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!"