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.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A black candidate for City Council at large

You should hear shortly the announcement of a prominent member of Boston's black community who knows all about the failings of the BRA and believes that the citizens should have control over planning and zoning is planning to run for City Council at large.

With Felix Jr running, this gentleman and others it is shaping up to be an interesting race, with many from the "new Boston" as they say, stepping up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Boston Common going Private?

I've been following up on my Monday Blog about the Boston City Council wanting to create a Conservancy to manage or oversee the Boston Common. Apparently the blog made quite the impact and numerous calls were made to City Hall and the Globe wrote an article about it. Funny how the news cycle works in Boston. The meeting happens last week and the press doesn't write about it, I find out about what they are planning, blog about it, and then the Globe writes a weak article that doesn't ask the tough questions.

Background: The City Council special committee on the Common made up of Ross, Lamattina, and Linehan has been meeting for a year to discuss ways to make the Boston Common better. They have held some public forums to get input
(such as at Suffolk University) from the Public, and they have roadtripped to New York to look at some Parks there. All of this is good.

They then put together a draft report on suggestions for the Common and presented it at a meeting last week. They gave out the draft to people in the room (since it was a public meeting) and discussed revisions to the draft in a public forum. Again, all of this is good.

Now the bad stuff happens. In that draft report they discuss creating a conservancy, which is a private entity, to raise funds and help manage the Park. It is my understanding (but I could be wrong) that the idea of a Conservancy was never discussed at the public forums. The next thing was they asked people at that meeting not to show the draft report to anyone!! (not very transparent!)

I called my South End councilor Linehan to get some answers and to get a copy of the draft report. They said they didn't have it and referred me to Mike Ross's office.

I spoke to Mike Ross's office and they refused to provide me with a copy of the draft report, saying that it was only a draft and that it is going to be changed, and alluded to the fact that I could make a Public Records request for it if I wanted it. They asked me why I wanted it, and I said to see what you are planning to give comment perhaps.

I then asked what the process would be. They responded that they would come up with a new draft that Mike Ross would approve. They MIGHT have another working session, or they might not, and then the report would be presented to the full Boston City Council in a couple weeks to be voted on. I asked "where will the public be able to see what you are proposing for the Boston Common before you vote on it?" The answer, of course, is that we might not be able to. Again, not very transparent.

To me the process should be: hold hearings and gain input as they did, then put together a draft proposal, have another hearing, post the proposal on the City website to get input from ALL the citizens, then put together a final draft, and notice the public about when the public discussion and vote will take place at the City Council. Pretty simple it seems to me, why not get the public input on the BOSTON COMMON???


Finally, I got down to the nitty gritty, which is the money part, what the really important decisions are about. In the Globe article Councilor Linehan was quoted as saying "The park needs some help right now; financially it needs more money". Councilor Ross was quoted as saying they " want to make the Common a better place that looks to private dollars instead of nonexistent public dollars."

So I asked Councilor Ross's office some questions about money:

Q: How much do we spend on the Boston Common now?
A: We don't have that information

Q: How much do we need to spend to maintain it properly?
A: We don't have that information

Q: How much will the proposed improvements cost?
A: We don't have that information

They then told me about the tough times we are in, and how the Parks Department budget has been cut. I said, "really, are you sure about that?" They checked the numbers and sure enough the Parks Department budget had not been cut but had been increased this year. I appreciate them taking the time to check their facts, but they shouldn't just blurt out that a budget has been cut when it hasn't.

I also brought up the fact that just this summer Councilor Ross and Councilor Murphy held a hearing where Councilor Murphy explained that the city had 10 to 25 million dollars left over from last years budget. Councilor Ross thanked him for the information and they decided to use that money to give all the Councilor's staff raises. This video is available on the City of Boston website. Maybe some of that money could have gone to make Boston Common nicer? And what are we doing with all that left over money? I asked Councilor Flaherty that at his Kitchen Table talk here in the South End but he didn't have an answer for that either.

I think if I was doing a year long research project into fixing up the Boston Common, I would find out how much we spend on that Park, and how much the professionals, the Boston Parks Department, think they would need to maintain it in better conditions. Especially before I make public statements to the press about needing more money and "nonexistent" public funds. But that's just me, I'm in business for myself and I look at the bottom line.

Why Conservancy's are a BAD idea
Number one is that this is Public space, owned by the people, of the people and for the people. It is ridiculous to think that we have maintained this park by the citizens for 400 or so years, and now we need to get private oversight involved.

We already have a friends of the Public Gardens and the Boston Common, they are free to raise money and do good things for the parks. There is no reason that they can't continue to do this and raise more private money to help, if possible.

What a Conservancy allows is private control over a public body. For example what happened at the Greenway. They set up that Conservancy supposedly to handle the expense of maintaining the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The Conservancy said they would handle the expenses, but then they said they couldn't raise enough money, but they had already been given control. So the Conservancy goes back to the City and the Legislature who gives them money to run and maintain the park. Since they are a private agency they are not governed by public laws about transparency, accountability, etc. It is a great place for cronyism, nepotism and giving velvet handshake jobs to political friends without any public oversight.

It also allows that private entity to set the rules for the park. Such as no protests, no marches, no silent raves on the Common (as my clients 17 year old daughter pointed out), no Freedom of Speech, no pot rallies, and certainly no homeless people using it as a shelter of last resort.

If they do set up a Conservancy, there needs to be a line in the agreement that says
"This Boston Common Conservancy may NEVER receive one penny of public funds from the City, State or Federal Governments" If it doesn't include that line, then we are giving away public funds to a private entity with no oversight of how that money is spent.

Frankly, hasn't our government admitted failure when they say they are not capable of taking care of the most important Park in the City of Boston?

We blow money on new City Hall studies, bonuses for City Council Staff, signs with the Mayors name on them all over the City, low brow reports on the Open Meeting Law, give away property for free to the BRA, but we can't maintain the Boston Common?

I suggest Mike Ross work harder on getting the BRA to give the City back the money they get for letting the Red Sox close off the streets during game days. The BRA promised Mike and the Council that the City would get that money but we don't. Mike was hopping mad (as he should have been) when they reneged on that deal. Where is that money now?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Can't Trust the Mayor or the BRA

I read the Herald article today about how Ft. Point is mad at the Mayor and the BRA for reneging on promises made to them.

See at:

My first thought is: "I told you so."

When I was running for City Council at Large I met with the neighborhood group there and went to a couple meetings where they were discussing the BRA plan for their neighborhood. A number of people were concerned about all the building being planned that exceeded the zoning limits, etc., etc. but they were promised certain things to make up for that.

I told them how to deal with the BRA and the Mayor, how you can not take them at their word, and told them to absolutely get anything they promise in writing. Some people were very interested in addressing the issues in the way that I described (part of my advice was to let them know: don't tell them I am helping you!). But other people said "no, we can't be radical, the BRA has been very responsive and they seem to really care about our needs." I wonder if those people are happy now with what they are getting from the ninth floor at City Hall.

They are very good about seeming to care, right up to the point they approve a giant tower next to you. As I have said all along, we need citizen control over the planning and development of our city. That was in essence what the revolutionary war was all about. Taxation without representation. Well the BRA sets planning policy and tax policy for large sections of the City and the citizens have no input.

Not a very democratic government if you ask me.

But, Freedom of Speech in City Hall!

I was speaking with Councilor Ross's office today and I asked about the comments I have read in the paper about City Councilor's afraid to talk to each other in the halls.

That seemed extremely disengenuous if not an outright lie, especially since I see them talking to each other all the time. It seemed particularly odd when I read about Mike Ross being the next Council President. How could he line up the votes, and how could all the councilors know where each other stood unless they spoke to each other.

Faced with this question, Councilor Ross's office admitted that He is NOT afraid to talk to other Councilor's in the Hall's and that actually he and Murphy had gotten together and talked about who would be Council President.

It must feel good that the Councilor's now feel they can talk to each other in the halls again.

They also wanted to let me know that "Over Councilor's Ross's Dead Body he would not turn the Boston Common over to private interests". More later....

Monday, November 17, 2008

No Freedom of Speech on Boston Common?

The Boston City Council is exploring the option of taking the Boston Common-THE BOSTON COMMON!!!!! and turning it over to a Conservancy. In other words giving control of this, perhaps the most historic and important public park in the country, over to a private group to control. This is what was done with Post Office Square and the Greenway.

Just try and carry a board that says "No more War", or "City Hall is Dirty" in those public spaces, or get a permit to have a peace rally, or call for citizens rights.

Mike Ross, Mr. Lamattina and Mr. Linehan held a get together on this last week. Since all three of these guys are close to the Mayor you can be pretty sure that the Mayor is aware of this, if not behind it.

The assault on Freedom of Speech, and the rights of the citizens to own and control their own property in this country is very troubling.

Please call your city councilors and the Mayor and let them know where you stand on this. 617-635-4000.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

DA following up on Open Meeting Law violation at Boston Licensing Board

I am happy to report that the District Attorney is following up on my inquiry about whether an Open Meeting Law violation occurred in granting the Deja Vu liquor license that Sen. Wilkerson was so involved with.

They have requested a number of items related to this case from Chairman Pokaski. It will be interesting to see what they find. What I have discovered in my limited time looking into this is:

1) The Board does not keep minutes of its meetings, they keep audio recordings which are available for $15 and a blank tape. This is against best practices as described by the Attorney General's office at best, and could be a violation itself.

2) The Board told me they don't keep a copy of the license, it is just given to the recipient. This seems quite odd to me, and bears further investigation.

If I was the Mayor or a City Councilor, I know I would be very interested to know how liquor licenses are distributed in my city or district. Instead, we have an acute lack of interest or denial from our public officials who claim to be interested in transparency. Certainly a liquor license in a neighborhood is a big quality of life issue, and you would think they would be concerned with non transparent business going on right inside their own building.

But, to my knowledge none of them have asked for an investigation let alone done their own inquiry into what is going on. The Mayor's spokesman has even told me the Mayor has nothing to do with the licensing board. Well, maybe he should care a bit more about liquor licenses in the City. It is more likely the Mayor knows everything about what is going on with liquor licenses in the City and he was doing some good old fashioned back room horse trading with Senator Wilkerson, whom he endorsed and sent out voicemails on her behalf not two months ago.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

City Council admits Guilt-see it in Court Monday

Today is November 15th, the date that Summary Judgments are due in the McCrea v. Flaherty and Boston City Council case. Since today is a weekend, the papers will be filed Monday in Suffolk Superior Court where the public can view the Boston City Councils documents where they admit guilt in 10 more instances of breaking the Open Meeting Law.

For those lawyers and policy wonks out there, you may want to read over their documents where even at this late stage they are still trying to carve out a legal niche for themselves to meet in groups of six to discuss policy matters out of the public's view.

Transparency is still a foreign word to our government here in Boston. The Governor's new Ethics Panel is trying to decide whether to meet in public or private.

It certainly seems to me to be important for this group to meet in public so that the citizens and other interested legislators can give their valuable input. It is hard to believe they are serious about ethics reform if they meet in the dark.

A post about comments

Recently, unfortunately, I have had to take the step of moderating comments something I haven't done in the four years or so I have had this blog.

The reason for this is that some anonymous people were posting comments that were worthy of a third grade playground bully. I have no problem with people questioning my thoughts, opinions or observations. But when people are too cowardly to post their name, and devolve into name calling about my wife, then that privilege gets revoked.

I will publish all comments that are respectful and intelligent in nature.

Thanks for reading,

Big Game Today----Wabash Depauw

The undefeated and 3rd ranked in Division 3 Wabash little Giants are taking on our arch rival Depauw University today. We are on a roll, winning last week 63-0! The live telecast is at Clery's here in the South End, where we hope to be joined by my old English professor at Wabash Bert Stern.

Come and Enjoy the beatdown as we bring back the Monon Bell to its rightful place!

Monday, November 10, 2008

How things work in Boston and the State House

After reading the Wilkerson affidavit, as I reported earlier I went and asked the licensing board for some information. There they told me that there was an opening and I asked how do I apply. They sent me to the State House where Governor Patrick's people told me Susan Iannella, who was currently on the state Alchohol Commission, the ABCC, had already been appointed. It would seem to be a demotion to move from the State Board to the City Board, but apparently the $85,000 a year salary to go to 3 meetings a week was good enticement.

I took two actions. The first was to send a public records request to Governor Patrick to see what the qualifications for the post are, where the job had been posted, who he interviewed, and a copy of Susan Iannella's resume. The second was to quickly call Treasurer Cahill's office to apply for the soon to be vacant ABCC job. I figured I must have a chance at that one since it hasn't even been announced that Susan Iannella was leaving yet.

I spoke to a nice woman, Amy Fagerlund in the Treasurer's office who was a bit surprised at my call, saying that Mrs. Iannella hadn't even left yet and they didn't have any announcements about the job. She said she was quite busy and that she would call me the next day with the job requirements. A week later I hadn't heard back from her, so I called and left a message asking for some follow up. Last Friday she called and let me know that they already had someone in mind for the job so it wasn't necessary for me to submit my resume. I asked how I could be considered for the next opening, and she said she would send me an email that I could respond to with my resume. I haven't seen that email yet.

Today I got my response back from Governor Patrick. First, his Counsel explained how the Governor is exempt from the public records law but that he would fulfill most of my request. He let me know that they didn't post anywhere that there was an opening on the Boston Licensing Board, and that they didn't interview anyone, they just appointed Mrs. Iannella. Her resume shows work experience as a consultant and as a Real Estate Broker and Republican National Committee delegate, before being appointed to the State Licensing Board.

I can't wait to see who the person Treasurer Cahill already had in mind for the ABCC position is. Why do a nationwide let alone a statewide search, let alone a job posting when there are so many qualified political family members around?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Some more BS on the way to the Courthouse....

On my way to the Courthouse today for a contempt hearing against the Boston City Council, I stopped by City Hall to see if they took down the meeting posting I have been asking them to take down for a few months. They didn't do it when I asked, nicely, of Feeney, Yoon and Tobin, but file a Motion for Contempt and they jump into action! The meeting notice had been taken town and replaced with another notice that doesn't have a date, place or time and as such is as dubious as the first.

I went to the City Clerk's office to get a copy of the notice. It is always so funny to me how the hired help is so friendly and incredulous about what is going on.

KM: "hi I'd like to get a copy of a meeting notice posted downstairs"

Clerks: "oh you don't need a copy, they are posted online"

KM: "This one isn't"

Clerks "Really?? They are supposed to be. All the postings are online and they tell you the date and time of the meeting"

KM: "Yes, I know they should. But, this one doesn't"

So, they were nice enough to give me a copy of the notice, which contrary to what even the lowly clerks know should be true, ISN'T.

Then I spoke with Rosaria Salerno, who pleasantly told me that "there was no need for that posting to be there".

So, to sum up. Kevin asks nicely for a posting to come down. The City Council refuses until I file a motion for contempt. As soon as I file the motion for contempt, they take the notice down, put up a streamlined version and then the Clerk tells me it doesn't need to be there.

In these belt tightening times, you would think they would have better things to do then put up notices that don't need to be there (and aren't on the website, per city council rules).

BUT, this posting is about the BS on the way to the courthouse...., down one floor at the Mayor's office.

I went to the Mayor's office to ask what he was doing about the apparent violations at the Boston Licensing Board. I was referred to his press office where a nice young man explained to me that he had read the indictment against Dianne Wilkerson, but that the indictment is only about what "Dianne says happened" and is not necessarily true". I tried to point out that the indictment is not about what Dianne says happened, but what the FBI says happened but that seemed to go over his head. I asked whether the Mayor was concerned that the Licensing Board was not conducting business in the proper manner and he assured me that the Licensing Board follows a strenuous process for approving applications. He also let me know, that it is the Governors responsibility for the Board and that the Mayor has nothing to do with it, and hence is not doing any investigations or follow up of the Licensing Board.

He summed up by saying "The Mayor has no influence on the Licensing Board".

Now if you buy that, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day report and shenanigans

I voted for Obama, Chang-Diaz and a couple of Iannella's today. I saw huge lines in the morning at 3 polling places.

However, I also saw the continued lack of obeying and enforcement of election law. Supporters and signs must be 150 feet from the entrance of polling locations and signs are not supposed to be attached to public property. However, everyone still does out, Obama signs, no on 2 signs, etc. are right outside polling locations as are their supporters.

The city even sent out election crews this year to paint white lines 150 feet away from the polling locations so people would know where they could stand and support their candidate. However, the woman in charge of my polling location was never informed of this by the election department. She was thankful when I pointed them out to her.

We need better communication and oversight.

But, everyone seemed very pleasant even with the crush of the crowds, I hope everything goes swimmingly.

The rumor is that Dianne Wilkerson will take whatever number of votes she gets today and use that as an excuse to stay on as Senator for the rest of her term. The argument will be that "X number of people in my district voted for me, and I can't leave them without representation."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Shout out to my mom!

My mother worked hard this weekend campaigning for Barack Obama and other democratic candidates in NH. She drove up from MA with other volunteers and canvassed some rural areas.

It was a tough but worthwhile effort she reported. At one point, she even met with a gentleman who had lost a son in Iraq. He told her that he comes from a military family, and that he thinks McCain will bring the troops home with honor.

She said that people were very polite and appreciative, even when letting her know they were voting for others.

Go Mom and Go Obama!

Boston is a Tiny Town

My wife and I were set to meet with a friend last night, and on the way I convinced her to let me stop at Kinko's to make some copies (one thing about lawsuits is the endless amount of paperwork, in at least triplicate).

I was in Kinko's all alone as my beautiful bride was parking, when who walks in but one of the subjects of the lawsuit I was making copies for, a Boston City Councilor. We exchanged pleasantries and I went back to copying. The Councilor needed to fax something off, and was gone in a couple minutes saying 'good evening' on his way out.

As I was getting ready to leave I noticed a wallet had been left on the counter by the Councilor. (We have all done it) I immediately went outside and started yelling for the Councilor to no avail. I told the clerk at the desk that if the Councilor came back to let him know I had it, and I called Shirley Kressel up and got two phone numbers she had for him, but both were office numbers with answering machines. Later, I called information and got another answering machine at the Councilors listed number. I even tried calling an old cell number of John Connolly I had, to see if he might have the number, also to no avail. When we got home, it turns out he had re-traced his steps to Kinko's and had called my answering machine, and said to reach him at City Hall tomorrow.

What a quandary we had before he called. Do I even look in the wallet to see if there is a phone number or other contact information? I am involved in a lawsuit with the gentleman, what if somehow I saw some privileged information. Plus,there are all sorts of subpoena's (and marked bills according to the FBI) flying around City Hall which is none of my business. So, I decided the correct thing to do was not even to open it up.

I had joked with Clara as we drove to our friends that I felt like Frodo carrying the ring, and in her best Sam-wise way she told me to give her the wallet, but I insisted that I must carry the burden and do the right thing! So, it is off to City Hall later today.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Letter to District Attorney asking him to investigate the Boston Licensing Board

Kevin McCrea
218 West Springfield Street
Boston, MA 02118

October 31, 2008

John Zanini
Assistant District Attorney
1 Bullfinch Place
Boston, MA 02114

RE: Violation of Open Meeting Law by Boston Licensing Board

Dear Mr. Zanini:

This letter is a request that you investigate a possible violation of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Open Meeting Law.

As per our conversation two days ago, I am asking you to investigate a possible violation of the Open Meeting Law, M.G.L. 39 chapter 23 B. It appears from the indictment in the US v. Dianne Wilkerson case that on August 15, 2007 a public meeting was held in which approval for a beer and wine license for the Déjà vu restaurant was not on the docket or meeting agenda, and was not publicly addressed. But, the beer and wine license which is supposed to be reviewed in public was apparently approved by the Boston Licensing Board on that day.

You have indicated that you have read the indictment, and so I will not forward it to you. The Boston Licensing Board can be found in Room 809 at Boston City Hall.

If you need or require anything further to do your investigation, please contact me at once. As you know, the Massachusetts General Laws consider Open Meetings a priority and have a provision that the Courts hold a hearing on any proposed violation within 10 days. I look forward to your timely inquiry.

Thank you for investigating this matter.


Kevin McCrea