As City Councillor Rob Consalvo’s mayoral campaign kick-off wound down, Angelo Scaccia was at the front table, greeting people as they exited, getting up and sitting down, shaking their hands, and slapping their backs while complaining of his own being in pain.
“Four herniated discs,” Scaccia roared at one point, before shuffling over to sit on the edge of the stage set up for the media.
Scaccia has served in the Massachusetts House for decades, and once had Consalvo as an aide. “You could tell this kid was destined to be mayor,” said Scaccia, who often irks and delights colleagues with his boisterous demeanor on the House floor. “His way with people. He treats everyone equally. And he listens. He’s learned politics from the ground floor.”
Turning to constituent services, he then mentions Consalvo and Mayor Thomas Menino, who once held the same City Council seat that Consalvo was elected to, in the same breath. For some, that’s a negative, and that’s been the rap on Consalvo sometimes: he’s a mini-Menino.
But Consalvo’s campaign did not appear to strongly shy away from that at the Cedars of Lebanon, where he held his kick-off on Thursday night, the same place where Menino had held one of his last neighborhood fundraisers in March.
Many of the attendees in the crowd – which numbered over a thousand as people came in and out, and at-large candidates stood outside to grab signatures to get on the ballot – were City Hall employees, the guys who work under the guys who work under the Cabinet-level officials, according to Consalvo aides. One of them was Anthony Albano, a key member of the Menino machine whose work was profiled in the Boston Globe  in November 2012. For his part, Albano said he was at Consalvo’s speech as a “friend.”
Consalvo’s speech had the Big Picture stuff: a revival of the “Boston Compact” between universities, business and schools; a push for a Boston version of the gimmicky “People’s Pledge,” first created as a way to keep outside groups out of last year’s U.S. Senate race; and the creation of a “strong, more long-term” STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) program.
But there was also a dose of the small-bore. His vision “includes basic services – like making sure parks are renovated and sidewalks are fixed,” he said, according to a copy of the speech.
His wife Michelle, in her own speech, provided a Menino-esque anecdote: She and her husband rushing to the hospital as she was about to have one of their children, Austin, and the councillor calling in a report on graffiti he had spotted as they passed by a local elementary school.
Whether that’s what voters want – another mechanic – is a question that will be answered in the fall.
Here’s how Scaccia, the longtime pol, sees it: Consalvo’s City Council district, the most diverse among the nine, is a “potent, powerful” one, and includes Hyde Park and Mattapan. State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli, an East Boston Democrat who emceed the kick-off, is helping him. And, according to Scaccia, Consalvo has “key people” in Fenway and Brighton.
“He has a strong base, a growing base,” Scaccia said, before launching himself back into the dwindling crowd. “He’ll get enough in each area.”