Reporter’s Notebook: Fake tweets from ‘Flaherty’ leave political set all atwitter

He believed his former running mate, Sam Yoon, is trapped in a Hyde Park basement. He thought about keying the car of a top adviser to Mayor Thomas Menino. And he was apparently a big fan of “The Hunger Games,” a series of young adult books.

Those were from the fake Twitter feed of Michael Flaherty, former city councillor at-large and mayoral candidate, and a potential future candidate for public office.

It was a parody in the vein of “BPGlobalPR,” which spoofed the company’s reaction to last year’s oil spill, and “MayorEmanuel,” the faux feed of the foul-mouthed new mayor of Chicago. (The real Flaherty’s Twitter feed is available at twitter.com/mfflaherty.)

The fake feed (twitter.com/mayorflaherty) popped up over Easter weekend, after the real Flaherty, who is thinking about running to reclaim a City Council At-Large seat, got into a public tiff on Twitter with Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker over whether Flaherty should get into the at-large race this year.

“Sickening that there are still ‘Irish Catholics from legacy families need not apply’ signs all over Boston,” the fake Flaherty said in his second post. In another post, he told the Boston Phoenix’s David Bernstein, after the reporter placed the real Flaherty at No. 8 on a list of top 10 mayoral contenders, “Tonight, when your home erupts in flames, don’t [bother] calling the fire department.”

But after the Reporter wrote about the feed on Friday on its political blog, The Lit Drop, Twitter appeared to have suspended the fake Flaherty. The same happened in March to a parody feed of a Western Massachusetts politician. After the Springfield Republican wrote about the Twitter feed – (headline: “Ludlow state Rep. Thomas Petrolati sees nothing funny nor flattering in Twitter impersonator”) – the account appeared to be suspended.

The fake Flaherty was a refreshing tweak in a city that’s really a small town, filled with big egos, unaccustomed to getting pricked as much as their counterparts in New York, Chicago, and D.C.

Of course, there were plenty of theories about who was behind the feed. Quipped one City Hall insider: “Maybe it’s Chuck Turner writing from jail.”

Now, we may never know.

Pressley aide taking leave to run reelection campaign
A top City Hall aide to Councillor At-Large Ayanna Pressley is switching over to the councillor’s reelection campaign. Jessica Taubner, who served as Pressley’s policy director, is on leave and will serve as Pressley’s campaign manager.

Taubner worked on Gov. Deval Patrick’s 2006 campaign as a field coordinator and helped organize Boston for the governor’s 2010 campaign. She also served as a co-field director when former City Councillors At-Large Flaherty and Yoon ran as a ticket in 2009.

“Jessica Taubner is an outstanding organizer and campaign veteran who brings tremendous experience and passion to my reelection campaign,” Pressley said in a statement. “We share similar values and principles and I trust Jessica to not just manage my reelection but to also strengthen my citywide organization for future campaigns. With Jessica leading my campaign, I’m confident, no matter the field, that I’ll make history this November as the first black woman ever reelected to the Boston City Council.”

Pressley, an Ashmont resident, was elected in 2009. She and the other three incumbent at-large councillors – John Connolly, Stephen Murphy and Felix Arroyo – are up for reelection this year.

Others are weighing runs of their own, including Flaherty.

As policy director, Taubner worked on Pressley’s various initiatives, such as the Boston Residents Job Policy ordinance and sex education. Taubner also spent some time on Beacon Hill as a senior researcher for the House side of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, working on a cost containment bill and an omnibus children’s mental health bill. Both bills were signed into law in 2008.

Two more apply for papers in District 7
The District 7 race may have an additional two candidates: Sheneal Parker and Haywood Fennell Sr. Others who have applied for nomination papers at City Hall – as of Tuesday afternoon – include incumbent City Councillor Tito Jackson, David James Wyatt of Dorchester, and perennial candidates Althea Garrison and Roy Owens.

Parker, a Fenway resident, fell short during the signature-gathering phase for the special election earlier this year; Fennell missed the deadline and ran as a write-in candidate instead, picking up 2.22 percent of the vote in the preliminary.

Parker is on the Fenway Community Development Corporation’s board of directors and the Wentworth Institute of Technology Community Task Force. A former Boston public school teacher, she has also worked as a community organizer for the Mattapan Community Development Corporation.

Fennell is a veteran, author, and local activist.

Candidates must gather 200 certified signatures in order to get on the preliminary and general election ballots.

Quote of Note: On the vote to curb collective bargaining rights

Time to play guess who said it. “I’m not surprised it’s not that close,” this person told reporters, after the House voted to curb union collective bargaining rights by a 111-42 margin. “When you’re the speaker of the House in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and you decide who the chairs are and you get to decide who gets to be the head of each section, you have a lot of power, an inordinate amount of power. It’s pretty obvious. The same people that tell us all the time that they support us wouldn’t stand up to the speaker. So they’re lying to somebody. They either didn’t support us and don’t believe in collective bargaining or the speaker has so much power he turned them around.”

So who was it? The head of the House’s Republican caucus? A lowly Democrat who consistently finds himself (or herself) at odds with House Speaker Robert DeLeo? A cheeky reporter from the State House press corps? None of the above. It was Robert Haynes, a powerful union chief, who offered up this incisive analysis. Asked by WBZ’s Jon Keller if he plans on fielding challengers to those in the House who didn’t vote his way, Haynes said, “It’s a little too early for that.” After all, the issue must still wend its way through the Senate and the governor, and more pithy studies of how Beacon Hill works await.

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