Thomas M. Menino: A Timeline

From the early years to the victory lap.

By | Boston Magazine |
tom-menino-timeline

Councilor Menino. (Photograph Courtesy of City of Boston Archives)

December 27, 1942 Thomas Michael Menino is born.

1960 Graduates from St. Thomas Aquinas High School. After taking a few courses at BC, abandons college for more than two decades.

THE EARLY YEARS

1961 At 19, first meets Joe Timilty, who is elected to city council and becomes his political mentor.

1963 Gets a job selling insurance for Metropolitan Life.

1966 Three years after meeting her on a Roslindale tennis court, marries Angela Faletra.

1968 Quits the insurance business when Timilty gets him an entry-level job at the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

FIRST BRUSHES WITH POLITICS

1971 Works on Timilty’s unsuccessful campaign for mayor against the incumbent, Kevin White.

1975 Once again joins a fruitless Timilty campaign to unseat White. Gets fired from the BRA by a vengeful White.

1979 Still unable to help Timilty beat White.

1982 The state legislature approves the creation of a new District 5 city council seat in Boston, consisting primarily of Hyde Park and Roslindale. Timilty later admits it was essentially created for Menino to win.

COUNCILOR MENINO

1983 Runs for the new District 5 seat and not only wins his first election, but sides with Ray Flynn against the city’s first black mayoral candidate, Mel King, in the race to replace Kevin White.

1984 Enrolls as an undergrad at UMass Boston.

1985 Running unopposed, wins reelection to the city council.

GROWING AMBITIONS

1986 Announces, then quickly aborts, a run for Suffolk County sheriff.

January 1988 Graduates from UMass Boston, with a bachelor’s degree in community planning.

1988 Is given oversight of the city budget by Mayor Flynn.

June 1991 Announces he’ll run for Massachusetts’ 11th Congressional seat, but the position is redistricted into oblivion a month later.

MAYOR MENINO

1993 Outmaneuvers City Councilor Maura Hennigan to become president of the Boston City Council.

July 12, 1993 Becomes acting mayor when Flynn accepts an ambassadorship to the Vatican.

November 1993 Wins his first mayoral election, trouncing state Representative James Brett and becoming the city’s first non–Irish American mayor since the Great Depression.

BOSTON MIRACLE

January 1996 Oversees the merger of the declining Boston City Hospital with BU Medical Center, an effort to improve care for poor citizens that results in the creation of the privatized Boston Medical Center.

1997 Runs unopposed for a second full term in office.

December 11, 1997 Sixteen-year-old Eric Paulding is shot and killed in Dorchester, signaling the end of the 29-month-long “Boston Miracle,” during which no teenagers were murdered in the city.

RISING TO POWER

2001 Takes three-quarters of the vote, defeating City Councilor Peggy Davis-Mullen for his third term.

May 2002 Becomes president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, a position he holds for 13 months.

June 2004 With more than two million square feet of function and exhibition space, the $800 million Boston Convention & Exhibition Center opens in Southie, following years of dogged support from Menino. The Seaport District is born.

THE COOKIE CRUMBLES

July 26–29, 2004 Displays his national muscle by bringing the Democratic National Convention to Boston, where John Kerry is nominated for president.

August 2004 Reveals, through his doctors, that he has Crohn’s disease.

October 2004 “Much like a cookie,” he says, “I predict the Yankee dynasty will crumble and the results will be delicious for Red Sox fans.” Is soon proven correct.

2005 Takes two-thirds of the vote in beating City Councilor Maura Hennigan for his fourth term.

GROWING THE CITY

April 2006 Cofounds the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition to help cities work together to end gun violence. It now includes more than 1,000 mayors from 46 states.

December 2006 Proposes selling City Hall and its surrounding plaza, and moving the seat of municipal government to Southie’s dry docks. So far, unsuccessful.

August 2007 The BRA approves the development of the old Filene’s department store site in Downtown Crossing as a $700 million, 39-story tower.

CHALLENGING TIMES

June 2008 Two months after demolition begins, construction on the Filene’s site stops because of a collapse in financing. No work is done for almost five years on what becomes the city’s central Hole in the Ground.

2009 Pulls 57 percent of the vote in winning a record fifth term by beating City Councilor Michael Flaherty.

January 2010 To mockery, announces that a large chunk of South Boston that includes Fort Point and the Seaport will be dubbed the Innovation District.

VICTORY LAP

February 3, 2012 After four years of defending Downtown Crossing’s Hole in the Ground and feuding with its developer, announces that Millennium Partners (the Ritz-Carlton developers) has taken over the project.

March 13, 2013 Successfully gets a new school-assignment plan approved after years of criticism and failed plans. The new plan goes into effect with the 2014–2015 school year.

March 28, 2013 Beset with health problems, Menino announces he won’t seek a sixth term.

more-menino

For more of our look back at Mayor Menino’s time in office, check out “A Mayor in Full.”