Sunday, January 25, 2009

Questions about Flaherty (and Yoon and Menino) and Transparency

According to the Boston Globe and Boston Herald and you can see the video at Universal Hub Michael Flaherty sort of announced that he is running for Mayor.

As you can see in his video he talked about the need for Transparent Government! I'm happy to hear that Michael is following my lead on calling for transparent government. However, I am not convinced that his call for transparency is very heartfelt, nor are the other officials in City Hall.

While he was City Council President he rejected numerous letters from Councilor Felix Arroyo asking him to stop holding secret meetings with other councilors and with the Boston Redevelopment Authority. He refused my numerous olive branch offers to sit down and settle the Open Meeting Lawsuit, "McCrea v. Flaherty" and to craft better Open Meeting Laws. He refused my olive branch to allow him to revisit the vote giving the BRA 10 more years of power with no oversight. In response to a question in the last election cycle about what the one thing he wished he could redo, he cited that example as the worst decision he has made.

Most recently, I wrote a letter to the Mayor, the City Councilors at Large, President Ross, and my City Councilor Turner requesting that they make City Government and the BRA at least as transparent as Sarah Palin's Alaska. The response so far? Deafening silence. Not a single response from any of them. Saying you care about transparency and working towards it are two completely different things.

One of the things that goes along with transparency is disclosure of your possible conflicting interests. He is an attorney at the law firm of Adler Pollock & Sheehan. According to his biography on their website you can hire Michael for business and corporate law, and real estate matters. It would seem to me to be a conflict of interest that you can hire a city councilor to do legal work on business and real estate deals on the side. If he truly cares about being transparent he should disclose all the Boston clients of Adler Pollock and Sheehan.

I would also like to ask him if he will continue working as an attorney if he gets elected Mayor. If not, why is it okay for a member of the legislative branch to do side legal work but not the executive branch? I would consider either job a full time job I was hired to do by my constituents.

Finally, with Councilor Flaherty's new found interest in transparency I invite him to Courtroom 306, at Suffolk Superior Courthouse on February 24, 2008 at 2 pm. That is when the next, and hopefully final hearing in the "Kevin McCrea v. Michael Flaherty" Open Meeting lawsuit will be held. While I have been fighting for nearly four years for transparency on behalf of the citizens of Boston, Councilor Flaherty has been fighting hard against transparency and has yet to show up once in court on this matter. Instead, he has been hiding behind a phalanx of taxpayer paid lawyers, filing numerous motions delaying and denying the charges, spending nearly $200,000 of taxpayer money, before finally admitting guilt.

Just to bring everyone up to speed about this hearing, I have filed papers with the court requesting that the Judge impose rules furthering transparency at Boston City Hall. Michael Flaherty's lawyers, on his and the councils behalf, (and at our expense) have filed papers that the rules at City Hall are perfectly fine and that everything should stay the same. The judge will hear testimony, and decide the sanctions since Michael Flaherty and the Boston City Council have admitted violating the law on all counts alleged in the case.

I look forward to seeing Michael Flaherty there, and hearing his testimony as to why the current transparency rules at City Hall are perfectly fine. If he really cares about saving taxpayer money why doesn't he just call off his taxpayer paid attorney's and come on his own, after all he is an attorney. I will be speaking on my own, despite the fact that I am not a trained attorney. I don't need to hire someone to speak on my behalf about my thoughts on transparency. I'm sure the Judge and the citizens of Boston would be very interested in his thoughts on transparency.

In his Youtube video Michael talks about "accountability and direct responsibility". Part of that is being responsible for your actions. A contrite apology to the court, and to the citizens on Boston for holding closed meetings for years, wasting the courts and taxpayers time and money, would go a long way towards making me believe he now believes in transparency.

As your Mayor, I would make Boston the most transparent and accountable city in the world. All transactions, job postings, legislation, income, expense, etc. would be available on line. Until the Mayor and his other challengers set the bar that high, you know they don't truly care about getting rid of the back room deals.

1 comment:

deswotans said...

Please keep fighting the good fight and see this through. Flaherty and Yoon would be more of the same, only the pet projects would change.