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?