Wednesday, December 30, 2009

State of America....take care of your own?

From Time Magazine:

Talk about a dream deferred. African-American and Latino schoolchildren are more segregated, according to a January report from UCLA's Civil Rights Project, than they were at the time of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, in 1968. Nearly 39% of blacks and 40% of Latinos attended schools composed of 90% to 100% students of color in the 2006-07 school year, the report found, and blacks and Latinos are far more likely than their white peers to attend high-poverty schools and "dropout factories" where huge numbers of students don't graduate. With the segment of nonwhite American students at 44% and climbing, the potential economic consequences are dire. "In a world economy where success is dependent on knowledge," the report said, "major sections of the U.S. face the threat of declining average educational levels as the proportion of children attending inferior segregated schools continues to rise."

Read more:,28804,1945379_1944495_1944497,00.html?cnn=yes#ixzz0bB2SquSV

Monday, December 28, 2009

Menino breaking campaign promises already !

Last week Mayor Menino broke 2 promises he made during his re-election campaign.

He dismissed disciplinary actions against sick leave abusers in the fire department, and he guaranteed dozens of firefighter jobs would be immune to budget cuts, even if those jobs are found to be unnecessary and the salaries a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Menino hid last week’s sell-out inside a larger agreement to hire non-union truck mechanics. He hopes that most people are too focused on truck maintenance to notice that he also guaranteed dozens of jobs, and that he canceled discipline for sick leave abusers.

Ned Flaherty

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Last nights meeting

Nancy Lo and James Travers at the School Committee Nominating Panel meeting

I appreciate people being interested in this, sorry I don't have more time to write now.

Last night in room 608, 7 of the 13 members of the committee showed up (amazingly, just enough for a quorom!) for this allegedly important meeting to decide which names to pass along to the Mayor for a 4 year term.

In the audience was an attorney for the City Law Dept., Mary Pierce from the Mayor's office, Sam Tyler from the Municipal Research Bureau, a woman who seemed to be an assistant to Mary Pierce, president of ABN Shirley Kressel and myself. (Interestingly, there were no African-Americans in the room, but then why would they care about the Boston Public Schools?)

I asked Nancy Lo, who is identified on the City Website as the contact person for the meeting, before, during and after the meeting if the 6 people that they discussed were the same people that they had already decided on at the Dec. 10, 2009 meeting and which the Globe had written about. She and the other 7 members of the committee present refused to answer the simple question, "are these the six people you already decided on at the Dec. 10 meeting"?

The meeting was a farce. Nancy Lo started up by explaining how they had narrowed the field from 27 to 11 people, they had held interviews with 11 people and had narrowed the list down to 6. She then "opened the floor" to nominations and the 7 members present pretended to have a discussion as they nominated the 6 people present. I had two favorite parts, one was when they were discussing a Cape Verdean gentleman, a Mr. Barros. Three times the phrase "he is so articulate" was used, right out of the textbook of 'how to say nice things about minorities.' When they were discussing the white candidates, no one said any of them were "articulate". I sure hope they are!

The second funny part was when James Travers spoke about how impressed he was with the open and thorough process that the committee went through to arrive at the nominations. Last year Mr. Travers was appointed to the board by the Boston Municipal Research Bureau. This year he was appointed by the Chamber of Commerce. Amazing how two separate business groups pick the same guy to be on the committee. Also amazing that Mr. Travers gave $500 to Menino's campaign last year.

They then held public comment and Mr. Tyler, Mrs. Kressel and I took our turns. I asked the committee to answer whether the same 6 people they had just nominated were the same ones they had nominated on Dec. 10, 2009. A deafening wall of silence ensued, while people on the committee instantly found how interesting their navels were. Nancy Lo broke the silence by saying this was comment period not question period, and in a back and forth it was determined that no questions would be allowed.

After the meeting I asked the committee members again if any of them would tell me if this was the same group of 6 and again none of them would answer.

Such an impressive group of people who inspire my trust in government so much that they can't even answer a simple question about what they have done.


But, don't forget that the Boston Globe endorsed Menino and so endorsed this type of behavior. It is not new or unknown to them. I called the editorial board, emailed them to ask how they got and endorsed two people (who were on the list of the final 6) before the committee had even met and the Globe wouldn't answer any questions either.

Case law has determined that holding a rubber stamp public meeting after an illegal meeting doesn't correct the violation if no true discussion ensued. Clearly no real discussion ensued.

Will the District Attorney do anything about it? We shall see. I did video tape the whole meeting in case anyone wants to waste an hour and a half of their life.

A Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The School Committee rubber stamped the vote, I guess they didn't care about Oiste's letter!

December 15, 2009

Nancy Lo
City of Boston School Committee
1 City Hall Plaza
Boston, MA 02111

Dear Ms. Lo:

On behalf of ¿Oíste? I am pleased to submit a letter of support of Mr. Kevin McCrea’s application to the Boston School Committee.

As you know, ¿Oíste? is the first and only statewide Latino political organization in Massachusetts. The mission of the organization is to advance the political, social and economic standing of Latinos in the state. We bring these goals to fruition through civic education, leadership development and advocacy. For the past three years, we have worked on building an advocacy campaign to address the drop-out rates, particularly within students of color. We also have been extremely active on the issue of English Language Learners (ELL) on local and statewide levels and are particularly concerned about the status of ELL in the Boston Public School system.

I am sure you are aware of the study done by the Mauricio Gaston Institute at UMass, Boston which describes the disproportionate amount of Latino students not graduating from Boston Public Schools. In early 2010, another study will be coming out on the state of English Language Learners in cities, including Boston. The statistics are severe.

Given the dire situation of Latino students in the Boston Public School system, we need a person on the School Committee that has a track record of ensuring accountability who is not afraid to ask the hard questions; a professional who has a solid foundation in finance and administration and can bring creative financial strategies to tackle our failing school system; and an individual who has evidenced passion about education and will fight tenaciously on behalf of all of Boston’s public school students. This person is Kevin McCrea.

We are certain that Mr. McCrea will be an asset to the Boston School Committee by challenging the status quo and proposing new, innovative ways to move forward on critical issues facing Boston Public Schools. At the end of the day, the School Committee and the City needs a fresh perspective – better that it come from one of its strongest critics who is willing and able to help forge a better path to excellence in education.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Giovanna Negretti
Executive Director

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mayor's Committee has been violating the Open Meeting Law for at least 10 years

Applying to be on the School Committee

As a child of a divorced family who attended public schools in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Vermont I have always been appreciative of the free education provided me in our country, and I have volunteered in the Boston Public Schools, and spoken out strongly in support of our public schools. When my campaign for Mayor was over, many people suggested I apply for the school committee and Mayor Menino had told me that he was interested in working with me, in particular in regards to our trade school in Boston. During the campaign, Superintendent Carol Johnson had pulled me aside and thanked me for my strong words in support of public school education. I was hoping to work with the school department to make our schools better.

There are two open positions on the school committee this year. There was a deadline in early November at which it was announced that there was only one applicant, and the City extended the deadline for applicants until November 30, 2009. The application is fairly involved and it took a few hours and a number of pages to answer all the questions.

The applications were to be emailed to a Nancy Lo, who works for the City of Boston.

I sent my application in along with my resume and asked Ms. Lo to acknowledge that she had received it. She emailed back within a couple hours acknowledging she had received my application. I wrote back asking her what the process would be for selection. I didn’t get a reply.

Over the next couple of weeks when I had some free time I tried to find out what the process was. I checked the City of Boston website and the School Department website and there was no information about the Boston School Committee Nominating Panel or the process for selection, or the criteria for selecting people for the School Committee. I called the Mayor’s office to try and talk to the Mayor about how I’d like to work with him to improve the schools. Mary Pierce from his office called me back and said that the Mayor didn’t speak with any applicant because he didn’t want to influence the process, and she assured me that the process would be transparent, with emphasis on the word transparent. I called the Superintendent’s office and the School Committee’s office and neither of them knew anything about the process. I went to the Mayor’s office to ask them if they knew anything about the process and they told me to ask the school department. I left a voice message for Nancy Lo that was never returned.

By December 14, 2009 I still hadn’t heard from Ms. Lo and I knew that the two new school committee members needed to be chosen by the beginning of the year and I was wanting to make travel plans for Christmas but wanted to be around in case there was an interview to be at, so I sent another email to Ms. Lo asking her to again let me know what the process was. I also had my assistant look up the State law governing the Boston School committee since it didn’t appear as if anyone that worked for the City of Boston knew anything about it. (The Law can be found here:

According to the State Law there are to be 13 people on the Boston School Committee Nominating Panel and there are specific details as to how these individuals shall be appointed. Four are appointed by the Mayor, one by the teachers’ union, one by the Department of Education, one on a rotating basis with the Private Industry Council, the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, etc. Every October they are to get together, elect a chairperson who is to submit a list of all the members to the City Clerk and they “shall meet in public for the sole purpose of deliberating upon, hearing public comment with respect to, and finally selecting a list of nominees” to be presented to the Mayor. They are to suggest 3 to 5 people for each open position to the Mayor.

I had some free time on Wednesday afternoon the 16th of December, and I still hadn’t heard back from Nancy Lo so I went to the City Clerk’s office around 3 pm. I asked for the list of the Boston School Committee Nominating Panel and a nice woman gave me a copy of the 2008 list which was the most recent one available. I then asked for the public notice of their meetings and minutes from their meetings for the last three years. There were none, and they had no knowledge of any meetings or any minutes. I asked to speak to Rosario Salerno, the City Clerk, and she said they don’t keep track of any boards like that.

I looked at the list of the people on the committee and noticed one person worked right around the corner on the 6th floor at City Hall so I went there first to ask him about the meetings and the process but he wasn’t in. I then picked another name from the list and got a person on the phone. I identified myself, and that I was trying to find out about process for selection, and asked if they had held a meeting yet. He said that they had held a meeting but didn’t want to comment on my application, and he suggested I talk to Nancy Lo. After speaking with this somewhat evasive gentleman, my curiosity became less about my chances of actually getting on the school committee and more about the dubiousness of the selection process. I said that I had been trying to get in touch with Nancy Lo but had been unsuccessful. I asked when they held their meeting and he said he didn’t remember. When I asked whether it had been “in spring, in summer?” he asked me to hold a minute and came back and told me that they had met on December 10, 2009 at City Hall and that they had completed their assignment. I thanked him for his time and said I’d try and find out more information from Nancy Lo.

It seemed at this point that an Open Meeting Law violation may have occurred and between 4:30 and 5 pm I left a message at the District Attorney’s office, which is the entity that is supposed to enforce the O.M.L., asking them to call.

At 5:08 pm that day I received an email from Nancy Lo:


The selection process is still ongoing. The Nominating Panel has reviewed the applications and have made our recommendations to the Mayor. His office will be continuing the review process and will be setting up any future meetings.

Thank you for your interest in the Boston School Committee.

The next morning, Thursday, December 17, I called Dot Joyce, the Mayor’s spokesperson and told her that I suspected that the School Committee Nominating Panel had not followed the proper procedure in nominating people. I suggested that the Mayor might not want to be involved in a process that wasn’t transparent. She told me that the Mayor has nothing to do with the process, he just selects from the names that the committee selects for him.

I made a few calls and left messages to other members of the committee to try and find out if I had made the cut or not. During the course of the work day I heard back from a number of the people on the committee. They were all extremely nice, freely answered my questions and clearly were just citizens who were volunteering and doing their civic duty who had no idea what the rules laid out by the State Law were. They had all been on the committee for years, some up to 10 years. They all referred me back to Nancy Lo who clearly was the organizing and directing force of the committee.

Through these conversations I ascertained that there had been a large number of applicants for the School Committee, that the applications had been received by Ms. Lo and sent out electronically to the members for their review. She received their feedback and narrowed the list down to 11 people, who were invited to the hearing on December 10, 2009 to be interviewed at which time they narrowed that group down to two sets of three people for the Mayor to choose from. I found out that they had not taken public comment for at least 10 years as the law requires. No one knew anything about voting for a chairperson, the committee has always been run by Nancy Lo.

One committee member told me that it is “not a fair process” and that committee members “dare not say anything” because if they disagree with Menino that they will soon be gone. I also took the time to look up Nancy Lo and found out that she has been with Menino for years, previously running the elections department and named by Boston Magazine as one of the most powerful women in Boston. She currently works for the Inspectional Services Department and makes more than $100,000 a year. On Thursday afternoon I sent a FOIA request by email to Nancy Lo for information about the process.

That evening I talked to my wife Clara who is infinitely smarter than I about what I should do about these types of things. I clearly could file an Open Meeting Lawsuit which if filed within 21 days of the December 10, 2009 non-public meeting would rescind the action the group took. But what was clear in speaking to the members of the committee is that there was no knowledge that anything they were doing was anything other than their civic duty, unlike the Boston City Council which was willfully trying to exclude the public from their decision making process. I didn’t want to drag good, decent citizens into something not of their making. It seemed to make sense that since the Mayor hadn’t made his final decision yet to just ask the committee to hold the process in accordance with the State Law.

The next morning, Friday, I called Dot Joyce again and let her know that I was now convinced that the Open Meeting Law had been violated, probably for at least a decade, but that I’d like to work with the administration to rectify the situation without wasting valuable time and resources. I asked her if she knew the person in charge of this: Nancy Lo. She said she had heard of her, but didn’t think she had met her. I told her that I hadn’t been able to get in touch with her, but perhaps she or the Mayor could get in touch with her, and let her know that the State Law had not been followed. I let her know I’d been working with the District Attorney on this matter as well.

I spoke with the District Attorney’s office again and they agreed that a “do over” that followed the law was probably a reasonable thing to do since no final decision had been taken. They said they would confer and get in touch with the City.

Although the Mayor doesn’t believe in using computers, and City Hall doesn’t believe in voicemail, one thing the City does believe in, like any totalitarian regime, is Caller ID because that way they know who is calling and whether they should take the call or not.

I decided one last time to try and call Nancy Lo, but first to block my number so she wouldn’t know that it was me who was calling. At 11:00 a.m. I called and amazingly enough I got her. She confirmed that I had not made the cut to make the interview process. She said she had received my FOIA request and was already working with the City Law Department to get a response to me within 10 days.

I asked her if she had read the State Law and she said she had “reviewed it from time to time”. I asked if she had ever held a public process with public comment and she said she would “refrain from comment.” I asked if she had been elected as chairperson and when, and she said she had been “elected in private amongst ourselves” about a month ago. I asked if she had ever met with Dot Joyce and she said she had. I read the part of the State Law to her about holding a public meeting and asked if she had held an Open Meeting. I asked her to please hold the process in accordance with the State Law which she said she had looked at from time to time.

When I got back to my office after 5 pm on Friday there was a message from the District Attorney’s office that next Tuesday there would be a public meeting of the Boston School Committee Nominating Panel at City Hall and that it was posted on the City’s website.

Here is hoping that the City understands that the entity that makes the laws should obey the laws; and, that asking tough questions of people in an open, public forum is more than appropriate when said people will control an $800 million dollar budget and how our children will be taught. It is an important process that the public deserves to participate in. My hope is that we may end up with people on the Boston School Committee who are not only qualified and passionate about our schools, but are also not afraid to ask questions to make sure the schools are the best they can be.

It is too bad that I had to go through of all this just because the chairperson of the committee wouldn’t answer a simple email asking what the decision making process was for over two weeks. But in the end, it will have been a worth-while endeavor if in the future, the process is transparent and in accordance with the law.

Party a Big Success!

Thanks to everyone who came to our holiday party. We were hoping to raise $500 for the Travis Roy Foundation but we nearly raised $1000. It was great to see old friends, meet new ones, and everyone seemed to enjoy the holiday spirit.

A nice eclectic crowd, from Clover Club members, to people from the projects, millionaires to artists, people from the Yoon campaign, the Flaherty campaign, and from the BRA! All are welcome at the big house where we all "can just get along!".

Hope you have a wonderful holiday as well!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Boston School Committee Nominating Panel will have a public meeting for the first time in anyone's memory

The Boston School Committee Nominating Panel will hold a public meeting on Tuesday at City Hall at 4 pm.

They will meet to discuss applicants for the two open positions, as is required by State Law.

If you are interested in the future of the Boston Public Schools, public testimony should be allowed.

I will have much more later on about how the State Law and Open Meeting Law has been violated for as long as anyone can remember, and how I was able to work with City and the District Attorney's office to make this process transparent.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Getting good water at Boston City Hall

The Phoenix today has a story about bottled water at the city and statehouse. An idea I've had for years would be to train the plumbing apprentices at Madison Park trade school to fix water fountains, such as the many non working ones at city hall.

It wouldn't cost anything other than parts, it is a real world job fix for the students, and clearly there is a career here for at least some graduates as there are many, many water fountains and water dispensers around the city which don't work.

Almost seems too easy.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to divide up who is for and who is against term limits

There are many different ways to look at who is for and who is against term limits on the city council. There is some information to be gathered from their bio's.

One is by age, as a Blue Mass Group blogger has written. With the exception that Turner is for them, and Consalvo is against them.

One might want to argue that intelligence, as measured by advanced degrees is another dividing line. Only Yancey (Masters in Public Administration) of the opposed against term limits has a degree past the college level. However, Flaherty, Ross, Yoon, and Connolly all have graduate degrees. Of course, I don't have an advanced degree either, and I'm for term limits.

Another obvious dividing line is a sort of combination of "time since being in the private sector/possible employment" in the private sector. Flaherty and Connolly actively pursue law outside the council, Ross has a degree in law and (I think) one in business, Tobin is currently running a comedy club. No one doubts that Sam Yoon has many marketable skills. They clearly don't need public jobs to keep their families afloat.

If you look at those opposed, Yancey, Consalvo, Lamattina and Linehan have no record at all in the private sector. It has been 16 years since Feeney worked in the insurance business. Ciommo has always worked in the public sector except for a mention as a non descript small business owner. Murphy worked for a bus company until 1984, 25 years ago. Doesn't seem like the private sector is very appealing for those opposing term limits.

The other dividing line is that those closest to Menino are against term limits, with the exception on either side of Ross and Yancey. Of this whole group, I must say I am very impressed that Mike Ross is coming out in favor of term limits. Three cheers for Mike!

I wish that Charles Yancey would recognize how term limits have hurt his constituents in one of the two poorest districts in the city. All these years of Charles complaining that the Mayor won't help the people in Mattapan, won't build a school there, well he can look himself in the mirror after this and say that he is part of keeping machine politics in Boston. Any future complaints he has about Menino will be falling on more deaf ears.

Which councilors are for and which are against term limits, according to Sam Yoon

Undecided or Opposed

At Large. Stephen J. Murphy
(617) 635-4376

District 1. Salvatore LaMattina
(617) 635-3200 
East Boston, Charlestown, North End/Waterfront, City Hall/Beacon Hill

District 2. Bill Linehan
(617) 635-3203
Chinatown, South Boston, South End, Roxbury/South Bay, Dorchester

District 3. Maureen E. Feeney
(617) 635-3455

District 4. Charles C. Yancey
(617) 635-3131
Dorchester, Mattapan

District 5. Rob Consalvo
(617) 635-4210
Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan

District 9: Mark S. Ciommo
(617) 635-3113
Allston, Brighton

In Favor of Term limits

At Large. John R. Connolly
(617) 635-3115

At Large. Michael F. Flaherty
(617) 635-4205

At Large. Sam Yoon
(617) 635-4217

District 6. John M. Tobin, Jr.
(617) 635-4220
Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury

District 7: Chuck Turner
(617) 635-3510
Roxbury, Dorchester, South End, Fenway

District 8: Michael P. Ross
(617) 635-4225
Back Bay/Beacon Hill, Fenway/Kenmore, Mission Hill, West End, Allston

Monday, December 14, 2009

Testifying at City Council today for Term Limits

I testified at the City Council meeting today in favor of term limits. There were between 40 and 70 people there to testify in favor of term limits, one woman who was identified to me as a campaign worker for Maureen Feeney (but not verified by me) testified against term limits. The councilors seemed split between any of those who have aspirations for higher office being for term limits, and those who have worked for the city and/or wouldn't appear to have higher elective offices in their immediate future. Tobin, Connolly, Yoon and Flaherty are for term limits, Ciommo, Feeney, Linehan and Yancey are opposed to them. The Mayor told me he would sign the bill if it reached his desk.

Thank you Councilor Feeney for holding this hearing and allowing a vote on this issue.

As far as the proposal, as the saying goes, “you had me at Hello”. As Councilor Yoon has pointed out 9 of the ten largest cities in America have term limits. We know the phrase “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”, we have a situation here in Boston where it is virtually impossible to unseat a sitting Mayor, unless he is in jail.
Massachusetts was recently found to be the least competitive of all 50 states in terms of contested elections. I don’t believe that this is something to be proud of. I have questions: Why, and what can we do about it?

Term limits and better campaign finance laws would go a long way towards making our system more fair. Boston is the birthplace of the revolution that brought us a country that believes ‘we hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal’. Why not have an electoral system where all participants have equal footing, and the power of incumbency is not an insurmountable mountain to bringing positive change.

I sat down with Mayor Menino recently and he said that if this bill reaches his desk that he will sign it, and why not, it would insure his place as the longest serving Mayor in Boston’s history. I’m not trying to make history here, but I hope you will.

In America, we believe in democracy, that many can and should serve, and that there are many capable and able leaders in our government of and by the people. We live in a cynical world, and people just say I want the truth, well I hope you will allow the citizens a chance to see where every councilor stands on this issue. Which councilors believe a “Mayor for life” is a good thing for public participation and which don’t.

George Washington believed that two terms were enough for him to accomplish his goals, I think he is a good model to go by.

I’m glad we had this talk, and thank you for holding this hearing and voting on this issue.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tax rates go up 11% as I predicted almost a year ago....

The Globe reports. If people were paying attention, such as every Globe and Herald reporter I met and spoke to, then no one would be surprised by this. The numbers are pretty straightforward.

Don't say I didn't tell you so!

For my Atheist Friends, A Warm Fuzzy message from my mother:

>>>A message every adult should read because children
>>>are watching you and doing as you do, not as you say.
>>>When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you hang my
>>>first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately
>>>wanted to paint another one.
>>>When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you feed a
>>>stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind
>>>to animals.
>>>When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make my
>>>favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little
>>>things can be the special things in life.
>>>When you thought I wasn't looking I heard you say a
>>>prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always
>>>talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.
>>>When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you make a
>>>meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I
>>>learned that we all have to help take care of each other.
>>>When you thought I wasn't looking I saw you take care
>>>of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have
>>>to take care of what we are given.
>>>When you thought I wasn't looking I saw how you
>>>handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't
>>>feel good, and I learned that I would have to be
>>>responsible when I grow up.
>>>When you thought I wasn't looking I saw tears come
>>>from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things
>>>hurt, but it's all right to cry.
>>>When you thought I wasn't looking I saw that you
>>>cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
>>>When you thought I wasn't looking I learned most of
>>>life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and
>>>productive person when I grow up.
>>>When you thought I wasn't looking I looked at you and
>>>wanted to say,’ Thanks for all the things I saw when
>>>you thought I wasn't looking.'
>>>Each of us (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, friend)
>>>influences the life of a child.
>>>How will you touch the life of someone today? Just by
>>>sending this to someone else, you will probably make
>>>them at least think about their influence on others.
>>>Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.
>>>Speak kindly.
>>>Leave the rest to God.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Alternative XMAS/holiday gifts for activisits and citizens:


Forgive me for a solicitation, but it's for an organization I have long loved: Resist, which has just a few days left in its Radical Holiday at

RESIST is a national progressive foundation that supports grassroots organizing for peace, economic, and social and environmental justice and provides political education for social change activism. For 40 years, RESIST has funded groups that challenge reactionary government policies, corporate arrogance, and right-wing fanaticism through organizing, education, and action.

As a non-profit organization itself, RESIST relies on contributors with a strong commitment to social, economic and environmental justice, and a firm belief in the need to build grassroots movements and capacity.

So please place your bids on 100 items, including:

* Incredible artwork by John Lennon
* Signed Joan Baez CD
* A chance to meet Noam Chomsky
* Vacations to Cape Cod and Utah, among others
* Autographed David Ortiz Baseball
* My sister’s art
* And much, much more!

Start bidding today at
... where you can fund grassroots organizing and shop for gifts at the same time!



What NY, SF, and DC are doing with public information, we could too if we'd release it....

The NY Times reports. We need to catch up!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Holiday Invite to our Friends

Dear Friends,

Clara and I will be hosting a holiday party at the Big House, 218 West Springfield Street on Friday Night, December 18th, 2009.

We are asking guests to contribute $20 or $25 (or more!) to the Travis Roy Foundation, a non profit set up to help people with spinal cord injuries. We have been involved with this charity for a couple years now, and we have made a commitment to raise $3000 this year, and to take a group of inner city kids up to Vermont for the annual whiffle ball championship, fundraiser and celebration. We hope that you find this a cause worthy
of your donation.

We all have so much to be thankful for. We made many new friends this year during Kevin's campaign for Mayor, and we also have neglected many of our old friends. Clara has her first successful year in the professional world under her belt, and Kevin is up to more of his crazy projects around the world and is hoping to take a motorcycle around Africa next year.

We hope to see you anytime after 7:00pm. We will provide light snacks and refreshments, a bottle of your favorite is always appreciated, or maybe an ornament for the Big Tree! Please send an RSVP so we can plan ahead to,
or visit our EVITE!

We hope that you and your family are healthy and happy!


Kevin & Clara

PS-As always, no shoes in the Big House, so bring some slippers or warm socks!

Another South End mugging

A poster comments:

This is an amazing story! I really respect this woman's courage. What led me to find this article was a mugging I witnessed the night before Thanksgiving in the South End that I would like to share. It led me to do some research to try to find any information there may be on muggings in the South End. I was looking to find any similarities from my experience and others in the area, because I had a theory that perhaps the mugger I witnessed was part of a "group" of muggers that focus on this area (conveniently located by parks as an easy escape with many alleys). After coming across this article, and reading what the mugger said to this brave woman, it really made me wonder.
At 5:55pm I was walking home from the Pru on W. Newton St, heading towards Columbus Ave. I was walking on the left side of the street. The woman who had been walking in front of me was walking at a slower pace than I tend to walk, so I decided to cross over to the right side of the street. Seconds after I crossed,a man jumped her from behind and mugged her. I charged back across the street chasing him as the woman let out a scream. I followed her scream by screaming "stop him" several times as I followed him, creating enough awareness to the men in the area to apprehend him long enough to recover her purse. This man eventually got away, but I was shocked that he mugged this woman at such a busy time on what I feel to be quite a busy street.
This area is located conveniently by parks and side streets, so I can see how it is appealing to muggers. This man is about 5'11, average to athletic build, brown hair, goatee, Caucasian, and was wearing a white HOODY!
During these difficult times, we need to increase our awareness to these violent crimes now more than ever.

I'm wondering if the poster reported this to the police? My wife tried to report it to the State Police but they wouldn't take the information over the phone, they needed her to come to the office.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Default on your mortgage? Maybe, says law school prof...

The Herald has an interesting article today. I'm amazed people have loyalty to the banking industry, who in this article tells people they have a "moral" obligation to pay back loans. Where is the word morality defined in capitalism?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Day 2009

Setting up the Tables at Pine Street

I couldn't sleep, I was up at 2 a.m. so I watched "Roget & Me" with the commentary by Michael Moore. Very enlightening. I did some exercises then headed over to the Pine Street Inn where I had signed up to do set up for their big Thanksgiving Day meal for their guests.

I started off in the kitchen helping make sausages and hash browns before helping to clean up the dorms and set up chairs and the dining room tables for a few hours. I always have a hard time keeping from crying when I go to Pine Street. We are so rich in this country, we have so much, but we refuse to look at those around us who are suffering. Our politicians espouse us being a Christian nation, but I don't understand how lower capital gains taxes for the wealthiest, tax breaks for Bob Beal and JP Morgan, and making One Beacon Street a blighted area, help these people whose life and dignity are stuffed into a locker that they are so thankful to have. Most of the volunteers were not from Boston, including a man who I see nearly every time I'm at Pine Street who usually brings his boys to give them perspective, this time his niece accompanied him. I suggest volunteering some time, it will bring warmth and color and vividness to the rest of your day and your life as you realize how lucky you are.

Came back home and spent the morning doing paperwork and talking to family members from Hawaii to Colombia. My friend Jim joined us in the afternoon and we went to a Thanksgiving Dinner/Birthday Party in the projects in Roslindale. It was very nice, the smells of marijuana and turkey wafting in the air, everyone being very friendly while loud Reggaeton music permeated the walls from the neighbors.

We got back just in time for our Thanksgiving dinner, where a wonderful toast was given by my mother in law who has survived both a son dying and cancer this year. She spoke about how wonderful life is, and how good it is to be here.

I hope your Thanksgiving was even better than mine !!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

CORI Reform from Senator Diaz

This is relevant, as I just worked with ABCD to get a young man some work with my company. 3 years in jail for a gun charge, no diploma from South Boston High, but he seems eager, willing to learn, and he is studying to take his GED. At 23, he is too young to give up hope.

From Senator Diaz:

Tonight we won passage one of the top Chang-Díaz legislative agenda items for the 2009-2010 term: comprehensive CORI Reform! Critically, the bill (S. 2210) includes:

A prohibition on employers from asking job-seekers if they have a criminal record on their initial job application (the so-call "Ban the Box" provision)

Reduction in the wait time to seal a CORI-from 15 years for a felony and ten years for a misdemeanor to ten and five years, respectively. While we fought for 3 and seven years, these new sealing times are nonetheless a great victory for our community.

S. 2210 also includes important reforms to our mandatory minimums system and improvements in post-release supervision.

More to come in tomorrow's news and on our website about the details of this bill. But for now, the State House team and I just wanted to send a big congratulations and thanks to everyone in the community who has worked so hard on this bill. While the House will now need to take up S. 2210, today the Second Suffolk District still scored a huge victory!


Sonia Chang-Díaz

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I thank everyone for reading my blog, for caring about our world, and for giving me the impetus to keep writing.

I hope that everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving, that they appreciate the wonderful world that we have to enjoy. Reflect on the 150th anniversary of one of the most important books ever written, "Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin and how we might be able to continue to use reason to solve our worlds problems.



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

more reasons not to like Bank of America!

I opened up my business checking account today to pay bills and they had a NY Yankees logo and the following message:

Put your money where your heart is. Get Yankees™ banking today. This link will open a new browser window.

Believe me, my heart is not with the Yankees, nor with Bank of America. This is the final straw and I'm going to open up my new company with Sovereign Bank. I'll have more later, but Bank of America has really, and is really, screwing the public and the American taxpayer with the help of our federal elected officials. Not surprising they would be pitching a team from NY who can buy whatever players or politicians they need to get the public to pitch in to their bottom line. Oligopolies are not good in my humble opinion.

Especially one whose heart is with the Yankees.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mugging in the South End: Urban Youth with Knife vs. my Colombian wife

Yesterday morning in the rain, my wife was walking to work on the Southwest Corridor and was near the dog park between W. Newton and Dartmouth. A young man in a hoodie she guessed to be about 18 years old, and not particularly large, approached her and pulled out a Rambo style knife, held it perpendicular to their bodies, and told her to hand over her purse.

Acting on instinct, and not one to back down to anyone, she told him "NO", and reached out with her free hand onto his outstretched arm and lowered the knife down to his side.

She says his demeanor immediately changed and he apologized saying "I'm sorry, this is what they told me to do." He then asked her if he could have some money, so she calmly took her wallet out of her purse and gave him about $25. He thanked her and then he gave her some advice, "Look, Look, if you see someone with a hoodie walking towards you, just avoid them, just turn around and go the other way." He then walked quickly down one of the alleys.

She continued walking to work, and saw her clients for the day, and asked me to pick her up in my "bullet proof truck" for an afternoon treat of lunch at House of Siam, where she enjoyed a glass of wine to wind down the day and the week. She didn't bother filling out a police report, because she knows how busy they are doing details and doesn't want to bother them with their important work. (we'll do it today, Saturday is a slow detail day) We saw a state trooper later in the day on a detail in the Southwest corridor and he gave her the number to call to report it. He told us that Boston is "no worse than anywhere else.", in that knowingly assured way that uninformed uniformed people have. I thought about informing him that according to the FBI the rate of violent crime is twice as high in Boston as NYC, and the USA is 10 times higher than Japan and three times higher than Canada, but my wife gave me a look as to say "why waste such a beautiful day?"

My wife is a five foot three inch, 105 pound BADASS! To think that some American born and bred punk, most likely with a fine American urban education, could take my Colombian born wife, with a doctorate in Psychology is ridiculous. This is the woman who didn't blink against KGB trained breakaway Russian Republic soldiers armed with AK-47's trying to steal our money.

I think it is so funny how people think it is dangerous for us to go on our travels around the world. So far this year, of the three people living at our residence, two of three have been mugged. My campaign manager was mugged by three African-Americans in Allston. Just a statistical anomaly I'm sure, our government would tell us since "crime is down".

My wife says she will be walking up Columbus now, and then left on Dartmouth for awhile.
I'm so proud and lucky to be with someone so strong, who is willing to stand up against what is wrong. Hope you let her know next time you run into her.

Wonderful summing up of why zoning laws are important, and what makes a great city...

Roger Cohen in the NY Times today had a paragraph that was just so wonderful, I had to share it.

The new premises, as I’ve gradually learned, placed us just within the garment district, an area where zoning laws have protected apparel manufacturing space and so held off the developers who would otherwise have turned clothes factories into condos and created yet another gentrified district bereft of seediness, tawdriness, community and that strange high-low alchemy essential to any great city’s mystery and charge.

This is why the corruption of ideas, neighborhoods, and money by the BRA and City Hall is so detrimental to our town.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sam Yoon still pushing term limits---Tom Menino says he will sign bill

I got a mass email from Sam Yoon this morning encouraging people to call their councilors to get the bill to impose term limits in Boston out of committee. When I had dinner with the Mayor (who we all wish well in his recovery from leg surgery) he said he would sign the bill if it came to his desk. So, the question is, who on the council is for term limits and who is against it? Some enterprising journalist should call them all and see where they stand. I would buy that newspaper.

Sam's email:

Dear Friend,

Our campaign addressed the power of the Mayor of Boston - and our belief that too much power in one person's hands holds us back as a city.

That's why we fought hard for Term Limits. If eight years is good enough for President of the United States, it's good enough for the Mayor of Boston.

Term Limits bring urgency to government and protects us from political machines that put politics before people.

Nine out of the ten largest US cities already have Term Limits. And so can we.

A bill to limit Boston mayors to two four-year terms is before the City Council's Government Operations Committee. But we need your help to get it out of committee and to the full Council for a vote.

I am asking you to call and e-mail the Chair of the Government Operations Committee, City Councilor Maureen Feeney, and respectfully ask that she bring the bill to the full City Council for an up-or-down vote.

And please call and e-mail your District and At-Large Councilors to urge them to support this bill.

Your opinion matters to your city councilors - they represent you - and we need to make sure that they debate and vote on Term Limits before year's end.

This is what our campaign has been fighting for.

The contact info for your City Councilors is below. Please take a minute to do this - and then forward this to five of your friends in Boston.


Sam Yoon

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where is our country headed?

It is very depressing watching what is going on in our country, and around the world. I watched the Wabash vs. Depauw Monon Bell Game last Saturday with a 1960's graduate of Wabash who is a Ph.d working for a local bio tech company. We spoke about how the education system in this country is going downhill. He said his company is doing well, but that 30 to 40 percent of their researchers are from the Far East. He agreed that our country is not on the right track and we need to get back to science and engineering disciplines.

The NY Times today has a good comparison of the attitudes in China and America, and how they have become the "can-do" country while we have lost our energy, our quest for the future. They link to a Harvard Business School teacher article about what we need to do to get back ahead.

I see the dithering in Congress, the Democrats and Republicans just being two sides of the same coin, a bunch of rich guys being puppeted by much richer guys and corporations, taking care of the rich and themselves at our expense, and at the expense of our future. We need Universal Health care in this country yet that isn't even on the table unless some connected MBA's get a percentage off the top. I thought we had RICO laws against that?

I remember in 2006 when the City Council raised their salaries from the 60's to the 80's and Sam Yoon said that we needed to pay councilors more money to attract better candidates. Well this year we lost Sam Yoon and Michael Flaherty with degrees from Harvard, Princeton, BC and BU for Felix Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley with degrees from UMass/Boston, and Southern New Hampshire University for Felix, and Ayanna didn't complete her studies at BU. With all due respect to the colleges and elected officials involved (I coined the saying "there is a sucker from Harvard born every minute), on paper at least it would not seem as if we really increased the quality of our councilors by giving them huge raises.

I asked both Felix and Ayanna during the campaign about the BRA, and neither had anything to say about it. Those who don't know about the past are doomed to repeat it. I like the energy of both of them, and am hoping that they both use their considerable gifts to get up to speed fast before they become part of the machine.

Still, they are just tiny players I use as an example.

Why is it that every smart person I know has investments in foreign countries? From buying Australian dollars, to Argentinian vinyards, to Brazilian farms, it seems I am not the only one seeing the writing on the wall.

Yet, I am still seeing the money here in America. It seems as if others do as well, but now we seem to have a situation where people make their money here, but then invest it elsewhere.

I should have listened to Sean Ryan and bought gold at the beginning of the summer. You can't just keep printing money to get out of our economic crisis. It didn't work for the Weimar Republic, I doubt it is going to work here, especially because we aren't creating jobs, we are just getting the rich back to their standard of living.

Sorry, to be gloomy, I'm actually still very bullish on Boston, but I want to wake people up to what is going on and some options for doing something about it.

Have a great day, and think about getting a motorcycle!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Minor changes at Charles View

Allston/Brighton Community:

Please see the attached revisions to the Charlesview Redevelopment proposal

In response to comments raised during the review of the Draft Project Impact Report (“DPIR”) and Development Plan, the Proponent has already requested a reduction of twenty (20) rental units on the Brighton Mills Site from two hundred and sixty (260) rental units to two hundred and forty (240) units. The Proponent is now requesting a reduction of height on the Telford Site to seven (7) stories and a reduction of height on the Western Avenue buildings on the Brighton Mills Site to primarily five (5) stories.

Please contact me should you have any questions.


Jay Rourke

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thought from election day

I was working the polls in Charlestown on election day and someone came by to thank me for running and said "Kevin, it's easier to sell a lie then to give the truth away for free." A great quote, just wanted to remember it.

Nothing happening here politically is there?

The Boston Globe called me the other day to get a comment on Kineavy returning to work at City Hall. "Shocked and Chagrained" that Menino would say one thing during a campaign and then do another. Why is this news? Who cares?

I feel like this press/media dance is just a big carousel, a farce, and thankfully I have been slowly but surely weaning myself off of it. I'm hoping by Thanksgiving I won't be reading any of the papers anymore for political news because there isn't much. Coakley will win as long as she doesn't say much. Millions will be spent, trees will die, schools will continue to be underfunded, and soldiers will die overseas.

And the Globe wants my comment on how someone who has been lying to the public for 16 years whom they endorsed continues to lie to the public? Do us all a favor and write about the scholarship programs available to students and adults so they can get educated for the knowledge based jobs that are out there.

I don't enjoy participating in this farce.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Anyone want some authentic Fenway Park Seats?

If anyone wants any of these seats, I will help facilitate this as long as you make a reasonable donation to the Travis Roy Foundation.

Dear Season Ticket Holder,

While the home team is no longer playing, there is still much work to be done at Fenway Park as we approach another ambitious renovation schedule planned for this offseason. Each year since 2002 we have made offseason improvements to “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.” This offseason will continue this tradition. A component of the 2010 improvements will be replacing the red Dugout, Field Box and Loge Box seats. We are pleased to provide our loyal season ticket holders with the first opportunity to own these authentic and historic Fenway Park seats. They are the same seats that have held fans witnessing the exploits of Yaz, Rice, Evans, Lynn, Clemens and Ortiz, not to mention the stunning performances of the 2004 and 2007 World Series.

Last year we were overwhelmed with the response to the 2008 seat sale. We hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity to own these vintage pieces of Fenway Park.

The seats will be packaged and sold in pairs (2 seats). While we would like to be able to offer you specific a seat location, the removal process does not allow us to preserve a significant portion of the seats. However we will attempt to provide you with seats in your desired section. This year’s seats are being removed from sections 27-33. Seat removal will commence after the “Frozen Fenway” events this winter.

For a limited time only, season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase a pair of seats for $750[1]. This “first chance” sale will conclude on Monday, November 16th at 5pm. Thereafter, sales will open to the general public and a pair of seats may be purchased for $795[2].

If you are interested in purchasing, please reply to this email at with your full name, day & night time phone numbers or call (617) 226-6800 to speak with one of our sales representatives. We will be in touch to secure payment and your part of Red Sox history. Thank you once again for your ongoing loyalty and support of the Old Town Team.


The Boston Red Sox

Monday, November 09, 2009

City Hall still playing funny games with emails

As soon as the election was over, the City Hall attorney who earlier insisted that I make all FOIA requests through her, promptly insisted that she would no longer be facilitating my FOIA requests and that now I would have to go directly through the people that I used to make my requests to previously.

My first request was for her emails from the last 4 days as clearly she received instructions from "someone". So, the City apparently has hired outside counsel to answer this FOIA at what I assume is her usual cost of around $200 an hour. I thought we didn't have any money in the city????

What is so hard about just forwarding some emails, unless you have something to hide!!!

Her is outside counsel's response to me:

Dear Mr. McCrea,

I have your FOIA to Maribeth Cusick, seeking her emails from Friday, October 23 through Thursday, October 29. Please be advised that the cost of producing these materials is as follows: 2.5 hours of review, at $30 per hour; redaction; and production of 96 pages of material at $0.20 per page. The total cost is therefore $95.

If you wish to continue with this request, please send payment in that amount, payable to the City of Boston, and direct to my attention to the address below.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding this matter.


Mary Jo Harris


Mary Jo Harris


200 State Street

Boston, MA 02109

Tel: (617) 788-5011

Fax: (617) 367-3125

Sunday, November 08, 2009

More top level political appointees getting more money (What Recession?!)

Andrea Estes shows again why she is the best reporter in the State. She is as close to neutral in her reporting as anyone I read, she gives all sides a chance to comment, and if you read between the lines about when someone doesn't comment on something, you know they are hiding something.

Still waiting for that (real) Reform before Revenue.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Charlestown residents want to quiet Old Ironsides?

The Herald today has an article about some residents who want to quiet the cannons on the USS Constitution. As anyone from there will tell you, they go off every day at 8 am and at sunset.

I used to live on a boat at the Constitution Marina which was the closest boat in the harbor to the Constitution. I thought it was wonderful having the cannons go off, you were never late for an 8:30 appointment amongst other advantages. You actually get used to it after awhile, and it is great when someone new sleeps overnight to see them freak out when the cannon goes off at 8 am.

When will people start appreciating the wonderful history that we have here?

I bet and hope that this goes nowhere.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

For everyone that thinks we have great health care in this country, read this:

From the NY Times today (Kristof):

(Thanks to Michael Pahre for cluing me in on proper use of links!)

The basic argument, is that despite what the idiot politicians tell us, we don't have the best health care in the world, in fact we are far from it, and as he has repeatedly made the case, Slovenia has better health care than we do.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Why I'm voting for Flaherty

Almost a year ago I was sitting at Doyle’s enjoying a drink with Michael Jonas (former Globe now Commonwealth writer) and discussing the idea that I might run for Mayor. I talked about how the Boston Globe was in the tank to the Mayor, but Michael insisted that the Globe wasn’t going to give Mayor Menino a free pass this time around. I pointed out that there had been a recent scathing report on the state of the Boston Public Schools and that the Globe had written an editorial about how the Mayor should be commended for accepting the results of the report and vowing to work harder. No sense of urgency that these results are not acceptable in a rich, intellectually dominant city. I said to Michael that the Globe wants a Mayor’s race for the same reason that the Harlem Globetrotters need the Washington Generals. You need someone else in the race to have something to write about, but in the end we all know who the Globe is going to endorse, and who is going to win. Jonas laughed, but while not completely accepting my premise, said that the analogy had some merit.

I had planned on running for Mayor four years ago to bring up the same issues of transparency, the need to eliminate the BRA and that the state of our public schools were not acceptable. I had lunch with Maura Hennigan and she convinced me to run for City Council and that she would be raising these issues. She did an admirable job, but I don’t think the city was ready to hear that message just yet.

I was the first into the race for Mayor this year, knowing that Michael Flaherty was probably going to enter but with no idea that Sam Yoon would. My platform from Day 1 spoke about the need for term limits, the elimination of the BRA, the need for transparency at City Hall, the need to properly fund and bring accountability and fiscal reform to the Boston Public Schools.

Neither Michael Flaherty nor Sam Yoon included eliminating the BRA when they entered the race, but Sam did quickly start talking about term limits. Later, the three of us were on a WBUR interview in the spring in studio and during Sam’s time in the booth he mentioned getting rid of the BRA, and I said to his campaign manager Jim Spencer who was sitting next to me, “When did Sam decide it was time to get rid of the BRA” and Jim laughed and said “I think just right now!”

Many people think, erroneously, that there is a lot of personal antagonism between members of the administration and the City council and me. While there are clearly people who wish that I were not around, I actually get along well with a number of them. Tobin, Murphy, Ciommo, Yancey and others share pleasantries and a laugh here and there when we run into each other. At the first debate this year Michael Flaherty noticed I was down to my last pair of socks (that my mom had given me) that had the name “Kevin” written on it, with the Gaelic explanation of the name on them. Michael needled me throughout the campaign about them. At the first debate with Jon Keller after beating Michael up about violating the Open Meeting Law, we went to break, and I said to Michael during the intermission “I feel bad about beating you up on this at every forum.”, he responded “hey, its fair game, I’ve got thick skin and I was wrong.”

After that debate as I was waiting to go on the Dan Rea show, Tom Menino was in the hall and he congratulated me on a great performance and I returned the compliment. He made an interesting, insightful comment that shows how much the Mayor understands people: “Kevin, you and I are the outsiders in this race.” His meaning that neither of us had grown up with the natural advantages that
Michael and Sam had, and that both of us had to work our tails off to get to where we are.

Right before the second debate I got wind of some illegal building activity that seemed to have inspectors looking the other way for some connected people on Temple Place. It really threw me off, as I reported the information I found out to the FBI and the head of ISD that day. I have learned all too well that the Democrats voted to enforce the laws, the DA and the AG will not enforce the laws on their fellow Democrats in this state. It is no coincidence that only the Federal Authorities have found any corruption at the State House and at City Hall. I was also concerned that I was being branded as just throwing “bombs” (even if those ‘bombs’ are based on facts and evidence, but when did the powers that be care about facts and evidence, if they did they would be scientists) so I wanted to tone it down and try and talk about policy as much as possible.

This is the quandary of modern politics, you work and you work and you work for months and months, meeting voters, talking to local papers all for 10 minutes of TV time in a debate with television people who don’t live in the city and usually are not very informed (Jon Keller excepted) about the issues. So politicians can get away with saying things that are blatantly untrue without being challenged. I am usually my own worse critic and I actually felt I did okay but nothing particularly great during the debates, but apparently I struck a chord with some people who are as fed up as I am.

On the way home from the first debate we were listening to Dan Rea, who doesn’t hide the fact that he is on Menino’s side, on the truck radio. He was just finishing up with Sam Yoon and he wasn’t asking Sam fair questions, or giving Sam a chance to answer. How do you answer a question like “I think Boston is a great City, name me a better City than Boston…???” After he was done with Sam he opened up the phone lines to talk about the debate and the first two callers called up and said essentially “that guy Kevin McCrea did a great job, he really won” and Mr. Rhea was dismissive and subtly tried to play up the Mayor: ‘so you want to go with the outsider, the unknown as opposed to the person who has made this city so great’ it was great to hear it, people we didn’t know calling up and saying positive things about our effort.

We raised and spent about $17,000 on the campaign (some from me), and on election day I felt very positive about the way the race had been run. I told my wife if I received more than 1,000 votes that I would be happy. My biggest hope was to get 5% of the votes. On election day I had a great time running around the City talking to voters thanking poll workers from all the campaigns for getting involved, receiving many compliments, and getting limp wristed handshakes from Menino supporters. I borrowed my wife’s Chrysler convertible loaded it up with Bob Marley, James Brown and the Clash and one of my favorite moments was driving along Centre Street in West Roxbury with the top down rocking out to the Clash “Justice Tonight” as people in adjoining cars were giving me the thumbs up.

Later that night, after the polls closed I was being interviewed by WBUR around 10 pm and the results were coming in and showed Menino around 48 percent. I said to the reporter, “I guarantee you that at the end of the night Menino will be over 50%”. I had seen too many odd things at the polls, mentally handicapped people being hand taken to the polling stations by Menino people, Menino numbers crunching running around with worried looks on their face, and phone calls from people before the primary who had worked for the elections department telling me about how election fraud is carried out. It would look very bad if Menino was below 50% and I figured he would pull out all the stops to make sure that was the case.

I was ecstatic with my results and with the race I ran. I am appalled by the money in politics. Menino spent about 1.5 million to get 41,000 votes or $36 bucks a vote, Flaherty spent $915,000 to get 19,459 votes or $47 a vote, Yoon spent $657,000 to get $17,179 votes or $38 a vote. I spent $17,000 to get 3,340 votes or about $5 a vote. It really is out of control. Between the four of us we spent more than the entire book budget of the Boston Public Schools in just the primary.

The day after the election Natasha Perez from Flaherty’s campaign called and asked me to join them. I told them I could support them if they were getting rid of the BRA, but that first they needed to get Sam Yoon on board, as he was much more important to victory than I was. They were holding a fundraiser that Thursday at Anthony’s Pier 4 that they wanted all of there for. I had promised my wife we would go away for the weekend so I could not make it, and Sam needed time to discuss things with his family and his people.

Then in the first joint interview that Flaherty and Yoon held with the Jamaica Plain Gazette they equated my campaign to Donald Duck, and made fun of Freedom of Information requests, saying that they would have a special department to handle Kevin McCrea’s requests of the government and call them “McFoia’s”.
I was on business in New Orleans when this came out and my wife told me one night that I had received an odd apology on the voicemail from Sam Yoon which neither she nor I knew anything about. When I returned to Boston I called John Ruch of the Gazette to confirm the story he had written and whether anything was out of context. He confirmed what he had written, and I have a good relationship with John and had no reason not to believe him. I was a bit taken aback that the people asking for my endorsement and calling for transparency at City Hall and an investigation by the Attorney General would make fun of Freedom of Information requests.

I am realistic enough to know that if this election had been 65% Menino to 35% for the rest of us that no one would care about me. But, instead we had a situation where my 4% of the vote could be crucial. So I decided to be objective and try and make my decision based on facts, and to leverage what minimal amount of influence I had to try and do the best I could to make the city a better place. I contacted Dot Joyce, Menino’s spokesperson, and asked if I might perhaps speak to the Mayor about some common ground that we might work together on, in particular the schools. She was very gracious, and we set up a dinner with the Mayor and his wife and my wife and me.

I was extremely confused at this point. I had three options, endorse one or the other or stay out of it. Politicians are masters at making you think that they care about you and your issues, and of making you think they are going to do something about an issue without actually committing to anything. Even though I think I’m a reasonably intelligent person, I know my hubris can be attracted to praise and the spotlight, and I asked my wife to accompany me to get an objective and professional (she is Doctor of clinical psychology) take on the two candidates. We sat down with Michael and Sam and their people and spoke about what needed to be done to win the election. They were very kind in complimenting me on the issues I had raised and what I had brought to the campaign. They were definitely for term limits and bringing in new management and accountability practices to City Hall.

We then had dinner at with the Mayor and his wife Angela, and both of us (particularly me) had a bit of trepidation. We met at Hammersley’s where Gordon, the owner, has been a longtime supporter of South End baseball and I knew the Mayor and he were friendly and that the Mayor had eaten there. We ended up having a really wonderful evening. We spoke about common experiences, travels to South America and Turkey. The Mayor and I had both dealt with problems of alcoholism in our families when we were young. None of the four of us had a drink, which we rarely do and it turns out the Menino’s don’t either. Angela spoke about how when Tom got involved in politics he stopped drinking because he had seen too many politicians make fools of themselves while imbibing, and he would not be that way. We spoke about the problems of dealing with the media, and how they had thick enough skin but they really thought it unfair when the media went after their family.

The Mayor asked one question about where Flaherty thought he was going to pick up votes, but I replied that he wouldn’t want me sharing anything with Michael, and I wouldn’t want to share what Michael said to me with the Mayor. He respected that and we moved on. We spoke about tax policy and why I didn’t believe that we should be giving tax breaks to the big rich corporations, because as the Mayor says “this is a great city, people want to be here, because of the great institutions, the neighborhoods and the people.” Further that these tax breaks were just picked up by the working people in this city and that it isn’t fair. He said we had to give them or else the companies would leave, but later in the conversation he talked about how some of the financial institutions that had left the city were now looking to come back because they couldn’t find qualified workers. I pointed out “Exactly” how there was an inconsistency in his logic, that is why we shouldn’t be giving them tax breaks, we should just continue making the City a great place to live with good schools, safe streets, parks, etc. He truly seemed to be taking the point in. We agreed to disagree about the BRA, and we didn’t talk about emails. I told him that people are afraid of him in this city, and that shouldn’t be the case in a democracy. He dismissed it, but I explained how even friends of mine were afraid to let me have fundraisers in their restaurants because of fear of repercussions. I told him that I thought he was going to win, because people genuinely liked him, and felt that he cared about the city, and I said that if he just changed a few things, if he was more open to others ideas and to collaboration that he could really leave on top and be remembered for being a fantastic Mayor. At the end of the meal, he said he’d like to work with me, and all of us remarked what a nice time we had and that it was great to get away from the campaign for an evening.

I was in an even bigger quandary than ever, and then we had some family medical issues with cancer and surgeries, and brought us back into “reality”. As I went back to work in my construction business and I spoke to working people, to wait staff, to students, to guys I play basketball with in Roxbury, I was struck by how little anyone really cared about this, and about how little impact they felt it had on their lives and that nothing was going to change. The only ones who seemed interested or had an opinion were City workers, and they were mostly in favor of the Mayor.

Many of my supporters implored me not to endorse anyone, saying that people respected me for telling the truth and not compromising on honesty and transparency. But, I also had many people asking me who I was going to vote for and looking at me for an informed opinion.

I have been thoroughly unimpressed with the media during the campaign in terms of asking the candidates substantive questions on the issues, on holding them accountable, and of asking follow up questions. I got into this race to get some questions answered by the candidates, and 9 months later there are basic questions unanswered. I came up with an idea: I asked both candidates if they would be willing to do a one hour debate at the Boston Public Library, with questions from me about what they would do about the future of the City. No “gotcha” questions, nothing about the past, just a chance, on the record, to talk about what they were actually promising to do about schools, about transparency, about public safety, etc. They both declined to take my questions, but offered to answer written questions. On another tangent, I asked Flaherty to introduce the legislation into the City Council that would begin the process of eliminating the BRA to show that he actually was going to do it, but his staff said they had procedural reasons why they couldn’t do that. Interestingly, the BPL was unhelpful in scheduling a room. To be fair I was asking last minute and they had a policy of only allowing non-profits with a long lead time. But, I mentally thought about all the obstacles to doing things in this city, such as having a block party or having a neighborhood forum. When did we become a society of why we can’t do things, instead of a “can do” society?

I had pretty much decided to stay out of it, not convinced that Flaherty was truly committed to transparency and eliminating the BRA. But, I received his mailings which put down in print that he would eliminate the BRA and institute some measures towards transparency. People were still asking me for whom I was going to vote and I felt I had an obligation to let them know, because of course I was going to vote as I do in every election.

For me, it came down to the elimination of the BRA. I believe that the institution of the BRA has outlived its usefulness, that it is non-democratic, and that it is corrupt and that it breeds corruption, and that the rich use it as a tool to take advantage of the rest of us. I called Dot Joyce as a courtesy to let her and the Mayor know, and to thank her for her time, and for the Mayor’s valuable time. She tried to convince me otherwise, but I let her know that the BRA was the deciding factor for me.

So, I’m asking people to vote for Michael Flaherty on election day, to eliminate the BRA and to try and bring transparency and a new sense of inclusiveness and access to City Hall.

No matter who wins, I am bullish on the future of Boston. Not because of the political class, but because of the people and institutions that are here. Because of our institutes of higher learning we will continue to be an international city where smart people come to learn and create, ironically, they often get applied more around the world then they do in our own backyard.

Whether Michael Flaherty or Mayor Menino wins, I hope that they will reach out and try and new things, not be afraid to fail, and to bring in good people who want to make this city shine. I would be willing to work with either of them, and I hope all the citizens feel the same way after the election. How about a City that has all four of us working together to improve Boston? Abraham Lincoln did it, maybe Menino or Flaherty could do the same: wouldn’t that be bold and exciting?

I also endorse Alex Selvig and Christian Kulikowski. It is imperative that we have some independent voices on the City Council who are not afraid to speak up for the citizens. They both believe in eliminating the BRA and so they have my support.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

City trying to sell off valuable Park Land?

Dear Mr. McCrea,

I am writing you this email with the hope that you will look into a story that I think you and your blog readers will find very interesting. As a fellow resident of Boston, I think you will find the actions of our elected officials appalling. I am referring to the Mary Cummings Park.

Mary Cummings Park is a Land Trust overseen by the City of Boston, but the land itself lies in the Town of Burlington and the City of Woburn. In case you are not familiar with Mary Cummings Park, please allow me to provide some background.

Mary Cummings died in 1927 and left her vast estate of over 200 acres to the City of Boston as a Land Trust. In her will she stated that the land was to be kept and maintained in perpetuity as open space. This land is now the 12th largest park inside of the Rt. 128 area.

In addition, Mary Cummings left some buildings that she owned in downtown Boston to her trust. In 1929, the City of Boston seized the buildings by eminent domain and that money is still owed to the trust, which with interest is now worth millions of dollars.

Over the years, programs brought many children from Boston to enjoy the woods and fields of Cummings Park. Children camped, grew vegetables, and enjoyed nature in a way that is not readily available to most kids in Boston.

However, since 1993, all programming has ceased at the park, and the City of Boston has spent virtually no money on the park. In fact, of late, the only money the City of Boston has spent on the park has been on No Trespassing signs and lawyers and engineers who are looking to break the Cummings Trust and sell off the land for residential and commercial development. This would be a direct violation of the Mary Cummings Trust. Some proposals have called for a golf course or to sell the land to pay for the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Mayor Menino who claims to have the best interests of the residents of Boston at heart, particularly its children, has clearly demonstrated that he is quite comfortable with depriving inner-city kids the opportunity to experience and enjoy a beautiful park that was intended for their use. Once again, Menino would like to set up his developer buddies/campaign donors with a sweetheart/backroom deal.

I apologize for this long email, but as you can see, the issue is quite involved.

It would be a shame for the residents of Boston, Woburn, Burlington, and the people from the surrounding area if this land was sold and developed. I urge you to visit the Friend of Mary Cummings website.

Particularly the page concerning the vision for the park:

and the documents page which outlines what the City of Boston has done to try and break the Mary Cummings Trust:

The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald have both largely ignored this story. Lately, the Change for Boston website, and the Northeastern University Student Newspaper, The Huntington, has brought attention to it. I invite you to read there stories:

Thank you for your time.

Why I hate finance people

Clara and I were walking along Newbury Street to go to the movies last night and two well dressed guys, 30 somethings, were walking towards us. They had a Friday afternoon, world at my feet, boisterous attitude. A homeless guy wrapped in a blanket walking ahead of us about 30 feet asked them for some change, and one guys says smugly and mockingly "sorry we are just poor financial guys", as they walked past the man in the blanket. The second guy laughed lightly and added as a highlight: "that just got a bailout." The two of them laughed as they continued down the street.

I have no problem with people not giving money to people on the street. But mocking and making fun of the homeless is shameful. The fact that they are laughing about being given a government bailout that I'll bet they didn't need to keep them from being homeless just reinforces for me why these bailouts are wrong. Why do we bailout the rich, but it is okay to have people begging in the streets. Haven't we learned yet that trickle down economics doesn't work?

Very depressing, if I had noticed quicker what was happening I might have given those guys a tongue lashing or at least snapped a picture so everyone could see the true character of these guys who I'm sure are upstanding members of their community.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I've endorsed Flaherty, Selvig and Kulikowski

At a press conference at Downtown Crossing today I endorsed Michael Flaherty (and Sam Yoon) for Mayor, Alex Selvig and Christian Kulikowski for City council in their respective seats.

All of these candidates are calling for the end of the BRA, and recognize that we need more transparency at City Hall. These are my litmus tests for candidates, and I've had other candidates who have asked for my endorsement but without that understanding of how undemocratic Boston is, and the willingness to do something about it, I can not endorse.

I'll have more later.

Bad News about Taxes, and of course City Hall is hiding the numbers

A CFA who closely follows City Budgets has the following information if you are doing any financial planning for the next year:

It APPEARS that we are headed for several years of double digit increases in residential property taxes due to the collapse of the commercial real estate sector similar to what happened in 2004. The city so far refuses to release the information necessary to make that calculation. While the numbers they currently have are tentative pending state approval and modification, it is unlikely there will be a significant change between now and the issuance of 3rd quarter tax bills in December. Rather than release the information which can settle this issue, they appear to be holding it until after the election so my assumption is that the news is not good.

I have made two requests (early September and this past Monday - 10/26) to the assessor's office for this information. Was told the first time that it wasn't available and have not received a response to my second request.

FOIA request update

After blogging about the lack of response by the City on my 3 month old FOIA request, surprise, surprise, I got the information yesterday.

The City has about 2200 Hispanics on their Excel list of Hispanic workers. In her comments to the Jamaica Plain Gazette she said that her list didn't even include the numbers in the school department. Well, contrary to what she said, in fact a huge amount of the Hispanics on the list are in the school system. They also list a number of part time employees, people who are on leave, and even poll workers who (I believe) are just contract workers who work a few days a year for a set fee.

So, even with including these other categories there are less than 14% of the City workforce who are Hispanics. Not a bad number, but less than their percentage in Boston.

Why did it take 3 months to just pass this along? What is it like pulling teeth to get any information from City Hall?

Mafia Wars-(at city hall) a computer guy weighs in

I play mafia wars all the time. Did you see this article in the Herald today:

This is his link to his Mafia Wars Profile.

I also play the game but never at work. You can attack someones character in this game. I attached hm and asked others to do so. It takes like forever to get to the level he is at. Like seriously a lot of work.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

City of Boston refusing to turn over simple information

As I've reported before, the City assigned an attorney, Maribeth Cusick, to directly answer my Freedom of Information requests. Back in July in response to Michael Flaherty talking about the lack of minorities in City Hall, the Mayor's press secretary Dot Joyce said: Councilor Flaherty’s remarks are completely off-base,” Menino spokesperson Joyce later told the Gazette. “I have 21 pages of Excel spreadsheets that have Latinos in city government, and that’s not even counting the Boston Public Schools.”

So on July 10 I sent a FOIA request to Ms. Cusick for those 21 pages of Excel spreadsheets.

Should be a pretty easy request, just email me the excel spreadsheets, should take about 5 minutes. But, surprise, surprise, the City has not turned over that information. (Apparently they are working hard on their Facebook pages)

Just last Thursday Ms. Cusick sent me an email promising me the information on Friday, of course I haven't received it yet. Her most recent reply:


I think I'll have that for you tomorrow. Sorry again for the delay.


I wonder if I make a complaint to the Board of Bar Overseers that she is complicit in unlawful behavior by the Menino administration if I might get a quicker response. The City is clearly in lockdown phase and is not giving out any information to anyone in the last couple of months. I have made other information requests and am met with a stonewall. But, this has been the modus operandi of this administration and our current elected officials and the citizens don't seem to mind. Don't you wish we could tell the IRS to blow off when they ask us for information?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The G-8 is born!

Thanks to the efforts of Bill Trabucco, a group of less than ultimately successful politicians gathered in the living room of my home tonight to renew acquaintances, share stories from the campaign, and talk about how we can work together to make the city a better place and to hold our government accountable.

It was one of the most enjoyable evenings I have spent in some time. Although we range from Republican (Robert Fortes) to virtual libertarian (Sean Ryan), from rough edged street talkers (Trabucco and me) to men of God (Ego Ezedi), from community leader (Jean Claude Sanon) to biking environmentalist (Scotland Willis), and finally the immigrant accountant (Hiep Nguyen) we all share the common goal of wanting to help people.

There were many laughs, some good natured ribbing, and good stories from the past year. We've named ourselves the G-8, and I look forward to us getting together again and working to help people everywhere. Politics is about people, and this is one great group of people.

Protest against BRA, Harvard, and Menino ramming development down Allston's throats

Yesterday Michael Flaherty, Sam Yoon, Alex Selvig and Allston residents such as Harry Mattison held a press conference in Allston at one of the dozens of properties that Harvard has bought up to land bank for their future expansions at the detriment to the community. The Globe covered it without mentioning Selvig .

According to Michael Pahre it was Mr. Selvig who spoke most knowledgeably and eloquently about the problems in Allston. It would be nice if the Globe even acknowledged that a race was going on between Selvig and Mark Ciommo. The Herald is even worse.

The City and the BRA and Harvard have essentially snubbed their noses at the local residents, using the poor at Charlesview as pawns in their game, as Dylan would say. Instead of enforcing the City of Boston Inspectional Services department to require the landlords to fix their buildings and maintain them according to the law, they promise the residents a better place someplace else which not coincidentally is on less valuable land than what they sit on now. Sounds like what we did to the Indians back in the 1800's.

Poor Jay Rourke, he has to put up with a couple of bad mentions in the press and all he gets is a $95,000 capital gain signed off by the City Council and the Mayor. Those public servants of ours deserve everything we can give them, they work so hard for us. Makes you proud to pay your taxes.

Senate Debate Notes & pizza night!

Clara and I watched the Mayoral Debate last night. Pags seemed like a deer in the headlights, Martha was as safe and staid as usual, Alan had some good points but went on and on without answering questions, and Capuano was as Clara said 'the best'.

She liked his tactic of answering the hypothetical questions with "that wouldn't happen" so I'm not going to answer the question. "That wouldn't happen", "That wouldn't happen", etc.

Seems as if it is Martha's race to lose.

I'm looking forward to an interesting evening tonight. Former City Councilor at Large candidate Bill Trabucco has organized a get together for all the losing at Large candidates. He asked if I would host, which of course I'm only too happy to do. We're going to share some pizza and stories and talk about making the city a better place.

The press wanted to make fun of Bill, but he is actually a very smart, committed, honest, devoted individual who brought real passion and fresh ideas to the race. He earned the respect of his fellow candidates, by showing them respect. I can't say such nice things about many of the finalists. Bill got one of my four votes.

The press is so bad, they want to make their snap judgments to typecast someone, they like to say they want a straight talking individual, but then they anoint people who say nothing specific as the 'polished leaders'.

The press was recently fawning over Michelle Obama jumping double dutch, but if she dared to try that while Obama was on the way up they would have had a field day with saying how 'unladylike' she was and how unprepared she was to be 'first lady'. I have no doubts why the newspaper and press business is doing so poorly. Often bigger hypocrites than the politicians they cover.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ned Flaherty summarizes emails

1. Calculation of unrecovered messages.

A. TOTAL MESSAGES. After analyzing Kineavy’s daily e-mail traffic volume during August and September 2009, the Globe estimated that he would have sent/received 159,640 messages over the last 5 years.

B. RECOVERED MESSAGES. City officials recovered 11,423 messages, and accounted for them (including 240 withheld) on the City web site by 15 October. Then State officials announced they’d recovered 48,000 messages yesterday. City’s 11,423 + state’s 48,000 = 59,423 recovered messages.

C. UNRECOVERED MESSAGES. Total messages of 159,640, less recovered messages of 59,423, = unrecovered messages of 100,217.

2. Posting the latest 48,000 messages. Galvin’s 5-week investigation finished on 22 October, at which point he concluded that Kineavy improperly double-deleted an unknown number of messages. In yesterday’s Globe, Galvin said he will let the City review the 48,000 state-recovered messages, to exempt personnel and medical messages, prior to their public release.


It took the City about 16 calendar days to print, review, scan, and release 11,423 messages, so at 714/day, it will take 67 days to process the next 48,000 messages. Deducting for official holidays in November, December, and January, those 48,000 messages would theoretically be posted by 4 January. Realistically, however, 1 extra month is needed for holiday time off, normal winter illness, and the 2nd and 3rd waves of swine flu (which state health officials yesterday called “widespread”).

Menino and Coakley plan to disclose nothing until after both are firmly enshrined in office in January. Coakley’s already stated that she doesn’t know “whether” the law was broken at all, and even if it was broken, she doesn’t know if the double-deleting was “intentional.”

January 6: Menino hopes to get sworn into his 5th term of office.

January 19: Coakley hopes to get elected U.S. Senator.

February: Bill Sinnott publicly posts the latest 48,000 messages.

March: Coakley concludes her investigation after reviewing 59,423 messages.

April: FBI upgrades the corruption charges related to liquor licenses and Wilkerson.

Ned Flaherty