Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Michael Flaherty admits guilt, wasting the taxpayer money, and jumps on my bandwagon!!

According to today's Boston Globe Michael Flaherty is going to give a speech tonight where he admits that he has been wrong all along about the Open Meeting Law, that I was right, and that he wasted all that taxpayer money and City resources fighting the lawsuit.

I wonder just how much input Michael Flaherty needs to make a good decision? Michael Flaherty was warned and told numerous times that his actions were illegal, but yet it never sunk in until he decided he wanted to be Mayor (where he is not subject to the Open Meeting Law!) Remember, he is an attorney who used to work in the DA's office and his father is a judge, plus they hired $600 an hour lawyers at our expense, and he still didn't understand this was legally wrong?

Did he realize he was wrong when:
-Felix Arroyo wrote him a series of letters telling him that his actions of having 6 councilors in a room discuss the public business, then rotating people in and out of the room so other councilors could join in the discussion but they could exclude the press and the public from the goings on of government? NO
-Did he realize he was wrong when the District Attorney wrote him a letter telling him that his actions were illegal? NO
-Did he realize he was wrong when I, along with Shirley Kressel and Kathleen Devine filed a lawsuit outlining all of the abuses we had been able to find about? NO
-Did he talk with us or meet with us when we offered him the olive branch to settle the suit and craft better Open Meeting Laws? NO
-Did he take the opportunity to revisit the worst decision he made as a councilor (by his own words) and take back some control and accountability over the BRA? NO
-Did he realize he was wrong when Superior Court Judge Holtz wrote a scathing decision telling him he was wrong on all counts? NO
-Did he realize he was wrong after hiring a $600 an hour lawyer at taxpayer expense to fight the decision in the appeals court and losing there as well? NO
-Did he admit he was wrong after the City Council admitted guilt on all violations this past November? NO

After nearly 4 years of wasting taxpayer time and money which could have gone to the schools or keeping the streets safe, Michael Flaherty admits guilt. Well, I don't buy it. As Mayor he would not be subject to the Open Meeting Law, and he could meet in the Mayor's office at City Hall behind closed doors with anyone he pleases. With a track record like his, who trusts him?

Notice that he has not proposed, as I have, ways to make the City more transparent:

1) Post all expenses of the City of Boston and the BRA online
2) Craft the toughest Open Meeting Laws in the country.
3) Eliminate the BRA and create a city planning agency so that we have accountability, not a "pay to play" situation for developers.
4) Eliminate No Bid Contracts

If he really cares about transparency I call on him to do the following:

1) In his YOUTUBE video, Michael says we have to eliminate back room deals at City Hall. Since he is now paying big bucks for internet consultants, I call on him to post a list of all the back room deals he is aware of on his website. Let the citizens know how bad the situation is at City Hall.

2) Post a list of all the Boston clients of his law firm Adler, Pollock, and Sheehan. Let the citizens know if he will still be working as an attorney if he is elected Mayor, available to be hired to consult on real estate and business matters in Boston as he is now.

3) Hold a public hearing of all the city councilors where citizens are allowed to ask questions about all the back room deals that have gone on under his watch.

4) Take some of his campaign funds and pay back the citizens of Boston for all the money he took from us while he was fighting against transparency at City Hall.


This is not leadership. This is jumping on my bandwagon of bringing Open, Honest, Professional, Transparent government to the citizens of Boston. Please visit my website for an outline of a true progressive government for the citizens. I ask for your vote and your support.

Thank You,
Kevin McCrea

1 comment:

shirley kressel said...

And there's more for him to explain, as you know:

While wasting public money fighting to protect his "right" to conduct our business in private, Flaherty was party to the secret statutory establishment (the video of the June 20, 2007 Council meeting on the Council website shows an unlawful inaudible meeting at the podium, 1:03:10) followed by a vote (1:21:55) on the unread docket -- watch the body language!) of a whole new staff position for City Council, at $70,000, the only product of which (other than a nice pension boost for the $50,000/year Council aide promoted into it) was an analysis of why the Council should be exempted from the Open Meeting Law altogether! He supported the report, and agreed to send it out for review by the DA, the AG, etc. before adopting it. There were a dozen assaults on transparency, ethics and accountability just in this one Council adventure where Flaherty's "leadership" was amply demonstrated.

From the time of the lawsuit in 2005 to the September 2008 meetings of the Rules Committee endorsing that report, Flaherty has been vocally complaining that the Open Meeting Law prevents him and his colleagues from doing their work. I heard him once explain that politicians need their privacy to hash out their deals, "kind of a sausage factory," he called it (apparently unaware of the pejorative meaning of the phrase). And the report writer echoed this argument in his presentation at the Rules committee meetings -- that the Councilors need to be able to trade votes and make their deals privately, so they are all decided before they cast their public votes. Of course, the Open Meeting Law, and all subsequent case rulings, emphasize that it is in fact the deliberations of the body that the public must have access to, not merely the rubber-stamp public vote.

The Council knew better than to use this self-incriminating argument before the court, of course; they spent our money parsing the meaning of the words "meeting" and "deliberation" and "convened" and other frivolous nonsense, since they had absolutely no real defense.

Flaherty is a licensed attorney. He led the Council into these unlawful meetings knowingly. He rotated the attendance. He ignored warnings from four Councilors (Arroyo, Turner, Hennigan, Yancey) and from the District Attorney. And he knew that the Council was in danger of being cited for contempt under a previous order from the Attorney General's Office to obey the Open Meeting Law!

Where is his respect, as a lawyer, for the law, and, as a public official, for the citizens?

And now, he has seen the light, and is purporting to run as Mr. Transparency! He touts his filing for a hearing -- two weeks ago -- to explore the possibility of web-posting City financial numbers, after 9 years of the most cynical and deliberate exclusion of the public from its own business.

If trust is an important criterion for voters, they should look closely at his sudden enlightenment about democratic, open, honest government.

Sausage factory, indeed!

(At another time, I will write about his sudden enlightenment regarding the BRA, tax breaks, city planning, etc.)