The Boston City Council is at a crossroads as it heads into the Sept. 12 primary. Packed with progressives, there were moves to slash the budget for the Boston Police Department and relations with Mayor Michelle Wu are often contentious as attempts to pull her further to the left did not go to plan.
This year’s election has several incumbent progressives being challenged by, if not centrist Democrats, those who don’t see radicalism as a job requirement.
One of the best examples is the District 5 race, a seat currently held by Ricardo Arroyo.
Arroyo, like several of his colleagues, has made headlines as much for his controversies as his policies.
As the Herald reported, earlier this summer Arroyo agreed to pay a $3,000 fine for committing a state ethics violation, for representing his brother in a civil lawsuit involving the city while serving on the City Council.
He was also accused in two federal reports of colluding with former U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins to tip the outcome of last year’s preliminary election for Suffolk district attorney, which Arroyo lost to Kevin Hayden. Arroyo has denied any wrongdoing, but Rollins resigned when the reports were made public.
It wasn’t a good look, for Arroyo or the council by association.
Wu made her displeasure with Arroyo known, snubbing him and endorsing her former staffer Enrique Pepén for the District 5 seat. Pepén worked as the executive director of the Boston Office of Neighborhood Services.
Wu touted his “shared progressive values.”
Pepen is no doubt a good guy, who’s said he’ll focus on major housing investments, anti-racist educational practices, and an intersectional approach to public safety.
Jean-Claude Sanon, a small business owner, brings the insight of an entrepreneur to the mix. He’s said the most important issues facing Boston are crime, housing, and access to jobs. Sanon promises to fight rent increases and empower local entrepreneurs, among other actions.
But the monumental task of adding to the voices of reason on the council would best be taken up by Jose Ruiz.
Ruiz walks the talk on both sides of advancing public safety.
He knows what it’s like to be an officer on the streets of this city – he’s been in the BPD for 29 years – and how crime affects the real people in its neighborhoods. He also has understanding of how building stronger communities, and giving opportunities for our young people, can make an impact on Boston life. He organized the largest city-wide youth baseball and softball league, including life skills presentations for players. There are other such deeds under his belt, and they combine for a formidable resume of a Bostonian who gives back.
Ruiz has said he wants to support new and existing homeowners, improve city services, and build trust between police and the community.
At this stage in the game, building trust between police and community is of paramount importance. The shootings continue, violence strikes outside schools, inside schools, and in places that should never hear the sound of gunfire. Ruiz has the experience and tools for the getting the job done.
The Boston Herald endorses Jose Ruiz for Boston City Council.