[The original column appeared Oct. 31, 2014 in The Daily News Briefing]
Today's column might seem a little parochial if you live in London or Singapore or New York. Thomas Menino, who passed yesterday, was mayor of Boston for 20 years. Nothing about him was flamboyant or eloquent, and he made that an asset. An undistinguished public speaker, he mumbled in his first mayoral campaign commercial that "I'm not a fancy talker."
Mr. Menino was, however, a tireless public servant who showed up at even the smallest events as mayor and before that as a city councilor. Late in his career, a Boston Globe poll indicated that more than half of Boston had met him personally.
In a city that had been riven by class and race division, he championed diversity and inclusion. In a city with more than its share of political scandal, his tenure was relatively scandal-free. He called himself an "urban mechanic," working to make his city better. Today's Boston is, in great part, a reflection of his effort. That pragmatic legacy that is at least as worthy of applause as a lot of fancy talking.