Thomas Michael Menino (born December 27, 1942) is the mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, United States and the city's first Italian-American mayor.
Born in Readville
, a part of Boston's Hyde Park
neighborhood, Menino was educated at Chamberlayne Junior College
, Business Management, 1963) and the University of Massachusetts Boston
, Community Planning, 1988). He currently resides in Hyde Park with his wife, Angela Faletra. They have two children: Susan and Thomas Jr.
Menino had served nine years on Boston's city council when Ray Flynn left the mayor's seat to become US ambassador to the Vatican. The council president at the time, Menino became acting mayor for four months before being elected to his first term in November 1993, defeating State Representative Jim Brett with 64% of the vote and becoming the city's first non-Irish-American mayor since 1930. After running unopposed for a second term in 1997, Menino defeated Boston City Councillor Peggy Davis-Mullen in 2001 for a third term with 76% of the vote and in 2005 garnered 67% of the vote in beating Maura Hennigan, another councillor. Should Menino complete his fourth term, and if the four months as acting mayor are included, he would become the longest-serving mayor in Boston history.
Menino has been hospitalized several times since taking office. He has been admitted for abdominal pain and intestinal inflammation, and was treated for kidney stones
in 1995 and 1997. In 2003, Menino underwent surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital
to remove a rare sarcoma
) on his back. The tumor
had not spread, and the mayor was able to return to work in a matter of days. In 2004, the mayor's doctors confirmed he has been diagnosed with Crohn's disease
, helping to explain his recurring intestinal problems. The condition requires life-long treatment with anti-inflammatory medication and careful monitoring of his diet.
According to Mayor Menino’s official biography, “Among his main priorities, are: providing every child with a quality education; creating affordable housing; lowering the crime rate; revitalizing Boston's neighborhoods; and promoting a healthy lifestyle for all city residents.”
In 2006, Menino proposed two major construction projects which would have a major impact on the city. Trans National Place
is a proposed 1,000 foot tower to be built on the site of a city owned parking garage in Boston's Financial District
. The second proposal calls for the city to sell Boston's City Hall
, a 1960's icon of Brutalism
architecture. Menino would then have the city use the proceeds from the sale to fund construction of a new seat of government on the South Boston
waterfront, on the site of the current Bank of America
Pavilion (Drydock 4).
Mayors Against Illegal Guns
On April 25
, Menino and New York City
mayor Michael Bloomberg
hosted a summit at Gracie Mansion
in New York City, during which the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition
was formed. The coalition, of which Menino remains co-chair, stated its goal of "making the public safer by getting illegal guns
off the streets." The initial group consisted of 15 mayors; the 15 drafted and signed a statement of principles and set a goal to expand their membership to 50 mayors by the end of 2006. That goal was met six months ahead of schedule, and led to its current membership of 210 mayors, with members from both major political parties
and 40 states.
Menino is famous for bringing the Democratic National Convention
to Boston in 2004
. Though controversial in the beginning for fundraising difficulties, security concerns, protests by unions, and inconvenience to residents, Menino estimates the convention generated $150 million in business for the city. Meanwhile, other estimates suggest the convention generated $14.8 million for the city.
“Beantown to Greentown”
In 2008, the City of Boston was ranked as the third greenest city in the US by Popular Science Magazine
In the last decade, there have been new initiatives around planting more trees in the city, single-stream recycling, increasing the solar power capacity of the city, investing in alternative energy, and biking. One of the most innovate ideas has been green building zoning, which requires large-scale private construction to be “green” by LEED
standards. Boston is the first city to revise building code to ensure green construction.
Documentary “The Greening of Southie,” by Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, tells the story of the first green residential building in Boston.
The city has partnered with other government agencies and local businesses to accomplish its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7% below 1990 levels by 2012, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
Cities Are Neighborhoods
Menino is also known for focusing on neighborhood development in Boston, organizing services by neighborhood and appointing Neighborhood Coordinators
who serve as ambassadors from the City in their areas, believing that development should happen in every neighborhood. In 2001, Governing magazine named Mayor Menino Public Official of the Year for effective neighborhood development in Boston. This model has spread to other cities as a result of its effectiveness.
Mayor Menino is known for his distinctive voice and malapropisms
, leading some to call him "Mumbles Menino" or "Mayor Mumbles". Typical examples involve references to Boston's parking shortage as "an Alcatraz
around my neck" (meaning, instead, an albatross
around his neck), called L.S.D
"The best president we ever had", and referred to former mayor John Collins as "a man of great statue."
Mayor Menino enjoys high approval ratings among residents of Boston—an April, 2008 Boston Globe-UNH poll indicated that the city was “smitten” with the Mayor, with a 72% approval rating. 54% reported having personally met the Mayor.
In 1998, radio personalities Opie and Anthony
, when working for WAAF
, told their listeners Menino died in a fiery car accident while vacationing solo in Florida. Many believed the story, leading Menino to file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission, as the FCC prohibits the broadcast of knowingly false information if it causes public harm. WAAF suggested that the duo have pies thrown at them while being held in town square stocks. The idea was summarily dismissed by the mayor's office. Facing a possible license challenge, WAAF fired them, but Opie and Anthony promised that they would return to Boston and get revenge. During the early days of XM Anthony stated that the intent of the April Fool's prank was to allow the duo to be released from their contract with WAAF. He also stated that the duo had been having illegal meetings with WNEW prior to the April fools prank. He preempted these comments with "The statutes of limitations must be up on this."