Sunday, November 06, 2005

Sunday Morning sNews

Did you read the article in the Globe about Maura and the Mayor's comments on development?

Does anyone really read or pay attention to what the Mayor says and does? When asked what his plans are for development he says "why should I tell you before the election?"

He treats this city like his monarchy, who are we people to question him, and why should we be allowed to know what is going to happen in the future? The reason big companies are leaving Boston, and no new ones are coming in, is that real companies are headed by extremely intelligent people who make informed rational decisions about their business. People like that don't do business with people who run closed door, behind the scene negotiations, where essentially bribery and leverage are used to get things done. The only reason companies do come to places like that is if the economic benefits outweigh the corruption costs. For example international aerospace companies paying off people in 2nd and 3rd world companies to get business done, or a company going into an absolutely corrupt place like Indonesia or Nigeria to take advantage of cheap labor or natural resources.

But Boston is not competing against Indonesia. We are competing with Austin, Texas, San Francisco, Taunton, Billerica. If a business can set up headquarters or manufacturing there, with cheaper housing, and not have to deal with the Byzantine Boston City Hall, they are going to do it.

Menino asked to name a developer who is afraid of City Hall. Well, I am a developer, and although I am not afraid of City Hall I am here to say that I tried to get in touch with the Mayor to build affordable housing and there was no response. Further, that my dealings with the BRA have not been in an open and honest manner. That when they say they care about affordability and inclusion they are just mouthing the words because what really matters is political connections, not proper planning or what is good for the community, or what the community wants.

After I completed a project on Highland St in Roxbury for the BRA on time, on budget, with 20% of the units being affordable, and well over the city recommendations for minority and resident workers (we were short on women in construction, but we made an effort working with the city's office to try and hire some) I was invited to a Mayor's luncheon on building affordable housing. He was shaking hands afterwards and when he came to me I asked if I could get 10 minutes of his time to talk about how we could do more. He blew me off. I went to his office and requested a meeting, they said to write a letter requesting a meeting. I did. No response, ever. No phone call, no letter.

When the Globe did a story about me they called his office and asked about the response to the letter. Harry Collins from the BRA called the Globe back. They asked, why are you calling us, we called the Mayor?

Globe: Is he some kind of slumlord?
Collins: No
Globe: Were there any problems with his projects for the BRA?
Collins: No
Globe: So, why are you calling?
Collins: Well, at a community meeting where we asked the developers not to talk
about the community benefits they were going to give, he talked about the community
benefits his company was going to give.

So, the Mayor gets questioned why he won't meet with a local developer who builds affordable housing and hires local residents and minorities and he has the head of the BRA call back and complain that Kevin McCrea exercises his first amendment rights!

I read the article about 438 city workers giving money to Menino, and 2 to Maura. I had city workers give me cash as well, not wanting their identities to be known to the administration supporting someone so outspoken. It is real, there is fear of reprisal out there.

I saw the Phoenix's election issue. As usual, the best coverage of the city comes from them. Although I disagree with him on a lot of issues, Ed Flynn is the most honest of the 8 candidates and his response in the Phoenix put me over the top: asked to give a grade of the Mayor he said "the people of the city get an A for caring about the city, I give the Mayor a C, and I give the City Council an F for standing up to the Mayor and questioning him on things" I couldn't have said it better myself. Ed knows the BRA is corrupt, he is not afraid to stand up to and oppose the Mayor and cares about the neighborhoods not the big downtown developers, he has flaws as we all do, but he gets my third vote, with Matt and Felix.

It's down to Yoon, Murphy or Connolly. Shirley Kressel asked me who she should look into, now that I'm out of the race and I told her that Yoon and O'Malley are the two closest to her positions (she already supported Arroyo and I). Maybe I'll write myself in to get 1 vote!

Ron Dellums running for Mayor of Oakland is a good thing. I've met him and very impressed.

I'm back to New Orleans this week, starting to help in the reconstruction effort.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Post-Wilma news coverage turns TV into a radio star
Sunday, November 06, 2005 Posted 8:09 AM GMT Dining by candlelight is vastly overrated.
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