Boston’s Ward 11, Precinct 1 and the next Mayor

I haven’t posted for a while for a couple of reasons:  first I was depressed by the sameness of the news and second, I had to travel to a memorial service for an uncle who passed away at 91.  But before I left town, I voted in the preliminary election for the next mayor of Boston.  Unfortunately, my preferred candidate, Charlotte Golar Richie, finished third.  The top two who will face off in November are both Irish men leading some to lament that Boston has made no progress even though it is a majority minority city.  That is true, but both Marty Walsh and John Connolly are good progressives so it isn’t all bad.  The issue for both of them will be to expand out of their normal voter bases.  This may be easier for Connolly who had votes from more parts of the City.

The Boston Sunday Globe ran an interesting story on the front page this morning about my precinct.  I know it well having represented it on the Democratic Ward Committee for a number of years and having, over the last 19 years, canvassed every house at one time or another.  11/1 is an example of a precinct in which neither Walsh or Connolly did very well

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Roxbury, the Highland Park section of Fort Hill is lined with stately brownstones, rambling gardens, and campaign signs showing political allegiances as diverse as the neighborhood’s population. Fences and yard signs still advertise support for an array of unsuccessful mayoral candidates, including Charlotte Golar Richie, John Barros, and City Councilors Mike Ross and Felix G. Arroyo.

What united voters here in last week’s preliminary election was not a shared loyalty to one candidate, but a collective aversion to two — the eventual winners. Eighty-eight percent of voters in this progressive precinct backed someone other than state Representative Martin J. Walsh or Councilor at Large John R. Connolly. Located within the broad swath of Boston’s inner city where neither finalist claimed victory, Fort Hill is among the voting precincts where they had their weakest showings. Of 261 votes cast for mayor in this precinct last week, only four went to Walsh.

There are 5 adults living in my building and we had 3 yard signs:  Rob Consalvo, Charles Yancey and Charlotte Golar Richie.

Voters in Ward 11/1

Voters in Ward 11/1

Ward 11 is a pretty well racially integrated neighborhood with a high rate of owner occupancy even in the 2 family homes with rental units.

A white female neighbor, who declined to give her name, said she had voted for Golar Richie, the only woman in the race, who would have been the city’s first female mayor and first black mayor. Now, she said, “I have to decide who’s less offensive.”

That attitude itself is offensive to voters like Valerie Madden, a Connolly volunteer who had tried to get her neighbors here to rally around Connolly’s campaign.

“People would tell me frankly, ‘I like him. He’s a good candidate. But I’m not going to vote for him because he’s white,’ ” Madden said.

Madden, who is white, and whose husband is biracial, said she didn’t have the “bandwidth to chide my neighbors because I know that where they’re coming from is a place of good intentions.”

I read this as wanting to elect a mayor who is not white, not as not wanting for vote for someone white.  The precinct votes overwhelmingly for our congressman who is white, for Senators Warren and Markey and voted in large numbers for the current Mayor who is also white.  But I do understand Valerie’s frustration.  She started working for Connolly before Mayor Menino announced his retirement.

Looking at the vote totals, Charlotte took the precinct by a wide margin while finishing third overall.  It will be interesting to see who, if anyone she endorses.  If I were Connolly or Walsh, I would be seeking her help.  I’m disappointed, but console myself with the thought that we are in a time of transition.  With Tom Menino having been mayor for 20 years, who knows if the next mayor will be long tenured or serve a single term as the City gets accustomed to a mayor not named Menino.

Vote distribution in 11/1.

Vote distribution in 11/1.