"All I'm doing today is saying I'm not running. I have nine months left. Just think of what I could do in nine months. I don't have to worry about anything, no voters or anything."
Mayor Thomas M. Menino, March 28, 2013
Within the next nine months Boston Mayor Tom Menino is going to encounter a two letter word that he has not heard for two decades: "No."
In the days and weeks to come, Hizzhoner is in for a rude awakening. The mayor will learn much about the people around him, as well as, his fellow politicians, members of the business community, and the media. He's going to discover who is really loyal to him, who truly respects him, and who genuinely feels affection for him. This will contrast with those who simply held their tongues, kissed the ring, or opened their wallets because they needed something from the mayor. This group resembles the Eddie Haskells of the world.
I know the mayor is not physically strong, but I hope that he's psychologically prepared. For the first time in 20 years, he is not the man. He can say he's got nine months, but the next nine months are going to be a whole lot different than the last. When a ship is sinking, it's the rats that run first. Next, it's the people who have scores to settle. Finally, it's the opportunists and backside kissers. After all of those departures, the mayor will be able to count his true friends. If there are enough, he'll maintain his strength.
Right until the end, the mayor will have the power to make executive decisions. He can also anoint a successor and green light some major projects, but the paradigm has changed and the clock is ticking. If the mayor wants a casino at Suffolk Downs, he'd better get moving. He is opposed to Steve Wynn's casino proposal for Everett, but that gaming king's odds just got much better. Who sided with Wynn in the fight against the mayor? I didn't see a line forming behind Wynn. Now, the power in that process is turned upside down. If you take sides against the mayor on any issue, you've only got nine months to worry about it. I think many people are willing to take that gamble.