Campaign Note: Coakley runs for governor; Richie gets key endorsements; Election Commissioner warns of fake phone polling; Mayoral candidates debate City Hall move
Attorney General Martha Coakley joins crowded governor’s race
Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley, undaunted by her lackluster campaign against Scott Brown in 2010, launched her bid to become the next governor.
In a campaign video posted on YouTube, Coakley cited her loss in the race for the seat left vacant by the death of U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).
“I know what it’s like to lose a race, I know how hard it is,” Coakley says in the video, released Monday.
Coakley also made a formal announcement on Monday in her hometown of Medford.
“I think that I am ready to both lead and listen to people in Massachusetts about what they want. I know they want to continue moving the economy forward, giving people economic opportunity, improving our educational system,” Coakley said in published reports.“I’m going to do that as governor.”
Coakley, a Democrat, has reportedly been weighing a 2014 gubernatorial bid for months. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has said he will not seek a third term in the statehouse.
Coakley has served as the state’s attorney general since 2007. Several Democrats have already jumped into the race, including State Treasurer Steven Grossman and former Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs Juliette Kayyem. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) is also expected to make a decision soon on whether he will run. Former Obama administration health-care official Donald M. Berwick and biotechnology executive Joseph Avellone have also announced their plans to run. Mass. Sen. Dan Wolf has suspended his campaign while dealing with conflict-of-interest questions stemming from his ownership stake in Cape Air.
On the Republican side, Charles Baker announced his candidacy earlier this month. Baker previously ran for the office in 2010. Independent candidate Evan Falchuk is also pursuing the office.
“I know it’s going to be a long hard, primary. I welcome that,” Coakley said of the governor’s race.
Charlotte Golar Richie receives key endorsements
A group of highly regarded dignitaries, preachers and civic, community and business leaders endorsed Charlotte Golar Richie for mayor, citing her ability to lead an administration that will focus on preparing residents for job opportunities in the 21st-century economy.
Among them were former U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania Charles Stith, former Transportation Secretary Richard Taylor, Judge Joyce Alexander London, former WBZ-TV reporter Sarah Ann Shaw, Ward 12 Democratic Committee Chair Victoria Williams, University of Massachusetts Boston senior lecturer Tony Van der Meer, community activist Horace Small and Boston Public Schools Committee member Alfeda Harrison.
“Charlotte appreciates our potential and she will keep the promise and make our communities better places and ensure a brighter future for our children,” said Ambassador Stith.
Richie is the former chief of housing and director of neighborhood development for the City of Boston. A former state representative, Richie served as an advisor to Gov. Deval Patrick.
Among the prominent ministers were Eugene Rivers, A. Livingston Foxworth, Frank Kelly, Gideon Thompson, Othon O. Noel, Chris Sumner, Gerald Bell, Matthew Thompson, Wesley Roberts, Willie James, Ego Ezedi, Chris Womack, Ellis Washington, Evan Hines, Frank Murray, Jeffrey Brown, Liz Walker and Miniard Culpepper.
Election Commissioner warns residents of fraudulent phone polling claiming to be from the Boston Election Department
Geraldine Cuddyer, chair of Boston’s Board of Election Commissioners, reminds all voters that the Election Department does not conduct any kind of telephone polling or surveys of voters.
“It has been brought to my attention over the weekend that voters are receiving telephone calls regarding voter preferences. The callers are identifying themselves as being from the Boston Election Department,” Cuddyer said. “Voters should be aware that any caller conducting a survey and claiming to be Election Department personnel is engaging in fraudulent behavior.”
Cuddyer said the Election Department staff is getting ready for the historic Sept. 24 Preliminary Election in which 12 candiates are running to fill the seat held by Mayor Thomas Menino. In addition, 61 candidates are vying for open seats on the Boston City Council.
“The Election Department prides itself on conducting fair and impartial elections,” Cuddyer said, “and I take great offense at anyone misusing the department’s name.”
Mayoral candidates tussle over moving City Hall
Standing in front of the run-down Leon building, former City Councilor Mike Ross blasted State Rep. Marty Walsh’s proposal to bulldoze City Hall and City Hall Plaza, saying it represented a fundamentally flawed vision.
“The citizens of Boston are hungry for bold new ideas, not just another conversation about moving City Hall,” Ross said in a release. “The next mayor can’t just be focused on building big buildings and downtown development. The next mayor needs to be focused on growing our neighborhoods and building more transit-oriented development and affordable housing.”
Ross’ criticisms came after Walsh announced his proposal for developing downtown Boston. He called for the sale of City Hall Plaza to a private developer and suggested moving City Hall to a new private development in the areas near Downtown Crossing, the Financial District and Government Center.
Walsh said the sale of City Hall Plaza is expected to generate $125-150 million in one-time revenue. That 4.5 acre parcel would also be added to the tax rolls, generating an additional $10-12 million annually.
“By creating this one-time large infusion of revenue,and returning one — if not two — large public parcels of land to the tax rolls, the city will be positioned to pay for many of the services citizens have told me they want,” Walsh said in a release.
But Ross said that instead focusing on City Hall, the should be talking about places like the Leon building, which he called an “eyesore and a drain on this community for years.”
The Leon Electric Building, a 50,000-square-foot underutilized warehouse complex, sits next to the Uphams Corner station on the Fairmount line of the MBTA Commuter Rail. The building is considered a prime candidate for development into a mix of offices, retail space and housing — with some even proposing connecting it directly with the Commuter Rail station.
“Boston is booming, but not all of our neighborhoods are sharing in that boom,” Ross said. “For Boston to truly take the next step forward we need to bring economic opportunity into the neighborhoods that haven’t seen it.