Archive for June, 2013

Markey, DOMA, NSA and More

Too many topics today…

We went with three SCOTUS decisions — good (dismissing Prop 8 to restart same-sex marriage in CA), horrible (crippling the ’65 voting-rights act), and great (voiding DOMA). Ryan pointed to the two-faced justices who self-righteously decided in the voting-rights case that the court had the duty to overrule Congress, only to come back in dissent on DOMA saying it had no right to overrule Congress. We thought the effect of the DOMA/Prop 8 cases together are strong evidence we’re creeping our way toward guaranteed protection of equality for all.

We turned to the Ed Markey victory in the US Senate from MA race. Ryan has real hope that he’ll try to keep up with fellow Sen. Elizabeth Warren, turning into a more active and aggressive legislator in the new chamber. Mike noted that in his mid-60s, Markey also should feel pressure to produce.

We also got into spying…a little Snowden and a lot of our government snooping on foreign folk and us. We call for an open government and a stop to the pretense that we should trust the feds with our data and our lives. We don’t buy better-safe-than-sorry argument at the caprice of spooks.

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Walczak Talks His Mayoral Vision

Is visionary pragmatist a class? Bill Walczak was on today simultaneously expallining his calls for taking Boston to a higher level as mayor and his pulling-rabbits-out-of-hats career. His message is I’ve been there; I’ve done it; I want to do it with the city.

Bill WalczakA very youthful sounding 58, he was all about forward movement, despite his accomplishments from age 20 when he started the Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester. Listen to the show or check his campaign site for some of his eye-popping résumé. Then check back to his site on Thursday or Friday, when he should have a full platform and the first of a set of position papers.

Walczak admits putting out his ideas is risky. Yet he says that the most important things a mayor can do are to have a vision, to hire people into that vision, and to make it all happen. Clearly for him to win, the mood of the city has to favor his vision of advancing Boston broadly in all major areas, including education, economic development, public safety, and housing.

Listen in as he speaks of what he has done and what he wants to do. We spent a fair amount of the show talking about education. Not only has he co-founded two Boston schools, but they differ. His Codman Academy is integrated with the health center. The students intern with the center and are immersed in a world of largely white professionals, atypical for their poor neighborhood. Hear Walczak explain how this differs from other high schools, how this experiment flourished, and how he thinks he can replicate and expand it throughout the city.

We had a far-ranging conversation beyond schools. He spoke to his vision in many aspects. He is one candidate who doesn’t have a two-stage campaign, for preliminary then general elections. As he put it, “You have to believe you’re going to win.”

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Visionary Leader Wants Boston Mayoralty

Bill Walczak joins us to explain how he figures he can make big improvements in Boston. The long-time activist from Dorchester has a deep record of accomplishments and figures he can expand that citywide.

Sure enough, he founded the phenomenally successful, neighborhood-changing Codman Health Center, two schools and much more. He’s said finding and plugging in the right leaders in schools and elsewhere are key to his vision.

We’ll try to get specific on what he sees as the problems and solutions for Boston.

If you want to catch the show live, do that here. Tune in at 2:30 PM Eastern, Tuesday, June 18th.

Afterward, you can catch the show at that URL, back here at Left Ahead, or on our iTunes page.


Marty Walsh Details Podcast

We got specific today with Rep. Martin J. (Marty) Walsh, candidate for Boston mayor. With 13, maybe even 15, running to succeed Tom Menino, Walsh has the shared problem — differentiating himself.

Particularly when the current craze is speed-dating-style candidate fora (45-seconds per complex topic per candidate), being the one voters remember is tough. Walsh does have some strong platform planks. He also figures the group sprint to September’s preliminary will take both issues and shoe leather. While a 16-year-tenure state Rep., he still acts in many ways like a City Councilor, forever concerned with constituent services. He reminded me of US Rep. Mike Capuano, who still calls in potholes as he did when he was Somerville’s mayor.

We got deeply into education. He’s been quoted with vague talk about continuing and accelerating Menino’s public-school improvements. Listen in as he speaks to very specific goals and methods, including longer school days, maybe with pre- and post-school programming involving outside groups. He has the ideas and figures as a strong union guy, he has a leg up on implementing his proposals.

Walsh figures education will be one of three key issues in this race, along with economic development and public safety. He explained how those vary in emphasis by neighborhood, and how other concerns were more important from place to place.

Walsh spoke to working with parents of newborns to three-year-olds as well, impressing on them how formative those years are. He went into how improving the schools and giving kids the resources (including GEDs as needed), and ensuring there are recovery programs for alcoholic and other drug abuse. Listen in as he paints his vision of an education system that offers kids what they need at ever stage.

He also has a wide view of crime prevention and public safety. While he doesn’t expect another Boston Miracle, he thinks the same constituents, including ministers, police, courts, community and of course city hall has to be part of it.

He also spoke of the two-phase race of preliminary and municipal. He does think that issues will make the difference for the November final. Yet to get to be one of the two in that race will require a Menino-style effort. The beloved outgoing mayor is literally a fixture in every neighborhood, subneighborhood and civic gathering. Walsh figures that Menino has set that standard and the final two will be those who have knocked on enough doors and shook enough hands to have people say, “I know Marty.”


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Marty Walsh Talks His Campaign

MA Rep. Marty Walsh would move offices from the State House to Boston City Hall. So far, he presents himself as a jack of all trades. a lifelong Dorchester resident, he says he loves the city as Mayor Tom Menino does. He wants faster public school reform and accelerated development in town. We’ll try to get specific and discuss policies and platform planks. Already, he’s attracting donors and supporters from unions, civic groups and voters.

In a one-day shift, the show will be on Wednesday. If you can join us live, click here at 2:30 PM Eastern, Wednesday, June 12th.

Afterward, you can catch the show at that URL, back here at Left Ahead, or on our iTunes page.


Connolly Pushing Big Visions

John Connolly was on today — both on our show and energized. He explained how he wants to excite voters and bring them to share his three visions of high-quality schools in every neighborhood, safe and healthy living in every one as well, and a return to Boston’s role as a great job creator.

We had a wide-ranging conversation. As he is personally and each time he joins us, he was candid and insightful. Toward the end, we even got into the current media to-do about charter v. public schools. He thinks that is a totally wrong framing of his fundamental concerns. Having come from a family of teachers, including him and his wife, having kids in Boston public schools, and having headed the City Council’s education committee for years, he’s in for more than a pound. Listen in to hear why he thinks “We’re in the wrong place in this debate.” If he becomes Mayor, “If you’re a great school, I want to support you. I want to replicate you,” regardless of public or charter. Likewise, he would want to fix problems on less-than-great schools.

He admits he would expect initial problems from teachers-union leaders, but not teachers. Yet, he explains why he thinks education is the big issue even for the many who do not have kids of school age, or kids at all. He doesn’t think that issue will win the mayoral by itself, but that it’s key for everyone.

We spoke of the two-phase election, starting with a preliminary of 10 to 15 candidates, depending on how many qualify for the ballot.Then the sprint between the two for the November final should be a whole different contest. He figures that you need money to be competitive, but that it won’t be the biggest factor.

Listen in as he speak about street crime, the inequality among neighborhoods, and how Boston has the resources to break that typical urban problem set. Here again, he trusts the voters to listen to his visionary proposals and join him in elevating the goals and the role of government in achieving them.

Connolly said near the end of the show that the 20-year Mayor Tom Menino will long be “the shadow and the legacy and the legend” and deserving of great praise. He thinks he can convince voters to go with him to a higher stage.

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