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

1 comment:

Steve Wintermeier said...

The simple act of your candidacy is producing results for Boston! The budget office (who is aware I do research for Shirley Kressel's ABN group and your campaign) after a single request put the budget records back to 2006 on-line. The 2006 budget includes actuals for 2003 and 2004 so residents of Boston can research up to 8 years of budget history once the 2010 budget is filed without trekking over to the library (and with a brief search can access the city's audits back to 2003 as well). Credit where credit is due - hats off and kudos to Lisa Signori for following up on this (she personally and promptly directed my request to repost this data on-line after a single email). With the city council records now on-line, one can only assume that in the very near future - especially once you are elected, even the city's current financial records will be posted on-line in the very near future so interested parties like the Boston Teacher's Union will not have to ask the city for that information and will instead have it available at least monthly through the mere click of a mouse.