Mayoral candidates Michael Flaherty and incumbent Thomas Menino made their final Jamaica Plain forum appearance of the campaign Oct. 20 at the Wards 11 and 19 Democratic Committees candidates night, held at English High School.
The stump speeches delivered to dedicated party members were familiar at this point. But the event had its unscripted moments.
Neither mayoral contender was able to earn an endorsement from either ward committee. JP’s other Democratic committee, in Ward 10, previously also did not endorse a mayoral candidate.
Sam Yoon, Flaherty’s “running mate,” told the Gazette shortly before the forum that only a lack of endorsement for Menino would be big news.
“Clearly, the mayor has the infrastructure that he’s built over many years to engineer an endorsement,” Yoon said, presenting a non-endorsement of Menino as a win for Flaherty. Yoon also lowered expectations in general, noting, “Ward endorsements are important, but honestly, people don’t go the polls because of a ward committee endorsement.”
Handed a small bottle of water during his speech, Menino raised an issue of his own.
“Can I digress? You see the Nestlé’s water here?” he asked. He then said he once met the CEO of the Nestlé corporation, who told him, “‘I don’t owe anything to the community because I’m profit-based.’”
“So I won’t drink Nestlé’s water,” Menino concluded to some applause.
As it happens, Menino did drink Nestlé-owned Poland Spring water in an interview at the Gazette office last month. But Poland Spring’s connection with Nestlé is hidden in fine print on the label of that product.
Speaking to the Gazette before and after the forum, Menino said he was not happy with the format and moderation of the previous night’s televised mayoral debate. “It was interesting to me because of the depth of the non-knowledge,” he joked. He also mentioned his technique of discussing only “positive” issues: “I never get down into the bowels of this business.”
The forum also featured six of the seven at-large City Council candidates who are Democrats. In a surprise, candidate Ayanna Pressley sent a letter saying she had suddenly fallen ill that day and could not attend.
Pressley was endorsed by both ward committees, as were Felix Arroyo and John Connolly. Ward 11 also endorsed Tito Jackson.
In Egleston Square’s District 7 race, Ward 11 did not endorse Democrat Carlos “Tony” Henriquez, who is challenging Green-Rainbow Party candidate Chuck Turner.