Mayor Menino’s future has come front and center, again, following news last week that Chicago’s longtime Mayor Richard Daley announced he will not be seeking re-election.
Daley has been mayor of Chicago since 1989 -21 years.
Mayor Menino is going on 17 years and will be at 20 when the next election rolls around.
Political speculation in Boston is one of the lifebloods of existence for the legions of those for whom awakening is considered a political activity.
Will the mayor run again or will he retire, that is the question.
The mayor has remained intriguingly quiet about his ambitions beyond serving out the current term and of working hard to maintain the delicate balance of life in the city of Boston.
Crime remains a problem.
Gang violence is rising.
New contracts must be negotiated.
And new urgent situations will certainly arise.
However, in raising the specter of problems arising, the mayor’s critics, and especially those waiting on the sidelines for him to retire, miss the point entirely about the man.
Mayor Menino knows how to lead.
He still thirsts for challenges.
He continues to remain relevant to all the competing constituencies in the city.
He is a friend in the most genuine and conspicuous way to the elderly and the young, to the rich and the poor, to the students and the to all of the neighborhoods, to gays and transgender people, to people of all religions, colors, races, to immigrants, to the dispossessed and the homeless – to everyone and to the business community.
He remains a fiscal watchdog, running a city that has managed to maintain itself very well despite the negative impact of the recession.
And he oversees a city that has literally transformed itself during the past 16 years of his mayoralty.
Will he go another term?
Those of us who known him well believe he will.
It is in his blood. It is in his heart and soul.
He knows he can’t be the mayor forever – as no one is the mayor of any city forever.
His time will come, and he understands this, too.
But his time has not yet arrived.
Should he keep up his strong work ethic and maintain his belief system, he will more likely than not run for another term – but will probably get it.
He remains popular after all these years.
Unlike Chicago’s Mayor Daley, his ratings remain high.
His negatives are extremely low.
Mayor Daley had 21 years.
Mayor Menino may get more than that.