Mayor Menino just completed his annual speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. The talk highlighted one of his greatest strengths, persistence. Held at the Westin Boston Waterfront, a gorgeous hotel in a neighborhood that didn’t even exist a decade ago, the speech served as a reminder of Menino’s commitment to the South Boston Waterfront, an idea derided by commentators and pundits, including myself.
The mayor talked about two substantive policy areas which have the potential to bring growth to Boston in the future, energy and life sciences. While he hasn’t gotten the national credit that Mayor Bloomberg has received in New York, Menino has been ahead of the curve on green buildings and sustainability. He announced the formation of a new non-profit to maximize the city’s opportunities in this area, Clean Tech. He also stood by his backing of the bio-safety facility at Boston University as part of his commitment to life tech in Boston.
“We’re going to attract the best scientists in the world,” he said, vowing “the biolab will come forward.” I think it’s interesting how all the criticism of this proposed lab in the South End has focused on Menino with the other public officials who heralded its announcement, Ted Kennedy and Mitt Romney, going MIA on the issue.
Finally, he also addressed the presidential race. Asked by WBUR’s Paul La Camera about the importance of urban issues in the national election, Menino said “this is one of the things we keep pressing presidential candidates to talk about.” While alluding to one candidate whom he said talks about urban issues, presumably Hillary Clinton whom he has endorsed, he said “there are some phoney issues they want to talk about forever.” He specifically mentioned housing and healthcare as issues which should be on the agenda.
I’m on the road this morning, so I’ll add links later.