I (and all the other candidates) will be incredibly busy for the next few weeks, so forgive me if I can't blog as often. Plus I'm getting married two weeks from saturday, put an offer in on another building monday, and am still dealing with the turnover of some apartments in the Sept. 1 rental onslaught.
-Driving down hyde park ave yesterday, not entirely sure where the event I was going to was when I saw the Mayor's expedition in my rear view mirror. I stuck out my hand and waved, they pulled alongside and the mayor rolled down his window, I said "are you going to the kindergarten event," he said yes they were, I told him I would follow them. Thank you very much Mr. Mayor. He definitely understands the importance of treating all people with dignity, and even though I am probably the most outspoken against some of his policies he is always gracious enough to be nice to me, and to mention my name when we are events together. Again, thanks for being a gentleman.
However, at that kindergarten event he unveiled some new yellow caution signs that will go outside all the schools, warning people that there are children nearby. Good idea. But, all of these signs have "Mayor Tom Menino" printed on them. BAD IDEA. There is a chance, however slight, that he might lose the election in two months. Plus, someday he won't be mayor and we will have to change all of those signs. This is pure arrogance, self-love (self loathing???), and a waste of taxpayers money. You can't say we don't have money for schools, police, etc. when you show that you are willing to waste taxpayer money on yourself. Where are the city councilors who are supposed to be watching the budget on this.
The labor council endorsed Menino, Flaherty, Murphy and O'Malley.
-Report in the Globe today that Boston is the most expensive City in America to live. We need a housing policy, not a coyote policy.
-I have been thanked by a number of elderly people when I go to talk to them for not "dumbing down" my speech, and for not trying to buy their vote with trinkets, candy and pastries. Many candidates such as Connolly, Yoon, Hennigan, etc. bring these things with them when speaking to the elderly to try and "buy" their vote. I refuse to pander (even though many, many political people have told me to do this) I believe it is not respectful of their intelligence and their care for democracy to do it. Of course, as a guest it is always nice to bring a gift but I think most of the electorate understand that it is a huge expense to buy a present for 600,000 people that you hope to speak to.
-I was watching the Mayor, Paul Grogan and others speak the other night on TV. The crowd had many Menino payroll people, some not involved in education at all. This is one of the political tricks, to pack a hall with your paid employees/supporters while they should be working for the people. Menino has been very effective at getting neighborhood people on his side, often by giving them jobs in the administration. The Main Streets program is an excellent example of what is supposed to be a type of partnership with business but it is filled with people he's appointed. That is why business owners such as the west roxbury business association often form their own groups to lobby for their needs because they sometimes are different from the city's position. For example, last night I spoke in West Roxbury about a proposed development at the old parking lot. They are trying to exceed the density and parking required and put in predominately residential housing in a mixed/use area. Approximately 90 percent of the residents are against it including most of the business owners, mostly because there is a parking problem and the businesses (who just lost 63 parking spaces the city gave away in a backroom deal) need easy costumer access to survive. The local business association does not agree completely with what main streets says.
Many people came up to me after the meeting and thanked me for speaking and explaining a bit about the real estate development process and why allowing zoning variances like this raises everyone's taxes in the area. John Tobin was kind enough to explain a bit of the background of the building to me, which I appreciate. I give councilor Tobin credit for being honest with the residents by letting them know that their taxes will be going up next year (probably 10%) However, I disagree with him that the answer is to take convert commercial space and build more residential. We need to encourage higher paying commercial tenants. The issue (as he understands) is more complicated. A bigger problem than this development is giving away city land such as the 63 parking spaces on centre street without a transparent accounting of where the money goes, a deal he was in favor of. Gibran Rivera thanked me for explaining the economics of the development and said that I had earned his vote.
Oh yeah, back to that Mayor's speech. One of his aids was speaking about how great the schools were and she recognized a number of faces in the crowd, but she forgot the principal of her own kids school. Give her a pass on that, I often forget names of people I met 20 minutes earlier. However, she talked about how she wanted to send her kids to public schools. (white, attractive blond woman, quite articulate) And her friends said to try charter schools, or pilot schools but no, she wanted her kids to get the full public school experience so she went looking around for a school that she liked. And she found one and now her kids are at that school.
WHOA!!!!! Since when did we have a school system where you can choose which school your kids go to???? We have busing in this city, and I hear from parents all the time that they can't send their kids where they want to go. I met a woman with twins at the welcome to kindergarten program at the Boston Children's museum whose twins were assigned to different schools and she couldn't get an answer of how to change it for the last two months from BPS. She went there to ask the mayor or the superintendent for help.
Maybe there are different rules if you work for the Mayor????
By the way, high school was supposed to start today, but I just got a call last night from one of my high school students working on my campaign saying that school opening was now delayed until monday because of some problem. Can't wait to hear about that (he better not be skipping school!)
Had a friendly debate with councilor Murphy on Joe Heisler's show the other day about the new keg rule. I spoke about how the city council was spending time on tiny issues and not seeing the BIG picture. I said we need more cops to keep streets quiet and deal with late night incidents but Mr. Murphy talked about staffing levels being ok. I disagree, and the Herald just had an article about how there is a law on the books that there should be 2500 cops, (there are about 2000).
Matt O'Malley was slammed in the Herald Sunday "Door Matt" (which I thought a bit unfair) talked of how Matt is using 2003 stationary (penny pinching--my kind of guy! and good for the environment) and is touting that the Herald has him winning a seat. The Herald exposed that they were just reporting on a poll taken by Matt's polling person whom had collected I believe $8,700 from Matt's campaign. I am amazed by the consultants and spinmeister's that these candidates hire and the money spent on them. For a city council seat that has hardly any power since the existing council has voted away almost all power.
I am working on a TV ad, and a mailer to go out to the voters.
I am exhausted and the next 3 weeks will be killer. I am asking anyone willing to help to give us a call at 617-267-2453. We especially need people to stand at the polls on September 27th.