DiCara: Now Is Menino's Chance To Establish His Legacy

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Boston will keep a familiar face in power for another four years. Mayor Thomas Menino beat Michael Flaherty at the polls Tuesday and made history by entering his unprecedented fifth term in office. The victory was not a surprise to many, including to political analyst Larry DiCara.

"Michael Flaherty could not peel away people of color, Italians, a lot of the city workforce and people who were left of center," DiCara told WBUR's Bob Oakes in a post-election interview Wednesday morning.

With the same coalition that has been electing him since 1993 and a strong presence in many communities, Mayor Menino won by 15 points. Joining powers with former mayoral candidate and fellow City Councilor Sam Yoon helped Flaherty in some neighborhoods, but it was not enough to take the popular mayor's seat.

"It's very difficult when one has been in public office for 10 years, and one is endorsed by the firefighters and the superior officers, to sell oneself as the candidate of change," DiCara said.

The results show that most people are happy with the way the city is run, DiCara believes. Education has been an underlying issue during Menino's time in office, but the majority of his voters are in a different age group.

"The great number of people whose kids attend public school are not necessarily the same people who vote," DiCara said, noting that many of Menino's supporters are seniors and young people without children.

Menino said during his victory speech on Tuesday night that history will be made by what he creates on his fifth term. DiCara recommended the mayor takes a bolder approach on issues such as charter schools and the consolidation of departments.

"Certainly people give him very high grades for managing the city efficiently. The bond rating is as high as any city in the country. But he has the opportunity now to establish his legacy," DiCara concluded.

Michael Flaherty congratulated Menino during his concession speech, but left open the possibility of running for the mayor's seat again in four years.

Luciana Almeida compiled this report. Click the "Listen Now" button above to hear DiCara's full conversation with Oakes on WBUR's Morning Edition.

This program aired on November 4, 2009.

Bob Oakes Senior Correspondent
Bob Oakes was a senior correspondent in the WBUR newsroom, a role he took on in 2021 after nearly three decades hosting WBUR's Morning Edition.



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