I usually look for a positive hook, to tie these columns up with a neat bow.
As I wrote on the morning after last week’s preliminary elections (aka primaries) in Somerville and Boston, among other places, the historic race for the top spot in the latter took a turn toward a potential nightmare as councilors Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu beat opponents Councilor Andrea Campbell, former Boston Chief of Economic Development John Barros, and current Mayor Kim Janey to advance to the general election on Nov. 2.
History will still be made, no doubt about it. Boston will elect a woman to sit in the big chair for the first time. But there’s a chance said landmark mayor may be Essaibi George, and that sucks.
Allow me to connect some dots regarding the Dorchester councilor. It’s not just that we contacted her early this year about her role on the city’s Residency Compliance Commission, since we had info that showed then-BPD Commissioner William Gross had been living outside of the city for years. Or that Essaibi George dodged our inquiries, only to then accept the endorsement of Gross, along with that of countless other cops. Or even that, as Gin Dumcius revealed for the Dorchester Reporter, the SuperPAC Gross set up to harness all that blue gold is connected to a firm that worked for the Trump campaign in 2016.
It’s all of that!
Is the Boston race about much more than police violence and the abominable BPD, an agency as delinquent in its prescribed mission as its cops are prolific in committing major crimes that officers are sworn to thwart on down to petty theft and fuckery that costs taxpayers untold millions every year? You bet it is. But this race is nonetheless a litmus test, for the candidates as well as the voters of Boston, and the outcome will impact everybody who relies on the capital for education, employment, entertainment, etc. This is a critical quiz at a potential turning point. Check the police? Or give them a blank check? Peace and nonviolence? Or continued carnage?
I usually look for a positive hook, to tie these columns up with a neat bow. It’s rarely forced; rather, I find that there’s a lot of good around here despite the high rents, horrendous public transit, and so on. In an issue like this one, which is largely focused on the arts, for example, I might point out that no matter who becomes the next mayor of Boston, chances are they will improve funding for theater, music, and various other avenues whose intersections are where the Hub is its most vibrant and promising.
That may be true, but right now it’s impossible to see beyond the thick blue line between Essaibi George and Michelle Wu.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.