Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Last nights meeting
Nancy Lo and James Travers at the School Committee Nominating Panel meeting
I appreciate people being interested in this, sorry I don't have more time to write now.
Last night in room 608, 7 of the 13 members of the committee showed up (amazingly, just enough for a quorom!) for this allegedly important meeting to decide which names to pass along to the Mayor for a 4 year term.
In the audience was an attorney for the City Law Dept., Mary Pierce from the Mayor's office, Sam Tyler from the Municipal Research Bureau, a woman who seemed to be an assistant to Mary Pierce, president of ABN Shirley Kressel and myself. (Interestingly, there were no African-Americans in the room, but then why would they care about the Boston Public Schools?)
I asked Nancy Lo, who is identified on the City Website as the contact person for the meeting, before, during and after the meeting if the 6 people that they discussed were the same people that they had already decided on at the Dec. 10, 2009 meeting and which the Globe had written about. She and the other 7 members of the committee present refused to answer the simple question, "are these the six people you already decided on at the Dec. 10 meeting"?
The meeting was a farce. Nancy Lo started up by explaining how they had narrowed the field from 27 to 11 people, they had held interviews with 11 people and had narrowed the list down to 6. She then "opened the floor" to nominations and the 7 members present pretended to have a discussion as they nominated the 6 people present. I had two favorite parts, one was when they were discussing a Cape Verdean gentleman, a Mr. Barros. Three times the phrase "he is so articulate" was used, right out of the textbook of 'how to say nice things about minorities.' When they were discussing the white candidates, no one said any of them were "articulate". I sure hope they are!
The second funny part was when James Travers spoke about how impressed he was with the open and thorough process that the committee went through to arrive at the nominations. Last year Mr. Travers was appointed to the board by the Boston Municipal Research Bureau. This year he was appointed by the Chamber of Commerce. Amazing how two separate business groups pick the same guy to be on the committee. Also amazing that Mr. Travers gave $500 to Menino's campaign last year.
They then held public comment and Mr. Tyler, Mrs. Kressel and I took our turns. I asked the committee to answer whether the same 6 people they had just nominated were the same ones they had nominated on Dec. 10, 2009. A deafening wall of silence ensued, while people on the committee instantly found how interesting their navels were. Nancy Lo broke the silence by saying this was comment period not question period, and in a back and forth it was determined that no questions would be allowed.
After the meeting I asked the committee members again if any of them would tell me if this was the same group of 6 and again none of them would answer.
Such an impressive group of people who inspire my trust in government so much that they can't even answer a simple question about what they have done.
But, don't forget that the Boston Globe endorsed Menino and so endorsed this type of behavior. It is not new or unknown to them. I called the editorial board, emailed them to ask how they got and endorsed two people (who were on the list of the final 6) before the committee had even met and the Globe wouldn't answer any questions either.
Case law has determined that holding a rubber stamp public meeting after an illegal meeting doesn't correct the violation if no true discussion ensued. Clearly no real discussion ensued.
Will the District Attorney do anything about it? We shall see. I did video tape the whole meeting in case anyone wants to waste an hour and a half of their life.
A Merry Christmas to all!