Sunday, September 20, 2009

No-Shows at Allston-Brighton Day Parade

The Allston-Brighton Day Parade normally occurs one or two weekends before the fall primaries or preliminary municipal election.

Sure, crowd-wise this parade is nothing compared to the St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston. But the timing has, in recent years, made it a popular event for political hopefuls to attend a public event and gain publicity before the A-B voters.

This year was no different -- except for a surprising number of no-shows, particularly among the candidates for councilor-at-large.

Little did they know that we in A-B would be taking attendance -- and broadcasting it on the intertubes.

You know, if Mayor Thomas Menino himself thinks a parade important enough to show up, then it is probably important enough for a councilor-at-large wannabe, too.

[right] Mayor Menino, his wife, and state Representative Michael Moran lead the parade ahead of the Boston College Marching Band.

Mayor's Race

In attendance:
  • Thomas Menino, incumbent
  • Michael Flaherty
  • Sam Yoon
  • Kevin McCrea
McCrea as a no-show is not too surprising. He's running a gadfly-like insurgency campaign, not following conventional wisdom in his unconventional campaign. His anti-BRA message had the potential to resonate with A-B voters bothered by the issue of institutional expansion, but he doesn't appear to have been spending much time in the district and spent the afternoon at the Allston Village Street Fair and Moran's barbecue.

Allston-Brighton District 9 City Councilor

In attendance:
  • Mark Ciommo, incumbent
  • Abigail Furey
  • Alex Selvig
  • Ben Narodick
Narodick's absence is not surprising, since he is running a very-low expense campaign that probably couldn't afford the parade entrance fee given the Rosh Hashanah holiday season.

But Selvig's absence is very surprising because of family commitments (attending a nephew's birthday). Two years ago he ran the 5-K race and then marched in the parade.

Boston City Councilor-At-Large

In attendance (in order of appearance):
  • Stephen Murphy, incumbent
  • Andrew Kenneally
  • Ayanna Pressley
  • Doug Bennett (no, he does not look like a auto-dialer-machine)
  • Robert Fortes
  • update: John Connolly, incumbent
  • John Connolly, incumbent
  • Ego Ezedi
  • Tomas Gonzalez
  • Tito Jackson
  • Sean Ryan
  • Jean-Claude Sanon
  • Scotland Willis
  • Bill Trabucco
  • Hiep Nguyen
  • Felix Arroyo, Jr.
Most surprising was Connolly's absence as an incumbent in the race. He has been seen periodically in the last two years at community meetings in A-B, so we know that he's not ignoring the district. He has a politically-savvy team, however, and may have calculated that he would get better exposure elsewhere. On the other hand, could Connolly's no-show have something to do with an imminent bundle-of-joy?

Update: Connolly's team tells me that he was, in fact, in the parade. He had no banner, only a small group, was marching out-of-order (nearer the front), and I obviously missed him. Sorry!

Another surprising move is the absence of Nguyen, since A-B has a substantial Asian-American population -- not just Chinese-American, but a growing number of Vietnamese-Americans, too.

The bottom six candidates in cash-in-hand as of the end of August were all among the ten no-shows in the A-B parade. That can't be a coincidence, suggesting that a parade entrance fee (and the effort/expense of organizing people to attend) was considered by many of them to be a poor use of limited resources. But Felix Arroyo, Jr., is wallowing in cash -- and his father attended the parade back in 2007 -- so his absence is hard to explain.


Ben N. said...

While we did not march in the parade due to a scheduling overlap with Rosh Hashanah, our campaign did attend the very lovely Allston-Brighton Day Parade.

We also took the time to enjoy the Allston Village Street Fair, which was (once again) an amazing event and something I hope to see a lot more from in Allston and Brighton.

Harry Mattison said...

Kevin McCrea didn't march in the parade, but he did spend considerable time talking with people at the Street Fair yesterday afternoon. He also met with voters at the Green Briar on Friday evening.

Harry Mattison said...

Kevin McCrea was also the only candidate for Mayor at the August 24 Charlesview meeting. The BRA tried to prevent a citizen from videotaping the meeting and it was Kevin who spoke up and used his experience with the Public Meeting Law to convince the BRA to allow the recording. I'd say this quality of involvement is less visible but more valuable than walking in a parade.

JohnT said...

I would rather have a parade that is not political. Do politicians add anything to the festivities?

Tim said...


John Connolly did attend the Honan Road Race and he did march in the AB Parade. One of his staffers told me that the staffer saw you sitting in front of the laundrymat, but John was working the crowd across the street from you when he passed and so you missed each other.

Please update your post.


Tim Schofield