Boston Mayor Thomas Menino
Lessons for Governing Post-Industrial Cities
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
Hailed as one of Boston’s most beloved mayors and its longest serving, Thomas Menino (1942–2014) deftly managed the city’s finances and transformed Boston into the hub of innovation that it is today. During his time in office, Boston embraced modern industrial growth and moved forward with noteworthy developments that altered neighborhoods, while also facing ongoing racial strife, challenges of unaffordable housing, and significant public union negotiations.
Mayors in modern American cities occupy unique positions as government leaders who need to remain active parts of their communities in addition to being tasked with fixing neighborhood issues, managing crises, and keeping schools and public infrastructure on course. Situating news coverage alongside interviews with the mayor and his administration, political scientist Wilbur C. Rich chronicles Menino’s time in office while also considering his personal and professional background, his larger-than-life personality, and his ambitions. Menino’s approach to these challenges and opportunities offers enduring lessons to anyone interested in urban government and political leadership.
List of Illustrations
Contextuality and Boston Uniqueness
On Becoming a Boston Politician
Winning Every Four Years
Menino, City Councilors, Policies, and the Media
Boston’s Day-to-Day and Recurrent Politics
Who Gets Housing, When, and Where?
Crime in the Streets and Elsewhere
Boston’s Racial Diversity Challenge
The Failure of Boston Public School Reform
Moguls and Students in Higher Education
Drawing Lessons from the Menino Tenure
“With this exceptional scholarship, Rich builds upon his decades of work on American mayors to place Tom Menino’s tenure in context. Rich provides the reader with a deep understanding of Boston’s urban history and how it shaped the political landscape Menino encountered during his five remarkable terms as mayor of one of our most interesting cities.”—Stefanie Chambers, author of Mayors and Schools: Minority Voices and Democratic Tensions in Urban Education