Monday, August 31, 2009

Late night thoughts, and a story about how Menino's people think all politicians are criminals

I attended the DOT OUT forum tonight that was the first occasion at which the four Mayoral candidates were in the room at the same time. It was an excellent example of political advance groundwork and Menino and Flaherty lead at this category. There were a number of people there with Menino rainbow stickers and Flaherty stickers. I arrived solo, and with my limited campaign staff and accounts had not had the opportunity to reach out to members of DOT OUT. Yoon arrived late.

We spoke in order of ballot position so I went first, then Yoon, Flaherty and Menino. I didn't think I did a particularly good job although it was well received (see Universal Hub and John Keith-a Flaherty supporter until I can convert him!) Yoon gave his standard stump speech about being an immigrant and Boston is a city of immigrants. He was asked why he marched in the St. Patrick's day parade and gave his standard answer to this question about having to represent all the neighborhoods as a city wide councilor. He was asked if he would participate in the parade if it banned Blacks, or Jews or Asians? He acknowledged this would be a Civil Rights issue and that he couldn't fully have the same feelings as the GLBT community on the issue. The answer did not seem to be well received.

Flaherty then spoke and he gently talked about needing a change a city hall, and about his Uncle who was a closeted gay who was murdered. He spoke about the poor state of the Boston Public Schools and how families aren't getting their top 3 choices of schools and are having to move out. He clearly is positioning himself as the kindler, gentler more modern Mayor. Menino then spoke in what is clearly a preview of his debate performance Wednesday night. He spoke about frustration with the slow pace of reform in the schools as the excuse to put in Charters. He is going to mention his Iphone application and how you can send a picture into City Hall and it will get fixed. (Right, see my earlier blog about the street work on my street)
Neither Menino nor Flaherty directly answered why they favored charters. Menino contradicted himself in his answer, saying that we needed Charters to get access to the Federal Obama money and that we couldn't get any now. Then later he said he got $25 million in Federal funds for the schools to protect jobs. Which is it? Surprisingly, no one asked Flaherty about marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade.

A 2/3 vote was required for Endorsement. The first round went Menino 55, Flaherty 35, McCrea 8, Yoon 2. Menino was never able to get 2/3 of the vote so no endorsement was given. I was pleased I went in cold to the meeting and was able to get some support, and the people were very kind. One gentleman came up and asked for a pin to show his support and then whispered "I live right near Yoon and I want to wear it around".

This was quite surprising that Menino who has been great on GLBT issues couldn't get 2/3's of the vote against someone who marches in the St. Patick's day parade. Winds of change are in the air.

I left before the voting was over so missed the fireworks of Menino yelling at a Flaherty supporter. (Again see Universal Hub)

Next, I went to the City Council at large candidates forum at Freedom Hall. It was packed and all 15 candidates were there. I caught the last round which was the closing statement of each. Judging by audience response I would say that Mr. Gonzales, Mr. Arroyo, Mr. Jackson, and Ms. Pressley were well received or supported. However, all the candidates got good rounds of applause. I was in the entrance hallway as it was SRO. A woman said to me that she liked Sean Ryan because he was the only one who seemed to be telling it like it is. I almost fell out of my chair when Steve Murphy started talking about how he sponsored legislation about Transparency!! Politicians have no shame.

I was very impressed at how different the event looked from the one I was in 4 years ago where the only minorities were Felix Arroyo and Sam Yoon, and the field was packed with political legacies: Connolly, Flynn, White, Flaherty. I think the candidates may still be quite light on the issues, with a number of empty banalities about being accountable, accessible, needing a change, and putting in safe streets and good schools BUT I am genuinely impressed and hopeful at the positive change going on in the City with a truly diverse group of candidates.

Finally a tale about a Menino campaign worker. A few weeks ago I got a knock on my door near the end of the day. A young man introduced himself as working for the Menino campaign and then noticed the button on my shirt. He had never heard of me. I asked him why he was volunteering, what he liked about the Mayor. He said he just answered an ad and that he did it because they feed him pizza. I asked what good things the Mayor had done and he said 'the schools'. I asked if he thought the schools were good and said 'not really'. We sat down and had a talk. I asked his background. He is an immigrant to the is country and he talked about how the schools in his third world (maybe second world) country were better than here, and that when he got here he tested ahead of his grade level and quickly got into Boston Latin. He wasn't all that impressed with Latin either, but he won a scholarship to one of our local big universities where he recently graduated. But, he hasn't been able to find a job in his profession in our fair city so he is doing Menino grunt work. After explaining a bit about myself and promising him I wouldn't use his name in my blog (he was afraid he was going to lose his unpaid internship!) we shook hands to part ways.

As he was leaving, I asked who he was going to vote for? He turned around and said to me "oh I don't vote, all politicians are criminals!"

Isn't it nice to know that an immigrant who came to this country from a destitute country, lived all his life in America with Menino as his Mayor, went to the BPS, has been so inspired by our local politicians to decide at age 22 or 23 to not vote, even if he is working on a campaign as a resume builder.

We have a lot of work to do to inspire our youth.

Good night!

DOT OUT event in Dorchester tonight--all 4 candidates are scheduled to attend

Thanks to DOT OUT for sponsoring this event:

Hello -

This is just a reminder e-mail about the DotOut event tomorrow (Monday) night at 6:00 p.m. at the Ledge at 2261 Dorchester Avenue in the Lower Mills neighborhood of Dorchester. It looks like all four mayoral candidates have committed to attend.

We will have a casual meet and greet with members and candidates from 6:00-6:45. At that point, we will do introductions from DotOut and then turn the event over to Bay Windows co-publisher and Editor in Chief Sue O'Connell. She will call upon each mayoral candidate in the order that their names appear on the preliminary election ballot (McCrea, Yoon, Flaherty,Menino). Each candidate will then be invited to give a five minute presentation and then take questions for 5 minutes. After that candidate gives his presentation and then takes Q&A, we will move to the next candidate.

In order to receive an endorsement, a candidate must receive 2/3 of the vote of those present and voting. If no candidate receives 2/3, we can proceed to a second vote. In order to be considered for the second round, a candidate must have received at least 15% of the vote in the first round. If no candidates receives 2/3 of the vote in the second round, we can proceed to a third round. A candidate must have received at least 20% of the vote to be considered during the third round. If no candidate receives 2/3 of the vote by the third round, then no endorsement will be made.

We are looking forward to hearing from you tomorrow night. If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to contact me tomorrow on my cell

Thank you and good luck.

Dave Breen

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thanks to work of activists, we can now park our motorcycles legally in Boston the way teachers like me instruct students in State MSF classes

Let's look forward to a more progressive Boston for all of the Right Reasons.

29 August 2009
KingCast and Tom Tinlin announce: The end of "No Angle Parking" tickets for Boston motorcyclists; more revisions to follow.

In the YouTube video above Mr. Tinlin made certain representations about his committment to reform on Motorcycle parking. In this post a couple of days ago I applauded the emergence of Cambridge-style bicycle lanes in Boston and asked whether "no angle parking" bans and other parking arrangements would be coming for motorcyclists soon.

In an after-hours telephone call yesterday evening (5:37 to be exact) Boston Transportation Commissioner Tom Tinline unequivocally answered:


He is going to order all ticket writing to cease on the no angle parking and told me that there will be designated motorcycle parking areas as well. That is a wonderful response from an earnest guy -- he's one of the only bureaucrats who can shoot you a peace sign when you ride past him and it doesn't come off like Nixon -- you know he really means it. I like Tom and I'm glad he's honoring his commitment to reform on these issues. Let's look forward to a more progressive Boston for all of the Right Reasons.

Thanks to supporter Chris King and others for getting this done!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Letter to the BRA and Mayor about videotaping and transparency at public meetings

Dear Mayor Menino, Ms. Donovan and Ms. Cusick:

I was recently at a meeting in Brighton regarding the CharlesView apartments. A Mr. Rourke who was running the meeting for the BRA announced as the meeting was starting that someone wished to video tape the meeting and that he couldn't allow that unless the everyone at the meeting agreed to be videotaped, in other words, if any one person didn't want the meeting videotaped, the gentleman could not video tape. I asked Mr. Rourke if this was a public meeting and he responded that it was. I then announced that my understanding of the Open Meeting Law is that anyone may videotape any meeting as long as they do not interfere with the proceedings. The gentleman proceeded to video tape the meeting.

I conferred with the District Attorney's office who indicated they have written to the BRA with the opinion that all public meetings are allowed to be video taped. The District Attorney's office informed me that the BRA has taken the view that the BRA is not necessarily subject to the Open Meeting Law in all cases, and that the State of Massachusetts wiretapping law is applicable to the videotaping issue.

Needless to say this is very confusing to the public which is invited by the BRA to come to meetings. I would like to request a formal written policy (if there is not one already). I would suggest that the announcements for the meetings let the public know whether videotaping will be allowed or not.

The best solution, in my opinion, is for the Mayor to come out in support of transparency and to require the BRA to make all of their meetings be subject to the Open Meeting Law. I would like to request the Mayor's position on this issue. The public often feels as if promises are made by the BRA and developers which are not kept later in the development process. Videotaping these meetings is a way to document the community process and the promises made along the way, which can help to assuage fears that the neighborhoods are not being respected during the process.

Finally, could you please let me know whether videotaping will be allowed at the September 2, 2009 BRA community meeting in the Fenway and the BRA IAG meeting in South Boston on September 8, 2009. If you will not allow videotaping please list the reason why.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to your clarification of this issue for the public.


Kevin McCrea

The scene from Asia

My business partner is Chinese and he is traveling for family and business there right now. He reports back:

i have been in taiwan with a side trip to hong kong and macau. as usual depressing to see how asia has so much more ambition than rest of world. moving quickly into renewable energy and things like electric cars. no one here is wasting time debating and in-fighting on those issues. government, businesses, and just everyday people all see that as a self-evident industrial model. then i also get the quizzical question from why can't the US pass something as basic as universal health coverage and have to fight about it? I am not sure I have a very good answer for that other than basic human selfishness.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The kind of emails I Love:

Hi, Kevin (if I may be so presumptuous),
You may recall that I called you a couple of weeks ago and asked you to make sure my wife and I were put on your do not call list. Today, we each received a note from you, with a campaign flyer, confirming that request.

Thank you for complying with the request (we called all 4 campaigns - since then we've received (so far) one call from the Flaherty campaign). Combining your courtesy on the phone, your follow-up, and your stated positions, I thought you'd like to know that you've got both of our votes.

By the way, you can save some time and money, if your database permits, by combining any mailings to me (xxxxxxxx) and to her (xxxxxxxx) into a single mailing.

Good luck with the campaign - we'll be rooting for you.

Menino blows off Fenway Folks: His Schedule is Full!

I received this email today from people in the Fenway trying to put together a Mayoral Forum:

Thank you for your willingness to participate in a candidates' forum in a location convenient to Fenway residents. Unfortunately, due to no available dates provided by the Menino campaign, we will not be proceeding with the planning. No need to keep 9/1 open on your calendars anymore.


Why would the Mayor actually want to take questions from people? I suggested to the organizers that they move forward with the Mayoral forum as I'm sure that the voters would like to ask questions of people that they might vote for.

Debate Postponed

Out of respect for Senator Kennedy's passing the candidates and WBZ have decided to move the debate.

Tentatively we are going to reschedule for next Wednesday at 7 pm.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I'll be on BNN tonight with Joe Heisler, WBZ radio tomorrow morning at 7:30, and of course the first debate of the election cycle tomorrow night on WBZ TV with the three other guys!

Menino-No one but him cares about Boston

WBUR did a great piece on the Parcel 3 process and how corrupt it is. Please take a listen and a read. The most outrageous comment I've heard from Menino yet is the following:

Menino had harsh words for his opponents. “They have nothing else to do,” Menino said. “They haven’t accomplished anything in their careers. I’m trying to do a decent job in the city, but you’re listening to guys who don’t care about the city. They only want to make headlines. I’m trying to move Boston forward.”

I may have my differences with Councilors Yoon and Flaherty, but they have both accomplished things in their lives, and I would never say that they don't care about the City.

A great blog post from Universal Hub shredding the Mayor's legacy

By James J. Adams (not verified) | Tue, 08/25/2009 - 12:26am

I guess Mayor Menino prefers that his coronation precede his victory. As an appointed mayor, Menino was never really elected. It takes the Vatican to get a mayor out of Boston's city hall. The mayor's self coronation, spread all over the front pages of the city's newspapers Sunday and fed to you on a silver palate in his silly driving around Boston video ( is an embarrassment.
Coronation does seem an apt word, since the Mayor's most noteworthy contribution to the office building in Boston is his self-proclaimed ability to pick the right little crown. Thank God he wasn't around when the Seagram Building was built. I wonder what he would have put on top of the Hancock--a really big pen and ink stand. Maybe a big post office box on the top of the McCormack Building. But this Mayor doesn't only pick building tops. He actually calls from his cell phone to change zoning codes as he sees fit. The law-bah humbug. Let them eat cake --but make sure they eat it on a porch that passes his front porch architectural thesis, yet published, but also self-proclaimed.
I have been involved in commercial real estate in Boston for 28 years. I have no need to hide or to blend into the faux business scenery when everyone around me knows it stinks but has no choice but to go along. Fortunately, I have not been a developer and have thus not had to please the whims of an individual rather than of a citizenry. If the Mayor has invited us to come and praise his Caesar, let's start with doing away with the statistical nonsense his office issues.
The Mayor boasts that there has been more square footage of commercial development PER SQUARE MILE than any of the top ten most populous cities in the country. The problem is that Boston, at a whopping 48.4 square miles, is less than 1/4 the size of the 10th most populous city--San Jose. In fact, Boston does not make the top 150 in area. Boston could comfortably fit inside of the 469 square miles of Los Angeles nearly 10 times over. The truth is that, of the top 10 most populous cities in the US, only Philadelphia has added less new construction since 1996. STRIKE ONE ON THE FACTS.
During Mayor Menino's tenure, 15.3 million square feet of office space has been built in Boston. Not bad for a 16-year reign which has no sight in end. During Ray Flynn's 9-year tenure, 36 million was added. Yes, Mayor Flynn in 7 years more than doubled the amount seen in the Menino era. Considering that the inventory during Mayor Flynn's tenure lacked the 15 million added during Menino's days, the percentage growth on a yearly basis under Mayor Flynn averaged roughly 8% per year. Menino has averaged 1.3%. Need we even mention Mayor White who, during 16 years, saw the construction of 24.3 million square feet? Again, looking at Boston before Mayor White, the percentage growth of the City was exponentially larger than our current Mayor's at nearly 9% per year. And this was in an era where the Mayor sought out developers and companies to come to Boston, not when developers sporting clever crowns lined up for the "privilege" to build in Boston. STRIKE TWO ON THE LEGACY COUNT.
And what specifically has the Mayor, other than crowns, added to the skyline? In the entire 16-year tenure of Mayor Menino, a whopping 6 new buildings over 500,000 square feet have been built. I believe I am being quite generous in setting 500,000 square feet as the cutoff for consideration as a "tower." The national standard would be at least one million, of which there has been a grand total of one, the new headquarters of State Street Global at One Lincoln Street.
Six new "towers." And of the six, three of them fell under the approval process of Massport--Fidelity's two office buildings on the Seaport and Manulife's new headquarters on Congress Street in the Seaport. The state, with Massport as its agent, does not require approval from the City. The Mayor doesn't talk about those buildings in case you ever noticed. That leaves us with three. The Mayor speaks frequently of 111 Huntington Avenue, that of the famous hat. And I would agree that some people know of the building. Quick, name the other two skyline changing gems. Answers at the bottom. STRIKE THREE ON SKYLINE IMPACT.
The only thing less impressive of a Mayor who brags about his singular ability to stall projects "in my City", i.e. those of Mr. Chiofaro, is a Mayor who, one day on a whim declares that a 150-story tower will be built in Boston as if the Development Fairy was planning a visit. How many years ago did that triumphant horn sound--3,4? Perhaps that will be the tower built when it's 80 degrees in January.
Mayors do not build. They allow others to build. Buildings do not create jobs. The companies that choose to occupy them do. Mayor Menino has followed the over worn path of his predecessors not only in Boston but in almost every major city. They need the tower and they need the power. The problem is that our Mayor Menino has struck out in doing so, no matter which way you count it, obscure it, or spout on about it while riding around town.
It is time for an end to the BRA which provides the legal cover for not only Mayor Menino but for any mayor to pretend there is a legitimate review process in Boston. It is time that a developer playing by the written rules deserves fair treatment under them. It is time for Mayor Menino to take the crown off his head, because there was really never one there anyway.
Answers: 10 St. James Avenue and 33 Arch Street.

Monday, August 24, 2009

BRA still lying to the public and trying to evade transparency

I was in Brighton tonight for the long, hot BRA meeting about the Charles View apartments.

As the meeting started a Mr. Rourke from the BRA announced that someone wanted to video tape the meeting and that the rule was that the crowd would have to approve, and that if anyone didn't want the meeting to be videotaped than the videotaper couldn't record the meeting.

No one stood up to oppose, but there were some rumblings about this not being correct. People were looking to me for clarification so I asked Mr. Rourke if this was a public meeting and he responded that it was. I then announced that the law was very clear that anyone had the right to video tape the meeting, and that I had a bit of experience with the Open Meeting Law. Mr. Rourke acknowledged he knew I was familiar with the Open Meeting Law and the meeting proceeded.

After the meeting, the gentleman who was videotaping came up and thanked me for speaking out and then told me that Rourke told him before the meeting that he was NOT allowed to videotape the meeting.

WHEN IS CITY HALL GOING TO GET IT???? This is the people's business and we have the right to know and document what is going on.

I spoke later in the meeting about how people had the right to set the zoning code to what the neighbors and the community would like. If they are not happy with Harvard, they should get together and set the zoning to what they would like to see get built in their neighborhood.

I asked who was in favor of the proposal and who was against. I would say roughly a third of the people were for it, and about half against it, with many not committing.

I am so impressed with the Brighton community who slogs through these 2 to 3 hour meetings to try and build the community they want. I hope the City listens to them, or more importantly that they vote for me and we require Harvard to be a partner in the development of the area which responds properly to community input.

Press release about my position on the public schools

Contact: Antionetta Kelley FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cell Phone: (857) 719-4761

Kevin McCrea’s Position on our Public Schools

Please find attached Kevin McCrea’s position on the Public Schools in Boston.

The highlights are as follows:
• No cuts to the school budget, teachers, or programs
• No expansion of the cap on the Charter Schools
• As Mayor, he will visit every school in the system every two years to accentuate the positive, and fix the problems
• Insist on good schools in every neighborhood, so we can move to eliminate busing and put that extra money right back into the schools

Kevin McCrea says: “Education will be my number one priority as Mayor. I believe in equally excellent schools for all of our children, not just a few lucky enough to win a lottery. I am a product of public schools, and I received an excellent education in those schools, so I know that we can provide an excellent education for our children in our public schools as well.”

“Our Public Schools are good enough for the progeny of Candidates Flaherty, Menino and Yoon, why aren’t those schools good enough for all of our children?” We spend about 40 percent of our City Budget on the School system so I don’t think it is too much to ask that our Mayor spend 20 percent of his time, one day a week, on visiting the schools and ensuring that we have great schools throughout our city. Kevin McCrea made that simple promise four years ago. If the other candidates had shown that same work ethic over the past four years, we wouldn’t be reading stories about the atrocious state of our schools, and school sports programs, and the terrible drop out rate.

About the Charter Cap, McCrea says: “As a recent Boston Globe article by James Vaznis highlighted, the Charter Schools are not taking their fair share of English Language Learners and Special Education students. Not until the Charter schools take a more representative group of students should we be talking about expanding the Cap.”
“I look forward to the hard work required to make sure all our students get a great education.”

Kevin McCrea’s full platform can be viewed at his website Kevin McCrea’s campaign director, Antionetta Kelly, can be reached either through e-mail at or phone at (617)267-24

Seattle's incumbent Mayor loses to 2 newcomer challengers in primary

I have never been to Seattle, but it appears they have a very concerned and active electorate. The incumbent Mayor who spent $500,000 on his re-election bid lost in the primary to two political newcomers, an activist attorney and a mobile phone businessman.

One of the issues was that a snowstorm hadn't been handled adequately. Here in Boston we have multiple elected officials under Federal indictment due to liquor licenses given out in backroom deals, a Mayor who controls all development in the City who takes campaign contributions from the developers he approves, and we have a terrible school system and yet he remains popular?

Read the article here.

Boston Globe publishes articles on how corrupt the Mayor and BRA relationship is

As I have been talking about for years, there is no development process in Boston. There is only what the Mayor wants. The Boston Globe does an in depth look into everything from how the Mayor decides what goes on the top of skyscrapers,
to what kind of front door people have on their houses.

I hope that the Globe does further work on how the Mayor and the BRA give tax breaks to the rich and connected which the rest of us taxpayers have to pay for.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Yoon announces to debate audience that Kevin McCrea doesn't have the temperament to be Mayor

There was a Mayoral forum tonight on the Arts at the Piano Factory in the South End. Flaherty, Yoon and I all came, of course the Mayor was a no show.

Things were very cordial, until Sam Yoon answered a question about what City Hall could do about helping the smaller arts galleries survive. He sidestepped for a moment and told the audience that I didn't have the temperament to be Mayor. When it came time for me to answer the question, I asked Sam to explain why I didn't have the temperament to be Mayor and ceded time to him.

A discussion ensued and Carol who asked the question said that she would like to hear Sam answer. Sam then went on to describe how I'm an activist and that is a valuable role in society. In other words, he didn't answer the question.

So, Sam: could you please explain why I don't have the temperament to be Mayor? Is it because I ask too many questions and I hold people accountable? I've had two phone calls and a flyer from your office to my house saying that you answer any questions, so please answer this one.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Debate on Touch 106.1 fm tomorrow at 8 a.m.

Listen in tomorrow as Sam Yoon, Michael Flaherty and I discuss the issues facing Bostonians. The Mayor apparently is too busy with Swine Flu to attend. I'm preparing for the Mayor to have a lot of these important engagements in the coming weeks from 8 am to 8 pm.

My position on the Public Schools

Mayoral Candidate Kevin McCrea’s vision for our school children:

I have carefully considered the recent “innovative” proposals of my fellow mayoral candidates for improving our public schools by expanding charters. I believe we can’t really make our schools better for 55,000 students by a strategy that at best, will help a lucky few -- at the expense of the rest. We need the leadership, the commitment and the work ethic to say that we are going to make the schools serving all of our children good schools.

I realize that parents face a system where many schools are considered “under-performing,” and where a random lottery will put their children on long bus rides to unfamiliar neighborhoods and schools. These politically motivated charter proposals are simply about giving a small number of resourceful and vocal parents a way out of the system, serving as a safety valve for the rising pressure to improve it.

However, charters aren’t the answer to our problems. Broad studies show that they are no better on the whole than the public schools they intend to displace, that their students are self-selected for motivation, that they handle fewer disabled and English Learning students, and that they achieve high scores by sending the less successful students back to the public schools. In fact, only a small percent of the charters in the nation are the high-flying excellent schools that advocates invoke to boost the charter movement.

There are many fine public schools, but serious inequities continue because our “lottery” is not genuine, and politically connected people get their children the schools they want. Does it surprise anyone that Mayor Menino, Councilor Flaherty and Councilor Yoon were all just “lucky” and their progeny ended up in their first choice of schools? If public schools, taught by union teachers with standard curricula, are good enough for their offspring, why are charters their solution for other people? Why don’t we just replicate the successful public schools in all of the neighborhoods?

It takes ample work to negotiate tough but fair contracts with the unions, to insure that we have good teachers and facilities, and to motivate parents, teachers and students to achieve to their potential. It makes a much better sound-bite to have a “magic bullet” answer.

Let’s remember that the original justification for public subsidies to charters was that they would come up with models that we could then transfer to the public schools. I think they’ve “discovered” what most parents inherently know about what works when they are bringing up their own children: spending time with kids, instilling high expectations, rewarding academic achievement and good behavior, proper discipline, and using proven teaching methods. We don’t need to dismantle our schools just to instill these values.

I don’t want our children to be the guinea pigs for endless experimentation with their education, when we know what the problem is. For the most part, it’s poverty. So acknowledges Wendy Kopp, the founder of Teach for America, another experiment Boston will begin next year with 20 elite-college graduates, coming to rescue the inner city kids. Yes, education can remedy poverty, but first education must be made possible despite poverty.

The City schools serve many children hobbled by poverty, racial discrimination, language problems, homelessness or unstable residences, single-parent families, undernourishment and often a backlog of medical and psychological needs. Our schools cannot skip over what they lack and start in teaching them to score well on tests and prepare for college. In fact, college admission is not necessarily the right ladder to success for everyone. We should value all of our children and prepare them to succeed in whatever path they choose.

My thoughts on education have been consistent since I ran for City Council in 2005. As Mayor, I will not sacrifice the majority of our children for the sake of looking innovative or modern or progressive. My position is simple: education is our number one priority, and funding will not be cut while we make sure that ALL our children get a good education.

I have carefully examined the City finances and made the promise back in January that as Mayor I would not cut one cent from the school budget. I gave the financial information to the school committee and testified at numerous hearings that we have the money to fund our schools. Meanwhile Menino was playing politics with our children, scaring our students and parents with threatened layoffs and program cuts. This is no way to run a government, nor a way to treat our citizens, and this dishonesty will stop immediately with my administration.

As Mayor, I will charge my school superintendent to join me in sitting down with the teachers’ union, parents’ groups and other parties with appropriate training and experience in education. I will ask them to devise a program that will provide this educational enrichment environment, and figure out what it will take to implement it.

From my own experience, believe that these principles should guide the program:

1. Early intervention. I support Pre-K classes and intensive attention in the lower grades; high school is far too late to start teaching critical thinking, creativity, etc.
2. Comprehensive learning. School is not just about test scores; education has to treat the whole child, and produce a well-rounded individual who can realize his/her talents, become financially self-reliant, and participate in community life as a responsible citizen.
3. Integrated support: We have to employ advisors, or connectors, who will link children and their families with all the support services they need to succeed, from social services to health care, and monitor their case-load of students every day. This includes drop-outs, gang members, and ex-prison inmates, who need educational and job-seeking help.
4. Universal application: Include all the children, build a culture of success, and it will be self-reinforcing. Every child should get the best we can give. No child should suffer from stereotyping.
5. Community-building: Schools should be at the heart of the community, within walking distance if possible, providing social, athletic, artistic and educational services to all ages.

Here are what I envision as indicators of success:
1. Near-zero drop-out and expulsion rates
2. Good report cards reflecting tests and comments from teachers and advisors.
3. Interaction and feedback from parents.
4. Faculty satisfaction and stability. I will work with our teachers to help them shine. The advisors will help relieve them of the social-service burdens we’ve been placing on them. As to union rules, I will work with them to negotiate hours, quality control, and other controversial issues. Blaming the teachers for badly negotiated contracts is an acknowledgment of bad management by the administration.
5. Student and parent satisfaction.
6. Reduction in violence.
7. Student and family use of our libraries and other services besides classroom learning.

My administration will approach the school system comprehensively. City-wide system planning will be done to assess the school needs of every neighborhood. We will build schools as necessary and eliminate busing as we create good schools all over our city.

Responsiveness and public accountability for our public education is essential. A number of school committee members will be elected, so that independent voices and opinions can be heard and can answer directly to their constituents. The mayor will appoint the majority and I believe the city council should appoint at least one member, so that we have better checks and balances.

Finally, I will keep all this in the public realm; there will be no public-private partnerships, no non-profits set up to take the place of the support the schools should receive, and no expectation that teachers will buy supplies with their own money. Public education is a public responsibility; there is no more important job for the city government, and we will fund our schools adequately. This won’t be difficult if we cut out the waste and collect what we are due from corporations and institutions – something all our current officials already know and refuse to do. I will assure equal treatment to all students and complete transparency and accountability.

A good school system, like a good house, does not get built by cutting corners. It takes time, dedication, and a commitment to doing it right. I believe that for our school system that means longer school days and school year, high expectations, a well-rounded curriculum, ensuring we have good professional teachers, proper facilities, and appropriate discipline. I’ll combine that with professional management, citizen involvement and recognition for the excellent work that does take place in our schools. I have promised to visit every school every two years to meet with the parents, teachers and students to find out how things are working. I made the same promise when I ran for City Council four years ago. If my opponents had shown as much interest in the schools we wouldn’t just now be “discovering” the deplorable conditions for the BPS, such as the underfunded athletic programs recently highlighted in the Boston Globe.

I want to take the money we will save from eliminating busing and cutting unneeded overhead and staff and put it back into the schools. I want to build a leading green science and technology school similar to the Bronx High School of Science. I want to make sure each of our neighborhood schools becomes a local community center with public computers and wireless access, to help bridge the digital divide and to give kids a safe place to go. I want to put a mandatory financial literacy class in all of our high schools. I want to offer our teachers low-interest home loans to keep them here. We have the money; we are in the top 10 percent in the state in terms of spending per student, but we just need to spend it wisely and transparently.

Decades of failure and violence in our schools have failed generations of children. My opponents are content to float the latest buzzwords for educational reform – choice, charters, institutional public-private partnerships -- as a show of “doing something” about the problem. I know and they know that won’t work for the vast majority of children. It will just create the illusion that politicians are addressing the problem. But this is a solvable problem, and we know from hard experience that the stakes are far too high to continue to fail. The children of Boston have suffered too long under failed political leadership on this issue and that must end immediately. If the people of Boston want a mayor who will promise magic bullets just to get elected, at the expense of our children, then that is their choice. I will have no part of that. I'm running for Mayor of Boston to represent all the people, and to me the people that are still too young to vote are my most important constituents. I am asking the voters – and all of us, school-parents or not -- to build a good universal educational system, and to stand with me in making this commitment.

DOT OUT Candidate request form

DotOUT 2009 Candidate Questionnaire

1. What if any efforts did you make in defeating the proposed amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution that would have excluded gays and lesbians from the right to marry; and did you support the repeal of the 1913 law that discriminated against out-of-state gays and lesbians from marrying within Massachusetts and what if any efforts did you make in its repeal?

I contacted my elected officials and let them know I was in support of marriage rights.

2. Do you support legislation to outlaw discrimination in Massachusetts on the basis of “gender identity or expression” and what if any efforts have you made to ensure passage of this legislation?

Yes, I support legislation to outlaw discrimination in Massachusetts on the basis of “gender identity or expression.” I have participated in events and parades in my South End neighborhood in support of these civil rights.

3. Do you support a woman’s right to choose?

Yes, I support a woman’s right to choose.

4. On this issue of HIV/AIDS prevention, what are your views on needle exchange programs and sex education/condom distribution programs?

Because needle exchange programs are aimed at preventing the spread of fatal diseases, I am in favor. I am also in favor of universal health care, including mental health benefits and developing addiction prevention and rehabilitation programs.

I am also in favor of implementing sex education/condom distribution programs in Boston Public Schools. As a society we must accept the fact that a number of sexually active youth will always be with us. Therefore, it is essential to educate our youth about the risks associated with unprotected sex. I believe that such preventative measures can prevent many unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections among our youth.

5. Do you have any openly LGBT members of your office and/or campaign staff with decision-making and/or management level of responsibility?

Yes, a number of my volunteers/supporters are openly members of the LGBT community. I always employ the valuable advice that they offer to the campaign. Many of the suggestions that I accept from my LGBT volunteers/supporters range from a variety of topics, such as strategies to reach out to different neighborhoods and how to present my platform. I have also received a positive response from members of Boston’s LGBT community who have shown their support and interest in my campaign by asking to volunteer.

We were proud to kick off our campaign in Dorchester at the house of Kevin Barry and Barry Mullin a gay couple who have been together for 20 years. I have gay and lesbian family members. I have employed gay carpenters in my construction business, worked with and for lesbian business owners, and when I was 19 my first boss in Boston was gay. He is still a good friend. I’m proud to live in the South End, and am happy to fly the rainbow during Pride Week. In addition, I have refused to March in the St. Patrick’s Day parade because they exclude the LGBT community.

6. What organizations do you belong to and/or have you worked with that embrace diversity and draw together the very diverse communities within Dorchester, including, but not limited to, people of color, Caucasians, Latinos, Asians, the LGBT community, and people from varying socio-economic backgrounds?

The first group I belong to is my marriage to an Hispanic woman, Dr. Clara Lora, who was born in Colombia. The second group is my company Wabash Construction, which has employed people from around the ethnic, geographical, and sexually orientated world. In 2005, when I ran for City Council the Bay State Banner proclaimed that I had the most diverse staff of anyone running for office.

Finally, I have been a member of groups such as Big Brother/Big Sister, South End Youth Baseball, Habitat for Humanity, WBUR, etc. which encourage interaction between people of different races and ages.

7. Some Dorchester families with school-aged children have access to a wide range of educations options, including public, private, parochial, charter and METCO. Others exercise the option to move to another community to send their children to school. Please describe how you will encourage families with school-aged children to remain in Dorchester and ensure that the City of Boston supports and expands safe, affordable, high-quality educations options for all families including those with LGBT children and parents?

As Mayor, I would eliminate busing and invest the $80 million per year that we spend on it into improving and building more neighborhood schools. I would visit every Boston Public School every two years to listen to teacher, parent and students concerns and accounts regarding policies that have been effective and ineffective. Further, I would work to develop solutions to fix any ineffective policies. Last, unlike the Mayor, I would never reduce education funding in our City’s budget.

Education is my number one priority. I went to public schools growing up, and attribute much of my success to the caring teachers that I had. We are failing as a society when we so clearly are not giving our children an acceptable level of education. I have met with teachers and parents who have taught me much about how unacceptable our schools are. I will dedicate 20 percent of my time to making sure we have adequate resources, proper encouragement, and the support of City Hall to make sure every child is on the path to success. I am against raising the Charter School cap because that continues to leave other children behind, I’m for making all of the schools good.

My three opponents want to enact a buzzword to make the schools better, I’m looking forward to putting in the hard work to make them better.

8. What specific solutions do you propose to close current and future city budget deficits without harming access to health care, education, and public transportation?

The Mayor has been dishonest with Boston residents about the city’s budget. Currently, the city is not in a fiscal crisis. However, this fact is not the same for the state and federal governments, which deal with pubic transportation and health care related issues respectively. Although the Mayor has been suggesting that our city is in a terrible economic situation, he has recently deposited over $120 million into our savings account. In fact, we have more money in the bank now than we have ever had in our entire history. Meanwhile, the Mayor has been alarming our school system by threatening to close schools and lay off teachers. This behavior derives from the Mayor’s concern with getting a hotel and meal tax passed. In essence, these endeavors have shifted the Mayor’s attention from an even bigger issue: providing quality education for our city’s youth.

As Mayor, I would run the most open, honest and transparent government so that everyone will have access to the city’s budget information. I would make all of our spending and saving records public, available online and easy for everyone to request if need be.

What I will do is stop giving away land and tax breaks to rich connected insiders. A tax break given by Menino’s BRA has lost us $40 million in revenue just on a single building: One Beacon Street. He has given away $30 million at Hayward Place. How many teachers and buses could we have funded with just these two properties? This needs to stop, we need to fund our public and social services, and let the insiders know that the City Hall will be about what you know, not who you know.

9. What specific solutions do you propose to address crime in the city of Boston generally and in the Dorchester community specifically?

I believe that I can address our crime issue in two ways. First, I propose improving our schools by providing mentors and after-school programs for our youth. Second, I propose adding more police officers on the streets. I believe that education is the key to success. Many of our city’s youth resort to violence when their schools are not equipped with adequate funding and good teachers. Second, I believe that one of the ways we could increase the effectiveness of police officers on the streets is by eliminating police details. I believe that police details are not necessary on most construction sites. In fact, anybody can qualify to stand on sites with a simple four hour certification. By removing police officers from these sites and placing them on the streets, we can ensure that the tax dollars used to pay police officers’ salaries will be maximized towards stopping crime.

10. Please identify your three top priorities for the next four years that will be beneficial to the Dorchester community and the citizens of the City of Boston.

1) Education: To improve all 143 Boston Public Schools by implementing longer school days and smaller classrooms, supporting proper discipline, acknowledging accomplishment, hiring qualified teachers, designing effective after-school programs and supporting great neighborhood libraries. I would also spend one day per week in the schools to monitor what aspects of my policies are and are not effective, and to get input and feedback from the teachers, parents and students. Currently, the city spends over $80 million to bus students to schools across the city. By eliminating this costly and ineffective policy, I would ensure adequate funding to manage my education plan, and even to build a state of the art Green Science and Technology high school.

2) Public Safety: To combat our city’s unacceptable rate of crime against women, children, senior citizens, and among urban youth. First, I will hire more police officers to patrol in all of our neighborhoods. Second, I will fully enforce the Boston Jobs Policy to ensure that the city invests in its youth and hires ethnically diverse residents. There is an underlying correlation between not providing enough job opportunities for urban youth and an increase in crime in urban neighborhoods. This factor has to change.

3) Transparency and Fiscal Responsibility: First, to eliminate “zoning for sale” and tax break giveaways to rich developers for private projects. Second, to identify alternative streams of revenue that will reduce the residential property tax burden without adding to the overall tax burden, such as requiring adequate PILOT payments from Hospitals and Universities. Most importantly, to publish online all data, all expenses and income by the City of Boston and the BRA, all contracts, etc. so our citizens can be informed about the workings of their government. Finally, I want to strengthen ethics and transparency, so that we have the strongest laws in the country, to gain back the citizens trust in our government.

Unacceptable conditions in the schools

I met with a group of teachers in Jamaica Plain yesterday to talk about my thoughts on education and to get their input on the state of the schools. What I heard made me angry and sad.

We talked for quite some time about the lack of commitment of the administration to provide the resources the schools need. Teacher after teacher talked about the poor quality of the textbooks, the lack of textbooks, the lack of copying paper and facilities, the cutting of teaching jobs and programs. They described being ostracized for bringing up issues or suggesting alternative ways of doing things. They described children who had been passed along the system who couldn't do fractions when they got to Algebra 2. One Latin school graduate talked extensively about how bad her writing skills were when she got to college, and how her professor said to her after reading her first paper "you went to public school didn't you?". Appalling.

As we were going over figures and I asked them for their help in 'finding the money', one teacher bluntly said "they are stealing".

The numbers don't add up. We are spending $15,000 per student ($800 million/55,000 students). If you have a class with 25 students that is $375,000 per class. Say you have two teachers for each classroom at a $100,000 salary ($65,000 plus benefits just to be very generous). That still leaves $175,000 per class for overhead and administration. It just doesn't add up. [Actual figures with grants etc. are even more outrageous, I'm just being conservative]

I hope I made a few converts yesterday, and if you get a chance talk to a local teacher. You will find that they want to be part of the solution, that they want good schools, and they are willing to do what it takes. They are just looking for the leadership and the care to make it so. They are not pleased with the politicians wanting to bring in more Charter schools, while not taking the time to visit the schools themselves to try and solve the problems.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Transparency Update: Menino, Yoon, Flaherty all keeping the public's business private

Those who follow my blog and my platform know that I believe that complete transparency is the strongest weapon we have against corruption and government waste. I'm constantly asking our government about how and where our money is being used, and what our government officials are doing about it.

Mayor Menino promised to be transparent with the budget process this year, but that was disingenuous. I asked him to provide an account of our assets, essentially what the City has on hand. He refused to answer, so I had to make a request to the Secretary of State who forced him to turn over the documents. No wonder Menino was hiding it, it shows that we aren't facing a fiscal emergency, in fact since January when Menino threatened teacher and police layoffs the City has put over 120 million dollars into the bank. I have posted the document here on my website. We now have over a billion dollars in assets, more than we ever have in history. Hardly a catastrophe.

I recently asked for a copy of the 2010 budget which was passed for July 1, 2009. I was told that it is not available due to revisions. How can a budget be voted on and passed and still have revisions being made? "The FY10 Adopted Budget will be published and put online in September." is what I'm told by my City liaison. So, the City Council and the Mayor passed a budget and it takes us 3 months to make it available to the Citizens? Not very efficient, transparent, or encouraging.

Councilors Yoon and Flaherty have spoken about how non-transparent the BRA is. I requested a copy of the Freedom of Information Act requests they had made of the BRA in the last four years. Neither one of them would turn over the documents (if there are any), and instead referred me to the City Clerk who wanted to charge a fee to look into it. It doesn't portend well for how they might run the City if elected Mayor.

When I'm Mayor, all notices, jobs, income, expenses, proposed legislation and especially passed legislation will be made available to the public without charge. I will work towards what I call the Total Transparency Project where citizens have access to all documents. That way we can rebuild the citizens trust, and get them involved, in THEIR government.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why is City Hall so anti-democratic? A question to our councilors at large:

I sent the following email, I will report any response:

Dear Councilors at Large,

I'm wondering if you could let me know why the Golden Age retirement home in Charlestown recently changed its policy from allowing political candidates
to set up a time with the activities director and come and visit with the residents, to a policy of not allowing candidates to come and speak to the residents.
Bev, who is the coordinator of that program, informed us that she has been
doing this for over 20 years but for some reason the policy was changed this year at City Hall.

This seems very un democratic to me, and I'd like to know why this policy was changed and what your thoughts on it are.

Thank you,

Kevin McCrea

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Great Time with the R.O.M.E.O.'s

I shared a luncheon yesterday with the ROMEO's at Doyle's in JP. ROMEO is an acronym for:
Retired Opinion Makers Eating Out. Sam Yoon and I were both there to speak to the group. Although this men's group was very much up there in age, and started proceedings with remembrances of recently departed members, their minds were sharp as tacks. There were ex-city officials who worked with the BRA, journalists, and politicians such as the former Mayor of Lowell, and Jim Hennigan.

After we spoke, we both took questions and one thing that Sam and I agree on is that some members of the School Committee should be elected. One of the members asked the correct question of Sam: "You've been a city councilor for years, what have you done to make the school committee elected?". Of course, since Sam hasn't done anything about it in his two terms, he didn't have a direct answer to this question.

This is the heart of matter with Yoon and Flaherty. If you guys both supported Menino and his policies four years ago, what has changed? If you want to eliminate the BRA, increase the Charter School Cap, bring in transparency, introduce 311.... why haven't you done anything about it in your combined 14 years in office?

I asked Flaherty this last summer when he came to our neighborhood group and talked about wanting to introduce CITISTAT (I agree we need statistical monitoring). He said the Mayor didn't want it. "So what", I argued, "your job as a legislator is to build a consensus, convince your colleagues this is a good idea and put a bill on the Mayor's desk. If he doesn't sign it, he has to explain why he isn't for your good idea."

I had a great time with the ROMEO's, I hope I picked up more than a few votes and they've invited me back in the future. I look forward to hopefully learning and getting advice from this very knowledgeable and experienced and very funny group of men.

The best line of the day was when one member announced he was going to write a book about all the good things that Bulger, Finneran and some others had done. A wisecrack came from the back of the room: "It won't be a book, it will be a pamphlet!"

Thanks guys!

Good news from the Red Sox!

As we fight through the dog days of August and the regular season begins to wind down, we are hopeful that we will once again be fortunate enough to continue playing through October. As always, we want to make sure you are there with us.

It is our pleasure to tell you that we have worked with Major League Baseball to freeze 2009 postseason tickets at the same pricing we had for the 2008 postseason. While we work to get your invoices prepared and sent – they will be in the mail by the end of next week – we want to notify you as early as possible that this year’s payment deadline will be Thursday, September 10th.

(I wonder if the Mayor will take credit for making Boston more affordable. Maybe, he will put up a sign with his name on it at taxpayer expense)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Boston Globe exposes Charter Schools

The Boston Globe today has a good article exposing how Charter Schools are not teaching english language learning students or special education students at anywhere near the rate that the public schools are.

As many people have pointed out to me, the charter schools are not drawing from the same pool, and hence have an easier path to good test scores.

The reason that I oppose expanding the Charter School cap is that it is another stratification of a society which is already separated into different socio-economic classes. We need to work towards making all of our public schools good schools.

I went to public schools growing up in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Vermont and I am proud of the education I received. It can be done, if we have the will to actually work at it. I applaud the commitment and the work done by educators in the Charter Schools, but what we need to do is take what they have learned is working to educate kids (longer school days, longer schools years, parental involvement, discipline, acknowledgment of accomplishment) and bring that in to the public schools.

I firmly believe in "we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men were created equal". I believe part of that creed, is giving all of our citizens an equally good education.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A primer on Boston Taxes

My friend Steve Wintermeier an Ivy trained financial analyst has put together this outline of Boston Taxes for our edification:

A primer on Boston's property tax increases - past, present and future:

Property taxes do not depend on the absolute value of your property. They depend on the relative value of your property. A simple example:

In a 2-person community you and your neighbor each pay $5000 in taxes and your houses are each worth $500,000. The government collects $10,000 in taxes and each "citizen" shares the burden equally. The next year the total taxes to be paid goes up 5% to $10,500 (the average annual property tax increase in Boston is actually greater than 5% and the increase for FY 2010 is about 4%). However, one house falls in value by 10% and the other falls in value by 20% so now you have one house worth $450,000 and another worth $400,000. Now the person with the more expensive home owns a bigger "piece of the pie". Instead of 50% of the burden, that person now owns 53% of the tax pie. Additionally, the total taxes have gone up by 5% and because his neighbor's values have gone down by so much he has to pay his higher share PLUS the entire tax increase. So now in our little 2-person community the owner of the more expensive home has to pay about 10% more taxes even though the value of his property has decreased by 10% and the other owner, even though the value of his property has decreased by 20%, still pays about the same taxes.

Why is this relevant? Essentially in Boston we have a 2-person community. But instead of 2 homes, we have residents and businesses. Making matters worse, in Boston we don't have a 50/50 split between businesses and homes. The businesses pay almost two-thirds of the taxes. That means that every 1% decrease in business taxes translates roughly to a 2% increase in residential taxes. While residential values continue to fall modestly (5-10% over the past year), commercial values, especially values of class A office space which dominate the commercial property sector, have cratered by possibly as much as 40% over the past twelve months.

Taxes for a fiscal year are based on values as of the first of January, so the bills we will get in December (conveniently after the election) will reflect values as of January 1, 2009. If we assume that residential values have indeed fallen by 10% and commercial values as of January 1, 2009 are down by just 15% over the previous year (probably a best case scenario), residents can expect an 11% tax increase on average. Without getting further into the math, for those enjoying the residential exemption the percentage increase will be even a few percentage points higher. Of course this is an average. Residents in areas hard hit by foreclosures may not see an increase, or even receive a slight decrease. But that means that residential taxes in other parts of the city that have not been hit by the downturn as hard (Charlestown, South Boston, West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, downtown etc.) will potentially see larger increases, possibly in the 15-20% range. This is on top of the roughly 100% increase in property taxes incurred by Boston residents over the past 10 years. Taxes in the city historically were much lower than a comparable property in the suburbs, now they are about the same and grow at a faster rate due to these periodic shifts to the residential sector from the commercial sector.

This is a very complex process, especially on the commercial side, so at this point one can only rely on estimates of valuations posted in the papers and tax assessments due to timing issues and assessment methods do not correlate exactly to this information. However, the city's practice of building an ever expanding commercial tax base (which results in substantial levels of new taxes) to service an essentially flat population (which means no true new value is created) is a long term recipe for disaster. This has quite predictably manifested itself in the tax burden shift from commercial to residential earlier this decade and in the budget dilemma we face now as our local politicians built in budget increases without a supporting economic foundation (as previously noted, there is no budget "shortfall". Next year's budget will actually increase, just not by the 6% rate that the mayor and city council needed to fulfill all the promises and pay raises they handed out).

This type of fiscal attack on Boston's taxpayers must come to an end. Menino, Flaherty and Yoon's constant demands for incremental revenue essentially treat the residents, businesses and institutions of Boston like an ATM to service the needs of government forgetting the basic tenet that government is there to serve its constituents, not the other way around. It is my campaign's understanding that the preliminary data necessary to more thoroughly evaluate the impact of the current market turmoil on the residential property taxes for the citizens of Boston should be available in late August and we call upon the city to make this information available to the people at the earliest opportunity so that Boston residents can prepare for the likelihood of significantly higher property taxes in 2010.

Summary for 2010:

If residential values go down by 5% and:

commercial values go down by:5% - total residential taxes increase 5%
commercial values go down by:10% - total residential taxes increase 11%
commercial values go down by:15% - total residential taxes increase 18%

If residential values go down by 10% and:

commercial values go down by:5% - total residential taxes DEcrease 2%
commercial values go down by:10% - total residential taxes increase 5%
commercial values go down by:15% - total residential taxes increase 11%

People are excited about the debates!

Our poll found more than 2 out of three eager to watch the debates. I think they will be good for the vitality of the City, 4 candidates, each with ideas about how to make the City better. Competition improves the breed, and we can certainly use some improvement.

Even Michael Flaherty's mom told me she can't wait for the debates, see you on the 26th.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Watch my interview on the Fathers' Coalition

Here is the link, thanks for having me on Joe!

Watch my interview with Jon Keller

Here is the link, thanks for having me on Jon!

Broadside: Mayoral candidate Kevin McCrea

Watch this at

Mon, 3 Aug 2009

(NECN) - Kevin McCrea, a businessman from Boston's South End is a candidate trying to unseat Mayor Tom Menino.

City Council Hearing on Compliance Today

Today at 11:00 the City Council will have a working session on job compliance and the BRA with the Recovery money that is coming into the City. This is not being held in the City Council chambers so it will not be televised. Michael Flaherty has been talking about how the BRA needs to be more transparent and how their meetings should be televised. Shouldn't he first make sure that the City Council meetings and hearings are televised?

This is typical doublespeak out of politicians. Until Michael Flaherty makes all the city council hearings and meetings and working sessions televised, he is really the pot calling the kettle black.

Boston Licensing Board doesn't get or receive their emails

If you have emailed the Boston Licensing Board to give an opinion on one of the cases in front of them and have received no reply or satisfaction, here is the reason:

Hello, everyone.

The Licensing Board's Executive Secretary recently informed NEWRA's ZLC Committee that the email address posted on its website, , is not valid. Apparently, emails sent to this address are either not received or not picked up by the Licensing Board. If you have sent a recent email to the Licensing Board regarding Nick's Deli (see attached application) or any other licensing matter, I advise you to resend the message to the Licensing Board's Executive Secretary, at I have asked the Licensing Board to let me know if/how this situation has been corrected (see request below).

I believe this is more reason that the Licensing Board postpone the hearing for Nick's Deli to a later date!

Dave Kubiak, Co-Chair
Zoning, Licensing and Construction Committee

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sun, Aug 9, 2009 12:06 pm
Subject: Fwd: Application for license by Nic's Famous Deli

Ms. Lorizio,

I am forwarding this message from my neighbor, xxxxx, because I understand the email address on the Licensing Board's website ( is not valid. I hope the email process is corrected by the Licensing Board soon, and I fear dozens, possibly hundreds, of communications to the Board have gone unreceived for years. Please let me know how this is resolved.

David Kubiak Co-Chair
Zoning, Licensing and Construction Committee
North End/Waterfront Residents' Association

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Weekend News: Is the Mayor Laundering ....Laundry?

Unfortunately, my team the Banana's did not fare too well on the whiffle ball field this weekend and I only contributed a walk and a single. We did match up well with the vaunted Boston Beef for 5 innings before some late home runs put us away. However, the Big Winner was the Travis Roy Foundation which raised even more money than last year which is impressive in these difficult times. Thanks for all who contributed!

A reader sends this observation along (unverified):

i was in lavanderia cleaners yesterday afternoon leaving off some laundry.a gentleman came in wearing a shirt and tie. he had a boston police badge and a gun on his belt. he told the clerk he was there to pick up the mayors shirts.i asked the officer if the mayor was outside. he said no. i then observed the officer putting the mayors shirts into the mayors black suv (which was illegally parked) and driving you think this is an appropriate use of the police dept by the mayor?

Does anyone know if the Mayor gets his shirts done at Lavanderia's?

Friday, August 07, 2009

Some kind words for the candidates

As I prepare for charity whiffleball this weekend, I wanted to say some nice things about all the candidates running.

Running for office is an intimidating, stressful, exhausting task. As Tom Keady said on TV yesterday, "the first day is great, you open your campaign office, there is euphoria and then the second day comes and it is the loneliest day of your life."

I was thinking about this last night after speaking to the JP progressives. As I was talking with a reporter and some city council at large candidates, Tom Menino showed up in his black SUV, got out by himself as his driver swung around the block, and walked over and shook hands with all of us, just one greeter. It was about 8:30 at night.

The Mayor has a wife, children and grandchildren. Sam and Michael both have wives and kids, I have a wife. We all spend so much time away from them, it is very difficult on the families.

There are over a dozen city council at large candidates running, and I see them too, all over the city, often by themselves or with one campaign person. Everyone puts their lives on hold, and the vast majority of them are not doing it for the money or the power, but because they want to make their communities better.

I cringe when I read nasty, personal comments on the Globe, Herald, or blogs about these candidates. They all deserve respect for putting their names out there, for being scrutinized publicly, and for working hard putting sweat equity into democracy.

I can be very critical, but I try and always base it on facts, and stay away from personal attacks. We do need to hold all the candidates and elected officials accountable. Honest, respectful dialogue is the path to a better city.

I wish everyone good luck, and enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Interesting article referenced by "kaz" on why you might want to consider voting for me

Over at Universal Hub, someone named "kaz" (I don't know him/her) makes an argument as to why you should consider voting for me, and links to an interesting article in Time Magazine to bolster his point.

Boston Municipal Research Bureau confirms what I have been saying: No proper fiscal management at City Hall

***Boston Municipal Research Bureau confirms McCrea’s calls for Financial Responsibility***

Today the Boston Municipal Research Bureau put out a report which confirms what I have been saying throughout the campaign: City Hall is not being prudent with our money. (

All three of my opponents have been complicit in this expansion of the City Payroll without being responsible about the long term financial considerations. In the last four years, the Mayor has added 1200 new jobs to the City Payroll, of which only 200 are police officers and 100 are teachers. That is 900 non-essential jobs. The City Budget has grown at twice the rate of inflation.

Councilors Flaherty and Yoon have done no better. In the past four years the City Council budget has increased by 20%. In the past two years they voted to increase City Council Central Staff by 8.5%. Now they give a reason for running for Mayor is because the City Council has little power to affect change. If the City Council has such little relevance, why did they increase the money spent on an area of government which is not essential? Michael Flaherty voted for the budget every single year until this one. Sam Yoon voted against the budget because he wanted to increase amounts spent, and he wants to implement a regressive “five cents for safety” sales tax on top of our already increased sales tax.

As I have been telling interested voters, we are facing 10 percent increases in property taxes in both fiscal year 2010 and 2011 because of the bad fiscal management at City Hall combined with the downturn in commercial real estate. Meanwhile the Mayor continues to give away our valuable assets like Hayward Place ($23 million) for free to connected developer friends. This needs to stop.

When I am elected Mayor I will:

• Eliminate the BRA and reclaim the hundreds of millions of property and revenue Menino has given away
• Save on health care costs by moving municipal employees to the State Plan
• Sell all excess property the City owns at market rates
• Make non-profits pay the suggested PILOT payments or suspend zoning and building permits
• Eliminate tax breaks for rich developers such as $8 million for One Beacon Street and $2 million for JP Morgan Chase
• Install zero based budgeting at City Hall to eliminate the waste, fraud and abuse of our resources
• Eliminate over 4 years the $80 million spent on busing, and reinvest that into the schools

Three years ago I put together a power point presentation “Show me the Money” which I disseminated around town which the Boston Globe reported on ( I outlined exactly the fiscal crisis we are in now. My three opponents ignored the warnings. “It is time to elect someone who will watch the publics’ money as closely as his own.”

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Flaggers-Menino opposes, I am for them

Today the Globe has an article about how Menino is opposing the law that allows construction projects to use civilian flaggers.

I oppose this and have put out a press release outlining the reasons why. Just yesterday I was riding my bicycle up Northampton Street. There was a flagger there who had no shirt on and just an orange vest. I asked "are you a policeman?" and he said directly "yes I am!". As I rode up Northampton Street which was blocked off at both Albany and Washington, there were two police officers standing against the fence in the shade on the sidewalk.

This is not efficient use of the police time, and the money that the City is paying these guys (the contractor was repaving the City street-a City expense, paid for with our taxes) with our money. I look at this as two guys for at least 4 hours which is more than $400, which is one more computer in our schools, or uniforms for an entire high school track team. Everything adds up.

My press release:

***Focusing Police Expertise on Fighting Crime***

According to the FBI, the rate of violent crime in Boston is twice the rate of violent crime in NYC, and the rate of violence against women in Boston is four times the rate in NYC. The number of shootings in Boston through June is above the levels of last year, despite the wet weather. The rate at which we are solving crimes, such as murder, in Boston is not acceptable. The Boston Phoenix concluded “Simply put, the BPD’s homicide unit has the worst track record of any big city police department in the country.”

We understand in America that police work is a dangerous, stressful, professional job that requires qualified, committed individuals who are willing to stand on the front lines in protecting citizens. Each applicant to the Police Academy spends six months of intensive training learning how to serve and protect, becoming the finest public safety officers we can produce.

While the City of Boston ordinances require 2,500 police officers to be on the police force, Menino refuses to obey and instead he short staffs the police department at the expense of the City’s safety. It makes sense that we maximize the limited staffing of the police force and the comprehensive training they receive by concentrating their efforts on crime prevention and enforcement. It is not logical to make a police officer work additional time doing detail work at road construction and other projects that can be done by less skilled members of our work force. To qualify to be a flagger in Massachusetts only requires four hours of training and a $175 fee to get certified. Clearly, our police officers are way over qualified for construction details. It is hard enough for our police force to fight crime as it is, without having to work additional hours directing traffic.

If I am elected Mayor, I will stop the practice of requiring police officers to handle non-crucial detail work. Instead, I will hire and train Boston residents in accordance with the Boston Jobs Policy (at least 10 percent women and at least 25% minorities) to do this work. I would also like to make this work available to Police Cadets who have passed through the Police Academy but can’t be hired as police officers until positions become available.

The benefits of this are many. We allow police officers to be at their best for their supremely important job of public safety. We help to lower the unemployment rate in Boston by hiring residents to fill these jobs. We lower taxes for Boston residents by lowering the costs of construction to our roads, bridges and buildings in the City of Boston. This can help lower the cost of building housing as well.

Kevin McCrea says “We need to cut costs and find ways to make our streets safer. This does both.”

UPDATE: A south end resident chimes in:

I should tell you of what the District 4 CSO said to a group of us who met regarding the construction of 303 Columbus Ave. (a busy street, as you know). We were concerned that since the construction was mid-block, and completely shut off the sidewalk, getting across the street was dicey since we had to step out from the mid-block crosswalk directly into traffic. The crosswalk was blocked from view by the fencing around the site. (The fencing contained advertising on the chain link which made it impossible to see through.) The cars couldn't see the pedestrians, the pedestrians couldn't see the car.

The cop in charge of the site sat in his car all day doing Herald crossword puzzles. We told the CSO about it, and her answer was (this is nearly a direct quote) "it's not his job to ensure pedestrian safety. His job is to stop traffic to let construction vehicles (cement, etc) onto the site."

In light of that, I'd really like someone (Mr. Mayor?) to explain to me exactly how having police details at constructions sites enhances safety. At least a flagger would have a flag and would know how to use it.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Scam of the Week: Paying your taxes at City Hall

One of the many, many ways that Menino takes care of his own, to the detriment of the general public is in how you can pay your real estate taxes in Boston.

The city clearly has the intellectual capacity to allow you to pay for things online with credit cards. For example, you can pay your parking tickets online with Visa and Mastercard.

But, for some reason you can't pay your real estate taxes with your credit card online. BUT, if you go down to City Hall and pay in person you can charge the taxes on your credit card. Why would you want to do this? To get the miles or cash back, and to save one credit cycle worth of interest on your money. Today I got over 7,000 miles, more than a round trip ticket to England. Pay your taxes all year and you might get a free vacation ticket.

Now, who do you think is likely to pay their taxes at City Hall? City Hall employees I would bet who are already there for work. I told the teller that when I'm Mayor I will allow people to pay taxes online, or not allow payments by credit card so that we don't lose the processing fee. She said "you just lost my vote, if you bring efficiency to City Hall I will be out of a job." What she doesn't understand is that I want to bring efficiency to City Hall so that I can get that teller to do something more constructive like teach children, fix our parks, etc. Efficiency doesn't mean eliminating positions it means getting more done with the same amount of money.

Watch my interview with Jim Braude

Here is the link, thanks for having me on Jim!

Tonight on NECN-I'm back in Boston!

I will be interviewed with Jim Braude tonight on NECN, his show is Broadside with Jim Braude. Please tune in! I will be on between 6 pm and 6:30.