Things don’t often work out well for people who fail to show proper deference to Boston Mayor Tom Menino. But tell that to Greg Selkoe.
Selkoe, owner of streetwear retailer Karmaloop, was raised in Jamaica Plain. He worked in City Hall for a few years. The mayor went to his 2002 wedding. Selkoe knows how Boston works. Only he won’t play the game.
The entrepreneur, along with longtime voter activist Malia Lazu, founded the Future Boston Alliance , a group hoping to make hidebound Boston a little friendlier to its younger residents. Their goals range from extending the city’s nightlife past 2 a.m., to making Boston more welcoming for creative types, to mobilizing twenty- and thirty-something voters.
Innocuous enough, one might think. Still, Selkoe says that when the group was forming, people kept telling him he had to run his notion by the mayor, that without his support, the group wouldn’t get anywhere. But Selkoe and the others couldn’t do that: They believe the mayor is part of the problem.
“You can’t talk about any issue in Boston, things that work or don’t work, without talking about the mayor, because he has been in office for 20 years,” Selkoe said. An animated video Future Boston released in May made this point pretty forcefully, depicting Boston as a city where only the connected get ahead and where younger residents feel unwelcome. It even compared Menino to Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin.
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