Reporter’s Notebook: For Arroyo, an eye on 2011 and a cautious look back at 2007

It’s apparently never too late to start running for re-election. Particularly when you’re a city councillor, and re-election is a scant sixteen months away.

Seven months into his first term, City Councillor At-Large Felix Arroyo’s re-election campaign is hitting back at coverage of him and the City Council’s boycott of Arizona, saying he is “under attack from the right wing media.” The boycott came in response to Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

In a fundraising appeal e-mailed to supporters last week, Patrick Keaney, Arroyo’s campaign manager wrote, “Their goal is obvious: stop Felix’s momentum right now so that he does not win re-election in 2011.”

Keaney added: “But even his detractors are forced to admit that Felix is a man of his word – the headline in yesterday’s Boston Herald says it all: ‘Felix Arroyo praised for conviction.’ ”

The e-mail comes days after Arroyo made the front page of the Herald, defending the boycott. An earlier edition, before he had called the paper back, had Arroyo’s face on a milk carton, since the paper said he had been ducking them for days.

Herald reporters responded in the newspaper’s Sunday “Pols and Politics” column: “Sigh. Apparently the lesson of those unreturned calls is: He’s just not that into us.”

The e-mail sought to highlight Arroyo’s first six months on the council, and put the Arizona boycott, which Kearney called the state’s “attempt to legalize racial profiling,” third on the list, after helping get 1,000 additional summer jobs for youth and helping settle the firefighters arbitration award.

Arroyo has also been advocating for keeping open four branch libraries which are slated for closure, along with several other councillors.

The e-mail is likely aimed at keeping his base motivated ahead of the 2011 municipal election and helping him avoid a similar fate as his father, Felix Arroyo Sr. The elder Arroyo lost in 2007 amid low turnout from progressive and minority voters.

“We must make sure Councilor Arroyo has the resources to respond to these attacks,” Keaney wrote.
He added: “Taking stands like the ones he has taken carries political risk, especially for a freshman legislator. But we all know that risk doesn’t enter the equation when Felix faces a tough decision. He fights for us, unequivocally. Now, we have to stand with him.”

Fifth Suffolk candidate adds former City Council candidates to campaign
Carlos Henriquez, one of the four candidates running to replace former state Rep. Marie St. Fleur, is bringing on a pair of veterans from last year’s City Council At-Large race.

Tomas Gonzalez and Andrew Kenneally, who both unsuccessfully ran for City Council last year, have joined the campaign to handle field operations and messaging, respectively.

All three are former City Hall aides: Kenneally and Henriquez both worked for former City Councillor At-Large Michael Flaherty. Gonzalez is the former chief of staff of the Commission on the Affairs of the Elderly and the former Latino liaison to Mayor Thomas Menino’s Office of Neighborhood Services.

Henriquez has also been receiving help from others who have worked for St. Fleur and former state Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie’s campaigns for the Fifth Suffolk District seat.

The other candidates in the race are high school teacher Barry Lawton, former state Rep. Althea Garrison, and perennial candidate Roy Owens.

Since all of them are running as Democrats, the winner of the Sept. 14 primary will likely cruise past the general election on Nov. 2 and take the seat in January.

St. Fleur announced in February she was not running for re-election after serving over a decade in the House. She took a top job with the Menino administration in June.

Comings and goings on the Hill and in the Hall
Joanne Massaro is Mayor Menino’s permanent pick for public works commissioner, his office has announced. Massaro had been serving as interim commissioner since January, when Dennis Royer announced his resignation and a move back to Colorado.

Menino’s office said under Massaro, overtime in the public works department declined by 63 percent from fiscal year 2009. Massaro has previously served as Menino’s director of policy, director of operations and interim director of the Department of Neighborhood Development. She will be public works department’s the first female commissioner.

Menino also announced that Edith Murnane will be coming on board as food policy director. The new position is funded through grants from the Eos Foundation and an anonymous donor. Murnane’s previous job was managing sustainable food programs for Community Servings, a Jamaica Plain-based nonprofit. Menino has put an increasing focus on healthy foods, including the launch of a “soda-free summer” challenge and an attempt to bring healthy food trucks to City Hall’s plaza.

Lou Manzo is among the ranks of State House aides who are heading to law school this year. Manzo, who left state Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry’s office earlier this month, is heading to Georgetown Law School this September. Forry is married to managing editor Bill Forry.

Quote of Note: State House News Service
The State House News Service, an independently owned and operated wire service on Beacon Hill, took to the social networking site Twitter with this pithy observation last week: “Patrick press office really churning: MCAS shift looms, judicial nominee Aptaker withdraws. Happy summer Friday.”

It’s been done in both Democratic and Republican administrations, on the state and federal level, from Reagan to Obama: Releasing bad news on a Friday, in the hopes that it will get little play as the public’s attention to news wanes over the weekend. On the television drama “The West Wing,” it was dubbed “Take Out the Trash Day.”

And State House reporters were hit with a double-whammy last week, with the withdrawal of a controversial judicial nominee and a potential shift in education standards that had critics crying that it was a weakening of the MCAS test.

Even the Globe, whose editorial board one administration official once called a “key, moderate” ally in a fight over charter schools, said in October after a similar bad news dump, “Repeated too often, these Friday-afternoon announcements look less like a gentle exploitation of the news cycle than like an effort by Governor Patrick to distance himself from his own policy choices and personnel decisions.”

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/litdrop.