Wednesday, August 31, 2005

All the news that's fit to print (& centre street)

-Another way to stretch your money if you are a student: Bank of America has 5 years of free checking for any student. Sign up now and save your money!

-I heard that there is someone walking a picket line at the new post office construction site on centre street in west roxbury. Allegedly, the builder has been bringing crews in at night to accelerate the construction process, they aren't union workers, and they may have illegal aliens working with them. Stay tuned.

-Howie Carr was doing an entire show yesterday about "mumbles" Menino. First of all, I'd like to say that although I maybe critical of the mayor on many items I believe it is childish and unfair to make fun of him for his speech defect. If anything, the man should be applauded for going into public service. He is not a stupid man, he knows that he isn't that eloquent. But he didn't let that handicap keep him from a career that he wanted to follow. In addition, he went back to school at age 42, having learned the value of a college education. We teach our schoolchildren not to make fun of people, but then Howie Carr spends days going on and on about it. I called the show up to try and talk about the Forsyth Institute. When the woman answered the phone she said "what do you want to talk about?" I said, "can we talk about something substantive?" she said "No" and hung up on me. As Clara said, these people call into make fun of how the mayor speaks but they speak just like him!!!

-I received a call from the BRA's Rick Shaklik today. Funny how after a month of him not returning my phone calls, when I talked to his boss about it I got a phone call the next day. Another example of fine open, honest, transparent government service. He told me that I "was on his list to call" Probably the list to call in 10 years. Anyway, he said that the zoning amendment was just being reviewed at this time with no timeline. Sure sounds to me like they are waiting until after the election to push this through. I asked again to be on the email list for any future meetings, because somehow I continue to not be invited to the community meetings despite numberous requests to be on the list.

-I hope someone is keeping tabs of all of Ed Flynn's proposals. Last night at the Presentation School meeting in Brighton he proposed a pilot school voucher program. Tonight on BNN he proposed a family living wage minimum wage of $15, 16, or $17 dollars an hour. If you think milk and gas are expensive now, wait until you have to pay a gas station attendant or a checkout cashier $17 dollars an hour. As always, I'd like to see some details about these plans.

-Thanks to Michael for having me on after Ed Flynn on BNN tonight. And thanks to Ed for filling in as I was a couple minutes late.

-I ran into John Connolly at Gibran Rivera's kickoff party in West Roxbury yesterday. We were having some idle chat and I told him how tired I was from the campaign. I asked him if he was tired, and he said "no comment" he didn't want to get blogged. He didn't look tired, as a matter of fact he looked very good.

-Went to a great event tonight at the Children's Museum on Congress Street. It was the welcome to kindergarten event for the new schoolkids and their parents. There were some special needs protesters who I had met earlier from East Boston, and a few parents who still didn't have school assignments. I advised them all to talk to the Mayor and the Superintendent when they got the chance. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. It was good to meet parents from all over town, and to hear that many of them had heard of me and had seen my campaign literature. I talked to the Mayor briefly about my idea to have all the candidates at City Hall for a "Please Vote and participate in Democracy" Public Service Announcement. I think it would be good for the city and a good first step towards combatting any voter irregularity problems. I don't think he understood me, as I don't think I was very clear. Patricia White showed up near the end.

There are many candidates working very hard out there. I see Ed Flynn, Steve Murphy, Matt O'Malley, John Connolly, Sam Yoon, and Patricia White all over town. Less frequently I see Felix Arroyo, and least frequently Michael Flaherty.

Speaking of Patricia White, I heard and read that she had announced she had position papers on every neighborhood in the city. I had heard her personally say she would have a position paper on education and eminent domain. So I went to the website tonight and there are large chunks of the city that she doesn't have position papers on. Funny how they very closely coincide with the poorer and minority neighborhoods. No position papers on Roxbury, Mattapan, East Boston, Mission Hill, Chinatown, the West End, Charlestown and the North End. Not quite sure how you can announce to the press that you have position papers on every neighborhood in Boston without including those neighborhoods. No position papers of substance on education and eminent domain.

Shooting tonight...

There was just a shooting tonight at around 6:40 in the 1900 block of Columbus Avenue near Eggleston Square. A five year old girl maybe in critical condition. It was a drive by, with a man in hooded mask shooting from a car with a broken window.

The residents in the area have been complaining about the drug dealing and doing on the street intersecting W. Walnut and Columbus for a long time to the Boston Police and Politicians, but without response to the heightened security needs.

At the Dominican Parade members of the community came to me and asked me to visit to see the area. Coincidentally, I was there at around 1 pm today talking with the residents about how we need to stop giving away gifts to the rich so we can afford more police patrols.

My thoughts go out to the family and the community. Tomorrow I'm at another shooting event at Ramsey Park where kids were shot in a bicycle drive-by last week. I hope that many people will come out from 11:30 to 8 for this show of unity that we won't be intimidated, and that the community cares about their youth.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Voter Lists for sale to other candidates & stories of campaign promises

I went to an ACORN meeting earlier this summer that was held to show how to get people involved in the electoral process and for progressive candidates to learn how to campaign more effectively. At the meeting a member of Felix Arroyo's team told about identifying "strong" voters by their voting patterns and said that getting these voter lists was very helpful in running a campaign. I asked him later where I could get these voting lists and he gave me the name of Bob Lelievre. We contacted Mr. Lelievre's group and looked at their website. We sent a number of emails back and forth, found out that their voter information disc costs $600 and then when we went to buy it, they said "sorry, we're already supporting Felix Arroyo and Sam Yoon and we can't sell you the disc." That seemed very odd to me, you would think they would want to make more money, and that they would sell to an independent, progressive minded person. I smelled something fishy. I asked Sam Yoon if he minded me getting the information and he obfuscated. Could it possibly be that Felix and Sam didn't want me to have access to this information? Impossible to prove, but I guess it is a battle between all comers so any advantage one can get they should use I suppose.

I have never understood the mentality of bullet voting for one person. You are essentially saying "I know I'll get three people I don't agree with, but I'll have one I like". But in a democracy, that is a losing mentality. You lose 3-1 every time. And I want to have a winning mentality, so I'm going to be voting for 4 people. Who wants to have 1/4 of a voice? Felix is getting one of my votes, if for no other reason than he has spoken out against the closed door meetings the city council holds. I've voted for him in the last two elections after meeting him at a streetcorner 4 years ago. My other two votes are up in the air, and there are many good candidates, we'll see how it goes.

Anyway, because some of my favorite things are equality, equal access to information, and capitalism I'm making the voter lists available to any candidate who would like them (from Michael Flaherty to Michael Cote) for the low, low, low price of $450. We have the same voter information of who the consistent voters are in the elections (about 90,000 in Boston), we have them broken down by zip code (if you are a district candidate), and we have phone numbers of the people who have provided that information. Since the "progressives" wouldn't allow us equal access to this information, we did our own computational work and are happy to spread the information. Because, as usual, an informed voter is our best voter! Just shoot us an email at if you are interested.

Progressive is defined as "favoring, working for, or characterized by progress or improvement, as through political or social reform". Let there be no mistake, that I am for progress and improvement in the areas of housing, education and equal access to government, and I will be voting for people who believe in progress not keeping the status quo.

I was at a campaign event celebrating Ukraine on Sunday. Maura Hennigan was also there. When she spoke, she promised that if mayor, all the schoolchildren in Boston would learn about the Ukrainian genocide of the 1930's. These are the type of political promises that I hate to hear. Candidates saying things that a particular crowd wants to hear. If she gets elected I will try and remember to follow up on this. It reminds me of John Kerry's website which said that he was going to work on American Indian affairs each and every day of his presidency. Please. The reason people don't take politicians seriously, is that they say things that are clearly pandering. I have promised alot, like visiting every school, but I haven't promised more than I believe I can deliver.

The People beat the BRA tonight, glory days! & other stories

A soupcon victory tonight in the ongoing battle of the people vs. the BRA. The BRA has been trying to put a PDA into the RFP for Parcel 3. For those of you not up on acronym's, in English that means that the powers that be in City Hall want to have a backdoor to give the land to an insider to build whatever they want circumventing the community process.

Through the work of many community activists, councilor Turner, Shirley Kressel and in a tiny way me an amendment was passed by the advisory board tonight that excludes the PDA language from the RFP. It was the first time I've ever seen the BRA not snake their way into getting what they want. The vote was 4 for, 3 against, and 3 abstain. There was loud applause and celebration from the people. We'll see how they try and weasel out of this one. I really feel some momentum in people standing up and demanding a say in their neighborhood. I hope this isn't a phyrric victory.

I went to this meeting at 6 pm, then ran over to Brighton for the district candidates forum. Murphy and Flynn were there. Ed asked me if anything else was going on and I told him about the roxbury forum. I told Steve Murphy about it as well. He said "I didn't know about any BRA meeting." I told him, of course not, the BRA isn't going to tell you what they are doing, you're just a city councilor. Senator Tolman was hosting and was gracious enough to introduce the three of us.

I was in south Boston doorknocking today and met a woman who was a republican who was just as fed up with me with politicians just blowing smoke. She talked about the drug problem, and all the syringes on the beach. She offered to make phone calls and work on the campaign. She said she had 8 women friends her age (early 40's?) and of the 8, 6 of them had children in Detox. She lived next door to Jack Hart's family, and talked aloud about how he had forgotten his roots. She says she wished Whitey Bulger was still in South Boston patrolling the streets, because he wouldn't let anyone under 20 years old use drugs. She said he personally walked her home a number of nights to keep her off the streets. You know things are bad when the people are wishing for the return of one of the 10 most wanted.

The attorney I'm working with on this Pro Bono case with Mintz, Levin called me a few days ago urgently insisting that I do some work on the case as a deadline was approaching. Funny, I said, how you guys need me to do something quickly, yet I still have not received a phone call back from the firm about what Paul Scappiccio is doing for the company. Nor a return phone call for help on a zoning issue. (I'm sure I'm not rich enough for them to return my phone calls)
I explained how I really feel they are a bunch of greedy, rich white lawyers who try to allay their conscience by helping out one nice black guy. I said why don't you address the core issues. I said if you really care so much why don't you live in roxbury (I didn't know where she lived). I asked, "where do you live?" Sure enough, she lives in Arlington as she started to explain its because of family and other issues. I'm sure it is. Of course it is. She cares about her family so she moves out of the city to an affluent nearly homogenous suburb. If Mintz, Levin really cared about anything other than the bottom line they would file real lawsuits, for example why does roxbury only have bus service when they were promised rail service when the elevated orange line was taken down. Seperate but equal is not equal. Anyway, I don't know the woman personally, she has always been nice on the phone to me (why not, I'm doing free work for them with no quid pro quo) but it is all too predictable. Wash away that guilty conscience....

Someone was at the roxbury meeting tonight who said I stiffed him on a painting job years ago. I'm sure (as I've written about before) if I get closer and closer to victory, these people will come out of the woodwork. I've already had a number of people I've had disagreements with in the past come calling looking for money. Being a contractor is good practice for being a politician, there are always going to be disgruntled people: neighbors, workers, subcontractors. You can't please everyone, and lord knows I haven't been perfect. But, I paid everyone who did the work they were supposed to and I have a long line of people who will attest to that.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Rumors and Funny stories....

I can't attest to the veracity of any of this, but thought you'd like to hear some of the stuff I hear on the campaign trail.

Felix Arroyo's office allegedly sent out an email saying if you can't get in touch with their office it's because they haven't paid their phone bill, from way back....

I was talking with a woman at a meeting in Cleary Square Sunday who said that she didn't like a particular city councilor because when she was driving a cab once and picked this guy up for a fare to the Erie Pub, and despite the fact that he is married, he tried to pick her up. Maura Hennigan was standing next to her and we both had a look of disbelief on our faces. I won't use the councilor's name because you hear a lot of crazy stories on the campaign trail, but I promise not to try and pick anyone up when I get married to Clara!

A reporter told me that the rumor mill currently has Menino trying to install Consalvo as the next city council president, then retiring and installing Consalvo as Mayor in a deal to conserve all the Hyde Park city jobs. The same reporter told me that he heard that Michael Flaherty's father has said he'll do whatever it takes including selling some property to make sure Michael is the next Mayor.

Apparently a sign guy who has worked for Stephen Murphy in the past finding places to put up signs is now working for Matt O'Malley. I have so much to learn. I didn't know you paid people to put signs up, I thought it was because people supported you!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

McCrea Team wins BHA basketball Tournament

I was at a BHA Unity Day in Charlestown yesterday. Just as I was about to leave they announced a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. I can't pass up a basketball game, so despite having walking shoes and jeans on, I picked out a couple of the kids to form a team and entered the tournament.
I was honored when the director asked us for a name to our team, and the kids said "how about the McCrea's?", I said "are you sure" and they said yes, it would be an honor to play with the future councilor or mayor or whatever. It is amazing to me how these kids whom I've never met who live in the projects wanted to be associated with me so closely, instead of being the BALL BOYZ or Hoop Dreams or something. I think it shows the craving for attention that is so lacking, that if you do give the people even a modicum of respect and time it will come back to you tenfold.
To make a long story short, we lost the first game 11-3, but then won 7-1, and 7-2 to move onto the best of 3 finals where we won in two straight games, 7-4 and 7-2. I had a few game winning shots, showed some hustle, but my 38 year old body can't do what my 38 year old mind remembers my 20 year old body doing. It was a great time, but I was dying during and after the tournament, begging for water.
I'm going to go and play with Donovan Walker this week, who I saw at the carribean parade. Apparently he tried to get in touch with me but couldn't so he teamed up with Matt O'Malley. Kudos to Matt for stepping into the void, but I'm going to go talk with Donovan and see if I can mend some fences. Donovan has been running a successful hoops program trying to keep the kids off the street for years, right on Washington Street next to where the south end baseball league plays at Rice Field.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Biolab and the folly of Mankind

I spoke at a meeting last night against the Biolab. Also speaking were Councilor Turner, candidates Ready, Garza, Yoon, Rivera. Matt O'Malley came and left without speaking. Sam Yoon, whose wife is an MIT Ph.d biologist, in particular spoke forcefully and eloquently against it. I congratulated him and told him it was the best speech I'd heard him give. Laura Garza also spoke well about why are we even building biolabs? We are not threatened by anthrax, ebola, etc. She thinks these labs are part of the moneyed classes War Machine, interesting points.

As a physicist who used to do experiments for the US Air Force, I feel I have some measure of competence in speaking about the scientific method.

I spoke about how this Biolab reminds me of the Space Shuttle Program. After the Space Shuttle Challenger blew up the government appointed a blue ribbon panel to examine the Space Shuttle Program. One of the people they appointed was Richard Feynman, a nobel prize winning physicist, generally perceived to be the smartest physicist of his day. (Now deceased) He is a personal hero of mine, who studied at MIT, worked at Los Alamos, played the drums, including a score for an avante guard dance troupe, he questioned authority and everything, and generally lived life to the fullest.

When the blue ribbon panel put their report together about the safety of future space shuttle flights. He alone dissented. This in the face of tremendous pressure from the politicians, NASA and others who had billions of dollars invested in the shuttle program. He wrote an Appendix to the Rogers Commission Report where he questioned their numbers for the probability of anothe shuttle mission ending in disaster. He pointed out that the scientists and engineers predicted a disaster in 1 out of 100 flights. The management predicted 1 in 100,000.
He asks "What is the cause of management's fantastic faith in the machinery?" He then goes on to analyze and explain the systems, and makes the point that the managers were not listening to the scientists perhaps because they wanted the funding for their project. The final line of his report stands alone and says "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled" We see who was correct. In well less than 100 flights, another shuttle disaster ensued. His report can be seen here:

The scientific method is all about honesty and transparency, no scientist could advance without his experiments being reproduceable. They can not lie for they will be found out. Politicians and businessmen on the other hand obscure the truth to their benefit, often at the expense of the public. This is not illegal, it is just another realm where the rules are different.

The Biolab has frightening parellels. Scientists are cautioning against putting this in a dense urban population. They explain how accidents do happen and how we are not prepared to deal with potential calamity. On the other side we have big money in the form of the US Government, the Bush Administration, Boston University, and a number of politicians saying that there is no danger to the public. Meanwhile, they won't answer questions, they hold secret meetings with the Mayor and the City Council, they receive their property in an insider deal, and they hide the fact that some of their researchers got Tuleramia in a lab accident, and city councilor Feeney who is on the BU Medical Center Board of Trustees is trying to squash discussion at the city council. This gives me no reason to sleep tight living maybe 1/2 a mile from this proposed project. One of the ideas I had was why don't we put this thing on one of the military bases that is closing? They are in much less populated areas, the government already has the property, and there are already security apparatus in place.

Nature can not be fooled. Reality must take precedence over public relations. I hear politicians such as Steve Murphy, Patricia White, Congressman Capuana say they are for the Biolab but safety is their first priority. (Addendum: Steve Murphy called me after this blog was posted to say that he is neither for or against but that he is willing to listen to BU(in a secret meeting?), but he is concerned about safety) This is an internally inconsistent statement. (Not new for politicians) If Safety is their first priority they won't build it here. Because by definition, if there is any risk at all, then safety is downgraded in some way by building it here. I don't think you can get any of them to say there is no risk at all. Some of those types went down with the Titanic.

It is interesting that none of the incumbents nor the Sons of Politicians and Daughters of Politicians (SOPs and DOPs) showed up at the forum. Perhaps they know that the big money is behind this thing, and speaking out for safety and the public interest isn't going to get them elected. Especially when they can put on a very sincere face and say "I'm really concerned about safety."

Mother Nature will not be so easily fooled.

Coyotes, Virgins, and Althea Garrison

I think it was councilor Tobin this week who convened a meeting to look into the coyote problem here in Boston. Now I feel sorry for the man whose dog was taken by the coyotes, but really don't we have more pressing needs here in the city? Mr. Tobin was quoted in the papers as saying that they would appoint a task force to look into the problem. Why don't we put in a task force that will look into how we could save 50 to 70 million dollars a year on busing costs, that is a committee that could really help us. Maybe we could appoint the Roadrunner, he seems like he knows how to get around, and he never gets caught by the coyotes.

Clara and I were watching At-Large candidate Roy Owens speak the other night. He talked about how society was ostracizing virgins. Well, we just want to let everyone know that we here at the Elect Kevin campaign DO NOT OSTRACIZE VIRGINS! In fact, we welcome them with open arms. Clara says they can come over any night between 7 and 10, so that they can get home by midnight. In all seriousness however, Roy did make some good points. He said that 85 percent of all drug users in america are white, but that 85 percent of those incarcerated for drugs are minorities. I didn't confirm the figures, but it points out some structural inequalities in our society that need to be addressed.

We also watched Althea Garrison. She too has some interesting things to say. Her campaign literature says "you can not rely or depend on the Boston Globe or Boston Herald to keep you informed because they are busy lobbying and supporting their favorite candidates who go along to get along". There is a lot of truth to that statement. It makes me think of the hypocrisy of the Boston Herald who has their star commentator Howie Carr talking about the Hackerama, of nepotism and cronyism almost every other day. Yet the Herald doesn't cover the Non-political family candidates. I've barely seen mention of Matt O'Malley (who maybe in the lead right now), Sam Yoon, myself, let alone a Roy Owens or Althea Garrison who both received I think over 10,000 votes last election. They did have one of their columnists write a softball piece about Ed Flynn and his dad visiting a church social. Hard hitting commentary there. It almost seems as if they want to continue the nepotism to continue writing about it..hmmmnnn.

It is actually interesting to me how similar Althea and Ed are on the issues. They both talk about wanting to work for the homeowners, the elderly and veterans. Neither has a lot of details about what they would do if elected. Maybe if Althea worked as hard as Ed is (and Ed is working very hard, I see him everywhere, I'm yet to see Althea) she would have the kind of support Ed does. Yeah, right.

signs, signs, everywhere signs.....

Make no mistake about it, there is a war going on out there, and like warfare there are very few rules about what is and isn't allowed. It is the War of the Signs!

I'd always heard about how rough and tumble Boston politics is, and it is true. My first battle, appropriately, (like the revolutionaries who fought first for freedom) was at Bunker Hill. Or is it Breeds Hill? Anyway, the night before the Bunker Hill Parade Jeff and I put up a number of signs along the parade route. There were also a plethora of signs for Menino, Flaherty, Connolly usually grouped together as a gang of three. Well sure enough, the next morning at the parade about half of my signs had been taken down, but funny enough, none from those three peas in a pod seemed to be missing. And this was before I was even on anyone's radar map as a candidate. What do these so called democrats have against freedom of expression????

Recently I was driving along Centre Street in Jamaica Plain going towards the Faulkner Hospital. There is a bluff there where politicians often put their signs. I was with Clara and I said what the heck, lets ask the owner of the property if we could put our sign there. Already, there were signs for Flaherty, White, and O'Malley, 4 feet by 8 feet Big, so I thought this was probably a strong union person but it never hurts to ask in life (unless you want information from City Hall or the BRA, then it is slow, painful torture to ask). We knocked on the door and met this wonderful woman "Bethel" who is a history teacher in the Boston Public Schools. She said we would be welcome to put up a sign there. She said because she believes in democracy so she lets people put signs up there because she thinks the people should know who is running.
Then she told us something that I still can't believe, she said the first two signs that were put up by O'Malley and Flaherty THEY NEVER EVEN ASKED HER FOR PERMISSION!!! The Patricia White people did ask for permission, and she was glad to oblige.

Two things that are hard to believe: one that this woman cares so much for democracy that she lets people advertise on her soil even the ones that are too callous to even ask. Two, that these guys are so audacious to do this. I guess that Howie Carr article about the Flaherty's may have some truth to it when he said in regard to the Flaherty's "what's theirs is theirs, and what's yours is theirs". It never ceases to amaze me how much some people love this country and the freedoms that we ideally stand for, and how far from these ideals some politicians are.

So, look for our nice red sign that says "Not Like the Others!" on her peak overlooking JP. We invited her to our open house which is tonight, I hope she comes by, and I'm sure she is a wonderful teacher.

Speaking of outlandish, one of my summer interns from Roxbury is Amanda. She put a couple of my signs on her mothers house. Well, a couple of days ago someone from Althea Garrison's campaign came over and put Althea signs right OVER my signs, of course without permission. This is probably trespassing, destruction of property, who knows what else. The battle is being fought hand to hand in the 'hood it seems. Needless to say we took down her signs, and I called her (him?) up and she said something about "her and her peoples were running a different kind of campaign". Well, it doesn't seem too different from the Menino, Flaherty, Connolly, etc. campaigns....

Finally, as many people know I'm a contractor and I often shop at the Evil Empire (otherwise known as home depot which is a microcosm for everything going wrong in our business world but that story is for another day). One of the salesman there saw my T-shirt that I was running for city council and he approached me and said he'd like to put a sign up in his lawn. He told me that he lived next door to Sam Yoon and that the Yoon's had not exactly been the friendliest of neighbors and that he would support anyone who is running against Yoon. Of course, I was only too happy to oblige anyone who would put a sign up in their yard. A few weeks later, I saw him and asked how things were going and he told me that the day after he put the sign up in his yard someone keyed his truck. He acknowledged that it could have been just coincidence, but said that he had lived there for years, always parked his truck in the same place and never had a problem. Until he put the sign up.

I have heard stories from other campaigns about intimidation towards people who put up signs, stories about people going around in trucks taking others signs down, etc. People should become politicians because they want to serve, not because they need a job.

Just for the record...We only put signs up where we have asked people. We are not going to take anyone else's signs down. We think it is hurtful to democracy to engage in this, and it brings us all down to the lowest common denominator.

After reading all that....if anyone would like to put one of our signs up, please send an email or call 617-267-2453.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Secret Handshake!!!

The Elect Kevin team now has our official secret handshake.

I said to Amanda: "I'll bet we are the only campaign with a secret handshake!"

Amanda replied: "You're right, they may have secret meetings but they don't have a secret handshake!"

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

BRA screwing the people and lying again

I read in the Herald this morning that they developers of the tower where the old Historic Gaity theater was have already changed their plans from putting in rental housing on the upper floors to putting in expensive condominiums.
Already they quasi-legally took down the Gaity, one of the great theaters (especially acoustically) in the country. I thought that City Hall understood the value of preservation??? The people in Chinatown are afraid of escalating rents, but that is of course what is going to happen when the rich move in, with the complicity of the BRA and the politicians.

One more example of how the rich and connected get what they want in this town. What is particularly funny to me is how people think my $200,000 is alot of money. It is peanuts compared to these big time developers and corporations such as Gillette (pushing through the 100 acres directive with the BRA) That is why these people never get directly involved. It is much easier and cheaper to just buy politicians for a few thousands of dollars to get what you want, than to run and have the pundits talk about their money. The people that gave Arnold 10-100,000 dollars to sit with him at the stones concert would never run for office, it's not worth their time. If you gave any one of the 10 top city council candidates $350,000 and a good campaign manager they would be odds on favorites to get the free seat. And it is not hard for these business interests to raise that type of money. Look at who the big contributors to the campaigns. I believe that the law firm that is handling this tower project in chinatown has given over $20,000 to Menino's campaign. Coincidence??? I think not.

I have been calling Rick Shaklik at the BRA for weeks now with no reply about what the status of the zoning amendment to change the zoning in Dorchester and other neighborhoods so that the one politically connected family could have their house saved.

What a surprise, no open, honest, transparent work from the BRA. They are too busy taking care of the rich, and setting up sham public meetings. One of the members of the advisory board for parcel 3 in Roxbury told me that the reason things were moving so quickly is because it is an election year, the Mayor wants things done, and that he is sure that they already have a developer in mind for the project. You know things are a sham when a member of the advisory committee is saying that his own committee is a Sham.

Lets take a moment and read again the Declaration of Independence. We need to be freed!


Monday, August 22, 2005

Debates and the Pathetic State of Democracy in Boston

I will write more about this later. But it is a disservice to the citizens of Boston that there are not more mayoral debates. If any of the media outlets had any real independence or guts they would hold a debate and see who comes. The local TV channels should hold 2 or 3 debates on housing, education and perhaps another topic. If one of the opponents doesn't show, let the other talk for the whole time on TV.

The fact that this isn't done shows how much power is concentrated with the rich and connected and how they don't want to rock the boat or have true discussion about the direction the city is going.

We are all the worse for it. Lincoln and Douglas are both rolling in their graves. We are not living up to being the Athens of America.

Come on fourth estate, if you want to be relevant make yourself so.


The Roads suck

I have now been to nearly every corner of this fair city, often on two wheels and the condition of our city streets is pathetic. If they are bad in your neighborhood, don't feel you are being neglected. They are bad everywhere. My Harley-Davidson has a bent rim already from a particularly monstrous crater. Is there a place I can get compensated for this?

Many people, my fiance among them, have suggested that I just run on a platform of putting proper signage on the streets so people can find their way around.

If I was Mayor for 3 terms I would be embarrassed at the conditions of the streets. Their are many problems but some are:

-non professional running of DPW
-allowing street cuts on bonded streets
-not having a plan of how to deal with the streets

I have proposed making a 5 year plan for the streets. Make a schedule for all repaving. Currently they just meet each April and decide what to do. That is not good government. We need to let all the involved groups know when a street is going to be redone, say in three years. letters would go out to NSTAR, Keyspan, BW&S, MBTA, residents, and other groups with street utilities or interests. That way we can get all the needed future upgrades done ahead of time so that once the streets are repaved they won't need to be cut open again, which then causes potholes.

We just repaved Beacon Street last year for the convention, and now they are digging it up again. Such a waste of time, money, energy, etc, etc....

There is a lot of support for Maura Hennigan in the hushed tones of the streets. People are not overt, but in my completely unscientific poll there are a number of people out there who think she has a chance.

Has my luck run out? 0 for 3....

Well tonight in the coaches vs. players wooden bat league in the south end my luck may have run out. During the game I had Clara move my truck from near the field to farther away to avoid foul balls. Sure enough, after she moved it a foul ball slammed right into the windshield shattering it. This was after I struck out swinging, followed by grounding out to second. I did throw a guy out at second from right field, but then:
With the press watching, I came to the plate in the bottom of the last inning, one out, game tied, with runners on first and third. Man stole second. The team decided on a squeeze play. What better press than to get the game winning hit? But no, Casey was at bat and I squared off to bunt, and I popped a low liner which the charging first baseman caught. Drat!!!
With the next batter, we scored on a wild pitch so we did win the game, much to the chagrin of the kids. It was fun, good to get out and exercise and interact with the kids (16 to 18 years old), but the 0 for 3 line won't be getting any scouts excited for the city council traveling softball team.

-I asked Ed Flynn about his tax plan to have a sliding scale for people the longer they live in the city. He didn't have any specifics about numbers, but said that he wanted to have a plan that helped the elderly and veterans. Admirable goals. I said "you do realize that will put the highest tax burden on first time homebuyers who are usually the least able to afford it". To his credit he admitted that this was the case but he thought it more important to help the seniors.
It is good to have some proposals out there to bat around. I have proposed a cap on taxes after a certain number of years in your home, or when you retire to a fixed income.
The tax problem is a huge one in this city, but talking about sliding residential taxes from one group to another is not really addressing the big issue which is why 53% of the city does not get taxed and why city hall is giving huge tax giveaways to big corporate interests. It is by addressing these issues that we can make for a more equitable tax structure.

The ice is broken....beach day in southie

I ran into Michael Flaherty at the L Street bathhouse, and after a pregnant pause.....
We shook hands!!! Maybe now we can sit down and work out a plan to give the city council some power back over the BRA. My door is always open. But, I give the councilor credit for being a gentleman.

Speaking of gentlemanly acts at the bathhouse, I also ran into former councilor Mickey Roache who was very gracious. He talked a bit about missing the council, but that it was time for him to go. He spoke about how much we need new blood on the council, and he thanked me for what I was doing and wished me the best of luck. Very kind councilor, and thank you very much.

One more bathhouse story, I ran into Kevin McBride the pride of Ireland and Southie who has probably kissed the Blarney Stone at some point in his life. He recently beat Tyson, and he talked of his desire to be World Champion and to spread the word to the kids to believe in themselves and that dreams can come true. Very touching. As someone who boxed in college, I have the utmost respect for boxers whom I believe are probably in the best shape of any athletes. I know I was completely exhausted after 3 minute and a half rounds, I can't imagine going 15.

I also ran into Tim O'Riordan and his band, who had the number one hit in ireland for 5 weeks last year. We talked of Ireland, racing motorcycles and how the country has changed. They were kind enough to put me on the guestlist at their show at the Grand Canal Saturday night which Clara and I enjoyed immensely. It was the first time in ages I had 2 pints. Felt good to relax. They played their great hit "the Langer" which I never hope to be, and also special for me their song "the politician" which is a send up very similar to my stand up routine about how to run for city council. We bought the CD and invited them to our house the next time they are in the country. Good Crack!

-Random thought: How many white advisors does Sam Yoon need to attract the minority vote?

-Random thought 2- For all this talk about the nouveau Boston, the staffs of most of the candidates don't seem all that integrated. There are long term structural problems in Boston, mostly in the division by class that I believe exclude mostly minorities from being able to experience and learn the critical analytical skills that will allow them to succeed in todays knowledge based economy and one of those areas is in the political realm.

-Congratulations to Ed Flynn and his wife who had a baby boy Steven on Saturday. Ed was still out campaigning all day, but he said he was back and forth to the hospital 5 times already when we saw him at a block party in Southie.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Oh, Oh, Oh, Jamie's leaving.....

Jamie Bezek, AKA, the "muscle" or the rapper left us yesterday to spend the rest of the summer vacationing before his junior year at the O'Bryant School. He was great, and as he mentions his interpersonal skills grew by leaps and bounds. He and the girls came up with a hilarious rap about the campaign that is not yet ready for prime time, but I've asked him to edit it and take out some of the personal cutdowns, and hopefully we will post it on the blog....and maybe get him to perform it later this year.

As with all my summer interns, I've asked them to write a bit about their experience (unedited) working on the Elect Kevin campaign.

Here's Jamie:

I really had an eye-opening and fun experience working for Kevin McCrea this summer. First off, I saw how hard it really is to get a job in Boston, especially if you start looking late. But, thankfully, Kevin called my school and hired me later in the summer. Also, I learned a little about politics as well, as I stood by and observed as my co-workers Amanda and Kate were ignored by the other candidates for City Council and looked on as the media ignored Kevin’s stance on any issues and instead wasted paper and ink writing an article about how much money he put into his campaign account. In addition, my people skills must have improved ten-fold. At first, I was extremely nervous walking up to complete strangers, but it’s much easier for me to walk up to people and just have a conversation. I had my own little project as well, which was to try and get some information on some construction projects around Boston through the BRA, or the Boston Redevelopment Authority. I did manage to get some information, but it only came after talking to many different people, leaving many answering machine messages, lots of transferred calls, and many questions about what I needed the information for. That’s why I hope Kevin gets elected for one of the seats on the City Council. I can say from personal experience that he isn’t just another rich guy running for office. He really wants to improve the city and seems like one of the only people who want to stand up and deal with the real issues affecting Boston, not to mention he most likely has the best sense of humor out of all the candidates. All in all, I really enjoyed my time working for Kevin and I wish him the best of luck. Thanks for the job, some money, and a great summer Kevin.

Thank you Jamie. I offered him an after school job, but he wants to make his schoolwork a priority. I can see BIG things in Jamie's future and not just an appreciation for Gladiator movies.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Financial Literacy 101

I was at the Presentation School Fundraiser a couple of nights ago and John Connolly came up to me and said "kevin, i've been thinking about it all day and I can't figure it out. Why did you put all that money into your campaign account and then take a big chunk of it and put it into a money market account?"

I replied something to the effect of "John, I'm glad you asked me that question. You see this is one of the lessons I'll be teaching in my financial literacy classes: how to handle your money. " I told him that by putting my money into an interest bearing account we would make a few hundred dollars in interest while we waited to use that money on the campaign. This is how you stretch your money. I told him that I'll be using these same financial techniques to find savings and root out wastefulness in government, and anytime he wanted to ask me questions about how to handle money I'd be happy to talk to him.

What is interesting to me is how concerned he is with my money. John is a very busy guy, and I would think he would have better things to do then check out my campaign account, let alone ponder my financial moves for a day.

I haven't looked at anyone's campaign finances since the night we opened our account in March or April where I noticed that a businessman I know, who is no big fan of the mayor's, had given the maximum amount of $500 to Mr. Menino. Could it be because he is doing a project that has ADA issues he is hoping to circumvent?

What I do look at is the other candidates stated positions, because that is what people should decide to vote on, not on who has the biggest bank account. That kind of thinking leaves you with George Bush as president. Not a great way to decide our leaders. Moneyed families can produce great leaders such as Theodore Roosevelt, but less financially successful people such as Abraham Lincoln can also be exceptional leaders. Theodore Roosevelt himself wrote about the barons of his time: something to the effect that you would think that these great men of wealth would be very interesting people, but he found them to be not well rounded, focused only on money (which roosevelt felt to be quite boring, and admittedly didn't always understand the workings of the Treasury), and just not the type of people he cared to spend time with.

I am also not so impressed with people's money, and find it much more interesting people who are passionate about things. Whether it is hovercrafts, racing motorcycles, topiary, music or what have you, my hat is off to the ones who follow their dreams.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

3 is the Magic Number.....

A wonderful day today. The Globe did a fun article about the talent show, with a good picture of me for a change! I've hired some gentlemen from the New England Shelter for Homeless Veteran's to work on the campaign and they are great, and getting along with the kids just great. They all have nicknames for each other, so I'd like to welcome Speedy and Motormouth to the ElectKevin team. Jamie has put together a long Rap about the McCrea campaign, which is hilarious but unfortuneately not ready for prime time viewing.

They had the drawing for position on the ballot today and I got position 3, which is great. 3 is the magic number as we all know from watching Schoolhouse Rock. "3 is the magic number" is my favorite De La Soul song, and the Big House is full of recurring 3's, from the routered 'keys" in my hardwood floors, to the window pattern, to the rows of maple, to the number of fireplaces, 3 is part of the mathematical puzzles. Needless to say, I hope it is a good omen.

When I was down at City Hall, I ran into councilors Murphy and Tobin. I had stopped in Tobin's office to get his advice on where the voters were in his district, and he offered to give me a call when I ran into him in the hall. Hope he follows up, it would be generous of him to give me that time.

Councilor Murphy was particularly nice. He called me aside and gave me the advice to watch how I spend my money, that it can be very easy to go through money quickly in a campaign. I thanked him, as there was no reason for him to give me that advice other than altruism, as he technically is an opponent of mine. We talked for about 20 minutes, and luckily for him he ran into me at tonights BBQ for Congressman Lynch, and asked me not to write about our conversation on the blog! I respect his wishes, although he gave me some really great stories about some of the less than highhanded business down there. Thanks for your time and advice councilor Murphy!

I was on "All About Boston" with Catherine on BNN at 4:00 today, we had a great give and take I thought. She's got a lot of spunk, and I enjoyed the time.

Later it was off to Congressman Lynch's BBQ where the crew was assembled O'Malley, Yoon, Flynn, White, Connolly, Murhpy. I congratulated John Connolly for getting pole position in the drawing and told him I fully expect to see campaign literature that says "Vote for the #1 candidate, John Connolly", you've got to take your luck where you can get it. I told him I'd be happy to have him tell people I should be their #3 pick, as long as it is in their top 4!

Near the end of the evening, John Connolly, Ed Flynn, Congressman Lynch and I chimed in with the Band on an old ballad of the Irish Immigrant. Thankfully, I think, they had our mikes turned down low. Maybe Ed Flynn has a good singing voice, but I know I don't!

I had an interesting talk with Jack Kowalski, who didn't identify who he was at first, while I was meeting the people at the picnic. He asked me about affordable housing and my positions on it and we also talked about the need for a more representative city council. One that more closely reflects the racial makeup of Boston. After a bit of time he identified himself as a public relations consultant who was going to be working with Sam Yoon. A little bit disengenuous perhaps, but my message doesn't change whomever I talk with, so I don't care. (How many consultants does Sam Yoon have??? Dude, you went to Princeton and Harvard, you are a smart guy trust your instincts!!! It is like Luke Skywalker in StarWars on the Millineum Falcon with his eyes covered, "just use the force") We talked about Sam's campaign, some of the other candidates and about the future of Boston. Nice conversation. He excused some of Sam's stuff on being a neophyte, but after a year of campaigning shouldn't he have a platform? Jack said things would "sharpen up" as we got closer to the election. I am a bit leary of candidates (and sam is far from the only one) who wait until the last minute to take a stand on things.
I told Sam last night I loved the line in the Globe that he would raise the IQ of the City Council just by sleeping at City Hall. We laughed, as Jim Spencer kept a wary eye.....

An apology to Lisa Wangsness for potentially scooping her story. My bad, wasn't thinking.

Patricia White came over to tease me at the BBQ tonight. I was dressed up (for me) in a blue collared shirt and red tie (because I was on TV earlier). She said "Kevin, where is the Red T-Shirt? I thought you were running against all of this", as she indicated with her arm the crowd in front of us at beautifully manicured Curry College. I laughed and told her that "the rich and connected will be welcome in my office as well as the common people. My office is open to all" She and Clara joked about the fact that at least I had on a red tie, and I further let her know that there were many facets of me that I was waiting to spring on the other candidates. She honestly professed to "having no talent whatsoever" when it comes to the talent show. She said she can work a room, but that doesn't have much real world practicality. I told her how Clara didn't want me to twirl the baton because I'm not that good, and as I admitted,its true I'm not very good at it anyway.

Ok, it's late, I'm listening to DEVO ....Use your FREEDOM OF CHOICE!, yes I am a child of the 80's. So over and out, a great day today, I'm feeling good.

Oh, one more thing. The south end news did an article about our day in court against the city council last week. (The only news source in the city that covered this event) Councilor Flaherty released a statement "I am unable to comment on the case now being considered by the court and handled by the city's corporation council. I strongly support the letter and the spirit of the Open Meeting Law. I always have."
Quite a different line from when we filed the suit, when he was happy to comment on it for the press and just called it a political stunt. What has changed, Michael??? You are a lawyer and a democrat. I do not understand how you can believe that holding closed door meetings with the BRA, BU, and who knows who else is good government.
Let's put the past behind us, sit down and settle this suit, and give the city council a chance to regain at least some control over the BRA. The cynical side of me says the only reason for you not to do this is because you want this nearly dictator like control of the city for yourself if you become mayor.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Kate's last day to college, sad to see her go

My summer interns are starting to head off to college and get ready for high school. Today was Kate Dormeus' last day. I'm having them each write a bit about their experience (unedited by me) Here is Kate's story:

One would think that it would be easy for a recent high school graduate and soon to be college freshman to get a summer job in the busy, industrial city of Boston. The truth of the matter is that it is very difficult, contrary to popular belief. I spent months during my senior year trying to find a job. Why did I want a summer job? To stay off the streets and to make a little money for school. I couldn't find a job anywhere until Kevin McCrea called my school (John D. O'Bryant School of Math and Science) and asked for a couple of students to work with him on his campaign. I was excited about this because I really wanted a job and I figured it would be a good experience. At the moment Kevin hired two seniors from the O'Bryant, myself and Amanda Barros. Our first task as McCrea's interns was to form a list of 10 questions to ask ten of the other candidates. These were simple questions pertaining to what they will do for the city if elected, questions that any constituent would ask. Amanda was assigned to interviewEdward Flynn, John Connolly, Patricia White, Michael Flaherty, and SamYoon. I was assigned to Matt O'Malley, Joseph Ready, Laura Garza, andFelix Arroyo. After two weeks of making phone calls and leaving messages for each of the candidates I have yet to conduct one interview with any of them. Although I am still 17 years old, I will be 18 years old by election day. Therefore I am a constituent and those interviews were for my personal benefit as well as the benefitof the campaign. Don't get me wrong, these candidates are good people,they are simply non-responsive. Two out of five candidates were interested in conducting the interview, Joseph Ready and Laura Garza, but it hasn't happened yet. Felix Arroyo and Stephen Murphy basically turned down my interview, while Matt O'Malley hasn't returned any of my phone calls. Now as I near the end of my internship as I have to go to school soon I've learned a lot from this experience, three things

1. Time is very precious
2. Always ask the right questions
3. Keep records of everything

Now I'm leaving this experience with a better view on politics,specifically Boston's politically realm. Thank you Kevin for doing what all the politicians say they want to do; keep teenagers off the streets, and for shedding light on the things going on in our city and wanting to take a stand. And don't worry...I'll never change to try and please you!

Baton twirling...

-A couple days ago I was called up by the Globe to talk about the Hyde Park Talent Show being held on September 25th. They've asked all the candidates to do a routine, or read poetry, tell a joke or something artistic. I answered the Globe that I was considering doing my standup routine I've been working on called "how to run for city council" which includes a lot of nothing, and the phrase "we need to do better", either that or twirl a baton. The Globe reporter said she had been talking to John Tobin who wondered if I was going to do some sort of Evil Knievel jump of a Hyde Park Chasm. That sparked the idea in my head that I could ask the other 14 City Council candidates to line up end to end, and I could jump over them with one of my dirtbikes. She thought it hilarious, ahhh, the possibilities......we could have a lottery just like the drawing at city hall thursday for poll position. I tell you, if Tobin and I got together we might be a good comedy team. He seems to have a comment about my motorcycle in the press every week.

The Most Important Question to Ask the candidates....

To me the most important question to ask the candidates is whether they will meet in closed, private meetings with up to 6 other councilors to discuss the business of the city excluding the press and the public from the deliberative process of government.

If they refuse to answer or answer anything other than NO. Then you know that they won't be independent councilors who will speak for themselves and stand up for their constituents. Instead they will be "yes men" for the mayor and join the group of 9 current councilors who say "how high" when the mayor says "jump."

If, however, they agree that excluding the public and the press is a bad thing then they warrant a closer look and consideration for your vote. You should also ask them the question now, before the Open Meeting Lawsuit is concluded where there maybe a bandwagon to get on.

Campaign Trail Updates

In no particular order....

-One of the people from Allston/Brighton who has been supportive of me told me tonight that he doesn't put signs up in his window anymore because one time he supported a candidate who wasn't part of the "in" crowd and he suddenly started getting tickets for trash and parking. Previous to that he hadn't received any for 11 years. Democracy is in a sad state of affairs here in Boston when people are afraid to voice their support for someone. Hey, we're all democrats!!!

-I was bemused to see that John Connolly didn't write his own position paper on education according to the Herald. I did glance over it one night, and complemented John last week on putting out a more definitive statement, although I haven't had the time to look at it in any detail. Apparently John said a staffer had written the position paper and that was why there was an error about a person mentioned in the report.

-Speaking of position papers, a long time ago I was speaking with Patricia White who said she would have an education platform out "soon". I checked the website tonight and still nothing.

-Jim O'Sullivan from the Dorchester Reporter interviewed me this week and asked if I was talking alot about Sam Yoon for any particular reason on my blog, and I said no, it is just random who I run into out on the campaign trail. Jim, and the staff of the Reporter, are doing a great job of covering the election and they have profiles of all the candidates (except yoon, o'malley and me-coming next week) at Elsewhere on my blog is an article written in the spring by Jim exposing how the BRA is trying to rewrite the zoning code for 1/2 the city to help one politically connected family keep their home. Great journalism.

-Speaking of Sam, last week we were at a neighborhood meeting in the Leather District with local district candidate Susan Passoni. We were all asked a question about how to fix the streets and sidewalks in the neighborhood and in the city. I spoke about how having a city planning agency where we planned ahead 5 years and identified which streets would get redone was a professional, proactive way to bring better government to everyday issues. Susan spoke similarly about professional management. Sam said that people should call him up, and that 5 people could come to his office and he would get their sidewalks fixed. I give Sam a mulligan on this one (we all flub answers on the campaign trail), because what he was describing is just the same old world politics of getting things done because of who you know. I hope that is not what they are teaching at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

-Most of the candidates were at a fundraiser tonight for the Presentation School in Brighton. Shirley Kressel was asking all of them where they stood on eminent domain takings of private property to give to other private property owners. Patricia White answered something to the effect of "not being comfortable discussing that issue" but that she would have a position paper out on that soon. Once again, if the voters would like someone who will discuss important issues facing them my number is 617-267-2453. In the meantime, we'll look out for that position paper.

-Ed Flynn, real gentleman on the campaign. He thought I was getting married last saturday so he called to congratulate me. Nice. But I'm getting married in September. I mentioned I only had two events to go to that day and he INCREDIBLY kindly told me about 4 other events to go to. He maybe short on details in his campaign, but he is honest, hardworking and knows the city. I would like to see a website or some details about where he stands on stuff.

-Steve Murphy. Turns out we dropped some campaign literature at his house in Hyde Park last week. I didn't know it was his house (a very nice contemporary home I might add, that he told me he had upgraded when they bought it) when we dropped off the literature. One of the residents on the street said to me "do you know who's house that is? That's Steve Murphy's place". I don't think I'll get Steve's vote, but I thought he'd get a laugh out of getting my campaign literature.
Something he doesn't have. Out on the campaign trail he just hands out his business card. No literature. No website that I'm aware of. I find it hard to believe in this day and age people would vote for someone who has absolutely no stated positions on anything. How do you hold him accountable??? It sounds like Louise Day Hicks "You know where I stand...." except that I don't.

Monday, August 15, 2005

More City Assets Thrown Away Today

Today's episode concerns the Forsyth Institute.

The basic rundown is this. The Forsyth at 140 the Fenway wanted to trade the city of Boston a parcel of land that has easements and is stuck between two buildings that they admittedly have not been maintaining for 40 years in exchange for a parcel of land that the City owns which has no buildings around it, and is actually abutted on two sides by City Parkland. The square footage is equal.

In addition, the Forsyth actually paved over the city owned land 35 years ago and has been using it for their own use for all that time.

Where can I get 45 parking spaces in downtown Boston for free for 35 years???? SIGN ME UP!!!

How do I get deals like these, you might ask??

You hire Attorney Larry Dicara, former Boston City Councilor. When you need something done in this city, he is the man to call. An insider's insider. And a gentleman. Everywhere I run into him around the city, he says hello, asks how the campaign is going and is genuinely friendly. I believe he even signed my nomination papers. I am not being factitious when I say that if I wanted to get something done in Boston, I would hire him.

So, in a nutshell at Parks hearing where testimony was given as to how the public wasn't notified about this meeting, about how the city wasn't getting proper value for its money, and where Councilor Turner, and representatives from Senator Wilkinson's office, Councilor Arroyo's office and others asked to have the vote delayed, they voted on it and gave the Forsyth the property.

With no backpayment due.

With no payment for the switch of property.

With a proposed 9 story building which will exceed the zoning limit of 70 feet. But they have already spoke with the BRA and have some ideas on how to get it done. With no plan in regards the groundwater issues with putting a 3 story garage underground.

When I asked the Forsysth Institution representative if ANYONE from the city had asked them to back pay for the use of the land for 35 years, he said not one person asked them for the money.

I estimate conservatively, 40 spaces at $100 per month in 2005 dollars is $1,680,000 in back rent owed. They plan on spending 80 million dollars on the new building. In addition they have done a minimal at best job of providing free dental care to the children of Boston as is required in their charter to retain their 501(c)3 status.

Remember the buck stops with the man at the top on this one, and the Mayor's office was there (as well as a letter from councilor ross in support) to speak in support of the proposal.

Don't ever believe our current elected officials when they tell you there is not money for education or the children. They are giving it away by the bucket full to the rich and connected in Boston.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Thursday's Hearing in Suffolk Superior Court on Open Meeting Law

I will write more about this later, but the long and short of it is that the City's Motion to Dismiss our lawsuit appears likely to be denied and we have a pre-trial conference for October 11, 2005.

I literally cried at home thursday night, thinking about the injustice of the arguments that Mark Sweeney the attorney for the City Council was making. His final grasp at a straw to the judge was that the city council can meet in closed meetings with the BRA because in regards to the BRA the city council had no more authority than a common man in the street. The judge looked at him, smiled, and said "I don't buy that".

I would like to repeat. THE ATTORNEY REPRESENTING THE CITY COUNCIL ARGUED BEFORE THE COURT THAT THE CITY COUNCIL HAS NO SAY WHATSOEVER OVER THE BRA. In other words, the citizens through their elected officials the city council have no say whatsoever over the planning and development of their neighborhoods and their city.

There are only 3 possible outcomes at this point:

1) We settle with the City Council and give them the opportunity to take back power over the BRA (we sent them this olive branch weeks ago)

2) We have a trial and the City Councilors get called under oath to testify about what they do behind closed doors

3) They delay and deny using whatever legal shenanigans they can for as long as they can before they finally admit to wrongdoing so they don't have to testify.

Only option 1 is in the best interests of the city and of the citizens. I have hope, but not a lot of faith, that they will have the courage to put the interests of the City ahead of their own.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Waste, and City Jobs for Suburban Youth

You don't have to go far in this city to find wasted money and hypocrisy. Yesterday the city brought it right to my front door.

All this week the City has been installing new lightposts on my block, and they are beautiful! Yesterday, as I was walking home I noticed a young white man on a ladder doing touch up painting on one of the posts. (I started out in construction painting to put myself through college, and painted, stained and varnished my entire house so I know a bit about the field) He was an okay painter, far from perfect with that suburban teen age boy look.

So I went over and struck up a conversation with him, and indeed he had a job for the contractor (not the city), and sure enough he lives in Weymouth and didn't know the name of the street he was working on, nor the names of any of the other streets he was working on. I thanked him and walked inside.

My City of Boston teenager Amanda was inside and I said, "Amanda, would you like to find out where all the jobs that you and your friends in the city can't get are?" She replied yes, and I took her to the window and pointed out the young man. I said, go outside and talk to him, ask him where he is from, who he works for, how much he is getting paid and if there are other jobs available.

So, she went out to do some investigative journalism. She found out that he was 18 years old, was from Weymouth, got the job through his dad , was being paid $14 dollars an hour ($2 dollars an hour more than the son of the head of Boston Water and Sewer!), and that they had just hired a bunch of guys from the south shore, he thought maybe from the fall river/new bedford area). She came in with disbelief.

I told her, "this is what I'm talking about", when city hall tells you they don't have any money or jobs for the kids in the city they are not being honest. They are giving city contracts to firms that hire suburban youth and pay them substantially more than the people in the city are ready, willing and able to work for.

All you have to do is look out your front door.

Sidewalk Sam

I met one of the icons of Boston yesterday, Sidewalk Sam. He was part of an arts in the park festival at Titus Sparrow Park. I first became aware of Sidewalk Sam in the early 80's when he was doing his chalk pictures on the sidewalks of the Boston Common and downtown Boston. He would do fantastic renditions of famous painters such as Renoir and others. They were a wonderful surpise as you were walking around the city, and yet another thing that made Boston the unique and wonderful place it is.

I recently had noticed one of his works on Massachusetts Ave. near the Symphony. It was done with paint so was not nearly so temporal. It was a mural of ocean creatures and has a banner of New England Aquarium. It also has a tag line of "Thomas Menino, Mayor Boston".
I had pointed it out to my fiance as another example of how the Mayor needs to have his name, and control over everything in Boston. Very similar to the cult of personalities such as Stalin, Mao, etc. who erected monuments to themselves using the people's money.

So, with a bit of trepidation and a bit of tongue in cheek I asked him "how did you go from being this great example of bringing art and culture to the people, not just art for the elite, to selling out to the Man?"

He laughed and said the mayor had summoned him into his office and told him that he was defacing public property and that if he wanted to continue he would have to do it in conjunction with them. So, they got him some proper sidewalk paint from DPW and now they approve the drawings he does.

This really broke the ice and we ended up having a long conversation and really connecting. We talked about what a waste of money it is to put the mayor's name on the blue oval signs around the city when they don't fund the arts, and how none of the city concilors speak out about this waste of money. We talked about how society is becoming more stratified between the rich and the poor, and how change is clearly not going to come from the top but how it needs to come from the people.

I invited him to my house for the open house on the 26th, and we would be honored to have this gentleman here, who is so kind and loving to all the kids and families that were there, so encouraging of people's talent and potential. What a shame that the political machine is putting a bit of a muzzle on this shining example of Boston's greatness.

Please check out his website at and help him any way you can bring people together and express your artist inside!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Don't trust the media!!!! Money & Politics

Well the last 36 hours have been quite the experience. I have a few more notches of cynicysm in my belt.

I have always planned on putting a large chunk of money into this campaign. I knew that I would be completing a development project around August, and when that project was done I could put some dinero into the campaign. I had told some of the other candidates how jealous I was of them because while they were out fundraising and campaigning I was often working because I had prior commitments. I got the Certificate of Occupancy on Bubbles Carwash today so that is another project completed.

Yesterday at around noon I put a check into my campaign account for $200,000.00. At around 2 p.m. my fiance and campaign treasurer put the information on line as required. Within a few hours the Globe's top city reporter Andrea Estes had called, followed by Kevin Rothstein at the Herald and Jim O'Sullivan from Dorchester.
I knew that people look at the campaign finance accounts, but EVERY HOUR???? Does the press have anything better to do? Maybe do some profiles on the candidates about where they stand on the issues, or some of the BRA land giveaway meetings. My positions and actions haven't changed, did I really become that interesting because I loaned my campaign money.

So, the Herald did their first story about me (nothing about the issues), the Globe did a fairly large article and found a photo of me that made me look like a fat Cat. I actually had someone from ISD call me and ask if I'd put on a lot of weight (NO! --I have to look good for the wedding next month!)
Today some more of the local papers called me, and a ton of salespeople offering me advertising space, then Fox 25 News came and did an interview.

If there is one thing (and there are many things) that I'm doing wrong in this campaign is that I'm not handling the media well. I like to be open and honest with people, to answer their questions, invite them into my home to make them feel comfortable and offer them a drink.
I expect the same from others. I have clearly found that the press is not to be trusted, especially the larger the outlet. They are usually not about journalism, or investigative reporting, they are about sensationalism. My fiance watched my interview with Joe Batenfield of Fox, as I talked on and on about my points, housing, education and access to government. Did any of that get into the piece on the evening news? Of course not, they edited it down to a point where they completely missed the point. It disrespected the viewers and myself by not presenting the issues and showing just a hollow view of who I am and why I am running.
Joe said to me when we were first talking that "20 years in this business have made me incredibly cynical." Well, Joe as the song says if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. And after seeing your segment, I think the scales are tipping towards the latter. I'm sure finding out that John Tobin might enjoy a ride in a sidecar is important information the voters can use. Don't hold your breath for that Edward R. Murrow award.
The press is so hypocritical. They call out in their opinion pages "why don't we have better candidates?" "Why are all the candidates from the same political families?" "Why can't we find people that don't just speak in soundbites?" Then when people come along and run they virtually ignore the issues that candidates might bring up to just talk about their background, or their idiosyncracies, while making sure to always follow the money not the issues. That is why we ended up with a presidential election of one rich white guy from a wealthy connected family who went to Yale versus another wealthy white guy from a connected family who went to Yale.

Well, anyway there is no such thing as bad press, and hopefully people will perhaps be curious enough about me to look at the website to judge me on more than soundbites.

New campaign rules: nothing but the issues!!!

On a positive note, I was on William Pena's show tonight "Tu opinion Cuenta". We got 1/2 an hour of time to talk about the issues with Clara translating wonderfully, like a lyric orchestra. She should be the candidate, so polished and photogenic, usually choosing just the right word(s).
When I get a forum to speak that can't be edited down, I feel most at ease because my points can come out. Muchas Gracias, Senor Pena.

On a second positive note, I had a wonderful time today at the Boston Home Inc meeting with a group of physically handicapped but mentally quite astute assemblage of citizens. They invited me to join them at the Concert Sunday in Dorchester Park. We will have a procession to check out the condition of the handicapped walkways before enjoying the show.
I feel so much more at ease with people who appreciate the gift of life, and how precious it is. I am not at ease with the pushy and entitled who always want more, more, more. The meek shall inherit the earth, I'd like to see it happen sooner rather than later.

Questions for the Candidates from the Elect Kevin Crew

Due to popular demand, we are posting the questions that Kate and Amanda are trying to ask all the candidates. So far, none have answered or even set up times to answer the questions. They are finding out as constituents and voters how unaccessable city officials (even those hoping to become city officials!) are.
By the way, everyone is invited to my house for an open house meet the candidate night on August 26th at 218 west springfield street in Boston. Come ask me your tough questions!!!

Here are the questions, that the kids and I and came up with:

1) What specific changes will you try and make in the school system inthe next 2 years to make it better?
2) Suggest a book you have recently read that would help a high schoolstudent prepare for college.
3) What steps will you take to reach out to the community?
4) What specific legislation will you work on to increase the supplyof housing in the city?
5) What are some of your goals to eliminate teen violence?
6) How will you work to bridge the racial divides in the city?
7) Name one way the mayor could do a better job.
8) As a councilor will you participate in "rolling meetings" of sixcouncilors or less that are not open to the press or public?
9) If you become Mayor, how many terms would you serve?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Unity Public Service Announcement

To make a statement about how important voting is and having your voice heard, I had the idea to get all the candidates for Mayor and City Council to get together on City Hall Plaza and do a short promotional thing for the local TV and radio stations.
Show that although we may disagree about some issues, we agree that voting is a fundamental building block of society and that everyone should exercise that right.

I mentioned it to Matt O'Malley and Ed Flynn tonight and they thought it was a good idea. Maybe we can get the weight of the Mayor behind it.


People in Roxbury Getting the BRA runaround too!!

The city really has come a long away in how it deals with race. City Hall has become much more equitable. The BRA is an equal opportunity taker of anyone's property or neighborhood, whether you are white, black, brown, yellow or pink.

Tonight was the Dudley Square Library, where they were trying to get an RFP passed without letting the people see it. Supposedly, so that no developer would get a leg up on the competition. So, they had a draft RFP that only the neighborhood council could see, but the public couldn't. As Chuck Turner said to me, all the developer's have a copy of it already. So, the only people who have seen it (and I am one) are the "select" council, the BRA, and some developers. Why should the public be allowed to see what is being built in their neighborhood??? The BRA certainly doesn't think so.
They don't want the public to see that on page 10 of the Draft RFP there is a provision for a PDA which would render the rest of the RFP pointless if the right connected developer comes along and wants to put some huge thing in there, or if an institution (Northeastern??? who is handing out Ph. D's to BRA members like the Mayor hands out face paint at a neighborhood gatherings) wants to build dormitory space with maybe a few shops on the first floor.
Thankfully the thing was tabled, but you truly get the feeling the BRA is waiting for the right (wrong?) people not to be at one of these meetings to protest, and then the deal will be done.

The RFP should be written so that the Boston Jobs Policy will be enforced (which it rarely is), so that jobs will go to Bostonians, and secondly and more importantly without any PDA's being allowed so that what is supposed to be built gets built. And if the neighborhood doesn't want any colleges there, they need to spell it out SPECIFICALLY.

Don't get taken by the MAN!

The Elect Kevin Crew!!!

Kevin's Angels---Brunelli, Kate and Amanda!!!! BIG Thanks for your hard work on the campaign!

Here are Kate, Amanda, Kevin, Brunelli, and Jaime ready for a day of meeting the people!

These kids are all exemplary examples of the kind of talent we have in the Boston Public Schools. We need to get more of these kids jobs, and active in our communities. Who wouldn't want to hire them?

"Kate, do me a favor and don't go changing just to try and please me!!!"

Sunday, August 07, 2005

BRA stealing public park in Fenway for private use

Here is another letter I have received from a concerned constituent. I have crisscrossed the city and the citizens are really waking up to how the people have no say over the planning and development of this city. They answer to no one. They have public meetings which are just a dog and pony show, and then do the old bait and switch at the last minute. In the last week alone, I have seen huge discontent at meetings in South Boston, Fort Point, Brighton and now in the Fenway. I will be at the meeting on August 15th at 10 am at 1010 Mass. Ave. I hope that you would to if you are concerned about the BRA giving OUR park land to a private interest without any public comment. I am opposed to this on many different levels. The process is wrong and flawed. The compensation is inadequate if the deal does get done. I am opposed to lessening the Park Space in this city, we need to increase it.

This city continually shows that it is available to the highest, most connected bidder.

Get UP, Stand up for your rights!







Summary of Week in Codman Square

It was a fascinating week in Codman Square this week. In many ways it was a microcosm of how a whole community works. There were many disparate groups involved, with all having at the minimum a common interest in the corner of Washington & Lyndhurst.

There were politicians and preachers all with different agenda's, not necessarily in line with addressing the core problems. Some politicians showed up for 15 minutes, got their face on TV and were not to be seen again. Others came and offered support, seemed genuinely interested in the community, took part in some neighborhood walks and left the door open. Felix Arroyo spent at least 4 nights there, walking and sleeping over. His actions speak volumes.
I spent Sunday night sleeping over, stopped by on monday night, and tuesday and thursday until 1 a.m. Saturday I came by for the picnic in Codman Square. It is a different neighborhood by day and night. By day there is a pretty active business district, with street vendors and lots of traffic. By night, there is an unseemly amount of drug dealing going on. I had someone offer to sell me OxyContin while I was sitting on my motorcycle with "Kevin McCrea, Boston City Council" written on the side of the motorcycle. I reported him to the police who pulled him in. He was homeless with a long police record, they let him go as he had nothing on him, but gave him a stern warning.
I offered to help Pastor Wall set up the basketball game that had been promised (I refereed basketball games in college in Indiana, and they take their hoops seriously!). When I saw him Thursday night he said it had been set up, but apparently something fell through because it didn't happen. It is a shame, because the Area D-4 police who are having games versus the kids in the projects in my neighborhood are making great strides in their outreach to the locals. Sports is a great ice breaker, in getting to build bridges between people.

I would like to say that I was most impressed this week with MBTA Chief Joseph Carter, and local police Captain Frank Armstrong. Both were very knowledgeable, very realistic, very serious men who take their jobs seriously, and who truly care for their communities. They could care less about the publicity, they just want to do a good professional job of being responsive to their communities, and to keeping the streets safe. Knowing that men like this are getting to positions of authority make me feel good about the direction their groups are going.

I'd also like to say hi to young Malcolm who lives on Washington Street and had to go to bed before I could bring my motorcycle over. I hope to see you later and that you do get a motorcycle! Also, it was nice to meet 60 year old Carol who my fiance Clara and I walked home to 64 Bowdoin Street from Washington Street. Congratulations on learning to read at such an advanced age, and happy birthday. The preachers and politicians shouldn't pass people like you by.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Where's the phone call Jack Hart???

Jack Hart told me he would get back to me this week about when his Ward would meet.

It is Friday at 7 p.m.

No Call.....

Thursday, August 04, 2005

National Night Out exhange with Flaherty...

The mayor was gracious enough to allow our Elect Kevin team to join him on a tour of the National Night Out sites around the city tuesday night. We hit 8 to 10 spots around the city and were joined by Commissioner O'Toole, Councilors Hennigan, Murphy, and Flaherty and candidates Flynn, O'Malley and Connolly went to a number of the events as well.
I can see how these elected officials could get used to these perks. Zooming around the city not stopping at any lights or stop signs was a lot of fun. Bruni, Amanda, Kate and fiance Clara joined me on the tour and we had a great time. We were playing Bob Marley and James Brown on our mega-speaker, getting the people rocking and smiling and jammin' was a great. What's a parade without music!! We are the campaign putting the Fun back in Fundraising!!!

Anyway, I met D.A. Conley for the first time. His office is the one that sent the letter to Flaherty and the City Council telling them not to have any more closed door meetings, before they continued having them. (Conley is a former city councilor)

As Conley and I were walking to our cars, Councilor Flaherty walked by and the following conversation ensued:

Conley "You're suing the City Councilor?" (as he pointed to Flaherty)

McCrea "He won't even shake my hand"

Flaherty "Drop your suit against me and I'll sit down with you and shake your hand"

McCrea "Meet with me and I'll give you back power over the BRA!"

Flaherty "Who needs it?"

So, apparently Councilor Flaherty does not believe that there should be any citizen oversight over the BRA who control all development and planning in the City. Who needs democracy?

Monday, August 01, 2005

A night with Pastor Bruce Wall

I had seen Pastor Bruce Wall's call to take back his community last week and had contacted him offering my support. I had never met him, but had read about him for years.

Last night was the first night of the retaking of Lyndhurst Street.

5 pm--Kick-off---Pastor Wall started us out praying for the street corner, and we all sang some inspirational songs. There were about a dozen people and half a dozen press. Rev. Wall, spoke as well as some community leaders, Rev. Rivers, Felix Arroyo and I.
(where were all the politicians? where was the mayor? Here is a man putting himself into harms way, to fight back against drugs, and all the people who talk about the need for this aren't there)

We went and blessed one of the known drug houses in the neighborhood, and then we blessed the apartment we were going to be staying in, that had been donated by a local CDC for the week. It was clean, but sparse. Felix Arroyo announced that he too would stay the night, something I had offered as well.

During this time Maura Hennigan showed up and made a speech just before we blessed the apartment, then a bit later (when the press was in full swing) Senator Jack Hart showed up.
At this point the groups (and more and more people had begun to show up so there were around 20-30 residents and a dozen reporters) started to split up. I noticed the politicians stayed out front and talked to the reporters, as some of the community people who had just been praised went back to their stoop on Lyndurst Street. So, I went to Lyndhurst Street and talked to the residents about what the bad houses were, what they did for work, how to try and take control of the neighborhood by making the city accountable. Take dates, times, pictures phone numbers, call the police and ask for names and badge numbers so if you say there is no response, you have real information to pass on. They said, what is going to happen in a week? How can we rat someone out when we know something is going to happen in retaliation. They want to take control of their neighborhood, but they are skeptical that the city will help them.

Aside----when I saw Jack Hart in the hallway and shook hands, I told him that we hadn't been able to get in touch with his Ward in South Boston. He asked why would I want to get in touch with them? I said "well, because I'm a democratic candidate and I'd like to talk to the democrats in the city" He indicated that they don't regularly meet and only if there is something to discuss. I said "well, there is a city election going on." He said that he would get back to me this week and tell me if or when they were going to be doing anything.
I felt like I was talking to the politburo chief. Why would they want to have a meeting to let candidates present their ideas, they know who they are going to vote for already.
(We have been trying to contact their ward for months and had been told to contact Sen. Hart, whose office never gave us any information about when a ward meeting would be. We have been having this problem with many wards throughout the city, I'm not sure democracy is alive and well in the cradle of liberty)

Later on last night we convened at the apartment, around 10 pm, the guys go takeout (from Quincy). There were about 8 or 9 of us, with Pastor Wall and his young son Jeremy, Felix and I, and friends of the ministry. After watching the nightly news, we went back out for another neighborhood walk. We spent about 2.5 hours walking the street en masse.

What we found:
-Trash everywhere. The square is disgustingly squalid. It shows how much the Mayor knows the people in this neighborhood don't count. Usually when he knows that an event is going to go on (like the Puerto Rican festival earlier in the day) he will send out the street sweepers and make the city look clean in that area for the press. That token of caring wasn't even spent in this corner of the city.

-Graffitti. Many of the buildings, businesses and structures had graffitti all over them. This includes the post office, which has had its public light on Lyndhurst Street broken, so that area is in darkness.

-People. We spoke to the people around the neighborhood who were suspicious at first but supportive after we had spoken to them. But still skeptical.

-Police. The police had assigned a car to keep an eye on us. We were traveling as a group. The squad car stayed with us for about 20 minutes but then left, not to return. Later, when our group was talking with a group of young adults on a side street so that a passer by would see a large group of blacks hanging out on the sidewalk, a group of police officers swooped in from both sides of the one way street, one group in an unmarked car, just to see what was going on.
What was going on was that two groups of people from the neighborhood were getting together and talking. In fact, they had even been praying together less than 20 minutes earlier. A lively set of talks was going on, talking about drugs, race, racial profiling, the problems of getting jobs in the community, how hard it is to stay clean when the street is dragging you back in, meanwhile the members of our group were talking to them in their own language about how to get help, how to be and stay positive.
Amazingly, even with the disturbance by the police the positive vibe continued and the talks went on well past midnight.

-An abandoned kitten. (More later)

-Thanks. I spoke to two women who were walking down the street at around 1 a.m. who said that this was the quietest the street had been for as long as they could remember. Usually there are gunshots going on, and you couldn't walk down Washington Street. They were very nice and offered to buy me a drink at the 24 hour store. They were thankful, and hopeful it would continue.

-Drugs. While members of the group were talking to the youths on the side street, I meandered over to Washington Street to see what was going on. (Big Thanks to MBTA Chief Carter who kept his wary eye on me all night, afraid this young white guy was going to get into trouble. However, part of my childhood was spent as the only white kid in a neighborhood where drugs were being used and sold all the time, as was (is?) the case in the south end where I am now, and the surroundings were not unfamiliar)
I wanted to find out where the drugs were coming from, and so I asked a couple people whom I thought were likely selling drugs and sure enough, in a few minutes time I had two guys competing for my drug sale. One man was a bald black man, who "recognized" me from the hood. He indicated there was an apartment in the brick buildings (where we were staying) where I could get anything I wanted, marijuana, cocaine and it was just two blocks away as he indicated in the direction.
The other couple, and the one I first started talking to was hispanic, he in his 30's, she maybe a bit older. They were looking for the kitten she had seen. So, I was helping them look for the kitten and building up a sense of trust (and acting a bit odd). They asked if I was a cop. When we couldn't find the cat, the woman returned to the park in Codman square. Then the negotiating began between myself, the black guy and the hispanic guy. The hispanic guy told me that I could get whatever I wanted, that the woman gets everything delivered to her and I could have it there in now time. The black guy kept saying he could deliver the product quicker, he was just up the street. Unfortuneately, or fortuneately, I only had $10 bucks on me. A police cruiser zoomed by and we began to break up, with me keeping my options open with both guys so I could confer with the group on what to do.
Mind you, this was happening out in the open on Washington Street while the Chief was watching me from across the street, and the other group members were 50 yards up the sidestreet in my view. You know you have a drug problem when a white guy in a black neighborhood can get whatever he wants on a street where its been publicly announced that there is going to be a neighborhood watch and an increased police presence.

--Around 1:30 we returned to our beds, said goodnight to a Boston Globe reporter and debriefed. I fell asleep on my sleeping bag on my linoleum floor in just a couple minutes.

I'll be back later this week and give an update. But this is where more public officials should be because this is a disease wrecking the whole community. I salute Pastor Wall and all the guys and members of the community coming out to take back the 'hood.