Monday, May 30, 2005

Response to AFSCME Questionnaire

Please fill in all of the information below!
NAME: Kevin McCrea _______________________________________________
ADDRESS: 218 West Springfield Street Boston _______________________________________________
ZIP CODE: 02118 _______________________________________________
PHONE NUMBER: 617-267-2453 _______________________________________________
FAX NUMBER: 617-351-2453 _______________________________________________
EMAIL ADDRESS: _______________________________________________
CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Dr. Clara Lora _______________________________________________
SEAT SOUGHT: City Council at Large _______________________________________________
Please return this questionnaire by ____6/3/05___________

Return to: Andi MullinAFSCME Council 938 Beacon St., 3rd FloorBoston, MA 742-7666 (fax)
Call Andi Mullin at (617) 367-6000 x110 with questions1. Why are you running for City Council? What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

I am running for City Council to help make Boston better. My main areas of focus will be on housing, education and equal access to government. However, I look forward to bringing honesty, transparency and more professionalism to city government.

2. Have you ever been a member of a labor union? Why do you think labor unions are important? What do you think the role of a labor union should be?

I have not been a member of a labor union. Labor unions are extremely important in providing good middle class jobs, security, and collective bargaining power for their members. The role of the labor union should be to represent its members in a professional manner and advocate for its members to the best of its ability.

3. Collective bargaining is fundamental to what labor unions do. Unions must be free to negotiate in good faith with employers who also are negotiating in good faith. In the past, some unions in Boston have defeated undesirable proposals at the bargaining table, only to have City Councilors and/or the Mayor try to resurrect them through the legislative process. Will you respect the collective bargaining process and refrain from trying to legislatively impose on city workers changes in salary, benefits or working conditions that the city has been unable to win at the bargaining table?

I believe one of the reasons I have been successful in business is that my word, my handshake, means a deal is a deal. One of the reasons I am running for city council is that I want open, honest transparent government. When a deal is made with a contractor, a union, or whomever, that deal should be honored.

4. As you are no doubt aware, the Commonwealth continues to face significant fiscal challenges. A major cause of the problem is the 42 tax cuts the state enacted in the 1990s. These tax cuts eroded the state’s revenue base so dramatically that today we are cutting critical public services to make ends meet. While the Commonwealth has taken significant steps to raise revenue, the state still faces a structural deficit. That deficit cannot be resolved by budget cuts alone – revenue must be part of the picture. Will you vigorously lobby Boston’s state legislators and Senators to restore the income tax and close corporate loopholes to help resolve the budget crisis?

I agree that we must resolve revenue issues. The Boston Globe recently reported that the cost to corporations to do business in Massachusetts was one of the lowest in the nation. The tax burden in Massachusetts and in Boston has been shifted from corporations to private property owners. It does not help things when City Hall is giving away valuable real estate such as Heyward Place, City Hall Plaza and parking spaces in West Roxbury to at below market prices. That is property that we the citizens own, and we are paying for through higher taxes, or lower wages for members of AFSCME for example.

5. The problem of high housing prices is of particular concern to city employees because these employees are required to live in the city. Given the lower wages earned by public sector workers, it is becoming increasingly difficult for City employees to make ends meet given the high costs of housing. What solutions to Boston’s housing crisis would you pursue if you were elected?

Please see my website for a more in depth answer, but the synopsis is as follows. First of all I would work to have the 400 acres of excess and foreclosed property that the City of Boston owns disposed of within 3 years. This will do two things, it will increase the tax base and it will provide building opportunites to build new housing. I will advocate for a large portion of that to be median income housing affordable to people such as employees of AFSCME. I will advocate for eliminating the BRA and replacing it with a city planning agency that is answerable to the voters, that will advocate for building more housing affordable to middle class people, not just the wealthy. Furthermore, I would like to initiate a program to make below market rate loans available to City of Boston employees to buy houses within the city. I am a developer, who has built and owns affordable housing in the city of Boston. I understand the process and realize this is one of the biggest problems facing the city, and I will be putting a large portion of my time to working on this issue.

5a. What is your view of the residency requirement?

I believe that residency can a tool to help regenerate the city and help support the middle class.

5b. Would you support a revision to the residency requirement that would require newly hired city employees to live in the city for their first five years of employment, and then be permitted to live elsewhere?

I am not knowledgeable enough about this topic to give an opinion at this time. However, I do believe that this is something that should be negotiated in good faith at the bargaining table.

6. The Boston Municipal Research Bureau (BMRB) has recently proposed a system of providing public services called “competitive service delivery.” AFSCME has thoroughly researched this proposal and determined that the business-backed BMRB has simply come up with a new and fancy way of describing privatization. Like other privatization schemes, “competitive service delivery” will introduce the profit motive to public service delivery, which is not good for taxpayers. Furthermore, while such schemes claim to save money, they actually simply pay workers less and erode their benefits. Would you work with AFSCME to oppose implementation of a “competitive service delivery” proposal?

I am not familiar with “competitive service delivery”. However, I oppose privatization for essential city services.

7. What do you think of privatization in general? Will you oppose efforts to privatize City services?

Please see my previous answer. I do oppose privatization of City services.

8. The City’s civil service system is not working for anyone other than public safety employees, and under Governor Mitt Romney the situation is deteriorating. The Governor is aggressively de-funding the system and leaving commission appointments vacant for months at a time. The City workforce has become more and more demoralized as employees have learned that job opportunities have primarily been awarded for political performance rather than work performance. Common city practices include failure to request promotional civil service exams, failure to appoint from the legal list, and abuse of provisional appointments. What steps would you take to insure that the city operates the system properly? Will you aggressively oppose Governor Romney’s backdoor attempts to further weaken the system?

This is another of the reasons I am running for city council. To oppose the cronyism that this state is rampant with. On my website you will see that I advocate for the posting of all job opportunities on the city's website so everyone will know what jobs are available, what the qualifications are and how to apply. I call for the posting of the resume's of all department heads so that the public can see whether people are qualified for the jobs they have. I am for open, professional government and there is no room in that for political hacks.

9. Traditionally, the AFSCME locals in the City of Boston have enjoyed a close working relationship with many of the City’s elected officials. How would you view your relationship as a City Councilor with the employees of the City?

I have worked with city employees from many different departments. I am proud to say that many of them are supporting my campaign. I have always been impressed with the professionalism of the “soldiers” who work for the city, who are let down by the “generals” above them who maybe political appointees who are not qualified for their jobs. I have promised to have open office hours each week if anyone has a question, idea or complaint I will be available. I look forward to working with the city employees to get their valuable opinions on how to make the city work and run more efficiently, honestly, and professionally.

Anyone else frustrated with the City of Boston Website???

I tried to access the City of Boston calender this morning around 9 a.m. to see what events were taking place in Boston for Memorial Day.

Perhaps I was doing something wrong, but the website would only allow me to look at Tuesday the 31st and beyond. The site is so frustrating, hard to find information, not arranged in a clear concise way....

thoughts??? anyone else having problems accessing information?

I hope Memorial Day was safe and wonderful for you and your friends and family.


Letter to Police Patrolmen's Association

May 31, 2005

Boston Police Patrolmen's Association, Inc.
9-11 Shetland Street
Boston, MA 02119

RE: Endorsement Questionnaire

Dear Sirs:

Please find enclosed my answers to your questionnaire. I look forward to hopefully working with the police to make this city safer, better, and more professionally run.

I have been trying to set up a meeting with Jim Barry for almost 3 months now, but he has been quite busy. If he, or someone else, would have the time to meet with me I would much appreciate it. I look forward to learning the needs, wants, and ideas that the police have to improve the city.

Finally, I'd like to thank the Patrolmen's Association for supporting my proposal for the renovation of the Area D Police station which would have included two median income units designated for police officers. Vice President MacGillivray came to that public forum on our behalf, and although the BRA decided it was a better use of the building to install more high end condominiums, I appreciate your support. I look forward to working on making future projects affordable for the police that I think are a big asset to any neighborhood in Boston.


Kevin McCreaCandidate for City Council at Large

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Letter to City Councilors about Open Meeting Law

Kevin McCrea
218 West Springfield Street
Boston, MA 02118
617-351-2453 (fax)
May 24, 2005

Dear City Councilor:

My name is Kevin McCrea and I am running for City Council at Large. As you may know I have filed suit in Suffolk Superior Court along with fellow residents Shirley Kressel and Kathleen Devine alleging that the City Council has violated the Open Meeting Law. You may find the complaint on my blog, located at In addition, I have filed a complaint with the District Attorney's office, following up on the complaint that Kathleen Devine filed in January of this year. That complaint resulted in a letter from the District Attorney to the City Council which reads ”This Office recommends that any meeting to which all City Councilors are invited should be posted pursuant to the Open Meeting Law.”

As you are aware, all members of the City Council are invited to a ”Monthly Council Conversations with BRA Director” located in room #924 at City Hall. The next meeting is May 26, 2005 at noon. The meeting has not been posted in accordance with the Open Meeting Law and is not open to the public. No councilor has explained why this meeting should be an exception to the Open Meeting Law. My understanding is that councilors Yancey, Turner, Arroyo and Hennigan boycott these meetings because they believe they violate the Open Meeting Law. I agree with them that such a meeting violates the letter and the spirit of the Open Meeting Law. As a leader in this city I urge you to not attend these meetings, and speak out for an open, honest, transparent government.

I will be at City Hall on Thursday at noon with my camera. I have invited members of the press to attend. I look forward to your explanation as to why it is good government policy for the City Council and the BRA to hold closed monthly meetings. If you do attend the meeting, perhaps you could ask Director Maloney why the citizens of Boston have not received one penny of the $23 million dollars that Heyward Place could have netted the City.

I am thanking you in advance for your commitment to good government.


Kevin McCreaCandidate for City Council at Large

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Explanation of BRA by Shirley Kressel in South End News

guest opinion
City council must stand up to Boston Redevelopment Authority
by Shirley Kressel
December 15, 2004 was a happy day for the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). Under intense pressure from the BRA and Mayor Thomas Menino, the Boston City Council voted away its power over the term limits of the BRA’s 40-year Urban Renewal Plans (URP), which are set to expire over the course of the next decade. Now, the BRA is trying to eliminate the last remaining oversight over URP terms: review by the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). After years of petitioning the DHCD for even short “minor modification” extensions, the BRA is now telling DHCD that it doesn’t have jurisdiction because long-term extensions aren’t “major modifications.” This, of course, contradicts the BRA determination — written right into the order originally submitted to council — that they are indeed major and do require DHCD approval. Boston’s urban renewal plans were originally authorized by the city council under the post-war Federal Housing Act of 1949 (also known as the Urban Renewal Act) that aimed to eliminate urban “blight” in cities around the country by funding the taking of land and property via eminent domain. The federal program ended in the 1970s but continues under state oversight. In Boston, we’re still living with the bad ideas (the construction of City Hall Plaza to name just one) that came from the dismantling of the West End and Scollay Square. But the true failures of urban renewal plans become obvious when the deals and developers are scrutinized. Much of the land taking occurred in lower-income neighborhoods populated by minorities. Buildings were demolished and the land sold to favored developers for luxury housing and office towers.To listen to the BRA and its defenders, one would believe that eminent domain takings are a thing of the past. But the BRA has completed more than 200 takings since 1990. In areas designated for urban renewal, the BRA can take land and funnel it to favored developers without public oversight (such as part of the site for the South End BioLab to the Boston University Medical Center, and Hayward Place to Millennium). It can take buildings and evict tenants for the owners (as it tried to do at the Ames Building, 1 Court Street). It can take city property without paying a dime and control all sale or lease arrangements (Hayward Place, and City Hall Plaza — yes, taken again in 1996, this time from the taxpayers). It can eliminate all zoning on a site by adding adjacent land it has taken for the developer and designating the site a “U-District" (Loews Hotel in Park Plaza Area). It can share the profits of development it regulates, becoming an “equity partner” (Rowes Wharf) or take an “anti-speculation fee” after assisting speculation (Back Bay’s Piano Row property assembled by Henry Kara, the market value of which went from $2.5 to $14 million with the addition of a White Fund parcel the BRA took from the city for Kara and a U-District, yielding a 20 percent cut to the BRA; it is now to be an Emerson dorm. The George White Fund is a public charitable trust bequeathed to the city in 1922; its land and buildings are supposed to be used for city agencies or non-profit organizations. When the parcel was originally taken, it was for a hotel development, not Emerson College.). It also regulates development on its own land (South Station air rights).Through eminent domain, the BRA has amassed a huge land empire of its own, over 400 parcels on 250 acres, exempt from property tax. When URPs expire, these properties, for which the BRA was meant to be the custodian until they were assigned for redevelopment, should be conveyed to the city, which authorized their taking under the URPs. The city should get the sale or lease proceeds, and get them back on the property tax rolls.But if the BRA gets its way, these plans will never expire. Last October, Mayor Thomas Menino asked the council to approve a proposal for a decade-long extension of all the URPs. It included language changing the council’s powers over URPs, most significantly replacing the council’s oversight of “major” modifications with a new power to approve URP changes allowing a density increase of more than 7.5 percent over the potential square footage of construction in the URP area. District Two City Councilor James Kelly and his Committee on Planning and Economic Development delivered an approving majority (At-Large Councilors Maura Henningan and Felix Arroyo, District Seven Councilor Chuck Turner and District Four Councilor Charles Yancey all opposed the measure), boasting that the council had won more oversight over the BRA. In fact, the council gained no power, and lost what little it had. It’s hard to believe that the councilors who voted for this change didn’t understand this at the time, but their new “power” is meaningless: URP “potential density” has never been calculated — in fact, it is impossible to calculate. As a result, the council now no longer has any authority over major modifications of URPs — including the extension of such plans, since the extension of a plan is, in and of itself, a major modification. Why is the continuation of these obsolete, decades old URPs so important to the BRA and the mayor? Well, Boston’s URPs cover about 15 percent of the city, including most of the city’s prime areas for development. Control over profits from development and land speculation in these areas brings huge financial benefits to the BRA and political power to the mayor, whom the BRA serves. The BRA (unlike any other renewal agency in the country) is also the city’s planning and zoning agency, and combines these powers for even greater control over development. Further, the existence of the URPs also legitimizes the BRA. Without the BRA’s original raison d’etre, people might start to question why we still have an urban renewal authority, and why it’s running the city’s planning and zoning.So far, the state doesn’t seem as willing our city councilors — who acted out of ignorance, complicity, or cowardice — to forego oversight over the URP extensions, rejecting the BRA’s self-contradictory argument. But DHCD is a champion of urban renewal, and simply demands individual requests for extending each URP as its term expires, rather than agreeing to an advance blanket extension. DHCD already granted a 60-day extension for five soon-to-expire URPs, to give the BRA time to submit individual requests. They will probably be approved, since local pre-approval is in place. So what does all of this mean for the South End? Well, the 625-acre South End URP was set to expire in December 2005. Thanks to the council’s vote, it may never expire. So the threat of eminent domain will continue to create uncertainty for property owners, tenants and potential investors. The only way we’ll be free of this is to elect city councilors who will find a way to re-enfranchise the council and protect us. Shirley Kressel, a landscape architect and urban designer, is one of the founders of the Alliance of Boston Neighborhoods. She can be reached at

Monday, May 23, 2005

May 23, 2005 Update---NO DOUGHNUT ZONE!

I was impressed with today's story in the Boston Globe about councilor Mike Ross's concern for the health of city employees. Although the "no doughnut zone" might be a bit sensationalist, living a healthier lifestyle is good for all of us. Will he be a leader in introducing legislation that city workers who need to do physical activities to perform their duties be required to pass a yearly physical?

I've been very busy the last couple weeks, and I am quite exhausted. We have accumulated over 1000 signatures for the ballot I believe, and I want to thank all the people who have helped out: Shirley, Chuck, Jeff, Angela, Elisa, Bill, Kathleen, Paul, and others and of course my wonderfully supportive fiance, Clara. I also wanted to thank the gentlemen and ladies at the election department, who are VERY helpful, supportive, objective and professional. If all city services worked like they do, we'd have fewer potholes, less trash, and I wouldn't have to sue to get open and honest government.

I have worked about 21 straight days at the job I am trying to complete on time. It will be a relief to get it done and start campaigning virtually full time. I am jealous of the other candidates who have been able to take leaves of absence from their jobs!!!

Some anecdotes: I was at the south end youth baseball opening day parade where I helped put together a team to serve about 2000 hotdogs in an hour. (thanks to the other volunteers!) I had one of the 9 year olds on my team on my shoulders while I was talking to Red Sox owner Larry Lucchino. Next to him was Michael Flaherty, city council president. I said "hi mike", and put out my hand to shake his. He refused to shake my hand! In front of the kids who we teach to shake hands after each game and to be good sports. Then during the speech portion of the ceremony he spoke about sportmanship! Very hypocritical I think! Hey, Mike it is only democracy, I'm only running for office. Even though the city council voted to shorten the period of time to collect signatures (I thought democrats were in favor of democracy?), people still do have the right to run, don't they?

Another incumbent advantage is that the only things that people are allowed to put next to their names is whether they are a current or former office holder, or if they are a veteran. I believe that either nothing should be put next to people's names, or else you may put any 8 words you want as long as they aren't vulgar.

Boston should be an example to the rest of the world for open transparent government, we are the cradle of democracy after all.

Had a great brunch at Mel King's on Sunday, where I learned many things, including (again) the value of listening to people.

Well, more soon I hope, please come to my Texas Hold'em fundraiser this friday at my place at 218 west springfield street. Say hi to my future inlaws who are staying for a week, or my summer intern, jeff sostak who has been great fun and help so far!

peace, love and understanding,

Compliance Officer hiding from view???

Here is a letter Shirley Kressel recently sent to BRA director Maloney. My experience is similar. I recently tried to get some compliance information on a project in the south end. I was passed around to 4 different people who told me that the project wasn't a BRA project. I called the environment department who informed me that yes it was a BRA project. When they realized I was running for city council, they admitted that yes it was a BRA project but that I would have to file a freedom of information act to get any information. How about some open, honest government??? What are they hiding up there????

As we passed in the halls at City Hall last week, I asked you about yourprogress in scheduling a public presentation by Christine Colley, ComplianceOfficer. You told me that there would be no such meeting. Since you didnot respond to my past e-mail messages, I was not aware that you hadintended to ignore our request for such a presentation.As I mentioned, Christine agreed that this was a good resolution when shecancelled our meeting due to the arrival of another ABN member, NedFlaherty, on May 3. You said you don't think she did agree on that; pleasecheck with Christine. My understanding was that she did, and she suggestedI speak to you about arranging it.In any case, it would be a major breach of obligation and trust for the BRAto hire a Compliance Officer because "an unkept promise is a lie," and thento refuse to tell the citizens to whom those promises were made what she isdoing. If the creation of Christine's position was meant to improve theBRA's standing in the eyes of the community, this is not a good way toaccomplish that goal -- particularly after the unauspicious start to her jobin October, when a large group of Chinatown and other residents had to stagea sit-in at the BRA office because she would not come out of her office andmeet her constituents on her first day at work, to receive the list ofcommitments they brought to help her get started.If you are refusing to host a public progress report on the work of the BRACompliance Officer, I think many people in the neighborhoods will be veryunhappy; I've gotten many questions about it. People cannot understand whythe BRA won't even discuss the progress of the work, since the whole purposewas to bring information to the community about commitments made to thecommunity. Who was to be the recipient of Christine's work, if not thepeople whose promises were unkept?If you need to receive more letters to demonstrate interest, we can arrangethat.I hope you will reconsider and demonstrate the responsiveness, transparencyand accountability you promised when you announced the appointment of aCompliance Officer.ShirleyShirley Kressel27 Hereford StreetBoston, MA 02115617-421-0835 home/work617-515-3403 cell

Mayor wasting more taxpayer money???

I heard an "unsubstantiated" report today that I thought the citizens might be interested in. I have not had the chance to check the veracity of it, perhaps some people could look into it.

Apparently in an attempt to put his name out there in public in even brighter letters the Mayor has required the DPW to require its contractors to put up new, flashier, neon-esque signs with the mayor's name on them. The interesting twist however, is that there is no money in the contracts to pay for these signs. So, the scuttlebutt is that the DPW is telling its contractors to charge extra for materials to cover the costs of these signs. For example, if a job requires 10 tons of asphalt the DPW is telling the contractors to charge for 11 tons or 12 tons, whatever the amount to cover the cost of the signs.

I wonder why when we need more money for schools, we need new "men working" type signs with the mayor's name on it?

As I stated on my website, I believe it is an incredible waste of money to put people's names on signs that will have to be changed at some point. This is money that will have to be spent at some point that can go for something much more important like books or teachers. Or maybe good street signage!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

On the BRA trail in Roxbury

My fiancee and I attended a BRA forum on zoning changes (sound familiar?) Gareth Saunders, Chuck Turner and Charles Yancey were there along with concerned Roxbury residents listening to the re-processed BRA speech about why allowing buildings in smaller lots is a "good thing." Yeah, right! Nobody was buying what the BRA was selling at this meeting! One Roxbury resident in fact was so offended by the BRA's proposal that she asked the speaker: "Sir, are you a moral man?" At the Q&A session, Kevin decided to take a poll and asked all those in attendance to raise their hands if they agreed with what the BRA was proposing, no hands. Then he asked for people to raise their hands if they disagreed with the proposed "clarification of the code", all hands shot up! We've decided to help out the BRA and conduct this kind of poll at every one of their meetings that we are able to attend. You know, help them keep tabs on how their idea is playing out across the city! The BRA might not believe in democracy, but Kevin and I do and he's going to help them see how the process works. Then it was off to the Fenway High School to a Project Hip Hop fundraiser that Kevin was graciously invited to speak at by Shawnte Smith, for beloved teacher Obain Attouoman who has been on the brink of being deported. Unfortunately, we arrived too late to speak, but I did get a chance to meet some great kids and gather some more signatures for my plight to get Kevin on the ballot. NOTE: This blog was submitted by Dr. Clara Lora, betrothed to Kevin McCrea.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Kressel, Devine and McCrea file suit against City Council

On Friday, May 6, 2005 Plaintiffs Shirley Kressel, Kathleen Devine and I filed suit against the Boston City Council to enforce the Open Meeting Law. The complaint is as follows:

)Kevin McCrea, Shirley Kressel, )Kathleen Devine ) Plaintiffs ) )v. ) )Michael F. Flaherty and the )Boston City Council ) ) Defendants ) )
1. This is an action for an order requiring the Boston City Council to carry out the provisions of the Open Meeting Law, M.G.L. c.39 sec. 23B. Despite the clear language of c.39 sec. 23B and a determination by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, the defendants, Boston City Council and Council President Flaherty continue to conduct meetings in violation of the Open Meeting Law. Based on these actions, Plaintiff’s McCrea, Devine, and Kressel ask the Court to issue an appropriate order requiring the Boston City Council to carry out all provisions of the Open Meeting Law for all future meetings. In addition it is requested the Court take remedial actions for past meetings.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE2. This action is brought under G.L. c. 39 sec. 23B §1.3. Venue is appropriate pursuant to G.L. c. 223, §1and 9.PARTIES4. Plaintiff Kevin McCrea is a registered voter residing in the City of Boston in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.5. Plaintiff Shirley Kressel is a registered voter residing in the City of Boston in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 6. Plaintiff Kathleen Devine is registered voter residing in the City of Boston in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 7. Defendant Boston City Council is a governmental body within the City of Boston governed by M.G.L. c. 39 Section 23B.8. Defendant Michael F. Flaherty is a City Councilor and is the President of the Boston City Council. The President is responsible for convening and overseeing meetings of the Boston City Council. FACTS9. The Boston City Council (hereinafter referred to as “City Council”) regularly holds meetings for the purpose of deciding on or deliberating towards decisions.10. There are 13 members of the Boston City Council. A quorum of the City Council is 7 members. 11. On February 5, 2003 Councilor Felix Arroyo, in response to a BRA effort to extend Boston's Urban Renewal Plans without the required City Council review, filed for a public hearing on the issue. No hearing was scheduled by the City Council President. (see attachment 1)12. On June 3, 2003, an unnoticed meeting of City Council was held in Council President Michael Flaherty’s office to discuss a BRA request for Council approval of Urban Renewal Plan extensions. After this meeting, another meeting, to be followed by a series of meetings, on this topic, were planned. (see attachment 2)13. On June 19, 2003, the first of these unnoticed meetings was held in the City Council Curley Room. Plaintiff Kressel learned of the meeting, requested permission to attend and did attend. She observed that the purpose of the meeting was for the BRA to provide information to the Council that would allay Council objections and encourage Council acceptance of the Urban Renewal Plan extensions.14. On August 14, 2003, the BRA Director, Mark Maloney, hosted a meeting with the City Council to discuss “the future of Boston’s Urban Renewal Program.” (see attachment 3)15. On September 17, 2003, Councilor Flaherty sent an invitation to all Councilors for regular monthly meetings “relative to urban renewal” with the BRA in the BRA Director's conference room. (see attachment 4)16. Councilor Felix Arroyo wrote several letters to the City Council and the BRA expressing concern that these meetings violated the Open Meeting Law. (see attachments 5,6,7)
17. On August 31, 2004 the BRA notified all members of the City Council of the schedule of monthly meetings of city councilors and the BRA. All councilors were invited to attend each meeting. The first meeting was scheduled for September 23, 2004. (see attachment 8)18. On December 15, 2004 the City Council approved with 8 votes a BRA proposal for Urban Renewal Plan Extensions. 19. On January 20, 2005 the City Council held a “councilor’s only meeting” to discuss Boston University exposing three of its researchers to Tularemia. (see attachment 9) .20. As a result of this meeting referred to in paragraph 11, Plaintiff Devine complained to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. ( See attachment 10)21. After investigation and pursuant to M.G.L. c 39 Section 23A – 24, on or about March 21, 2005, The District Attorney’s office issued a notice to Michael F. Flaherty as President of the City Council explaining that the January 20, 2005 meeting was in violation of the Open Meeting Law. (see attachment 11). 22. The notice to President Flaherty made clear that “any meeting to which all City Councilors are invited should be posted pursuant to the Open Meeting Law.”23. On March 24, 2005 all City councilors were invited to attend a ”Monthly Council Conversations with BRA Director” meeting with the Boston Redevelopment Agency (BRA). (see attachment 8)24. This City Council meeting with the BRA was for the purpose of addressing BRA projects and zoning issues. .25. At least seven City Councilors attended this March 24, 2005 meeting with the BRA referenced in paragraphs 23 and 24. 26. The meeting and the public being barred was reported in the press. (see attachments 12 and 13)27. The topics discussed at the March 24, 2005 meeting referenced above do not meet any of the exceptions listed in c.39 Sec. 23B. 28. There was no notice of the meeting of March 24,2005 filed with the clerk of the City of Boston. 29. There was no public posting of a notice of the meeting of March 24, 2005. . 30. There were no records of the meeting of March 24, 2005 made available to the public. 31. As a result of this meeting, Plaintiff McCrea complained to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office by letter and fax. Two subsequent letters were sent to the District Attorney's office with no reply as of this date. (see attachment 14)32. On Wednesday, March 27, 2005 the scheduled “Monthly Council Conversations with BRA Director” for Thursday March 28, 2005 was cancelled.33. On March 27, 2005 Plaintiff McCrea contacted Ellen Harrower of the BRA, who sent the invitation of the meeting to all the Boston City Councilors, and asked whether the Thursday March 28, 2005 meeting was cancelled and why. She replied “Let me be perfectly clear. I am not answering your questions. My name is Ellen Harrower.” She then referred Plaintiff McCrea to Susan Ellesbury of the BRA, who did not return a phone call.34. On Friday April 29, 2005 Plaintiff McCrea talked on the phone with Ellen Harrower of the BRA who informed him that the meeting was cancelled because the BRA needed to prepare for a 2 p.m. board meeting, but that the May 26, 2005 “Monthly Council Conversations with BRA Director” was still scheduled. (see attachment 8)35. The BRA, the Mayor's office and the City Council have been in the process of rewriting the zoning code. This has been done without a proper public vetting process. (see attachment 15)36. As of this date, no action has been taken by the District Attorney's office to enforce the Open Meeting Law, in relationship to these meetings between the City Council and the BRA. COUNT I37. The plaintiffs incorporate by reference paragraphs 1 through 36of this Complaint.38. Despite being warned, the Boston City Council continues to flagrantly ignore the requirements of the Open Meeting Law. 39. Since all meetings of a governmental body shall be open to the public, the actions of the Boston City Council are in violation of M.G. L. c. 39 sec. 23B.40. Boston City Government is in the process of amending the zoning code. From a public policy viewpoint, not doing this in an open transparent way is inconsistent with the wording and intent of the Open Meeting Law.41. The Boston City Council voted to extend the Urban Renewal Plans after a series of meetings on that subject that violated the Open Meeting Law. From a public policy viewpoint, not conducting these meetings in an open transparent way is inconsistent with the wording and intent of the Open Meeting Law.
WHEREFORE, the plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court:
a. Adjudge and declare that the Boston City Council is in violation of the Open Meeting Law.
b. Issue an appropriate order requiring the Boston City Council to carry out the provisions of the Open Meeting Law at all future meetings.
c. Order that all records of any meetings held in violation of the Open Meeting Law be made public.
d. Order that the Boston City Council not be allowed to go into Executive Session without proper advance notice to the public.
e. Order the Boston City Council to cease and desist violating the Open Meeting Law.
f. Order civil damages against the Boston City Council for the costs incurred in bringing this action.
g. Invalidate any action taken at any meetings at which any provision of the open meeting law has been violated.

h. Invalidate the December 15, 2004 vote by the City Council approvoving the BRA proposal for Urban Renewal Plan extensions.
i. Award such other relief as the Court finds just and proper.

Respectfully SubmittedKevin McCrea218 West Springfield StreetBoston, MA 02118617-267-2453

Dated: May , 2005

May 7, 2005 Update

It has been another exhausting week. I've been working 8 to 12 hours a day on my construction projects, then going out each night campaigning. In addition Shirley Kressel, Kathleen Devine and I filed suit against the Boston City Council to enforce the Open Meeting Law.

On Monday I went to a meeting in Roxbury about bridging the achievement gap between the black and hispanic students in the BPS with the asian and white students. Felix Arroyo, Chuck Turner, and Thomas Payzant were there. I asked Mr. Payzant how much we spend on busing, and he indicated about 50 million dollars. More about that later on the campaign trail.

Tuesday was Jamaica Plain where Councilor Tobin had to cancel his meeting with me to attend a funeral. At the milky way, with lots of concerned neighbors and a woman from the BRA collecting signatures for the Mayor. She made sure that I knew that she was taking a day off from work to campaign for the Mayor, and that he is very strict about not allowing anybody to campaign from city hall or to misuse their position to advocate for him. She said he will fire them immediately. She didn't say why city hall was a ghost town on Tuesday.

Wednesday gave a speech at the Democracy for America group. I met Sam Yoon and Gibran Rivera for the first time. Gibran and Matt O'Malley were very complementary about my web site ---Thanks! In Mr. Yoon's speech he admitted that sometimes there is "a bit of politics involved" with the BRA but that we "shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater"
I'm not sure how the city council thinks they are going to clean up the BRA when they have given them virtually untouchable power without oversight. To address the problems of housing in this city we need to get a city planning agency that is responsible to the voters.

Thursday was Brighton for the local neighborhood meeting and Jerry McDermott's kickoff party. The two times I've met Jerry he has been incredibly friendly and nice. I appreciate his hospitality. Patricia White came up to me and graciously introduced herself. She is quite pregnant and says she is expecting in July. Best of luck!! I also met Steve Murphy and Michael Flaherty for the first time. Again, very kind. There does seem to be a genuine comraderie amongst the candidates which is encouraging to see. We all care about the city or we wouldn't be running. I look forward to an open honest discussion of the issues and what each candidate PROMISES to do if elected.


Conversation with BRA's Richard Shaklik

On Thursday May 5, the BRA's Richard Shaklik who is the BRA deputy director for zoning and who has been hosting the BRA meetings in the neighborhoods about the rewriting of the zoning codes, returned my previous days phone call.

I asked him about my idea to change the zoning code to what the courts ruled was the zoning code, i.e. that there must be a minimum frontage for a property. He stuck to the BRA's position that the way the BRA interprets the zoning code is the correct way, not the way the courts ruled and that they are just putting in specific language to spell that out.

I asked if the BRA could change their stance to be what the public wanted. He replied that they are taking down all comments from the public meetings and input to the BRA from the community. I asked if he would mind taking a vote of the people who come to the public meetings. He indicated that that information would not be pertinent to the BRA. I made sure I understood correctly that the BRA did not care what the majority of people want, and he indicated that that was correct and that he had no intention of taking a poll of the people who show up at the meetings.

Finally, I asked him if the proposal would mean more density in the neighborhoods affected. After some obfuscation he agreed with me that if more lots could be built on with this amendment, that by definition that would mean there could be more density.

Next public meeting is in Roxbury, 6 pm may 12th at 160 warren avenue