In an election-night shocker, both Kendra Lara and Ricardo Arroyo lost their seats on the Boston City Council.
Chalk this up as a win for Boston.
In her concession speech Tuesday night, Lara noted: “What a two years it’s been.”
The problem for Lara and Arroyo is that those two years were pretty bad, pocked with scandals and unheeded calls for resignation. The Boston Herald was paying attention – and so were those who took to the polls.
The push to dismiss the brouhaha over Arroyo’s ethics violations was strong, he was, after all, the incumbent in District 5. Arroyo had admitted that he violated the state’s conflict of interest law and agreed to pay a $3,000 penalty.
In Arroyo’s world, that was enough. Despite damaging the council’s reputation, he wouldn’t budge as calls for his resignation grew louder. His defiance showed character, but not, evidently, the kind of character that Bostonians want representing them.
Lara also viewed defiance as a show of strength. She too, did not resign after a July Jamaica Plain car crash revealed her to be driving an unregistered car and without a valid driver’s license. The Jamaica Plain Progressives didn’t have a problem with this. Lara’s pending charges were mere “concerns,” and they threw their support behind her.
Fortunately, Bostonians can tell the difference between a “concern,” and a red flag, and Lara is out.
This race was about more than agenda, it was about being fit to hold office – and neither Lara nor Arroyo proved up to the task.
The pair’s unsavory actions prompted City Council President Ed Flynn to write in a open letter: “The people of Boston deserve the highest standards of strong and ethical leadership.”
That should go without saying, and it once did.
The city council of past years had mayoral conflicts, usually over budgeting, but the flouting of ethics and eagerness to overlook transgressions in favor of solidarity with a progressive agenda is new.
We’ve lost a couple of councilors this year, but not because of bad behavior. Both Michael Flaherty and Frank Baker decided not to seek re-election, which was a grim prognosis for the tenor of the council going forward.
“This is what democracy looks like,” said Lara Tuesday night. “This district made a decision about who they wanted to represent them.”
And it wasn’t her. Or Arroyo.
Boston voters pulled out a win for the city, rejecting hype without substance and choosing instead to hit the reset button on the council. They opted for candidates who put the spotlight on helping the city, not themselves, and who vow to make the city stronger.
William King, on the ballot for Lara’s seat in November against Ben Weber, said he was “incredibly humbled” by the showing of support he got in District 6, and said his focus, if elected, would be on helping to heal the “divisions” on the City Council.
We know who created these divisions, and we applaud Boston voters for taking the steps to fix them.