Dana Depelteau filed papers with the state last week to run for Boston mayor this year.
In an interview, Depelteau acknowledged fairly few people have ever heard of him, but says problems related to youth violence, which ultimately tie into everything from education to gentrification, are just not getting the attention they need and that that convinced him to run.
That and the personal impact of Covid-19. Depelteau said he began thinking of running for mayor after he lost his job as a manager with Hilton Hotels last March due to the pandemic.
Why not start smaller and run for city council? He said the council just doesn't seem to have a grasp or ability to make major changes in the city, that it doesn't really know how to "work a budget."
"I don't necessarily find the city council to be beneficial," he said. He paused to think of what the council might have accomplished in recent years. "The plastic-bag ban," he concluded.
Depelteau, a New Hampshire native who has lived with his husband on Claybourne Street off Park Street in Dorchester for seven years, pointed to example of the problems caused by ongoing youth violence: As some parts of Dorchester and Roxbury gentrify, the gang members who live there are being forced to move onto unfamiliar turf - which could be leading to even more violence as they are forced to defend themselves from members of other gangs who already live there.
He said a key part of the solution is to do something about housing prices, to stabilize neighborhoods so longtime residents are not forced to move out. He said he would look at a moratorium on new residential development to sort the issue out rather than letting gentrification worsen.
Depelteau acknowledges the seeming contradiction of a gay white professional who moved into a largely minority neighborhood arguing he can deal with gentrification, but says his experience would make him a far better ally to his neighbors because he understands what they're going through.
He pointed to Michelle Wu's emphasis on improving the T. "That's like downtown Boston issues," he said. "It's not really Boston issues."