COUNCILORS YOON AND FLAHERTY VIOLATE THE PUBLIC RECORDS LAW BY IGNORING A PUBLIC RECORDS REQUEST FROM MAYORAL CANDIDATE KEVIN MCCREA
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Kevin McCrea’s full platform can be viewed at his website www.kevinmccrea.com.