(Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
Clasping their hands together and vowing to shake up City Hall, Councilors Sam Yoon and Michael F. Flaherty Jr. declared they have formed a ticket to unseat Mayor Thomas M. Menino in the general election Nov. 3.
As supporters hoisted Flaherty and Yoon placards stapled together, the former rivals vowed to campaign together across the city, combining their campaign operations. Both candidates wore red, white, and blue buttons on their lapels that read: "Flaherty Yoon 09 Courage to Change."
If Flaherty is victorious, he has vowed to appoint Yoon deputy mayor, a position that has not existed since the administration of Mayor Kevin H. White, who left office in 1984. While the exact details of the position, including salary, have not been finalized, Flaherty said Yoon's tasks would include overseeing the computerized auditing of city services and the dismantling of the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
"Together we'll be able to do more for this city than a fifth Menino administration ever dared to dream about," Yoon said, pointing out, "It's two against one now."
Flaherty added: "I think you are looking at the next generation of political leadership in the city of Boston."
Former state senator Bill Owens, who backed Yoon in the mayoral preliminary, said he is now throwing his support behind the Flaherty-Yoon team, a paring that Owens called a "brilliant idea."
"It makes a lot of sense," said Owens, who during 12 years as a state legislator led efforts to secure funding for the construction of Roxbury Community College and the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.
Owens, who also sponsored legislation creating the Minority Health Commission and the state Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance, said the ability to share the spotlight and collaborate on tough issues facing the city was a hallmark of the Yoon campaign and the main reason why he is now supporting the new ticket.
"This is a great opportunity to bring people together and to show people how government can work," Owens said.
In an e-mail to supporters Monday night announcing the partnership, Flaherty said that "by standing together . . . we are showing Boston that a Flaherty-Yoon administration will embrace good ideas, even if they originate from former rivals.’’
He added that he now supports one of Yoon’s signature proposals: term limits for the office of mayor. “We will put an end to the ‘mayor for life’ culture that has held Boston back,’’ said Flaherty, also a councilor at large. “Together, we will create a city for us.’’
Nick Martin, a spokesman for the Menino campaign, blasted the nascent ticket as an illegal gimmick. He said the position of deputy mayor does not exist in the city charter, so Yoon’s name could not appear on the ballot in the final election Nov. 3.
“This is a blatant attempt to confuse the voters of Boston, because implying that he’s going to run for deputy mayor is something that exists outside of the bounds of the law,’’ Martin said on Monday. “These are desperate tactics by a desperate individual. This seems to be both councilors saying if they can’t win their way, they’ll try to reinvent the rules.’’
The partnership represents a bold political gambit in the final weeks of the mayoral campaign. Menino won the preliminary mayoral election on Sept. 22 with 50.5 percent of the vote, beating Flaherty, who had 24 percent; Yoon, who had 21 percent; and South End businessman Kevin McCrea, with 4 percent. The numbers suggest that even if Flaherty and Yoon were to unite their supporters behind a single ticket, they would still face a tough fight to topple Menino.
Asked yesterday about a Flaherty-Yoon ticket, former city councilor Maura A. Hennigan, who ran against Menino in the 2005 mayor’s race, laughed and said, “Never a dull moment, huh?’’ She said she had never heard of two people running as a ticket for mayor of Boston, unlike the tickets that run for governor and lieutenant governor and president and vice president.
Hennigan said that unless Flaherty changes the city charter, he would have to appoint Yoon as deputy mayor and would retain the power to dismiss him if the partnership soured. She said the last Boston mayor to use deputy mayors was Kevin H. White.
Hennigan also noted that Flaherty and Yoon have some sharp disagreements over policy. Yoon ran on a campaign to weaken the powers of mayor, saying the system, no matter who served as mayor, is fundamentally broken and unfair to the public. Yoon also called for a return to a partially elected School Committee. Flaherty never embraced that proposal.
“It will be interesting to see what they’re going to do about their differences,’’ Hennigan said.
Yoon and Flaherty also come from very different political pedigrees. Flaherty is a South Boston native and the son of a longtime former state representative, who grew up steeped in the ward politics of past generations. Yoon is a South Korean immigrant who spent years in the nonprofit sector, seeking to increase affordable housing.
But Yoon and Flaherty also share some important commonalities. Both cast themselves as torch bearers for a new generation of Bostonians. They have embraced similar proposals to modernize government, by making services available online and by using technology to analyze the efficiency at City Hall.
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