      Even Tom Menino can't live forever and chances are one of those people will someday be mayor. Also, the right person could use even a seat on the fairly toothless city council as a bully pulpit to get things done.

      Plus, come on, how can you vote for somebody who uses an anonymous mailing to make points as non-controversial as saying Murphy doesn't really want to be a city councilor? That's been obvious for years now.

      Why the City Council matters

      First, the City Council does give an up or down vote to the city budget every year, which is its most powerful role from a legislative standpoint. In theory, the City Council should be the legislative branch to Menino's executive branch just as the Senate and House stand up to President Bush. (OK, maybe not the best example...)

      But city councilors also have a lot of access to the business of the city and serve as spokespeople for the policies and decisions that affect Boston. I'm Sam Yoon's treasurer (a volunteer position, so it's not as if I'm supporting him to support my paycheck), so I've got an obvious bias, but in the past year, he's been working as a mediator for renters' rights, helped to lower elderly tax burdens and kept security guards at senior centers, and worked to get more school workers and social workers on the street to work on community and schooling issues. Voting for city councilors can either continue to put these issues in the spotlight or work towards the specific solutions that each councilor advocates.

      We all agree that crime, schooling, housing, and taxes are the big issues in the city. It's the solutions and the actions that each councilor proposes and works on and the manner in which they do so that differentiates them in my opinion. How will the city deal with Harvard's expansion into Allston? How will Boston continue to provide housing for the people who live here? How will we deal with our crime problem? As powerful as Menino is, he can't force every solution on his own. The city councilors get a soapbox and access to pursue solutions as well.

      And that doesn't even include the basic constituent services that councilors regularly provide to support small businesses, close potholes, get rid of graffiti, and assist in the other small things that help run the city. Councilors can be pretty helpful. If you live in the city of Boston, you should try calling up one of your councilors and see what they can do for you instead of assuming that you're on your own the next time that you're having any sort of trouble with or in the city of Boston. After all, our government is here to serve We the People. Their influence in helping Bostonians with practical issues may go beyond the theoretical "Knights Templar" that you reference.

      That's all very interesting.

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      That's all very interesting. Now if they actually bothered doing any of it, it might matter. When is the last time you saw the City Council in the news? I'm gussing you didn't live in Boston the last time that happened. The African-American councillors squeek about South Africa once a year, or maybe talk about Iraq, but where are they when ANOTHER constituent is murdered in the streets? Talk about the Invisible Man!

      And about that budget vote - it's what they call a rubber stamp. They wouldnt want to mess with Mumbles - he might not put the brother-in-law on the payroll.

      And running for Mayor? You're killin' me! What happened in the last election? A city councillor who had been on the job for a generation, and she had never bothered building a city-wide name recognition, much less actually give anyone outside West Roxbury a reason to vote for her.

      And finally - Sam Yoon? He's the one who doesn't bother to show up for hearings, and then wants to delay decisions because he isn't informed? Mayor Yoon might want to start with baby steps - he obviously can't even deal with the Kindergarten that is Boston City Council.

      At this point, it's he said, she said

      But I know that Sam's met with a significant portion of homicide victims this year. Does this mean that he should try to get in the newspaper every time this happens? That would just make him an attention whore, which he's not. And he has voted against the mayor's budget, probably because his brother-in-law isn't on the city budget. ;)

      As for hearings, which hearing did Sam actually miss? Are you talking about budget meetings 2 years ago when he wasn't even on the Ways and Means committee and there was no official attendance sheet or record? Those are the only ones I can think of off hand and Sam was busy introducing the budget process to the rest of the city as part of his open government platform that he ran on.

      Or are you talking about trying to approve spending for the "Shotspotter" without a full city council hearing, which is technically illegal? Standing up for procedure against "business as usual" is what he was elected to do. Maybe he should have rolled over and pushed the spending through without question like the Boston City Council is supposed to do. (And, for the record, Sam did vote to approve the spending after a full hearing was scheduled.)

      It's easy to be an anonymous critic who gets the facts wrong. It's much harder to actually provide open government and remain focused on the issues.

      Go Matt Geary!

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      After returning to the link Adam provided on the at-large candidates, I'm voting for Matt Geary. Seems the only thing that comes with age and experience where the Boston City Council is concerned, is deceit.

      BTW, Steve Murphy is no stranger to the anonymous written attack. When the City Council was secretly discussing a pay raise for themselves, Murphy anonymously distributed a draft ordinance which would have denied the raise to any councilor not voting for it. Subtle, no? He admitted that he wrote it while on the witness stand in the Open Meeting trial.

      Note to Anonymous: The City Council is relevant because once a year it gets to vote the Mayor's budget up or down. Not alter it, or reduce it, or increase it - just yes or no. It used to be potentially relevant before they voted away their authority over the BRA.

      Why would Connolly do it?

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      Michael Pahre analyzes everything from the clues on the mailing linking it to Connolly to why he would send it out to the harm he's done himself by not getting out in front of the issue:

      ... It would be a sad outcome for Connolly if, after running such an effective campaign all year, he then gets clubbed in the end by making a lousy decision to send out these attack mailings a few days before the election. Nobody would be raising a stink about this if the attack mailings had carried his name on them. But politics is all about standing up for your actions, and Connolly took quite a while to take responsibility. I predict he will undergo a slow burn over the next couple of days -- and he might also be greeted by an unsurprising and unfavorable result on Tuesday night as a result of both his delay in taking responsibility and his refusal to apologize.

      Seeing green

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      Howie lays into the C-men:

      Speaking of "anonymous" leaflets, aren't candidates required to put their names on their material? Looks like a sleuthin' job for DA Dan Conley. I forgot, he had a house party last week on Corey Street for Boy Connolly. One hand washes the other, after all. Conley, a former city councilor, was appointed DA by Gov. Jane Swift, one of whose top fundraisers was Jimmy Connolly, yet another former city councilor who happens to be John Connolly's uncle.

      More mush from Carr

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      "Globe-endorsed Harvard twerp." Now there's a stirring call to arms. In fact, Connolly's stupidity is all the more painful because, up until this point, he seemed like a genuinely good person.

      Also fun is how Carr unquestioningly quotes Steve "Help me, I'm trapped on the City Council" Murphy, who manages to fake some almost genuine sounding outrage about something that wouldn't even be worth mentioning except that gutless Connolly thought he could get away with bringing it up anonymously (Listen, Steve-O: You ARE a loser who can't escape the city council and the concept of bullet voting is hardly novel).

      Six of one, half dozen of the other

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      Connolly's own chase for a city council seat is pathetic: one wonders exactly how many years the "former teacher" spent teaching before he high-mindedly fled to law school. Some commitment to service! I also love anyone who lives in the whitest of Boston's neighborhoods pledging his love of "walk to schools" which is code for "I believe busing should never have happened in Boston". And now the Steve Murphy mailing? Great. We can trade one middle-aged white doughy do-nothing for a slightly younger white less doughy do-nothing who feels entitled to city council seat because of his name. What exactly has John Connolly done to deserve a city council seat except be born a Connolly?

      Finally, his mailings promise he has a voice big enough for all of us. Gee John, some of us actually do the hard work in the community, work that I've never ever seen you show up for. Shouldn't that be "An ego big enough for all of us?" Good luck, twerp.

      Editor who endorsed Connolly having second thoughts

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      Over at the West Roxbury and Roslindale Transcript, Wayne Braverman is no longer feeling the Connolly love:

      ... We endorsed Connolly in last week’s paper - but today, I have some serious second thoughts about it. I'm not a big fan of dirty tactics and it gives me a lot of concern of what type of councilor he would be if this is an example of what’s to come from him if elected.

      At Large Boston City Council Steve Ratso Murphy

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      Things Howie Carr won’t tell you about his drinking buddy Stephan Ratso/deep throat Murphy

      2002 he ran for treasure… 2003 he ran for Sheriff… 2001 He was planning to run for 9th District congressional seat… When does he have time to work for us the tax payers who pay him, shake his hand, give him $$ for his campaign.

      Has had run in with the IRS over unpaid taxes from some bus company he owed? HEYYY by the way was he not a lobbyist for a private school bus company trying top get a 27 million dollar contract from the city. Kind of shady

      In 2004 According to Galen Nelson, director of the Money and Politics Project, Murphy received at least $10,000 in contributions from representatives of the real estate industry that year. And then voted against rent control

      In September Murphy was trying to keep two jobs a $100,000 + state job and his $85,000 councilor seat

      He is the one that tattled on Flaherty for having an expired City Council President placard in his window. How does Howie get is inside anonymous City hall info? Ratso gives it to him.

      Turned his back on 41 well trained battle worn Boston Municipal police offices. They all got laid off in January and most of them were friends who had helped him win elections.

      His wife Dolores Ford Murphy(sorry ex-wife he traded up for an intern)cheated on her police exams. Ford-Murphy had been accused of mail fraud and perjury in connection with buying stolen civil service promotional tests in 1983 in 1984. (Federal indictment) HMMM pretty shady? What do they say about birds that flock together?

      He is crying about gutless and anonymous tactics? Didn't he refuse to submit email addresses to a Boston Tab writer? It was concerning an anonymous email sent by a phony Boston Police widow about Maura Hennigan? Would this not be gutless?

      In 1995 didn't he whine and cry and threaten to sue the city and get the MA Supreme Court involved because John Nucci was not stepping down for 6 months after he became the clerk court magistrate and retired from the council? I think he accused Nucci of double dipping (see above)

      He Heads the public safety committee. What is the death toll at? Why are we laying off Cops who know the streets? He wanted to be sheriff? Thank God he lost.

      Oh in 2000 he backed buddy Locksley Bryan, a disbarred lawyer with a criminal past, for council staff director (he withdrew)

      John? Is that you?

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      Or just a well-informed bystander with a bone to pick?

      From what I hear, IP addresses can be as revealing as mailing addresses....

      Connolly endorsements

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      Ross Levanto explains why he'll be voting for John Connolly even though he thinks Connolly was wrong to send out those anonymous mailings:

      ... First, John understands that there are a lot of people like me who want to live in Boston for the long term but are freaked out by the cost of owning a home here. That's not even mentioning the cost of raising a child here. Since I first moved here in 1994 to go to BU, it was pretty much taken for granted that you have fun in your 20's in the city, and then get married and move to the suburbs. Now that I have lived here for a bit, and want to stay, I cannot simply accept that reality.

      Second (and this point isn't often made, but it's important), John Connolly understands the limitations of the City Council. Let's face it-- The City Council cannot do much. But there are certain areas where the Council can have an impact. Connolly is smart about the change he wants to make; his platform is not overly ambitious, but it's laser-like in its focus. I like that. ...

      Mike Ball writes he will also vote for Connolly despite mailergate (and will also vote for Yoon and Arroyo), in part because he seems pretty egalitarian. As for Murphy:

      [H]e has long overstayed any period of usefulness. I disagree with many of his positions and he does not originate anything of value. Plus, as the ill-thought-out post card says, Murphy has been looking for a "real" job for a long time. Cut him free.