Thursday, April 30, 2009

Derrick Mack! endorses Kevin McCrea-T-shirts available!

This party saturday night is sounding like more and more fun all the time.

Derrick Gillenwater has already come up with a T-Shirt for the event!

Get Yours Now! Hope to see you saturday at the Breezeway!

Thanks guys!

Menino not cool in School(s)

I traded phone calls with the Boston Teacher's Union yesterday and they have decided to stay out of endorsing anyone for the Mayor's race.

This is clearly a blow for Menino, when a union that represents thousands of city employees decides to stay on the sidelines it says that they believe he has a chance to be toppled.

I'm happy about their decision and believe it will help to lead to an open discussion (maybe even a debate or three) about the schools.

To summarize the current positions: Menino is making 2/3's of the city budget cuts to the school system, I'm saying that I will replace any cuts that Menino makes to full time teachers. I haven't seen any definitive statements from the councilors.

I spoke to two teachers yesterday while I was collecting signatures. One teaches in Boston, one in Newton, they are close friends. The Boston teacher makes more than the Newton teacher, and she is not pleased with Menino's cuts to the school department although she acknowledged that Boston Public School teachers get paid well for the work that they do. She said that we are now down to 67 cuts in full time teaching jobs, which is less than one in every two schools in Boston.

A far cry from the Chicken Little proclamations of Menino back in December when the economy was in better shape than it is now. We need an honest government which presents honest numbers to the citizens so we can make an honest determination of where to spend our limited funds. I make education the top priority, Menino makes it the top cut.

Local 718 trying to put out the fire in Dorchester

I was speaking at St. Mark's this week in Dorchester and proceeding me were members of the local 718 Firefighters Union. They are going around to community groups presenting their side of the contract talks.

There were a number of heated comments from the crowd about drug testing and fire fighters being in shape. The union said that they were open to a drug testing program but (to me) was unclear about how that should or would be implemented. They did explain that they currently have a program where if someone suspects a fellow firefighter may have a substance abuse issue that they can be reported to superiors and required to take a drug test. They said that about 250 of the 1300 firefighters were tested last year.

They also explained why they need a 'well-fitness' program. As I understand it, the firefighters want a stipend to stay in shape and see a doctor once a year. This brought a sharp response from one woman from the crowd who talked about "self respect", and how their job description should include being in shape to be able to climb ladders and get into buildings and they shouldn't need to be paid extra to do their job.

The firefighters union took extra time and answered all questions. They received hearty thanks from the crowd for the difficult job that they do, but some skeptical banter about their contract posturing.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sam Yoon campaigning in New York

Sam might be campaigning in New York, but I still think there are more voters in West Roxbury.

The BRA responds to my blog about McCann

The spokesperson for the BRA Jessica Shumaker responded to my blog.

First, without prompting she sent the following email in response to my post that the Mayor cancelled the contract with Paul McCann:


A point of clarification:

The Mayor and the City’s corporation counsel advised the BRA that they were in violation of the pension laws. On Friday, the BRA suspended its contract with Paul McCann and today, terminated the contract.

I was just going by what the Mayor said in public, he said he had terminated the contract with Paul McCann. Later I called her up and asked her how many former BRA or EDIC employees have contracts with the BRA and where do they get their pensions from. She was good enough to email back:

I’m following up from the phone conversation we just had. I wanted to let you know that we do not have any former BRA staff currently on contract with the Authority.

I can also tell you that BRA employees do pay into the state pension system. Also, I should clarify that EDIC employees do not participate in the state pension system.

Notice that you don't get Michael Flaherty or Sam Yoon investigating the BRA. Remember the BRA is answerable to the City Council, and Michael Flaherty personally negotiated that deal (behind closed doors of course). Just because it is their job to oversee them doesn't mean they are doing a good job of it.

Roxbury Party Saturday night for the campaign!

Let’s Rock the Vote!
Local R&B artist Derrick Gillenwater is hosting and singing at a party to introduce Bostonians to Kevin McCrea! You are invited to spend an evening with Derrick and Kevin to discuss ideas for a better Boston and to collect signatures to get Kevin on the ballot!
An Open Jam for Open Minds and Open Government!

On Saturday, May 2nd from 5:00-7:30, local R&B artist Derrick Gillenwater will be hosting a party for Mayoral Candidate Kevin McCrea at The Breezeway at 135 Blue Hill Avenue in Roxbury. Come enjoy local musicians perform, eat some great food and support Kevin McCrea’s campaign. Check out Derrick’s Myspace page at:
As are signatures for the ballot!

If you have any questions please contact Christopher King 617-543-8085 or

How the Department of Public Works should work

The Department of Public Works, like many departments in the City of Boston, is reactive not proactive.

As Mayor, I would initiate a long term planning process for the maintenance and improvement of our streets that will save money and result in better roadways for all the citizens to use. Currently there is no long term plan for maintaining and improving the streets of Boston. Every spring the DPW makes a determination of which streets need to be fixed and repaved, which doesn’t allow for any forward planning by the residents, businesses, and utilities that need these streets for daily use.

I recently called the Department of Public Works to find out when my street was scheduled to be repaved, and I was told to call my City Councilor. This is no way to run or plan a major city road system. Under my leadership we will hire roadway management professionals to initiate a 20 year plan for maintaining and upgrading all the streets in Boston. In conjunction with my effort to promote transparency in the entire City of Boston, the plan will be available online. Maintaining roadways should not be a political process, it should be based on engineering and quantified data.

A plan for our roadways will be a vital element of my plan to eliminate the Boston Redevelopment Authority and create a Master Plan for Boston. My plan will be weighted more toward urban users of Boston roads so public transit, pedestrian and bicycle uses will be prioritized. The basic idea going forward will be that fewer cars, more walking and biking and use of public transit will be healthier for our city, the environment and our citizens.

Under this plan everyone affected will be notified in advance of pending street improvements. This will include Boston Water & Sewer, the gas, electric and telecommunications companies, and all other affected parties. This way we can all plan in advance the future upgrades we need to our businesses and residences. One of the major reasons for potholes in this city is because when the roads are cut open for utility work the patching leads to quicker deterioration of the roads. Not only will this plan save money for all parties it will make the roads better as well.

In addition, when road openings must be undertaken we need to have inspectors hold accountable the parties that make the repairs, not just immediately but in the future as well. Any repair should last as long as the timeline of the main road; if it doesn’t the original street opener will be responsible for bringing it into compliance.

I talked to the office of my City Councilor today to find out when my street would be repaved and he directed me to the DPW. This is the circle of mismanagement and non-accountability in Boston that needs to change.

Councilor Tobin wants to make sure he has a chance to be the next Mayor

The Boston Herald reports.

Why doesn't Tobin want an interim Mayor? Because he knows that no Mayor, whether elected or interim, who has had control over the BRA has ever lost an election. Once someone gets into the Mayor's office they are there for life as all development and business activity in the City must give fealty to the Mayor or face problems. Hence they control all campaign donations, etc.

This is why the BRA must be abolished and control of our land and property put under the auspices of our citizens through the city council.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Signature gathering!

I was all around the city today from Downtown, to the South End to Hyde Park to West Roxbury. Everywhere I went there were City Workers taking vacation days to gather signatures for the Mayor. From union electrical workers to neighborhood liaisons to people who wouldn't say what they did. Why are they so sheepish about asking what they did today? You would be think they would be proud of, and advertise the fact that they are so proud and excited about their candidate that they would take a day off work to gather signatures for a political figure that inspires them.

If any non-city workers took a day off from work to gather signatures for the Mayor or for Mr. Flaherty, I would love to hear from them and will post their answer here.

This is why I have proposed that we change the municipal elections to coincide with the federal elections so that more people get involved in the electoral process, and our elected officials are less dependent on city workers for their votes which I believe weights their decisions toward city workers and not necessarily in favor of what is best for all the citizens.

Globe doesn't get the whole story with McCann

As I wrote about yesterday, Tom Menino cancelled the contract with Paul McCann. The Globe wrote about it today. But didn't mention Menino at all, nor the fact that Menino controls the BRA or as Dot Joyce explained to me yesterday: "He is the Mayor, he has a lot of influence."

We really need the press to connect the dots. Still, it will be sad if the Globe shuts down this week, we need more investigative reporting, not less.

Adrian Walker writes a column about it, mentions he is a good friend of Menino but still doesn't make the link that this has all happened under Menino's watch.

Sad day for FinCom

The Herald reports that Jeff Conley of the independent Financial Commission is retiring in July.
This is a sad day, he is the most important independent voice in City Government and he "knows where the bodies are buried" so to speak. It is insane that a city of 18,000 city workers only has 2 people overseeing the finances independently. If I am elected I will expand this commission. Thank you to Jeff for your hard work over the years. He is very friendly, feel free to give him a call and he will tell you all about how poorly managed the City of Boston is, and how we have way too many employees on the payroll.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Signature Collection Starts Tuesday!

An intrepid reporter might try and see how many city employees call in sick or take vacation days tomorrow to go and collect signatures for the insiders, especially Menino.

If you are interested in helping us get on the ballot, please send us an email to and we will get ballot sheets to you!

Thanks for all the support. WBUR will be doing a piece on my campaign this week so be listening! I'll let you know when details come out.

Mayor's PILOT Committee

I attended the Mayor's PILOT committee at the Copley Library tonight. As usual the Mayor's appointed commission didn't look like our 50% minority city, there were five whites at the head table running the show.

A number of speakers including Sam Tyler of the Municipal Research Bureau spoke about how it would be nice if the meetings were open to the public. The chair of the committee appointed by the Mayor indicated that they don't believe their task force is a governmental body.

I testified about how the City should not give permits to institutions who are on the one hand saying they don't have any money to give to the City and on the other hand are building new buildings, dorms and stadiums. (Hello Harvard, BC, Northeastern, etc.)

Northeastern University gave $15,879 to the City last year, down from $141,133 a couple of years ago. But, they are still building a nice high rise on Tremont Street that exceeds the zoning limit. Maybe it is a good idea to give an honorary degree to BRA honchos!

Wentworth which is proposing two towers on Huntington Avenue paid $39,451 in PILOT payments last year. I spoke with Sandy Pascal from Wentworth after the meeting who indicated that they were planning on giving a 99 year lease for their property to a commercial developer to build the buildings and she promised that they would pay the full amount of the commercial value of the buildings. The proof will be in the pudding.

The BRA used to give money but they don't anymore, what a surprise.

Of better news is BU giving 4.7 million dollars and Harvard giving 2 million dollars. BC only $287,000.

I had a nice talk with Sam Tyler of the MRB who I have quoted and used their numbers before. He explained further how the City of Boston budget is unsustainable because of the high numbers of employees, all receiving benefits.

Finally, when I got home I had the Mayor's press release that he had sent out before the meeting was even over! It said: "the PILOT Task Force recently held a public hearing at the Copley branch of the Boston Public Library. " He ends the press release with the following: "I’m confident that with public input and strong leadership from the PILOT Task Force, we will arrive at a system that works best for the taxpayers and nonprofit institutions, and most importantly strengthens investments in our communities."

I'm confident that if he sends out press releases about how important public input is to a meeting before the public input is even done that he isn't going to make the PILOT system any more equitable than he has in his first 16 years as Mayor, and he certainly isn't going to listen to public input. The members of the committee are made up of Universities, Hospitals, the Business Community, the head of the Police Union, Steve Murphy, and the head of a CDC that is dependent on the Mayor for funding. Notice what is missing??? Any J. Q. Public. When a member of the audience asked why the panel didn't have any discussions, Steve Murphy explained that he didn't think he needed to because if he had any questions he could call people up on the phone later. Exactly! Why have discussions in public where the public might be interested in points of view when you can discuss it behind closed doors or over the phone later.

Breaking News: Menino fires McCann

I was just at a Mayor's meet and greet in the Back Bay and someone asked him about the Paul McCann story in the Globe this morning. He said that he had the contract canceled. Shirley Kressel asked him "So you have the power to cancel BRA contracts?" and he responded "I told the BRA director to cancel the contract."

As if we didn't need any more evidence that the Mayor has direct control over the BRA this is it.

I hope to have video of this later. I asked the Mayor if I may ask him a questions and he said "no, buddy." So much for the open, transparent Mayor.

More Waste, Fraud & Abuse by the Mayor and BRA

A great article by Donovan Slack in today's Globe exposing how "Mr. Inside" Paul McCann at the Boston Redevelopment Authority is getting about $250,000 a year in pay by collecting his pension and getting paid as a consultant. The Mayor's good friend has been gaming the system and saying that he didn't think the laws applied to him.
Of course not, we live in a society where there is one set of rules for the rich and connected and another set of rules for the rest of us.

As was exposed with the Parcel 3 debacle, the Mayor has complete control and authority over the BRA and thus should be held accountable. Someone should ask him directly if he knew that Paul McCann was still getting a consulting contract at the BRA. The answer of course is yes, but who knows what spin our teflon Mayor will put on this.

Great job Donovan!

On a related note, this past Wednesday was the City Council's hearing on the BRA for this years budget. Officially, the BRA answers to the City Council and should report to them all of their activities. But, because the council is beholden to the Mayor and most councilors owe their job to the Mayor no one asks the tough questions, or even the moderately hard questions.

The BRA chief Palmieri wasn't honest with the council about many things such as the size of their budget and whether they were going to lay anyone off or reduce salaries. They haven't cut any salaries or laid anyone off even though we are in the worst construction season in decades and you would think we don't need as many people overseeing development. Meanwhile, the school system is "growing" according to the Mayor but we are laying off teachers. Doesn't make any sense to me either.

Finally, Mike Ross who was the last councilor to testify at the BUDGET hearing asked Director Palmieri if he had brought a BUDGET! Palmieri gave him a one page piece of paper which Mike started to ask questions about and then realized it was the 2009 budget! Ross asked where the 2010 budget was and Palmieri said they get it done by the end of June or early July. How convenient, they do their budget right around when the City finishes their budget so they don't have to answer any questions.

Now, did Mike Ross or Ways & Means chair demand they come back and present the real budget and demand they are held accountable to the elected body that this agency is supposed to answer to? Of course not, they closed the session and that will be the last the City Council looks into the BRA for another year. Is it any wonder people like Paul McCann get away with our money while we lay off teachers when our elected officials looks the other way at everything?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The rules don't apply to Menino....

We attended the Dorchester Chili Cook Off this afternoon at the IBEW. There is a huge parking lot with tons of parking available but that is never good enough for the Mayor. He parked his hybrid SUV in the No Parking Fire Lane zone while he was inside pressing the flesh.

Perhaps I could understand if he needs to park in no parking areas for city business, but this is purely a campaign event and he is using a City Vehicle for campaign purposes. But when did the rules ever apply to Boston. There is still a City Ordinance that the City provide 2500 police officers to the citizens of Boston but we don't have that.

I really believe that holistically when common people see their "leaders" ignore the rules and not set a good example that they start to believe that the rules don't apply to them either, and the fabric of society deteriorates. Would it be that hard for the Mayor to park in the parking lot and walk one hundred yards?

As the scribes say "symbols matter".

Busy Saturday!

Let Menino try to top this schedule!

8 a.m. at the job site to talk to site foreman and move the dump truck for street cleaning

9 a.m. Attend my neighborhood Boston Shines event and clean out the nasty alley on Wellington Street. Menino even has his name printed on the work gloves they hand out. Is there anything he doesn't put his name on? What did that cost?

11 a.m. Opening Day Little League in Jamaica Plain. Many people are interested in our brochures although some do it on the sly saying "I'm really interested in what you have to say, but my wife works at City Hall and the Mayor is right there and I can't be seen taking one of your fliers."
I speak to a Puerto Rican mother well set up in her folding chair who sends her kid to Catholic School. I asked if she tried the public schools and she said her son went to the Ohrenberger and she took him out after less than a month because the school was so bad. I am hearing similar stories all over the city.

12:00 More City Clean up, this time on Washington Street in Dorchester, and then over to a BBQ and circle drumming by some local Native Americans and neighbors. I met a City of Boston employee, a city street worker who is assigned to Upham's corner. He had just been hired a month ago. I thought we had a hiring freeze in place? Everywhere I go, without even looking for it, I find that the stories that come out of the Mayor's mouth don't match up with the realities in the City.

2:30-6:00 Door knocking in Jamaica Plain on Moss Hill. Meet a number of new folks, and encouragingly some people whom I had never met who say they have heard of me and that I have their vote. Also ran into some old friends who had moved from the South End.

6:30 Meeting with supporter about fund raising party.

7:00 Dress up and join Clara and some friends at the Wang Theater for Sleeping Beauty by the Boston Ballet. A friend of ours was in the ballet and a group of us came to support. We got to go back stage which was neat!

Walk home and in bed just after midnight, need a good night's sleep before getting up to play basketball at Malcolm X park.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Commonwealth Chronicles City's Lack of Responsiveness

Colman Herman of Commonwealth Inc. writes a very good article about how the Mayor's office and many city agencies (as well as many other government agencies) do not respond to the citizens.

As someone who has tried to get information from the City, I can attest that they don't want to give up the information.

“The strongest democracies flourish from frequent and lively debate"-President Obama

Perhaps the Mayor will take these words from Obama to heart. We (Flaherty, Yoon, and I) are hoping to meet next Wednesday to set up a format for debates. We have invited the Mayor and hope he shows. I doubt that he will agree to any series of debates, say on the schools, on public safety, on development, etc. that might bring out good ideas from any of the candidates or the public.

The Mayor also spoke yesterday about promoting capitalism. The basis to capitalism is open markets with a level playing field. We don't have that in Boston, where as we saw with Parcel 3, because the Mayor acts as a dictator where the only opinion that matters is his. Zoning is for sale, people do or do not get permits to run businesses all based on who you know, that is not the 'invisible hand' that Adam Smith talked about it is the hand of the Mayor who wants his fingers in every pot.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

BRA meeting about One Congress tower

I attended the BRA meeting about the proposed 700 foot tower at One Congress Street tonight. It was clear at the end of the evening that the advisory group, the IAG was not in favor of the tremendous height in a district zoned for 150 feet. They also didn't feel as if there were many, if any, benefits for the North End. Everyone did speak highly of the developers trying to be responsive to questions asked, and getting back to them with information.

At the very end, I got to ask a couple of questions so I got to the bottom line: money. I asked, for the record, if the project was going to ask for any public funding, or any tax breaks, 121A or other, and the unequivocal answer was NO they would not. So at least we have that out of the way, unlike the debacle at Columbus Center.

Next I asked how much net profit would getting the zoning exemption be worth the developers. They insisted they didn't know. Here is where it gets fishy. How do you propose a 700 and 400 foot tower, pay a bunch of architects, and not figure out how much money it is all worth to you? Heck, I project how much I'm going to make on a 1 million dollar job. They did say that it would be a 2.2 billion dollar project. If you assume a 20 percent profit that would be $440 million dollars. Is it any wonder that they are trying to get a zoning exemption? Is it any wonder that developers write $500 checks to politicians?

Finally I asked if the garage they bought was currently profitable, and again they answered in the affirmative.

Mr. Raymond, the property developer came up after the meeting and introduced himself and gave me his card. I appreciated him answering questions and presenting their vision.

However, a zoning code is there for a reason and that reason is because a community has come together to decide what they think should be built in that community. The problem in this city is that we have a zoning code for sale. When I am Mayor, I will eliminate the BRA, put in a master plan for the whole city so that developers will know what they can build, and where to build it, and we can have a level playing field so that capitalism can flourish. As I explained this to some community and board members after the meeting, they couldn't agree more.

Drop out rates more than 4 times higher in Boston than Cambridge

The annual report of drop out rates in Massachusetts has come out and the good news is that Boston has lowered its percentage by about 1 percent. Somehow, the Menino administration seems to think this is a major shift. But, if one looks at the numbers it shows Boston near the bottom in the state for dropouts and much higher than the state average.

Perhaps most obvious is that the City of Cambridge, a multicultural city with low income and affordable housing has a drop out rate almost 5 times lower than Boston, and has been that much lower for every year that the study reports. In Boston the drop out rate is 7.6%, in Cambridge 1.6%. Before we go on a nationwide search for answers, perhaps we just need to go across the river and ask what is working over there.

Clearly the answer is not just more schools with fewer students which was the big push a couple of years ago. Cambridge Rindge & Latin is the only high school in Cambridge with more than 1500 students. I thought then, as I do now, that dividing these schools up was more like moving the deck chairs around on the Titanic, although I do applaud them for trying.

We need to do statistical analysis of what is working and what isn't, get rid of busing so we can put more money into the schools and have kids studying more than driving. We need involvement in the schools by parents, officials, etc. and we need to acknowledge the good work that is being done and figure out how to emulate it.

The cost of not demanding quality education

The NY Times today outlines the costs to society of not providing good education.

As I campaign across the city I meet parents and grandparents who tell stories about how there is no way they will send their kids to the Boston Public Schools. As long as that is the case, I can not understand how people are willing to stay with the status quo of the current Mayor who said to judge him harshly on the schools.

Picking up supporters and contributions one at a time...

We received an email yesterday that is typical of many of the converts to our campaign:


I moved out of Boston's South End 2 years ago to Somerville but I still work in downtown Boston and I am excited that you are running. I have long been dissatisfied with Mayor Menino and his lack of vision and further lack of action on so many important issues facing Boston in the 21st Century.

Specifically I am dumbfounded at how pedestrian and bike unfriendly Boston really is and Menio’s lack of leadership in this area. We have example after example of new roadway development without thought or consideration to accommodation pedestrians or bikes. The new waterfront development was basically a blank canvas and not one bike lane. The re-design of Mass Ave, no bike lanes and narrow sidewalks. Washington Street, Huntington Ave and Commonwealth Ave, no bike lanes and narrow sidewalks. Menino fist
proposed a master plan for bike lanes over 10 years ago and now he is simply recycling the same plan and meanwhile Boston has only 1 mile of bike lanes in place. Boise Idaho had over 100 miles of bile lanes. As far as pedestrian friendly streets places like New York City, Seattle Washington, and Portland Oregon are all considered leaders in this area while Boston wallows in 19th century ideas. The thinking seems to be “it’s always been done this way and there is no need to change”. If elected your number one act in office should be to replace Tom Tinlin.

Even though I no longer live in the city of Boston I am deeply committed to change. I am ready to donate my time and energy as well as financially to bring this change about. Right now I am looking for a candidate with vision who can bring Boston into the 21st Century.

I wrote him back about my support of public transportation, and my plan to have a 20 year Department of Public Works outline of what streets will get repaved and designed for more pedestrian and bicycle use. I received the following back from him:


Thanks for getting back to me, I wrote the same e-mail to Sam Yoon and Michael Flaherty before I realized you were running as well. Sam Yoon never replied and Michael Flaherty replied with a non specific caned e-mail. OK, I'm impressed with what you have to say so far and I just made a contribution to your campaign via the pay pal like on your site. I'm also interested in doing some volunteer work for your campaign so I look forward to hearing from your campaign manager as well. I'm open to talking or having lunch some time just let me know.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I am IN the Mayor's race !!!

There has been some confusion about my intentions. I want to be very clear that I am in the Mayor's race. We had a great meeting over the weekend with supporters from all over the City who believe that slowly but surely our message of transparency, accountability and valuing education and public safety is getting out. People understand that the BRA is not accountable to the citizens, that there is too much waste and fraud at City Hall, and that a bunch of connected insiders run this city.

We will be starting to collect signatures next week, and appreciate your help and support!


City Hall doing even LESS work to examine budget this year!

As if we needed any further proof that the City Council has no inclination to do its statutory job of thoroughly examining the budget, and providing a proper check and balance to the power of the Mayor, we get the schedule for hearings on this year's budget. This year they are currently planning on having less than half the number of hearings that they did last year. You read that correctly, in these dire economic times when President Obama is getting together with his staff to try and save $100 million dollars (a mere drop in the federal spending) our City Council is examining half as many departments as we did last year.

They may try and spin this as if they are going to examine other more important and bigger spending departments more thoroughly but I think the reality is that the Mayor who controls many of the City Councilors doesn't want to give renegade councilors Flaherty and Yoon a chance to make political hay. Whatever the reason, it is obvious that once again a thorough vetting of where our money is being spent is not going to happen.

Below is a list of the hearings last year and "x" marks next to the departments that will get hearings this year.

HearingsFY10 Hearings FY 2009

-------------Arts, Tourism & Special Events
x------------Assessing Department
-------------Auditing Department
x------------Boston Redevelopment Authority
x------------BPS: Capital Budget & Facilities
-------------BPS: Family & Community Engagement
x------------BPS: FY09 Overview
X------------BPS: School Assignment & Transportation
-------------BPS: School Safety
x------------BPS: Teaching & Learning
-------------Budget Management
x------------CFO: FY09 Overview /Revenue Overview/Boston About Results*
-------------City Clerk
-------------Consumer Affairs & Licensing
-------------Elderly Commission
-------------Emergency Shelter
-------------Environment Department
-------------Finance Commission
x------------Fire Department
-------------Graphic Arts Department
x------------Inspectional Services Department
-------------Integovernmental Relations
-------------Law Department
-------------Licensing Board
x------------Neighborhood Development
-------------Neighborhood Services
-------------Office of Administration & Finance
-------------Office of Budget Management
-------------Office of Civil Rights
-------------Office of Emergency Prep.
-------------Office of Human Resources
-------------Office of Labor Relations
-------------Office of New Bostonians
-------------Office of Public Information
-------------Office of the Mayor
x------------Parks & Recreation
x------------Property & Construction Management
x------------Public Health Commission
x------------Public Works / Central Fleet / Snow Removal
-------------Purchasing Division
-------------Small & Local Business Program
-------------Treasury Department
-------------Veteran's Services
-------------Women's Commission
-------------Youth Fund / Summer Jobs

Monday, April 20, 2009

First Mayoral 'Debate' in Jamaica Hills May 13, 2009

The Jamaica Hills Association has invited the Mayoral candidates to their monthly meeting on May 13th. They have asked that each of us speak for 10 minutes and then take 5 minutes worth of questions. It will not be a true "debate" with give and take, but it could get all the candidates into the room at the same time.

They have put forth a caveat: they will only go forward if at least 3 of the candidates accept their offer. Of course I will accept their offer, I would bet that Sam Yoon will, but will Michael Flaherty? Will Mayor Menino come out and actually take questions from the public so early in the election season?

Interestingly May 12th is the last day that someone can sign up for the Mayoral Election, so the Mayor will either be in or out on that date.

If people are concerned about their neighborhoods, the schools, public safety, etc. they need to start demanding debates and answers from their candidates and elected officials. I encourage all neighborhood associations to invite the candidates to come and speak and answer questions about where they stand on the issues, how they would deal with the BRA, institutional expansion, taxes, lowering health care and pension costs, etc. It is the time that the citizens have to hold their elected officials responsible. If they won't show up to answer questions, the public can judge whether they deserve your vote.

The last time there was a real Mayoral race in 1983 there were approximately 70 Mayoral forums around the City and there was a 70 percent turnout in the election as reported by the Phoenix.

Wouldn't it be great for this city to get a similar airing of the issues?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Help us collect signatures! Kick off on Sunday afternoon !

Dear Friends:

We need to collect a lot of signatures to get on the ballot, and to get our message of transparency and honesty to the citizens. On Sunday evening between 5 and 7 pm we are going to host a get together at our home at 218 West Springfield Street in the South End to learn the procedure for collecting signatures, and to organize so that on April 28th when we can start collecting signatures we are ready to go!

Again, thanks to everyone for your support!

Kevin McCrea

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mayoral Race already paying dividends to Citizens!

I was in Dorchester tonight at the Epiphany School giving my stump speech, meeting old friends and new friends. Many people in Dorchester are familiar with me because a number of Dorchester residents who had been doing everything to fight crime asked me to help them sue city hall to put more police officers on the street. There is an ordinance on the city books that the city should maintain 2500 police officers on the force. The ordinance is still on the books, why would the city take an ordinance off the books they go to court to say isn't legal? Although we lost the suit on a technicality, the city was at least partly shamed into hiring 200 more officers. One of my co-plaintiff's, Candice Gartley, was at the neighborhood meeting and it was nice to see her.

Anyway, after I spoke, the head of the Codman Square Health Center gave a talk to the neighborhood group about all the great work that they are doing, the doctors and dentists and facilities they have available and how they are hoping to get federal funds to build a new wing to expand their facility and charter school.

At the end of his talk, he happily told the crowd that the City is going to put an elevator in at the Great Hall which was the scene of the Yoon/Menino dustup over a handicapped man trying to access Yoon's talk on the budget in the neighborhood.

He then said that someone at City Hall called him up and said 'who owns the building?' and he told them that they do! He then went on to explain how the City had been talking about putting the elevator in for 3 or 4 years but they just never seemed to get around to it, but now all of a sudden they are going to do it this July and August. It was sarcastically noted "funny how that happens in an election year" and another women said "this Mayoral election is already benefiting the citizens." It seems clear that people know the Mayor is just playing games with the city like it is his personal sandbox, that he is totally reactive not proactive, and they are not even surprised to hear City Hall is calling to find out whether they even own a building that is theirs.

Amazing how the City can just find money to take care of anything that makes the Mayor look bad just like that!! I thought we had a fiscal crisis going on! We should get Sam Yoon to run around to all the buildings that need handicapped access, then we can get Michael Flaherty to point out all the streets that need repaving, and maybe I can point out the physical problems with all the schools and the Mayor will have it all fixed by September!

Seriously, if you have a problem on your street or in your neighborhood, this is the best time to call up the Mayor's office and get it taken care of. It is his way of buying votes, and as I've said before and shown the numbers, there is plenty of money in his slush fund to make sure these things get done.

Bay State Banner calls for Menino to retire

The Bay State Banner in a strongly worded editorial today calls for Mayor Menino to retire while he is on top.

In particular they point out in his 16 years in office he has never appointed a black male to a position of power. As I wrote about last week it is clear that the Mayor is not open to people in positions of power looking like the racial makeup of the City. In the Mayor's budget presentation to the City Council there were 31 non-city councilors in the room. They were the VIP's in Menino's government from the police chief, to the head of public health, the budget director for the school department, etc. Of these in the room only 6% were minorities clearly not a reflection of the city which is essentially 50% minority.

My administration will mirror the City of Boston and we will find qualified people that give the people faith that the City is moving forward into the 21st century as an open, multi cultural society that truly is a world class and world welcoming city.

Developers being given money and tax breaks at Filene's

How does Boston reward developers who open gaping wounds in downtown Boston and start projects with out proper financing? By rewarding them with grants and tax breaks. The current tally is:

Gale & Vornado now want $262 million in subsidies to finish their $700 million One Franklin (a.k.a. “Filene’s”) project:

$200 million in federal Recovery Zone bonds and city DIF tax breaks
$ 50 million from Empowerment Zone tax-free bond loan
$ 12 million waiver of required linkage payments

$262 million

Gale/Vornado’s DIF and linkage subsidies would be pure gifts, from the taxpayers to the developers, that the developers never repay, and that taxpayers repay for them.

DIF's are District Improvement Financing which basically means that a developer can use his future real estate taxes to pay for the improvements to his own property and immediate surrounding area. So, instead of a development adding taxes to the tax base, essentially the citizens pay the tax for the burden that additional development puts on the city resources.

I sure wish when I did a development I could use my taxes to pay for the improvements to my driveways, yards, etc. and not send a check to the City. But, I'm not rich and connected like the vast majority of us, so I just have to pay my taxes and make sure the business deals I get involved with make sense without government bailout.

City Council needs to hold a public hearing, and advocates for this bail-out need to disclose the real, total cost.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Keeping options open, like our esteemed Mayor


Today was the first day for citywide candidates to fill out applications for their nomination papers at the Boston Election Department in City Hall. The nomination papers are subsequently available on April 28th, at which point all candidates can begin the process of collecting signatures to place their names on the ballot. In Boston, 1,500 signatures are required to be placed on the ballot for City Council and 3,000 are required to seek the position of Mayor, extremely high numbers in comparison to other major cities. Mayoral candidate Kevin McCrea has made the decision to request nomination papers for both Mayor and City Council, in an effort to ensure that the citizens of Boston are able to hear his voice despite his status as a political outsider.

“My first priority is to be elected Mayor and give the citizens of Boston the honest and accountable leadership they deserve,” says McCrea, “However I am the first to admit that I do not have the same access to money and special interest influence that my opponents have. They are all entrenched politicians who have been involved in ‘go along to get along’ back room deals that have favored insiders at the expense of the public. I still want the opportunity to change this city, and that is why I am keeping the option of running for City Council open.”

“My priority is making sure that my message of open, transparent government that answers to the citizens realized. The citizens need at least one elected official at City Hall who is looking out for their needs, not the needs of political insiders. We need someone who is going to identify and eliminate waste, make the BRA accountable, and prioritize education and public safety. We are still trying to determine the best path for that to happen.”

The campaign has worked with the City of Boston elections department and through them the City Law Department to determine that this action is allowed within current election law.

For questions about Boston’s election requirements and guidelines, please e-mail the Kevin McCrea for Mayor Campaign at Information about Kevin McCrea’s full platform can be found on his website, His campaign manager, Jonathan Tracy, can be reached either through e-mail at or phone at (503) 502-3101 or (617)267-2453.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back room deals in Boston-smell the corruption!

By a 3 to 1 margin our poll indicates people believe there are back room deals going on in Boston.

I recently took a Friday night off to take my wife out to dinner. I accompanied her to the hairdressers first where I picked up the Back Bay Courant. It had its usual report from Banker and Tradesman on properties sold in the City. It listed two properties sold by the City of Boston on Broadway in South Boston to a Mark Cummins for $40,000 apiece.

Something didn't smell right so I had one of my campaign staff do some research. Sure enough Mr. Cummins was smart enough to make a campaign contribution to Mayor Menino last November for the full amount of $500. Pay to Play is alive and well here in Boston!

Deposit Report
Thomas Menino
Deposited 11/24/08
Mayor of Boston
The Menino Committee

Check: Cummins, Mark 10 Buker Corner Ln. Braintree, MA 02184 Contractor Mark Cummins $500.00

This is why I'm proposing selling all of the excess land that the City owns that doesn't have an identified specific purpose such as for a school, park, or road. This will raise money, increase our tax base (lowering taxes for the rest of us), and encourage building and growth, thus creating jobs. It would also take away this Pay to Play system we have in Boston which keeps our incumbents in place because they can raise so much money from developers and those that work with them. Why do you think a contractor from Braintree cares so much about Boston politics that he gives the maximum amount of money to the Mayor? I don't think it is because he cares about the Mayor's ideas for the schools.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Why are Yoon and Flaherty proposing Regressive Taxes?

In Boston, you would think that candidates would want to be associated with progressive values and associated with progressives such as Barack Obama. That is why it is puzzling to me to see Sam Yoon and Michael Flaherty proposing regressive taxes. Sam is proposing a 'nickel for safety' campaign to raise the sales tax one nickel for every $10 dollars worth of stuff you buy. This is regressive in that in hurts people at the lower end of the income scale the most.

Michael Flaherty is proposing that all city workers give 6 unpaid days of work a year to the city. The problem with this is that someone who makes $30,000 a year is likely to need every dollar of their salary much more than someone who makes 6 figures. Again, this is a regressive proposal that hurts those at the lower end of the wage scale.

For a simple video explanation of a regressive versus progressive proposal, please watch this video.

Even the schoolchildren of the Boston Public Schools seem to understand taxation better than our city councilors. The tax increases they propose such as the meals tax and parking garage tax are more selective and are more of use taxes that are not as likely to affect people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.

Please help me gather signatures to get on the ballot!

Dear Friends and Supporters:

I hope this e-mail finds you all well. I want to take this opportunity to remind all of my supporters that between April 28th and May 19th, we need to collect 3,000 signatures to ensure that my name is on the ballot and Boston citizens can have true choices in this election.

On Sunday, April 19th at 5:00 pm You are Invited to a Meeting to Discuss the Process and Plan for Collecting the 3,000 Signatures Required to Run for Mayor of Boston.
We Need Your Help!

The meeting will take place at my home at 218 West Springfield Street in Boston's South End.

If you are unable to attend, we still ask you to help us collect signatures and urge you to contact our campaign at (617)267-2453 or to learn how you can get involved.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Campaign Manager Jon Tracy at 503-502-3101 or 617-267-2453 or e-mail at

As always, please stay involved, please join me in the fight to bring change to Boston, and thank you for your efforts and support!


Kevin McCrea

Mayor continues to hire more City workers!!!

Contact: Jonathan Tracy FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cell Phone: (503)502-3101


Despite “chicken little” calls by Mayor Menino that there needs to be massive layoffs if he doesn’t get his additional tax requests by the State Legislature, in actuality Mayor Menino has continued to hire new people and increase the city budget. The 2010 Fiscal Year budget shows that despite a supposed ‘hiring freeze’ and regular attrition, the City of Boston has added 165 more jobs from January 1, 2008 and January 1, 2009. This despite an identified $33 million deficit projected in the budget for Fiscal Year 2010. In the face of threatened layoffs to vital teaching and police jobs, Mayoral Candidate Kevin McCrea points to these numbers as a further example of the Mayor’s dishonest budget numbers.

“These numbers show that the term ‘fiscal responsibility’ is not in the Mayor’s vocabulary,” says McCrea, “Especially when the Mayor has been threatening to fire teachers and police officers. Somehow he has found the resources to make these new hires while still claiming that we have to make huge cuts. These inconsistencies make it painfully clear how dishonest the Mayor has been when discussing the budget.”

The City of Boston’s numbers show that 165 new positions were hired for in the last year, well over what was planned for in the budget. These numbers represent a net gain. Many of the new positions have included custodians for the school department. This has not stopped the Mayor from discussing huge layoffs of teachers and teacher assistants in the public schools. Kevin McCrea finds the situation outrageous.

Says McCrea: “How could we make these new hirings knowing we had at least a $33 million hole to begin with back in June of 2008, in one of the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes? When I am elected Mayor I promise to be straightforward with the budget numbers and tell the citizens of Boston the truth about how much money we have and what we are spending it on. And I will never cut or threaten to cut the jobs of our most important public servants: teachers and police officers without cutting other areas first.”

To view the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget numbers that show these new hires please view, specifically page 19 of the PDF. To view the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget numbers please view, specifically page 20 of the PDF.

Information about Kevin McCrea’s full platform can be found on his website, His campaign manager, Jonathan Tracy, can be reached either through e-mail at or phone at (503) 502-3101 or (617)267-2453.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

More crime and worse(?) in the city

Last Saturday I was teaching Motorcycle Safety Class in Charlestown and I decided to use my wife's car as it gets better gas mileage than mine and she was out of town. Mistake. I left my truck parked on West Springfield Street and someone was nice enough to take a rock smash in the passenger window in broad daylight and steal the contents inside.

I received a comment from someone:

dear mr. mccrea i was the victim of a very violent crime due to an altercation involving two groups of employees who worked at a restaurant in the back bay. The bars employees(the foggy goggle)was responsible for my being stabbed in the head with a large kitchen ,splitting my head open and leaving me permenentley scarred city hall refused to give me a hearing because the owner is boys with menino

Of course I can't verify the veracity of this but it speaks to many issues. The fact that the person doesn't or can't go public speaks to our 'back room' culture here in the city. The fact that someone wants to bring this to my attention, when I have no political office or power, shows the desperation that some people have to be heard.

I think of Johnny Cash, The Man In Black, who always wore black in tribute to those who are oppressed, who didn't or can't get justice. People should go out and enjoy their lives, have fun and appreciate our wonderful city. But we can't forget that there is much work to be done to truly bring a land of equality.

It was such an easy decision to not march in the St. Patrick's day parade. There is an interesting column in today's New York Times about gay marriage and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom who is running for Governor now. He has already served two terms as Mayor and he is about the same age as Sam, Michael and me. Interestingly he has been reading Martin Luther King's "Thoughts from a Birmingham Jail" which I quote from as well. The time is always right to do what is right. I hope Michael and Sam might take some inspiration from that and do what I think they know is the right thing to do and support completely gay marriage.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

New candidate for Mayor or City Council at Large

While I was out door knocking today in Jamaica Plain I met Sean Ryan. He is an extremely intelligent young man who attended Boston Public Schools (Latin) before going on to Harvard where he majored in music.

He has become extremely concerned about the state of the United States, the separation of the have's from the have-nots, monetary policy and the double speak of politicians. In other words, my kind of guy. We had a lengthy talk about the Federal Reserve, hyper inflation, Keynesian economics and Friedman economics, and of course: motorcycles.

He took a tour last year of all the Federal Reserves around the country on his Harley Davidson. He was thinking about running for Mayor this year, but he thinks he has decided to run for City Council at Large. You can read about him at his website:

Later on I was at the Haitian American get together of parents with kids in the BPS. I received a warm welcome and met with Jean-Claude Sanon who is also running for City Council at Large. His major issues are violence and education. Funny, those are the two areas that Menino is threatening to cut the most from this year's budget. His website is

Both of these men would clearly offer more than the banal vicissitudes we receive from City Hall currently.

And just like that, the school deficit is over!

As the Boston Globe is reporting the City of Boston is going to receive $21 million dollars in Title I money from the federal government through the state.

What this means is that now there does not need to be any cuts to any teachers in the Boston Public Schools. I wrote about this back in January. How did I know what the final result was going to be even though I don't have access to the numbers that the Mayor does? Because he is not being honest with us about what the budget really is. He wants to create a crisis so that he can increase taxes to hire more non-essential workers who will be loyal to him.

This is not a way to deal with people, unions, teachers, students or the public at large. Someone who is so disingenuous should not be re-elected, nor should others who are complicit in this charade. We need to be honest about what the budget is and make value judgments on where to properly spend our money.

Mayor still giving permits to developers without financing

City still gives permits to developers without financing

Mayor Menino never kept the promises he made last August to require developers to prove they have financing before getting City approvals (“BRA weighs time-limit for starting OK’d projects”, Boston Herald, 22 August 2008).

Indignant that he and his development staff were misled by developers of large projects, Menino last summer vowed to require proof of financing on every major venture thereafter.

But BRA officials now admit that the new rules they drafted to relieve the Mayor’s anger went nowhere. The BRA Board hasn’t adopted any new regulations. No new written procedures or forms are being used. No one in City Hall is enforcing Menino’s promise to strictly verify 100% funding before City permits get issued.

The closest thing to an official policy is just an unwritten concept that is verbally mentioned by BRA Economic Development Director Brenda McKenzie to some BRA staffers and a few developers. But neither her concept nor her remarks are in writing. And reminding developers that they need money to build doesn’t tell them anything that they don’t already know full well, so there’s no evidence that project reviews now are any stricter, or that fiscal data is checked any more closely.

BRA spokeswoman Jessica Shumaker said that since last August all large projects have been subject to more stringent financing criteria, but she was unable to identify any such projects by name, or to specify the tighter requirements.

Since 2007, four major developers claimed they had financing, began major excavation, and then halted work because they ran out of funds and couldn’t get any more cash, leaving gaping craters that hurt the City’s image:

• The $2,500,000,000 Fan Pier halted construction at its half-way point.

• The $800,000,000 Columbus Center air rights complex halted in March 2008.

• The $700,000,000 One Franklin tower halted work in November 2008.

• The $300,000,000 Longwood Center biolab halted work in November 2008.

To get approval for One Franklin, a 32-story tower and Boston’s largest downtown revitalization proposal ever, the owners told Menino and his development staff that they had 100% financing. Today, an open crater sits where the historic Filene’s department store stood for decades. Filene’s is gone, construction is halted, and there’s no schedule for resuming.

Most of the blame for One Franklin lies not with its owners, but with Menino and his development staff, who were so desperate to issue quick permits that they ignored zoning limits, waived required developer filings, and didn’t collect the required financial interests statement (“Rushing to a standstill; City allowed developers to skirt requirements in stalled $700m Downtown Crossing project”, Boston Globe, 26 March 2009). If the new rules Menino described last August had been in effect in 2007, One Franklin would never have received a building permit.

It’s unclear whether the new rules that Menino threatened to introduce were even necessary, because prior to their drafting, the BRA had previously sought financial data from developers, and had required formal financing plans. The difference, according to BRA Director John Palmieri last summer, is that the new rules would require stricter proof of funding, and not just hopes or plans to find future capital. But no new rules were ever published, and none are available today.

Menino spokeswoman Dot Joyce says the mayor does hope to ask developers more about their financing in the future, but he won’t require proof. “He doesn’t want developers discouraged by slow permitting,” she said.

BRA spokeswoman Jessica Shumaker says that there is a policy, but “it’s verbal, not written. Developers are invited to explain their plans, but there’s no new regulation requiring them to prove that they have financing.”

Urban planning activist Ned Flaherty, a long-time critic of the 14-year-old Columbus Center proposal, isn’t impressed. “Not requiring proof of financing just invites un-funded developers to claim they have cash that they don’t really have,” he says. “No unwritten policy can be enforced, so the BRA still has no new policy. All we have is a review process with loopholes, and four halted projects --- un-funded, and unable to re-start.”

Research and Report done by campaign supporter and citizen Ned Flaherty

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Mayor's Budget address to the City Council

I attended the Mayor’s budget presentation to the City Council scheduled for 8 a.m. this morning at the Eagle room in Boston City Hall. In deference to how hard the City Councilors work, Mayor Menino said to me at 8:05: “Look, it’s five after eight and there isn’t a single City Councilor here." This wasn’t entirely true as Councilor Ciommo was present. A nice shindig with table cloths, juice, croissants, etc. The Mayor also joked to me that they used to serve full breakfast but that was axed due to budget cuts.

The Mayor started the presentation right off by either showing he doesn’t know what he is talking about, or is just not being truthful. He said the budget “usually goes up by two to three percent a year”. In actuality, it has gone up between 4 and 5 percent a year for the last 5 years mostly because of poorly negotiated worker contracts.

As I have been speaking and writing about since January, the budget issues are no where near as bad as the Mayor had been and still is portraying(although he is portraying them more realistically now). The annual budget in Fiscal Year 2010 will be up by $5 million dollars and this is before many Federal Recovery Funds are added in, for example the $30 million dollars that School Budget person John McDonough spoke about anticipating the schools will receive.

Clearly this budget is designed by the Mayor to punish the unions that won’t accept the wage freeze instead of making value judgments about which programs that affect city residents need to be prioritized. Instead of level cuts across all departments the Mayor is cutting most deeply the unions who won’t acquiesce to his demands. As Charles Yancey pointed out, the School department is 34% of the city budget but yet the Mayor is applying 60% of the overall personnel cuts to that department alone.

Despite the smoke and mirrors the Mayor tries to throw up, it is clear to me that there is money available so that no teachers and no police officers need to be laid off. The most glaring example of this is how the City plays games with the reserve fund. In our current Fiscal Year 2009 there was $110 million dollars at the beginning of the year, of which $35 million was supposed to be taken out and used to "plug the gap" for the supposed dire straights we are in, leaving $75 million dollars. Yet, despite the terrible economy, according to the Mayor’s numbers the reserve fund has actually GROWN to $120 million dollars. In other words, at this point in time, on this one line item, we are $45 million dollars ahead of his projects from 9 months ago. This is not honest budgeting, and the people should not tolerate it. They are now proposing using $40 million of the $120 million next year. The amazing thing about their numbers is that every year they are supposedly using up some of their reserve fund, but every year the reserve fund grows!

The budget team is expecting $20.4 million dollars in ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) outside funds and the school department is expecting $30 million dollars in ARRA funds. The school department is projecting cutting 212 teaching and teaching assistant jobs. Those jobs can be paid for with either $30 million in ARRA funds or with reserve funds, and have money left over. The same situation applies for the police officers. The budget team flatly stated that if the Teacher's Union accepts the Wage Delay, there will be no cuts to teacher's jobs and all 212 positions would be saved.

Capital expenditures are not being cut, but are going to remain level funded. So we will be fixing as many roads as last year, building a new police station, and repairing schools at basically the same rate as the year before. No dire straits there.

As I have been saying since January, “There is enough money in the budget to not layoff a single police officer or teacher. As Mayor I will restore any cuts that the Mayor makes to these two most important services to the citizens”.

The real problem is that the Mayor has negotiated poor contracts with the City workers. According to the Mayor’s budget people pension costs are going up by 6.9% and health insurance costs are going up by 5.5%. We need a Mayor who is going to be honest about the budget, plan for the future, and negotiate sustainable contracts with our workers. Even if the budget only went up "2 to 3 percent a year", as the Mayor said we couldn't sustain for long such increases in pension and health insurance costs.

The Mayor's budget director Lisa Signori said that this budget "Protects Priorities". Clearly then the Mayor's priorities are not public schools and public safety. There are no cuts to the fire department, few cuts at City Hall, no cuts in the Capital plan, no cuts mentioned in City payments to the BRA (which has its own budget as a separate entity, but they aren't cutting any personnel), the biggest cuts are in police officers and schools which just happen to be the two unions who are not buying the Mayor's numbers and submitting to his demands.

Remember the $140 million dollar budget deficit figure the Mayor was threatening us with? Well that number was down to $44 million before the budget cuts, and that number is without the Federal Stimulus dollars. We have an increase of $5 million in revenue and $49 million in fixed cost increases such as debt, pension, and health insurance leaving $44 million to cut. That $44 million is being cut from the departments. 364 of the 565 proposed layoffs (64%) are in the school department. Clearly education is not one of his priorities.

Councilor Yoon asked the Mayor about some of the Financial Commission reports on the $70 million in possible savings there. The Mayor said the Police Commissioner has a new plan that the police department is going to save "10 million on overtime this year". The Mayor brought up the Curley house and said he isn't going to sell it, that "he would only get 10 cents on the dollar" for it. The Mayor clearly didn't answer Sam's questions directly. There was no "$10 million in savings" in police overtime presented as part of the overall budget presentation.

Just for the record, I would give the Mayor 50 cents on the dollar for the Curley house! It would also put the building back on the tax rolls, again lessening the tax burden on the rest of us.

A final note. It was impossible not to notice the racial disparity in the Eagle room during the presentation. As I was listening to the presentation, I counted up the people present. There were 44 people in the room, and only 5 were minorities: Councilors Yoon, Turner, and Yancey, Superintendent Johnson and one other person. The Mayor's budget team is all white. Interesting that the biggest cuts are to the schools where about 90 percent of the students are minorities, and to public safety which also disproportionally affects minorities, especially when it comes to violent crime.

A citizen tries to ask the Mayor a question and is rebuffed

A Boston resident who tried to testify about the meals tax at the State House yesterday, and who tried to ask the Mayor a question was rebuffed by both yesterday:

Was at the State House intending to testify about recommending that local options taxes be used as an offset to the property tax rather than incremental revenue and, no surprise, Mayor Menino showed up about a half hour into the meeting. After he testified I noticed that he was being interviewed in the hall outside. I went out and waited politely for him to finish a television interview. As he wrapped up and walked away I asked (loudly so he could definitely hear me) "Mr. Mayor - where is the revenue shortage in the budget coming from?" He ignored me, but an aide quickly jumped in and asked if I had a question for the Mayor (I guess as just a lowly constituent I'm not allowed to address his highness directly). I explained to the aide that if property taxes are fully funded and the cuts in state aid have been fully offset by stimulus funds and other cost savings already identified, there should be little or no shortfall in the 2010 budget so why is the mayor threatening to lay off half the city workers? The aide's response was that we hadn't received the stimulus money yet (perhaps the Treasury Secretary is going to cancel the check that's in the mail?). The Mayor escaped once again without answering my question.

Hint - the Mayor's assistants have better reflexes than the president's Secret Service - be prepared to sidestep them if you want to ask the mayor a question in public - he still won't answer you - but it'll be harder to ignore you and the reporters might someday find it odd that the Mayor won't answer what should be a simple and straightforward question. Real man of the people!

By the way - after 6 hours of waiting to testify with no break, no food and no drink in a room that had to be about 85 degrees by mid-afternoon I started to get physically ill and had to leave. So much for democracy in the modern age where someone could have texted/emailed me with 30 minutes notice to just walk across the Common from my office to the State House (there wasn't even a posting of the order of testimony - the Chair had complete control). Of course dozens of elected officials, lobbyists, business interests and more state health officials than I could ever imagine even worked for the state got to testify. The "people" like me who are there on their own time get to go last - or not at all if they eventually get sick and leave which seems to be the point of the whole exercise.

Monday, April 06, 2009

public records request for michael flaherty

I am posting a copy of my public records request I made to Michael Flaherty since his office seems to have a hard time receiving them. What we do know is that Michael is learning lots of things from me: transparency, the importance of Open Meetings, and now about the corruptive ways of the BRA and Hayward Place, so maybe he will find the public records request here while he is poaching ideas and jumping on my bandwagon!

Dear Councilor Flaherty:

You asked an important question of the BRA at the community meeting in Dudley Square last night. What are you doing about
Hayward Place? As you are no doubt aware, Hayward Place, which was owned by the citizens of Boston and valued at approximately
23 million dollars was given away by the Mayor to the BRA for free. I believe this happened while you were City Council President.

In addition the developer who was designated by the BRA gets to keep all the parking revenue estimated at about 3 million dollars a year while
he decides what to do with the property. The City gets no money in real estate taxes while the BRA owns this property.

Could you please tell me if you have ever held any hearings about Hayward Place, or called for any hearings on the property? Did the subject
of Hayward Place ever come up while you were negotiating for two years with the BRA in illegal back room deals to extend the power of the BRA?

Finally, under the Public Records laws I would like to formally ask you for a copy of any and all letters or motions you have written to the Mayor, the City Council or the BRA
about Hayward Place.

Please let me know that you have received this email, as your office has had a difficult time receiving public records requests.

Kevin McCrea

The Whole Gang in Roxbury tonight (except Menino of course)

There was an unruly crowd of about 200 people in Dudley Square library tonight to hear BRA chief John Palmieri come and explain why the BRA was not doing what the community wants, because the BRA is so concerned about projects getting done quickly.

As anyone with a brain knows, the Mayor controls the BRA, and hence all development in the City. As Joan Vennochi wrote so eloquently about this past Sunday, the Mayor will show up at anything except a debate. Or a community meeting. I have been to community and BRA meetings rather frequently for the last 10 years and I have never seen Menino at a single one of them. Ribbon cuttings, fundraisers, awards ceremonies: yes. Anything where the subject of the future of the city comes up: NO WAY. Why should he when he can control everything behind closed doors, with a city council that won't challenge him?

So tonight Palmeiri was there to take the heat for the BRA de-designating the Elma Lewis Partners plan for the project known as Parcel 3. The back story according to the Herald is that the plan was killed because a favorite of the Mayor's was dispatched from the project. The BRA says the developers didn't have the money and didn't get things done in time. As many people in the audience pointed out, the lot has been empty for many, many, many years and so what is a bit more time to try and build what the community wants? Obviously in these tough times there are many people who aren't getting things built such as Harvard and Downtown Crossing.

Sam Yoon, Michael Flaherty and I were all there and we all spoke. I almost fell out of my seat when Michael got up to speak and started questioning the BRA about Hayward Place! You heard that right, Michael Flaherty started asking questions about why nothing has been done in 6 years at Hayward Place! I asked the BRA what the process would be to redesignate Elma Lewis Partners and to have an opportunity to build what the community was clearly in favor of. At first moderator Darnell Williams ignored the question while many in the crowd called out to have the question answered. Finally he relented and Palmeiri started to speak out about why they weren't going to accept the Elma Lewis proposal, but I stopped him and said that I didn't want his opinion, I just wanted to know what the process would be. He didn't answer that question.

One woman got up and echoing Joan Vennocci said "Why isn't Tom Menino here?? He never attends these meetings, it is time to vote him out of office!" The crowd erupted into huge applause, as the moderator tried to keep the meeting focused.

I went over to Michael Flaherty and asked him "Have you ever raised concerns about Hayward Place in the last 6 years?" and he said he had. Then I asked him "In writing?" to which he paused to think about it and said he didn't think so. That whole deal went down where the taxpayers lost $23 million dollars at least while Flaherty was City Council President and personally negotiated the BRA extension of power. He couldn't be more complicit. Just to make sure, I will do a public records request of all the letters he has written about Hayward Place tomorrow to see how active he has been on this subject. I was doing commercials about it 4 years ago! Welcome to my bandwagon Michael!

When this was done I drove quickly to Allston where the citizens were giving a grilling to Harvard about turning their area into a ghost town. One of the speakers asked the question again: "Why isn't the Mayor here? We've invited him to come many times but he refuses to show up!" Joan's column seems to have hit a nerve.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Why Transparency Matters

When I was on my honeymoon with my wife, riding our motorcycles around the world, I had a lot of time to think about how to make government better for the common citizens of the world. The answer I came up with is what I call the Total Transparency Project.

In many parts of the world the corruption is blatant and rampant. On our trip it ranged from cops seeking handouts from Panama to Peru to Romania to Laos, to collusion between government agents and shipping handlers in Ecuador and Mumbai, to the outright bribery required on the Indian side of the Pakistani border crossing. Thankfully here in America we have one of the least corrupt governments, which isn't to say however that we don't have corruption. As many who have had to try and do a major business deal in Boston would tell you, it is a place where paying to play will get you a long way. Michael Flaherty flatly says that we have back room deals in Boston.

How do we keep that from occurring, especially in an era of floundering news resources? We need the fourth estate, or some new estate, to keep an eye on our elected officials to hold them accountable.

It seems to me that a combination of the old and the new maybe a path to such a vision. Modern democracy got its roots in our hemisphere with the New England Town Hall meeting where all the citizens would come together and make communal decisions based upon collective information and decision making. This eventually led to the American Revolution and US and Massachusetts constitutions written in no small part by our local genius John Adams.

With the age of the computer and the internet upon us, we once again have the opportunity to return to our roots, where all citizens would be able to share the information that affects us. We can now use our collective millions of eyes to keep an eye on our elected officials. How? By simply insisting that all governmental business be transacted in the open, online, for everyone to see.

All income derived, all expenses paid, all salaries, all contracts entered into, all proposed legislative and executive agendas should be posted online for people to peruse, ponder and postulate about. Our elected leaders would be responsible for sorting and sifting and adding their own thoughts to come up with a more collective plan of action, that the constituents could more easily judge.

As we traveled the world, it was with a sense of pride that we found out how famous Boston was as a birthplace of democracy, rights and freedom and a home of institutional greatness. Why not lead the world again, as we did 200 years ago, into a new era of rights for the people. Let us create a government that is a beacon of light to all of those who now suffer from terrible corruption and cronyism that deprives people of the means to make their families lives better.

If we create a government where all things are accessible, with major penalties (such as removal) for anyone who denies that access, if we create a Total Transparency Project we can give the world a wonderful gift: a blueprint for more equality and accountability for all citizens. Once we create such a successful program, citizens in other jurisdictions will say "why can't we have that?" There will be no reasonable answer, as the power to govern justly derives from the people, and hence the people's business should be accessible to the people.

I believe that a government based upon this principle has the ability to harness the power of its citizens to the maximum. Let's be the the leader again. Let us be the beacon, let's set a positive example.

We have the best hospitals, the best universities, the best sports teams, why shouldn't we have the best government that we can all be proud of?

Saturday, April 04, 2009

No one wants to play or pay with Mayor's Pay for Play!

Commonwealth Magazine reports how much people aren't into paying for being with Menino anymore.

Read here by Alison Lebron:

Going, Going...Still Here
How's this for a sign of dire economic times? At the Park Plaza last night, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino ran a charity auction during a Whittier Street Health Center fundraiser and almost had to arm-wrestle the audience into bidding. All 6 items up for grabs - from a one-on-one breakfast with Menino himself to Red Sox/hotel packages and Elton John tickets - were listed with $5,000 as the opening bid. Menino immediately cut that figure in half, but still couldn't get many takers.

"C'mon, it's for charity," he said several times. Silence. Usually, after several awkward moments, either Partners Health Care Board Chair Jack Connors or former mayoral chief of staff David Passafaro would offer the opening bid, then keep bidding against each other while other audience members stared at their shoes. But after a few rounds of Connors vs. Passafaro, the mayor started calling on others by name. "Bob Beal, I see you," he'd say. "You could bid."

Or "C'mon, don't any of you have any business before the city?"

Eventually, those who couldn't avoid the mayor's gaze got into the game. NStar CEO Tom May offered $4,000 for the 4 Elton John tickets and, when nobody responded to the mayor's request for a higher bid, May ended up one-upping himself. "$4,500," he called.

Friday, April 03, 2009

The power of the press---(or the blog?)

After writing yesterday about how Flaherty and Yoon have refused to answer my public records requests, I got an email today from Anne Hess from City Council central staff asking for a copy of the email so that she could respond to it. I'm not sure why central staff would have a copy of Yoon and Flaherty's correspondence, and why they can't do it themselves, but at least she is following up.

But why are they following up now?? Because I wrote about it on my blog yesterday which many members of the press keep tabs of, and because I testified about it this morning at a city council hearing about how the BRA hasn't followed the article 80 process in regards to the Boston College expansion. The whole point of public records requests is that government officials and bodies should respond to them, and you shouldn't have to 'go public' to get an answer.

Here is her email:

From: Braga, Ann Hess
Date: Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 10:45 AM
Subject: Public Records Request of Councillors Flaherty and Yoon

Good morning Mr. McCrea:

I am requesting that you forward the public records request that you made of Councilors Flaherty and Yoon on March 17 and wrote about yesterday. As you are aware, I assist Council offices in coordinating responses to FOIAs and to date, I have not seen the request. I have been in contact with the offices to have them check their files as well.

Thank you.

Ann Hess Braga, J.D. M.P.A.
Staff Director
Boston City Council
Boston City Hall, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02201

My email to councilors Yoon and Flaherty:,
date Tue, Mar 17, 2009 at 8:41 AM
subject Public Records Request


Dear Councilors,

I would like to request under the public records laws a copy of all Public Records Requests you have made to the Boston Redevelopment Authority
in 2006,2007,2008 and any in 2009.

Your timely response to this request is appreciated.

Kevin McCrea

Mayor, his friends, and BRA together cutting out the non politically connected

The Herald today does a series of articles showing how much BRA workers get, how many of them give to the Mayor, and how a developer lost their designation after they dared try and hire someone other than the Mayor's long term friend. As they found out, you don't mess with the Mayor or his friends.

I've told reporters for years if they really wanted to talk about what is going on in the city they need to write about the BRA. Kudos to the Herald for picking it up.

Notice that there are no layoffs at the BRA, but there are in city schools. Who does the Mayor really care about? The kids, or the developers who line his pockets? Maybe the children of the BPS should start holding bake sales to raise money for the Mayor's campaign and then their teachers and their programs won't be cut so deeply.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Press Release about Flaherty/Yoon violating Public Records Law in regards to BRA

April 2, 2009

On March 17, mayoral candidate Kevin McCrea made a public records request to City Councilors and fellow candidates Sam Yoon and Michael Flaherty, asking for any public records requests they may have made to the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) between 2006 and 2009. As of the first of April, neither one has responded. Under the Public Records Law, requests are supposed to be answered within ten business days, a deadline that has passed.

“Despite their calls for accountability, transparency and open government, Councilors Yoon and Flaherty continue to violate the most basic laws,” says Mr. McCrea, “As citizens of Boston, and under the public records laws, we have the right to know how the officials in our City government have acted on our behalf and by ignoring my request Councilors Yoon and Flaherty are showing that their commitment to transparency and accountability is nothing more than campaign rhetoric.”

Both candidates have made statements about how the BRA, run by Mayor Menino, needs to be more transparent and accountable to the citizens. Says McCrea: “We hear a lot about how the BRA is not responsive to the citizens or the councilors. Since neither Flaherty or Yoon has responded to my request, I assume that neither one of them used the avenues available to them to get information. In other words, they were all talk and no action. If our own City Council members – who are actually supposed to oversee the BRA -- refuse to question or request information from them, BRA officials are going to continue to act any way they please without consequence. The people who suffer, of course, are the residents and business people of Boston.”
Kevin McCrea, meanwhile, is no stranger to challenging the BRA and requesting information. In December he asked for and received financial data about Winthrop Square parking garage, a City property whose revenue stream the Mayor Menino gave to the BRA last year; Councilor Yoon was part of that deal, yet he never followed up to see where the money is going. Mr. McCrea did.

In February, Mr. McCrea requested a list of all BRA properties. After receiving a list of properties largely without addresses -- and different from the online Assessor’s list -- Mr. McCrea followed up and was told that his request could not be met and that the BRA did not maintain records of these addresses. McCrea was astounded. “I find it hard to believe that a high-tech, advanced city like Boston has a City Planning and Economic Development Agency that does not have a proper list of properties it owns with street addresses,” says McCrea, “and we need elected officials who challenge this. Councilors Yoon and Flaherty have had years to hold the BRA accountable, but unfortunately it appears that they have failed to do so, or even to try. The future of this city is too important to be left to a tiny group of people behind closed doors who exclude the public from the decision making process.”

To request a copy of Mr. McCrea’s public records request to Councilors Yoon and Flaherty, please send an e-mail to Kevin McCrea’s full platform can be viewed at his website

Mayor huffing and puffing again, instead of working out problems

The Mayor is trying to bully people again. This time it is Sail Boston as reported by the Globe.

Just like that false deadline for the teacher's union, the Mayor is huffing and puffing and trying to look like a tough guy instead of working out a deal that works for all.

Having the Tall Ships is a wonderful event that should be embraced by the City, but the City should make sure that costs are taken care of. This is done by honest negotiation with the group. If you talk to business owners on the waterfront, North End, etc. you will hear about what a boon this event is to their bottom line. This is a good thing for the city.

How are we doing on that March 15 deadline on the teachers that the Mayor threatened?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Credit where credit is due

Congratulations to Mike Ross and the City Council for taking a step in the direction of transparency.

We still have a long ways to go, most importantly in obeying and strengthening open meeting laws. The City Council's own guidelines describe a way in which 6 councilors can talk to their hearts content in private about an issue, then each of those 6 can talk to another 6 to make sure that an issue is fully vetted before the public has any clue what they are up to. In a truly transparent city this would never be tolerated.

Another example is having the "green" sheets and the late files posted, and rules changes that only allow for emergency late files especially when it comes to monetary matters. However, thanks to the efforts of many the City of Boston is hopefully working toward a more transparent government.