Election year ups dose of parade politics

“The Dorchester Day Parade is not about the politicians,” said Kevin McCrea, a mayoral candidate, as he walked along Dorchester Ave. on Sunday, waving and shaking hands.

Behind him a woman carrying a banner for Dorchester’s First Baptist Church begged to disagree.

“Yes it is!” she yelled.

Governor Patrick walked with Mayor Menino and City Councillor Maureen Feeney.Governor Patrick walked with Mayor Menino and City Councillor Maureen Feeney.

The numbers appear to be on her side. All four mayoral candidates – current Mayor Thomas Menino, Councillors At-Large Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon, and McCrea – turned out for the parade, as did most of the State House’s Dorchester delegation and many of the 15 people angling for an at-large seat on the City Council.

“It’s a good long walk,” Gov. Deval Patrick, wearing sneakers, told a huddle of reporters before the parade got underway. “Dorchester’s a really important community in Boston, and to me, politically, as well. A lot of friends along the route and a lot of friends in the parade.”
Those friends appear to include Menino, who marched with Patrick in the “Chief Marshal’s Division,” along with City Councillor Maureen Feeney and state Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry.

Councillor Michael Flaherty leads the cheers during his center-lane strollCouncillor Michael Flaherty leads the cheers during his center-lane stroll

Menino’s presence dominated the 3.2-mile parade route, with signs in store shops and out on lawns along the parade route. Even the 2009 Mayor of Dorchester, Steven Bickerton Jr., had a Menino sign on his car, as he drove down the road. Volunteers carrying Feeney’s banner also had stickers supporting Menino.

Walking behind City Councilor at-Large Steven Murphy and a black car bearing the name of the late Councillor, Albert “Dapper” O’Neil, Flaherty deployed a pick-up truck plastered with “Flaherty Mayor ’09” signs. Volunteers handed out Flaherty’s new tactic: comparing Menino to an old cassette player and Flaherty’s candidacy to an iPod. Mounted on top of the truck were loudspeakers proclaiming his candidacy, while behind it walked several women in Vietnamese garb. Also marching with Flaherty was Edward Kelly, the head of the Boston Firefighters Union, which has been warring with the Menino administration over contracts and drug testing.

Councillor Sam Yoon does a meet and greetCouncillor Sam Yoon does a meet and greet

Yoon relied on “people power,” as one aide put it, with campaign volunteers walking with him. When asked about being positioned behind both Menino and Flaherty, Yoon quipped, “The iPod mini, that’s what we are.” (Yoon didn’t stop after the parade ended at Columbia Rd. He and his wife were spotted at the JFK/UMass MBTA station, attempting to convince some young children to text his campaign.)

Parade watchers said this year’s turnout appeared better than most, which coincides with municipal elections this fall.

“It’s good to see the politicians out here touching base with the public,” said Kevin O’Connor of St. Mark’s Parish.

Asked which mayoral candidate’s entourage impressed him, O’Connor said Flaherty’s. Sitting next to him, a young Mackenzy Jakaus piped up: “Whichever one had candy,” she said.



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