Local News
2:20 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Menino: Improved Health Wouldn't Have Changed Decision Not To Run

Outgoing Boston Mayor Thomas Menino spoke with Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan about the many changes in store when he leaves office on January 6.
Credit Abbie Ruzicka / WGBH

Despite his improved health, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino would make the same decision today, with 35 days left in office, that he made in March — to not seek re-election.

"Twenty years, it was time to go," Menino told Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on Monday. "Twenty years is a longtime to be in office. I could've run. I probably could have won, too, but it wasn't about winning."

In a wide-ranging interview, Menino told Braude and Eagan that the deal the city negotiated with Suffolk downs was "a great deal."

"I don't want Suffolk Downs to become a strip mall," he said. "That's the issue. Or to be used as a parking lot."

Menino said several times he's looking forward to joining academia after he leaves office in 35 days — even putting on patrician airs to answer a Braude question with a drawn out "Yaaaaas?"

"Now I speak as an elected official," Menino said. "In January, I'll be an expert, coming from academia."

Menino said he's been working on a book with James Michael Curley biographer Jack Beatty for last six months.

Menino said dealing with the city's children was his favorite part of being mayor — and he said they were a good source of honest information about the neighborhoods. He said visiting the home of Tina Chery, after the murder of her 15-year-old son, Louis D. Brown, about three weeks after he became mayor in 1993, was one of the toughest moments.

"What am I going to say to this woman? What do I say to her husband?" he said. "I just said, 'I'm here to help ya.'"

Menino, who called his new baseball-bat-shaped cane his "medical device," said he drove yesterday for the first time in a year.

"I was looking for a clutch in the car," he said. "There was no clutch in the car."

He also said he'll stay put in Hyde Park rather than move to a downtown neighborhood like the Back Bay.

"Why would I want to do that?" he said. "I got my mortgage paid, a beautiful little house in Readville. You know were Readville is?"

Asked if he would miss the power that comes with being the mayor of Boston, Menino replied that as an academic, he'd be free to say anything he wanted, with little consequence. He also said a Menino-professor working relationship could have some bumps.

"He's going to have to learn my language more than I'm going to learn his," he said. "Oh, boy."

Watch video of Menino on BPR: