Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thoughts from Pakistan on an American redrawing of the Middle East

While I was traveling through Pakistan this time last year, I made the acquaintance of Fazi Zaka, a journalist and Rhodes Scholar from Pakistan. He recently sent me an article he wrote about a map you may have read about in the Armed Forces magazine about a hypothetical redrawing of the borders of the Middle East.

My time in Pakistan, the friends I made and the articles I've read show how diverse and different the country is which can not be painted in broad strokes as American politicians and press would like to. Just as a foreigner would be wrong to think they understand everything about Massachusetts politics by studying what Ted Kennedy writes, the truth is usually much more complicated and subtle understandings can make a large difference.

Here is Fazi's article:

Fasi Zaka

From my experience, there are two major sources of interest in cartography in Pakistan. The first is the Tolkien books the youth devour in their spare time, the second is the legendary smoking gun about a map made by the United States to eventually redraw the borders of Pakistan.

This US map has been talked about endlessly in the Senate in Pakistan, the media and personal conversations. It is the evidence of the sinister plan for the dismemberment of our country, and often the basis of the argument to end our cooperation with the US. There may be many valid arguments about ending our cooperation with the US based on moral grounds, but this map certainly isn’t one of them.

I first learned of the exact origin of this map from Babar Sattar’s article “Rethinking Conspiracies” which explained that it came from an article in the Armed Forces Journal. I believe some more space needs to be allocated to this particular issue.

The article in the Armed Forces Journal is by Ralph Peters, titled “Blood Borders” (How a better Middle East would look). I am not a security expert, and my first reaction was that the Armed Forces Journal was of dubious quality, but through checking references and the publisher profile I realized this was not true.

So this “devil map” actually came from a reputed source, though it must be clarified not from the US government itself. The map on its look looks sinister, it seems like a vision of an imperialist that takes territory away from Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Turkey and Yemen amongst others.

But one of the beauties of literacy is that reading helps give context. I imagine the map has been distributed widely without the accompanying article that explains this exercise in revised borders.

Ralph Peter’s article is about preventing bloodshed and creating peace. His explanation for this is that if this region’s map was redrawn into ethnic lines then more viable states would result that are not drawn into ethnic bloodshed.

Peter’s questions the love for the borders of certain countries, especially given the context that it was the Europeans who drew these nation states somewhat arbitrarily in an exercise of imperial power. Think of the lasting problems of Kashmir, of the Kurds amongst, and now the Sunni’s of Iraq. The only way their sentiment for self determination has been kept in check has been through brute force.

Interestingly, and this is not something that is highlighted, is that this map also has Israel losing territory and shows it back into its pre-1967 borders. Also it contains a suggestion for Mecca and Medina to be controlled by all the Islamic countries in the world as part of a consortium of rulers for pluralism.

The emphasis of the article is also quite strong on the possibility of realigning the Muslim world based on the basis of Islamic sects, that is avoiding the schisms one found in Iraq before and still finds in Syria and Turkey where rulers control with an iron fist because they subscribe to a different version of the Islamic faith, and the rigid control is to avoid the break out of violence in countries with simmering tensions, like Yugoslavia after Tito and Iraq after Saddam.

The map is essentially an intellectual exercise, one the author also hints at being impractical. Of course such a realignment of borders is wholly impractical, and also denies Muslims the possibility that they are able to overcome their differences and embrace pluralism.

Other than maybe the Kurds and some pockets of Shia-Sunni differences, the proposed map also overlooks the fact that several generations have been born within these borders drawn by arrogant imperial powers. If most of the people where changes have been proposed by Peter’s article are surveyed today, I am sure that most, with the probable exception of the Kurds, will not wish for any change in the territories that define their states.

But these criticisms aside of an article that is an exercise in an intellectual hypothesis, nowhere in it does one find the gist that it is an insidious attempt of western neo-imperialist sanction in creating a world in their image. This map is impractical, but it is not an imperialist one, in fact it seeks to reverse the injustices to some parts of the Middle East that were committed almost a century ago. However, the part where Pakistan ends up losing territory so the Pakhtuns can be part of Afghanistan (a movement no one backs today) and where Baluchies can have their own state with parts of Iran incorporated show an utter lack of understanding about the ends of the people resisting state machinery in Pakistan. It’s about underdevelopment, NOT about ethnic separation.

The map of Ralph Peters is now subject to greater scrutiny than was once intended, and incorrect inferences have been made. It is right to suspect the myopic aims of the West, especially after the Bush administration, but this map is not part of them.

How to solve the School Budget (shortfall) for next year

Again, just rational common sense. But as Mark Twain said, to paraphrase, "Common sense doesn't seem to be too common at Boston City Hall"

From the financial maniacal one:

The city collects $1.4 billion in property tax, $500 million from state aid and $500 million from fees/fines/interest etc. If state aid goes down by $50 million and other income goes down by an unprecedented 15% or $75 million, half of that will be offset by property tax increases under prop 2 1/2. So we will have a NET budget decrease next year of about $75 million in a virtual armageddon scenario. If the school system has to account for 1/3 - that's $25 million or a 3% budget cut. We put $10 million in this year to supplement high fuel costs that disappeared - save that and apply to next year, cut it from next year's budget and you are now only $5 million short of a flat budget. Lose 200 non-teacher heads through attrition in your 9000 person staff that has been growing over the past decade while the school population has been shrinking and add that to the savings from the 6 or so planned school closings and boom - balanced budget, no layoffs and the teachers get the raises they deserve. Now Tom that didn't hurt so bad, did it?

Thoughts from an anonymous City employee

In response to one of my blog posts, a City Employee who I deal with on a professional basis sent the following:

Sad truth is, Menino once inspired me (back in the early 90s which is why I went to work for the city) but politics and power can have egregious effects on even the most idealistic ones (enter, stage left, my old boss). I wonder how many talented people leave government because of the pinheads running the show. The one thing any politician is good at is getting elected, it doesn't mean they'll be any good at what they're elected to do. Hence you would have been a good and effective City Councillor but getting elected is another skill set. I sure hope Obama is the exception, JFK and Clinton are the only ones in my lifetime who were such exceptions.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Contribute to the Campaign to Elect Kevin McCrea before 2009!

You only have two days left to contribute to my campaign before the end of the year.

Please send checks to "committee to elect Kevin McCrea" at 218 west springfield street, boston, ma 02118.

Remember you can only donate $500 per year, so if you were thinking of giving me a $1000 handshake, you should split it up into two equal handshakes of $500, one now and one after the stroke of midnight wednesday!

Thanks for the support!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"City Council has different ethical standards than Congress"

I called up Councilor Feeney's office last week to get some clarification about the hiring of the ex-judge at $500 an hour to look into Councilor Turner. A $50,000 price tag has been bandied about in the press, but Feeney's spokesperson said that it wasn't correct. In fact, the City still hadn't signed a contract with the guy.

Now call me crazy, but usually you don't announce to the press that you have signed some one up to do a job, until you actually have signed someone up to do a job. That kind of gives the other party all the bargaining leverage. If the City tries to negotiate hard on an issue, the judge could threaten to walk and then how would that make the City Council look? But, then the City and the City Council seem to have buckets of money at their disposal for these fleece quests, so who cares? Lord knows we don't have to tighten our belts in these tough times.

The breakdown was explained to me as follows: $500 an hour for the judge, $90 an hour for his investigator, but apparently the bulk of the work is going to get done by unpaid interns. That's great, the City Council is going to decide whether to oust an elected official who hasn't been found guilty of any crime (yet), based upon the work of unpaid interns. That sounds like a fair and democratic process. Unpaid interns (from California?) are going to determine whether Chuck Turner is qualified or unqualified to serve. The report is due in February! No signed contract yet and the report is due in two months?

I asked about the comparisons to Richard Jefferson the Congressman from Louisiana who has been serving in Congress for almost 3 years since his indictment, including winning an election. Councilor Feeney's office spokesperson told me that "The City Council has different ethical standards than Congress". I asked does that mean 'higher' standards than Congress, to which the reply was in the negative, not 'higher' just different.

Finally, I asked whether the other councilors voted to hire this guy and was told that no, Councilor Feeney and the Corporate Counsel decided she had the authority to do it on her own. That sounds a bit iffy to me that the City Council President could hire someone with out any parameters of cost without authorization from anyone. If it is true, it is a dangerous precedent to set. What if she wanted to hire her friends consulting firm for $100,000 to look into Turner does that need to be authorized by anyone? The lack of checks and balances at City Hall is incredible. The spokesman said the contract isn't for $50,000, and from his statements it seemed like it could be more, it could be less, it could be anything.

I've asked for a copy of the contract once it becomes finalized.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sarah Palin believes in Transparent Government-why can't Boston or the State House do the same?

A great holiday conversation starter: who is more qualified, Sarah Palin or Caroline Kennedy? Anyway, for all of her offbeat belief system, Sarah Palin seems to be at heart a reformer, and 'goo goo' (good government) person. She has made every State Expenditure of more than $1000 available online for any citizen to look at.

Just imagine if you could look at those checks to Cognos, or to the $500 an hour judge Feeney is hiring.

Good job Sarah! Read more about it at:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sam Yoon wants $100,000 by the end of the year!

Sam Yoon has been busy sending fundraising requests out to people. Here is the latest request from him. If you link to his website, you'll see he updated his blog last in 2005. I wonder if he is still happy that he didn't endorse the Democratic nominee from the primary for State Senate, Sonia Chang-Diaz. Apparently he didn't think my district needed "new leadership with vision to move Boston forward".


A lot has been written about next year’s mayor’s race. You may have even read some of the stories abojavascript:void(0)ut who’s in and who’s out, and yes, my name is being mentioned. See the most recent Boston Globe article from Wednesday.

While I’m still considering all my options, the insiders say it takes a hundred thousand dollars going into next year to be competitive.

It looks like we may fall just short of our year-end goal.

Your help now will make the difference.

That’s why I’m asking you to please make a contribution of $100, $50, and $25 - anything you can afford.

Your small donation will have a big impact.

You will be sending a message that we’re ready for new leadership with vision to move Boston forward.

Thank you, and may 2009 be a healthy, happy and prosperous new year for everyone.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!!

Christmas Day 2008

Merry Christmas and season’s greetings of peace to all.

Since I was young, I have enjoyed the annual Christmas letter sent from my daredevil pilot uncle Michael. I’ve tried to send one out every year for awhile, because time and life is short and Clara and I have made so many friends whom we wish all lived on our block so that we could spend more time with, and stay closer to. But such are the vagaries of life, that we spread hither and dither, and some of you express appreciation to know what we are up to. If you have heard it all before, skip the rest of this and come over for a drink sooner rather than later, for the rest of you: Read on!

As most of you know, Clara and I took 2007 to ride our motorcycles around the world. We spent last Christmas in Udaipur, India where James Bond’s Octopussy was shot. We are hoping to write a book about our travels to 42 or so countries; I want to call it “The World is Full of Good People”, Clara who is smarter and more practical thinks it should be called “Adventure Honeymoon: Building Bridges to the World”. Either way, she is the star of the book, a five-foot-two-inch dynamo who had less than 1000 miles of seat time on her bike, taking off for what would be 36,000 miles on the odometer as we circumnavigated the Globe, through Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, the Subcontinent and Himalayas before ending in South East Asia. It was difficult at first, with her experiencing a few drops and falls, and our getting used to each other and the rhythms of the road. In Mexico and Ecuador it was NOT okay to take pictures of her sliding through a puddle and getting mixed up in a barbed wire fence. By Bolivia, it was okay to snap a shot of her sideways in a sand dune desert that passed as a highway. When we got to Transdneistr, she was staring down corrupt Cyrellian guards as I was trembling in my boots. To read more, please visit our blog at To all of our new friends we met along the way, thank you so much for all of your help, and for confirming for me the basic goodness of most people.

We arrived back in Boston in March, although we had rented out the BIG House and didn’t get back in it until July, so in the meantime we lived in a one bedroom section-8 apartment of ours in Roxbury. For Clara it was confining, for me it was like being in college again, sleeping in sleeping-bags on a mattress on the floor, an old door on two file boxes serving as a desk. We cleaned the back yard and planted a garden, as Clara looked for work, and I got back up to speed with construction stuff. It ended up being a brutal few months, as I was working on renovating a house recently purchased by the people renting our house. It is amazing to me how the rich (they make $500,000 a year between them) can be so nasty and miserable. We eventually had to evict them from our house, as they screwed over everyone from roofers, to heating people to electricians. They owed one subcontractor $500, sent him a check for $250 with a note that said “times are tough for everyone”. The problem is that working people are so used to getting the shaft from the rich that they tolerate it. For example, President Bush, Congress and the Bailout. Somehow I don’t think many of you reading this are going to get your share of the $20,000.00 or so per person they just handed out to Wall Street. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Welcome to America!

Meanwhile, Clara couldn’t find a job back with the Veteran’s Administration where she had worked. Her doctoral specialty is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Why would the VA need anyone with experience in PTSD working with Veterans??? Probably because we ONLY have two wars going on, and our vets are already not getting all the care they need. So, she took a job which she is really enjoying, working within walking distance at a private practice here in Boston. Seems as if non-veterans have the need and money to afford Clara’s excellent service.

Amazingly, the corruption in Boston hadn’t been solved in the two years that I was gone. I started to blog again about the myriad roadblocks that City and State government put up to keep residents from doing honest business and getting good schooling for their kids. Some people have started to take notice, and I was recently hired as a columnist by the South End News, my local weekly paper which had been keeping tabs on my ranting. The column was named by Clara and is called ‘No Comment?!’ in honor of all those politicians who won’t answer questions. It can be found at Only my city councilor and my state senator are currently under indictment by the FBI. My state representative who told me two years ago he was going to call me back after the election to talk about my ideas for Open government reforms has not been arrested and has not called me back. Yet.

This year we received the decision in the lawsuit McCrea v. Boston City Council in which the Boston City Council has spent about $200,000 of taxpayer money fighting an $11,000 fine in defending the Council’s right to meet behind closed doors and talk about the planning, zoning and development of the City, and other things and exclude the public from knowing anything about it. It went through the appeals court, and the McCrea decision is now case law in Massachusetts. The City Council plead guilty to all remaining counts in November to avoid a trial, setting our case up to be the largest fine in state history for a body violating the Open Meeting Law. Every once in awhile the citizens win one, thanks to my co-plaintiffs Shirley and Kathleen, who spoke to truth to power and to $600-an-hour lawyers and won.

I took Clara to the beaches of Central America for her birthday in August. While we were there, I decided to try the other side of the fence and “play ball” with a local politician. With my limited-but-getting-better Spanish I negotiated a deal with a guy running for Mayor. I would give him $50 and a pair of boxing gloves, and if he got elected he would let me exceed the zoning limits and build a hotel with a rooftop casino, if I hired some of his friends and family members to do some construction and engineering on the building. It really opened my eyes to how things get done in Boston, and what is the problem with that??? It creates jobs!! It cleans up neglected neighborhoods!! Everyone is a winner!!! Well, except for all the people left in shadows around me, and whose views I would block, but hey they have less money than me so they have less rights right? Unfortunately, I heard he lost the election.

My South End Youth baseball team, The GIANTS, won the championship again. We are undefeated in the playoffs for the last 4 years running. The kids were the champs, not me, as I lost my composure and had to retire early. I’m probably asking too much for the league to abide by the rules it sets for itself. As Clara would say, I’m a tortured individual who finds problems everywhere instead of seeing the glass half full. We had a bunch of great kids on the team who have been with me for years, including a new kid this year: God. Yes, I drafted God West in the second round (unbelievable: God was still available in the second round. I know!) and his adorable smile and attitude, as well as other great players like Ryan, Jorge, William made for a great summer. There really is a special warmth in the heart when you hear a kid call you “coach” with adoration, respect, and desire for instruction. I recommend it to everyone. Thanks to fellow coaches Mario, Bill and Ryan for a great year. Mario got me to go VT for a weekend wiffleball tournament to raise money for the Travis Roy foundation. Nothing like two straight days of pitching whiffle ball on miniature Fenway Park and Wrigley Field diamonds to remind you that you are not a teenager anymore.

Another thing that makes you realize you are not a teenager is breaking your wrist playing basketball with a bunch of big, strong Northeastern University “kids”. I was fortunate enough to do this in September, so that by the time our Thanksgiving family get-together happened in Hawaii I could take off the cast and swim, although it wasn’t strong enough to surf. The stench in my cousin’s house, however, was strong enough to get Clara to move out after one night and into a beautiful beach-front resort. There are compromises to be made in marriage, I’m learning. Don’t get me started on the state of health care in the country, as this is a family newsletter. But why would you pay 50% more for something that is of inferior quality? USA wake up!

I’m sorry if any of you lost money in this tiny correction that is happening, but, you trusted Congress, President Bush and Wall Street with your money. What were you thinking? And people call me crazy????

On a serious note, friends have noticed a difference with me and Clara since we’ve returned. Living for over a year out of 4 metal boxes makes you appreciate what is and isn’t important in life. We are more appreciative of time and friends, of conserving the world, intolerant of intolerant people and religions, and less materialistic. (Hard to believe I could be less of a consumer, but I am.) I love the library! I’m currently designing and hope to start building this year an off-the-grid house, with recyclable grey water; it is an interesting challenge.

The happiest man I know, is a motorcyclist from the D BIG BIKES motorcycle club in Thailand who befriended us and let us stay with him in Bangkok, and spent much time helping us to ship our bikes back to the USA. He has sold everything and is back to being a Buddhist monk in north Thailand (All Thai men spend time as a monk young in life, even the King). He is eternally giving and happy, and we stay in touch. All he has is his orange robe and his bowl to beg for his meals every morning. Life is a state of mind, and if we choose to be happy and to bring happiness, it will be returned. I am grateful to Ood for including me in his life.

This country was built on fantastic ideals, worth fighting and dying for. People around the world look to us as a beacon of hope for what is possible if we are given freedom and equal rights. They are smart enough to separate George Bush from the rest of us, but they question what direction we are going. It saddens me to have to spoil their vision of America, of a land without corruption, where everyone gets the same chances. My time in New Orleans shattered that ideal. We visited Tsunami-ravaged areas in Southeast Asia where they have completely rebuilt, but when I went back to New Orleans in September it almost seemed as if nothing had been done in the year-and-half since I left.

However, to end on a positive note, one of my favorite quotes from Winston Churchill “America can always be counted on to do the right thing…After they have exhausted all other possibilities.”

Let’s work together to do the right thing. Don’t tolerate empty platitudes from your elected officials. Even better, run against them! You will always have two votes from Clara and I. Make new friends, come visit us old ones or invite us to see you! Clara is excited about getting back on her bike in the springtime and finding new adventures!!!

Have a great New Year’s and 2009

Peace and Love,
Kevin and Clara
218 West Springfield Street
Boston MA 02118

P.S. Check out FireWater’s album: The Golden Hour. I can’t stop playing it. An American musician fed up with George Bush and our wars, traveled around the Middle East and Southeast Asia to meet our “enemies” (sound familiar?) He made music with local musicians, recorded it on his Mac and it is great. I crank it up and dance to it, it gives me energy to keep fighting the MAN. See it on Youtube:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sign up to Volunteer for Scotland Willis' City Council at Large campaign

Apparently there are 71 positions open for Scotland Willis campaign for Boston City Council at Large. See his posting at Craigslist:

I've never heard of the gentleman, but I agree with him that education is the number one priority.

Good luck! Here are the positions you can volunteer for:

1. Campaign Manager
2. Media Strategist
3. Strategist for Communications and Message
4. Senior Advisor
5. Chief Operating Officer
6. Chief of Staff
7. Chief Financial Officer
8. Political Director
9. Constituency Director
10. Latino Vote Director
12. African American Vote Director
13. Jewish Vote Director/Advisor on Mideast Policy
14. Senior Policy Advisor/Jewish Outreach Coordinator
15. Asian American and Pacific Islander Vote Director
16. First Americans Vote Director
17. First Americans Vote Deputy Director
18. Ethnic Vote Director
19. Gay & Lesbian Vote Director
20. Disablity Vote Director
21. Veterans Director
22. Women for Scotland
23. African American Relations
24. Director for Hispanic Relations
25. Women's Field Director
26. Senior Advisor
27. Director of Religious Affairs
28. Deputy Director of Religious Affairs
29. Catholic Outreach Coordinator
30. Evangelical Outreach Coordinator
31. Youth Vote Director
32. Field Director
37. Senior Advisor
38. Communications Director
39. Deputy Communications Director
40. Press Secretary / Spokesman
41. Area Communications
43. Director of Rapid Response
44. Director of Speech-writing
45. Speechwriter
46. Policy Strategist
47. Security Coordinator
48. Research Director
49. Senior Producers: Jon Jones, Scott Thomas.
50. Design Lead: - Brand strategist
51. Online Organizers:
52. External Online Director:.
53. Blogger:.
54. Writers:
55. Video: (Director of Video Production)
56. Director of Field Production.
57. E-mail: (lead), (writer, producer), (writer/analyst), (writer/producer).
58. Internet Advertising: an internet marketing expert.
59. Data Analyst (trends)
60. Phonebank Coordinator
61. Polling
62. Direct Mail
63. Chief Technology Officer
64. Database Manager voter file manager, redistricting consultant, and union organize
65. Scheduling and Advance
66. Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff
67. Director of Correspondence
68. Finance Director
Congressional / Elected Officials Team
69. Elected officials (City Council members/ Mayor/ Senate/ Congressional)
70. Director of Delegate Operations
71. Director of Senate relations

Monday, December 22, 2008

I blog on Saturday, hear it on Monday on NPR

I go back and forth about the news media in Boston. The quality of the papers have gone down, so why do you pay for something which isn't of great quality? On the other hand I strongly believe in the fourth estate, and believe it important to keep the other 3 branches of government in line. I support WBUR as I listen to public radio all the time. I suppose I support the Herald and the Globe by looking at their websites, although I'm not much of a consumer and don't buy much other than tools and motorcycles.

I'm not sure what to think about situations like this morning in my shower. Loyal reader and writer the ZAK sent me the minutes from the Financial Commission from September and November, with some thoughts about whether open meeting law violations occurred. However, I found the information very interesting. The FINCOM as we call it does yeoman's work for the citizens of Boston, some of the people at city hall who really earn their keep. Although we have gained 1400 employees of the City Government in the last 5 years, we have kept the FINCOM at 3 employees. Can you imagine having 1400 new employees but not adding one financial overseer to look at what they are doing? My either, but such is the collective wisdom of the Mayor and City Council.

Anyway, I posted the FINCOM minutes with comments. A Herald writer magically wrote about the FINCOM findings for Monday's paper, and WBUR, which gets its news from the Herald and the Globe, (as no one has money for staff anymore) reported it on the air this morning. As I was groggily waking up and taking a shower I was listening to the news in the background thinking to myself "didn't I just write about that a couple days ago?"

The big point is that this should have been news over a month ago!!! If we really valued media, we could pay people to monitor and report on what is going on at the State House and City Hall. It is precisely this lack of reporting which leads to these incestuous deals that sometimes blow up into headlines. Certainly we weren't going to get a notice or a hearing from the city councilors or Mayor about what a bad job we are doing about getting meters installed.

So, here goes for round 2, here are the FINCOM minutes from September. Phrases jump out at you like "Many of the district supervisors have been in their jobs for long periods of time with little or no management skills". BTD is "$14 million under projections", or "City uses an awkward system to collect those revenues and does not maximize collections." when talking about mooring fees. It almost makes you think that someone should be managing more and lighting christmas trees less.

Here is the report:

Minutes of the Meeting of September 30, 2008

The Finance Commission meeting was convened at 5:30pm at its office, 152 North St., Boston.

The first item of business was a new inquiry involving the potential stealing of gas at the Mt. Hope cemetery. The Commission was informed that the staff had received an anonymous complaint that an employee was stealing fuel in the evening and putting it directly into his private vehicle. The staff conducted a preliminary review of the complaint as it appeared to have validity. The normal city controls for fuel management were not in place at Mt. Hope which would allow for fuel to be stolen particularly as it appeared that the individual who managed the fuel might be the employee stealing it. The staff determined that fuel had been taken after the cemetery was closed for the day and prior to it reopening in the morning. At this point nothing further had been determined including how widespread the theft might be and why nothing had been done. The Commission was advised that it may be necessary to utilize subpoena power for the conduct of the investigation and the Commission unanimously approved such use. The Commission asked to be kept up to date on the progress of this matter.

The staff has continued to monitor Boston Transportation Department (BTD) revenues and at this point in the fiscal year the numbers are troubling. Parking fine revenue, estimated by the City to be $77 million this fiscal year is running below the FY 2008 income by $1.4 million which would result in revenue falling below $63 million or $14 million under projections. BTD has encountered trouble putting the new multi-space meters on the street. The single space meters are not due for delivery until late October. With fewer working meters on the street not only is meter revenue down but ticket issuance and ticket revenue as well. The Commission directed the staff to closely monitor this matter including being out on the street to determine what needs to be done to remedy the problem.

The Public Works Highway Division reorganization remains a work in progress. The Commission was informed that the change at the top had been productive but that overall progress remains slow. Time, attendance and daily management has improved but the district management issues remain. Many of the district supervisors have been in their jobs for long periods of time with little or no management skills. The staff visits at least one district yard weekly which gets the message out that PWD will continue to be watched by the Commission.

The staff has been working with City officials to enhance the collection of boat excise taxes and mooring permit fees. The City uses an awkward system to collect those revenues and does not maximize collections. The main problem is the data base used to manage the collections. It is driven by registration numbers which is problematic as well over half the boats moored in Boston waters are owned by people living outside the city. The registrations do not identify where a boat is habitually moored. Most coastal communities use a system that identifies boats kept within that community. The staff will be providing the City's Collector's office with a better plan of action on this matter.

The first few months of the fiscal year are busy with the review of unadvertised contracts. During the past month the staff has received over eighty such contracts. A number of contracts have been rejected due to costs and the status of the city of the budget. School Department personal service contracts have had more extensive review due to the problems we encountered last year when the number of such contracts jumped dramatically.

Under other business the Commission voted to go into executive session to discuss some several areas of potential review.

A true copy.
Jeffrey W. Conley
Executive Director

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Finance Committee minutes and other thoughts

Notice how you can actually understand what they did in their meeting. Amazing what you can do when you are not paying people hundreds of thousands to write minutes to keep the information about what you are doing secret.

If you calculate how much the city council stenographer gets paid on an hourly basis, it is about $600 an hour. This to record the meeting and NOT produce written minutes???!!!

No wonder the City Council has $50,000 or so left over to investigate Chuck Turner. Wouldn't that money be better spent on a Scholarship for a needy Boston Public School Student? We could name it the Maureen Feeney President of the City Council Scholarship. If they cancel that $50,000 contract to investigate Chuck, and create a scholarship for BPS graduate to go to college, I'll put in another $1000 of my money for book expenses.

On a positive note, the City did a great job of cleaning the streets. We were at work at 8 am this morning on a couple jobsites and the roads were clear. Of course, the guys I hired to shovel didn't show so I got some exercise shoveling out apartment buildings.

Anyway, here are the Financial Committee minutes. Note what they say about the school committee contracts. Absolutely they should be reviewed. We have added 1400 city employees in the last 5 years, but the Financial Committee still only has 3 members to oversee what the Mayor and the Council are doing??? Their budget should be a line item percentage of overall budget. But why would the Mayor want finance professional looking over the contracts he signs and hands out. That would make too much sense.

The Commission met at its office at 5:30pm on November 11, 2008. The members were brought up to date on the inquiry into the City of Boston Cemetery Division. The individual was caught stealing fuel from Mt. Hope Cemetery resigned his position with the City. The rest of the inquiry is ongoing. The staff has been working with Parks Commissioner Antonia Pollak and the City's Office of Labor Relations. The staff has turned over its information of the fuel matter to City officials. In addition to a video taken in the evening of the fuel theft, the staff reviewed all of the fuel records and found records that identified that fuel had been stolen dating back to at least April, 2008. The staff also interviewed all of the employees at Mt. Hope. Due to the incomplete status of the inquiry the Commission deferred further discussion to later in the meeting.

The staff has continued to monitor the installation of the new parking meters which remains a significant problem. The vendor who won the bid for the new meter mechanisms has begun to deliver them with over 3,000 received to date. However, none of them has yet to be installed and there is no plan in place to provide for the installation. The financial impact is significant as meter revenue and the revenue from ticket issuance is down year to date. The City had planned for increased revenues due to buying all new meters. The City is well into the 2009 fiscal year and the trend becomes increasingly difficult to reveres. It is clear at this point that the revenue projects made by the City will not be reached. The Commission instructed the staff to continue to monitor the process.

There have been several memorandums sent to City departments concerning reducing expenses for the duration of the fiscal year in many areas, including external contracts. Reducing and or eliminating contract expenses is the quickest way to reduce expenses. First, vendors have no recourse and secondly, unlike employee reductions, there are no residual costs. The staff has been reviewing all unadvertised awards with the goal of making recommended cuts or reductions, particularly with School Department contracts which account for millions of dollars in costs.

There being several pending matters of inquiry along with the need to continue discussion of the Cemetery inquiry, the Commission voted to go into Executive Session to discuss those matters and will not return to open session.
A true copy.
Jeffrey W. Conley
Executive Director.

Anyway, here are the

Friday, December 19, 2008

Boston Common-First a Conservancy, then a Fund, now a public/private partnership

So, Mike Ross has now posted the third iteration of his Boston Common committee's report on the Boston Common on the City website. He keeps changing the name, but at least this time we start to see the mud wash off of the real prime mover. Suffolk University and Emerson College want to get their hands on part of the Boston Common. They want to put astroturf or something and use the recreation fields for their usage. Finally, he comes clean with what we knew all along, there are private groups that want to control public spaces and Mike thinks that is ok. I do not. What is most unfortunate is the deceptions they went through to get to this point now. What is a conservancy? and what does it do that the Friends of the Public Garden couldn't do. Citizens must be vigilant in making sure these public giveaways don't happen.

Here is a letter from Shirley Kressel to Councilor Ross:


I reviewed your new Special Committee report, which is posted today.

I am surprised to see that it still proposes public-private partnerships, which were discussed in your previous recommendations. First it was a conservancy, then an Improvement Fund, and now it's a partnership, or a "relationship" with a "local college to maximize care and utility of the fields." These are fundamentally all the same thing: deals with private parties for public rights in return for private money. Rotch Field, which you denounce, is a partnership, or a "relationship," with "a local college" -- Emerson, in fact.

And you still recommend taking down the small fields' fencing to create one big field and install synthetic turf. You must know that, if the colleges pay for turf, that they will only do this so they can schedule their sports seasons on it. Even if they don't pay for it, they'll start asking to use it regularly, and offer other donations, which they know always works.

From my point of view, you are still doing basically the same thing.

I know Suffolk and Emerson are determined to use the park as their campus grounds, and they will never give up, just as the businesses behind the Greenway Conservancy spent years finding just the right words, the right formula, the right political allies until they got what they wanted.

If you think money is the real issue, let's really figure it out. The report should include an analysis of all the private money and other government grants coming in to the Parks Dept in general and the Common in specific, and also all the capital money, because as Marty said, most of the improvements you recommend are capital improvements. The $16 million budget figure in your graph is a small part of the resources available to the Parks Department.

Do you know what funding the Kershaw enterprise yields to the Common, relative to what it has cost the City? I can't find out, because it's a private non-profit and its books are closed; maybe you can get the information.

And I can tell you about a lot of money in the City budget that's being wasted that we could use for the park. Like the $60,000 a year paid to a non-functional Council stenographer, $600 an hour for nothing, as the hearing last night revealed. And all the "excess" money in the Council budget that is divvied up among the Council's employees in unlawful bonuses at the end of the calendar and fiscal years with those mysterious hastily-mumbled votes called with reading out the dockets, just like the ones passed today; you could stop that if you wanted to. And the millions in TIF tax breaks that the Council approves, because as you say, future taxes are not "real money." And the 121A tax break orders the Council puts "on file" and doesn't even ask about, that cost us $50-$70 million a year. A lot of public money is burned in the Ianella Chamber, while we go begging to Suffolk and Emerson and other abutters, pleading poverty.

I saw you presenting the report to the Council today. You said that somehow the idea that a conservancy was being proposed "got out there" and it was a misunderstanding. But a conservancy was proposed in that draft report; and indeed, it is still being proposed. Calling it an Improvement Fund didn't change that, and now calling it a partnership or a relationship doesn't change the basic problem of City alliances with private parties who are pursuing special interests in the park.

I would like to be notified when your committee takes up this issue next year.

Thank you.


PS I do appreciate your statements opposing the Silverline III project.

Shirley Kressel

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A take on busing from a business associate of mine

Some excellent thoughts here. Those who followed my campaign 3 years ago know that I proposed offering low cost housing loans for teachers to attract them to stay in Boston. I'm a big advocate of rewarding our teachers, not just fiscally either.

i don't think busing is necessarily a bad thing but it is such an imperfect solution. the problem i see is that people have now taken busing as THE solution rather than the stop gap measure it is. everyone rather goes to the neighborhood school. some of these kids have to wake up at 5 am just to get ready for their ride to another school district. and they are expected to perform at same level with all that added onus and pressure?

the main problem is finding good teachers willing to teach in urban cores. its not $/student. it is not facility even. quality of teacher is the number one factor. to attract them i think quality housing goes a long way. this leads to bigger issue of providing affordable workforce housing for teachers and other public employees. so a lot of these issues are inter-related.

vancouver has an interesting project in some of its down and out areas. the city funds affordable housing aimed at accommodating we are talking 3 BR condos and can actually raise a family there. by attracting familes you have more involved parents in the schools and they have found that quality goes up. And because it's affordable housing, you are not displacing existing families either. I think something like this layered with workforce housing sets the foundation. just throwing money at schools without providing a strong community around it does not work. but i wouldn't throw out busing per se. people fought hard for that because it was only solution and still often is. the goal is to move the urban schools to the point where busing is no longer needed.

Big news and Fair Warning---I've been hired to be a Columnist!!!

Thanks to all the readers of my blog who have kept the hits and the comments coming. Apparently we attracted the attention of the South End News, who have hired me to bring my writings to a greater audience. They have hired me as a columnist to write about whatever I want.

I'd like to thank them in advance for giving me this opportunity, and for having the faith in me to let me write about whatever I find interesting in Boston, America and the World. I grew up poor, and believe what Poor Richard's Almanac says about a penny saved is a penny earned. One of the biggest expenditures that could be cut in Boston is the busing budget, and it is the subject of my first column. As a product of public schools, I believe strongly that one of the most important backbones of our freedom is learning critical thinking skills in excellent free public educational institutions.

One of the most critical thinking skills I think I have learned is not to trust politicians. One of the things we hear from people like Mayor Menino or Congressman Capuano is "I treat all people the same". Does anyone believe that? I've called and stopped by the Mayor's office many times over the years looking for a comment or some help on a project, and I'm yet to get one minute with him. But, if someone from the Beal companies calls over to get a tax break for development in Southie, well that's another question.

Anyway, over the years I have tested and prodded the State House, Congress and City Hall, testing things that they have said in the press. The first thing these people do when you call is ask "who is this", and you can't say "I just want to ask a question, I don't want to give my name" because the reality is that you might get a different answer depending on who you are. Since I've been so publicly critical of so many of these guys, they often don't reply or don't answer, or give me an answer they wouldn't give someone else. I've tested this in a couple of different ways, sometimes by having other people call the same politician and ask the same question, and often they get different answers.

Sometimes I identify myself as Richard, as in Kevin Richard McCrea. Sam Yoon has recently been complaining to other City Councilors that I have called his office looking for information and not identifying myself properly. You would think that Sam who has jumped on my Transparency bandwagon lately, wouldn't care who called his office, that he would give everyone the same information, no matter what their name, race, sexual orientation or nationality!

I have run many probes, and asked many questions over the years, often in conjunction with building projects that I am working on. Sometimes, I have staff members of one of my companies call up and get information. We've even kept some audio recordings of some local Boston politicians who have left audio recordings on our answering machines and cell phones which are very revealing. You would be amazed how fast these guys respond when there is potential money involved, as opposed to when you call about an illegal roofdeck or a pothole to be fixed.

So, FAIR WARNING, now that I'm a paid journalist I will always identify myself as Kevin McCrea when I am calling the State House, City Hall or even down to D.C. If I'm contemplating writing about what I am calling about, I will identify myself as being with the South End News. I won't for matters of business or personal edification. Fair enough?

More stuff about taxes, from Universal Hub, etc.

Adam over at Universal Hub ( who is doing a great service for Boston residents (not to mention occasionally helping me with technical blog issues--THANKS ADAM!) recently crossposted my blog about taxes which started an interesting discussion.

In spending some time last week poring over the numbers one BIG thing became clear. The reason Tom Menino is pushing big developments so much is that he has created a sort of Ponzi scheme with our taxes and city contracts. He has signed contracts with our City employees and unions that assume about a 5 percent increase a year in revenue, despite proposition 2.5 that should limit the growth of our income taxes. So, he needs new revenue, hence pushing big developments as fast as he can, since new developments just add to the tax base. The problem is that since the city is not growing and remains stable at about 600,000 people, those of us who live here are on the hook for those contracts. If commercial values drop, as they likely will in the near future, the residents taxes have to make up the difference to pay those contracts that Menino didn't negotiate very well.

Some of of my friend Steve's answers to some of the questions at the Universal Hub site ( are below:

All - I am Kevin's anonymous financial person - here are my answers to your postings:

Gareth - yes residential taxes will go down in 2009 - but not for the reason you cite. The tax rate will be about 3% lower - but the residential exemption will also fall to probably about $1350 (it's based on median house price which I believe is down about 10% - maybe a little more). These roughly wash each other out for most homeowners. Net, net, most homeowners will see their taxes go down purely because their home is worth less and because commercial properties had a good 2007 (assessments are based on prior year's values).

Brigid - you are correct - the rate is basically a function of dividing the total amount of taxes collected by the assessed values (with all kinds of adjustments to account for classification, exemptions etc. etc. etc.). Currently 60% of our city's revenue comes from property taxes - I believe this is the highest of any major city in the country. This is extremely dangerous for many reasons - one in my explanation to Gareth below.

Gareth - 2nd blog - you are incorrect on this statement. Residential taxes for an individual or even the whole city can easily increase by greater than 10%. Keep in mind that 2010 taxes are based on values of properties as of Jan 1, 2009 and 2011 on values as of Jan 1, 2010. Commercial properties will pay about $900 million in property tax in 2009 and residential about $500 million. This gets a little complex, but basically a small reduction in commercial valuations can shift a huge amount of taxes to the residential properties (that's why our taxes went up so much from 2004-2008 - mine increased about 50%). If one makes the reasonable assumption that commercial values decrease 10% in each of the next two years and residential values decrease 5% in each year we will see increases of 10% or greater in both years, although this will not be evenly distributed to all owners - some may see 30-40% increases, others only 10-15% increases.

Notwhitey - only if there is a prop 2 1/2 override - otherwise the city will have to cut staff

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Property taxes, in plain english

A financial analyst friend of mine has crunched the numbers, as he has for years, usually predicting the next years tax increases within a percentage or two. The bottom line is that Menino is going to manipulate the percentages in this tax year so that he can say he is helping out homeowners, and then he will whack us with up to 10 percent increases in the next couple of years. He can do this for 2009 because the commercial values did not fall as soon or as fast as the residential values, that were set on Jan. 1 2008. So, expect many commercial abatements, but they will come after the rate is set. Since the City is essentially awash in money, having added 7 percent more employees in the last 5 years, he will be able to come up with funds.

The analysis:

After several years of outsized property tax growth in Boston, 2008 and 2009 finds us in the eye of the property tax storm with relatively stable residential taxes thanks primarily to rising commercial taxes that are absorbing a rapidly increasing total tax levy. Residential tax rates will fall slightly from $10.97 per thousand to 10.70 per thousand in 2009 but this will be mostly offset by a lower residential exemption for homeowners. Most property taxpayers will ultimately see lower taxes only due to a fall in the value of their homes. However, concern remains for 2010 as commercial taxes are expected to drop dramatically with the economic slowdown. The result is that residential taxes will rise, perhaps substantially, even if home values continue to deteriorate in 2009. Successful lawsuits from owners of larger commercial properties may exacerbate the shift of tax liability from commercial properties to residential properties in 2010 and beyond.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Boston Globe Editorial Page agrees with me and against Ross, Linehan, etc.

Today the Boston Globe editorial page wrote an opinion about the Boston Common and their improvement fund. See it at:

Their opinion could have been lifted from my blog. They wonder why Boston doesn't fund their parks as adequately as other cities. We can blame this on Mayor Menino and the Council that approves his budget. They also wonder why the Park Ranger staff is down. As I reported, the Parks Personnel staff is up, so why they cut Park Rangers maybe a better question for the Council to ask.

Finally, and most importantly, they realize that the Boston Common Improvement Fund should be a non-starter and makes no sense.

I hope that the council will drop their idea for another hack filled non-profit, and focus solely on improving the Boston Common experience.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Going BIG!

I've been having fierce negotiations this week to bring my blog to a Bigger audience.
Hopefully I will have an announcement next week.

First a few thoughts while looking at City Budget numbers:

In 2006, the City Parks Department had 200 employees. The 1/1/09 projected budget has the Parks department at 212 employees. Why have we cut the number of Park Rangers as Mike Ross reports in his state of the Boston Common report? Clearly it isn't because of lack of personnel.

There is yet another source of revenue for the Parks Department: The non profit Fund for Parks and Recreation that none other than Mike Ross used to be a board member of and may still be now. How much do they have and how much are they giving to the parks.

A guy that occasionally works for me recently requested a $6,000 loan from the Department of Neighborhood Development to put in a heating system. Instead they gave him $10,000 at 0 percent interest for as long as he owns the property. Who says the City doesn't have any money?!

Did you know the City of Boston has 29 full time employees in the Graphic Arts department? What the heck do they do?

Finally, although the Boston Licensing Board is appointed by the Governor (without posting!) the members and the staff are all paid by the City of Boston. When Menino says he has no influence on what the Board does, I, for one, don't believe him one bit. Not from the guy who says he knows what is going on everywhere in the City.

Happy Holidays!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't mess with the Man!

I remember the last time all the banks were failing in the late 80's and early 90's. I was on the T one day and started talking to one of those ranting lunatics we see at parks reading Chomsky novels and pontificating about the unseen forces of Rothchilds and other powerful families controlling the power and money in the world.

He told me that there were 9 banking families in America and they were going to divide up the country into a few regions and consolidate all the money and the banks. I laughed it off inside, as I listened to him intently and enjoyed my ride to North Station.

I was thinking about him yesterday as I went into Bank of America in the morning and chided my friendly tellers about the Governor of Illinois stopping all business between the State of Illinois and Bank of America.

Is it any coincidence that within 24 hours of Blagojevich taking on Bank of America, he finds himself indicted?

Don't mess with the Man!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Boston Common Draft Report has been posted on the City Website

See it here at:

There is much good research in this report. Thanks to the outcry from the citizens they have removed any mention of a Conservancy. They have proposed a non-profit Fund to raise money for the Common. It is unclear to me how a non-profit Fund is any different from the non-profit Friends of the Common.

Troubling is the mention of this Fund being involved in the security of the Common. Security in the City is under the auspices of the Boston Police. Any separate group having any authority to enforce the law on a public piece of ground is problematic.

The report has some interesting ideas about renovating some of the historic fountains and areas, proposes a restaurant with an 8 year lease, and some form of dog park.

I was interested to find out that our Park Ranger force has declined so much in the last few years. How has the City of Boston increased its labor force so much, the City Council increasing its central staff by 8 percent in just the last year, yet we cut the amount of Park Rangers by half. All voted on by Mike Ross. There seems to be more questions about money to be asked, but this is a much better draft than the one originally proposed and as they acknowledge is a work in progress.

Please read it and weigh in with your councilors.

I stand Corrected!

Last week I posted that the daughter of the McDermott who is a partner in the law firm that handles all the Licensing Board cases worked for Maureen Feeney's office. The woman was nice enough to call my answering machine and let me know that I was wrong and that she was not the daughter of that McDermott although her name was McDermott.

I had received that information from someone at City Hall, which obviously was incorrect. Because I wasn't able to verify, I left out the persons name and prefaced the statement with an 'I believe'.

I apologize for my incorrect reporting, especially to the young lady in question.

thanks for setting me straight!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

More Research on the Boston Common, and lack of transparency from Councilor Ross's office

Mike Ross is having a working session on the status of Boston Common Monday afternoon at Boston City Hall.

In a process that would make George Orwell proud, Councilor Ross advises you to bring 15 copies of what information or testimony you want to bring to the meeting. But how can you know where you stand on the issue when he won't release his report of what they are proposing??? They had a draft report from their last meeting that included establishing a Conservancy for the Boston Common, but they wouldn't release that report to the public despite it being presented at a public meeting(!?). They have told constituents that they are going to post the new proposals online but as of 2 pm. EST on Saturday they haven't posted that information for a Monday meeting.

A couple of weeks ago after blogged about the idea of a Conservancy the Boston Globe did an article where the Councilors stated that we didn't have enough money for the Common. See it at:

I called Councilor Ross's office up to ask how much is spent on the Common now, how much is needed, and how much their proposals would cost. His office didn't have any of that information.

So I called the Parks Department, and as is so often the case, I spoke to an average hard working down to earth City employee who gave me a wealth of information and some basic common sense.

I asked if there is a breakout on how much we spend on the Boston Common every year. She said no, we don't break it out by park, we buy grass seed and other items for all the parks together. Her colloquialism was "when you buy a big bottle of Windex you don't count how many squirts to clean the bathroom versus how many squirts to clean the kitchen, you get enough to clean the whole house."

I asked her some more financial questions, she said she would check and call me back. Sure enough she called back a few minutes later and said that the Parks department has a 16 million dollar maintenance budget and a 14 million dollar capital improvement budget. The capital budget is planned out 5 to 10 years in advance for big projects like park renovations, and playground upgrades. I asked if the Parks department had done any reports or studies on the Boston Common in the last couple years that identified needs and she said not to her knowledge.

I then mentioned the Globe article which quoted the Councilors as saying we didn't have any money. She beat me to the punch by saying "how can they say they don't have any money if they don't know how much we spend?" I replied "my point exactly".

She then made me crack up and nearly drive off the road with laughter: "it sounds like a teenager asking for money, 'how much is it going to cost', 'I don't know until I spend it', or maybe it sounds like a used car salesman."

I couldn't have said it better myself. When a Parks Department employee equates the Boston City Council actions about a public park to a teenager asking for money you know that something is up.

There are two separate issues here: one is what improvements are going to be made to the park, the second is who is going to control the park. Councilor Ross is trying to combine the two as if they are intertwined when they have nothing to do with each other.

On issue one, improving the park, I applaud the Councilors on their effort to study the Boston Common, get public input on what should be done to the Park and come up with a consensus for making the Park better. My opinions on what physically happens to the park are quite neutral, I support much of what the Friends of the Public Garden recommends:

However, on issue two which is about who controls the Park I have very strong opinions. Conservancy's are a bad idea as I have written about before. They put private control over public spaces. This allows the private entity, which in this case appears to many of the rich businesses and institutions such as Emerson College and Suffolk University, that abut the Common to establish their own rules. In other cases such as the Rose Kennedy Greenway and Post Office Square the Conservancy's have banned freedom of speech, the right to assemble, loitering, etc. I spoke to a photographer from Boston Press Photographers Association who tried to take a photo of a local business leader at Post Office Square and they were escorted off the premise, told to apply for a permit and then had to cool their heels for some time waiting for a response that never came. They took the picture elsewhere. Imagine if you had to ask for permission to take a picture of your kid skating at the Frog Pond?

What is troubling is the lack of transparency about what the Conservancy would do, who would be on it, what control they would have and whether they would accept public funds. If these Institutions and Private Donors want to donate now, they are perfectly able to through the Friends of the Public Garden. Why does Councilor Ross's office refuse to answer any questions about what the structure of this Conservancy as he proposes it, will be???

So why don't they? My experience tells me because they want some quid pro quo. If they give money they want it tied to specific improvements that they want, not necessarily what the People want. Potentially even more diabolical, is that they want to control behavior on the Boston Common, the first and maybe most important Park in the country. They want the right to treat the Common as private property so that they can keep the undesirables away, to control who gets to use the common for Shakespeare on the Park, or for baseball games, and certainly not for hemp rallies.

Until the question is answered about what the Conservancy will do, what rights over the Park they will have, and whether they will take Public money (with no public oversight) this idea should be a non-starter.

Please call Councilor Ross, Councilor Linehan, and Councilor Lamattina with your questions about what this Consevancy will do at 617-635-4000 and hopefully you will tell them that you too do not want private control over this most important Public Space.

No one from City Hall testified at the Governors Ethics Task Force?

The Governor relented and posted the public comments presented at the Public meeting online. You can see them here:

I am almost surprised that no one from City Hall, no City Councilors, no one from the Mayors office, no one from the City Law Department came to testify about how our government can be more ethical.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

No comment from Councilor Ross on what will be unveiled Monday

I called Councilor Ross's office today to find out if he is still going to propose a conservancy for the Boston Common. With less than 2 working days left after a year long study on the Common apparently it still needs to be held in secrecy. This does not bode well.

His staff responded to the request of whether he was going to still propose a Conservancy with a No Comment. They said that all would be revealed Monday at the public working session. I asked what the next step would be after the working session and they said it would be discussed at that hearing.

So, if you care about keeping public control over Boston Common, transparency in the way we manage our public spaces, the right to assemble and free speech in America's first public park, try and go to the working session on Monday or call Councilor Ross's office at 617-635-4000 and let him know that you are against a Conservancy for the Boston Common.

As mentioned earlier, Bob Terrell is getting into the At-large race

As I mentioned last month, Bob Terrell, a respected citizen out of Roxbury is going to join in the At Large City Councilor Race. There is an interview with him in this weeks Dorchester Reporter.

I'm really hoping that we have a political season next year that transcends race, and deals honestly with the issues of education, safety, and taxes. City Hall is awash in money and fraud and we need people who are going to stand up to business as usual at City Hall Plaza.

An eloquent voice against privatization of the Boston Common

Shirley Kressel writes in today's South End News:

This is an excellent summary of why private control over public parks is a bad idea. It is non-transparent, it rewards the rich at the expense of the middle class and poor, it is anti-democratic, and limits free speech. Not really what our founding fathers would approve of.

Working session on the status of the Boston Common next Monday!

Kudos to Mike Ross for holding a public meeting on this subject. I hope that he will allow the public to see his proposal and make it available on the City website. For many reasons I do not believe a Conservancy should be set up for the Boston Common. I think Councilor Ross has dropped this idea, but I'm not sure.

Here is the notice. If you are interested in protecting public ownership of the Boston Common, please call Mike Ross's office at 617-635-4000. Remember, where other conservancies have been set up at Post Office Square and the Rose Kennedy Greenway they have banned Freedom of Speech and other rights of the public. It is a way to make things beautiful for the rich and privileged, and to exclude the hoi polloi.

Here is the notice:

Boston City Council
Notice of Working Session
December 1, 2008
The Boston City Council’s Special Committee on Boston Common will hold a working session on
Monday, December 8, 2008 at 3:30PM in the Curley Room, fifth floor, Boston City Hall.
The subject of the working session is:
Docket #0284 – Order for a hearing regarding the Boston Common.
This matter was sponsored by Councilor Ross and referred to the Committee on 2/27/2008.
Members of the public are cordially invited to attend. If you have not attended a Council working session
before, please arrive (5) minutes before the call of the session to become familiar with the working
session format. Please bring fifteen (15) copies of any written documentation you wish to present at the
working session. If you know of others who may be interested in this working session, kindly notify them.
Written comments may be made part of the record and available to all Councilors by sending them by
email, fax or mail to arrive before the working session, please use the address below.
For the Committee:
Michael P. Ross, Chair
Special Committee on Boston Common
Mail Address: Attn. Juan Lopez-Docket 0284 - Boston City Council, Boston, MA 02201
Fax Number: (617) 635-4203 Attn: Juan Lopez –Docket 0284
Telephone Number: (617) 635-3041
Email Contact:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What happened at the Governor's ethics panel hearing today?

Here is the summary from someone who was there:

They not only refused to open their meetings to the public, but refused to provide or post the testimonies until they issue their report!

It was reported that there was a bunch of good testimony there, too bad they won't publicize it or make it available.

Another great and funny example of the dishonesty at City Hall

Don't ask me why, but I was looking for Tom Menino's website to see what his vision for the future of the City is (and next I will find the Holy Grail!) and I found the following website:

which lays out in detail and with humor how a citizen gets the runaround at City Hall asking about how it is possible there is an illegal billboard on the TD Banknorth Garden.

Globe reports "another development" 6 days after you read it on my blog!

Matt Visor had a story today about Therese Murray and the US attorney reaching out to black clergy in Dianne Wilkersons district:

"In another development, US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan has also sought to meet with clergy members, according to a source briefed on the discussions. Sullivan has been criticized by some black leaders because his investigation so far has resulted in the arrest of two influential black politicians, Wilkerson and Boston city councilor Chuck Turner.

It is extraordinary for a prosecutor to try to respond to such criticisms."

If you scroll way down on my blog you will find this information already.

Article in Boston Globe about Licensing Board leaves out one other connection

Donovan Slack wrote an interesting article in the Globe today about the connected insiders getting liquor licenses for their clients. The other connection she doesn't make, I believe, is that the daughter of the law partner McDermott of McDermott, Quilty & Miller used to work for City Council President Feeney.

The comment I like most is yet another lie from Tom Menino:

"From neighbors to business owners, he treats everyone the same," said spokeswoman Dorothy Joyce.

Who believes this guy?

Years ago (way before I was politically active) I won a BRA project which I put 20 percent affordable housing in, built on time, on budget, with the correct amount of minority and local residents working on the project. I was invited to a speech by Menino and when he was shaking hands with everyone afterwards I said I'd love to get 5 minutes of his time to talk about how we could build more affordable housing in the City. He looked at me, and said "we are already doing enough." I then made a request to his office to have a meeting and never heard back. Now clearly, some people get to meet with him, so they are getting preferential treatment to those of us citizens who would like to meet with him to talk about issues to make Boston better.

At least John Connolly and his father are being honest by saying "no comment."

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Public Integrity Task Force hearing tomorrow-go and voice your displeasure!

The Governors task force which is meeting in secret to talk about ethics (Jumbo Shrimp, Military Intelligence, secret ethics?- notice a pattern) is having a public hearing tomorrow at 3:30 pm where the citizens can come and air their grievances and suggest solutions. Please go if you can!

They are asking people to submit their testimony in advance (!?), maybe to eliminate any real rabble rousers, hopefully just to streamline things. Good for Pam Wilmot of Common Cause who is on the committee for saying that all the meetings need to be held in public. Maybe she could record the meetings and release them to the press and public, post them on Youtube.

Here is the email someone sent me with the info:

Wednesday, 3:30 pm, Room A-2

Website also says to tell them if one is planning to testify and send the testimony in advance. Hmmm....screening the testimony?

"Please indicate whether you intend to testify and submit your advance written testimony to:"

Monday, December 01, 2008

Fascinating article in Time Magazine

There is a great article about Mrs. Rhee in this weeks Time Magazine. She is the new superintendent of the Washington DC school system that has a take no prisoners approach to building the best urban school system in the country.,9171,1862444,00.html

What I like about her is that she is shooting for excellence, as opposed to accepting mediocrity, which is too often the case with our complacent city government.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Motion for Contempt against Boston City Council

For those loyal blog readers (who I appreciate very much) without much to read this holiday weekend, I am posting a copy of my complaint filed in November against the Boston City Council for further violations of the Open Meeting Law.

The nuts and bolts of this is as follows: I discovered the City Council had posted to be what I believed to be an illegal posting on the City Bulletin Board. Because, I am tired of all this litigation and wish the council would just obey the law. I called up President Feeney's office over a period of months and asked them to take it down. They refused and said it wasn't their problem. I also contacted Councilor Yoon and Tobin, also to no avail. I also became aware that the City Council met in Executive session about the Open Meeting Lawsuit currently pending from the Councils attorney. When I looked online, the Council minutes didn't reflect an executive session. I checked with the assistant clerk who assured me the minutes were correct and he told me that they rarely go into executive session and that it is always noted. You would think with a City Clerk getting paid about 100K a year, an assistant clerk and a stenographer at the City Council meetings they could record an executive session, but apparently that is "beyond their pay grade."

I filed the complaint, and the City has responded by: admitting they did go into executive session and they just forgot to note it, and by taking down the posting that I had asked them for months to take down. Pretty sad that you have to take the Council to court to eliminate an illegal posting. I would say that their taking down the posting is essentially an admission of guilt. Again.

We are waiting for the Court to decide the next course of action. Here is the complaint:


C.A. No. 08-

Kevin McCrea )
Plaintiff )
v. )
The Boston City Council )
Defendants. )


1) On February 10, 1988 the Boston City Council, entered into a Consent to Entry of Final Judgment in the Open Meeting Law case of James Shannon v. Boston City Council, Suffolk Superior Court No. 87-5397.
2) The Consent reads:
“The Defendants, Boston City Council and City Councillors….admit the continuing jurisdiction of the Suffolk Superior Court as to the personal and subject matter jurisdiction of this action and hereby consent to the entry of Final Judgment in the form attached hereto.
In so consenting the Defendants have read and understand each of the numbered paragraphs in the Complaint and the Judgment. The Defendants admit the facts described in the Complaint. The Defendants waive the entry of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Rule 52 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure. The Defendants further understand that any violation of this judgment may result in them being adjudged in contempt of court. Assented to, waiving all rights to Appeal.” (Exhibit 1)

3) The Final Judgment reads
“It is Hereby Ordered and Adjudged that: 1. All future meetings of the Defendants as the Boston City Council and any committees thereof be held in accordance with the full provisions and spirit of G.L. c. 39, 32B relating to meetings of governmental bodies, the procedure for convening executive sessions, and the requirement that records be maintained as required thereunder” (Exhibit 1)

4) On March 27, 2006 Superior Court Judge Staffier Holtz found the City Council guilty of Open Meeting Law Violations in McCrea v. Flaherty and the Boston City Council 05-01798. On Appeal, the Boston City Council was still found guilty of violating the Open Meeting Law. Judge Holtz wrote:

“It is furter ORDERED that the Boston City Council is Enjoined as follows:
The Boston City Council and any committee thereof shall comply with the
Requirements of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. cc 39B in the future. This
shall include compliance with the requirements relating to executive
session, to wit:

No executive session shall be held until [Boston City Council] has first
convened in an open session for which notice has been given, a majority of
the members have voted to go into executive session and the vote of each
member is recorded on a roll call vote and entered into the minutes, the
presiding officer has cited the purposes for an executive session, and the
presiding officer has stated before the executive session if [the Boston City
Council] will reconvene after the executive session.” (Ex. 5)

1) The Boston City Council has been found guilty of 11 counts of violating the Open Meeting Law by the Suffolk Superior Court in McCrea v. Flaherty and the Boston City Council, C.A 05-01798B
2) On appeal, the Appeals Court found the Boston City Council guilty on 1 count and remanded to the Superior Court the other 10 counts for fact finding. This case is still pending. Plaintiffs sent a settlement proposal to the defendants.
3) Subsequently, on August 6, 2008, the Boston City Council held a regular public meeting of the Boston City Council.
4) On August 15, 2008 Plaintiff Kevin McCrea received an e-mail from counsel for the Defendant Boston City Council, Mary Jo Harris, in which she states “The council met August 6 to consider the proposal, with me, in executive session and voted to reject it at that time.” (Exhibit 2)
5) City Council Meeting Minutes posted online do not reflect any Executive Session on that date.
6) Plaintiff McCrea went to the City Clerks office and spoke with Assistant City Clerk Alex Geourntas who provided a hardcopy of the minutes, which also include no indication that the City Council met in Executive Session. Mr. Geourntas assured Mr. McCrea that the minutes online are verbatim to the official minutes. (Exhibit 3)
7) While at Boston City Hall, Plaintiff McCrea checked the posting board on the first floor. On the posting board was an undated notice which states:
“Committee on Rules and Administration, which shall concern itself with the rules and administrative functions of the Council. The Committee shall meet in confidence to discuss matters in accordance with M.G.L. c. 39, s. 23B (the state Open Meeting Law). Adoption of the Rules of the City Council shall serve as an affirmative vote of the Council to convene the committee as the chair sees fit. The purpose of the committee’s meetings shall be to address such issues as are outlined in the Open Meeting Law. The Clerk, as Clerk of the Council, shall participate in committee meeting convened to address rules related or parliamentary issues at the request of the chair. Adoption of said rules shall also serve as notice of the several meetings of the Committee. Rule 1 of these rules shall govern the reconvening of the Council. The Clerk shall reproduce this section and post such notice appropriately in City Hall.” (Exhibit 4)

8) Plaintiff McCrea contacted City Council President Maureen Feeney’s office to bring attention to this notice which indicates that the committee can “convene…as the chair sees fit” with no date and time as required by MGL Chapter 39 section 23 B. He spoke with Justin Holmes of Councilor Feeney’s office many times over the course of at least a month asking that the notice be taken down. Mr. Holmes guessed that the notice might be left over from previous years.
9) On October 28, 2008 Plaintiff McCrea checked the notice board and said notice was still displayed. He met with Justin Holmes who indicated that Councilor Feeney could do nothing about it and that he should talk to the City Clerk about it.
10) Plaintiff Mr. McCrea also requested Councilor Sam Yoon’s office to have the notice taken down, and also asked Councilor John Tobin to take the notice down.
11) Plaintiff McCrea visited the City Clerk’s office after these meetings. He met with Darlene Bryant who indicated she had posted the notice subsequent to the first City Council Meeting of the year. The City Clerk was on vacation and was not available.
12) At this date, the notice is still posted.
13) On October 30, 2008 Defendant Boston City Council sent a Motion for Summary Judgment to Plaintiff Kevin McCrea in the McCrea v. Flaherty case, in which the Boston City Council admitted they violated the Open Meeting Law in the 10 remaining cases remanded to the Superior Court from the Appeals Court.

A. The Council Violated the Executive Session Provisions of the Open Meeting Law.
1) M.G.L. Chapter 39, Section 23B states:
“No executive session shall be held until the governmental body has first convened in an open session for which notice has been given, a majority of the members have voted to go into executive session and the vote of each member is recorded on a roll call vote and entered into the minutes, the presiding officer has cited the purpose for an executive session, and the presiding officer has stated before the executive session if the governmental body will reconvene after the executive session”.

The lawyer for the City Council informed Plaintiff Kevin McCrea that the City Council went into Executive Session on August 6, 2008 to discuss, of all things, their violations of the Open Meeting Law. However, the Boston City Council, according to its official minutes, did not go into executive session, did not record a roll call vote, and did not state the purpose of its executive session. This is a violation of the Open Meeting Law.

2. The Open Meeting Law further states “A governmental body shall maintain accurate records of its meetings, setting forth the date, time, place members present or absent and action taken at each meeting, including executive sessions.” On August 6, 2008 the Boston City Council went into Executive Session and did not record this for the public record. This is a violation of the Open Meeting Law.

B. The Council Has Violated and Continues to Violate the Notice Provision of the Open Meeting Law.

1) In regards to the posting of the Committee on Rules and Administration, there are multiple violations of the Open Meeting Law. The Open Meeting Law states “All meetings of a governmental body shall be open to the public.” The Open Meeting Law states each “notice shall ….contain the date, time and place of such meeting.” This notice does not cite a date, time or place of any meetings, and indeed indicates that the meetings are confidential and closed, without claiming specific exemptions provided by the Law. Therefore the notice is in violation of the Open Meeting Law. Every meeting held pursuant to this notice was in violation of the Law. Every day that this notice was posted was a day in which a violation of the Open Meeting Law occurred.
2) The office of City Council President Maureen Feeney, who is by statute also the chair of the Committee on Rules, has told plaintiff Kevin McCrea that this posting is the responsibility of the City Clerk. However, the Open Meeting Law states “Such filing and posting shall be the responsibility of the officer calling such meeting.” Clearly the responsibility is with the City Council in regard to their meetings, not their Clerk.

C. The Council Is In Violation of Its Consent Agreement to Obey the Open Meeting Law on Penalty of Contempt Citation.

1 The Consent agreement specifically identifies “The Defendants, Boston City Council and City Councillors” clearly identifying that the City Council as a body is part of the consent agreement, not just the councilors individually. The Boston City Council as currently constituted is well aware of the Shannon decision, having spent well over $100,000 of taxpayer money over the last 3 years defending themselves in the McCrea v. Flaherty case. In her decision in that case Judge Staffier-Holtz wrote: “This Court finds that it is likely that the Council will continue to act in contravention of the Open Meeting Law in the future and injunctive relief is therefore appropriate.” On May 1, 2008 Judge Granger alluded to the Shannon Case with the opening line of the decision of the Appeals Court in McCrea v. Flaherty case “The city council of Boston finds itself, not for the first time, on the losing end of a determination that it has improperly excluded the public from its deliberations.” The Boston City Council, despite numerous adjudicated violations of the Open Meeting Law, despite warning by the courts and the District Attorney not to exclude the public, and despite plaintiff’s repeated request to take down a notice clearly in violation of the Open Meeting Law, continue to refuse to comply with the straightforward requirements of the Law. For these willful violations of the Open Meeting Law, they should be held in contempt as they agreed to in the Shannon Consent agreement.

1) From Rule 65.3.c.5 a prayer for the issuance of a Summons is requested within 10 days.
2) Summons. The summons shall issue only on a judge's order and shall direct the parties to appear before the court not later than ten days thereafter for the purpose or purposes specifically stated therein of: scheduling a trial, considering whether the filing of an answer is necessary, holding a hearing on the merits of the complaint, or considering such other matters or performing such other acts as the court may deem appropriate.
3) The Open Meeting Law requires that a hearing be held within 10 days, with regard to the “speediest possible determination of the cause”. Defendant Boston City Council was able to delay both the Shannon and the McCrea case for years, and Plaintiff requests this Court hold a quick and speedy hearing to deter this tact. Justice delayed is justice denied.


WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff respectfully request that this Honorable Court:

1) Find the City Council and its members in contempt of court for each violation of the Open Meeting Law.
2) Levy appropriate damages in accordance with the Open Meeting Law guidelines.
3) Administer appropriate injunctive relief.
4) Consider appointing a special master to oversee the actions of the Boston City Council, or order it to convene a Sunshine Commission similar to the one employed by the City of San Francisco to insure that citizens are not excluded from the actions of their government.

Respectfully submitted,
Plaintiff pro se

Kevin McCrea, 218 West Springfield Street, Boston, MA 02118 617-267-2453

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Clara and I are off to visit family out of state, we wish everyone a healthy, safe, happy and prosperous Thanksgiving.

This country is an amazing place to live, with some of the greatest freedoms in the world. Our trip around the planet only made us appreciate the USA, and what it stands for even more.

I give thanks for living in a place where I can speak my mind, openly and honestly, without too much oppression from the government.

We also lived for a year with less than 8 cubic feet of stuff, and were perfectly happy. (Well, Clara might have liked some more clothes, shoes, and perfumes) Think about so many who don't have anywhere near as much as we do here in America, and give thanks for that as well.


US Attorney reaches out to Black Ministerial Alliance

The US attorney handling the corruption probe into City Hall and the State House has reached out to the Black Ministerial Alliance. Apparently, he wants to reach out to the black community to assure them that he is not targeting only black officials in his investigations.

Shedding more light on what is going on with Licensing Board, Wilkerson, Feeney, etc.

So I did a Public Records Request on the infamous meeting at the State House where Wilkerson, Feeney, Murray, etc. got together to decide how raises, liquor licenses, etc. are handed out.

On August 16, 2007 on Maureen Feeney's Schedule it has:

12:00 pm - 12:30 pm TIME FOR CAKE !!!!!!

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm 1 pm-Mtg @State House(rm 332) RE: licenses (Petrucelli, Morrissey, Wilkerson, & Pokaski) (8/13 PAM)

A couple interesting things, first of all Sen. President Murray is not mentioned although it seems she was there according to the FBI documents. It certainly shows that Maureen knows why she was going to the meeting and who was going to be there.

If the Mayor and City Council were serious about cleaning up what is going on at City Hall they could call for hearings and do some investigation. I am working full time as a contractor, with limited time to look into this stuff and I seem to be finding out more than these 'see no evil, hear no evil' solons.

If I was at City Hall I would be doing some serious investigation using all the legal powers available to look into what is going on. The Herald today has an article about how a lawyer who works for the city was the named attorney representing a licensing case for a South Boston bar.

It is such a corrupt, insiders game down there.

More later, but I have to be at work at 7:30 am.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tonight on TV, Chuck Turner and then me, talking about Corruption at City Hall

On BNN tonight, Joe Heisler will be hosting his weekly show "Talk of the Neighborhoods" a poltical and local news show about what is going on in Boston.

At 7 pm he plans on having Chuck Turner on for 1/2 an hour, then at 7:30 he is having me on as a guest talking about the various corruptions going on in Boston and in particular about City Hall.

Tune in, and think about calling in with any questions, thoughts, or ideas.

Monday, November 24, 2008

City giving away even more Public Parkland

Apparently, City Hall has begun talking to Emanual College about taking over
Roberte Clemente Park in the Fenway. Once again they will claim that the City doesn't have any money to maintain the park, how the City doesn't have any money, etc.

What this allows is Emanual to get to take over Public Space, put in their own rules and regulations and run the park under their control. What the public gets is some likely improved amenities that they may or may not get to use, and if they do get to use them it will be at prescribed places and times.

Again, I'm philosophically opposed to handing over public spaces to private interests.

The City has more than enough money for Parks, if they would actually trim all the waste in the government, stop giving away money to connected interests, and get their pensions, etc. under control. They could also stop giving their assets away for free, such as City Hall Plaza.

One more place in Boston that Free Speech will be banned by Mike Ross, Tom Menino and crew. Sam Adams is rolling over.

Running for Mayor, Running for Councilor?

I was out and about in the neighborhoods this weekend taking the pulse of the City.

A Ron Forte (sp?) a Republican from Dorchester I believe who works for the MBTA has been talking to people about supporting his run for Mayor.

People have been saying to me "Don't you live in Chuck Turner's District?" The answer is yes, although I live in the South End I am on the very edge of Chuck Turner's District, I literally think if I lived on the other side of the street I would be in Councilor Linehan's District.

Since the City Council seems to be so keen on cleaning up City Hall this morning according to the papers, if they remove Chuck (which I don't think they should do, whether they have the ability or not, people are innocent until proven guilty, etc.) maybe they could appoint me in his place. I could vow to continue rooting out all the illegal activity down there!

Don't forget the council just pleaded guilty last Monday to knowingly excluding the public from the decision making process not once, not twice, but 10 times!!!!!!!!!!
I don't think they are going to meet to resign en masse, do you?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Interesting article about renovating NYC's Washington Park

Interesting article about Washington Park, which for anyone who has been there knows is a great hangout place and people watching paradise.

Notice that NYC didn't claim that they don't have any money, and the amount of the renovation is clearly stated in the article. They also didn't need to appoint a Conservancy to get the renovation done.

Another interesting similarity is the influence of NYU on the Park. It would seem that our Suffolk University (Mike Ross's law school) might have designs on the Common as well.

I would hate to think that we are throwing in the towel to Public ownership and management of our parks when our arch rival New York City knows how to run a Parks Department and City Budget.

I walked through the Park today, and yes there is some trash, and some rough edges, especially along Boylston Street, but overall it is a truly wonderful oasis in the City.

Thoughts on Chuck Turner and the meaning of Corruption

As my wife said about the Chuck Turner news yesterday: Sad. Read at:

However, if one takes the time to read the FBI affidavit you can see that Chuck was offered more money by the CW-cooperating witness, who is reported to be Ron Wilburn. The CW offered to have a fundraiser for Chuck, and offered more money if Chuck would meet him later. It appears Chuck lost his phone number, and never followed up on either offer.
If Chuck was really out to shake people down and get money, this would have been too easy. But, he is alleged to have just taken one golden handshake.

This FBI document is no where near as damaging as the Dianne Wilkerson one, which reads like a roadmap of how you get things done in Boston. You get your claws into a lower level politician like Diane, they call up Tom Menino, who if he so deigns gives you the go ahead to talk to Michael Kineavy who is the one that gets things done at City Hall for the Mayor. Then everyone else falls in line, different people get their chits, and legislation gets discussed in closed meetings like the one with Maureen Feeney, Licensing Board member Polaski, Sen. Wilkerson, and Sen. President Murray. Finally, it gets rubber stamped in public meetings (or maybe not even that according to the FBI's report on the Licensing Board) and the public is none the wiser.

I've sent a Public Records Request to see the meeting schedule for that Feeney, Murray meeting, can't wait to see what I get.

Chuck Turner, it appears, may have just been sloppy in the way he took money, and it seems what they will really get him on is denying that it happened. Just like Clinton, it is not the act it is the cover up that gets you in trouble. If he had just taken the $1000 put it down on his taxes as a consulting fee, and told the Feds he had taken the money from Wilburn, he would be pretty clear now.

What is the meaning of Corruption?

What Chuck allegedly did is wrong. But, is it more wrong than Michael Flaherty actively working for a lawfirm that handles zoning matters in the City of Boston while he sits on the Boston City Council? Is it more wrong than Boston Mayor Tom Menino putting a level 4 Biolab in the heart of Boston? Menino has taken thousands of campaign funds over the years from Walsh Construction and their associates and family, and has received much help from the BU people who are going to profit from this. He has surely been able to legally "take his wife to dinner" more than once on those thousands of contributed funds and call it a campaign expense. Was there Quid Pro Quo there, which could put tens of thousands of people at risk for their lives? Did the Citizens of Boston receive fair and honest service from their Mayor on this project, did he properly protect them? It is a grayer area, harder to prove than a case over a thousand bucks with a gray photo, but I would argue much more important in the grand scheme of things. I hope the FBI doesn't just investigate the low hanging rotten fruit, when they should look at the roots of this corrupt tree which produces such flowers.

The saddest thing about this to me is Chuck's statement about 90 percent of the politicians being corrupt. If he sees and knows about corruption he should speak out about it, and should have spoken out about it. To not speak out is to be complicit, which is one of my major complaints about our elected officials.

As the saying goes, all that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. I think Chuck was one of the good people, who cared and worked hard for his constituents, but when he turned a blind eye to what was happening in front of him and refused to speak out about it, it left him vulnerable to these temptations. Dianne Wilkerson on the other hand, is someone that I think Chuck should have been speaking out about.

I wish Chuck the best, and I hope he will do the right thing and speak out about the corruption that he has seen, be honest about what he did, and let the people judge him accordingly.