Campaign notebook

Mayoral rivals pressed on policy for major storms

Mayoral candidates John Connolly, left, and Martin Walsh.
Mayoral candidates John Connolly, left, and Martin Walsh.

In a new web video, released days before the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, the Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund is calling on Boston’s two mayoral candidates to release detailed plans on how they would further protect the city from extreme weather events linked to climate change.

The 20-second video, released Thursday, is titled “Boylston River” and shows a man drifting down a flooded Boylston Street.

“When the next superstorm hits Boston . . . will the next mayor be prepared?” an announcer intones in the video, the first in a series for the online campaign.


According to the Boston Harbor Association, Sandy’s storm surge could have flooded more than 80 million square feet of the city if the hurricane had hit Boston just 5½ hours earlier at high tide. Many mayoral candidates noted during the preliminary race that it would have meant City Hall would have been largely under water after the storm hit Oct. 29.

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“The effects of climate change are real and they are here now,” Action fund president George Bachrach said in a statement. “Boston narrowly dodged a bullet when Sandy hit last year, but eventually a superstorm will hit our city, flooding our hospitals, schools, and the MBTA.”

The candidates touched on environmental issues in response to questions submitted by the Globe in August. Both pledged to proactively address the threat posed by rising sea levels and major storms.

John R. Connolly said in the questionnaire that stricter building codes are just one part of the effort.

He also proposed convening a panel of climate scientists, civil engineers, and other leading experts to “do for the Boston area what Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently unveiled for New York City: a sweeping, detailed plan to examine our critical infrastructure and offer concrete recommendations for changes we must make to become more resilient.’’


Martin J. Walsh said the city’s response must be comprehensive, and bold.

“Yes, we will be looking at the role of building codes in encouraging and supporting developers to build smart for Boston. Yes, we will be looking to support actions that protect existing buildings from climate change impacts,” Walsh said.

Beyond those steps, he said, he would look to other cities around the world for ways to make Boston more resilient.


Walsh expected to gain backing of more politicians

State Representative Martin J. Walsh’s mayoral campaign, which has racked up a string of endorsements from politicians of color, is expected to add four more members of the Boston delegation to his roster of supporters, according to people familiar with the pending announcement.

State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz of Jamaica Plain, City Councilor Tito Jackson of Grove Hall, and state representatives Russell Holmes of Mattapan and Carlos Henriquez of Dorchester will endorse Walsh as early as Friday, the people with knowledge of the decision said.


The expected quadruple endorsement comes on the heels of Wednesday’s announcement by state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry that she would support Walsh, and last week’s endorsements from City Councilor Felix G. Arroyo, nonprofit executive John F. Barros, and Charlotte Golar Richie, who finished third in the September mayoral preliminary election.


Last week, City Councilor John R. Connolly, Walsh’s opponent, trumpeted support from more than a dozen black clergy members.

Both candidates have been vying for support from voters of color and powerbrokers within those communities, having collected the vast majority of their support in the Sept. 24 preliminary election from white voters


Connolly proposes Roxbury entrepreneurship site

City Councilor John R. Connolly has proposed creating an entrepreneurship center in Roxbury, aimed at helping more Bostonians launch and grow their own businesses.

“I want to make sure we have a focus on supporting businesses owned by people of color and women across the city,” Connolly said Thursday, surrounded in John Eliot Square by about two dozen entrepreneurs and members of the business community.

“We have immense talent in this city. Our question and challenge is, ultimately, are we going to connect that talent to all of Boston so that all of Boston can truly succeed?”

The proposed Roxbury Entrepreneurship Center would be developed through a public-private partnership, hopefully with a local college or university.

Connolly said he would house the center in city-owned property in Roxbury that is close to public transportation. The center would provide office and incubator space, a portal for a “Made In Boston” program that would help small businesses find capital, entrepreneurship training and networking, and industrial co-working space.

The candidate stressed the need to support start-ups and small business ventures in minority communities, and several prominent Boston entrepreneurs spoke in support of both the proposed center as well as Connolly’s candidacy.

“I’m supporting John Connolly because John Connolly has the courage to put together a vision and announce it before he becomes mayor,” said Clayton Turnbull, president of the Waldwin Group, who supported the campaign of Charlotte Golar Richie during the preliminary race.

“That’s what it’s going to take to lift the ceiling that’s been on this city when it comes to economic integration.’’