Thursday, July 28, 2005

Democratic Wards hard to access- I thought democrats were open and honest?

We have been trying for three months to contact all of the democratic wards and speak with these people who are the backbone of the Democratic Party. Only about half of the Wards have responded to us. We sent the following letter to state democratic party. Before we did so, we called them up and they also told us they were having great trouble getting in touch with some of them or even identifying them. It has been a big surprise how unorganized, and in some cases, undemocratic the democratic party has been.

Jeff Sostak218 W Springifeld StBoston, MA 02118(617)-267-2453

Massachusetts Democratic Party56 Roland StreetNorth Lobby Suite 203Boston , MA 02129

July 20, 2005

Dear Sirs

Lifelong Democrat Kevin McCrea is running for a Boston City Council At Large seat this upcoming fall and as a registered Democrat he would like to talk to all of the Democratic Ward committees in the City of Boston. Therefore, we have been attempting to contact all the Wards in an effort to meet and talk to the members about his vision for Boston. Part of Kevin's goals are to get out to all parts of the city and actually listen and represent the people. Therefore, we have made it a priority to meet with all Ward Committees.

The following Wards we have been able to contact and meet with their members or set up meetings:
Ward 4 We called Kimberly Vermeer at 617-267-2522 and met with the committee at the June 23rd Candidates Forum.
Ward 5 We called Michael George at 617-267-1694 and met with the committee at the June 23rd Candidate Forum.
Ward 9 We called Jeanette Boone at 617-437-0789 and met with the committee at a June 4th meeting and the June 23rd Candidate Forum.
Ward 11 We called Marie Turley at 617-522-1643 and met with the committee at the June 27th meeting.
Ward 12 We called Victoria Williams at 617-445-6280 and set up a meeting for September 15. Ward 13 We called Martin Walsh at 617-825-4916 and exchanged email addresses to be informed of the next meeting.
Ward 15 We called Sandi Bagley at 617-436-8256 and exchanged contact information to be informed of the next Ward 15 meeting.
Ward 17 We called Margaret Weeks at 617-296-7696 and told to contact her after Labor Day when the Ward meetings will continue.
Ward 19 We contacted Robert Pulster at 617-899-7385 and met with the committee at the July 11 meeting.
Ward 20 We called Daniel Settana at 617-327-4422 and met with the committee at the June 23rd meeting.
Ward 21 We contacted Nan Evans at 617-***-**** and met with the committee at the June 22nd meeting.
These Wards we have no contact information for the committee chairs:
Ward 1 We have no committee chair name or phone number to contact.
Ward 2 We have no committee chair name or phone number to contact.
Ward 8 We have no committee chair name or phone number to contact.

The following Wards we have repeatedly called and left numerous voice mails and no calls have been returned:
Ward 3 We called William Ferullo at 617-523-2805 and left unreturned messages more than 4 times.
Ward 7 We called James Kelly at 617-268-5319 and left unreturned messages more than 4 times.
Ward 10 We called Craig Lankhorst at 617-734-3226 and left unreturned messages more than 2 times.
Ward 16 We called James Hunt at 617-265-1622 and left unreturned messages more than 4 times.
Ward 18 We called James Gillooly at 617-361-2594 and left unreturned messages more than 4 times.
Ward 22 We called Mary McCusker at 617-782-9332 and left unreturned messages more than 4 times.
These Wards we have contacted but will not tell us meeting times and locations for the Democratic Ward Meetings:
Ward 6 We called Andrew Donovan at 617-268-4277 and left a message with a person who told me to call back after 7pm. We called back after 7 and another gentleman told me to call back later. We called later in the week and were told to contact Senator Jack Hart and he will have the information we are seeking. We called the Senator's office and one of the office aids took my name, phone number, and information. We received a call back where we were told, “The senator is not in right now and there's nothing on the schedule but if the chief of staff feels like contacting you she will.”
Ward14 We called Darryl Smith at 617-282-7086 and reached a person at the number, when asked to speak with Mr. Smith he told me, “He's not in right now.” When we asked him if we could leave a message, he said, “He's not in right now.” we also asked him if he knew when the next Ward 14 meeting is, he once again said “He's not in right now.”

The lack of openness and the lack of replies is most disheartening because of what Kevin believes the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for, “a strong, cohesive party- honest, open, and accessible to all,” which is taken from the preamble of the charter on the website,
We have included the names and phone numbers of who we called in case there is a mistake on who to contact. Please let us know of anything else we might be able to do to contact the Wards we have not been able to contact and set up times to meet with the Ward Members.

Jeff Sostak

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

APAAC Questionairre

Asian Pacific American Agenda Coalition
2005 Boston Mayoral and City Council Election Questionnaire

NAME OF CANDIDATE ____________Kevin McCrea______________________________________

1. Which one of the following best expresses your opinion regarding the Combat Zone? (CHECK ONE):
I support strong enforcement of the building and zoning code. I also have called for the elimination of the BRA and the institution of a
city planning agency so that citizens can be involved in the development of their community.
3. Which of the following measures you will SUPPORT?
__x__ a. Multilingual dispatchers on the 911 service so that limited English speakers can communicate in emergencies.
___x_ b. More bilingual beat police, including officers fluent in Asian languages.
__x__ c. Emergency medical technicians who are bilingual, including EMTs fluent in Asian languages.
____ d. None of the above due to budgetary restrictions.

4. What do you think are the public safety issues that especially affect Asian communities in Boston and how would you address them? (100 WORDS OR LESS)
The way to increase public safety is to have more resources available. This will be done by not wasting the taxpayers money and by
not giving away the citizens property, for example with Heyward Place. If we had the $23 million the city gave away we would have more money to hire bilingual police and community people to help ensure public safety.

1. How would you increase access to job training for limited English speakers? (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY):
__x__a. I would support city funding for adult English as a Second Language programs.
__x__b. I would encourage public/private partnerships to train immigrant workers.
____c. There should be no special government supported job training programs for limited English speakers - they should learn English first.
x d. I would support an increased priority on integrated ESL and skills training programs to move limited English speakers into jobs more efficiently.
2. Which of the following will you support?
____a. Maintaining the current level of social services support for all City residents.
___x_b. Increased services to Chinatown and Fields Corner (Dorchester), such as additional street cleaning and sidewalk repair.
___x_c. Multilingual health care workers at city hospitals, particularly those frequented by the Asian community.
I support increased services for all the city residents by professional management of the city resources, not a city run by cronyism and nepotism. Also, I believe in multilingual people whenever possible, which is why I have tried to learn spanish, french, japanese, chinese, and words from other countries that I visit.
3. What efforts do you support to improve educational opportunities for Asian Pacific American students?
__x__a. Creation of a Chinatown branch library.
__x__b. Supplemental educational services for limited English speaking and new immigrant Asian students.
__x__c. Teaching curriculum on Asian Pacific American history and culture in the Boston Public Schools.
4. Please describe how you would increase services and job opportunities for Asian Pacific American youth. (100 WORDS OR LESS)
I aim to create job opportunities for the youth of the entire city. This is done by not wasting money at the City level and giving it away to connected developers. We then would have more money to build recreational centers for the youth to have a place to go, and to provide jobs with room for growth and responsibility to teach the citizens of tomorrow.

1. For current elected officials ONLY:
a. What percentage of your direct staff is APA? ______
b. What is the overall racial/ethnic breakdown of your staff?
2. If (re)elected, would you support expanding the APA and other minority composition in your staff and within City government?
Yes ____ No ____
3. What measures will you support to protect the voting rights of minorities and limited English speakers? (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
__x__ a. Requiring multilingual ballots and translations of instructions & signage for any local precinct with a significant population of limited English speakers.
__x__ b. Increasing the number of bilingual poll workers.
__x__ c. Providing additional training for all poll workers so they are familiar with the rights and needs of voters, including limited English speakers.
__x___d. Instituting Election Day voter registration to ensure that no voter is disenfranchised due to a voter registration problem like a name or address change.
4. Would you support permitting legal permanent residents to vote in City of Boston elections?
I'm not familiar enough with this issue to comment.
5. Explain your response to question no. 4 above. (100 WORDS OR LESS)
1. Will you support re-defining the income standards in the City of Boston affordable housing guidelines, so that they are based on City of Boston residents' median household income rather than the current standard of the area median family income (AMI) for 127 cities and towns in the Greater Boston area?
Yes _x___ No ____
2. Which of the following will you support?
__x__ a. Using City authority and resources to protect existing subsidized housing for permanent affordability.
__x__ b. The rights and ability of tenants to organize and engage in collective bargaining with large landlords.
___x_ c. Disclosing tax breaks for businesses and institutions, and reforming property tax policies to lower the burden on homeowners.
x d. Whenever feasible, making it a priority to dispose of City-owned land for development of affordable housing.

3. What proposals would you support to address the land use conflicts that have occurred in Boston’s Asian Pacific American communities?
__x__ a. Removing city planning functions from the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and creating a separate independent planning department.
__x__ b. Enforcing the Chinatown Master Plan.
__x__ c. Requiring the BRA to conduct culturally and linguistically appropriate community engagement in the Dorchester Avenue Project in Fields Corner, and to minimize the potential adverse impact of the project on the Vietnamese residents and merchants in the area.
____ d. I am not aware of any land use conflicts affecting the Boston Asian community.

4. Please describe your specific proposals for increasing affordable housing in the City of Boston. (100 WORDS OR LESS)
Please look at my website which has a complete program for dealing with the housing issues of Boston. In short however, the City needs to get rid of its excess land. This land should be sold to owner occupants first, developers of affordable housing second, and third sold to the highest bidder with zoning being enforced for each of the properties. The BRA needs to be eliminated so that citizen control of housing is established through the city council, and we need to establish a planning agency so that we can proactively address the needs of the community.

New Majority Questionnaire

Affordable housing programs follow income guidelines which are skewed upward because they follow Area Median Income figures that include 127 surrounding cities and towns and exclude single-person households. Area Median Income for last year was $82,600 for a family of four, while Boston median household income was $42,600 for a family of four. This means that much of our new "affordable housing" is actually unaffordable to most Boston residents.
Will you support a redefinition of affordable housing income guidelines to be calculated based on the city's median household income, in order to better target housing resources toward keeping Boston residents in their homes?
YES !!!
What are your strategies for affordable housing to stabilize working class neighborhoods?
I have a complete housing stragegy outlined on my website, I advocate for a city planning agency answerable to the people through the city council so that the citizens will have a say in how their neighborhoods develop. I have called for the elimination of the BRA which is non democratic institution that does not answer to the people. I have outlined a plan to get the city to sell or use its approximately 400 acres of excess property which is not being used or taxed so that we can create more housing for the working class and lower the tax burden on everyone.

A series of neighborhood-based "street talks" organized by the New Majority last year revealed that public safety is a top priority for Boston residents of color. Furthermore, it is expected that in 2005 three thousand ex-offenders will be released from institutions and returning to Boston, without services, supervision or other support.
How would you address these issues and help to make these re-entering citizens' impact on the city positive rather than negative?
One of the most important issues for these ex-offenders is jobs. If people have jobs they are less likely to end up back in prison. That is why I advocate for the enforcement of the current Boston Jobs Policy. We can't be giving City of Boston jobs to contractors who come from the suburbs when we have workers who need jobs who live in this city. If the City makes an effort to get these people on a positive track it will benefit the whole community.
What are your strategies for improving public safety?
The answer in short is money. We need more money for more police officers, more programs for youths so they are not prone to violence, beds to help people get off drugs. What I will do as a city councilor is use my 17 years experience as a business owner to find the waste in the city budget, to stop the giveaways to connected developers, and to make sure we collect proper revenue. When we give away 23 million dollars at Heyward Place to a big developer, that is a lot of police officers who aren't on the streets because the politicians weren't watching the citizens' assets.

Educators believe that engaging parents and families is a crucial ingredient to improving the education of our children.
Will you support a plan to hire a Family/Community Coordinator in every Boston public school within the next three years?
How will you work with the School Committee and the Superintendent to facilitate parent and family involvement?
I have promised on my website,, to spend one day a week on nothing but education. I will visit all 139 schools in my two years as a councilor, meeting with the parents, students, and administration of each school to identify how those schools can improve. I will work to increase PILOT payments from local colleges and universities, increase their involvement in the Boston Public schools, provide more scholarships for our graduates, etc. In addition I have outlined a plan to provide housing loans for teachers, and to get BPS graduates to come back to teach in our schools after receiving their degrees. It is by spending time in the schools, just as it is important to spend time with your children, that we can make families more involved in the schools.

Available educational resources vary greatly from school to school.
How would you as a city councillor work for equity in the distribution of resources as one strategy to close the educational achievement gap?
As outlined above, I would visit each and every school and identify the inequities and then work to alleviate them. No other candidate has promised (to my knowledge) to visit the schools and report on them during their tenure.

What other strategies would you support to close the educational achievement gap?
First of all by listening to what parents, teachers and students say they need to excel, and then to try and provide it. I have called for the building of another exam school in an economically disadvantaged area of the city, perhaps in Mattapan as councilor Yancey has suggested. I believe that if we show the students of our school system that we believe in them, and we put our money where our mouths are, that the students will respond. If we provide the opportunity to excel, let them know that we believe in them, I believe that they will excel.

Youth represent our future, yet our commitment to youth programs varies from year to year.
Would you support a permanent line item in the City budget to fund youth employment and leadership development programs?

How do you define "youth leadership" and how would you work as a city councillor to develop and support programs that foster youth leadership?
I believe that leadership comes from being given responsibility. If we establish programs where older or excelling students are given responsibility for a project, that we can build leadership. Not just give a job to some kids to clean a park with an adult overseeing it, but give a teen the opportunity to oversee some of their peers.
I have hired some BPS students this summer to work on my campaign. For example Amanda Barros of Roxbury and Kate Dormeus of Dorchester. They are being given the responsibility of setting up talks and meetings for me, and for doing investigative reporting of their own. They are doing GREAT!!! Here are two accomplised young women who couldn't get a job anywhere who are showing leadership because someone gave them a chance. The city needs to give its youth a chance as well, and not just the youth who are connected to an insider in city government.

U.S. Permanent Residents live permanently in our communities, work, pay taxes, and raise their children here, yet have no voting rights to give them a political voice.
Would you support a city law to provide U.S. Permanent Residents the right to vote in municipal elections? I am not familiar enough with this issue to comment at this time.
How would you as a city councillor work to develop the civic participation and voice of immigrant residents?
My three issues are education, housing and EQUAL ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT. I believe the government should be there to serve all the people not just the elite. All city residents will have access to my office at least once a week where I will have open office hours.


More than one in four Bostonians is foreign-born, and one-third of Boston households speaks a language other than English. The Secretary of State's office already provides voter registration forms in six major languages.
Would you support a city policy to increase multilingual access to the polls through increased hiring of bilingual election workers, multilingual signage and information, and publication of bilingual municipal ballots in the six languages for which we already have voter registration forms?
Yes. My fiance is hispanic and we try to work on speaking spanish in the house once a week to try and improve my language skills. By being open to other cultures and languages we attract the best the world has to offer and show respect for those who choose to move here.

What other strategies do you have for improving voter access?
I am for same day registration and I have called for making voting day a city holiday. I believe that our right to vote should be celebrated and we should take a day to vote, reflect and enjoy the fact that we have this sacred freedom.

Thank you for the opportunity to answer, and for taking the time to be involved in the community.
Kevin McCrea

Please return by email to, by fax to (617) 357-9611, or by mail to:
New Majority, c/o Commonwealth Coalition, 37 Temple Place 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02111

Sam Yoon "Trash Talking" to Arroyo and Turner!!!

I was at the Ward 4 committee meeting last night when they were considering whom to endorse. When the names came around to Mr. Yoon there was some interesting commentary by Kyle of Felix Arroyo's office, who is a Ward 4 committee member.

Kyle informed the members of the committee that Sam Yoon had recently been "trash talking" in the Boston Banner about Councilor's Turner and Arroyo. Yoon apparently said that although the two councilors were decent people they didn't get anything done and so they were relatively worthless on the council. Yoon indicated that people should vote for him, because he knows how to get things done.

Kyle also cautioned members that Sam really hasn't taken many positions or stands on anything and so people don't really know what his position is on topics so people won't know what he will do if elected to the council.

Sam did not get the endorsement of the Ward 4 committee, only Felix Arroyo received their vote.

In praise of Boston Water & Sewer

It may seem as if I don't often have good things to say about city services, so I will change that today.

I received a phone call a short while ago from Boston Water and Sewer. They now have installed their SmartRead systems which electronically can tell if water usage spikes. They had found an increased usage in one of my buildings that happened to be vacant.

I went over to the building and sure enough there was a running toilet, which I tended to immediately. End of problem.

So, BW&S is using technology to save the consumer and the City at large money. I save money from not wasting water, the city saves money by not having to pay for and process more money, and it is good for the environment by not wasting water.

Thank you very much, and excellent job!!!!


Answers to Sierra Club Questionnaire

Here are my answers to the Sierra Club Questionnaire

1) Air quality: I have proposed on my website purchasing future City of Boston vehicles as much as viable to be hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles. The City of Las Vegas has instituted such a program and 90 percent of their vehicles fall into these categories now.
2) I have called for a City Planning Agency which does not currently exist in Boston. This agency would address isssues such as these. Currently city government is very reactive and not proactive to try and foresee and plan for these problems. In addition, I have proposed using police recruits at intersections such as these as initial training and to alleviate traffic problems. 3) As a builder and a property owner I can appreciate the short term cost savings and the long term environmental savings of programs like this. I have installed high efficiency hot water heaters in properties and I often advocate them to clients. The city should require or at least give heavy weighting to proposals for city projects that incorporate these items in their proposals.
4) I am unfamiliar with this issue. However, please refer to my answer to question 1. I believe that we should institute high efficiency vehicles whereever possible.
5) We should absolutely purchase vehicles that at least meet the CAFE standards. Again, I would like us to use alternative vehicles whenever posssible.
6) The city of Boston owns almost 400 acres of excess property currently. I have called for a City Planning Agency to map out the future of the city. This includes parks and open space, dog parks, housing, future transportation hubs, etc. Before we need to go looking to buy additional space we need to categorize what we have, and identify where we would like to go. Funds can come from the general budget, by selling excess other excess property and by making the tax code more equitable by not having corporate city tax giveaways, for example the 121A's.
7) One of the minor ways that we can do this is by enforcing the current laws and the building code. For example, I know as builder that often downspouts and other groundwater are put into sewer lines which is illegal. This causes many more gallons of water to be processed at Deer Island and in heavy periods this water is overflowed into the harbor. If we enforced the building code, the storm drains would be used properly and we could reduce contamination in the harbor.
8) I like the idea of requiring LEED compliance with exemptions to the Zoning Board. There should probably be exemptions for example if an elderly handicapped person needed to build a ramp for access to their home, they whole home should not need to be brought up to LEED standards. But, if a developer needs exemptions for height, or Floor Area Ratio, then requiring them to build a higher quality building is not unreasonable. As I stated earlier, I believe projects that propose environmentally superior buildings should be given heavier weight by the City of Boston.
9) We should take the pilot program of Jamaica Plain and see how we can apply it to the rest of the city. Boston should be a leader in this, as many residents live very close to the parks and areas where these chemicals are used.
10) I have proposed to the Boston Redevelopment Authority a couple of "green" projects, most recently the Area D-4 police station in Boston. My recent developments have all used energystar rated appliances and have been environmentally friendly in returning groundwater into the surrounding areas, and proper plumbing installations. I helped work on Ralph Nader's Green Party campaign in year 2000, and have advocated in my south end neighborhood for keeping areas as open as possible, in particular in not paving over alleyways but leaving them open so that water can return to the ground and replenish our groundwater supplies.
11) I am a first time politician. One of the main reasons I'm running is that I am concerned about where we are going as a species and a society. As the saying goes, Think Globally, Act Locally. When I read authors such as Jared Diamond, I am concerned about the future of the human race and I am not impressed that our political leaders are addressing the big issues that face us on this planet. I have proposed having a visiting scholar chair in Boston, with Mr. Diamond being an example of the type of person who would be an excellent beacon in our community to speak in public and at our schools about the problems facing America and the world today.
I ask for your support because I will not forget the causal nature of human on this planet, and I understand the decisions we make and the examples we set for our children have a huge impact on all of our futures. Thank you very much, and if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 617-504-0339. In addition, please check out my website where I go into more detail about the issues.

Kevin McCrea

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Conversations with Sam Yoon

A couple of Saturday's ago I was at a Ward Meeting where Sam indicated that we need to make the process easier for developers (such as me) to build housing. I asked him how he would SPECIFICALLY make the process easier. He indicated the process: financing, ISD, BRA, but had no specific plans or ideas as to how it could be improved. So as not to beleaguer the point Sam and I agreed to speak later about any questions I had for his campaign. He indicated at this meeting on saturday that his three issues were education, housing and youth.

To Sam's credit, he returned my call later that day and we spoke about the campaign. I pointed out that he had indicated to a number of groups that he would have supported the Neighborhood Stabilization bill which is essentially rent control. I had smelt some wiggle room when listening to his speeches so I asked him directly, "if you are elected, are you going to reintroduce the Neighborhood Stabilization bill?" He answered "No, I won't reintroduce the bill." (The key words I had continually heard him say were "would have supported" which leaves him open to do anything in the future)
I then pressed further and said "Sam, you've indicated that housing and education are your two main issues. Can you tell me one piece of legislation you will introduce that deals with these two issues." He answered very candidly, "Kevin, from what I understand being a city councilor is much like running for city council. You are always running around and it is sort of like triage, you have to decide what issues to tackle as they come up. I admire that you have taken the time and effort to come up with specific plans and proposals to make the city better, but I am just trying to spend my time letting people get to know who I am. I don't have the time or the resources to spell things out like you did." (editors note: Sam announced he was running for office last fall and has raised around $100,000 according to him. Kevin announced his candidicy in March of this year and has raised around $25,000) Sam continued "when I am in office I will have to decide where to spend my political capital."
Sam then reversed roles and asked me "why don't you support the Neighborhood Stabilization bill?" I explained that I believe housing is a supply and demand issue and I don't believe in an artificial government price control that has been shown not to work, and where I am sure the rich and connected people with influence in the government will be able to get around the system. What we really need to do is get rid of the city's excess property, and build more housing.
We then talked a bit about the Open Meeting Law. He was amazed to hear that councilors meet in closed sessions in groups of 6 without public notice and he said that he thought this didn't sound good but that he wasn't really up on the issue.
We exchanged pleasantries and I thanked him for his time and candor.

Two days later we were both at a Ward meeting in Jamaica Plain and my fiance Dr. Clara Lora warned me to speak before Sam because he often takes my ideas. Sure enough Sam was chosen to speak before me. He started out by saying that his three issues were education, housing and public safety. (I checked my notes and sure enough two days earlier he had said the issues were education, housing, and youth---was there a structural change in his campaign over the weekend?) He then went on to talk about housing, and I almost fell out of my chair as he said "Now I would have supported the Neighborhood Stabilization bill but that is only a band-aid, HOUSING IS REALLY A SUPPLY AND DEMAND ISSUE AND WE NEED TO WORK ON CREATING MORE SUPPLY!" He was using my exact words that I had explained to him on Saturday!! With no credit like "Kevin McCrea explained this to me and I like his idea"

Anyway, this is just another example of why I'm running. We need to hold politicians accountable. We need them to spell out specifically what they are going to do and what they stand for. Sam Yoon is a very smart gentleman, who is quick on his feet and has done very good work on housing issues in the past. But, that doesn't explain what he is going to do if elected and I for one would like to know what my elected officials plan on doing if they get in. I do believe that Sam Yoon is a good person who could be a good councilor, but as the song says "if you don't stand for something, you can fall for anything"

Remember, if you hear candidates talk about open, honest, transparent government or getting rid of excess government property to help the supply side of the housing problem, the ideas came from me and can be seen on the website,


The Mayor wants to dunk me!

Sorry I haven't written in awhile. It's so hard to keep up with the nepotism, back room deals, etc... out there.

I saw the Mayor yesterday at the Villa Victoria Festival in the South End. He saw me first and we were right near a dunk tank. He said "Kevin why don't you get in there?" (I'm sure he would love to Dunk me!) I told him, "ok, I'll get in there and I'll give you 3 throws to do it", we laughed and he didn't take me up on the offer saying "I can't throw ..." as he stuck out his five fingers for handshake, as we laughed.
I think his wanting to dunk me was outweighed by the fear of potential embarrassment if he couldn't hit the target.

Just some fun out on the campaign trail... I'll try and write more about the mayor's office keeping tabs on me, and other candidates usurping my thoughts and ideas, later, but for now my fiance is insisting we get the wedding invites out.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Back to the Blog...

A soupcon amount of updates:

1) I was at City Hall yesterday for a zoning board of appeal hearing where I met Susan Passoni for the first time. As a professional in the financial field she shares my outrage at the waste and lack of planning by the City Government. She warrants your consideration in her race against Jimmy Kelly as she is a very smart, involved person who is working hard in the election.

2) Councilor Scappiccio's office returned my call! I will try and set up a meeting with them today. Thank you.

3) While at City Hall I ran into Mark Maloney in front of the elevator at the Mayor's office. I said "do you mind if I ask you a question?" and he said "sure".
McCrea: "Are you going to be holding any more of the secret, closed door meetings with city councilors that you've cancelled for the last three months?"
Maloney: "Sure, we may have them again"
McCrea: "When are you going to have them?"
Maloney: "We'll just have to see how things go"
McCrea: "Who decides to hold those meetings?"
Maloney: "I do"
McCrea: "thank you"

4) I was coaching an a group of 9 year old all-stars in the Mayor's Cup last Sunday in South Boston and we won over the South Boston Nationals 7-4. After the game I was campaigning and handing out literature. I was reminded once again about what a tiny town Boston is.
I was speaking with some members of the sober softball league and we were talking about drug and alchohol dependency. In particular there is a woman who asks for money at the corner of Melnea Cass and Massachusetts Ave. whom I see every day. She has a "boyfriend" who is more like a pimp, who makes her collect money then bring it to him to spend. I had talked to her last week about trying to get into Rosie's Place, and that I'd even bring her there if she would go. After our conversation, both of us had tears in our eyes. She, because no one ever speaks to her as if she is a human being, and she clearly was amazed at how much I knew about her life, and amazed that someone cared about her. I had tears because of my frustration at not being able to do anything, or being persuasive enough to get her to try and get off the streets. Anyway, the two women I was talking to were reformed heroin addicts, one a former bank robber, and they both knew the woman. They told me her name and some of her history. A real connection. We are all intertwined in this city, and there are many people who want to help and make things better. It is so easy to be cynical, but I really do feel that we are not succeeding as a society when people are living on the street like that.

5) Guns, Germs and Steel. Jared Diamond's Pulitzer Prize winning book has been made into a PBS special. If you have the time, watch it and show it to your kids. It basically explains how civilization came from the fertile crescent to being dominated by white europeans. No clear thinking person can read this book and have a racist thought left in their mind. I recommend it to everyone I know.

6) I fell one vote short of getting the endorsement from the Ward 9 Committee last saturday. I was then voted onto my neighborhood committee after the endorsement process. I asked if people who did not vote for me would mind staying after the meeting to tell me what they didn't like about me or my platform, and how I could improve as a candidate. No one took me up on the offer, or even acknowledged that they hadn't voted for me. (secret ballot) Even at the Ward Level there is "back room" politics going on, where people won't have an open discussion about the issues and how to address them.

7) Had a nice conversation with John Connelly and Matt O'Malley before a DFA meeting the other night. All of us commisserating about the press. John about how he is pigeon holed as just the son of a former politician without talking about him as an individual, and I said to Matt how unfair it is to him that he gets even less mention than the three political offspring, even though he has run winning campaigns, received union endorsements, and is working really hard (as all the candidates are) running around the city.

8) In today's Globe they did an article about mailings by City Councilors. Last year councilor Murphy sent 1 piece of mail, this year 6,240. The article says that Murphy said the mailing had nothing to do with election year politics. "I don't see any relevance", "Every councilor is different. They send out different things, depending on the issue. You send them as the issues come up." I guess there weren't any issues facing Boston last year.

9) Had a nice talk at the JP ward meeting, and met representative Sanchez. We talked a bit about NSTAR and how they aren't responsive to businesses. I am trying to get a 60 employee business open right now and I can't because NSTAR hasn't turned on the power and won't tell me when they are going to turn on the power. This is what happens when bad legislation gives companies monopolies without proper oversight. And I wonder why NSTAR execs give so much money to politicians. More importantly this makes for a harsh business climate in MA. Who wants to start a business when you can't get a straight answer about infrastructure questions.
When Sanchez discovered I was one of the plaintiff's in the Open Meeting Lawsuit against the City Council, he said "oh, you're the guy pissing off half the city!" A very funny guy.

more later, we have hired some Boston Public School grads to work on the campaign and we go fulltime next week.


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Champions! & Happy July 4th

The Giants Win! The Giants Win! The Giants Win!

In a great three game series the my South End Youth Baseball Giants won the Championship over the Rangers, winning 6-3 on Thursday. I was sad to have to beat my good friend Scott's team, but it was wonderful to see the kids come together as a team, supporting each other, not getting too down after a loss, and most importantly being good sportsmen in their victory. Congratulations to them, and thank you for the memories, and for always reminding me that there are many more important things than money or a city council race. Things like being there, being a friend, teaching, listening and leading by example.

People talk about the cliched "new boston", but as the Who sing "meet the new boss, same as the old boss". The future of Boston to me is these kids I coach who are black and white, hispanic and asian, upper middle class to being so poor that their families can't afford a glove. And they all get along and make friends and rivals, oblivious to how others might typecast them.
Is it any different from when my great grandparents came from Ireland and found an established class that looked at those who spoke with an accent as beneath them. Or perhaps even harder for those who spoke a different language, like the Italians. The lesson to be learned is that by being accepting, friendly and open minded we can learn and grow from our differences to become an even greater city. Maybe then we can turn the phrase the new Boston to mean a place where everyone feels welcome, and feels the positive energy of a multicultural society.

I wrote a long blog the other night then hit the delete key accidently, so to sum up:

-I called Councilor Scapiccio's office who referred me to Mintz, Levin. I asked for 5 to 10 minutes of his time and was told they'd call me back. I'm still waiting. That's 3 councilors who are supposed to be "getting back" to me. Common courtesy would be to at least call me back to say they are too busy.

-Mintz, Levin (who I'm helping on a pro bono case) called back on Monday to say they are not sure what he is going to be doing but that he will probably start August 15th, and be working in MLstrategies. They have a website you can check out the services they offer to large businesses and clients. Again, I'd like to hear why this is not a conflict of interest.

-I spoke at the Ward 5, 9 and 11 candidates night. After I spoke, Felix Arroyo and his aid Kyle both congratulated me on giving a great speech. Thank you very much for the compliments. Felix is a very decent man, with excellent ideas, who often stands up for principle. I hope that he gets re-elected. It is clear from campaigning around the city that people hold him in a high regard and I believe that he will be easily re-elected. As the old saying goes, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Felix Arroyo is part of the solution.

Later that night, Ed Flynn, Patricia White and I spoke at Ward 20. I (as usual) probably talked too long, but I think my points went over well. Patricia's "aunt" who introduced her came over afterward and asked for my literature and made some supportive comments. When Ed (who has been a perfect gentleman on the campaign trail, and who seems to genuinely care about substance abuse) and I were walking outside after the meeting he told me that I was "right on" with everything I was speaking about: housing, education and the giving away and waste of money at city hall. I appreciate that comment and his integrity in being able to be honest with me. On this Fourth of July weekend, I salute you as a veteran who has served this country and best of luck with your coming baby.

-We interviewed three inner city kids from the O'Bryant school for our summer intern program.
They were all very good. Amazing how kids with 3.5 gpa's can't get any work, and are excited to be working for me for minimum wage. Meanwhile, Boston Water and Sewer is hiring the kids of the heads of the division for $12 bucks an hour. Jobs like this should be posted on the city website and we can have competition for the job and save the city money as well. This is what Equal Access to government is all about.

-Kathleen Devine and I were on BNN's talk of the neighborhood with Joe Heisler speaking about our lawsuit versus the City Council. The show was great, and thanks to Joe for addressing the issue. Next on his show was former city councilor Tom Keane. Joe asked Tom is there was anything to the suit. Tom answered that Kevin is absolutely right about this and that closed door meetings go on all the time to decide issues. They put 6 people in a room, and then another 6 so that they don't have a quorom. Thanks for telling it like it is Tom. Ask your city council candidate if they participate in these meetings and take that into consideration when voting.

-We have a hearing date of August 11 for the City's motion to dismiss our lawsuit.

Enjoy the weekend, get outside and get some exercise and stop reading these blogs!!!