Sunday, June 14, 2009

Intimidation and Fear by Menino

In the Herald today they run a story about how Michael Flaherty's fundraiser at Game On! was mysteriously cancelled. They also talk about my recent story of the DPW workers and the sidewalk on my street.

Anyone who doesn't understand that Menino runs this city through intimidation and fear is not closely involved in what is going on in the city. However, the fact is that many people are not closely involved in what is going on in the City, and since Boston is a great place with or without Menino they don't really care.

I had a similar experience as Michael Flaherty. We were going to have our first fundraiser at a local restaurant here in the South End. They have groups in all the time, and we are friendly with the owner. I asked him personally if we could have our campaign kickoff at his restaurant and he told me that he was sorry but that he couldn't risk it. He said that Menino had helped him get the permits and licenses for his place, intimated that perhaps he shouldn't have received some of what he got, and said that he just couldn't risk it because it was his livelihood. So we kicked off our campaign in Dorchester.

Just this weekend I took my wife out to dinner and I was wearing my rainbow hat for Pride Week as we went to another local south end restaurant where we also know the owner. He came over and said hello, told us that he loved my hat (he is gay), and how much he wished that I get elected Mayor. We then talked about the intimidation of Menino and how he couldn't let me put a sign in his window because Menino's people would come in and give his restaurant some violations. He left with "it has happened before."

I have had many, many reporters including from the Globe and Herald tell me about how vindictive the Mayor is, and how the City will never move on until Menino goes. I have columnists tell me that they are ready to tell the story as soon as one 'insider' will come out and spill the beans. But that is the intimidation level that Menino has, no one will publicly come out and say it.

Recently a city official told me a story about how they were intimidated by a BRA official to do some private work (illegally) for this BRA employee. I did the followup by checking with some BRA people that I know and the story held water. I went back to the city official and said that I had checked their story and it was true and would they please come clean with it. The city official declined because of fear of Menino.

When I was collecting signatures on Day one when the City was filled with City workers taking the day off to collect signatures for the Mayor I was amazed at the anger these people had for me just for running. One city electrician in Hyde Park said to me with vitriol "why are you running? You can't win." As we waited for voters to come by I was talking to another Menino person and I asked what he did and he said "I'm so connected I can't tell you what I do for the City."

I commend Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon a bit for sticking their neck out there. However, they have been complicit in these types of tactics for years. Today is the Bunker Hill Day Parade. 4 years ago the same people were putting up Menino, Flaherty, and Connolly signs together on Main Street. I fear that Flaherty is just a younger version of Menino. He believes in doing business behind closed doors, saying one thing and doing another, and in not answering questions. Yoon won't answer questions either, but I don't believe he wants to run the City in such a heavy handed way.

I was at the Union Club last week, invited to apply to be a member, and as I was walking out the door with well respected local big wig lawyer who had been telling me how unhappy many of the members are with the Mayor finished with "but they are afraid of him as well." These are some of the most important, powerful people in the City and they are afraid of him.

When the candidates met with Menino's debate team and WGBH, the Globe, WBUR and NECN, the media sources (and the candidates) all acquiesced to Menino's demands to change the date and time of the debates. It still wasn't good enough for Menino and they balked at doing two debates. The TV stations have been afraid to just schedule a date and time and if he doesn't come, let it go on. It is amazing to me, in this City which started the revolution against King George, everyone is afraid to lift a finger against our current dictator, or speak in public what nearly everyone says in private. Kudos at least to the Bay State Banner which has editorialized that it is time for the Mayor to go.

When I ran for City Council at Large four years ago, I was openly critical of the Mayor. The following year, the City raised the assessment on our family's home by over $700,000 nearly doubling our taxes. Think that is just coincidence? We now have the highest assessed single family in the South End on an average street in the south end, not Montgomery or Union Park. Vindictive, I wonder?

How many more years can we tolerate half of our kids not graduating from high school? Rates of crime twice that of NYC? Violence against women 4 times that of NYC? No plan for the roads? No transparency or accountability? 5 times the drop out rate of Cambridge!

Boston will survive, it is a great city, but it is in spite of not because of our political leadership.

When is someone at City Hall going to question how a liquor license was given to a political insider through bribes???? Not a peep from Menino, Flaherty, Yoon or anyone else at City Hall.

Why do we tolerate this?

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