Reviving old-style politics in West Roxbury
BY JOE HEISLER
Political traditions die hard in Boston. This is particularly true in politically active West Roxbury, where politics is still revered as both avocation and sport.
Nearly every autumn since 1981, West Roxbury delicatessen owner Steve Slyne and his friends in the Harry Truman Society, a social group for political junkies, would get together to stage an old-fashioned political rally — complete with flatbed truck — along Centre Street, in the West Roxbury business district. Hundreds of local residents would turn out annually on the eve of the election to hear the last-minute pleas of candidates searching for votes.
In 1998, when Slyne found himself alone cleaning up after yet another rally, he reluctantly decided to end it. Since then, efforts to revive the rally have fallen short. But with elections for governor, state treasurer, Suffolk County district attorney, and a hot local state rep Democratic primary in the 10th Suffolk House race on the ballot this fall, interest has revived. And local state senator Marian Walsh and a group of community activists have taken up the challenge of bringing the rally back to life. Community meetings have drawn more than three dozen volunteers.
So on Monday, November 4, starting at 6:30 p.m., the Harry Truman Society rally officially returns to Centre Street, along with music, entertainment, and speeches by candidates. Organizers promise the event will have all the pomp and circumstance of past political rallies. " It’s one final chance for people to see and meet the candidates in the flesh, " adds Walsh.
BNN-TV, on Boston cable channels 9 (AT&T Broadband) and 83 (RCN), will telecast the rally live. I’ll be anchoring the action. BNN will also provide live coverage of local-election returns, including the Suffolk County district attorney’s race, on Tuesday, November 5, starting at 9 p.m.
Issue Date: October 31 - November 7, 2002
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