John Barros, Boston mayoral candidate and the city’s former chief of economic development, called into Boston Public Radio on Tuesday to make his pitch for the top executive seat in the city. Barros is the only man in the top field of candidates, which is led this cycle by women of color — Acting Mayor Kim Janey and City Councilors Andrea Campbell, Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George.

On vaccine mandates for city workers

Hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan started the conversation by asking Barros about his views on vaccine mandates as the delta variant of COVID-19 spreads. Acting Mayor Kim Janey said she is "leaning towards" a mandate for city workers, which Barros said he supports.

"For those for whatever reason that decide they don't want to get a vaccination shot, we should ask them to have a COVID test every week to make sure we keep all the workers safe and make sure we keep the public safe," he said.

Barros also runs a restaurant, and he said that, while he hasn't yet started asking customers about their vaccine status, he might if cases continue to rise.

On rent control

Just one candidate in the race so far — Wu — has come out solidily in favor of rent control as a solution to the city's housing crisis. Rent control as a means to cap yearly rent increases in some homes is not allowed under a state law approved by voters in 1994. But there's a growing push to allow individual cities and towns to decide whether to set rent control themselves.

Barros told Boston Public Radio he's in favor of deed-restricted affordable housing instead.

"I'm for rent that is controlled in deed-restricted housing. That means housing that is financed and structured to keep it at that rent level," he said. "We can craft something that is better than the original law for rent control, which would have frozen — it would freeze rent at today's rates, and today's rent is just too expensive for most Bostonians. ... I am for making sure we can build more deed-restricted rental and home ownership units."

Barros said rent control as it had already been attempted in the state would only "slow down housing production, which is in turn going to make things more expensive for all of us and make it that more people are displaced."

On low levels of city contracts awarded to women and people of color in Boston

Barros served as the chief of the Economic Development office in Boston under former mayor Marty Walsh's tenure.

Before Barros resigned from his post to run for mayor, the city released a disparity studythat revealed just 2.5% of the $2.1 billion in city contracts signed during Walsh’s first term went to minority-owned businesses. The GBH News Center for Investigative Reporting found that Black-owned businesses posted the lowest rates of contracts despite having the highest rates of businesses available to work with the city.

In response to a question from Eagan about the disparities in contracts awarded to people of color and women, Barros said "it's important to be clear about my role in that. As chief of Economic Development, I don't issue contracts."

But, Barros said he "led and launched" the disparity study and was proud of an executive order from Walsh to pledge 25% of contracts to women-owned and minority-owned businesses.

Barros then said he "helped to award in fact the largest city contract to a woman-owned business, the largest city contract to a Black-owned business in the city" during his tenure. "But that was easy because our history and our record is so bad."

On an endorsement from Walsh

"I have asked him for his vote. I believe I have his vote, but I'll let you ask him first," Barros said.

On Patrick Rose

Barros' most critical words for his fellow candidates came in response to a question about the city's handling of Patrick Rose, a former Boston Police officer who was allowed to remain on the force after being credibly accused of sexually assaulting a child.

Acting Mayor Kim Janey pledged a review into the police department's internal affairs investigation into Rose, which was released a month late and provided little new information about who knew about Rose's actions.

"Because I know the report we received doesn't tell the whole story, we need more," he said. "[The report] particularly doesn't leave us the kind of information that builds trust in police's investigation of their own and the case particularly what happened, to protect children."

Barros said the Office of Police Accountability and Transparency — approved by the city council and signed into law by Walsh earlier this year — needs to be staffed up so the city can start issuing subpoenas in the Rose case and conduct a more thorough investigation.

"The public has a right to know, and we haven't seen good leadership in being able to do that to date, and that's not good for the city," he said.

On growing up Black in Boston

Barros said his experiences with police "were horrible," and cited an incident at a party in Brighton where he alleged the police abused his civil rights. Police hurled derogatory comments at him and a group of friends, he said, and filed an erroneous police report charging some of his friends with assault and battery.

Barros said his experiences were documented in the book "Streets of Hope".