Unlike Sean Maguire in “Good Will Hunting,” Larry DiCara didn’t give up his tickets to witness Carlton Fisk hit the memorable home run during the Game 6 of the 1975 World Series for a romantic love.
DiCara, a Jamaica Plain resident, missed the game to work a crowd at a civic association event in the South End during his reelection campaign to the Boston City Council. The anecdote begins his new book, “Turmoil and Transition in Boston: A Political Memoir from the Busing Era” and displays perfectly how the thirst for public office consumed DiCara’s life.
The book covers DiCara upbringing in Dorchester to him being the youngest person ever to be elected to the City Council at age 22 to his failed bid for mayor in 1983.
DiCara, a first-generation Italian-American, served 10 years on the City Council during a time of great tumult in Boston, with the busing era dividing the city.
The courts attempted to desegregate the public schools by busing black and white students to different areas of the city. DiCara blames both sides for the turmoil, saying the courts should have consulted with the City and residents for help in devising a plan and that some elected officials fanned the passions of the anti-busing protesters.
DiCara began plotting his first campaign while still in college and announced his candidacy in April 1971, just after turning 22 and about to graduate from Harvard University.
DiCara was running when all city councilors were elected citywide and was able to land one of nine spots by collecting votes from his home area in Dorchester, from the Italian wards of East Boston and North End and the liberal areas of Back Bay and Beacon Hill. During the campaign, he had opposed the I-95 highway extension that would have gone through JP, a highly controversial issue in the neighborhood.
“I was the youngest person and the first member of the Baby Boomer Generation ever elected to the Boston City Council,” DiCara writes. “I was the first Italian elected citywide without a political base in the North End, the traditional Italian neighborhood.”
While a city councilor, DiCara was always attempting to etch a path to the Mayor’s Office, leading to failed bids for secretary of state and state treasurer. He decided to give up his council seat in 1981 and focus on the 1983 mayoral election.
Four-term mayor Kevin White decided to forgo an attempt at reelection in 1983, opening the floodgates, similar to this year when Mayor Thomas Menino chose not to run again. DiCara was one of nine preliminary candidates and writes about the hectic pace of the campaign, including attending numerous candidate forums.
But DiCara finished fourth in the preliminary, and that would be his last campaign for public office. He would not realize his dream of becoming mayor, though he did serve as acting mayor during the historic 1978 blizzard. White was out of town during the storm and DiCara was promoted to the City’s top spot because of his role as City Council President.
“Turmoil and Transition in Boston” was published in August by Hamilton Books and is available at major booksellers.