Crab cakes, a pleasant waterfront district, and a Super Bowl title aside, few Bostonians probably want their city to be like Baltimore. Boston’s murder rate is much lower than Baltimore’s, our innovation industry is enviable, and our efforts to turn around public schools, however faulty and incomplete, are much farther along than those of most cities our size.
But the compass of Boston’s mayoral candidate Marty Walsh is curiously pointed south. At a forum on Thursday, Walsh was asked, “Which mayor would you call up to say I want to run my city the way you run your city?”
Martin O’Malley, the former Baltimore mayor who is currently the governor of Maryland, Walsh responded. He said it was because O’Malley, a white politician, won in a city where the majority of voters are people of color and faced many of the issues Walsh would face, such as “a declining school system, some violence in the street, lack of opportunity.”
Walsh said he would ask O’Malley how he “put in his policing plan, which is very successful. How did he turn the schools around? What collaborations did he have?”
This was not the first time Walsh invoked the name of O’Malley. In a September Globe questionnaire asking the 12 candidates in the preliminary election which municipal leader they most admire, Walsh said O’Malley, because he “reached across lines, talking with the ministers and other folks. I think that is one of the things in Boston we have to work on.”
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