Boston's former five-term mayor opens up about his hopes for the country, service to his city and a life well lived.
Boston's first Italian-American mayor, ironically known as “mumbles” and renowned for putting his foot in his mouth whenever he spoke, Menino successfully led the reorganization and improvement of the city's school system, as well as its police and fire departments. The author boasts that he was known as “the peoples' Mayor” both because he represented them well and had also met half of them as he walked the streets of the city's neighborhoods. With the assistance of NPR’s On Point news analyst Beatty (The Lost History of 1914: Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began, 2012, etc.), Menino highlights his 80 percent approval rating when he left office in January 2014, the month after the marathon bombing. That incident focused attention on the different powers of federal, state and local governments and showed Menino successfully securing cooperation from federal agencies to release the key video footage needed to hunt down the perpetrators. His continuing approach to economic inequality, “the greatest threat to social hope in America,” involves similar cooperative principles. As he notes, “cities can recharge their own economies,” but what can cities do about inequality? Menino's hopes include a federal “second New Deal for the information age.” When he began his term, the 911 emergency response system had transformed policing, and he helped bring back foot patrols in neighborhoods. He also changed the outdated fire department work rules, which still presumed that fighting fires was the department's only duty. The author relates how he brought investment to the city—e.g., the new high-tech district around Boston's formerly decrepit harbor area.
A solid image of what a mayor's job entails and of the kind of person who can do it.