Less than a month before voters go to the polls, Barros supporters say they see an unfair pattern emerging. Despite early polls showing Barros in single digits and behind his rivals, they argue that the dynamics of the race have changed in recent weeks and that nothing is assured with so many undecided voters.
“Obviously, our media should make sure that all the candidates appear so that they get a full picture of all the different choices. [of candidates]”said Barros, a 2013 mayoral candidate, former school committee member and former executive director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, which has revitalized a section of Dorchester.” So ‘OTR’ should definitely make sure that we are all active. “
Conan Harris, one of Barros’ strongest supporters, has been more direct about the decision on “On the Record,” which airs Sundays on WCVB-TV, Channel 5.
“It’s the erasure of black men, our voice and our representation,” said Harris, who served with Barros in the administration of former Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “John represents a subset of a population. He’s a black man in this race for mayor. It has the credentials, resume, and bandwidth to be included.
Mike Cole, news producer for “OTR,” admitted in an interview that Barros had not been invited to appear on the show. But Cole said he leaves the door open for Barros to appear on the show in the future if the candidate’s poll count improves or the campaign grows.
“I want to have John on the show if John is a factor. I don’t want to have John on the show if… we do it because he’s on the ballot, ”Cole said. “We could devote time to other issues in the race that might be more important than his candidacy, if he doesn’t connect with voters at this point.”
Barros was featured on “OTR” for about half an hour shortly after he announced his mayoral bid in March, Cole said. But with the mayoral contest “coming to the finish line,” Cole said the program has decided to focus on the other candidates for now.
Granted, Barros has appeared in more than three dozen mayors’ forums since the start of his campaign, most of them virtual. He attended Monday’s Mayors Forum on Access to Food and is among the top five candidates invited to a special live municipal debate on September 9 hosted by WBUR, WCVB, The Boston Globe and McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston. (The event will be hosted by Boston Radio host Tiziana Dearing and Globe columnist Adrian Walker, and will be broadcast live on 90.9 FM. It will also be broadcast live.)
But recent developments involving “OTR” and other incidents where Barros has been left out are “disturbing,” especially at the end of the race, Harris said.
“Everyone needs to be included until the electorate says we are moving in a different direction,” Harris added.
Harris argued that the polls, which Cole referred to, were a snapshot of an earlier period of the race and only reflect a subset of the voter population.
“There is a [good] a lot of people missing from these polls, ” he said. “Their voice matters. “
Barros said he is delivering his message directly to voters on any platform that leads him to them. And he questioned why Cole hadn’t invited him to the show at this point. Barros – the only major candidate who was not in political office before announcing a mayoral candidacy – has raised more than $ 590,000 since the launch of his campaign, according to state data. He said his campaign had “the highest percentage of local donors” among its competitors.
“Typically these things make me a major contender. I’m not sure what he thinks of thresholds other than that, ”added Barros.
Barros was also not invited to Wednesday’s “Where We Stand” forum hosted by We, Ceremony, a digital platform that uses storytelling to empower and celebrate women of color.
Acting Mayor Kim Janey and City Councilors Michelle Wu, Annissa Essaibi George and Andrea Campbell are all invited. Representative Ayanna Pressley, married to Harris, was one of the speakers.
Iliana Panameño, co-founder of We, Ceremony, said in an email that an invitation “had not been extended to John Barros due to our focus on focusing stories of women of color.”
“Historically, no other group has been more marginalized than women of color, and our goal Wednesday night is to create a space where our voices are raised and heard,” Panameño said in response to a question from The Globe.
Harris said that while he supported the group’s direction, “women are not the only people who care about women and the issues that concern them,” he said. “John was raised by a mother, he has a daughter, he has a wife and a grandmother. All of them shaped and shaped his perspective on life.
Barros and Harris hosted a chat series featuring black men discussing their concerns about the mayoral race and other issues in the city. Men attending the “Black and Brown Men’s Roundtable” said they felt left out and ignored in the mayoral campaign.
“To be discriminated against, to be left out, to be forgotten – this is nothing new to black men or blacks,” Harris said.
A pair of Barros’ rivals weighed in on the issue on Twitter on Wednesday. Wu, who was a former chairman of the board, wrote on Twitter “The voice of @JohnFBarros matters and every candidate in this historic field should have airtime.”
Janey, who was chair of the council before becoming acting mayor, also wrote on Twitter: “This historic estate, and each candidate there, testifies to the greatness of our city and the distance traveled. @JohnFBarros deserves his voice to be heard.