Monday, November 30, 2009

A Holiday Invite to our Friends

Dear Friends,

Clara and I will be hosting a holiday party at the Big House, 218 West Springfield Street on Friday Night, December 18th, 2009.

We are asking guests to contribute $20 or $25 (or more!) to the Travis Roy Foundation, a non profit set up to help people with spinal cord injuries. We have been involved with this charity for a couple years now, and we have made a commitment to raise $3000 this year, and to take a group of inner city kids up to Vermont for the annual whiffle ball championship, fundraiser and celebration. We hope that you find this a cause worthy
of your donation.

We all have so much to be thankful for. We made many new friends this year during Kevin's campaign for Mayor, and we also have neglected many of our old friends. Clara has her first successful year in the professional world under her belt, and Kevin is up to more of his crazy projects around the world and is hoping to take a motorcycle around Africa next year.

We hope to see you anytime after 7:00pm. We will provide light snacks and refreshments, a bottle of your favorite is always appreciated, or maybe an ornament for the Big Tree! Please send an RSVP so we can plan ahead to,
or visit our EVITE!

We hope that you and your family are healthy and happy!


Kevin & Clara

PS-As always, no shoes in the Big House, so bring some slippers or warm socks!

Another South End mugging

A poster comments:

This is an amazing story! I really respect this woman's courage. What led me to find this article was a mugging I witnessed the night before Thanksgiving in the South End that I would like to share. It led me to do some research to try to find any information there may be on muggings in the South End. I was looking to find any similarities from my experience and others in the area, because I had a theory that perhaps the mugger I witnessed was part of a "group" of muggers that focus on this area (conveniently located by parks as an easy escape with many alleys). After coming across this article, and reading what the mugger said to this brave woman, it really made me wonder.
At 5:55pm I was walking home from the Pru on W. Newton St, heading towards Columbus Ave. I was walking on the left side of the street. The woman who had been walking in front of me was walking at a slower pace than I tend to walk, so I decided to cross over to the right side of the street. Seconds after I crossed,a man jumped her from behind and mugged her. I charged back across the street chasing him as the woman let out a scream. I followed her scream by screaming "stop him" several times as I followed him, creating enough awareness to the men in the area to apprehend him long enough to recover her purse. This man eventually got away, but I was shocked that he mugged this woman at such a busy time on what I feel to be quite a busy street.
This area is located conveniently by parks and side streets, so I can see how it is appealing to muggers. This man is about 5'11, average to athletic build, brown hair, goatee, Caucasian, and was wearing a white HOODY!
During these difficult times, we need to increase our awareness to these violent crimes now more than ever.

I'm wondering if the poster reported this to the police? My wife tried to report it to the State Police but they wouldn't take the information over the phone, they needed her to come to the office.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Default on your mortgage? Maybe, says law school prof...

The Herald has an interesting article today. I'm amazed people have loyalty to the banking industry, who in this article tells people they have a "moral" obligation to pay back loans. Where is the word morality defined in capitalism?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Day 2009

Setting up the Tables at Pine Street

I couldn't sleep, I was up at 2 a.m. so I watched "Roget & Me" with the commentary by Michael Moore. Very enlightening. I did some exercises then headed over to the Pine Street Inn where I had signed up to do set up for their big Thanksgiving Day meal for their guests.

I started off in the kitchen helping make sausages and hash browns before helping to clean up the dorms and set up chairs and the dining room tables for a few hours. I always have a hard time keeping from crying when I go to Pine Street. We are so rich in this country, we have so much, but we refuse to look at those around us who are suffering. Our politicians espouse us being a Christian nation, but I don't understand how lower capital gains taxes for the wealthiest, tax breaks for Bob Beal and JP Morgan, and making One Beacon Street a blighted area, help these people whose life and dignity are stuffed into a locker that they are so thankful to have. Most of the volunteers were not from Boston, including a man who I see nearly every time I'm at Pine Street who usually brings his boys to give them perspective, this time his niece accompanied him. I suggest volunteering some time, it will bring warmth and color and vividness to the rest of your day and your life as you realize how lucky you are.

Came back home and spent the morning doing paperwork and talking to family members from Hawaii to Colombia. My friend Jim joined us in the afternoon and we went to a Thanksgiving Dinner/Birthday Party in the projects in Roslindale. It was very nice, the smells of marijuana and turkey wafting in the air, everyone being very friendly while loud Reggaeton music permeated the walls from the neighbors.

We got back just in time for our Thanksgiving dinner, where a wonderful toast was given by my mother in law who has survived both a son dying and cancer this year. She spoke about how wonderful life is, and how good it is to be here.

I hope your Thanksgiving was even better than mine !!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

CORI Reform from Senator Diaz

This is relevant, as I just worked with ABCD to get a young man some work with my company. 3 years in jail for a gun charge, no diploma from South Boston High, but he seems eager, willing to learn, and he is studying to take his GED. At 23, he is too young to give up hope.

From Senator Diaz:

Tonight we won passage one of the top Chang-Díaz legislative agenda items for the 2009-2010 term: comprehensive CORI Reform! Critically, the bill (S. 2210) includes:

A prohibition on employers from asking job-seekers if they have a criminal record on their initial job application (the so-call "Ban the Box" provision)

Reduction in the wait time to seal a CORI-from 15 years for a felony and ten years for a misdemeanor to ten and five years, respectively. While we fought for 3 and seven years, these new sealing times are nonetheless a great victory for our community.

S. 2210 also includes important reforms to our mandatory minimums system and improvements in post-release supervision.

More to come in tomorrow's news and on our website about the details of this bill. But for now, the State House team and I just wanted to send a big congratulations and thanks to everyone in the community who has worked so hard on this bill. While the House will now need to take up S. 2210, today the Second Suffolk District still scored a huge victory!


Sonia Chang-Díaz

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I thank everyone for reading my blog, for caring about our world, and for giving me the impetus to keep writing.

I hope that everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving, that they appreciate the wonderful world that we have to enjoy. Reflect on the 150th anniversary of one of the most important books ever written, "Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin and how we might be able to continue to use reason to solve our worlds problems.



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

more reasons not to like Bank of America!

I opened up my business checking account today to pay bills and they had a NY Yankees logo and the following message:

Put your money where your heart is. Get Yankees™ banking today. This link will open a new browser window.

Believe me, my heart is not with the Yankees, nor with Bank of America. This is the final straw and I'm going to open up my new company with Sovereign Bank. I'll have more later, but Bank of America has really, and is really, screwing the public and the American taxpayer with the help of our federal elected officials. Not surprising they would be pitching a team from NY who can buy whatever players or politicians they need to get the public to pitch in to their bottom line. Oligopolies are not good in my humble opinion.

Especially one whose heart is with the Yankees.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mugging in the South End: Urban Youth with Knife vs. my Colombian wife

Yesterday morning in the rain, my wife was walking to work on the Southwest Corridor and was near the dog park between W. Newton and Dartmouth. A young man in a hoodie she guessed to be about 18 years old, and not particularly large, approached her and pulled out a Rambo style knife, held it perpendicular to their bodies, and told her to hand over her purse.

Acting on instinct, and not one to back down to anyone, she told him "NO", and reached out with her free hand onto his outstretched arm and lowered the knife down to his side.

She says his demeanor immediately changed and he apologized saying "I'm sorry, this is what they told me to do." He then asked her if he could have some money, so she calmly took her wallet out of her purse and gave him about $25. He thanked her and then he gave her some advice, "Look, Look, if you see someone with a hoodie walking towards you, just avoid them, just turn around and go the other way." He then walked quickly down one of the alleys.

She continued walking to work, and saw her clients for the day, and asked me to pick her up in my "bullet proof truck" for an afternoon treat of lunch at House of Siam, where she enjoyed a glass of wine to wind down the day and the week. She didn't bother filling out a police report, because she knows how busy they are doing details and doesn't want to bother them with their important work. (we'll do it today, Saturday is a slow detail day) We saw a state trooper later in the day on a detail in the Southwest corridor and he gave her the number to call to report it. He told us that Boston is "no worse than anywhere else.", in that knowingly assured way that uninformed uniformed people have. I thought about informing him that according to the FBI the rate of violent crime is twice as high in Boston as NYC, and the USA is 10 times higher than Japan and three times higher than Canada, but my wife gave me a look as to say "why waste such a beautiful day?"

My wife is a five foot three inch, 105 pound BADASS! To think that some American born and bred punk, most likely with a fine American urban education, could take my Colombian born wife, with a doctorate in Psychology is ridiculous. This is the woman who didn't blink against KGB trained breakaway Russian Republic soldiers armed with AK-47's trying to steal our money.

I think it is so funny how people think it is dangerous for us to go on our travels around the world. So far this year, of the three people living at our residence, two of three have been mugged. My campaign manager was mugged by three African-Americans in Allston. Just a statistical anomaly I'm sure, our government would tell us since "crime is down".

My wife says she will be walking up Columbus now, and then left on Dartmouth for awhile.
I'm so proud and lucky to be with someone so strong, who is willing to stand up against what is wrong. Hope you let her know next time you run into her.

Wonderful summing up of why zoning laws are important, and what makes a great city...

Roger Cohen in the NY Times today had a paragraph that was just so wonderful, I had to share it.

The new premises, as I’ve gradually learned, placed us just within the garment district, an area where zoning laws have protected apparel manufacturing space and so held off the developers who would otherwise have turned clothes factories into condos and created yet another gentrified district bereft of seediness, tawdriness, community and that strange high-low alchemy essential to any great city’s mystery and charge.

This is why the corruption of ideas, neighborhoods, and money by the BRA and City Hall is so detrimental to our town.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sam Yoon still pushing term limits---Tom Menino says he will sign bill

I got a mass email from Sam Yoon this morning encouraging people to call their councilors to get the bill to impose term limits in Boston out of committee. When I had dinner with the Mayor (who we all wish well in his recovery from leg surgery) he said he would sign the bill if it came to his desk. So, the question is, who on the council is for term limits and who is against it? Some enterprising journalist should call them all and see where they stand. I would buy that newspaper.

Sam's email:

Dear Friend,

Our campaign addressed the power of the Mayor of Boston - and our belief that too much power in one person's hands holds us back as a city.

That's why we fought hard for Term Limits. If eight years is good enough for President of the United States, it's good enough for the Mayor of Boston.

Term Limits bring urgency to government and protects us from political machines that put politics before people.

Nine out of the ten largest US cities already have Term Limits. And so can we.

A bill to limit Boston mayors to two four-year terms is before the City Council's Government Operations Committee. But we need your help to get it out of committee and to the full Council for a vote.

I am asking you to call and e-mail the Chair of the Government Operations Committee, City Councilor Maureen Feeney, and respectfully ask that she bring the bill to the full City Council for an up-or-down vote.

And please call and e-mail your District and At-Large Councilors to urge them to support this bill.

Your opinion matters to your city councilors - they represent you - and we need to make sure that they debate and vote on Term Limits before year's end.

This is what our campaign has been fighting for.

The contact info for your City Councilors is below. Please take a minute to do this - and then forward this to five of your friends in Boston.


Sam Yoon

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where is our country headed?

It is very depressing watching what is going on in our country, and around the world. I watched the Wabash vs. Depauw Monon Bell Game last Saturday with a 1960's graduate of Wabash who is a Ph.d working for a local bio tech company. We spoke about how the education system in this country is going downhill. He said his company is doing well, but that 30 to 40 percent of their researchers are from the Far East. He agreed that our country is not on the right track and we need to get back to science and engineering disciplines.

The NY Times today has a good comparison of the attitudes in China and America, and how they have become the "can-do" country while we have lost our energy, our quest for the future. They link to a Harvard Business School teacher article about what we need to do to get back ahead.

I see the dithering in Congress, the Democrats and Republicans just being two sides of the same coin, a bunch of rich guys being puppeted by much richer guys and corporations, taking care of the rich and themselves at our expense, and at the expense of our future. We need Universal Health care in this country yet that isn't even on the table unless some connected MBA's get a percentage off the top. I thought we had RICO laws against that?

I remember in 2006 when the City Council raised their salaries from the 60's to the 80's and Sam Yoon said that we needed to pay councilors more money to attract better candidates. Well this year we lost Sam Yoon and Michael Flaherty with degrees from Harvard, Princeton, BC and BU for Felix Arroyo and Ayanna Pressley with degrees from UMass/Boston, and Southern New Hampshire University for Felix, and Ayanna didn't complete her studies at BU. With all due respect to the colleges and elected officials involved (I coined the saying "there is a sucker from Harvard born every minute), on paper at least it would not seem as if we really increased the quality of our councilors by giving them huge raises.

I asked both Felix and Ayanna during the campaign about the BRA, and neither had anything to say about it. Those who don't know about the past are doomed to repeat it. I like the energy of both of them, and am hoping that they both use their considerable gifts to get up to speed fast before they become part of the machine.

Still, they are just tiny players I use as an example.

Why is it that every smart person I know has investments in foreign countries? From buying Australian dollars, to Argentinian vinyards, to Brazilian farms, it seems I am not the only one seeing the writing on the wall.

Yet, I am still seeing the money here in America. It seems as if others do as well, but now we seem to have a situation where people make their money here, but then invest it elsewhere.

I should have listened to Sean Ryan and bought gold at the beginning of the summer. You can't just keep printing money to get out of our economic crisis. It didn't work for the Weimar Republic, I doubt it is going to work here, especially because we aren't creating jobs, we are just getting the rich back to their standard of living.

Sorry, to be gloomy, I'm actually still very bullish on Boston, but I want to wake people up to what is going on and some options for doing something about it.

Have a great day, and think about getting a motorcycle!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Minor changes at Charles View

Allston/Brighton Community:

Please see the attached revisions to the Charlesview Redevelopment proposal

In response to comments raised during the review of the Draft Project Impact Report (“DPIR”) and Development Plan, the Proponent has already requested a reduction of twenty (20) rental units on the Brighton Mills Site from two hundred and sixty (260) rental units to two hundred and forty (240) units. The Proponent is now requesting a reduction of height on the Telford Site to seven (7) stories and a reduction of height on the Western Avenue buildings on the Brighton Mills Site to primarily five (5) stories.

Please contact me should you have any questions.


Jay Rourke

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thought from election day

I was working the polls in Charlestown on election day and someone came by to thank me for running and said "Kevin, it's easier to sell a lie then to give the truth away for free." A great quote, just wanted to remember it.

Nothing happening here politically is there?

The Boston Globe called me the other day to get a comment on Kineavy returning to work at City Hall. "Shocked and Chagrained" that Menino would say one thing during a campaign and then do another. Why is this news? Who cares?

I feel like this press/media dance is just a big carousel, a farce, and thankfully I have been slowly but surely weaning myself off of it. I'm hoping by Thanksgiving I won't be reading any of the papers anymore for political news because there isn't much. Coakley will win as long as she doesn't say much. Millions will be spent, trees will die, schools will continue to be underfunded, and soldiers will die overseas.

And the Globe wants my comment on how someone who has been lying to the public for 16 years whom they endorsed continues to lie to the public? Do us all a favor and write about the scholarship programs available to students and adults so they can get educated for the knowledge based jobs that are out there.

I don't enjoy participating in this farce.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Anyone want some authentic Fenway Park Seats?

If anyone wants any of these seats, I will help facilitate this as long as you make a reasonable donation to the Travis Roy Foundation.

Dear Season Ticket Holder,

While the home team is no longer playing, there is still much work to be done at Fenway Park as we approach another ambitious renovation schedule planned for this offseason. Each year since 2002 we have made offseason improvements to “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.” This offseason will continue this tradition. A component of the 2010 improvements will be replacing the red Dugout, Field Box and Loge Box seats. We are pleased to provide our loyal season ticket holders with the first opportunity to own these authentic and historic Fenway Park seats. They are the same seats that have held fans witnessing the exploits of Yaz, Rice, Evans, Lynn, Clemens and Ortiz, not to mention the stunning performances of the 2004 and 2007 World Series.

Last year we were overwhelmed with the response to the 2008 seat sale. We hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity to own these vintage pieces of Fenway Park.

The seats will be packaged and sold in pairs (2 seats). While we would like to be able to offer you specific a seat location, the removal process does not allow us to preserve a significant portion of the seats. However we will attempt to provide you with seats in your desired section. This year’s seats are being removed from sections 27-33. Seat removal will commence after the “Frozen Fenway” events this winter.

For a limited time only, season ticket holders will have the opportunity to purchase a pair of seats for $750[1]. This “first chance” sale will conclude on Monday, November 16th at 5pm. Thereafter, sales will open to the general public and a pair of seats may be purchased for $795[2].

If you are interested in purchasing, please reply to this email at with your full name, day & night time phone numbers or call (617) 226-6800 to speak with one of our sales representatives. We will be in touch to secure payment and your part of Red Sox history. Thank you once again for your ongoing loyalty and support of the Old Town Team.


The Boston Red Sox

Monday, November 09, 2009

City Hall still playing funny games with emails

As soon as the election was over, the City Hall attorney who earlier insisted that I make all FOIA requests through her, promptly insisted that she would no longer be facilitating my FOIA requests and that now I would have to go directly through the people that I used to make my requests to previously.

My first request was for her emails from the last 4 days as clearly she received instructions from "someone". So, the City apparently has hired outside counsel to answer this FOIA at what I assume is her usual cost of around $200 an hour. I thought we didn't have any money in the city????

What is so hard about just forwarding some emails, unless you have something to hide!!!

Her is outside counsel's response to me:

Dear Mr. McCrea,

I have your FOIA to Maribeth Cusick, seeking her emails from Friday, October 23 through Thursday, October 29. Please be advised that the cost of producing these materials is as follows: 2.5 hours of review, at $30 per hour; redaction; and production of 96 pages of material at $0.20 per page. The total cost is therefore $95.

If you wish to continue with this request, please send payment in that amount, payable to the City of Boston, and direct to my attention to the address below.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding this matter.


Mary Jo Harris


Mary Jo Harris


200 State Street

Boston, MA 02109

Tel: (617) 788-5011

Fax: (617) 367-3125

Sunday, November 08, 2009

More top level political appointees getting more money (What Recession?!)

Andrea Estes shows again why she is the best reporter in the State. She is as close to neutral in her reporting as anyone I read, she gives all sides a chance to comment, and if you read between the lines about when someone doesn't comment on something, you know they are hiding something.

Still waiting for that (real) Reform before Revenue.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Charlestown residents want to quiet Old Ironsides?

The Herald today has an article about some residents who want to quiet the cannons on the USS Constitution. As anyone from there will tell you, they go off every day at 8 am and at sunset.

I used to live on a boat at the Constitution Marina which was the closest boat in the harbor to the Constitution. I thought it was wonderful having the cannons go off, you were never late for an 8:30 appointment amongst other advantages. You actually get used to it after awhile, and it is great when someone new sleeps overnight to see them freak out when the cannon goes off at 8 am.

When will people start appreciating the wonderful history that we have here?

I bet and hope that this goes nowhere.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

For everyone that thinks we have great health care in this country, read this:

From the NY Times today (Kristof):

(Thanks to Michael Pahre for cluing me in on proper use of links!)

The basic argument, is that despite what the idiot politicians tell us, we don't have the best health care in the world, in fact we are far from it, and as he has repeatedly made the case, Slovenia has better health care than we do.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Why I'm voting for Flaherty

Almost a year ago I was sitting at Doyle’s enjoying a drink with Michael Jonas (former Globe now Commonwealth writer) and discussing the idea that I might run for Mayor. I talked about how the Boston Globe was in the tank to the Mayor, but Michael insisted that the Globe wasn’t going to give Mayor Menino a free pass this time around. I pointed out that there had been a recent scathing report on the state of the Boston Public Schools and that the Globe had written an editorial about how the Mayor should be commended for accepting the results of the report and vowing to work harder. No sense of urgency that these results are not acceptable in a rich, intellectually dominant city. I said to Michael that the Globe wants a Mayor’s race for the same reason that the Harlem Globetrotters need the Washington Generals. You need someone else in the race to have something to write about, but in the end we all know who the Globe is going to endorse, and who is going to win. Jonas laughed, but while not completely accepting my premise, said that the analogy had some merit.

I had planned on running for Mayor four years ago to bring up the same issues of transparency, the need to eliminate the BRA and that the state of our public schools were not acceptable. I had lunch with Maura Hennigan and she convinced me to run for City Council and that she would be raising these issues. She did an admirable job, but I don’t think the city was ready to hear that message just yet.

I was the first into the race for Mayor this year, knowing that Michael Flaherty was probably going to enter but with no idea that Sam Yoon would. My platform from Day 1 spoke about the need for term limits, the elimination of the BRA, the need for transparency at City Hall, the need to properly fund and bring accountability and fiscal reform to the Boston Public Schools.

Neither Michael Flaherty nor Sam Yoon included eliminating the BRA when they entered the race, but Sam did quickly start talking about term limits. Later, the three of us were on a WBUR interview in the spring in studio and during Sam’s time in the booth he mentioned getting rid of the BRA, and I said to his campaign manager Jim Spencer who was sitting next to me, “When did Sam decide it was time to get rid of the BRA” and Jim laughed and said “I think just right now!”

Many people think, erroneously, that there is a lot of personal antagonism between members of the administration and the City council and me. While there are clearly people who wish that I were not around, I actually get along well with a number of them. Tobin, Murphy, Ciommo, Yancey and others share pleasantries and a laugh here and there when we run into each other. At the first debate this year Michael Flaherty noticed I was down to my last pair of socks (that my mom had given me) that had the name “Kevin” written on it, with the Gaelic explanation of the name on them. Michael needled me throughout the campaign about them. At the first debate with Jon Keller after beating Michael up about violating the Open Meeting Law, we went to break, and I said to Michael during the intermission “I feel bad about beating you up on this at every forum.”, he responded “hey, its fair game, I’ve got thick skin and I was wrong.”

After that debate as I was waiting to go on the Dan Rea show, Tom Menino was in the hall and he congratulated me on a great performance and I returned the compliment. He made an interesting, insightful comment that shows how much the Mayor understands people: “Kevin, you and I are the outsiders in this race.” His meaning that neither of us had grown up with the natural advantages that
Michael and Sam had, and that both of us had to work our tails off to get to where we are.

Right before the second debate I got wind of some illegal building activity that seemed to have inspectors looking the other way for some connected people on Temple Place. It really threw me off, as I reported the information I found out to the FBI and the head of ISD that day. I have learned all too well that the Democrats voted to enforce the laws, the DA and the AG will not enforce the laws on their fellow Democrats in this state. It is no coincidence that only the Federal Authorities have found any corruption at the State House and at City Hall. I was also concerned that I was being branded as just throwing “bombs” (even if those ‘bombs’ are based on facts and evidence, but when did the powers that be care about facts and evidence, if they did they would be scientists) so I wanted to tone it down and try and talk about policy as much as possible.

This is the quandary of modern politics, you work and you work and you work for months and months, meeting voters, talking to local papers all for 10 minutes of TV time in a debate with television people who don’t live in the city and usually are not very informed (Jon Keller excepted) about the issues. So politicians can get away with saying things that are blatantly untrue without being challenged. I am usually my own worse critic and I actually felt I did okay but nothing particularly great during the debates, but apparently I struck a chord with some people who are as fed up as I am.

On the way home from the first debate we were listening to Dan Rea, who doesn’t hide the fact that he is on Menino’s side, on the truck radio. He was just finishing up with Sam Yoon and he wasn’t asking Sam fair questions, or giving Sam a chance to answer. How do you answer a question like “I think Boston is a great City, name me a better City than Boston…???” After he was done with Sam he opened up the phone lines to talk about the debate and the first two callers called up and said essentially “that guy Kevin McCrea did a great job, he really won” and Mr. Rhea was dismissive and subtly tried to play up the Mayor: ‘so you want to go with the outsider, the unknown as opposed to the person who has made this city so great’ it was great to hear it, people we didn’t know calling up and saying positive things about our effort.

We raised and spent about $17,000 on the campaign (some from me), and on election day I felt very positive about the way the race had been run. I told my wife if I received more than 1,000 votes that I would be happy. My biggest hope was to get 5% of the votes. On election day I had a great time running around the City talking to voters thanking poll workers from all the campaigns for getting involved, receiving many compliments, and getting limp wristed handshakes from Menino supporters. I borrowed my wife’s Chrysler convertible loaded it up with Bob Marley, James Brown and the Clash and one of my favorite moments was driving along Centre Street in West Roxbury with the top down rocking out to the Clash “Justice Tonight” as people in adjoining cars were giving me the thumbs up.

Later that night, after the polls closed I was being interviewed by WBUR around 10 pm and the results were coming in and showed Menino around 48 percent. I said to the reporter, “I guarantee you that at the end of the night Menino will be over 50%”. I had seen too many odd things at the polls, mentally handicapped people being hand taken to the polling stations by Menino people, Menino numbers crunching running around with worried looks on their face, and phone calls from people before the primary who had worked for the elections department telling me about how election fraud is carried out. It would look very bad if Menino was below 50% and I figured he would pull out all the stops to make sure that was the case.

I was ecstatic with my results and with the race I ran. I am appalled by the money in politics. Menino spent about 1.5 million to get 41,000 votes or $36 bucks a vote, Flaherty spent $915,000 to get 19,459 votes or $47 a vote, Yoon spent $657,000 to get $17,179 votes or $38 a vote. I spent $17,000 to get 3,340 votes or about $5 a vote. It really is out of control. Between the four of us we spent more than the entire book budget of the Boston Public Schools in just the primary.

The day after the election Natasha Perez from Flaherty’s campaign called and asked me to join them. I told them I could support them if they were getting rid of the BRA, but that first they needed to get Sam Yoon on board, as he was much more important to victory than I was. They were holding a fundraiser that Thursday at Anthony’s Pier 4 that they wanted all of there for. I had promised my wife we would go away for the weekend so I could not make it, and Sam needed time to discuss things with his family and his people.

Then in the first joint interview that Flaherty and Yoon held with the Jamaica Plain Gazette they equated my campaign to Donald Duck, and made fun of Freedom of Information requests, saying that they would have a special department to handle Kevin McCrea’s requests of the government and call them “McFoia’s”.
I was on business in New Orleans when this came out and my wife told me one night that I had received an odd apology on the voicemail from Sam Yoon which neither she nor I knew anything about. When I returned to Boston I called John Ruch of the Gazette to confirm the story he had written and whether anything was out of context. He confirmed what he had written, and I have a good relationship with John and had no reason not to believe him. I was a bit taken aback that the people asking for my endorsement and calling for transparency at City Hall and an investigation by the Attorney General would make fun of Freedom of Information requests.

I am realistic enough to know that if this election had been 65% Menino to 35% for the rest of us that no one would care about me. But, instead we had a situation where my 4% of the vote could be crucial. So I decided to be objective and try and make my decision based on facts, and to leverage what minimal amount of influence I had to try and do the best I could to make the city a better place. I contacted Dot Joyce, Menino’s spokesperson, and asked if I might perhaps speak to the Mayor about some common ground that we might work together on, in particular the schools. She was very gracious, and we set up a dinner with the Mayor and his wife and my wife and me.

I was extremely confused at this point. I had three options, endorse one or the other or stay out of it. Politicians are masters at making you think that they care about you and your issues, and of making you think they are going to do something about an issue without actually committing to anything. Even though I think I’m a reasonably intelligent person, I know my hubris can be attracted to praise and the spotlight, and I asked my wife to accompany me to get an objective and professional (she is Doctor of clinical psychology) take on the two candidates. We sat down with Michael and Sam and their people and spoke about what needed to be done to win the election. They were very kind in complimenting me on the issues I had raised and what I had brought to the campaign. They were definitely for term limits and bringing in new management and accountability practices to City Hall.

We then had dinner at with the Mayor and his wife Angela, and both of us (particularly me) had a bit of trepidation. We met at Hammersley’s where Gordon, the owner, has been a longtime supporter of South End baseball and I knew the Mayor and he were friendly and that the Mayor had eaten there. We ended up having a really wonderful evening. We spoke about common experiences, travels to South America and Turkey. The Mayor and I had both dealt with problems of alcoholism in our families when we were young. None of the four of us had a drink, which we rarely do and it turns out the Menino’s don’t either. Angela spoke about how when Tom got involved in politics he stopped drinking because he had seen too many politicians make fools of themselves while imbibing, and he would not be that way. We spoke about the problems of dealing with the media, and how they had thick enough skin but they really thought it unfair when the media went after their family.

The Mayor asked one question about where Flaherty thought he was going to pick up votes, but I replied that he wouldn’t want me sharing anything with Michael, and I wouldn’t want to share what Michael said to me with the Mayor. He respected that and we moved on. We spoke about tax policy and why I didn’t believe that we should be giving tax breaks to the big rich corporations, because as the Mayor says “this is a great city, people want to be here, because of the great institutions, the neighborhoods and the people.” Further that these tax breaks were just picked up by the working people in this city and that it isn’t fair. He said we had to give them or else the companies would leave, but later in the conversation he talked about how some of the financial institutions that had left the city were now looking to come back because they couldn’t find qualified workers. I pointed out “Exactly” how there was an inconsistency in his logic, that is why we shouldn’t be giving them tax breaks, we should just continue making the City a great place to live with good schools, safe streets, parks, etc. He truly seemed to be taking the point in. We agreed to disagree about the BRA, and we didn’t talk about emails. I told him that people are afraid of him in this city, and that shouldn’t be the case in a democracy. He dismissed it, but I explained how even friends of mine were afraid to let me have fundraisers in their restaurants because of fear of repercussions. I told him that I thought he was going to win, because people genuinely liked him, and felt that he cared about the city, and I said that if he just changed a few things, if he was more open to others ideas and to collaboration that he could really leave on top and be remembered for being a fantastic Mayor. At the end of the meal, he said he’d like to work with me, and all of us remarked what a nice time we had and that it was great to get away from the campaign for an evening.

I was in an even bigger quandary than ever, and then we had some family medical issues with cancer and surgeries, and brought us back into “reality”. As I went back to work in my construction business and I spoke to working people, to wait staff, to students, to guys I play basketball with in Roxbury, I was struck by how little anyone really cared about this, and about how little impact they felt it had on their lives and that nothing was going to change. The only ones who seemed interested or had an opinion were City workers, and they were mostly in favor of the Mayor.

Many of my supporters implored me not to endorse anyone, saying that people respected me for telling the truth and not compromising on honesty and transparency. But, I also had many people asking me who I was going to vote for and looking at me for an informed opinion.

I have been thoroughly unimpressed with the media during the campaign in terms of asking the candidates substantive questions on the issues, on holding them accountable, and of asking follow up questions. I got into this race to get some questions answered by the candidates, and 9 months later there are basic questions unanswered. I came up with an idea: I asked both candidates if they would be willing to do a one hour debate at the Boston Public Library, with questions from me about what they would do about the future of the City. No “gotcha” questions, nothing about the past, just a chance, on the record, to talk about what they were actually promising to do about schools, about transparency, about public safety, etc. They both declined to take my questions, but offered to answer written questions. On another tangent, I asked Flaherty to introduce the legislation into the City Council that would begin the process of eliminating the BRA to show that he actually was going to do it, but his staff said they had procedural reasons why they couldn’t do that. Interestingly, the BPL was unhelpful in scheduling a room. To be fair I was asking last minute and they had a policy of only allowing non-profits with a long lead time. But, I mentally thought about all the obstacles to doing things in this city, such as having a block party or having a neighborhood forum. When did we become a society of why we can’t do things, instead of a “can do” society?

I had pretty much decided to stay out of it, not convinced that Flaherty was truly committed to transparency and eliminating the BRA. But, I received his mailings which put down in print that he would eliminate the BRA and institute some measures towards transparency. People were still asking me for whom I was going to vote and I felt I had an obligation to let them know, because of course I was going to vote as I do in every election.

For me, it came down to the elimination of the BRA. I believe that the institution of the BRA has outlived its usefulness, that it is non-democratic, and that it is corrupt and that it breeds corruption, and that the rich use it as a tool to take advantage of the rest of us. I called Dot Joyce as a courtesy to let her and the Mayor know, and to thank her for her time, and for the Mayor’s valuable time. She tried to convince me otherwise, but I let her know that the BRA was the deciding factor for me.

So, I’m asking people to vote for Michael Flaherty on election day, to eliminate the BRA and to try and bring transparency and a new sense of inclusiveness and access to City Hall.

No matter who wins, I am bullish on the future of Boston. Not because of the political class, but because of the people and institutions that are here. Because of our institutes of higher learning we will continue to be an international city where smart people come to learn and create, ironically, they often get applied more around the world then they do in our own backyard.

Whether Michael Flaherty or Mayor Menino wins, I hope that they will reach out and try and new things, not be afraid to fail, and to bring in good people who want to make this city shine. I would be willing to work with either of them, and I hope all the citizens feel the same way after the election. How about a City that has all four of us working together to improve Boston? Abraham Lincoln did it, maybe Menino or Flaherty could do the same: wouldn’t that be bold and exciting?

I also endorse Alex Selvig and Christian Kulikowski. It is imperative that we have some independent voices on the City Council who are not afraid to speak up for the citizens. They both believe in eliminating the BRA and so they have my support.