City Limits: Meet Boston’s 2013 Mayoral Candidates

As candidates scramble for votes in the first wide-open mayoral election in decades, a transformed Boston begins to emerge.


“I’m killing it,” District 5 City Councilor Rob Consalvo said, taking a break from meeting a gaggle of elderly women at a breakfast event hosted by the mayor’s office at Hyde Park’s Iacono Playground. “These are the events you need to be at to win,” he added. “I’m not missing any of them.” It was not long after Mother’s Day, and in the past week or so, his Twitter feed—“We’re killing it on social media”—had been flooded with pictures of Consalvo flanked by elderly moms, smiling his big chipmunk-cheeked smile.

His strategy, he told me, is to secure his base neighborhoods of Hyde Park, Roslindale, and Mattapan, then pick up votes in the rest of the city. It seems like a good plan: Voters in the southwestern neighborhoods are as reliable as they come, even in generally ignored municipal elections. But there’s a hitch. He’ll have to share those voters with Connolly (who lives in West Roxbury) and Conley (the previous District 5 City Council officeholder). That means that all three candidates will have to court voters who don’t traditionally show up as reliably at the polls.

Like Menino, the 44-year-old Consalvo is known for his ubiquity—he’d go to the opening of a Sam Adams bottle—and as a master urban mechanic. Also like Menino, Consalvo has been praised for his attention to detail but criticized for his lack of big-picture vision. Leaving the breakfast and heading back to City Hall that day, he spouted ideas: He wants cops to have portable fingerprint scanners and to outfit more of their cruisers with dash cams. To fight the scourge of tree roots growing into concrete, he has a plan to introduce newfangled rubber sidewalks.

We talked about rubber sidewalks for a long time—there is nothing, it seems, that Rob Consalvo does not know about rubber sidewalks. He went on to tell me how Governing magazine, a treasure trove of such municipal fix-its, is his bible. But when I asked if there’s one big thing he’d like to change about Boston, he stalled out. “That’s a tough question,” he said. “Can I get back to you on that?”

It’s tricky for Consalvo: He’s always been close with the mayor (also a former District 5 city councilor), and any criticism of the city is, in essence, a criticism of Menino’s stewardship. Later, in his office, Consalvo insisted there are differences between him and the mayor, but claimed he didn’t mind the comparison. “The guy’s got an 80 percent approval rating,” he said. “He’s the longest-serving, hardest-working mayor. I hope I am equated with him.”

Next: John Connolly »

  • Antonio Avanti, (aka)

    Another Great civil minded, loyal, honest and sincere Mayor with the same patriotic Bostonian traits, but also keeping in mind the Diverse Ethnicity growth from the last past years and many more years ahead to come. New changes in hiring more Minorities for Cities Police Force with their respected promotions deserved after earning their stripes along with promoting those qualied Black African local Police!
    A vision of Modern progress towards, Business in tourism, Airport to continue to grow, surroundings Buildings new construction to be built in future Developments, Water fronts harbours by East Boston / Chelsea- Communites Hispanic to be built reflecting it’s new changing cultural heritage global population. As many other Cities & States example N.Y. Atlanta, Miami & Miami Beach have done along its waterways, yacht club, Harbors,piers surrounding new visitors areas.
    A continued joint effort; similiar or even if needed improved Security- throughout the Highways leading into Boston from both directions North + South directions of 93. Transportations needed revenues for improvements, maintenance etc., monies generated, invested by implementing toll system, so much needed revenue can be absorved by Toll booths revenue. Consideration of the State Police or other International style of Policing, dealing with neglected oversight & enforcement in our State roads, City highways, where known undocumented, drug- smugglers, weapons, potential terrorist use as roots to get in-out around Boston, as done in European, Middle East, other countries with troubles as the ones Boston has inherited due to envy desires to cause harm threats of terror by the terrorist to our American people and soil!
    With these suggestions and opinions we hope that in the next upcoming elections for a new Mayor, we are succeeded by another new great canditate 4 Mayor of Boston as World Famous Mayor Menino!

    A. Antonio
    * &

  • Dorian

    Connolly: vast majority of teachers are actually with him in terms of the benefits of longer school day – the sticking point with the unions is that BPS was unwilling to hire more teachers to fill that time (especially specials – like art, drama, music, robotics, etc… – which parents actually want) or pay existing teachers for their time (who already put in more hours beyond what has been mandated by the union and spend their own money on school supplies) – you won’t get union support if you just push more useless garbage like MCAS prep. you end up losing good experienced teachers this way.

    charters are really just a way around this – they mostly bring in un-certified, but talented, recent grads who are willing to work insane hours for a few years so they can gain enough experience so they can get a union job in a good school district. Find me a charter that pays well and has good staff retention. hint – they don’t exist.