The Boston Globe did a profile piece on me this week which I thought was very fair. In the article, Sam Yoon's campaign manager Jim Spencer was quoted as saying: “If we’re trying to bring a new civility into Boston politics so that we can get things done, clearly Kevin McCrea is not a very good ambassador."
My new definition of politician is "one with no shame." Earlier this year Jim Spencer called me at home, cussed me out and threatened me. Why? Because I had the audacity as a citizen to ask Sam Yoon a question about why he voted for a certain bill. Not very civil. I've invited Sam Yoon to my house for dinner, congratulated him on his City Council victory, and called his office to work on the transparency committee he said he was going to initiate at his 'hearing on transparency' he held last December. It is nine months later and nothing has been done, no committee on transparency, but Sam uses the fact that he held a hearing last December in his stump speech as if having a meeting for an hour or two and then not doing anything is some sort of action on an issue.
I've held back on writing or talking about his because both Sam Yoon and Jim Spencer called to apologize for Spencer's actions but if they then want to tell the press that I'm not civil, well I beg to differ.
JIM SPENCER THREATENING KEVIN McCREA
February 21, 2009
As I reported on my blog, on Wednesday night I ran into Sam Yoon at the Strand Theater for the premier “The Black List”. I asked Sam why he had voted to change City Laws to give Paul Walkowski a $15,000 raise (almost 40 percent!) to write a report on excluding the City Council from the Open Meeting Law. Sam said it was a worthy question and instructed me to call his office to set up a meeting.
The next day I called Sam’s office and asked for a meeting. They put me on hold for 15 minutes and then told me that Sam didn’t have any time to meet and couldn’t schedule anything to answer a question from a constituent. They offered a phone call, but as I explained I wanted to show Sam a video of him voting for this and get his explanation. I asked for the first 10 minutes he had available at City Hall in the next 6 months, and I offered to meet him any time, any where, but they still said he was unavailable. They said he was on a 24/7 election cycle and he couldn’t commit to anything. Sure sounds like a politician to me I mentioned, different from his public statements that he is not a politician. They answered that Sam is not a politician, he is “an elected official”. They asked me to leave my number and if anything came up they would get back to me.
Jim Spencer, who is sort of the Karl Rove to Sam, and runs his campaign called me and left two messages Thursday before he we traded voice messages and he called me Friday afternoon around 3:30.
Jim proceeded to instruct me that this is a political question, not a constituent question and that as a Mayoral candidate I would get my chance in some forum in the future to ask the question. I pointed out that I was a constituent that Sam is my city councilor and is getting paid $80,000 dollars plus to handle constituent issues and I had asked him this question before he announced he was running for Mayor.
Jim let me know that Sam is running a serious campaign, that he expects that I will be running a serious campaign, and that Sam was spending his Friday afternoon making phone calls for campaign contributions. He said they had a lot of work to do, a lot of people to talk to, and a lot of money to raise. Jim let me know he is a very busy guy, and that Sam is a busy guy and that they and I shouldn’t be wasting our time with this, and that I shouldn’t be engaging in “gotcha politics.”
He proceeded to tell me that my blog wasn’t transparent because I moderated it. He says that they tried to post something on my blog but that it wasn’t posted. I asked him what it was and he couldn’t remember it exactly but it was something to do with one of their staffers getting me information. I told him that I had to start moderating comments because people were swearing and saying disparaging things about my family, but that if comments were respectful I posted them even if they were critical of me, which some of them are. He appreciated that sentiment, and I said to him that he was obviously free to post something on Sam’s blog (which Sam hasn’t updated since 2005: http://www.wymsy.net/website.cfm?websiteid=2861&page=42&threadid=8&threadname=Same%20Sex%20Marriage&mode=publish)
He let me know that Sam is a “straightforward and honest guy” but then Jim Spencer warned me in a harsh tone of voice “but I am a political player so DON’T FUCK WITH ME BECAUSE I WILL FUCK BACK!”
He said that Sam’s staff had been working on getting my public records request done, but that it was the City that wanted to charge me money for the information. He said it shouldn’t be that way, and that Sam WANTS to be open and transparent. [what is preventing him?]
After ranting a bit more he finally asked me what I wanted to know from Sam and I told him the same thing I have been saying, that it was in an email to Sam and is on my blog: why did Sam vote to give Walkowski a $15,000 raise and a pension giveaway.
Jim proceeded to tell me that it is easy to be on the outside looking in, but that on the inside you have to get things done.
I told him that it seems like it was just a go along to get along arrangement and Jim said “Sure it was a go along to get along” thing that was “probably out of respect for Jimmy Kelly”.
He then proceeded to tell me that “Kevin McCrea is not a very rational guy”. I asked him why I was not a rational guy, and he again said I was wasting his time and mine with this phone call and we mutually agreed we both had better things to do and we signed off.
5 minutes later Sam Yoon called and left a message (I was busy with other stuff), we connected a bit later and Sam offered to set up a meeting to talk [after his staff said he didn’t have any time in the next 6 months?] about the Walkowski thing. I told him my head wasn’t clear at the moment after having his campaign manager threaten and swear at me. I did tell him that I did think he wanted to change things, as do I, but that he has one way to do it and I have another, and my way doesn’t involve threatening people. We wrapped up the phone call when he mentioned he was late to see his family and I wished him well.
February 25, 2009
Jim Spencer calls sometime after 7 pm and leaves the following message: “yeah, Kevin this is Jim Spencer calling when you get a chance if you would give me a ring maybe in my office tomorrow my number is 617-561-3296 you know I really wanted to call you up you know and apologize for our conversation the other day, I’m really sorry that you saw what I said as threatening it was certainly not my intention to threaten you and if you took it that way I definitely apologize for it, and if you would give me a call when you get a chance I would love to talk to you about it, …thanks and I hope things are going well.”