We’ve relished every year, month, mumble, and debate.
Research by Alex Grant | @alex_grant28
Generally, when we’re bidding farewell to towering political figures–Mitt Romney the governor, Mitt Romney the presidential candidate, crooks of that order–it’s with a smirk and a smile. Sometimes we go so far as to pop bottles.
It’s different with Mayor Tom Menino. The Dig is 15 years old. Like everybody else around here under 20, to us, he’s as much a part of the City Hall fabric as waiting in a permit line to get berated. We’ve disagreed with the mayor. We’ve applauded him. We’ve caught his back when others haven’t, and we’ve won his ire on a few select occasions, like when we waited near Menino’s Readville home to ambush him with questions on his routine morning walk. Somewhat famously, we brought him shopping at Filene’s for a new tie.
The Dig is a curmudgeonly knee-capper on the Hub’s political landscape, a housefly you can’t seem to swat. Have been ever since Menino’s second term. Back then, we fought a drawn-out and ultimately losing battle with the mayor to keep our distribution boxes around Back Bay; in that instance and in subsequent contentious coverage–some of which we’ve unearthed and summarized herein–he’s been a fair and even jovial sport.
Alternative publications are, by and large, prescribed to spite establishment at every turn. That’s especially supposed to be the case for entrenched white men who hold power for extraordinary lengths of time. But while we held Menino accountable where it mattered–gentrification, the treatment of protesters at Occupy Boston, the expulsion of hip-hop from the nightlife scene and of basement shows from Allston, for starters–we didn’t walk away in haste. Maybe for a few minutes, but the grudge never lasted. We can say the same about Dot Joyce, his trusty longtime spokesperson and a genuine class act as far as flacks go.
In the final months of his administration, there’s been a deluge of nostalgia pointing out the mayor’s Detective Columbo-like knack for triumphing not necessarily in spite of, but on the strength of his limitations in size, speech, and statesmanlike appearance. Indeed, he’s our Fiorello LaGuardia. More importantly, though, has been the endless waxing about the more divided, less tolerant Hub that preceded Hizzoner. We’ll take everybody’s word for it. A Boston under Tom Menino is the only kind the Dig has ever known, and we’ve relished every year, month, mumble, and debate we’ve shared with America’s last great 20th Century civic patriarch.