Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Boston Globe Endorses Ciommo and Connolly for City Council

The Boston Globe offered two endorsements today for Boston City Council:  Mark Ciommo for the Allston-Brighton District 9 seat and John Connolly for one of the Councilor-At-Large seats.  They endorsed no other candidate for the Councilor-At-Large seats, even though voters may vote for up to four and four will be elected.

The Globe had previously endorsed Tim Schofield for the Allston-Brighton seat before the September 25th preliminary election.  When Schofield took third place, missing the final, he endorsed Ciommo -- a path the Globe has now followed.  The Globe's previous endorsement of Schofield appears to have been made without interviewing the six candidates, according to a number of them; the Globe has done a more thorough job this time by interviewing both Ciommo and Greg Glennon, according to Ciommo campaign worker Michael McLaughlin.

In their endorsement, the Globe noted that:
Ciommo's roots are deep in the neighborhood and his civic accomplishments are long...

Ciommo won't be pushed around, but he knows when it is time to draw the line and when it is time to negotiate with Harvard for community benefits and traffic mitigation. Even in Brighton, where Ciommo opposes the construction of a new [Boston College] dorm on land formerly owned by the Archdiocese of Boston, he suggests an alternative site.
The alternative site the Globe was most likely referring to is the counter-proposal for BC to build densely on their Main Campus (e.g., on the MODS location).

The Globe endorsed Connolly for Councilor-At-Large, calling him "a challenger with impressive energy and experience."  They primarily cited his experience as a former school teacher -- before he left the profession to pursue a law degree -- saying that he "understands and articulates the interplay of public safety, good schools, and stable neighborhoods."

In endorsing Connolly but not other candidates, the Boston Globe might appear to have avoided the sticky problem of endorsing candidates with opposing views.  But in their endorsement of both Connolly and Ciommo they had a bit of the issues clash.  Connolly favors a return to neighborhood schools, but Ciommo favors only a modest change to the walk-zone assignment process (e.g., from 50 to 60%; see "public schools" audio link).  Ciommo supports creating a city planning department, but Connolly opposes it.  

There are also some issues on which the two agree.  Connolly does join Ciommo in opposing Boston College's proposal to build undergraduate dorms on the former Seminary land, and both want BC to house all their undergraduates on their Main Campus.  Both Connolly and Ciommo (audio link on "gambling, taxes") support casino gambling in general, but want neighborhood input (or a referendum) before a casino comes to East Boston.

Harry Mattison on the Allston Brighton Community Blog compares the Globe's current non-endorsements of Councilors Felix Arroyo, Michael Flaherty, Stephen Murphy, and Sam Yoon with their past endorsements of each and every one of them (some in 2003, others in 2005).  Mattison asks, "Does The Globe feel that strongly positive about John Connolly or that negative about the other candidates?"  The Globe is pushing an odd position in their current endorsement of only Connolly for Councilor-At-Large.  They didn't use the term "bullet vote," but it sure sounds like that's what they're implying.

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