Reporter’s Notebook: A swearing-in, then a bash to hail Mayor Marty Walsh

Hours after his swearing-in at Boston College on Mon., Jan. 6, Mayor-elect Marty Walsh will join his supporters for his inaugural celebration at the Hynes Convention Center. Tickets, available at Ticketmaster, are $35 per person. Last week, Walsh’s inaugural committee released details of the celebration, which will start at 7 p.m. and feature the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra with conductor Keith Lockhart, local comedians Lenny Clarke and Steve Sweeney, the Dropkick Murphys, Blue Man Group, Zumix, Ellis Hall, the Floor Lords, Strictly Sinatra, Calypso Hurricane, Mark Morris and the Cat Tunes and DJ Master Millions. The inaugural committee is also encouraging attendees to donate canned goods or make a contribution to the ABCD Energy and Fuel Services program.

The committee has also set up three days focused on community service: On Fri., Jan. 3, volunteers can paint a school building, clean up a park, or serve a meal to the homeless. Walsh himself plans to take part in ten such events during the weekend. A youth summit, with sixth through ninth graders participating, is planned for Sat., Jan. 4. The next day, Walsh will host a senior brunch at Northeastern University’s Cabot Athletic Center and attend an interfaith service at Old South Church with Rev. Jeffrey Brown.

Walsh and the 13 members of the 13-member City Council will be sworn in on Mon., Jan. 6, at 10 a.m. inside Boston College’s Conte Forum. Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Roderick Ireland will administer the oaths of office.

More information on inaugural festivities is available at bostoninaugural2014.org.

Connolly says goodbye to council

John Connolly, who in November came several thousand votes shy of the mayoralty, took part in the last City Council session of the year last week, which was also his last meeting as a councillor at-large. He thanked his staff and said he would miss his colleagues. Three other councillors are leaving, since they also gave up their seats to run for mayor: District 5 Councillor Rob Consalvo, who is being replaced by Tim McCarthy; District 8 Councillor Michael Ross, whose seat will be occupied in January by Josh Zakim; and City Councillor At-Large Felix Arroyo. Michelle Wu and former councillor Michael Flaherty will be taking the two at-large slots occupied by Connolly and Arroyo, who were sometimes at odds during their time together on the council.
Arroyo, in his farewell speech, noted that after one disagreement he had with Connolly, he headed to West Roxbury with a bottle of olive oil because “I didn’t know where to buy an olive branch.”

The question of what’s next for the exiting councillors hung over the proceedings. Arroyo, who is on Walsh’s transition team, and Connolly, Consalvo, and Ross are all focused on what their new titles will be in 2014, aside from “private citizen.”

“I’m looking for a job,” Connolly told the Reporter this week. “I’d like to find a way to continue to work on the issues I care about. I’d like to work on education and violence, so I’m looking at a number of different options and I hope to have something final by the end of February.” He will be holding a thank-you party for volunteers this coming Friday, Dec. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Stockyard in Brighton. “Here are two guarantees for the party,” Connolly wrote in an e-mail invitation: “First, the food and drink will be complimentary. Second, I will not be wearing a suit and tie.”

Another joins 13th Suffolk mix

Tony Dang, a local Vietnamese-American activist who worked on state Rep. Marty Walsh’s mayoral campaign, is eyeing a run for Walsh’s House seat. Dang, who is a MBTA police officer and a veteran, opened up a fundraising committee with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance last week.

Dan Hunt, an attorney who is leaving his government affairs post at the Department of Conservation and Recreation to run for the office, was the first to open a campaign account. Michael Cote, a Clam Point resident who unsuccessfully ran in District 3 several times when City Clerk Maureen Feeney was a councilor, has since joined in.

While the names of other potential candidates continue to be on the lips of locals, Phil Carver, a civic activist in Pope’s Hill, has taken himself out of contention. He recently said on Facebook that he would not be a candidate in the special election and that he plans to support Hunt. Annissa Essaibi George, who finished in fifth place in the race for the four at-large seats in November, also said she wasn’t running for the Walsh seat in an interview with the Reporter earlier this month.

NAACP to offer Council report

The Boston branch of the NAACP plans to start issuing a report card on the City Council next year that will focus on civil rights and whether the 13-member council delivers on the NAACP’s priorities. “As Boston City Councilors enter the Iannella Chamber in 2014, one of the first votes that we will be evaluating is the election of the next Boston City Council president,” Michael Curry, Boston NAACP President, said in a statement. “As we witnessed in the redistricting process, not all the members are receptive to the modern, more diverse Boston with empowered communities of color. The first test for this body, representing a city that is 53 percent people of color, will be the selection of its leader.”

The NAACP noted in its release announcing the report card that out of the 71 council presidents elected since 1910, there have been only two African-Americans (Bruce Bolling and Charles Yancey) and two women (Louise Day Hicks and Maureen Feeney).

“The power of the president cannot be overstated,” said Curry. “We worked closely with Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Council President Stephen Murphy, as well as several members, to offer a redistricting plan that was right for Boston and empowered communities of color, and the choice of the next president will set the tone for our work in the coming years.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Check out updates to Boston’s political scene at The Lit Drop, located at dotnews.com/litdrop. Email us at newseditor@dotnews.com and follow us on Twitter: @LitDrop and @gintautasd. Material from State House News Service was used in this report.