White's Plight

Brass Tacks

"I'm not worried and I still think he's the next Mayor of Boston." says one clearheaded, knowledgable Boston politician, "but Kevin White's election isn't the sure thing we thought it was going to be." This somewhat pessimistic statement is representative of the general feeling across the river as the Boston Mayoralty campaign sputters into its last weeks.

For a number of reasons the powerful, awesome campaign that people expected Kevin White to display after the September preliminary elections has failed to develop. A fear that Mrs. Hicks would benefit by being cast as the underdog and a fierce bitterness on the part of some of the unsuccessful candidates has prevented the formation of a clear coalition of unsuccessful Mayoralty candidates, important Massachusetts politicians, and Boston businessmen behind White. While one or two of the unsuccessful candidates have been quietly working with potential contributors and politicians on White's behalf, the failure to achieve public pledges of support from the other candidates has meant the scattering of scores of campaign workers who could have been plugged into White's campaign machinery. And the disillusioned and bitter feelings, especially among the wealthy State Street partisans of former Redevelopment chief Edward J. Logue who was defeated in September, has made fund raising extremely difficult.

Thus, White was left on the eve of one of the most delicate political campaigns in Boston's history with a dedicated but only average campaign staff and a need to spend valuable hours in one of Boston's most venerable political institutions--the money room. Apart from their headquarters, candidates for high, and expensive public offices, usually maintain a posh suite of rooms where they greet and meet potential financial contributors. To add to the atmosphere of exclusiveness, the location of the money room is always a well-guarded secret.

Instead of currying favor with contributors White's time might better have been spent out on the street or thinking out a strategy to deal with the frustraing problem of Mrs. Hicks. But as soon as these problems became apparent the World Series began and no one in Boston would even think about the Mayoralty race.

Daily public encounters with Mrs. Hicks were growing more maddening. The burden of these other problems made it difficult for White to draw up carefully thought out position papers that would dominate the debate. Others in the city soon began to realize that unless a way were found for White to draw the limelight with stimulating and exciting ideas, he would be left without a positive role, and relegated to a fruitless battle against Mrs. Hicks' emotional chirpings.

An extensive task force, drawing on Harvard faculty and students, is now preparing a series of position papers for White. The strategy for the rest of the campaign will be to bombard the electorate with these position almost daily, and thus draw attention away from Mrs. Hicks' unremitting racism which brings out the worst in Boston.