John F. Barros’s mayoral campaign got a special supporter early Wednesday, though he is still a little young to vote.
At 2:41 a.m., Jeremiah F. Barros made his worldwide debut, and his parents — John and Tchintcia Barros — could not be happier. He joined older brother John Jr., who is 16 months old.
“I have been blessed with a wonderful partner, mother, wife, and best friend in Tchintcia. She has and continues to be an inspiration to me,” Barros said in a statement.
His second child weighed in at 6 pounds 1 ounce at birth.
Jeremiah’s arrival came after a packed day of campaigning and right before another. There were at least three mayoral forums on Wednesday’s calendar.
“Tchintcia and I are inspired once again through the enormous responsibility of raising a precious new life,” he said. “We were blessed with many educational and economic opportunities; we need to ensure that every child and parent is provided with the same opportunities.”
Photos of the family’s new addition have been promised.
Conley, Barros, Golar Richie vow to push for diversity
Three mayoral candidates used a debate on diversity Wednesday to promote plans to help businesses run by women and minorities, and vowed to make Boston’s fire and police departments more representative of a city with a population that is more than 50 percent black, Latino, and Asian.
In a 40-minute debate sponsored by Boston.com, the candidates — Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, John F. Barros, and Charlotte Golar Richie — all said the Police Department needs to do better to make sure more officers of color rise through the ranks.
Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis has said he is hamstrung by a civil service exam system that makes it difficult to promote officers who do not attain a certain score. He recently noted that 42 percent of his command staff members, who are promoted by the commissioner, are black, Latino, or Asian.
Minority officers have complained that the department has declined to promote minorities to supervisory positions even when they had the same score as white officers.
Golar Richie, 54, the only woman running for mayor, said if she were elected she would review the promotional exam to “make sure the right skills are being tested.”
She said she questions whether the current multiple-choice exam measures a candidate’s supervisory skills.
Barros, 39, and Conley, 55, said the city needs to do a better job of advertising jobs in the police and fire departments in minority neighborhoods to encourage more blacks and Latinos to apply.
“You can’t put posters up around Boston and expect people to take the firefighters’ exam,” Conley said, adding that as district attorney he personally goes to colleges to recruit minorities to apply at his office.
“Increasing diversity is not that hard,” said Barros, a former School Committee member. “We need more outreach.”
Conley said he would like to see more diversity in the businesses that win contracts with the city. He said he would adjust the bidding process, which currently goes to the lowest bidder, so that businesses owned by minorities or women or residents would have a second chance to meet the low bid.
The candidates were asked whether they would force firefighters to integrate their firehouses. Currently, firefighters can choose their stations, a choice that has led to segregated firehouses. A 2010 Boston Globe article showed that half of Boston’s firehouses are either more than 85 percent white or more than 50 percent nonwhite.
At the time, Mayor Thomas M. Menino said that firefighters have the right by contract to choose their station, but all three candidates said Wednesday they would fight to integrate the firehouses.
“That has got to be changed,” Barros said.
Conley said police officers cannot choose which district they work in, and told an anecdote about a minority officer whose first partner, a white man, was reluctant to ride with him.
“That lasted a very short time,” he said. “Spending eight hours in the same car changes a lot.”
During the lightning round, a series of questions meant to evoke one-word or at least brief answers, candidates were asked to identify the biggest misconception of them.
“That I don’t smile enough,” Conley said, smiling.
“I’m an urban policy geek,” Barros said. “I actually think that’s true.”
“I don’t have a spine,” Golar Richie said, referring to a Globe column by Adrian Walker in July that questioned her changing positions to specific issues.
“I think in my life I’ve demonstrated a large amount of courage,” she said.
Connolly offers plan to help families of murder victims
Standing at the steps of the Dorchester house Mary Franklin and her husband once owned, Councilor John Connolly called Tuesday for the creation of a city program to provide more assistance to families that have lost loved ones to violence.
Franklin — whose husband, Melvin, was shot and killed in a possible robbery attempt just a few hundred feet from their house in 1996 — spoke about the need to support relatives of the victims.
“We have traumatized mothers raising traumatized kids,” Franklin said at the small, emotional event, on Woodrow Avenue. “We have thousands of people in the city living with this pain every day.”
Among other steps, Connolly’s program would hold vigils for homicide victims on the one-year anniversary of their slayings, set up permanent memorials for them, and provide robust support services for the family members and friends of victims of violence.
Connolly stood silent as Franklin and two other women who had lost loved ones to violent crime, Natalie Logan and Carrie Fletcher, recounted the stories of how their loved ones were killed and how the loss has affected them.
“We have all of these young people dying on our streets,” Connolly said. “We need to try to get the whole city to listen, to listen to the stories of the survivors.”