Menino must stay focused on the road ahead

by Beacon Staff • November 9, 2005

Twelve years and four elections later, the people of Boston have turned this man into one of the most prominent politicians in the city's history.,"When Mayor Thomas M. Menino stepped in as Boston's chief executive in 1993 to replace his predecessor, Raymond L. Flynn, who was named ambassador to the Vatican, he was jokingly referred to by his critics as "the accidental mayor."

Twelve years and four elections later, the people of Boston have turned this man into one of the most prominent politicians in the city's history. On Tuesday, Menino defeated his challenger, Maura Hennigan-67.5 to 32 percent-to win his fourth term and put himself in position to become Boston's longest-serving mayor.

The victory is the latest in a long run of accomplishments for the Hyde Park native. In 2001, Governing magazine named him one of nine "Public Officials of the Year," and he brought the Democratic National Convention to the Hub in 2004.

Yet, while his success to this point is undeniable, Menino's legacy will hinge on the challenges that Boston faces in the future.

The cost of living in Boston has spiraled out of control. In September, The Boston Globe reported that, due to housing costs, "Boston is now the most expensive metropolitan area in the country."

Rent is also astronomically high, with the average one-bedroom apartment going for over $1,000 a month, according to Boston Citylife Real Estate.

Moreover, with the average single-family house in Boston going for over $376,000, buying a home in the city has become increasingly difficult.

These huge costs are forcing people-including many recent college graduates-out of the city to find a more affordable area to live in.

On the City of Boston's Web site, Menino has pledged to make affordable housing a "top priority" this term. Given the escalating costs, he needs to deliver on that promise. Menino also has other important issues to tackle, such as combating the rise of visible crime within the city.

Recently, there has been a rise in violent incidents near the Emerson campus.

The mayor needs to increase the police presence on the streets and ensure that he is doing everything within his power to make college students safe.

If Menino wants continued support from the people of Boston, he will have to deal with these concerns.

Former President Bill Clinton recently called Menino "one of the best big city mayors in the country."

Given the challenges the mayor faces over the next four years, he will certainly have a chance to prove it.

"

[gallery]