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The Boston Globe

Politics

CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK

Another outside mailer takes shot at John Connolly

John R. Connolly attended an environmental forum. His opponent, Martin J. Walsh, canceled. Walsh’s campaign said he was not feeling well and had to prepare for the debate.

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

John R. Connolly attended an environmental forum. His opponent, Martin J. Walsh, canceled. Walsh’s campaign said he was not feeling well and had to prepare for the debate.

Just days after Boston mayoral candidate Martin J. Walsh swore off negative mailers sent on his behalf by outside groups, another piece of literature attacking his opponent John R. Connolly was dropped Tuesday in the mailboxes of some Boston voters.

The new piece of literature, a two-sided color mailer paid for with labor union money, calls Connolly a “son of privilege” and asserts that he “does not understand working-class people.”

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The new mailer also mischaracterized Nativity Mission School, where Connolly taught for two years after college, as an “elite New York private school.”

The now-closed school was housed in a converted red-brick tenement, with three floors of classrooms and one floor of housing for teachers. The school focused on teaching at-risk black and Latino youth, primarily immigrants, and was funded largely by Jesuit donors.

Walsh, a former union president, had previously called such language out of line.

The mailer was sent separately by two groups, the Greater Boston Labor Council, a federation of 154 local unions, and Working America, the political arm of the AFL-CIO.

“Once again, super PACs and special interest groups supporting Marty Walsh have resorted to personal smear attacks on John and his family, and Marty Walsh is doing nothing to stop them,” said Natasha Perez, a Connolly campaign spokeswoman.

Asked about the new mailers, the Walsh campaign reiterated its opposition to them.

“Marty has already spoken against such campaigning,” Kate Norton, a Walsh campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement. “He has always run on his record and on the issues facing Boston’s families. That is what he will continue to do in this campaign.”

In a statement Tuesday evening, the Greater Boston Labor Council said that its future communications to union members “will focus exclusively on Martin J. Walsh’s sterling record of support for Boston’s working families. We intend to highlight why we believe he is the right choice for mayor of Boston.”

According to election laws, outside special interest groups and labor unions can spend an unlimited amount of money on behalf of a political candidate as long as there is no coordination between the groups and the campaign. To date, there has been no evidence of outside pro-Connolly groups sending out negative mailers attacking Walsh.

These “independent expenditures” are often used on mailers, television advertisements, and paid canvassers.

Records show that outside groups funded by labor, including Working America, have spent almost $1.3 million on Walsh’s behalf, in addition to $410,000 given directly to his campaign.

WESLEY LOWERY

Connolly pledges that city will quadruple solar power use

Mayoral candidate John R. Connolly said at an environmental forum Tuesday that if elected he would quadruple the city’s solar power and use building codes to require more green-friendly development.

He also said he would introduce proposals in his first 100 days that he declined to specify.

“There are a couple things that I would prefer to surprise you with, rather than make news with two weeks to go,” Connolly told scores of residents and advocates at the Old South Meeting House.

The forum, organized by the Environmental League of Massachusetts and other groups, was billed as a conversation between Connolly and his opponent, state Representative Martin J. Walsh. But Walsh canceled. His campaign said Walsh was not feeling well and needed time to prepare for Tuesday night’s debate.

Connolly answered questions put to him by Globe columnist Derrick Z. Jackson and Douglas Foy, secretary of commonwealth development under Governor Mitt Romney.

The candidate said he would consider revising Boston’s climate change goals to make them more stringent. The city has already committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below those levels by 2050.

“We’ve been too incremental about our progress,” he said.

He also spoke about doing more to increase the city’s dismal recycling rate, which lags behind many other cities around the country.

In fiscal 2011, the city recycled only 19 percent of all residential garbage.

Connolly said he would consider introducing a “pay as you throw” approach, which could charge residents by how much trash they discard. Walsh has said he worries such an approach would create disproportionate hardship for the poor.

Connolly tried to distinguish himself from Walsh by noting that he has repeatedly filed resolutions in the City Council calling on the Legislature to pass an updated bottle bill that would allow noncarbonated beverages to be redeemed for a nickel, as the current law allows for soda, beer, and malt beverages.

Walsh has said he supports expanding the bottle law, although he was not one of many sponsors of the bill in the state House of Representatives.

On Tuesday, Connolly accused Walsh of not making the issue a priority. “I’ve been out front on this issue,” he said. “The difference is leadership.”

When asked who has inspired him on environmental issues, Connolly answered, Al Gore.

DAVID ABEL

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