Local unions came out swinging in favor of Occupy Boston today. At an afternoon rally, the final speaker wasCity Councilor Felix Arroyo, himself a former organizer for the SEIU. Afterwards, Arroyo was asked about Council President Steve Murphy's comments this morning that he's worried about an estimated $2-million-a-month cost for police overtime and about the arrival of "professional agitators."
Arroyo said he has not seen any figures from the police department yet on the costs of patrolling the occupation, or Murphy's comments, so he said he could not really comment on either.
But, Arroyo said, "The question is, though, what the cost is to the city if we don't change our economic practices now, what is the cost then and that's the lense I hope we [use to] look at this, to say what is the cost to all of us if we continue on this track, if we continue on the track where 99% of the population is essentially struggling and 1% has all our wealth."
He added: "I believe that the American Dream as it was taught to me is really the ability to care for your family and to be able to provide for your family and to hope that your children will have a better opportunity than you did. I think that's what these people are looking for, an opportunity to fulfill that dream, by working hard. They're not looking for handouts, they're looking for an opportunity to get some work. I believe in that message.
Arroyo said he also couldn't comment directly on Murphy's fears of "professional agitators" moving into Occupy Boston, in part because he said he didn't even know what "a professional agitator" is. But he said he saw nothing sinister at Occupy Boston. "What you see here today is a mix, a mix in age, a mix in terms of levels of education, a mix in professions, a mix in gender, a mix in race, and, this is the America I grew up in, and they're all here today saying, 'we want a shot at the American dream.' "