Politics & Government
2:49 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Menino Tells WGBH News: Being Mayor ‘Gives Me My Vitality’

Mayor Thomas Menino

In a wide-ranging interview with WGBH’s Emily Rooney Thursday, Boston Mayor Tom Menino stopped short of saying he’ll run for re-election this fall, but offered perhaps his strongest signals yet that he plans to seek a sixth term. 

“You meet people every day, help young people have a good education, help them out of trouble, help people who are forgotten in our society have a better life — I love that,” Menino said.

“I love being in the neighborhoods of Boston,” he added. “That gives my energy. That gives my vitality.”

After spending two months in the hospital last year due to an array of serious health problems, and living and working from the city-owned Parkman House afterward, Menino says he’s eager to get back to his home in Hyde Park.

“We hope to be home this Saturday,” he said. “I’ll be sleeping in my own bed for the first time in six months. It’ll be fabulous.

Menino said his home has undergone extensive modifications since he last lived there, but declined to elaborate in detail.

“We had to do some reconstruction of our bathroom upstairs — but it engaged a lot of other issues that became evident to [the contractors],” he said. “And so we have to get – this piece didn’t come in, this piece didn’t come in. But now I believe it’s done.”

In addition to hinting that he’ll seek re-election, Menino also threw some sharp verbal jabs at John Connolly, the at-large Boston City Councilor who’s already announced his own mayoral run. While Connolly has criticized Menino’s stewardship of Boston’s public schools, he’s also lavished praise on Menino’s character and broader legacy. But if those kind words were supposed to keep Menino from bristling at Connolly’s interest in the mayor’s job, they don’t seem to be working.

“What are you going to do?” Menino said, speaking as if Connolly were in the room. “Give me your ideas … What have you done as an elected official for the last several years? What can you point to? I can tell you when I was a city councilor there’s a million things I could have pointed to.”

“So you’re talking about — you’re questioning what can he point to that he’s done?” Rooney asked.

“Yeah,” Menino replied.

Menino also endorsed the performance of Carol Johnson, Boston’s superintendent of schools, who’s been under fire recently for supporting two headmasters who engaged in illegal behavior. And he said that, while the Boston schools still aren’t where they need to be, they’re moving in the right direction.

“The dropout rate is down; more kids are going to college; 68 percent of kids graduate high school,” Menino said. “We’re not perfect — I’d  never say the Boston Public Schools are perfect. But we accept every child. There’s no discrimination against kids because they have English-language problems or disabilities. Every kid that walks in the door, we educate.”

Menino also made it clear that he has absolutely no interest in bringing the Olympic Games to Boston, despite recent reports that he might back such a proposal.

“Any city that’s had Olympics has not worked,” he said. “Vancouver today after several years is still paying for it … I got other priorities. Want to give money to the city? Give it to my schools, give it to my recreation, give it to my housing. That’s what I want.”

The entire interview airs tonight at 7 pm on WGBH-TV Channel 2, and will be viewable online at wgbhnews.org.

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