Seven for seven

By ADAM REILLY  |  December 29, 2006

One final question to ponder: with the first authorized presidential bio of Romney slated for publication this March (A Mormon in the White House? 10 Things Every Conservative Should Know About Mitt Romney, Regnery), when will the Globe roll out its official Romney tome?

Moderately risky prediction: worried they’ll be dismissed as a bunch of elitist Massachusetts liberals, the Globe’s political reporters play up Romney’s achievements in hopes that America’s conservatives will take them seriously. America’s conservatives don’t.

Will the Globe go local?
On October 24, Globe columnist Steve Bailey reported that big shots Jack Connors and Jack Welch are interested in buying the paper. The story runs above the fold on the paper’s front page. On November 2, the New York Times, whose parent company owns the Globe, fronted its business section with a story on Welch and his wife and makes this the second item on Welch’s mocked-up to-do list: “Make calls for Boston Globe deal.” The New York Times Company may have rejected Welch’s and Connors’s bid, as Bailey reported on November 17, but this story isn’t going away. Globe employees agreed to a new contract earlier this month, which could make the paper more attractive to outside investors; Globe staffers are bracing for layoffs early in 2007, which could do the same. Would a locally owned Globe be any better? Not necessarily: Connors and Welch might balk at aggressive coverage of their buddies around town, and even re-install Mike Barnicle as a columnist. But with revenues dropping at the Times Co.’s New England Media Group (which includes the Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette), that’s beside the point.

Moderately risky prediction: restless after his failed run for governor, deep-pocketed philanthropist Chris Gabrieli joins the Welch/Connors group and serves as its local spokesman, promising that a Welch/Connors/Gabrieli Globe would cover Boston without fear or favor. Times Co. waits until September 2007, then sells out.

Tom’s new toy
Thirty years ago, the local media treated Boston politics as a priority; today it’s an afterthought. Tom Menino’s plan to sell Boston City Hall and build a replacement on the waterfront won’t turn back the clock — too many Bostonians have decamped for the burbs, and Menino is no Kevin White — but it should make Boston politics interesting again, at least for a while. Menino’s plan will define his legacy as mayor, and would radically reshape Boston’s topography; it also amounts to an unofficial announcement that he’s seeking re-election in 2009. Will Menino make the planning process transparent and inclusive, or will his administration use its usual strong-arm tactics to ram the project through? Thanks to the debate over City Hall’s future, the ’07 Boston City Council elections will be more than the vanity exercise they usually are, and aspiring mayoral challengers like John Tobin are sure to milk the subject for all the free press they can get. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Moderately risky prediction: as opposition to his City Hall plan builds, Menino does the unthinkable and concedes that some of his detractors’ objections have some semblance of merit. Opposition subsequently vanishes, and Menino goes back to panning his critics as insignificant twits.

And here are seven more! Stories that didn’t quite make the cut, but still bear watching in the New Year:

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