Poll: Who is the Unofficial Mayor of West Roxbury?

We all know who the elected mayor is - but who is the unelected mayor? You know, the person who everyone knows, is involved in events and knows the right person to call.


Here's the deal. We all know Mayor Thomas Menino is the elected mayor of Boston. But who is the unofficial mayor of West Roxbury?

I've been covering West Roxbury for years and have seen the nominees on election days holding signs, or running neighborhood meetings, often speaking at neighborhood events, organizing neighborhood sport events, or just grabbing some grub and drink at the Corrib, West Roxbury Pub or The Real Deal.

The nominees are listed in alphabetical order (on the poll). No elected official such as state Rep. Ed Coppinger (and the Coppinger Clan votes) were allowed to be nominated.

Also no former elected officials are in the mix for instance, former West Roxbury District Councilor John Tobin.

I selected the nominees after some unscientific polling of folks in the know. 

One rule: Please do not write anything negative about any of the candidates in the comments section, or I'll pull the comment. Feel free to tell stories of the candidates, how they've helped you, how long you've known them, seen them around the neighborhood, and so on.

To the nominees...

Richie Gormley - Gormley is the heavy favorite in the contest. Let's be real about it. The man is involved in so much of the life and death of West Roxbury. Literally, because he owns Gormley Funeral Home. But Gormley is involved in a lot more of the life of West Roxbury. He is the commander of West Roxbury V.F.W. Post 2902, and is the Sergant-of-Arms for the Irish Social Club.

You'll see Gormley at every veterans' event, and he is a very charitable man, even putting up his own Ireland home for a week as the grand prize for Save the Irish Social Club fundraiser. Several other nominees made sure Gormley was included, adding his nickname - Lord High Mayor (or varieties). I also found oodles of Gormley photos in the West Roxbury Patch database. 

Tom "TD" Dougherty - Many know him simply as TD for his initials. He's a lovable Yogi Bear kind-of-guy with a big heart (you'll see that as a common thread through all the nominees). He was formerly the president of the West Roxbury Main Streets board. TD is currently very involved with keeping West Roxbury safe via his work on the West Roxbury Police Advisory Board. You can also see him at youth sports games on a regular basis with his kids. TD pointed out how several of the nominees are close friends, too. He's only a 21-year resident of West Roxbury, meaning his childhood friends are not West Roxbury-based i.e. the childhood friend vote.

Chucky Bruen - The dark horse of the contest. Chucky flies under the radar on the meetings, but he knows everyone and everyone knows him. He has a lot of family, and they have family. I always enjoy seeing Chucky on Election Days, he's a nice guy, you can understand why he's so popular. Chucky's brother's wife is married to Coppinger's wife's sister, too - so does the Coppinger Clan vote come into play here?

Mike O'Brien - O'Brien is a big man with a big smile and you don't want to mess with him - he's a Suffolk County corrections officer. He and his family live in the house that he grew up in. The Shamrock Shootout's homebase operations is his house with a DJ spinning, kids running back-and-forth, and the dog is very well-trained. I missed the first Shootout, called Mike up to cover it in retrospect, and he invited me into his home. He gave me an official Shamrock Shootout wintercap, introduced me to his family and the well-trained dog. He's a good man.

Stephen Smith - Smith has been on the West Roxbury Neighborhood Council since 1993, and seems to always know what's happening in the neighborhood. He's also a part of the Spring Valley/Charles River Neighborhood Association (in several incarnations), as well as being very politically active with the Ward 20 Democratic Committee. I've always appreciated Smith's probing questions at WRNC meetings, and his penchant for pushing meetings to end before Red Sox playoff games. 

Olivia Waishek - You don't mess with Olivia Waishek. She leads as the president of the West Roxbury Civic and Improvement Association with an iron fist; I've told her I wish I could bring her to family and social events I want to end early. Waishek keeps meetings focused on the discussion at hand (neighborhood assocations in Newton and Wellesley should hire her).

Waishek truly is a sweetheart who cares deeply about the Washington Street area of West Roxbury. Her expertise of navigating the civic process in Boston, benefits her neighborhood greatly, as contractors continually look to put homes on lots too small to build on. Residents who have never heard of Olivia Waishek can thank her for not having a neighbor's window facing right into their bathroom. In 2010, she was named to the Zoning Commission for the Boston City Council's Committee on Economic Development and Planning. She also always asks me how married life is going. 

Alice Hennessey - Alice Hennessey is Milliennium Park. Even Boston Mayor Thomas Menino will tell you that - and he invented the wheel! Seriously, Hennessey is regarded as the person responsible for the creation of Milliennium Park from a dump to a recreational wonderland with playing fields, playgrounds, trails, a canoe launch and years of Parkway smiles.

Tony Saroufim - Saroufim is also a member of the West Roxbury Neighborhood Council, and is quite excited when new restaurants come in. Saroufim has been involved with Parkway Youth Soccer since 1988 when his eldest son, Joe, was 5-years-old. Every year he recruits team coaches and sponsors, which at one point included 78 teams (and they say soccer isn't popular in America). He's also been involved with the West Roxbury YMCA, the Roche Family Community Center, and WRMS' board.

Mary Mulvey Jacobson - Mary Mulvey Jacobson knows what's going on in West Roxbury and is an email queen informing residents of the comings and goings in the neighborhood. She leads the West Roxbury Business and Professional Association with its 7:45 a.m. meetings (really, Mary? 7:45 a.m.!). Jacobson also organizes the annual Families in Need donations program that provides groceries to Parkway families during Thanksgiving and Christmas. She is also involved with Irish Social Club, veterans events and if you need help, she'll help you.

So who do you think is the unofficial mayor of West Roxbury? Take the poll, share your comments, offer up other options, and keep it fun!

Pat S February 15, 2012 at 06:34 PM
I vote for mike o'brien, he's one of the most generous and caring people I've ever met, and he's a phenomenal father to 4 absolutely wonderful kids
John Fish February 15, 2012 at 07:19 PM
I vote for Mary Mulvey Costello.
Aref Arnous February 15, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Love for Public Service is perhaps the most important/required quality in any public office. To be real, it has to be from the heart. Many seek public positions for the exposure that comes with it, let alone the many other questionable movtives. I vote for Tony Saroufim. Seeing him run around at soccer - all excited and enthused - shows his inner goodness, among the many, many other sterling qualities carried in his big heart.
Steve p February 15, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Wants more important then teaching the young minds of west roxbury for over 40 years and then giving them summer jobs in the summer landscaping go Paul cappy capodilupo
rob ross February 15, 2012 at 10:59 PM
richie all the way sorry td
Kendra McCarthy February 16, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Mike O'Brien...without a doubt
Uncle bee February 16, 2012 at 01:49 AM
I think we should have More than one mayor one for spring summer fall winter 4 mayors maybe a king and queen too love this town wr.
Mike Pandolph February 16, 2012 at 02:57 AM
The Bear says TD is not only The Mayor he is also Mr.UMASS.
David Ertischek (Editor) February 16, 2012 at 02:59 AM
The first mention of the great Cappy.
David Ertischek (Editor) February 16, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Smack talking at Medfield, Wayland and Etc.!! Where you at Medfielders and Waylanders?? Very complimentary comment, Marie. Thank you.
David Ertischek (Editor) February 16, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Maybe a Sadie Hawkins dance, too? Beauty pageant?
Johnny Insurance February 16, 2012 at 06:08 AM
West Roxbury residents should be ashamed to have these people nominated. People who have grown up here do not believe in popularity contests. We are content in who we are. We don't believe that a vote can determine who deserves our respect. We believe that being a regular guy or a regular girl will be suffice. It is a joke that a poll like this exists. True westies are just regular people trying to raise families the right way without any extra attention. The people/wrpatch carpetbaggers trying to keep score in this social popularity contest are everything REAL westies are against....
Kristen February 16, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Great question, I have many connections to a lot of these folks through Parkway Soccer, St. T's CCD, politics. WR is lucky to have great residents and leaders.
Nava and Paul Ervin February 16, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Ditto!!!! All folks are great but our undivided votes go to Tony Saroufim!!! Well deserving, Tony has done so much lasting good for our kids and families!!! Simply heartwarming to see hundreds of families with their children on the Soccer fields each weekend at the Millennium. We deeply respect his dedicated hard work, his spirited, charismatic core and his incredible devotion to the community. The title MAYOR will suit him just fine..troditional with his matter of fact hadeling, yet progressive with his active organizing, Tony is the man! He continues to serve the community, and his goodness will do so for generation to come. Thanks TONY!!!!
ROLFE VOLTAIRE February 16, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Dshiflettfitton February 16, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I vote for Mary M Jacobson!
Sheila Connally February 16, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Mary Mulvey!!!!!!!!!!
Ellen Hoey February 16, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I've known Mary since 4th grade....she's a passionate woman who puts her "all" into whatever she is doing .....she is kind, compassionate and hilariously funny! Good luck Mary ! Ellen H.
Junior February 16, 2012 at 10:29 PM
TD without a doubt This guy knows everyone......no matter where he is. My uncle is a geologist and was flying a 4 week mission on the space shuttle to the moon when one day while pulling anorthosite samples from the moon's surface crust......this alien dude walked up from behind and asked ........"Hey......do you know a guy named TD ? Did he graduate from UMASS? " His presence is truly universal. The Wizard of West Roxbury is bigger than life. Go get em TD !!!!!!
Elizabeth A. Doris-Gustin February 16, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Dear Johnny- Real people from West Roxbury NEVER, EVER refer to our little piece of Heaven as Westie. Furthermore, every street corner in West Roxbury is only a few minutes away from a political rally starting at any time. We all have our opinions and are not afraid to share them. I do not believe I have ever met any regular guys or girls in West Roxbury for the simple fact that all the people of West Roxbury are extraordinary, and if you do not believe me just ask anyone from West Roxbury. The Patch has a wonderful group of people nominated for what is turning out to be a very fun contest. Anyone of them deserves to be known as the unofficial mayor of West Roxbury.
Centre Street Girl February 17, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Mike Bruen all the way, Hands down!
TD February 17, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Vote Gormley.... I re-encourage all my faithful supporters to vote Gormley early and often. Bring it home for the lord mayor. As I did on Wednesday I ask all my social networks that brought me to the top to vote GORMLEY......See you in March
Centre Street Girl February 17, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Greatest guy in West Roxbury
Filottete February 17, 2012 at 04:04 PM
By chance, are there any ghosts that are voting for Gormley? I think Gormley is not able to open a computer too. I think is a poll just for fun and charity. Don't they think?
Fontaine's Right Wing February 17, 2012 at 06:15 PM
It's well known that West Roxbury voter turnout is legendary. But with over 6,000 votes for "Unofficial Mayor of WR", I have to ask...Is there no election that is too small for a WR voter?!
Viva la boom February 18, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I have lived in this town for 33 years I have heard of two of these people and I am not the only one. Go Paul cap
Judy Fitzgerald February 18, 2012 at 04:32 AM
I agree totally with you John, He is the most kindest, more than the most generous Man in the whole City of Boston and then some !!
tdogg61 February 21, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Lousy poll...you left out Kenny Martin and Bob Lawler
Elizabeth Phillips March 03, 2012 at 01:20 AM
TD...known him for years...he was Mayor in Brookline, UMASS, and now WR...
bOOKA March 16, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Richie is the man--and THE Mayor


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