The announcement last Thursday by Mayor Thomas Menino that he will not seek a sixth term puts an end to the speculation of the last six months of whether he will or will not run for reelection.
The consensus among political pundits that he would have won another election underscores what we had said back in October: that when he feels he cannot perform the job as Mayor to his standards is when he will step down as Mayor. On Thursday, Menino cited this lack of holding to his standards as his primary reason not to run for re-election.
To give up power, as Menino has done, when it was there just for the taking should show the citizens more about his character and his internal compass. We can say with certainty that not many in political office today would have exhibited this trait.
We know that Menino will not receive high marks by some in our neighborhood citing the delay in committing to a new downtown school years earlier or continuing the absolute power of the Boston Redevelopment Authority in approving projects that directly affect our neighborhood.
Others may fault Menino for hoarding his political capital and not being bold enough with iniatives for moving Boston forward more aggressively. Still others may fault him for being too thin skinned and exiling his detractors to a political wasteland.
In the end, only time will be the sole judge of how detrimental these points will be for the future of Boston.
Today, we join with the many others who commend Menino for a job well done with our city being on a solid financial and racial footing.
No one can doubt that the city is more diverse and welcoming than before Menino took over the reins of power in 1993 and that the quality of life in our neighborhoods is better.
We know that as time passes, Menino’s political influence will quickly ebb.
However his legacy of personal contact and meeting more Bostonians than any other mayor in recent history is a standard to which all future mayors will be held and judged by our residents.
Boston has changed much over the last 20 years for the better and this will be Menino’s legacy.
Today, we join with others to wish Mayor Menino continued recovery of his health and more time to spend with his family. As those who have seen Menino in action out of the public spotlight, we know how fortunate his family will be to have him focus now on being a grandfather and mentor. We wish him a long and active life and remember the quote:
“Grow old along with me,
The best is yet to be,
The last of life,
For which the first was made.”
~ Robert Browning