Boston’s mayor Tom Menino, affectionately ( and sometimes derisively) called ” Mumbles” because of his mangling of the English language and his lack of conversational clarity, just got out of the hospital after a long stay. He is now in rehab for back problems and other maladies but appears to be on the mend.
Whenever there is even the hint of weakness on the part of Hissoner or his age begins to creep up, a literal army of pretenders to the throne begin a whispering campaign as they position themselves for what they hope will be a retirement announcement by the Mayor and an opportunity to lead the Athens of America – that’s Boston for the uninitiated and uniformed.
There is an election coming up in 2013 and this army of pretenders now believes that age and Type 2 Diabetes will convince the Mayor to hang it up and return to his Hype Park neighborhood and tend to his garden or whatever retired politicians do when they no longer are at the center of power.
No one knows what Mayor Menino will do after he is back in the corner office but one thing is clear – if this is the finale for ” Mumbles ” Boston will lose a leader who had his priorities straight and governed as a true man of the people. In a city known for its neighborhood loyalties, Menino walked the streets and met the people. He developed an old-fashioned political machine that was admittedly designed to keep him in office but was also his lifeline to the pulse of the people.
Menino may never be remembered for great oratory, but he will be remembered for taking the city into the 21st century with new construction, vibrant areas of economic development, heightened tourism and a general feel of progress and optimism. Boston is clearly a city on the move and Mayor Menino is responsible.
Of course like most urban centers, Boston has crime, struggling schools, dissatisfied groups and always political tension. But Menino has made Boston work and the city has never been more liveable and exciting.
None of the pretenders to the mayoral throne will be able to replace the 24/7 commitment of Mayor Tom Menino. As an old-fashioned pol,”Mumbles” didn’t need to talk in a high fallutin manner, he just changed the face of the Boston.