Menino looms large along expressway

The carpenters union said its sign in Dorchester is the highest-resolution transparent LED display in the world. The carpenters union said its sign in Dorchester is the highest-resolution transparent LED display in the world. (David L. Ryan/ Globe Staff)
Globe Staff / November 1, 2009

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The carpenters union’s stunning new building along the Southeast Expressway in Dorchester isn’t expected to open until January, but one part of the building was finished early: the massive LED display, which was installed just in time to feature a huge sign promoting Mayor Thomas M. Menino in the final days of his reelection campaign.

The visage of Menino, a longtime ally of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters, now looms vividly from what the union says is the highest-resolution transparent LED display in the world. “Menino: Moving Boston Forward,’’ says the message, which alternates every 12 seconds with three other images.

The city permitted the LED display after the New England Carpenters agreed to conditions that restrict the sign from being lighted in the early morning hours and that also prohibit commercial advertising.

Tom Flynn, political director for the union, said the work was not accelerated to get the sign up before the election, but to advance the plans for the Carpenters Center, being built by Suffolk Construction. And to put to use a sign that cost about $500,000. -- STEPHANIE EBBERT

Flaherty hugs it out
Mayoral challenger Michael F. Flaherty Jr., a son of South Boston who grew up playing hockey, joined the Teamsters as a young man, and still likes to hit the heavy bag at the gym in the morning, isn’t exactly known as a touchy-feely type.

But talking about his approach to conflict resolution early last week, he sounded more like a New Age guru than a rough-and-tumble man of the streets, saying that, as mayor, he wouldn’t keep a “naughty list’’ of critics and political opponents - a reference to a phrase found in the e-mails of a top aide to Menino.

“If you come to a community meeting or you come to a press conference or you offer a concern or a different point of view or you’re critical, we’re going to hug it out,’’ Flaherty said at a news conference about development in Allston. “We’re going to recognize it for what it is and work through it.’’

Paul Alford, an Allston resident who was at the press conference and had been questioning Flaherty about how many community meetings he had attended, piped up and asked: “Do I get a hug after the conference?’’

Flaherty nodded. “You get a hug,’’ he said, to laughter from his campaign staff and several local activists.

Not to be outdone, Councilor at Large Sam Yoon, who is campaigning with Flaherty, offered his own embrace. “We’re going to hug it out,’’ he said. -- MICHAEL LEVENSON

Bennett says he hit goal, knocked on 100,000 doors
Most candidates wait until they are elected before making good on a campaign promise. Not Doug Bennett, the relentless at-large City Council hopeful who last week said he accomplished his goal of knocking on 100,000 Boston doors. Bennett put his success rate at 10 percent to 15 percent.

“Most of the time, they’re not there,’’ he said in the rushed, upbeat voice of a man on the move. “But they get personal, handwritten notes from me asking for their vote.’’

Boston only has 255,082 residences, according to the US Census, which would mean Bennett went to 40 percent of the homes. He began the odyssey on May 12 in Charlestown, and to meet the goal, Bennett had to hit at least 591 doors a day.

To cover so much ground, the candidate said, he traveled by foot, public transportation, mountain bike, and blue motor scooter.

Last month, Bennett apparently grew impatient on the scooter as he waited at a notoriously long red light on Morrissey Boulevard, right in front of the Globe’s office in Dorchester. Bennett inched forward, looked both ways, and blew through the red light toward South Boston. A few days later, he was on the scooter again on West Fourth Street in South Boston, driving on the sidewalk.

Asked about the apparent violations on the scooter, Bennett said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but it’s important that all motorists follow the drivers’ laws.’’

Then he abruptly ended the interview, with a promise to keep on knocking. -- ANDREW RYAN

Polito pens deep thoughts in new website feature
Remember when “Saturday Night Live’’ started running “Deep Thoughts’’ by Jack Handey? (Such as: “If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let ’em go, because, man, they’re gone.’’)

Well, it looks like state Representative Karyn Polito, a Republican from Shrewsbury, is looking to start her own tradition, albeit one without the humor. Polito, who has made a concerted effort to elevate her political profile, has launched a new feature on her website,, called “Thought of the Day.’’

“Let’s see if by talking and brainstorming together, we can come up with some new ideas and practical solutions for making Massachusetts a better place to live, work, and raise a family,’’ she said in introducing the blog.

Her posts have been fairly predictable riffs off the news of the day. (“We need to be creative and inventive to identify innovative ways to better position our state for economic recovery and job creation,’’ reads a recent one.)

But we’ll check back as the thing gets going, and perhaps Polito will have some more memorable squibs. -- MATT VISER

Tweet of the week comes dfrom Wahlberg on Pagliuca
This week’s winner is a Tweet - actually two - from New Kids on the Block star Donnie Wahlberg, who turned to Twitter to pump up the US Senate campaign of Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca: “To my friends & fans in Massachusetts - I want to publicly announce my support for a friend, and a great man, Steve Pagliuca (D) U.S Senate.’’ Shortly after, he added this: “In other words . . . All my female soldiers . . . You know who to vote for in MASS!!!!! STEVE PAGLIUCA!!!!!!! US SENATE!!!!! DEMOCRAT!’’