Reporter’s Notebook: Mayor savors the scene at his last Dot ‘brunch’

The annual neighborhood fundraisers have been a tradition for Mayor Thomas Menino – usually occurring in Jamaica Plain, East Boston, and in Dorchester. With last month’s announcement that he won’t seek a sixth four-year term, the last one he is expected to hold in Dorchester took place last Sunday.

Lawmakers, top administration officials, and neighborhood activists packed the annual “Mayor’s Sunday Brunch” at the IBEW 103 Hall on Freeport Street to see His Honor and to wait in line to shake his hand. Congressman Ed Markey, who is running for John Kerry’s vacant Senate seat, put in an appearance. Former State Senate President William Bulger was in the audience, as Menino, clad in a tan jacket and red sneakers, sat with his wife Angela next to the podium.

Former state Sen. Jack Hart was the emcee, channeling his experience as the host of St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in South Boston. With many of the candidates hoping to succeed Menino in the room, Hart quipped at the outset, “Raise your hand if you’re not running for mayor of Boston.”

Also read: Fr. Jack Ahern's prayer at Sunday's breakfast in honor of Mayor Menino

After lengthy introductions by Hart, words from Carolyn Kain, a parent involved with special education issues, state Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry, a video, and remarks from two Cape Verdean Boston police officers who had met Menino as children, it was Menino’s turn at the microphone.

“This is the longest wake I’ve ever been to,” the mayor said.

Turning serious, he noted the list of accomplishments that Hart had pointed to, from new community centers, the addition of K-8 schools to an increase in affordable housing units. “It’s the people of Boston who accomplished all these things,” Menino said. “You stood by me,” he added. “You stood up with me.”

The mayor, who has joked at cabinet meetings that he could still change his mind on running for reelection, also said he wasn’t retiring. “I’m transitioning,” said the soon-to-be private citizen from Hyde Park.

‘MC Spice’ will manage Laing’s mayoral campaign

Amir Shakir, better known as a producer and radio host MC Spice, has signed on to serve as mayoral campaign manager for John Laing, a Hyde Park resident who co-founded the low-frequency Grove Hall radio station TOUCH 106.1 FM. Shakir, a Roxbury native, also wrote the lyrics to Mark Wahlberg’s smash hit “Good Vibrations,” among other songs, during the Dot star’s Marky Mark phase. Shakir’s wife, Cashwana Shakir is also helping Laing— who planned to officially launch his mayoral bid last night at Slade’s Bar in Roxbury. Laing will be going up against a large field of candidates that includes his fellow TOUCH 106.1 co-founder, Charles Clemons of Dorchester, if they gather enough signatures from registered voters.

Lynch or Markey? ‘Wasn’t with either candidate,’ says the sheriff

A month before voters went to the polls in Democratic and Republican primaries for US Senate, Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins offered a shout-out to Stephen Lynch, a South Boston congressman who was campaigning for the Democratic nomination.

Tompkins, a Hyde Park Democrat, appeared at a Lynch campaign event on Blue Hill Aveniue, where Lynch had a campaign office for the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan. “We are all Stephen Lynch,” Tompkins said, according to the Lynch campaign, in an apparent reference to an ad that had supporters proclaiming, “I am Stephen Lynch.”

Flash forward to April 28, at the Roxbury Boys & Girls Club, where Congressman Markey, a Malden Democrat who was facing off against Lynch, made a campaign stop. The Markey camp circulated a photo on Facebook that showed Tompkins standing with City Councillor At-Large Ayanna Pressley and District 4 Councillor Charles Yancey.

“I wasn’t with either candidate,” Tompkins, who was appointed sheriff by Gov. Deval Patrick in January, told the Reporter this week.

Tompkins said he attended both events to see what the candidates had to say and how they comported themselves. And, he added, he wanted to ensure both candidates reached out to communities of color, as Elizabeth Warren did when she successfully ran for Senate in 2012. Tompkins was an adviser to her campaign, taking a temporary leave from his job as a top aide to the Suffolk County sheriff at the time, Andrea Cabral.

Markey won the primary on April 30, and is facing Republican Gabriel Gomez in the general election on June 25.

Markey won the Democratic primary with 57 percent to Lynch’s 43 percent. The figures were mirrored in percentages of the Boston vote, which Markey won, picking up 31,795 votes to Lynch’s 28,625 votes.
Tompkins said he is backing Markey in the general election, which will fill a Senate seat left vacant when John Kerry was nominated as President Obama’s chief diplomat.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Reporter editor Bill Forry contributed to this report. Check out updates to Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at Email us at and follow us on Twitter: @LitDrop and @gintautasd.