Tag Archives: Tom Menino

So many great American mayors have been Italian-American!

Like the golden age of American movies, when director Frank Capra, the son of Italian immigrants, made films that captivated an entire nation (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,  It’s a Wonderful Life, so many more!), Americans have looked to Italian American mayors to make our cities – especially our big cities – everything that is best in us. This country’s diversity, its fearlessness, its cacophony, its poetry, its eclecticism, its inclusiveness, its loves, lusts, physicality, brilliance, beauty  … Yep. We Americans seem to fall head over heels in love with our Italian American mayors, who reflect us back to us! Through their VISION – and Tom  Menino had VISION in spades! He just looked like my uncle George! And not like Charlie Baker!

Tom Menino, like we American city dwellers, was … complicated. Smart. Compassionate. Competitive. Poetic…

Why does it so often fall on us Italian Americans?  Is it “my people’s” love of family, kids, gardens/nature? Our ability to be hands-on, in-your-face, ever present? To not be afraid of good, hard WORK?  Our ability to love the underdog to death cuz we know what it can feel like? (even when we are “in” we are still out, to many folks!) Our emotions, so thick and entangling?! Our go for broke style when we truly love someone, like our mothers – or our cities?

For so many of us Italian Americans, it’s this: The intense, physical work ethic we bring to our jobs is the love we show God for the gifts she has given us! Every day! When I think of Tom Menino I think of the poet’s words: “WORK IS LOVE MADE VISIBLE. ”

Work is LOVE made VISIBLE …

Amen.

– Rosalie Tirella

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Here, from The Boston Globe, is a fantastic column on the late, great Boston Mayor Tom Menino!

– R. T.

Menino went from accidental mayor to transformative figure

Thomas M. Menino began as an accidental mayor, presiding over an inherited administration. He ended as a transformative figure, a man who embodied vision, even as he rejected the concept.

The longest-serving mayor in the city’s history became acting mayor by the slimmest of margins — he had won the city council presidency in 1993 by a mere vote. But after becoming acting mayor that July, he moved so quickly to consolidate power, and to win the confidence of voters, that within a few months he won the office by a landslide. It was as if he had been there for years. …

To read the entire column, CLICK HERE!

Re: Strong Mayor movement … A strong mayor of Worcester could/should:

Superman: June 1938 cover of Acton Comics

The first sighting of the Man of Steel in June 1938 on the cover of Action Comics. The issue originally cost 10 cents but now sells for seven figures at auction

By Rosalie Tirella

*  Articulate a vision for a city. Pull all our disparate urban elements together and tell/show the people what is happening.  Tell them where we want to go.

* Lead a city when things get horrific, ie  shootings, fires, riots.  (a la NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and his proposed gun control legislation;  not like Mayor Petty after the mini-riots at North High) It helps if the strong mayor is also poetic, can write a great speech (a la Lincoln or even Obama).

* Inspire a city with his/her compassion when it comes to the homeless, the panhandlers, the dispossessed. Get out in front of these problems and LEAD! LEAD with the angels pushing up up up against the soles of your shoes.

* Shoot for the stars! Dream big dreams! … and then with charisma, take folks along for the ride. Again, to write beautiful words and deliver them to the masses with grace and passion is lovely.

* Have charisma! Tons and tons of charisma! What did Buddy Cianci, former mayor of Providence, have that our Mayor Petty doesn’t have? Charisma! Sexy sexy charisma! You know, Buddy wore a toupe and the ladies were still wild about him. He’d be at Water Fire events and the ladies were straining to catch a glimpse of the guy. Who’d get all dolled up for a glimpse of Joe Petty? No one. That’s who!

* Be colorful. Wouldn’t it be great to have a mayor who wore cool clothes?! Or donned great hats a la Hedda Hopper? So that when you saw him or her, you’d smile at his/her STYLE?

* Have intelligence AND street smarts. Killer combo. To be smart and connected a la Mayor Petty is OK. To be smart and street-smart is fantastic! That means you can connect with the city engineers/assistants/geek squad but you can also get into the ghetto and wallow in the vibes there! Think Cianci and  Boston’s Mayor Tom Menino and former Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien (who has lived/played in Main South for years).

* Deal with movements that are sweeping/changing the country – even if they are a tad rad. This is what former Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien did with the Occupy Worcester brigade. He knew where this crew was coming from and he talked with them and wanted them to have their say on our City Hall Common. City Manager Mike O’Brien sicced the police after them, made the group feel like outsiders, put the kibbosh on everything, in a very heavy handed way. NO VISION whatsoever.

* Try to be superman/woman.

Save Worcester and you save yourself.