Flaherty fundraiser set ... but for what?

Former City Councillor At-Large Michael Flaherty is back on the fundraising trail, with one scheduled for May 20 at Anthony’s Pier 4. But it’s the title that accompanied the fund-raiser invite hitting mailboxes of potential donors that has some inside and outside City Hall buzzing: “A Time to Gear Up.” Which had some wondering…gearing up for what, specifically?

The next mayor’s race will be in 2013. The closer municipal election is in 2011, when the City Council, including all four at-large seats, is on the ballot.

For his part, Flaherty, who said on the November night he lost the mayoral election to Mayor Thomas Menino that he wanted a rematch, told the Reporter that he’s keeping his options open.
“I plan to stay involved and I’m looking down the road to the future,” he said. “When the time is right, I plan on getting back into public service.”

Flaherty, who spent a decade on the council before giving up his at-large seat to run for mayor, is currently in the private sector, working for the law firm of Adler Pollock and Sheehan. But he also remains involved in local issues and causes.

There are two sides to an at-large run theory: Flaherty would likely win, which would keep him in the public eye until another run for the mayor’s office. But fund-raising this early for another mayoral run, instead of an at-large one, isn’t out of the ordinary, since Flaherty is faced with two realities whatever happens in the mayor’s race. Either Menino, a prolific fund-raiser, runs for a sixth term, or Flaherty faces a large field of candidates if Menino chooses to make the present term his last.

One City Hall insider, asked about the invite, said it was “too early to know what it means” and pointed to the state treasurer’s race, in which City Councillor At-Large Stephen Murphy is a candidate. “There’s still the treasurer’s race,” the insider said. “It’s certainly exciting that people could be talking about the City Council At-Large race a year and a half before the election.”

Library amendments adopted in the House

House lawmakers last week quietly added amendments to their fiscal 2011 budget proposal that would prevent Boston from receiving around $3 million if any libraries are closed. The addition was made through a voice vote on Friday, the last day of debate over the $27.8 billion budget.

State representatives for Boston, upset over the Menino administration’s proposal to close four libraries, including one in Lower Mills, pressed for the amendments. State Reps. Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Lower Mills) and Michael Moran (D-Brighton) are leading the charge.

Library officials say if the amendments pass, the system could see an additional 31 job cuts, the halting of book-borrowing from other libraries, a reduction in purchase of new materials, and a possible end to digitization efforts that have made materials accessible through the internet.

The Senate is expected to consider similar amendments in their budget proposal, slated for debate later this month.

Meanwhile, the City Council’s budget-vetting committee is scheduled to take testimony on the Boston Public Library system’s budget on June 3. The Ways and Means Committee hearing is set for 6 p.m. in the Iannella Chamber in City Hall.

The Council is expected to vote on the Menino’s $2.5 billion budget, which includes the library closures and a withdrawal of staff from community centers across the city, by the end of June.

So who turned in nomination signatures?

The Boston Elections Department last week released the list of individuals who had turned in their nomination signatures for House and Senate seats. Candidates had to get their signatures – 150 for the House and 300 for Senate – into local elections officials last week if they wanted to have their names on the ballot for the Sept. 14 primary and Nov. 2 general election.

First, several caveats about the list: City elections officials have until May 18 to complete certification of the signatures, which also must be submitted to the Secretary of State’s election division by May 25 for certification at the state level.

The signatures can be challenged. (It’s in fact how one person, perennial candidate Althea Garrison, knocked an opponent off the ballot in the 1990s and went on to serve two years in the House.) People can also withdraw, of course.

So it’s best to view the list as a somewhat incomplete snapshot, but a pretty good indicator of who’s running. But here are a few things of note:

The list of folks interested in the Fourth Suffolk (retiring Rep. Brian Wallace’s seat) includes: Democrats Mark McGonagle, Michael McGee, Nick Collins and Jacob Bombard, and Republican Patrick Brennan.

From the Fifth Suffolk (retiring Rep. Marie St. Fleur’s seat): Barry Lawton, Carlos Henriquez, Althea Garrison, and Roy Owens running as Democrats, with Sean Malloy as the lone Republican. It appears local activists were unsuccessful in getting Candace Sealey, an aide to U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, to run.

From the Sixth Suffolk (retiring Rep. Willie Mae Allen’s seat): the Democrats include Darrin Howell, Kathy Gabriel, Karen Payne, Russell Holmes, Divo Monteiro, LaTasha Cooper. And Republican Adam Bisol has also submitted signatures.

Democrat Hassan Williams is challenging freshman Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz. State Sen. Jack Hart (D-South Boston) could have a Democratic challenger, Donn Dingle.

State Reps. Linda Dorcena Forry (D-Lower Mills), Marty Walsh (Savin Hill), and Elizabeth Malia (D-Jamaica Plain) do not appear to have any challengers.

Quote of Note: Add alleged “puppy-kicker” to the list of things Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, running for reelection on the Democratic ticket with Gov. Deval Patrick, has been called. “One of the most frustrating things to me is how Deval walks around and talks about wanting to run on the issues, and Murray is sitting there next to him kicking puppies,’’ Rick Gorka, a spokesman for Republican candidate Charles Baker, told the Boston Globe for a story on lieutenant governor candidates. “If I could do an ad on it, it would be Deval playing the harp on a white cloud with a dog snarling in front of him.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Material from State House News Service was used in this report. Check out updates to Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at dotnews.com.