Local News
1:29 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Felix Arroyo, John Barros On 'Monolithic' Boston, Mayoral Endorsements

John Barros and Felix Arroyo stopped by the Boston Public Radio studios to talk with hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on Wednesday.
Credit Will Roseliep / WGBH

Two of the twelve who made the mayoral race something Bostonians can be proud of, Felix Arroyo and John Barros, spoke candidly with Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on Wednesday about their take on how the race went, in what direction they'd like to see the race between Connolly and Walsh go, and the direction that one of these two finalists will take the city in. 

Excerpts from the conversation are below. Listen to the full conversation above.

Why didn't you make it all the way?

Felix Arroyo:

Voters make these decisions. You go out there, you bring your message out, and you do the very best you can. The voters decided to go in a different way and I totally respect the decisions they made... I have no regrets. I went in with my eyes wide open. I knew I wasn't going to raise a lot of money. I recognized the role that money plays in politics- I don't like it, but I recognize it. 

John Barros:

We had a strategy based on a higher turnout model. It didn't happen. Folks didn't come out. You had the super voters decide the election, and the super voters didn't vote for John Barros, but John didn't think that the super voters were going to vote for him necessarily. They don't look like John's base.

Any regrets that a deal was not cut between the candidates of color to drop out and support one candidate? 

John Barros:

We [he and Arroyo] had the early conversation when we were considering running. The conversation was trying to figure out- can we both run? Does it make sense? Who's running? And, frankly, we came out of that conversation saying we should both run... We thought we had enough space for both of us to run, and what we really failed on this election was turnout

Arroyo:

I told him [Barros] privately, what I'd tell you publicly. I said If you want to run, and you believe that you have something to offer the city of Boston- do it."

Plenty of white people voted for me. Plenty of Asians, plenty of Latinos, plenty of blacks. Men, women, young, older, gay straight, people who have religious faith, people who don't. The idea that we're monolithic in that way I think is incorrect. 

Is the idea of a "split vote" still legitimate?

Barros:

Twenty years later the communities have evolved in Boston in a way where there is no "the community of color", "the leader of color", we actually have a space where there wasn't consensus. There was not consensus in the beginning that we had a leader, a candidate that was going to bring all of the issues forward and represent "the community". I think it's really a disservice to a really diverse community that's really dynamic with lots of difference views and policy positions to say that we can come up with one candidate who's gonna represent all of that. 

Are you going to endorse? What do you have to hear Connolly or Walsh say to get your endorsement?

Barros said he's sat down with both Walsh and Connolly.

For me, it continues to be about the achievement gap. It also is about making sure that all our neighborhoods are strong and healthy. And making sure that people on those neighborhoods have opportunities in those neighborhoods to get living wage jobs... It also is about making sure that small businesses are thriving in our city. And that they're thriving not only downtown but in our smaller neighborhoods. In different pockets. It's the issues I've been talking about. Making sure that government is inclusive and highly participatory. Boston is a beautiful place but we're not well engaged.  You know, I hope to endorse, we'll see.

Arroyo said he'd like to see a candidate talk about affordability issues, failing schools, economic development: 

I'm very open to it, but I have to believe that the one that I'm standing next to if  make that decision will work on the issues that I just spoke about. 

Watch the full interview:

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